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Northern Baja Loop

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A couple of friends and I are thinking about doing a northern Baja ride in the fall starting from San Felipe and then stopping at Gonzaga Bay, San Quintin, Mike's and finally back in San Felipe again. Probably a 4 day trip, but the leg from Gonzaga to San Quintin worries me a bit. We plan to hit as little pavement as possible on that leg and I'm wondering if that's biting off too much. My question to those of you who have ridden that stretch is whether a stop in between would be wiser. A stop at Catavina seems too close and I really don't know much about El Rosario except from what I've seen driving through, but seems to be the next logical spot. Can anyone vouch for places to stay for the night in that area?

Thank you.

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Mama Espinozas in El Rosario.

Right on the corner, next to the Pemex.

Try the Lobster burritos.

Talk to Oscar if he's around. Might even show ya some local trails.

-----------

As for Gonzaga to San Quintin--its been a thorn in many a baja riders butt. There is a 'secret' trail a guy named Bill Nichols forged from north of Gonzaga to Catavina area and beyond. Try a google search--it has been posted. For sure its hard core and not recommended for newer baja riders.

If you go out via Cocos to the highway there are trail systems both east and west of the pavement that include little pavement to Catavina. Consider Lizard Lady GPS routes for more info.

Personally i would break it up with a stop at the Hotel El Presidente in Catavina. The ride from there via Rancho Nueva York and the Sierra San Miguel is fun. If you take the faster southern route to San Quintin (go left at the bottom of the hill with the white washed rocks and fence posts in the middle of nowhere) you can get to the Olde Mille in 4 hours or so...some really fun trails east of San Quintin.

Get the baja almanac and or the GPS coordinates. More discussion on this area on Baja.net and ADVRider.com

Happy trails.

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The direction of your loop should be reversed for much better options and ease of following.

If you do Felipe to Gonzaga in a day that's short and pretty boring. You can mix it up with some off the beaten path stuff, depends on what type riders you are. But it'd be (IMO) far better as the last day (unless you're getting a late start on day one).

Quintin to Gonzaga is not a thorn in my butt.... There happen to be a few routes and excellent combos of sections to choose from. Some of it common and some not so common.

Include the La Pinta in Catavina as a night stop. --> Felipe, Mikes, Quintin, Catavina, Gonzaga, home. If you need to cut back by a day then don't do Mikes.

Regarding that "secret" trail,, it's definitely not easy, not for any novice guys. And it's not by Gonzaga at the East end, not even close. I wonder who on TT has actually ridden it, not 'heard from a guy who'.....?

If I were you, considering you're new in the area and don't really know where you're at, I wouldn't even consider venturing off to try and find it or other more remote routes. There's plenty of other things to keep you having way too much fun.

Quintin to Catavina you should just stick to basic old SCORE course on the north-east side of the Hwy. (referred to above as "the faster southern route to >from< San Quintin"). It'll be plenty of a challenge, plenty fun.

Again, if I were you I wouldn't even consider going to the south-west side of the Hwy. - too remote, too confusing, save it for a few years down the road.

Cat. to Gonz. you have a couple options, mostly depending on how god the riders are. There's no way (within reason) you can avoid pavement around there.

You'll have pavement every day, no way around that.

No matter what, you must take an hour stop with Coco!

** Sweet pic Corky! I can see a scorpion crawling into that helmet on the ground.... And people, that IS the trail they're standing on.

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Tim is correct.

Bill's trail is not for novice riders.

Bill and I and several others spent about 3-4 years

putting the trail together.

I have attached a picture of one of the "smooth spots"

85731000

Corky :ride::thumbsup::applause:

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Too smooth for me. NOT! However, what do I know? I have trouble standing up right on my bike when stopping without breaking something. :thumbsup::ride: Steny

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Corky, that looks right on par for you man!!! Mike, Travis Epperson, and Me did Corky's crack about a month ago... That picture reminds me of most of that trail, it's just missing the trees!!!

Khris

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Kheis,

Get Mike to take you up or down truck trail!!

Thats fun no dirt just "ROCKS" :ride::applause:

Corky :applause::thumbsup::applause:

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If truck trail is the one that comes out by the mine/water tank road I've gone up that once and down countless times now. In fact, I've done it twice at night. Dog shit trail!!! WOW COOL!!! That's a neat one!!!

