Sean MacDonald

Ringing In The New Year Aboard A Honda Africa Twin In Mexico

Pushing the reset button with the an adventure south of the border

2016 has been one hell of a year. As a country, we lost way too many cultural and entertainment icons and had an election that seemed to divide more than unite. As an industry, we saw growth and a market that's finally starting to hit its stride. As a publication, we saw staffing changes and continued to push into what being a media outlet in 2017 looks like. And, as a dude, I lost a job, found a better one, had family health issues, saw relationships come and go, and worked more hours than ever before to help make this the best place to come read about motorcycles in the world.

As is true for many people, the holidays can be a rough time. I'm not special and neither is my story, and I'm sure many of you can relate with Santa bringing just as much stress as he does cheer. I share this only to say that, when one of my best friends Zach Cohen called and asked if I wanted to tag along on a Baja trip for New Year's Eve, my heart did backflips as I gave him a resounding yes (there may have been an expletive attached). After the last 12 months, I needed this. NEEDED this.

Africa Twin
2016 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin DCTCourtesy of Honda

I haven't been to Mexico in over a decade, and never on a motorcycle. Doing so, in fact, has been at the top of my bucket list for as long as I can remember. It's really difficult to take press bikes across the border and there's a bunch of extra paperwork involved, and most manufacturers aren't super willing to help you out. Fortunately, karma and God and the nice people at Honda seemed to align, and they approved getting me what I needed to take our long term Africa Twin south of the border. This thing was actually going to happen.

Zach was planning a trip with the guys from Lucky Wheels Garage, a do-it-yourself shop in Los Angeles, California, where you pay a monthly membership fee for access to their seven lifts, every tool you could imagine, and the knowledge and camaraderie that comes with being a part of a cool motorcycle community. I'd never met them before, but their route looked decent for my first time down and Zach promised that they were okay (I'm a big introvert). And, if they weren't, we could always bail and do our own thing.

Africa Twin
Our long term Africa Twin, loaded down and ready to goSean MacDonald

My phone rang as I sat in my parents' house in Northern California on Christmas Eve with Zach's goofy face on the screen, but it wasn't his voice on the other end when I answered. It was his dad's. Zach had been in an accident, a car had pulled out in front of him. He was on drugs at the moment and couldn't really talk, but had been pestering his dad to call me and let me know what'd happened. He is one of the few guys I let in and who knew how much this trip meant to me and, despite the rest of his world changing, he only cared about getting me word. Thankfully Zach is going to be fine. A few broken bones here and there but no surgery needed and nothing but time needed.

Faced with the choices of going on a Baja trip alone/meeting up some people I'd never met or staying in Los Angeles for another dumb party, I packed my things and told the Lucky Wheels guys I would catch up with them in San Felipe after stopping in to see some family on my way down. I didn't really have a plan, my phone wouldn't work, and I might hate the group, but at least I'd be in Baja on a bike. At least I'd be on an adventure.

Wednesday December 28th, 2016

Ty, Jackson, and the Lucky Wheels crew had left on Tuesday, but planned on sticking around their first destination in San Felipe for an additional day. They said it was a pretty long day of riding, so I woke up early and collected a few last minute things as I went through my packing list over and over in my head and made sure I didn't forget anything. Underwear? Check. Spare T-shirts? Check (I definitely forgot to bring a spare shirt once). I mapped the route and it was only 350 miles or so, realized their extra time must come from slower riders, and decided I had time to stop by the office to grab a few things and go buy some spare tubes.

I hit the freeway southbound around 10:00 a.m. and quickly made up for my slow start thanks to open roads and an obnoxious playlist (August Burns Red if you're wondering) blaring in my helmet. As the freeway turned from my normal sphere of travel to the unexplored, my chest tightened as my mind raced. Had I accounted for everything? Did I have all the paperwork I needed? Would I have any issues crossing the border? Was I making a huge, foolish mistake? I'd joked leaving the office that I was going to try real hard to not make someone drive a van down and pick me up. Now I was praying that it stayed a joke.

