Riding the ferry across the Sea of Cortez to Mazatlan

 

Boarding The Baja Ferry from Benny on Vimeo.

Brian, Ben and I strapped our bikes down inside the ferry next to tour buses, jeeps, semi trucks, and passenger cars.

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It’s over a hundred degrees inside the ferry cargo hold, and I assume that the rest of the ship will look the same way as the hold. We walk into the lobby and are surprised – the ship is nice, and the staff working the front desk are beautiful. We flirt with the desk workers, get checked into our room, invite Brian to join us and explore the ship.

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Eating cookies and cakes in the room with Brian

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The most unimpressive meal I’ve had since being in Mexico. But hey, it comes with the ticket.

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Brian’s original seat with the woman he would have been sitting next to. Brian was pretty happy that we invited him to stay with us.

We have a few beers at the ship bar, but the Mexican banda music and videos are too much for us to handle, so we call it an early night and head back to our cabin. As we’re getting ready to get to sleep, I give Ben some of my floss to use. I guess my floss sucks, and it gets stuck in his teeth.

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Ben trying to remove the floss. No success.

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Dr. Sper tries to help out with some needle-nose pliers. Still no luck. Good thing Ben plans on heading to a dentist in Mazatlan.

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I was a little concerned about the ride on the ferry, since I do get sea sick. However, the ride was smooth, and I slept well. We make it to Mazatlan without incident, and ride around to find a hotel.

Exiting the ferry into the tourist beach city of Mazatlan.

Riding along the coast in Mazatlan looking for a hotel.

We are all baking in our motorcycle gear in 100 degree heat, riding around an unfamiliar town looking for a hotel that meets our requirements – secure parking for the motorcycles, and a cheap price. Good thing we’re not picky – we find one quickly along the beach, negotiate a fair price, strip off our riding gear and jump in the pool.

I have a few dents in my front rim from somewhere along the way the last 2 months. The KLR vibrates so much while riding that I don’t typically care, but it’s gotten to the point where I can watch the front wheel bounce as I go along a smooth stretch of road. I need a new tire anyways, so I figure it’s a good time to get the wheel fixed. Brian and I walk around Mazatlan looking for a garage and food.

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Brian’s got a sweet tooth. His diet consists of street food, chocolate milk and cakes.

How do you find a garage in a foreign city where you know no one? There’s a few things I’ll typically do. First, I research online. I’ll check ADVRider and Horizons Unlimited to see if any fellow travelers have a recommendation for a garage. Next, I’ll ask any locals that I know. If I see another motorcyclist on the road with a nice bike, or one in great condition, I’ll ask for a recommendation. Otherwise, I’ll look for a busy shop with lots of motorcycles parked around.

Today we got lucky. While walking around looking for food, I see a handful of motorcycles parked outside a garage. I step inside and start speaking with the owner of a Kawasaki dealership. I go over what I want done to my bike, and he says he’ll take care of it. Again, I would typically stay at the garage while the mechanics work on my bike, but I decide to leave the bike with them and come back the next day to pick it up. The garage services all of the motorcycle police officers in the city (80 bikes total), and they are always swinging by to chit-chat and get service done. That’s a vote of confidence if I’ve ever seen one.

In addition to getting my front wheel trued, I purchase a new tire (a cheap Chinese tire for 800 pesos), and get my sidecases sorted out. The supports are bent and twisted, causing the cases to vibrate and shake while I ride. It’s been getting worse and worse, and is one of the reasons that my case fell off the bike while riding on the freeway in LA. I might as well get it fixed now.

Total cost for the new tire, a trued wheel, and fixing my side cases? 1000 pesos, 800 of which was for the tire itself. Perfecto. Labor in Mexico is incredibly cheap. I almost feel bad for paying so little for all of the work the mechanics did. They were running around town picking up parts, sweating in heat, and banging their knuckles all over Oscar.

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Ben gets a new blinker installed for a couple dollars.

My bike is going to stay overnight at the shop, so Ben offers me a ride back to the hotel. El Burro isn’t too happy with the extra 225lb load of my fat-ass on the back, and we laugh the entire way as the bike scrapes on any and every bump in the road.

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My first time ever riding “bitch”

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Ben asks why I didn’t ride side saddle like this woman. Maybe next time buddy.

After dying in the heat for a day, Brian takes off to Durango in the highlands to cool off and stay with an American school teacher he met on Couchsurfing. Ben and I stick around Mazatlan for another day, waiting for my bike to get fixed and for Ben to get some dentist work done. In the hot parts of Mexico, the city transforms in the evening. People go running and exercise outside, and the entire city comes alive. It’s just too hot to be active during the day, but everyone takes advantage of the 20 degree drop in temperature of the evenings.

Ben and I decide to take some pictures along the boardwalk near the beach. Ben has an external wireless flash that we try to use, but it isn’t working, so we improvise by waiting for it to get a little darker outside, increasing the time the shutter is open, and having me manually force the flash to fire. We get some interesting shots.

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The sunset over the ocean, just across from our Hotel.

Bikers, joggers, and rollerbladers are out in force once the sun goes down.

Futzing around with the external flash. The locals think we’re crazy.

After not riding much for the last week, and suffering in the sweltering heat, Ben and I decide to do the same thing as Brian and head up into the mountains to Durango.

About Sper

LA born. Michigan raised. Current Chicagoan. Technology nerd. Motorcycleπ enthusiast. I quit my job, sold all of my stuff, and am riding my dream through the US, Canada, Latin and South America.
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