The plan: Steve and I would ride dirt bikes along the beach from San Felipe to Puertocitos, while being chased by Carol, Michael T., and Matt in trucks. Once in Puertocitos, we’d load up the bikes and all drive to
Coco’s Corner to spectate the Baja 1000 — about 100 miles of dirt road.
We stopped along the beach somewhere south of Laguna Percebu while Steve performs maintenance for the first of many times on his Husky.
While Steve worked on his bike, I wandered the beach which was littered by hundreds of sun-dried midshipmen fish — this one doubled as a hood ornament on my bike. The name “midshipman” comes from the fact they possess light-emitting organs called photophores along their bodies for attracting prey; the photophores resemble the buttons on a naval officer’s uniform. They can live in deep water where generating their own light comes in handy.
Somewhere south of Bahia Santa Maria, we bumped into the Mary V — a weathered sailboat from California.
Första förband, 1964, från segelbåten Mary V.
The road climbing Cuesta de Araiza along the Sea of Cortez — Volcan Prieto in the background.
Steve, Carol , Matt, and Mike pausing and refreshing at the top of the grade.
OK, one of the coolest things we’ve ever done. We took a projector and laptop and watched “ Dust To Glory” on the big screen at Coco’s Corner with Coco (he played a prominent part in the movie). He was a gracious host providing chairs and beers for everyone watching the movie. About 20 other race people joined us. This was Coco’s second time viewing the movie. As soon as his part was over, he stood up and announced, “my part is over, I’m going to bed.”
To no one’s surprise, the 1x of Steve Hengeveld was leading the race through Checkpoint 3 — many minutes in front of the number-two position.
As all good spectators, we ate. Steve handled the chicken-and-tortilla-grilling duties.
Super-good chicken and fresh tortillas covered with a fine layer of race dust — it doesn’t get any better.
Carol sneaks another tortilla.
Rick L. Johnson passing through Checkpoint 3.
All things at Coco’s are decorated with empty beer cans, including the checkpoint-approach.
Note to self: on dirt roads at high speed, do not follow close to a truck in front of you.
Hanging out at Playa Grande at Gonzaga Bay – Sue and Tito join our group. Tito really likes cerveza Victoria, a medium-bodied Vienna-style lager, with a rich amber color and toasted malt character, which is perfectly balanced with a smooth, crisp finish and low to mild hop aroma. Victoria should not be served with a lime.
Tito works to get the Husky running. Sue and Mikee supervise.
Mike’s take-away from this trip: white shorts are not a good idea when camping in Baja. On our last night at Coco’s, his trou got ceremoniously burned in our campfire.
On the way home, we decided to take a side trip to the National Astronomical Observatory, located around 9200′ in the Sierra de San Pedro Martir. This 2.12 m (83 in) telescope was built between 1974 and 1979 and is tied as Mexico’s largest optical telescope.
The Sierra de San Pedro Martir at sunset, looking north.
After visiting the observatory, we decided to overnight at Meling Ranch.
Breakfast comes with the room at Meling Ranch — everything on our table was grown locally.
Posted in: Baja, Desert Racing
Tagged: 1x, 2006 Baja 1000, Checkpoint 3, Coco, Coco's Corner, Cuesta de Araiza, Dust to Glory, Gonzaga Bay, Herdez, Mary V., Meling Ranch, midshipmen, National Astronomical Observatory, Playa Grande, Rick L. Johnson, SCORE, Sierra de San Pedro Martir, Steve Hengeveld