The RiderDown Foundation teamed with Baja Bound Adventures to continue the fight against debilitating spinal injuries that plague our sport.
This ride started as a conversation with Baja Bound Adventures’ Tim Morton and RiderDown board member Les Walker, talking about some of the activities of RiderDown and favorite rides. Tim suggested putting together a group to tour some of his favorite haunts down south and raise a little money for RiderDown. The group consisted of a variety of both riders and bikes. Coming from as far as Florida and Colorado and riding bikes ranging from the standard fare of 450 enduros up to KTM ‘s massive 950 Super Enduro. This ride would prove challenging for some and a whole lot of fun for all.
Choosing a route that would accommodate everyone, Morton led the group to some of the better-kept secrets in Baja California. Keeping an eye toward the triple digit temps, we started the first day with a late afternoon ride from Tecate to Ensenada via the well traveled Compadre road. Day 2 forecast warned of temps near 110 degrees inland so we headed for the Pacific Coast. Traveling south down Mexico’s Hwy 1 towards Santo Tomas we made a turn westward to be greeted by a refreshing marine layer of cool air that would follow for the rest of the day. This area provides a truly spectacular coastal ride south allowing plenty of opportunities to get on the beach. Since the group included a number of Baja greenhorns we chose a leisurely pace to enjoy the passing landscapes. Keeping the mileage short helped insure we arrived at “Cueva Del Pirata” in time for happy hour. This is one of the newer choices for lodging situated on a bluff overlooking the ocean near the coastal town of Camalu. Here, as with all of our stops, we were treated to some fantastic food and hospitality.
The following day found us turning inland to ride the coastal foothills near San Quintin. One thing about riding northern Baja is that the east and west coasts are separated by an imposing San Pedro Martir mountain range that makes trip planning critical. Like the old adage says “you can’t get there from here.” Proper planning for things like food, lodging and fuel are not to be taken for granted. Back to the riding, after a great time blasting around fire roads and exploring a few new trails, the group was enticed by the call of the new swimming pool at our next stop “Rancho El Coyote.” Situated in a picturesque valley, El Coyote is a branch of the famous Meling family whose ranch has occupied the area near the Parque Nacional del San Pedro Martir for nearly a century. This place is truly “off the grid” with solar power, no phone and no TV. It gets dark here! It can be hard to remember just how dark it can be and how imposing the stars shine at night once away from ambient light of the electric world.
Day 4 and the long hot days are taking a toll of some of the riders. As the day’s route includes the famous Baja race course up to Mike’s Sky Ranch, some of the riders opt for an easier route on the highway. The rest of us are riding into the mountains with the obligatory stop at Mike’s for a coke and photos. North is our goal for the day, up to Laguna Hansen via Valle de Trinidad. When in this area another one of the regions mandatory stops is at Rancho Ramonas. Really just a shack with a couple of lean-to style out buildings, Ramona dispenses soda, candy bars and fuel from a milk jug. It is easy forget the simple yet impoverished lifestyles of so many other people, but here as with most places in Baja, there is always a smile and friendly word even for those who don’t know much of the language. This day comes to an end at “Rancho Rodeo Del Rey” situated in the tall Ponderosa pines near Parque Nacional Constutucion de 1857 and another night away from the power lines. Yet even here technology brings things considered impossible just a few years ago. With solar power, satellite internet is now possible and that also means that with Skype you can talk to anyone in the world even from the seemingly remote location.
It wouldn’t be a ride in Mexico without a night of tequila! The crew stopped off at Rancho El Coyote.
Day 5 sees us wrapping up the ride back in Tecate, all safe and sound except for a few scratched bikes and flat tires. RiderDown President, Bruce Vermeulen, says, “Two tumbs up, five stars, full knobbies. whatever rating system you choose, the RiderDown Foundation’s fundraising ride with Baja Bound Adventures was top notch! The crew, the bikes, the terrain, the food, everything was awesome. On behalf of everyone at RiderDown here’s a big thank you for the generosity and support shown by the Mortons’ in helping to organize this ride. This event was a huge success by all measures and I personally can’t wait to do it again. Bruce hopes for this ride to grow and become one of the number of annual rides for the Foundation. When asked if he had any other comments, “Yeah, I should have ridden Baja long ago!”
The RiderDown Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping responsible off-road motorcyclists and ATV racers who have been injured while riding. Proceeds are used to provide assistance to the riders and their families when faced with medical expenses and related issues.