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COAR members ride Baja!

Yours truly, Greg Skarvelis, did not get to go on this year's Baja adventure. Alas, that pesky job got in the way and while I was in SoCal for work, I was not able to escape and join my brothers for what seemed like an Epic time! Regardless, our very own "Pineapple" contributed a great trip report. See below for some inspiring details. When will you ride Baja?

 

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Aloha my peeps in dirt – Thought I’d share a bit about our 2024 trip to Baja,
Mexico couple of weeks ago. On this trip we some of our usual suspects, Jay
“Baja Nav God” Goodman, Mike “I Gotta Pee” Mansfield, Mike “Get the F Outta My
Way” Pishioneri, Brian “Baboon” Lynch and yours truly Michael “Pineapple”
Ka’uhane.

The plan was for all to rendezvous at my place, pack up the truck and trailer then hit
the road. Due to a few minor hiccups, we didn’t leave until 1pm. Which meant
for a VERY LONG drive to the Tecate boarder in one shot. Lots of junk food,
snoring, bench racing, gas-n-goes. We arrived at the border with a plan to park
the truck and trailer on the U.S. side, unload bikes, gear up and ride to
Horsepower Ranch. All the public parking was already jam packed with vehicles,
but fortunately just up the road was another private pay for parking area that
was much better and more secure than where we might have parked. The $100 we
paid for the 7-8 day privilege was well worth the security.

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Timeto suit up and hit the road and rip to Horsepower Ranch. The ride to Horsepower
Ranch was mostly uneventful with minimal pavement and good helpings of dirt.
Unfortunately, early into the ride we suffered our first bike casualty. One of
the bikes took a rock sample and developed a leak in a side case. Fortunately,
Mike Pisioneri, Jay and Brian were able to make a temporary trail side fix and
keep the group moving. Aluma-weld is your friend in times like these….

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After a great night at Horsepower Ranch, we departed the next day for Coyote Cal’s. If memory serves, this ride was quite an adventure as the tracks we took were at times quite
difficult for us old geezers (me). Steep rutted rocky hill climbs, same thing
on descents, water crossings (FUN!!), mud…. We spent two nights at Coyote Cal’s
which was a first of Jay, Mike P. and Mike Mansfield. Just can’t beat two
nights near the beach with killer ocean views. As usual the food and services
provided were outstanding. Mike P and Jay made some more permanent repairs to
the broken side case, and we never had an issue with it for the remainder of
trip. We didn’t do much riding for the two days at Coyote Cals as the down time
was much appreciated after the all-day drive from Oregon to Tecate and
Horsepower Ranch. We did go into town and get tacos though. Last trip here we
did the same and found a quaint little taco shop owned and operated by two of
the sweetest older ladies. It was so cool to see them still in business and
thriving. The little towns like these need travelers like us to stay alive, so
visit as many as you can and feel comfortable doing. In-spite of the language
barriers, it was like visiting with old friends!! BTW: Google translate is the
bomb!

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From Coyote Cal’s we headed to head for Chenowth Lodge. I know the spelling looks odd,
but that’s how it’s spelled. Living legend Lynn Chenowth is the owner and we
were very fortunate to meet him. Lynn is the designer and builder of the iconic
Chenowth Buggy’s that dominated Baja back in the day. Onsite is a museum with
some of his creations and the buggy described above. Some of the biggest names
in off road racing have driven his machines. This place is off the hook and
will most likely be one of our have to go to places for every trip to Baja.
This place has a bar, restaurant, swimming pool and an in pool bar, massages,
manicures etc. The prices are more than reasonable for the accommodations and
surrounding. Just image being able to walk out to a beach on the Sea of Cortez
right from you room…. Look it up because you gotta go! Two days at Chenowth and
it was time to head out again. Gotta back up a little bit here….We were
informed by our host at Coyote Cal’s that they had an incident prior to our
arrival with a cartel group. Apparently a local was caught by cartel members
trying to steal motorcycles. Story is they took him to the shoreline cliffs,
filled him with lead and that was that. Apparently, the cartel does not like it
when tourism in that area is messed with, as it supports the small shore area
communities. True or not….. you decide.

 

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OK, time to leave Chenowth. I might mess up the timeline here, but here goes…If I forgot anything, I won’t forget ripping through miles of desert areas, miles of sand and sand
whoops through amazing canyon formations and towering mountains. Even though
riding through miles of deep to semi deep sand is definitely a workout, I
believe we were all so stoked to be doing it! BIG MAHALO to Jay for his
knowledge of Baja and his navigation skills, as there were times a bit of
re-routing and hunting around for tracks was in order. At one point we
miscalculated go times and ended up doing some night riding in mostly muds and
certainly some boulders/rocks. The light on my CRF450L is not the best…OK let’s
just say it SUCKS!!! So bad that I missed seeing a mud patch in the dark and my
bike pitched sideways so fast, my head slammed into the ground. No serious
injuries but hell that hurt! My neck is still recovering from it. We landed at San Filipe briefly and then slogged it back to the border at night in the rain, cold, and sometimes at 4K feet of altitude on mostly pavement. In all this we even managed to be good Samaritans and assist a couple of local women in a car on the side of the road,…no gas, no money, no food, and two little children in the
back seat. Two of us gave them what money we had, Used 2 two liter bottles of fuel we had to fill their tank so they could make it to the next town. I pick my personal COAR riding crew very carefully, and this incident just proves to me I picked correctly. I LOVE these guys.

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The last leg of the ride was through a mix of mud, puddles, hard packed gravel/dirt track with multiple elevation changes and jumps. Fast and flowing and a few horse as obstacles to keep you on
your toes. We get to the border in the dark, no issues crossing. Load up and
start the long drive home! This was an amazing trip once again and can’t wait
to do it again!!!! Hope you enjoy the videos and photos!