One thing is certain about Mexico, it's always an adventure. This weekend we went down to pay deposits on campgrounds, make sure everything is dialed in with the hotel, check the road conditions and basically just follow up with everyone down there who works with us on this event. Even though there is good communication via email now, it pays to go down in person and make sure everything is ready to go, well in advance.
For this trip we piled in my 4x4 Toyota Tacoma since we wanted to show Kyle from Lowbrow some of the Baja 500/1000 course and some of the epic backcountry of Baja. There is a good 35 miles or so of dirt road that cuts from Valle de Trinidad (gas stop on day three) over to the Pacific side just north of Colonet. My friend Matt "Baja" Frick went along for the free drinks and to check the route for an off-road tour business he's working on called Camp4lo. Kyle is a big fan of off-road racing but being from Ohio, he's pretty far from the action out here. This was a good excuse to spend a bromantic weekend bouncing around on the actual race course and get our EDR duties handled at the same time.
Well, the recent rains washed out our short cut about half way into the route. First we missed a turn and went about 30 miles deep into the course until the last few miles got gnarly enough that even in the venerable (but stock) Baja Taco we decided to turn around. It is seriously remote and being a solo vehicle it didn't make any sense to snap an axle or get heavily stuck so far from any sort of civilization so we turned around. We chased back to where we missed the turn and got back on the known dirt road only to have it disappear into a sand wash. We pushed on a little further and to our surprise found two dudes in a stock Honda Civic at the end. Their English was worse than our Spanish but we eventually found out that there was no route through the wash since the rain destroyed the road. We couldn't figure out what the hell they were doing out there in the middle of nowhere in that beater but we finally decided it had something to do with burying a body. One thing is for sure, that dude could drive! He hammered that Civic back through the wash and over stuff that I hesitated to take my truck through at first. ¡Huevos con mas Fuerte!
Dejected, the only choice was back out the way we came. We hit the highway in Trinidad where we had started some six hours and 100 miles earlier. We made it into Ensenada just as the sun went down. Beers, tacos and beds. It's a good thing Kyle is a Jeep guy, anyone else would have been bummed that we beat his kidneys out all day like that, but he dug it and had a good time. My truck has some new Manzanita Pinstriping and Matt knows a route to avoid with the tours until they clear that road again some day.
I'll post up some road notes and updates on the El Diablo Run blog later in the week, so check there for details. In a nutshell, everything is good-to-go and they are all stoked to have our dirty asses back.
Kevin "Teach" Baas is just finishing up Mrs. Baas' new Knucklehead. Now that, is true love. Thanks for using our Aces bars on the bike Teach. We don't make a big stink out of it, but we donate pipe kits and anything else the kids can use to the Kennedy High's Chopper Class. What a cool program, lord knows all us wish we had a teacher and class like this in high school. Have fun on the new knuck Mrs. Teach!
We appreciate everyone who has taken the time to add reviews to products in the online store. Customer service is something we take very serious around here and feedback of all kinds is always welcomed. The most important reviews are ones that might help someone else out down the road like, "These bars fit my 97 sporty with no changes to cables and a new front brake line" or "I wear a size 7.5 fitted hat and the Novelty lid fit perfect and I got laid the first time I wore it to the bar!" Once in a while we pick a customer who left a review and send them a t-shirt or some other trinket. This month it's a cat named Paul. Thanks dude, check your email and reply with your shirt size and we'll hook you up.
Kutty Noteboom's Hippy Killer Garage is hosting their third annual Hoedown in Winchester, CA, this April, and the Biltwell posse will be in full effect. For more info, click the flyer. To make this year's HKH the best one yet, please spread the word on Facebook, ChopCult, etc.
Posted by The Crew at 9:55 AM
We're going down to Baja this weekend to wrap up last minute details and will report back with details next week on the El Diablo Run blog HERE. Read on for what may be the longest blog ever written...
If you would rather join the event on Facebook and get whatever udpates we post that way, you can do that on this PAGE.
Most of the questions you might have are on answered in the "INFORMATION" section on the right hand side. See the graphic below for step-by-step instructions:
If you've never been, I'll try to break it down so you know what you are getting into, without all the hyperbole. First and foremost, this ride is centered around riding your hand-built motorcycle, preferably an old one. BUT, it is open to anyone on any machine.
There is no entry fee or official anything. We will announce a start time and place in Temecula because that's where we are starting. You can start anywhere and take any route you choose.
We will have a truck or two in the back but don't take that as a guarantee. Have your bike dialed and be able and ready to work on it on the side of the road if needed and a back up plan if you can't get it going. We've never left anyone out in the cold and there always seems to be someone's girlfriend in a truck to help out, but it's best to have a plan because you can't just text triple-A and while you wait at Starbucks. That is pretty much the point. We always stress being self-sufficient, not to act like bad asses but to warn those who have never been.
