Thursday, September 6, 2012

Beach breaks, cactii and torta asada

Buenos Tardes de Guerrero Negro en la Baja California Sur, en la soleada Mexico! It’s been a while since our last blog entry, and for that we must apologise the only way we’re able – with a fresh juicy post for you to consume wherever you are in the world, whether it be East Burwood, Timberlea, Paris or Los Angeles :) The more we travel, the more awesome people we meet, and the more readers are clicking through our humble blog, which is definitely exciting. Although not QUITE as exciting as the fact that I’m currently shielded from the relentless afternoon Baja sun, lounging on a clean double bed, ceiling fan on high and a few cans of Modelo Cerveza to catalyse the next couple of hours of typing that I just signed myself up for. So here we go!

Donning my blogging hat
The last post had us in, “The Valley, man”, the neatly trimmed outer suburbs of LA, staying at Casa de la Gozz, while we patiently waited for Ferg to complete his battle with The Paperwork Phase. We can now confidently say that The Paperwork Phase fits in the same category as rectal and fluid mechanics examinations. There were phone calls, there were hours spent on hold, there were tracking numbers, there were bank cheques and there were USPS money orders in pre-paid express envelopes. There was miscommunication, there was misspelling on important documents and overall there was a general disinterest from everyone he dealt with, to actually help. Thank you California Departmentof Motor Vehicles and The Stupid Insurance Company He Used, for your relentless ignorance, misinformation and lack of customer service. And what a perfect test for the young man to undertake as Step 4 of 27 of his MattAndAtleyShow Inititation Period! Alas, as you’ll surely understand, the majority of the other initiation events were, are and will be unsuitable for a mass communication medium such as this, so you’ll have to think back to your own school boy, frat house or stonemason events to colour your imagination on this one.

The Valley, man.

"Look into where?"

The New Guy
The Paperwork Phase did however leave us with many free hours of each day - which basically meant 14 amazing summer days in LA, with local hosts to direct, guide and feed us! Temperatures ranged from between 32 and 38 degrees, blue sky every day, 3 motorbikes to ride, surfboards to borrow, a big backyard pool in which to wallow and smoothly continued the glory days of which Unemployed Guys Looking At Stuff eternally seek.

Chillin at Venture Beach
We spent 3 days in the waves of Malibu and Ventura beaches, lurching around on longboards, trying to learn how to surf, but we just couldn’t seem to master it like the army of attractive young ladies out there at the Leo Cabrillo break were. Needless to say, we watched attentively as these girls paddled out to the enormous rock feature in the middle of the beach, and caught their waves only a foot or two from the jagged, sharp rocks that started the wave breaking. Clearly not really a beginner surfing location, but we still had a blast.

The Gozz couldn't believe all Australians aren't pro surfers. Lucky we are.
We toured the Californian Museum of Natural History where we stumbled around many different fully assembled dinosaur skeletons, such as Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops, which wandered these very same North American landscapes as TheMattAndAtleyShow, some 65 million years prior to our own epic adventures.The Edmontosaurus made me shed a tear to be reminded of the West Ed Mall, but I quickly moved on to the Velociraptor to hide my tender emotions from the eager and mewing museum-goers. When we exited the museum we discovered a traffic cop parked beside our bikes, ogling the various long-distance touring mods the internet told us to bolt onto our bikes. He pretended he was trying to enforce some kind of parking law, but had Dual Sporting written all over his face in great dirty big letters. We nodded politely and agreed to move our bikes from their illegal placement, all walking away with the clear understanding that this guy was most definitely just about to get into Dual Sporting.

Massive dinosaurs = awesome!

Some kind of weird goats in the Sahara
Continuously living by our mission statement, Unemployed Guys Looking At Stuff went looking at paintings at the Getty Museum in LA. It was that strange museum world, where the audio guide headphones separate you from Other People Looking At Stuff, and leave you sauntering though grand halls, in your own world, head filled with facts, figures and key information about the surrounding artworks, in a daydreaming kinda way. It was a different museum to most, in the fact that it was the personal collection of some superrich guy, and that meant the entry fee was perfectly priced for Adventure Motorcyclists: free.

The Getty gardens

Careful Ferg, you don't know what's in there.
Not limiting ourselves to purely day time activities, one particular Friday night we journeyed out to the local Mexican Cantina, to see how the people of The Valley spend their evenings. We were not even finished our first beer, when a drunk old lady swaggered up to our table and cried, “You boys are coming dancing with me!” We politely smiled, hoping she’d go away, as the dance floor was empty and we’d just arrived, but she knocked into the table like an old war horse ready for battle, and none of us could say anything but squeak,“Ok.” There’s something awesomely awkward about being led through a room full of leering people, by a stumbling old broad, as she puts down her cocktail on the table of a man who would certainly appear to be her husband. He grimaces at the three young Australians in her wake, who all put their beers down on his table too, with a smile, to then go open the dance floor at a Mexican Cantina LA. And in that situation, there is only one possible thing one can do..... dance your little heart out!

