I don't really know where to start so, I'm just gonna start at the very beginning. It all started 13 years ago when I walked out of Orange Street video holding a copy of “Dust to glory” - Dana Brown's documentary on the Baja 1000. I knew nothing about racing and I knew nothing about desert racing. I’ve never ridden a motorcycle and I had never heard the absolute roar of a trophy truck, but my interest was piqued and by night’s end I knew, I absolutely knew, I had to make the pilgrimage.
From a tiny island off the coast of New England I researched Baja as best as I can and realized that it wasn't just a mecca for off-road racing, but one of the last vestiges of the Wild West. Vast, inhospitable landscapes dotted with tiny villages, filled with the most hospitable people you could ever imagine. In the years since, the mystery and allure of Baja kept my dreams of adventure alive. And just knowing a culture and landscape like Baja existed, served as an inspiration.
It took me 13 years to achieve this dream of mine and I really hope it doesn't take you 13 years to achieve yours.
I was lucky enough to have my buddy Bob come along with me on this dirt bike riding tour. We met years ago when we both lived in Brooklyn and had bid to Chandos that never ran.
It was on these salt flats north of San Felipe that I think we both really realized that we were a long way from home. And then the road just ends.
After riding down this little dirt road that had to be at least a mile, it just ended and it doesn't look that bad here, but the road was really crowned and the soil was really soft so we had a hard time maneuvering the motorcycles around in order to get back to the main road.
After a whole day riding, we had some tacos and spent the night at a cozy motel.
Bob and I woke up extra early to watch San Felipe come to life and that morning silence was broken by the sound of motorbikes passing by. We realized we were in the land of the Baja racers.
It didn't take long until I found myself completely buried in sand. But if you need somebody to dig a hole for you I'm your guy. We had to push the bike over and drag it. I'm embarrassed to admit how long it took to get unstuck.
We continued south of San Felipe on Highway 5 until we got to a small town called Puertecitos. It's got a population of less than 50.
All morning we saw these dirt roads that just extended out into the middle of nowhere and we just had to explore them. Of course, the road that I chose ended in a big pile of boulders that we had to try to navigate with our large adventure bikes.
And just like that we were on our way. Having worked up quite the appetite we stopped at the first spot we saw and had a little lunch. We tried the best tasting coca-cola in all of Baja. The food wasn't special.
We continued south on Highway 5 until Highway 5 stopped being a highway and turned into dirt. Then we followed the 2017 Score Baja 1000 course for about 15 miles.
After a few more miles we decided to go to Coco's corner. For those of you that don't know, Coco is a bit of a legend in the off-road racing community. Once you get inside the Casa de Coco, the decor only gets more bizarre. Before you leave, Coco will have you sign the guestbook and if you choose to stay Coco will rent you one of his tiny houses.
The sun was setting quickly and we had to make our way to Bay of LA. So we hit the dirt and made our way south. As we reached Highway 1 we were greeted with a beautiful sunset, but what we didn't know was what was lurking in the darkness to come.
Stay tuned for Part Two.