There will be potholes. And speedbumps. Probably a couple sections of smooth dirt or gravel detours around road construction. Sometimes that detour is ten miles long. Sack up, it's just a dirt road. Motorcycles, even choppers, love dirt roads. The wise rider goes single file on these roads and gives a little more interval between other riders. For a quick primer on riding in a pack, read THIS. Or, best of all, break off into a small group with your buddies and go at your own pace and enjoy it. You do not want to ride at night.
So, the whole thing is about 600 miles round trip. Not exactly iron butt miles for a three legged trip. Granted, Mexico miles always seem longer because of sketchy roads and long stretches of isolation, but again, that's the point. It's a unique area to ride and that's what makes it fun.
Thursday, the first day is the longest at almost 300 miles. There are only a few freeway miles, everything else is two-lanes. If you start in Temecula with us, we'll split in the morning and head out through Warner Springs where it'll be a little chilly with over 4000' of elevation change. We'll drop down into the Anza Borrego desert where it will warm up substantially. We'll stop at every chance for gas and wait as long as reasonable for everyone to get their shit together. The first 100 miles is all twisty and if you've been to the Slab City Riot, then you know what I'm talking about. I was told several riders wadded up on this part of the route in November so watch your speed and don't run out of talent. Once we get to the desert floor, it's rolling, fast, wide open all the way to the 86S. We'll take that through a couple dusty little towns to the 8 for only a couple miles and exit at the 111S which turns into Imperial. Here we will stop and regroup right before the border crossing at a Pizza Hut. We'll grab some lunch, gas up and get insurance if you didn't already get it through Baja Bound.
We'll cross the border, generally in a big pack and stick a little closer together. Mexicali is a little sketchy to the newcomer but basically if you just keep heading south you can't mess up. All roads eventually lead to Mex Highway 5 which runs all the way to San Felipe. This stretch is the longest without gas. I always stop at the last Pemex at the south end of town just to get as much as possible. I get about 100 miles to a tank loaded down so I'll have an extra one gallon can on my bike. Once we clear that Pemex, it's a straight shot to SF through some barren landscape that is really cool. Beware of Mexican drivers. They have balls for days and love to drive fast and prove it. This is where road conditions will degrade a little. We'll hit a Military checkpoint about 30 miles north of town. There is a little beer/snack stand called "Three Poles" on the other side once you clear the check. It's a good place for a break and some shade. The army dudes are just like army dudes anywhere except they are locked and loaded and carry their weapons on "fire". Don't bring guns or drugs. They generally look at us like we are idiots and wave us right through. Chase trucks get looked at a little closer. Just tell them you are going to San Felipe for vacation and don't have anything to hide.
We usually ride this whole section without helmet, do what you want. We'll stop for gas a few miles before town and top off. The road is all brand new and four lanes from here on in. It is advisable to wear your lid from here and every time you ride in San Felipe. The loose rule is that it's OK out on the open highway but required in towns. When you see some giant concrete arches, you'll know you've made it. We'll ride all the way to the water, and turn left on the malecon. The town streets are beat to hell, stop signs are not clearly marked and there is a fine coat of sand everywhere making it a perfect place to test your skills. Turn right at the end of the malecon and right again at the next Alto sign. Left at the last possible road and parallel the beach down to Ruben's and Kiki's Campos.
This will be night one of two spent in San Felipe. There are no organized games or vendors or anything to do except explore around, fish, fix your bike, drink, etc. We will do the Circle of Death on Friday some time and will announce details on that as we get closer. Basically, it is a rough circle track, four laps, no crap and the winner gets a prize worth hanging in the garage forever.
Saturday morning we will ride back the way we came, hanging a left/west just after the Military checkpoint. This is only about a 155 mile day, but the roughest of all. After the checkpoint it is pure desolation and the road is generally littered with good size potholes. There are two gas stations along this route, one at Valle de Trinidad and another at Ojos Negros. Last time we went through here there was a section of about ten miles that was detour around the highway. It was smooth dirt road that was watered often and posed no ground clearance problems, but was still dirt. We'll be checking this out this weekend to see what progress has been made.
If you get separated and lost coming into Ensenada, it could not be easier to get your bearings. Look west from any point and you will see the largest Mexicn flag ever made. Across the street is the largest pink hotel, the Villa Marina which is eleven stories high. Impossible to miss. For veterans of this trip, it is right across the street from the place we've stayed the last two times.