Moves we learned at the Mexican Cantina
As The Paperwork Phase was scheduled to draw to a close, we readied our bikes, equipment and souls for the next chapter of our travels. And it was on the second last day in LA that Ferg set off to go pick up the all import motorbike ownership and insurance documents from our secret underground mail receiving facility at David and Elizabeth’s place. Alas he was not so excited on his return, as he held out a hand written note from the DMV that stated the ownership document was still a month away. Stressful news for the new guy, as he felt he was holding us back from the dripping taco’s of the Mexican Baja, so very close away, but luckily Photoshop and The Internet saved the day, and we just made our own ownership document. Thank you Swinburne Multimedia Bachelor Degree!

Ferg's temporary ownership document til the real one comes in the mail
With the real document arranged to be FedEx’d to our other secret underground mail receiving facility in Guadalajara, Mexico, we said our teary goodbyes to our new family, The Goslow’s, and departed LA in a blaze of lawn-mower-like, KLR650 glory, and headed to the place of perhaps the best weather in the world: San Diego!

The Gozz's ROCK!

“San Diago, a whale’s...” did not disappoint, and we were soon basking in the friendly company of travellers from near and far by a nighttime bon fire on the beach, organised by the hostel in which we were staying. The revelry went long into the night, and even to the house of some locals, and we quickly decided in the morning, with very foggy heads, that San Diego deserved another day of assessment. This assessment involved $2 fish tacos, $2 pints, swimming in the amazing ocean in both day and night, and meeting more awesome people genuinely eager to support the Dual Sporting mentality.

San Diego hostel adventuring
Our crossing into Mexico the next day was as smooth as a well-broiled bean paste. They tried to shoo us through, but we stopped and obtained the correct stamps, paperwork and insurance the internet told us we’d need later on. We sampled our first taco stand, with excellent reward and after little to no English being spoken by locals, Ferg astutely observed, “My interest in learning Spanish just went up about a million percent.”

Mexican bike insurance cost US$120 for 60 days of basic coverage

Have you ever ridden in the back of a truck or ute and come to the same realisation as the Mexicans, that it's awesome?
Later on that day, at a stop to get some Mexican pasos, I spied a solo Dual Sporter. He rode up to us, on his fine Yamaha Tenere 1200, fitted out for long distance travel, and introduced himself as Matt from Germany, riding from Alaska to Argentina. We chatted easily, and soon enough he was riding with us to our destination that evening, and has been with us ever since.

No gay.
We put in some long hours of riding that day, eager to distance ourselves from the apparently-troubled border town of Tijuana, and found ourselves that night at a lovely hostel on a cliff in the town of Erendira. Having nothing for dinner, Atley and Ferg set out onto the night time beach to gather us a seafood meal, on the recommendation of the hostel manager.They came back with fearful expressions and a bucket full of big black mussels!It turns out the waves were big, and the rocks were pointy, but the mussels were abundant, so into the pot they went and soon enough we were dinning on fresh mussels on rice – as good a meal as any hobo motorcyclist could hope for. 

Coyote Cal's Hostel

Dinner of mussels found by Atley and Ferg on the beach by the hostel
German Matt was carrying 2 new tires for his bike, and the old ones were looking a little worn, so the next morning he was directed across town to the local tire guy, who fitted them for 50 pasos. That’s $4. Bargain!With that done, the four of us set off down the meandering Highway 1 of Baja Mexico. Civilisation had pretty much disappeared by that point, and the scenery was that of a vast sprawling desert, with cartoon-like cacti and red, rocky, rubbley hills. This continued until the highway hit the Pacific coast again, and we were presented with the endless ocean, smashing against the beaches below. With so much remote coastline available, we decided we’d best camp on the beach that night. And what a great decision that was, especially for those of you who pound their fists on the kitchen table and shriek, “Come on boys, more Dual Sporting!”

Baja off-road rest area

Lonely guy mews into the wind

Moustache guy flicks hair casually in the scented ocean gusts
Once we’d appropriated supplies from the nearby town, the trip out to the coast wasn’t as simple as before. We had some small mountains to cross first, on sandy, gravelly tracks. But we were eager, and forged on like Aztec warriors battling Spanish war ships in 1522, past steep ups and downs, one, two, three bike tip-overs, then eventually to a super steep sandy decent that German Matt barely managed to stay upright on. Atley and Ferg went around it, but I was already half way down it, so decided I’d have a crack. Alas the steepness, sandiness and ruts were too much for me to handle the fully loaded bike on, and I bounced down and fell, bending a few minor things on the bike but escaping injury myself. Atley caught it all on camera, for your viewing pleasure below. With the mountains crossed, we stopped for a well deserved beer, while I made some adjustments to my bark busters to allow my clutch lever to once again work. We then set out over the flat, sandy plains,to the crashing ocean beyond where we were well rewarded for our intrepid dual sporting, with a 10km stretch of Baja Pacific coast all to ourselves for the evening! Chef Atley whipped up a delicious sheppards pie from the crumbs in the bottom of his panniers and we had a big fire with the abundant drift wood. Another supremely successful day for Adventure Motorcyclists the world over.

