Monday, October 5, 2015

Zona Curva

First, an update on the battery: it works! For now, at least. It wasn't quite as charged as I would have liked this morning when I picked it up from the shop, but hopefully it will be enough for the bike to do the rest.

I woke up nice and early to go pick it up, and immediately tested it out - confident that I could start up the bike and move it, I started taking a look around at the rest of it, since it had been sitting all day the day before.

First thing I noticed: low coolant. Guess I'm not getting out of town as quickly as I thought.

So I made a quick inspection of the hoses and radiator, and didn't see any problems thankfully. Checked a few other things and noticed I couldn't really see what level the oil was at... I couldn't tell if the little window to view it was just dirty, or if it was so low that it wasn't visible at all. I added some oil, but didn't see it go up at all, so I decided a full oil change was probably a good idea too.

With maintenance in the cards, that meant I wouldn't be doing a straight riding day all the way to Bahía de los Ángeles (would have been 7 hours straight, so at least 8 or 9 with stops).

So I packed up the bike, said goodbye to Oscar, and headed out for some errands. After an ATM stop and a gas stop, I swung by the house I stayed in during Spanish lessons a week ago to say hi to Diana and Roberto (my hosts). That put me right about at 10:45... which was always break time at the school, so I made a quick stop there as well to say hi to the teachers (and the students, since it was the same ones who were there while I was).

Goodbyes said, I headed to Autozone yet again. Scored a parking spot right in front of the door, put the bike up on the center stand, and started wrenching. Refilled the coolant, and while I was reassembling a few parts from that job, a boy - maybe 8 years old - came over and asked if I needed help. He helped me put a few bolts back on, and gave me his take on the oil situation, and then when I went inside to ask about something, disappeared (still have all my money as far as I know...). I managed to replace a screw which had apparently been lost (not a super important one), and stumbled through a conversation in Spanish where I learned that Autozone won't recycle your old oil, so I had to go to Walmart for that.

So down the road I went, and I stumbled through another conversation in Spanish trying to describe what I wanted (which was "just an oil pan and a place to dump the oil"), before a guy who spoke a little English came in and helped a bit with the translation. Once we established that I was changing my oil myself and that I had a motorcycle, not a car, they let me pull it into the garage for some shade and gave me a little plastic container to drain it into.

I started getting my tools out, and almost immediately one of the guys slid under the bike and started taking care of the change. He pulled the plug, drained it, got a funnel, and then got a bottle to measure how much we were putting in. After pouring a bunch in, we fired it up quickly to see where it was at, and I was finally able to see the level - so I think it was just too low before (or I hadn't checked it on the center stand, perhaps?).

Left is the guy who helped with the oil change, and middle is the translator
Errands finally done, I headed out. One of the reasons I was okay with giving up on my plans to hit Bahia in one day was because I wanted to do a detour to La Bufadora - which was totally worth it. I had heard good things about it, and while it had a bit of a tourist trap feel (shops selling ponchos and trinkets and blankets with American football team logos on them), it was really cool to see.

One of the smaller splashes at La Bufadora - that water behind me is spraying up from about 30 or 40 feet below the wall I'm sitting on. A couple times I got rained on pretty good by it, and today was a low surf day.
After making my way out to the site itself, I wandered back towards the shops, and eyed one that I'd seen on the way out. A variety of clams around, and a grill with a little concoction inside some opened up clams. A family in front of me ordered and joked with the cook, and then ordered something that the cook called "Mexican Viagra" - which turned out to just be half a raw clam with some clamato, lime juice, and hot sauce poured into the shell, and then you just slurp the whole thing down. I talked with the family for a little bit - one of the guys spoke very good English, so he spoke English to me and I spoke as much Spanish as I could, switching to English only to ask how to say a word in Spanish. He ended up buying me some "Mexican Viagra" for the road - "in case you meet a pretty Mexican girl later today."

As this was going on, I watched the other cook make one of the concoctions on the grill... she opened up a clam, and then added some tomatoes, onions, cilantro, cheese, shrimp, and 3 different sauces, and then tossed it on the grill. That sold me, so I ordered one - and because errands had kept me so busy, this was actually my first food all day:

Good food and a good view

After that, I finally headed south around 2pm. The ride was pretty uneventful, though the scenery was really good. From a guy herding goats down the side of a road to a guy in a bright yellow souped up Japanese car pulling donuts, from mountain roads marked "zona curva" to straight roads through vineyards; it varied quite a bit.

I ended up arriving at my intended destination (San Quintin) right around sunset, so it turned out to be a good thing that I didn't plan on going farther. I splurged and picked up a hotel room (for $18.50) since there were no hostels in this tiny town and I didn't feel like setting up camp in the dark.

I'm feeling better about the bike now. As long as the battery holds up, and the low oil/coolant were a one-time thing and not a regular leak or something, it seems to be running well.

As much as I said before that the trip has started, or it was starting to feel real... I think today was really it. The same way in the U.S. trip that it didn't feel real until I got out of the Midwest (because I'd been to all those cities already), Ensenada didn't feel like a real trip - I've visited there for weekends a few times over the last few years, and then I spent two weeks there before going back to San Diego, so it mostly just felt like another short trip. But now... now the countryside looks different, the people are different (and speak a little less English), there's no more McDonald's and Starbucks around... now it feels official.


  1. Am I the only one who cannot see the pictures? I get a 403 error: forbidden.

    1. Hmm I'm not seeing them now either. Will fix it when I get good Internet again.