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I appreciate very much all your suggestions and tips. Tim, I think you're are right about running from Gonzaga to Felipe last, the last leg should be the shortest and least eventful. Ok so a stop in Catavina it is, thank you. I think we'll avoid the "secret trail" and keep it simple. Sounds like finding the head of that trail might be a topic for another day however as now you've peaked my interest for a future ride. Also, a stop at Coco's will definitely be planned in. You did however raise a couple more questions:

Mike, sounds like you and Tim are referring to the same route between Catavina and San Quintin. But you lost me at, "Go left at the bottom of the hill with the white washed rocks and fence posts". Is that just some miles north of Catavina or well into the route between there and San Quintin. I'm thinking you are referring to taking a left after dropping into the big wash east of El Rosario. Also are you saying approx 4 hours between Catavina and San Quintin? I would have thought longer. We're not slow, but want to enjoy the trip and so will not exactly be bustin' ass unless it's to ward off darkness. I do have the almanac, GPS etc, but will check Baja.net as well.

Thanks again

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Gonzaga to Felipe last, the last leg should be the shortest and least eventful.

Consider hitting the beach after Los Encantados. You can break up the boring trail with a long beach run that includes picking thru a choke point or 4, not a problem except extrme high tide. There is also a parallal road up on the bluff...

About 7 miles south of Puertocitos you can look for an arroyo that marks one of two entry points for Nichols trail. Make note for future rides. Me thinks Lizard Lady will have this GPS'ed soon if not already. Its a route that needs to be burned in more--and it's nothing quads will ever ruin--so go for it. Baja.net has a good write up on both the section from the sea of Cortez to Hwy 1 and the single track from Hwy 1 to the pacific.

Mike, sounds like you and Tim are referring to the same route between Catavina and San Quintin. But you lost me at, "Go left at the bottom of the hill with the white washed rocks and fence posts". Is that just some miles north of Catavina or well into the route between there and San Quintin. I'm thinking you are referring to taking a left after dropping into the big wash east of El Rosario.

When i worked for Tim, we took the tours on the old El Camino Real about 2 miles up the paved road from the old El Presidente (aka La Pinta) hotel. Go right. You know you are on the right trail if ya pass an old well 3-4 miles into the trail. However--there are other ways to go--both up the spine of baja and out to the west coast. The '03 Baja 1000 notes and map is one way to go. The second half of the Nichols trail is another. Other main routes to fishing camps are well marked.

When i worked for Chris Haines Motorcycle Tours we took another route, trailering or riding to KM 66 if memery seves me...look for a turn out restaurant for truckers on the east side of Hwy 1 well north of Catavina. The road goes right out behind the cafe.

Either route merges before the road networks just south and west of the Sierra San Miguel. Take a look at the Baja Almanac and you will see what i mean. You can pick up the '03 Baja 1000 course again and ride past the giant cactus 15-20 miles west of Sierra San Miguel, OR

at the bottom of the hill (very good graded section of decomposed granite road) where you see white washed rocks and posts for a barbed wire fence--exactly at the bottom and BEFORE crossing out of the barbed wire fenced in area--go left down the wash--staying in the wash and going right at forks coming out of the wash after 10-12 miles and onto a high platuea with rounded rocks--thats the older, 90's era Baja 1000 courses route--it leads straight to the southern limit of San Quintin, by passing El Rosario.

If you are going the other direction--go to the spot on Hwy 1 in southern San Quintin where the little paved farmers access road comes on to Hwy 1. Then go another mile south on Hwy 1 to just past a little tienda and head southeast. If you hit recent bulldozer work you are on a parallal track north.

Hope that made sense. Its hard to type this stuff and explain. Just remeber the only white washed rocks and posts on the entire trip out in the middle of nowhere is an important intersection!!

Catavina San Quintin is 4 hours if you are moving, a bit longer if stopping. Its faster riding than ya might think on the direct route. Of course if ya go out to the Pacific and up to El Rosario its more like 6-8 hours. Again--try to get the '03 Baja 1000 course map and notes.

I do have the almanac, GPS etc, but will check Baja.net as well.

Thanks again

No problemo. Sounds like you have lots of info. If you can get the '03 Baja 1000 course maps and then cross reference with GPS and the Almanac you will be assured of a fun trip. ADVRider.com has LOTS of GPS coordinates--like freaky lots of them. Worth getting to know. Let us know how the ride goes.

Consider joining us Tecate to Mikes and back in October. It will be posted here on TT :thumbsup:

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Tecate, I love that place! Will watch for the posting. Mike, all good stuff here, thanks for the detail. I'm following ya. I'll also google earth some of this stuff as I know that there are some clean images covering most of this area. Between that and the Baja Almanac I should get a good feel for what you're talking about.

Thanks much

- -Brett

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