Here you can get a room, hot shower and all the entertainment you want. There are a ton of bars and "other establishments" for you to get your party on. Bikes will be in the parking lot and they have an all night securidad posted up. I still run a chain through our bikes just to be safe. There is a pool at our hotel and we will have a fiesta there with food and drink on Sunday and pass out some awards, see who broke what, etc.
Monday, it's every man for himself. You'll be tired of everyone by then anyway. The ride up the coast is the best part of the trip with the ocean on your left and generally pretty good road conditions. Splitting lanes through the border wait in TJ is awesome, just blip the throttle and let the walking vendors and carts know you are coming through and congratulate yourself on those home made super skinny bars, this is where you'll need them. Chase trucks can meet you somewhere in the USA, it'll take them two hours to get through this part. It sucks and there is no good alternative.
Thanks in advance to everyone who's planning on making the trip. There's been questions like always about how many people are going, etc and there really is no way to know until we get there. 300 people have "joined" on facebook, but I will be surprised if a third of them actually show up. Keep in mind that most who do show up have ridden a long time, some of them have taken valuable time off to come from all over the country and no one will be impressed by your drunken 3:00AM burnout on a stock bike. If you want to show off, ride a bike you built yourself and show some class by helping out others with bike problems or by winning the Circulo de Muerte. If you want a good night's sleep in San Felipe, consider getting a hotel a block or two away, there are half a dozen other spots you can stay and then just come to the beach to hangout when you feel like it.
Be sure to hit up www.eldiablorun.com for more details.
After slavin' over at the new building all day, I split lanes solo like a cholo style up to the UBS/BF3 thingy. Warm and sunny and lots to look at, too. Four wheeled love machines, two wheeled freedom machines and even a couple of long legged home-wrecking machines made the ride worth the trip, man. Got there late, left there early, story of my life.
Dogs aren't the only thing that like trucks. Picked up this beast from Wes at Four Aces a little while ago.
Can't do much without some wheels, so the rear hub and a few bits went to chrome this morning. Now I remember why polished aluminum is so nice, chrome is expensive! Already got the front hub from Warren at JR's and some shouldered Akronts from Lowbrow. Axle adjusters from Pangea. So it begins...
Rob sends this pic of his '65 Trumpet with our Clubman bars. You can flip these either direction, we don't dimple them so you can run them like a Cafe dude or flop them up like Rob's done here. Of course they are TIG-welded .120 wall 4130 Chromoly, in black ED finish or chrome.
Now t h i s looks super neat. These guys are opening a retail store soon (Biltwell dealer of course!) and it will coincide with a really fun alley sweeper ride they put on every spring. Jumps, mud puddles, and other random chaos through the alleys of Portland. Now that sounds like fun.
The weather has been so bitchin' the last week it'd be a shame not to get out and ride this weekend. As luck would have it there are two good things to go to, the rescheduled First Ride at Utility Board Shop, then over to the DicE party about 25 miles away, through Mount Baldy. I was gonna be a garage hermit all weekend but I did that last weekend and missed a couple great riding days. See you there. You can get more details here. Oh yeah, and Long Beach Swap on Sunday, look for Josh in the Murder Van.
Man, this new Winter issue kills it. Jeff, Grant and all the contribs put together a bangin' magazine. This one has exactly what I want to read about. Tom Fugle interview, Pans, Sporties, DTMC, 49-Mile Ride, Slim, you name it, it's in there. No bullshit politics or personal agendas, just motorcycles the people who make them, all in a clean and easy-to-read format with no fake tough guy nonsense. The Kurpius cover photo is world class. I'd love to hear the story on that, I'm sure it wasn't easy to shoot. The table of contents image is rad too. Reminds me of old surf mag pics, real soulful and I'm diggin' it. Glad to see it going to six times per year. Keep up the good work, gents.
Here's a couple more cast Stainless things we've been cooking on. Not available yet, but they should be around the summer.
Cast SS Ripple ignition covers. Two and Five hole comin' up.
Sanderson Pegs. See the bolt? That fits into a cast 4130 Chromoly male clevis so the peg can be rotated into any position. This allows you to run this vintage-style peg on a later model bike that uses a male clevis. These are investment cast stainless steel which is so much stronger and more elegant than the old pot metal jobbers.
Last, the Trio riser clamp. It bolts to our existing risers bases and will be sold separately or as a three-piece assembly. Keep them apes from twisting around, son! If you flip it around the other way the logo faces down enough that you can't see it if you wanna go low key.
Now, every time we go and post early prototypes like this it takes forever for us to actually have stuff in stock, so don't get your hopes up on seeing this stuff any time soon, I just wanted to show we were up to some stuff. We've got all kinds of other nifty shit in the works so stand by.