Don’t go there, you’ll die.
Tell anyone that doesn’t live within a day’s drive of the U.S./Mexico border that you’re going on tour in Mexico and that’s the reply you’ll get. They couldn’t be more wrong however, and will probably expire their days wishing they bought that motorcycle when they were young and had taken that ride. But even if they were right, this is Baja… just the part of California we don’t own. One that isn’t spoiled by commercialism, traffic, and attitude… not yet anyway. It’s what the deserts of the American Southwest used to be 100-plus years ago; full of freedom and adventure with just a little bit of cell connection and a few modern amenities to keep you alive and kicking.
Once thought to be one large island, and ruled together as one larger California, ours and theirs combined, the U.S. offered to buy, stole and warred over all of it until the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. Before that, legendary Amazons ruled Baja and its pearls, the Europeans took a crack at it for a while and the natives were run out as usual. Less than 200 years ago, this land was the wild west of Mexico and lives on today with a relatively similar desolation with new borders and protection for much of the land. Today, the peninsula is a playground for desert rats and more recently the food and wine set. Just get there before progress takes over! Get there before the Escalera Nautica project brings millions into the southern state and gentrifies the peaceful port towns with its pegboard plan for water-based tourists. A project racing against the high-speed train between LA and Vegas however, so I guess you’re good.
As riders, and some of us skateboarders, we visual ourselves riding in illegal, if not impossible places on any given day. Up that mountain, around that curve, along that wall or across that gap. With a mental fingerboard, our minds wander to places often restricted from riding, especially in the U.S. But with a passport comes freedom and riding in another country can be quite easy if you look South instead of East or West. The landscape might look like the American Southwest, but this desert has a personality of its own. Lets check it out on a ride with RawHyde Adventures down Mexico way… and bring some stickers!
This is a touring piece I’d done for Motorcyclist magazine’s Epic Rides section, please read the full story right here!