San Felipe is on the eastern side of the peninsula, so I had plenty of time to contemplate as I made my way across eastern San Diego towards Mexicali, until my mind turned towards seeing how the Africa Twin handled at top speed when fully loaded and on knobby tires. I made it to the border crossing quickly, and realized I hadn't gotten any money out and that most places wouldn't take a credit card (duh). Before I could find a place, I was in the corral to cross the border and, before I knew it, I was in the streets of Mexicali. I'd had so much time to sit and think on the bike, and had run through so many lists, but all the sudden I was here and realized I didn't have a clue what I was doing.

Africa Twin
Somewhere east of San DiegoSean MacDonald

I stopped and used the little Spanish I remembered to try and find a bank, then failed several times before figuring out how to get money out of an ATM that had been poorly translated into English. Current conversion puts the dollar equal to about 20 pesos, which meant I was requesting far more money than my brain was comfortable with. "Am I seriously about to pull 5,000 pesos out? Am I sure I did the math right? Whelp, that's going to have to be a problem for future Sean," I thought to myself. I had an adventure to get to.

I finally accepted that I was here and not turning back and that I'd figure it out, and I set my sights further south. Traffic in Mexicali is hairy, and I opted for riding like I was at Socal Supermoto rather than timidly trying to pick my way through the city. Enough of this worrying and trepidation, that wasn't me, I came to party. About 25 minutes later, I was surrounded by desert with the mountains in the distance watching my decent into Mexico. Finally and for the first time in longer than I could remember, I didn't have a care in the world.

I still hadn't eaten, and I kept telling myself I'd stop in the next little town that had a decent looking taco stand and get gas, but the littering of taquerias and Pemex stations stopped abruptly and, dumb American that I am, I assumed there'd be another and that I'd be okay without turning back. The scenery, while not all that different from the California high desert, was beautiful and the cleaner air allowed for so much visibility that I kept being drawn further south. The Gulf of California and sand dunes began to pop up to my left, and it wasn't until I realized I probably wouldn't find gas until San Felipe that I began to worry.

San Felipe
San Felipe-ingTy Neff

After cutting my speed to about 50 or so, I was able to nurse the Africa Twin into San Felipe to find gas with only 0.2 gallons left in the tank. I asked around and got directions to KiKi's RV Camping Hotel but, when I got there, I didn't see any bikes resembling the hodge-podge I'd heard the guys would be on. Famished from the ride, I head into town in search of tacos. The tourist part of town was just south, and seemed like a decent place to grab a bite overlooking the ocean (and keep an eye on my fully loaded bike).

I was half way through a massive plate of tacos when I heard a voice say, "Hey, are you Sean MacDonald?" I turned to see a goofy looking dude with red hair sticking out in every direction, a dirty little mustache, and wearing a Christmas sweater under a leather jacket grinning at me. "Hey, I'm Jackson, I think you're looking for us maybe? We're sitting in the bar next door and saw the Cycle World sticker on your bike and assumed it was you. It is you... right?" I mean, what are the chances?

Lucky Wheels Garage
Jackson prepping the Suzuki DR-Z400 at Lucky Wheels Garage before the tripZach Cohen

I finished my eight or so tacos and then went over to meet them and the rest of the group. They'd spent the day playing in sand dunes, some of which weren't too far away, and I knew pretty quickly I'd like these guys. Jackson was on a new DR-Z400 supermoto and Ty, the other founder was on a KTM 500 EXC. In the rest of their group, there was a Honda CRF250L, a Honda CBR600RR, a Moto Guzzi V7, and a frankenstein machine that used to be a Ducati Monster 1100 DS, and they'd brought two girls along with who were chasing in a car.

Africa Twin
Mexico welcomed me with a bit of a light showSean MacDonald

They offered to take me to the sand, which I happily accepted. The Africa Twin however, still fully loaded with all my stuff, is not a great machine in deep sand. Unfortunately, and despite knowing that, I couldn't stop myself from pushing it way too hard as I drifted my way into some whoops that sent me flying. Fortunately, the sand was soft and the damage was minimal, though the Touratech crash bars did bend and crush in one of the bike's side panels which was sort of surprising.

