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  • Writer's pictureJeremy Brown

San Felipe to Gonzaga Bay: A Tapestry Woven with Memories and Desert Mystique.

As dawn reluctantly conceded to the impending day, a pivotal decision loomed. San Felipe, a chapter of our past etched over two decades ago, beckoned us with nostalgic whispers. This coastal haven, once the witness to our life-changing news of impending parenthood, now played host to our son embarking with us on this motorcycle expedition. Yet, the RV park, a sentimental threshold, barricaded itself with a hefty nightly tariff exceeding our nomadic whims.

What initially appeared as a leisurely sojourn to revisit echoes of the past transformed before our eyes. The windswept streets and the exorbitant costs conspired against a prolonged stay. Determined to savor more than a mere respite, we cast our gaze toward Gonzaga Bay, a mere three-hour odyssey marked as a desert jewel on the cartographic canvas.

This desert alcove, tucked along the beach, unveiled itself with Alfonsinas—a coastal sanctuary complete with an eco-resort, a beckoning bar, and a restaurant where the Sea of Cortez played audience to our musings. The original plan to lay our heads elsewhere crumbled in the face of circumstance, leading us to explore the realms of nostalgia and tales spun by the enigmatic owner.

The aura of Alfonsinas danced on the fine line between enchantment and emptiness. The bar, adorned with its own tales, resonated with a profound silence, punctuated only by the distant murmurings of the staff. It was here that we serendipitously crossed paths with a couple from Colorado, forging connections that defy the remoteness of our location. As we discovered they have a place just a stone throws from our Pacific Northwest Home.

An evening ensued at a roadside eatery—an unconventional culinary haven adorned with a giant propane oven. Here, the flavors of Mexico embraced us, marking our inaugural encounter with the culinary soul of the region at a modest cost of $19 for our entire fellowship.

Our lodgings, while basic, cocooned us comfortably amid the desert's embrace. The following dawn beckoned us forth, greeted by the sight of Baja 1000 racers readying for their high-speed ballet. Our journey, too, needed to unfurl, propelled by the dual yearnings for warmer climes and a stable internet connection.

Through a tapestry of cacti and desert blossoms, we navigated challenges and uncharted territories. A closed gas station tested our resolve, but the makeshift haven, boasting a rustic sign proclaiming "Gasolina and Burritos," emerged as an unexpected oasis in the vehicular desert.

Meanwhile, a fellow rider zoomed up on a gleaming Yamaha 700 adventure bike, a two-wheeled spectacle adorned with every conceivable accessory as if plucked from the pages of a motorcycle enthusiast magazine. It was a meticulously curated collection – new boots, a full suit, neck brace, Bluetooth connectivity, gloves, bags, trays, racks, hard panniers, and soft ones to complement. His arrival, however, unfolded with a touch of unintentional slapstick. As he dismounted, a series of comical mishaps ensued. Off the peg, his helmet took an unscripted journey, bouncing and rolling on the ground. In his attempt to retrieve it, the helmet teasingly rolled away, prompting an extra kick.

We, the spectators of this impromptu performance, sat in awe, feasting on our morning delights. Intrigued, I inquired about his destination, half expecting a tale of circumnavigation or an odyssey to Argentina. To my surprise, he revealed that he had just purchased this splendid machine in San Diego and called La Paz home. A brief coffee-fueled conversation unfolded, revealing a newcomer's demeanor, seemingly uninterested in our own tales. After a bit of small talk and a refuel pit stop, he gracefully danced with the footpeg, swinging his leg over the adorned boxes, and with a rev of the engine, he tore off into the horizon.

As we proceeded to refuel, our fellow traveler produced an old one-gallon vegetable oil jug and a small tube. A curious ritual unfolded as he elevated the jug, inserted the tube into his mouth, and, with a deep breath and swift motion, transferred fuel to his tank. The process repeated, and soon both bikes sat almost full, ready for the next leg of our journey, a mere 60 kilometers away. The road beckoned, and the ephemeral encounter with the Yamaha adventurer left us with a sense of the unpredictable charm that accompanies the open road.

In our rearview mirrors, four motorcycles emerged on the undulating road, disappearing in the troughs as we ascended and reappearing like small boats navigating swells. A ballet of bobbing and weaving ensued, a visual symphony echoing the familiar cadence of Harley engines. As they approached, the leader skillfully maneuvered around us, seamlessly tucking into the lead position. Our intercoms buzzed with our characteristic sarcasm about our modest three-fifty, contrasting with the imposing presence of the Harleys with their extra cylinders and windshields.

Amidst a sea of palms and cacti, our encounter with the Harley riders was ephemeral. The road, now a straight descent, unveiled a distant town taking shape. A dusty turnoff revealed a Pemex fuel station, where we rumbled in to quench the thirst of our steadfast steeds. Our Harley comrades sought shade, stretching their legs as we powered down. A casual inquiry about our motorcycles led to the customary discussion about size, with the familiar response that it was merely a three-fifty.

While recounting our journey, our adventure bike friend arrived, maintaining an air of nonchalance. His helmet became rolling tumbleweeds, prompting a Harley gentleman to retrieve one and impart a brief lesson on proper helmet storage. Fueling completed, we convened in the shade, resuming our tales. Enter Steve, the leader of the Harley group, who introduced himself and showcased another couple our Royal Enfields. A delightful Australian accent filled the air as they expressed their desire for the iconic bikes.

Steve, a tour guide on the great adventure, unraveled the story of their bikes shipped to the USA to explore, then Baja before journeying back home. His account of spotting us on the highway, navigating the assault waves with our unique bike, fueled curiosity. Steve was astonished by our three-fifty's speed, sharing advice on stopovers as the Aussie couple eagerly absorbed our adventure. A quick pose for a group photo to complete our meeting.

The camaraderie continued as we leapfrogged with our newfound friends down to Las Barillas. Our next fuel stop, a seemingly inconspicuous town, turned into a charming escapade thanks to Steve's recommendation. San Ignacio, described as a palm-lined oasis, unfolded before us, complete with a river, a bridge, and buzzing dragonflies. A paradise emerged with RV parks and lush greenery, compelling murmurs about the worthiness of the detour.

A perfect little square, adorned by a grand church, beckoned us to linger in the shade of tall trees. The curbs, feeling like boats docking at a port. The charm of San Ignacio, both small and grand, enveloped us as kids practiced their English and admired the chrome on our bikes. The desire to linger, even relocate, stirred within us, and the eight-kilometer detour proved every bit worthwhile.

Our ultimate goal, Mulege, awaited a two-day respite. As we rejoined the main highway, Steve and the Aussies returned with an even more enthusiastic bike salute. My face lit up, echoing a sentiment reminiscent of Forest Gump waving to Lieutenant Dan. The pleasure of our chance encounter lingered as they opted to stay in the perfection of San Ignacio, a place that encapsulated the essence of an adventure etched in the pages of a novel.

Over a great hill, our wheels rolled, propelling us toward the unfolding chapters of Baja, each bend promising new tales of the road."

To be continued...

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Dec 08, 2023

Never knew you were such a literary genius 😁

Jeremy Brown
Jeremy Brown
Dec 08, 2023
Replying to

I do have some talents, sometimes!

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