Tiffani's Yamaha FZ-07 Tour: Alice in Wonderland or Tiff in Mexico?

Chapter 3, Part 4

Pretty slow going through the Baja, since it's all been so beautiful and there's so much to see, but I'm making some progress on my FZ-07, so time for another update!

When we finally got out of the Lagoon, we made our way down to San Ignacio. I was honestly pretty tired of the mental stress of ravaged mud and dirt at this point and didn’t want to see how bad the rest of the Baja was after the storm, so we opted for finding an easy camp spot this time. As we entered San Ignacio, there were a few small signs for a campsite called “Casa de Ciclista” which ended up being someone’s backyard that they opened exclusively for bicyclists and motorcyclists. $100 pesos got us a hot shower, wifi access, and the ability to camp in a cool little town with a bunch of other people who lived on two-wheels. We stayed two nights, talking to some cyclists from Canada and New Zealand who had also stopped for the night, and explored the historic town square which resembled some manner of medieval castle ground with a beautiful old mission from the 1700s.

Tiffani camping in a backyard in Mexico
This dude’s backyard made for a great base for wayward travelers. A hot shower and a flush toilet might be some of the biggest luxuries of cheap-ass travel, and wifi meant I could actually get work done! If you ever find yourself not appreciating the little things in life, a long term motorcycle road trip will really straighten you right out, haha.Photo: David "Hollywood" Hayward

We headed out midday, following the highway marred by large landfills and mining towns (If there is one negative to Mexico other than the water and the stray dogs, it’s the overwhelming amount of garbage everywhere, even when you’re in the middle of nowhere) and this time made our way down to a town called Mulege. It was apparently National Margarita Day (A very important and totally legitimate holiday), so we stopped at a small pub for carne asada tortas and margaritas. There, we met an ex-pat named Steve who was now living in Mulege. He was an avid rider and was really enamored with the FZ-07, so we all hit it off instantly. After chatting for a good hour or two, he insisted on getting us a room for the night at a nearby bed and breakfast and meeting up later for dinner. We had some great food (I now know what a trigger fish both is and tastes like), and we spent the whole evening talking about bikes. As I talked about my increased struggles with the dirt roads since we had gone south of the border, he told me that there were four stages to learning a new skill: Unconscious incompetence, where you don’t know what you’re doing but are convinced you’re a hero anyways, conscious incompetence, where you’re very aware that you don’t know what you’re doing, conscious competence, where you finally understand it, but still have to think about it, and unconscious competence, when the skill becomes second nature. I think I need to remind Hollywood next time he uses the “figure it out” line on a tough or sandy dirt road that my off-roading is still very much in the conscious incompetence phase.

Alice in Wonderland or Tiff in Mexico
Not sure if Alice in Wonderland or Tiff in Mexico—It could really go either way.Photo: David "Hollywood" Hayward

We left Mulege bright and early after some Canadians who were staying at the same bed and breakfast (All of which were from the Yukon, of all places. Even having been there, I still am hesitant to believe people actually live up there) had suggested a nearby beach that offered secluded and quiet camping right off the highway. “Great for skinny dipping!” they said. We made our way a handful of kilometers down the coast to an endless panorama of beach cliffs, and pulled off onto a jagged dirt ramp at a janky, handwritten sign for the theoretical campsite. The road in was a little rocky and followed along the cliff side, but nothing worse than I had already encountered at this point. We camped on the beach, tucking our tent away behind some banks to block the wind, skinny dipped in the Sea of Cortez, and attempted to dig up clams at low tide too…Well, one nickel-sized clam worth of success. Maybe someday I’ll be able to live off the land, but not this day.