So it turns out if you hang your dirty washing in the sun and wind, the smell goes away and you're back in business.

Mark Atley: "Nah I didn't fall over but I heard a few good crunches."

Mark Ferguson: "You said throttle right?"
The following day was hot, dry, dusty and another 300km of joyous desert travel. When you are next shopping for desert motorcycling attire, make sure you buy an all black suit. Without full black gear in the desert sun, it's impossible to garnish true understanding of what it means to say, “Es mucho mucho caliente.”And I said it, that day, the previous day, and also the days after those other days. We finished that day at The Bay of Los Angeles, un paquena ciudad on the eastern side of the Baja, on the Sea of Cortez. I doubt a lengthy series of grey lead pencil sketches could never describe the satisfaction of diving into that warm water at the end of a long hot sweaty desert ride in all black attire, but I tried, with something incredibly poetic such as, “Es bueno senor. Senor? Hola?”

The Baja highway varies between long straights and twisty roads on hilly and canyony ridges

Matt to Atley over radio: "Hey guy, your right pannier is about to fall off."

These wooden structures in La Bahia de Los Angeles proved an excellent device to wee behind

Mark Ferguson: "There's something sticky on my hand and i don't want it."
The next couple of days blend together in my mind like a delicious guacamole and salsa enchilada dipping sauce platter dropped on the floor of a Taqueria on a hot Baja afternoon. We basically rode motorbikes through the desert, swam at the beach, ate tacos, tortas and burritos, drank Mexican beer and went to the toilet many times more than usual. Yesterday ended with us deliriously riding into an abandoned RV park, to find 2 kids drinking dirty water from a tap. We tried to ask them where the campground office was, and they said it’s in town, then ran off awkwardly. German Matt wasn’t impressed by the murky inlet water, but we were all exhausted and decided that an abandoned RV park was probably just the place for us to get some  R’n’R. Then we spotted the storm. She was a grey and black cumulonimbus beast that must have been about 6.7 km tall, and its ferocious chortlings whisked our attention away from the frisbee we found in a bush. We began moving our things from beside the bikes, under the biggest sheltering veranda we could find, as an electrical symphony began to crack and shoot like banditos asking for more salsa. The wind picked up, and the dry area under the pergola got smaller and smaller, until Ferg was crouched down tightly beside Atley’s leg, whimpering and bleeting like a lost lamb. Luckily the storm passed after about an hour, and we set up our various sleeping arrangements under the same tin roof. We were paid several visits during the night, by loitering locals, perplexed police, inquisitive insects and dingy dogs, but it wasn’t until the breathtaking bugle playing from the adjacent army barracks that Atley was awakened from his rejuvenating slumber at 5am.

Thank you unknown Arizonians for hosting us on your deck and cooking on your awesome outdoor kitchen!

The resting mules
We generally plan our daily route that morning if we have a sweet pirate map like this one
Hand basins make adequate temporary cooling bathes.

This is actually us about 2 hours out of Vegas and still 2 hours from LA. 38 degrees even after a super early get up, it was mucho tiring.
From there, via some cow brain tacos (mmm mmmmm), we rode tobeautiful Loreto, where I sit now, on a huge balcony, sipping icey-cold cervezas and completing this here blog post. Tomorrow we will stay here, as it is time to rest our weary bodies from the desert assault, and bask in BajaCalifornia Sur. Sorry if this post was lengthy and verbose, but it’s hard not to get carried away when all I hear is a lingering voice from the street crying, “Dual Sporting, Dual Sporting, DUAL SPORTING!”

The cow brain tacos from this taco stand in Loreto created uncomfortable gastrointestinal events, without invitation.

The terrain just north of Loreto is lush and green, a stark contrast to the huge areas of rocky desert.

Matt: "And then you get the sockets, do up the bolts, and it's all good man."

Puentos Paulos


  1. Awesome Blog.makes for a equisite out of body adventure while being a working stiff

    1. So you have to be named Matt or Marc to go on this trip?

      - Andy

    2. Thank you for your continued support of Dual Sporting. And yes Andy, this is the Matt and Mark Club. With motorbikes.

  2. Muy entertaining matt. I have met several "dual sporting" enthusiasts in argentina, a friendly lot, a real community even. happy travels. Salut.

    1. Dual Sporting is a community rich in values, spirit and abrasion-resistant outerwear. Gracias por su apoyo. Felices viajes!