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  • Writer's pictureJeremy Brown

Baja Odyssey: Roaming the Deserts, Seas, and Stories of the Royal Enfield Classics

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

Embarking on a mere 76 km journey over rugged hills, we traced our way back towards the Sea of Cortez. The road unveiled a breathtaking panorama as an ocean of green cacti sprawled out into the distance. The elusive sea remained hidden, yet the desert, adorned with imposing boulders, beckoned us forward. Winding switchbacks gracefully hugged the landscape, guiding us down to a valley below. Our destination: the coast, where the formidable copper mine of Santa Rosalia lurked in the shadows of deep crevasse.

This quaint town, uniquely settled by the French and nourished by the riches of copper, presented an enchanting spectacle. Wooden buildings, donned in colonial French attire with upper and lower covered porches, exuded the flavor of old New Orleans. In the heart of the town stood a metal church, a creation of Monsieur Eiffel himself, shipped over with a touch of audacity given its susceptibility to the constant assault of sea air. Mulege, our stop for this leg of the journey, awaited with the sun setting over jagged mountains, setting the stage for our imminent conclusion.

Mulege, nestled in a lush oasis like a finger reaching from the desert towards the sea, boasts a large river feeding the verdant landscape. Its grand archway over the town entrance ushers you into a network of one-ways larger than expected, yet perfectly fitting for a grand entrance. A place we once called home for a week two decades ago, Mulege resonated with a sense of peace upon our return. Buzzing with Baja 1000 enthusiasts but equally welcoming, it served as a haven. Beyond the town, the road follows the river, unveiling homes and businesses strung along the roadside. Our destination for a two-day reprieve emerged - Hotel Serenidad.

As we navigated down a dusty graded road, the hotel's dirt airstrip on the right, shanty houses on the left, a pack of wild dogs added a chaotic yet amusing welcome. While our hotel exuded charm, our room, although wonderfully quaint, felt dated. A mosquito welcoming committee did their best to make us uncomfortable, yet a quick defense with a bath towel tamed the party, leaving only occasional run-ins. Despite quirks, the large iron gate and the stray dog welcoming committee alleviated any concerns.

Heather rendezvoused with her dad and grandma at the bar, while I embarked on my video ritual and plug hunt. Unloading the bikes, checking the oil, and a bit of engine chatter had me concerned. Indeed, the oil was low.

My phone buzzed annoyingly as I lay face down, attempting to inspect the oil through glass.

"Are you going to get over here or not?"

"Yes," I sighed. These routine interruptions in a marriage, spurred by two margaritas or my wife's whims, always presented a momentary struggle. Although in that tug of war of it all really her whim is for me to stop fussing for the day and relax.

Dinner at the poolside restaurant in the heart of the hotel unfolded in a cascade of margaritas, stories, and laughter, a sonnet of our pasts filling the evening air.

The morning brought both nightly regrets and the anticipation of a restful day. Despite a list of necessary tasks, we found ourselves back on the bikes, unloaded, and embracing a newfound freedom. The town, sandwiched between a rock cliff and the river, offered narrow one-ways. Despite its small size, a fuel station marked its presence, and at the end, it opened up to a large rocky beach, temporarily claimed by van lifers.

Mulege continued to be a wonderful home, offering gardens, poolside relaxation, lawn chair naps, and sips of rum and cokes, all complemented by a refreshing cool wind. Packing up the bikes the next morning, we headed to Ciudad Constitucion, an unassuming part of Baja, lacking the charming settings we had become accustomed to. Four hours and fifty-two minutes later, we found ourselves at Palapa 206, an RV and hotel haven just south of the bustling city.

The park, nearly deserted, had an air infused with a British accent as we knocked on the office door. Our host, initially distant, unfolded with charm as we inquired about a room and RV spot. Settling into our two-room suite and designated spot, we ventured back into town for supplies, blending our bike motor shop activities with BBQ and well-deserved beers. The oil changes proceeded smoothly, and our host joined in for stories, declining dinner but gladly accepting a few beers.

Our journey's final leg spanned just under five hours, taking us through La Paz, over small mountain ranges, and back to the familiar dance with the Sea of Cortez. The highway expanded to four lanes, bidding farewell to the charm of smaller roads. Climbing a narrow two-lane road, plucked straight out of the top ten rides list, we zigzagged through rocks and painted landscapes, ascending towards the small town of

Perched at 583 meters above sea level, El Triunfo, a former mining town from the seventeen hundreds, basked in the shadow of a forty-seven-meter smokestack. Despite dwindling to a mere three hundred residents, the town exuded charm with cobblestone streets, coffee shops, restaurants, and boutique hotels. As we descended towards the sea, the next town proved less charming, cascading down the hill towards a river and a Pemex station.

In Los Barriles, we crossed a large bridge, witnessing the construction of a new road on the other side. Navigating through the bustling town, we reached Martin Verdugo’s Beach Club, RV, and Hotel. The office, a museum of years past, housed our host behind a plastic panel. Accommodations secured, we enjoyed an evening at the beachfront bar, soaking in the atmosphere and reconnecting with familiar faces from my father-in-law's previous visits.

Calling this place home for several days, we relished in beach days, poolside lounging, and city exploration. Day rides and evenings filled with fishing stories unfolded, leading to the final lap down Highway One to Jose Del Cabo, Cabo San Lucas, and back north to Todos Santos, home of the famed Hotel California. Despite our Royal Enfield Classics not known for speed, the classic reborn proved its mettle, making every moment worthwhile.

Thank you, fellow wanderers, for joining us on this exhilarating odyssey through the heart of Baja. As the sun sets on this chapter of our journey, we're filled with gratitude for the landscapes explored, the challenges conquered, and the connections forged. Your virtual companionship has been our cherished road companion.

As the road stretches endlessly before us, our spirits remain undeterred. New adventures beckon on the horizon, and we invite you to continue this extraordinary voyage with us. Look for the unveiling of fresh narratives, exotic landscapes, and the rhythmic hum of Royal Enfield Classics in unexplored territories.

Stay tuned for the next leg of our travels, where each twist in the road unveils new stories, and every destination becomes a chapter in the epic tale. The journey is far from over; in fact, it's just beginning.

Thank you for being part of the adventure. Until next time, fellow explorers – keep the wheels turning, the wind at your back, and the spirit of adventure alive.

As we prepared to reacquaint ourselves with the completion of this great lap, life threw a curveball. Plan B involved loading the bikes on the trailer for the RV journey back to Washington – a dark day indeed. A flight back to Washington ensued, attending to pressing needs. Despite the bittersweet conclusion, plans for the second leg, retracing our legs to La Paz and then to Panama and beyond, are in the works. Currently working on a YouTube series to document the journey, we set off in January to explore the heart of Colombia with coffee plantations and colonial Spanish towns. Thank you for following along, and stay tuned for the next releases of YouTube episodes, podcasts, and the next leg of our adventures.

Thank you.

Jeremy Brown

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