I just got back from guiding Sam Bird of Hawaii Rides and his friend Mark around the northern peninsula. We had a great time. September is not typically considered a great month because the summer heat is still in full swing. I expected hot temperatures like those currently in southern California, but we were in for a pleasant surprise. We had rain three of the days and there was almost no dust anywhere we went.
In six days we covered over 1,100 miles. That is quite a lot considering that we never got south of El Rosario and made every attempt to stay to the most technical tracks. Even I got to see some new places on this trip. We ventured way out east of San Quintin, as far east as it is possible to ride. We met a nice rancher out there who invited us to lunch. He had just butchered a calf and had the meat hanging out to dry. So we had a lunch of heated dried beef and strong black coffee. He has some fruit from his small orchard too. I tried some prickly pear cactus. It was quite good. It was long days of riding, but with plenty of great terrain and experiences.
We had all kinds of weather. The fog on the coast was something unusual, even in the middle of the day it was so heavy that visibility was down to almost zero. Just a mile inland the temperatures were plenty hot. Then going further inland the storm clouds would start to form and the temps would drop, even turning to rain once into the mountains.
On the final day, actually the final hours, of the ride, we hit a huge rain storm in the Tecate area. It was so hard that we finally gave up riding because the visibility was down to nothing. We hid next to a big rock and waited for the storm to pass. As we rode out, we could see evidence of flash flood conditions everywhere.
After the hard rains, my trusty 525 was reluctant to start. It was acting like it had no fire. We were quite some ways from any real road so I was a little concerned. I took a few things apart and never found anything obvious. I suspect that the water was causing my kill switch to stay part way depressed. Once we got going again, Sam decided to submerge his 450xcw in a water crossing. Now, it would be easy to blame it on the rain, but where I crossed the stream is was only 4″ deep. He just made a bad line choice.
The 450 was locked up solid with water in the motor. We pulled the tank and seat, turned the bike upside down and let it drain a bit. Then with the motor in gear, we worked to turn the rear wheel to free up the motor. It took a few minutes, but sure enough the water drained out of the valves and the motor would turn over by hand. A quick drain of the carb and the 450 fired right back up.
The last two hours of the ride were more eventful than the rest of the week put together. But it all came out well. We had been completely soaked from the rain, but the sun came out and we were almost dry by the time we returned to Tecate to finish the ride.
Other than that, no mechanical problems, flat tires or serious falls. A good trip all around.