The Lucky Wheels guys had worked deep into their last night in LA making one very important last modification to their bikes: neon underglow kits. We spent the last few moments of daylight admiring the most beautiful sunset I've ever seen and snapping pictures of the guys wheelie-ing their neon-lit dirtbikes. Then we found beer and a pool hall and the wee morning hours.

Sunset
Seriously, it was incredibleSean MacDonald
Wheelie
Underglow Wheelie Time!Sean MacDonald

Thursday December 29th, 2016

KiKi's hard bed encouraged me to wake early and sit on the beach as the sun rose. The rest of the group wasn't so fast, but we managed to be packed and eating breakfast on the beach by 9:00 and on the road a little after 10:00. From San Felipe, the road follows the coastline south where it turns to dirt in a section of road that they've supposedly been working on paving for over half a decade. The route runs alongside, and sometimes becomes, the Baja 1000 route, something that terrified our CBR600RR rider and CRF250L rider, a guy who'd only been riding motorcycles for several weeks.

While the western side of the peninsula gets all the glory for its surf, the eastern side is far more interesting. The abandoned roadside buildings haven't seen the decay the salt from the ocean brings, and they feel more like time capsules than ruins. The little bays have water of every shade of blue and green, and their pristine waters are full of rock outcroppings and little islands.

Mexico
San FelipeSean MacDonald

Our little ragtag bunch couldn't have a wider variance of machine, skill level, or fuel range, and we stopped often to refuel or take breaks. But finally, it was time. A sign informed us there was construction ahead, with an unpaved route. About. Damn. Time.

I stopped to air down and told the other guys to go ahead. After spending so many miles on the Africa Twin, I'd finally hit that point you only normally hit when you own a bike a while. That point where you're really comfortable and stop thinking about how the bike moves beneath you. I was ready to get after it.

Africa Twin
This bike makes me so much better than I should beTy Neff

The more time I spend on this bike, the more I love it. Adventure bikes will never compete with dirt bikes or dual sports for real off-road performance, but when it comes to fire roads and moderately technical trails, it really shines. The DCT model makes it so easy to slide the back end, both on the gas and brakes, that hustling the bike down the 1000 route elicits only howls of laughter and the need to go faster. Simply put, the bike allows me, an almost average adventure rider, to do things on a motorcycle I should not be able to and to have unbelievable amounts of fun doing so. A more talented or experienced rider may be happier on the KTM, but there's no other bike I'd have rather been on.

We stopped by Coco's Corner, a famous Baja 1000 stop to snap some pictures and meet Coco, before continuing on our journey in hopes that the dirt would never end. Sadly, as all good things must come to an end, so did the dirt (although it ended in spectacular fashion with a little berm that I didn't see until it was too late and that I hit at about 95 mph, turning it into a decent jump).

Africa Twin Cocos Corner
Taking a quick pit stopSean MacDonald

Part of me toyed with the idea of turning around and running the dirt section again, but low gas tanks and low light convinced me otherwise, and we made our way into Bahia de Los Angeles.

There are lots of hotels and small, beachside places where you can rent a room, but I don't think we could have found a better one than Villa Bahia. The rooms all have bathrooms, most of them kitchens, and all of them have their own little personality. Salvador, the proprietor, is one of the sweetest humans I met on my trip, and he was more than happy to make us breakfast in the morning and help us find the best ways to experience the town, which was run completely on generators until a few years ago.

Wheelie
The Lucky Wheels dudes never say no to a good timeSean MacDonald

Lots of people warned me about the dangers of Mexico, but that becomes puzzling the further south you get. I don't know if people only make it as far as Tijuana or if my experiences are unique but, from San Felipe south, the people just seemed to get nicer and nicer. It was in Bahia de Los Angeles that I truly fell in love with the culture. Real Baja lacks the sense of entitlement that gets moms in their soccer vans and urban assault vehicles riled up when you accidentally take their parking spot in Whole Foods. The people have both a love of fun and an idea of harmlessness and letting people enjoy themselves that makes being immersed in their world truly special.

