We Are Tumbleweeds

Something Nathaniel and I quickly realized on the Baja Peninsula is that it takes you twice as long to get anywhere as you would expect.

We’ve ridden about 500 miles in the past two days and they’ve been a long two days. Mex 1 runs through the center of a ton of small towns and they’ve constructed speed bumps and s-turns to keep trucks and tourist from blowing through at 70 mph.

Overall the asphalt has been wonderful and other than a few towns doing road construction a regular cruiser bike would be able to make the trip.

I’m sorry for the small number of photos on the blog thus far.

At the moment we are focused on making a boat in La Paz on the 15th which is why we haven’t had much time to stop and smell the tortillas.

We literally got up at 6:30am today – were driving by 8am and didn’t stop for the night till 4:30. Other than a quick taco/gas Mapstop in Guerro Negro it was all riding. 250 some odd miles of gorgeous desert, rolling hills and a roaring engine.

There was this beautiful sweeping turn on the way to Guerro Negro and as I came half way around it I saw a flock of vultures eating something just on the side of the road.

They started to rise up into the air as I barreled down on them and I didn’t have time to stop. Realizing how disastrous hitting an animal the size of a vulture could be I may have yelled inside my helmet.

I let go of the throttle and flattened myself on my gas tank praying that extra foot of space was enough to go underneath them. It was – but it was a close call that left me rattled for a few minutes.

Today we leave Santa Rosalia and hope to get more than half way to La Paz.

The Road to Farmersville

The view from the ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier was a 180 from the previous 24 hours' worth of events.

The view from the ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier was a 180 from the previous 24 hours’ worth of events.(Photo: Alex Washburn)

The silver lining of Wednesday, was my AAA premium service kicking in before the quoted 48-hour time frame and I received free towing to Farmersville California from Coalinga (score!).  We got to 360 Motorsports by opening time and proceeded to hangout with the mechanic and his Dad (the John’s) for the next seven hours.

John proceeded to go through the the bike step by step to see what the source of the stuttering could be, without much success. At one point, John suggested digging into Alex’s bike to swap out the CDI (Capacitor Discharged Ignition) which controls all the electronics for the bike and if that didn’t work he was stumped (this is one reason Alex and I have the same bike, so that we can use one as a reference for the other).

Alex and I meandered over to the one of only two food options close by to discuss the situation and our options.  I even called the former owner of the bike to see if he ever had the sputtering problem as he was familiar with the bike.  This was the lowest point of Wednesday- where our hope was running thin.

Re-fueled with coffee and a plan we headed back to the shop without much certainty that there would be a solution.  The CDI swap hadn’t yielded anything, and John’s last idea was the check the readings of all the individual electric components against the manufacturers suggested readings.

This is where we struck gold.

The ignition coil is supposed to read .4 and mine was at 1.8.  He swapped in the ignition coil from Alex’s bike, took mine for a spin, and came back triumphant.  The bike ran like a champ, with no sputtering at all.

The next issue, could we find a spare ignition coil locally….the answer was no.  Luckily John has a bunch of spare motorcycles around, and sourced a spare ignition coil from a 50cc Honda moped (they have the same electrical output).

Alex: “Like with organ transplants, there is a theory that the recipient sometimes takes on characteristics of the donor”

Me: “So my bike is now going to think it is a 50cc?”

Alex: “Yep.”

John threw it in the bike, took another ride, and the bike was ready to push on.  It took another thirty minutes for Alex and I to get all of the gear back on the bikes and get ourselves ready to go.

Alex wanted us to get to LA.  With the sun setting and the temperature dropping, we made our way down 99 towards LA.

It took us three and a half hours and two stops, but the bike held up and ran perfectly.  The one heralding challenge was riding the Grapevine at night, but we both stayed confident and vigilant, and before we knew it we were in the valley and in a warm house of a good college friend (shout out to Mac).

I ordered a spare ignition coil which will arrive in San Diego by Friday and give us one free day in Santa Monica!

Mac is in Los Angeles attending the MBA program at UCLA. Watching him iron his shirt before class was how we started our delightful day in Santa Monica.

Mac is in Los Angeles attending the MBA program at UCLA. Watching him iron his shirt before class was how we started our delightful day in Santa Monica.(Photo: Alex Washburn)

Nathaniel on the Ferris Wheel at the Santa Monica Pier.

Our second night in Santa Monica gave us enough time to hang out with Mac and Cristina!

Our second night in Santa Monica gave us enough time to hang out with Mac and Cristina!(Photo: Alex Washburn)

As a good friend commented on our Facebook page:

“Its good to earn those stripes early, on home soil, so when the real adventure begins you’ve got a few calluses.”

Tomorrow (Friday) we should be picking up my ignition coil at 9 AM in San Diego and heading to Mexico as soon as they install it.