Tiffani and Hollywood in Loreto's town square
The nicely groomed tunnel of trees by the Baja’s oldest mission in Loreto’s town square may have felt as cool as going through Michigan’s tunnel of trees. Either that or I just really appreciated the shade. Spring in the Baja is hot!Photo: Tiffani Burkett

Another day in the books, we got back on our bikes and made it down into Loreto. I feel like my life for much of this trip has been a really lucky (And sometimes really unlucky) series of coincidences, our arrival in Loreto being no different as we unknowingly rode in to a town with perfect timing to celebrate Carnivale and a big Baja biker rally. We found a small and inexpensive motel near downtown, where we did some laundry in the sink (This is when you know you're officially losing your few remaining standards of living), used the wifi to cheer for our friends racing CVMA that weekend thanks to a combination of online live timing and Facebook Live (Including watching Julia's debut on her long term R3—Thanks Victor! And people say technology is evil), enjoyed nights dancing to live music, surrounded by Harley clubs and a handful of bikes that don't exist in the states (I kind of really want a Yamaha R15 now), and walking among the lights, floats, and crowds of a huge parade and fiesta. The cherry on top was when we met an Italian couple on holiday and got to spend the night talking about Rossi, Iannone, and Simoncelli, cementing "Watch a MotoGP round in Italy" to my bucket list. It's not every day you get to talk motorcycle racing with strangers on this side of the world!

Tiff riding more dirt roads in Mexico on FZ-07
It seemed that almost everything worth seeing in the Baja is behind a dirt road, some rougher, rockier, or sandier than others. While Hollywood had tried to get me a little more seasoned in the states, the fear aspect of riding near a cliff side with uncertain traction or hoping that next section doesn’t turn to deep sand has been the greatest challenge of my southern excursion so far. The FZ is holding its own just fine though, so hopefully my skills and confidence will someday catch up.Photo: David "Hollywood" Hayward

As the weekend festivities wrapped up, we got back on the road and headed toward Ligui National Park. The road in was short and not overly intimidating, but the camping area proved much more perilous. And by perilous, I mean sandy. Deep, soft, beachy sand. Being the dedicated scout that he is, when the road forked, Hollywood picked a path and went on ahead to check road conditions. He made it a hundred feet or two at most, and walked back with his rear wheel stuck deeply enough in the sand to prop it upright without a kickstand. Well, this is going to be fun.

Hollywood's FZ-1 stuck in dirt
AAAAAND stuck. With a lot of coaxing, we were eventually able to get Hollywood’s FZ-1 out of its makeshift rear stand, where he whipped it around and got it back to the slightly better path. I struggle so much in soft stuff with my Shinko 705s, I can’t even imagine what this must have felt like on Bridgestone S20s!Photo: Tiffani Burkett

I offered him my bike to scout the other route, which was a bit less sandy, and allowed him to get to the damp, harder packed coastline and get the bike to a beautiful rocky cove. The two of us dug and heaved and pushed his bike out of the sand under the hot Mexican sun, and got his bike over to paradise as well. The beach was largely empty save a small handful of other people there for day trips, but we met a couple camping nearby who called themselves Ryhan and Ryhana (Some sort of spiritual bond, they said) who invited us to a dinner of fish they had speared that day. Hard to say no to that!

Tiff at Sea of Cortez
There are worse things to wake up to. After climbing out of the tent to a near-glass Sea of Cortez teeming with life, I couldn’t bring myself to leave just yet. The sandy beach was definitely the most out of their element our bikes have been to date, but as is so often the case, the tougher spots are the most rewarding. Hopefully we’ll be able to get them out of here!Photo: Tiffani Burkett

When we woke up the next day to pelicans dive bombing the water, dolphins playing in the distance, and heard whales calling to each other as they breached out of the water even closer and more pronounced than they had in Ojo de Liebre, it was easy to justify one more day of relaxing by the sea. So we’re still making progress, but definitely not too quickly. I’ll be ready to move on tomorrow, I promise!

Tiffani's Chapter 3 Part 4 Map of Mexico ride
After a magical ride through this Part 4 portion of Mexico, it is time to move on.©Motorcyclist