Of the group that started out, only about twenty actually showed up in San Felipe and I was one of them, but I was not riding.
My bike had seized and I did the last forty or so miles in the back of a truck with wooden stake sides. And of those twenty people, only three or four actually tried to ride back to Ensenada. I never heard of them again, so they either made it or they didn't.
My first two memories of San Felipe are completely different. On my first flight to Baja, I flew over it and thought: "Why would anybody want to go to that sunbaked, two block square piece of nothing?". My second encounter was when we arrived on this bike trip and it looked like paradise to me.
There were no maps of Baja that we knew of back then, except the AAA map, and it caused us more problems than helped us.
The village of sawmill (aceradero) near Laguna Hanson was still turning out lumber back then and I remember it as probably the most picturesque place I have ever seen. Nearly all of it is gone now, but then it was a place where you might be able to get gas, so we would try to find it.
The only problem was that the AAA map had it located about thirty miles from where it really was. Making it hard to find the sawmill was only part of the problem, because it put everything else in the wrong place at least in our minds.
Navigation in Baja was always a problem and the AAA did nothing to help us.
Remembering those days brings up the trails. They were always gnarly, washed out and too narrow, so if a pickup or some ranch truck had gone over that trail it tended to round off the nastiest parts a little. And the suspensions back then were four or five inches. No wonder that I am two inches shorter than I used to be.
The old Puertecitos road from San Felipe to Puertecitos, about forty miles long, was continuous whoops and rocks, but it was straight so we would fly. My friends and I are lazy, so for years now we have used the paved road, which parallels the old road mostly one to five miles apart. But we decided to use the old road and since they had never used it, didn't know what they were getting into.
We had gone about three-quarters of the way and somebody started complaining, so I turned left and picked up the paved road, which was really close at that point.
Then they were complaining because we had been riding over that nasty old road when the good road was nearby.
It was a good reminder to me, though, of how well youth could offset the lack of inches of suspension. I don't remember that road being anything but fun and challenging, and on this modern day ride we were all glad to get off of it.
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