Whether it's the taco stand guy who's really excited for you to taste his al pastor recipe or the little kid who wants a high five or the group of old women surprisingly charmed by wheelies or the shop dog who just wants to lay at your feet, the whole culture feels happy to share their world with you. I went to bed truly thankful that night, for not only the ride and people I'd ridden with, but also the place and the people who welcomed us into their world so enthusiastically.

Bahia de Los Angeles
Villa Bahia is a little slice of heavenSean MacDonald

Friday December 30th, 2016

My body refuses to sleep in, so again I was up far earlier than the rest of the gang. Salvador put on a pot of coffee and I sat in the swing in front of the water with a book for two hours before anyone else stirred, only looking up occasionally to watch schools of dolphins swim by or to watch the birds dive bomb for fish. As more and more friendly faces arose, Salvador brought out plates of breakfast as everyone began discussing the day's plans. It sounded like most people were going to either kayak to some of the islands or try and find a whale watching tour, but the Mexican dirt had me dreaming of something a little different.

I realized on Wednesday, as I rode south of the border into an unknown country to meet unknown people, that part of me needed this trip for more than just a break. I needed this to be a different kind of stress. I needed it to be dangerous. I needed it, unfortunately, to be risky and dumb. The last day had been fun, but the constant cigarette breaks (theirs) and joking around kept everything too safe. Too comfortable. I needed to stretch.

Bahia de Los Angeles
More mornings should start like thisSean MacDonald

So it's no surprise that Salvador found me in front of a map of Baja pinned to the wall near the coffee pot, toying with a variety of bad ideas. As had been the case thus far, gas is always the biggest issue when planning, followed closely by being somewhat near a main route for when something breaks. I'd heard rumors of a secret bay which I've sworn not to tell you about, but that meant 60-80 miles south to get there and then another 50-60 west to find gas and pavement. All of it way too far from civilization of any sort, let alone if I'd be able to make it with my range, which had been diminished by my refusal to make any attempt to save the rear tire.

I opted for a different route, which would take me 35 miles or so to the Misión San Francisco de Borja Adac, where I could continue on for another 50 miles west and catch the highway south of Santa Rosalita. Salvador checked in on me several times as I planned my route, stopping me just before I mounted the bike to draw me some last minute directions in the sand. Fortunately, it was that last bit of wisdom that kept me on track at a Y in the road that wasn't marked on my map. Between finding the guys in San Felipe, stumbling into some locals who'd helped us the night before, and this, my trip was starting to feel as if it were meant to be.

sand
Salvador's "directions"Sean MacDonald

I packed a few extra things in case my day got less lucky and set out, wondering if I'd actually make it back to this place (or if my new friends would have disappeared with my belongings). I stopped to put as much gas in the tank as it could possibly hold, and found myself in the dirt some 15 minutes later.

Now, for those of you thinking about planning a similar trip, this is not a wise thing to do. No cell phone, no real ability to fix anything should it happen, no real knowledge of where I was going minus some lines in sand, and nothing but just a bunch of luck or fate or the hand of a God who knew I really needed this. Despite all of my idiocy, all of the rocky hill climbs and mud and water and sand, I actually found the mission and only thought I was lost for like 20 minutes. Sadly, no one was there to let me in, but my solo mission had come with a slower and more cautious pace, and I moved on quickly.

mission
Misión San Francisco de Borja AdacSean MacDonald

Connecting to the west coast led me down the mountain and across sandy desert plains, through some of the prettiest farms and alongside some wild horses in a scenery that was nothing short of stunning (and I was only a little bit worried the farm was growing something I wasn't supposed to see).

I sort of surprised myself when I finally touched back on asphalt, as I'd almost assumed SOMETHING would go wrong. I'd pushed my luck enough for one day, and pointed the bike further south as I'd heard that I'd need to go to Guerrero Negro if I wanted to find an ATM machine. I made it about 15 miles before I saw the Pacific Ocean, and I knew then that I couldn't sit on tarmac any longer until I'd seen it up close.

