Getting ready for Baja 2018

Here’s an update to a blog I ran way back in 2015 for our first Baja ride.   I thought I’d post it again for the folks riding with us in Mexico next March.

An osprey in Guerrero Negro...we'll see a lot of them

An osprey in Guerrero Negro…we’ll see a lot of them

On all of our prior rides, we had folks arrive at the CSC plant in RVs, pickup trucks, cars with trailers, and this question always comes up:   Do we have a place to store your vehicle?  We have some space, but not a lot. If you will need a place to store your vehicle during the ride, let us know now.  We can accommodate a small number of vehicles, but we can only do so if you let us know now.

If you need a hotel in Azusa prior to our departure, the Stardust is popular with a lot of our riders.  It’s relatively inexpensive and only a couple of miles from the CSC plant.  You will need to contact them to make your reservations for any stays here in Azusa.

We always have a pre-ride briefing at the CSC plant the night before we leave, so you’ll want to be in Azusa on 9 March.   You have to attend this briefing to ride with us, as we cover safety and other issues.  The briefing will be at 5:00 p.m. on the 9th.

Regarding the hotels in Mexico, we’ll get the hotel reservations (in Mexico) squared away…you’ll have to pay for your rooms, but we will contact the hotels so they will hold the rooms for us.   Double versus single occupancy is up to you.  I’ll be sending out the list of people who are going to the folks on this trip and you can contact each other if you wish to double up.  The hotels in Mexico aren’t fancy and they most definitely are not the Waldorf Astoria (as an aside, I’ve stayed at the Waldorf and I like the hotels in Baja better).  If you’re expecting 5-star luxury, you might want to lower your sights a bit.

A typical Baja breakfast

A typical Baja breakfast

I’m often asked:  How much money should I bring?  Not many places down there take credit cards, so don’t plan on that.  If you leave with $800 in your pocket, you’ll probably come home with change.

People often ask what other stuff they should bring. Here’s what I’m bringing:

  • Digital camera with charger and spare SD card, and my laptop (so I can post to the blog if we have Internet reception).
  • Motorcycle gear (helmet, jacket, pants, gloves, boots, and the jacket and pants are rain-proof).
  • Two pairs of jeans (one I’ll be wearing on the way down, and an extra pair).
  • Two extra pairs of underwear, two extra pairs of socks, two T-shirts and one sweatshirt.
  • Deodorant, toilet paper, disposable razor, Immodium, toothbrush, toothpaste and my cholesterol pills.  On that Immodium thing, I don’t get sick down there, but I’ve traveled a lot in Mexico and my stomach is used to their flora. If you haven’t been in Mexico before, you might want to bring the Immodium just in case.  This isn’t a slam on Mexico; folks from Mexico get the same thing when they come to the US.  It’s just different bugs that your stomach takes time to get used to.
  • Passport, driver’s license, and BajaBound insurance policy (printed proof of Mexican insurance).  Your regular insurance won’t cover you in Mexico, and if you get stopped down there and you don’t have proof of Mexican insurance, you’re in for a heap of trouble.  I’ll post where to get the insurance later.
  • Toolkit (beyond the RX3 toolkit), including 8, 10, 12, 17 mm sockets and ratchet, Allen wrench combi-tool, reversible (slot and Philips) screwdriver, an adjustable spanner, my Gerber pliers combi-tool, duct tape, and tie wraps.
  • One spare clutch cable, one quart of oil, one can of chain lube, one mini air pump (we sell these), tire irons, a countershaft sprocket nut, and two tubes (one for the front, one for the rear).  I never use that sealant goop you put in your tires to fix a flat.  All of the other times I’ve seen other people use it, it hasn’t worked.
  • A positive attitude (that’s probably the most important thing on this list).

If you are picking up a new RX3 prior to the trip and you plan to change your oil as part of the break-in process while you are in Mexico, you’ll need to bring two quarts of oil, an oil filter, a tray to catch the oil, and the tools you’ll need.  Take a look at our online maintenance tutorial if you’re going to be doing this.   I’ll be there to help you, but I’m not bringing extra stuff for you. You’ll have to pack what you need.

One on the cave paintings at Sierra San Francisco

One of the cave paintings at Sierra San Francisco…these are over 10,000 years old

You’ll want to pack light.  My observation is that most people pack way more than they need to.   We’re not on an expedition to Mars; we’re going into Mexico for 8 days.   The more stuff you pack, the more stuff you’ll have to load and unload every day, and the more your bike will weigh.   Travel light, folks.   On these trips, I fit everything I need in the RX3’s two side cases and the top case; I don’t have any other stuff strapped to the bike outside these cases.

This is not how you want to pack your motorcycle!

That’s it for now.  If you have any questions, let me know.  You might want to pick up a copy of Moto Baja! prior to the ride; it has a lot of good advice on traveling by motorcycle in Baja.

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