Baja California, Mexico: Rip to the Tip

Text: Luke Swab • Photography: Luke Swab, Chris Puder

I used to write for myself as a way to catalog a fraction of the memories to look back upon in the future. I wrote as a way to stimulate my mind with words and vocabulary, organizing my thoughts in a creative, descriptive way. I wrote, yes even for the cool factor, of having some Internet presence or even maybe making it into a magazine.

These reasons are not good enough anymore. They are self-centered. I was starting this journey at a low point in my life. A way I had never started a big trip before. All adventures are unique in their own way, but this one would be different. This tour is more about crawling out of a dark place. And what better way to do so than with a motorcycle, two friends, and the best darn fish tacos in the world.

Now I write this piece, not just for myself, but as a means to inspire others. I will open my journal to show riders what is possible. Use this story as motivation to plan an adventure for yourself. The world is there to explore and help us heal.

The Inception of an
Inspirational Motorcycle

I have a dusty Yamaha WR250R that has been idle at my Michigan home, unused since my Trans-America Trail (TAT) ride with Joe Trey. Long story short, it’s underpowered and uninspiring. So when my friend, Chris Puder, called me to plan a month-long Baja adventure in February (a great winter escape), I came up with a creative idea. I would try a fly, buy, and sell trip. Chris, who lives in Southern California, also happens to be an unofficial Craigslist warlord. In no time at all, he searched, negotiated, and purchased (all on my behalf) an extremely rare and arousing bike. A California-plated Honda CRF450X. Chris assured me that he would have no trouble reselling the bike afterward at a similar price. Sounds like a free-ish rental. 

After a quick flight to Santa Barbara, CA, I meet up with Chris (riding a 2011 KTM 530 EXC) and his brother, David (riding a 2001 Honda XR650R). We cross into Baja with semi-legal bikes and 22 liters of luggage each. (My bike doesn’t have blinkers, a horn, or even a key. David’s bike doesn’t have mirrors or an electric start and has a soon-to-be-discovered overheating problem.)

Troubleshooting Repairs
in a Taco Stand

We casually wake up in Ensenada after a late night of enjoying all the live Mariachi music that I could personally handle.

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For the complete touring article, including facts & information, map(s), and GPS files, please purchase the January/February 2016 back issue.