Africa Twin
I never wanted it to endSean MacDonald

The only place I could find to get off the road was attached to a military check point, whose guards gave me exceptionally dirty looks as I rolled off the road a meter or two from their feet. They didn't chase me, so I assumed I must be fine, and I carried on until the red dirt turned into white sand, and the air became thick with salt and the smell of wet foliage. I still stand by my preference for the east coast of the peninsula but there is something about the ocean that evokes a different emotion. There's a weight there that really hammered home the day I'd just had trying not to kill myself in a land that surely wouldn't care to come looking for me.

Africa Twin
Finding the PacificSean MacDonald

Once I'd had my fill of ocean air, I set back east and, luckily, was let through the military checkpoint after a thorough search of my luggage.

Guerrero Negro is just south of the border of Baja California Sur, and it's the first place you can start to see the environment begin to get a little tropical. The cactus start to become palm trees. Of all the towns I visited on my trip, its brightly painted neon buildings and open air restaurants were easily my favorites. I was only there long enough to fuel up, get some cash, and stop for my first al pastor tacos and coke in a bottle of the trip. There was something romantic about the city, everything felt old but not run down, and the people seemed genuinely happy to live there (and not just because of the tourists).

Guerrero Negro
Something about this city charmed meSean MacDonald
tacos
My first soda in over a decadeSean MacDonald

Unfortunately, the light was getting low and I had a 130 mile ride back to Bahia de Los Angeles, so I didn't stay nearly as long as I'd like. The ride back, thankfully was uneventful, and I saw a group of familiar looking bikes at a taqueria as I entered town, with the group sitting outside sharing stories of paddling around islands and crystal clear water. That night, we made a bonfire on the beach with the help of some donated wood from our neighbors, and I finally found me some tequila.

Mexico
I'll be back...Sean MacDonald

Saturday December 31th, 2016

For the first night in months, I actually got good sleep, though not so much as to miss getting some time back on the beach the following morning. Mason, our new rider and CRF250L pilot had come down with the flu and couldn't keep anything down, but that didn't seem to ruin his spirits at all.

Our destination was Ensenada, which meant slabbing it back across to the west coast and then heading north. I'd met a surfer that morning who gave me some tips on places we could ride on the sand north of San Quintin, which was really the last of what I needed to check off on my list of things I wanted to do this trip. By this point, I felt pretty good about my luck and, with the rest of the gang behind me I took off to make the bulk of the ride more of a solo mission. If anything happened, I knew they'd find me, but most of them opted for a much slower pace.

Villa Bahia
I was going to miss walking out of my room to this viewSean MacDonald

We met up at one of the tourist hotels south of San Quintin, but their relaxed pace put them there around 2:30 in the afternoon and you could already see the sun starting to relax for the day. Despite being hungry, I was now on a mission to find some sand and I showed them on a map where I was told the best place to cut over was.

When I got there, I realized I'd misunderstood the directions as, while dirt, I was nowhere near where I needed to be. I head back into town, this time with a sense of urgency as the sun continued to lower and I realized I had no way to regroup. I head north and stopped for gas, this time examining the map more closely against a picture I'd taken of the one on the wall in Villa Bahia. I found a new spot I liked to try and thirty minutes later turned off the highway again. This time I was in luck, and the dirt road led me around the cliffside onto bluffs just ten feet over the water.

I stopped to shoot some pictures and looked again at the map, which showed that I could ride along the water for probably 30 miles, and I was torn between wanting to ride hard and fast and wanting to share this with my new friends. My conscience got the better of me and I rode back into town to a gas station with a huge lot on the side of the road where I knew they'd see the bike parked out front.

Africa Twin
Something about just sitting around sat just fine with meSean MacDonald

In any other circumstance, the idea of sitting on the side of the road until friends rode by so that I could meet them would have driven me nuts, but there's something about the attitude of Baja that made it feel so appropriate. Maybe it was all the grace and patience we'd been shown all week or maybe it was that people kept pulling over to ask if I was okay, or maybe it was just nice to transport back to a culture where cell phones didn't matter and people stuck to their word. I sat for about 45 minutes until the sun threatened to leave, and I decided to go it alone and just try and get lucky finding them in Ensenada. At this point, the ride mattered more than finding them that night. I could find another hotel if need be.

Not more than 90 seconds after I pulled out of the gas station did I hear the guys' bikes beside me; I must have pulled out only two hundred yards or so. I couldn't believe it.

I motioned for them to follow, and we made a beeline back down to the water. Mason still couldn't eat, but was smiling, while a few of the other faces looked tired. We were still 100 miles or so south of Ensenada and, after staring at the water a minute, they decided to slab it the rest of the way.

Africa Twin
I know I said I liked the east coast best, but this is pretty hard to beatSean MacDonald

This left me with nothing but the sunset, sand, and my bike to say goodbye to the last day of 2016, something I did with as much gusto as I could muster. For the first 10 miles, I was struck once again with how incredible the Africa Twin had been. Our few modifications had gone a long way, with the taller windscreen making the bike much better for preventing wind buffeting (though you'll hit your head on it while standing up if you're shorter), and the exhaust adds noticeable bark and oomph to the motor. I rode until I realized I only had a few minutes of light left, and then I pulled over and sat on the edge of the sand, my heart overflowing with gratitude for the gift this trip had been.

Once the sun had gone down, I looked for a place to cut back towards pavement, and then I opened up the motor to give God one last chance to claim one more person in 2016 in one last "f--k you" to a tumultuous year. The big guy gave me a pass, which was the last thing I needed to finally let go of anything still bothering me from the last year, and I felt like I'd finally shed the weight of the world as I hit the highway and headed north. Now I just needed to figure out where the gang was staying for the night.

Africa Twin
The last sunset of 2016Sean MacDonald

It was an exceptionally dark night which, paired with more sections of road construction/dirt redirects, meant I actually had a shot to catch up to them. By this time in the trip, my rear tire was basically bald, but that only made the idea of catching them more enticing. We'd hit a little bit of rain coming across the valley, but were supposed to have clear skies ahead and I ride motorcycles for a living, how hard could it be?

Well, the answer is actually pretty hard. Especially when some of the road construction isn't well marked and you find yourself flying off the freeway into mud when the redirected route hooked a quick left. Fortunately, I kept the bike up and was able to spin up the rear tire to get the bike pointed back in the right direction. Some 30 miles later, I saw the beautiful pattern of tail lights that weren't attached to each other, riding in the awkward stance that could only be a group of tired American travelers.

It felt like we'd made it. We were 20 miles south of Ensenada, dinner, and enough tequila to ring in the new year.

Then the rain came. Hard.

I had the best headlight, so I took the lead, but I had to ride with my visor up as I only had a tinted one with me which meant taking rain to the eyeballs at speed. Mason was still sick and having a hard time focusing, and he almost rear ended me twice when I stopped quickly at hidden stop signs. The closer we got to Ensenada, the harder it rained, until the streets were completely flooded. We stopped at a light as we entered the city and I turned around to gauge how bummed everyone was, only to see five smiling faces behind me. Even Mason had his spirits about him, which caused the rest of the group to start howling and laughing, which naturally led to wet wheelie time through the streets.

Ensenada
Sadly, the only picture I snapped from my phone that night, though you definitely should have seen my Instagram storySean MacDonald

Finally, we found our hotel, got cleaned up, and headed into the city just as the rain broke. We found the best tacos of the trip from some unnamed vendor on the street that had taken over the patio of a closed restaurant on Primera, just south of Papas and Beer, and then a dive bar with a live band playing where I could find tequila before the clock struck 12.

Hearing the countdown in Spanish was actually really fun, but nothing was more touching than the look on the people's faces dancing in the bar. A short, round Mexican man grabbed everyone in our group for a hug and it was sweet when he managed to say, "Happy New Years friend" in broken English.

Sunday January 1st, 2017

Sunday morning came and the rain had washed the grime off the city and the night before. The view from our hotel was beautiful and I couldn't help but get up and walk the streets. As checkout time approached, we found coffee and then packed and hit the road. Some of the guys didn't have their passports, so we decided to go through Tecate in hopes that the border would be more mellow than Tijuana.

Ensenada
Ensenada in the new yearSean MacDonald

Again I sort of left the group to enjoy the last of my time in Mexico solo, with nothing but Chance The Rapper blaring in my helmet. I met up with the guys again at the outskirts of Tecate and we made one last stop so I could eat my body weight in al pastor before entering back into the U.S.

Crossing the border was actually pretty drama free, and I was back in the land of rules and angry drivers in no time.

Tacos
I've dreamt of the tacos every night since I got homeSean MacDonald

It hit me, as the roads I was riding once again became more and more familiar, that despite the lack of shine, polish, or traditional beauty, Mexico (even the non-tropical areas) really is stunning. It's a mix of the scenery, the people, and the attitude that make it special. People have chosen to invest in relationships and kindness here, and that's just one of the reasons why I fell in love with it.

We've currently been working on an upcoming issue of the magazine with the theme of trying something new, which I embraced whole heartedly for this trip. When I got home that evening, my roommate commented that he hadn't seen me that happy in months and now, even days later, I still feel the spirit of that place with me.

Africa Twin
What a perfect machine for this tripTy Neff

This trip just wet my appetite, and you can bet I'll be back and real soon, only next time to get dirtier and head further south. If possible, it will be on a proper dirtbike, though I have to admit that the Africa Twin could not have been a more perfect choice for the various types of riding I did on this trip. The thing is an absolute blast, and I'm continually impressed with how good a bike it is and how much better a rider it allows me to be.

While this trip was somewhat of a palate cleanser for me, I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a beginner trip to Mexico. My route kept me out of the nonsense, and showed me a ton of the variety that Baja has to offer. And, if a guy on a Honda CBR600RR can do it, you can too. My route is posted roughly below, although I couldn't get google to let me connect the mission to the coast.

Seriously, if you've ever considered a trip like it before, do it. For you. For the experience. For the stories. For it all.

Africa Twin
Good gear got me throughTy Neff

Sean's Gear

Baja
The route, roughlyGoogle Maps
Africa Twin
I could not figure out why this building existed or who kept giving it fresh coats of paintSean MacDonald
Africa Twin
I like you, I think I'll keep youSean MacDonald
Coco's Corner
Never not dancingSean MacDonald
Ty Neff
Mad Scientist Ty Neff, half of Lucky Wheels GarageSean MacDonald
Ty Neff
Even the slightest rises turn into hangtime at 95 miles per hourSean MacDonald
Villa Bahia
There be whales hereSean MacDonald
Bahia de Los Angeles
Villa BahiaSean MacDonald
Sean MacDonald
Mission selfieSean MacDonald
Africa Twin
The birds loved meSean MacDonald
Africa Twin
Guerrero Negro's palm treesSean MacDonald
dog
This dude had no plans on going anywhereSean MacDonald
Taqueria
Guerrero Negro's taquerias were amazingSean MacDonald
Strip club
Seems legitSean MacDonald
Africa Twin
Baja actually has some really nice twistiesSean MacDonald
Lucky Wheels Garage
JacksonSean MacDonald
Lucky Wheels Garage
Poor Mason, still sickSean MacDonald
Lucky Wheels Garage
Manny on his Honda CBR600RRSean MacDonald
Lucky Wheels Garage
Brian and his Ducati Multistrada 1100Sean MacDonald
Lucky Wheels Garage
Everywhere you look, this thing is weirdSean MacDonald
Lucky Wheels Garage
Seriously weirdSean MacDonald
Lucky Wheels Garage
CruisingSean MacDonald
al pastor
Anyone want to ride to Tecate for lunch with me?Sean MacDonald
Ty Neff
Ty wheelie loves wheeliesSean MacDonald
Lucky Wheels Garage
Until next time, underglow all the thingsSean MacDonald