Chapter 2: Baja Bound

When last I posted, my NC700X, Aerostich, and Sidi boots were parked at my brother’s house in Southern California while I returned to Portland to drive a cab and save up some money. Riding around Baja had become a repeating thought, but perhaps on a grittier dual sport bike.

Between trips, I crashed at Mom’s and friends’ homes, dog-cat-and-house sat, and drove a cab to save a bit of money. I didn’t have a home, yet was getting cagey about being in one place for so long without a motorcycle.

My poker face needs work.

A friend was selling his well-adventured DR650 with side cases, an upgraded seat, larger tank, and other farkles so he could buy a WR250R. I dropped by his garage one night to check it out. The previous owner was a University of Oregon ducks fan and had rattle-canned the bike and cases a now-peeling green and stuck golden “O” decals onto the bug-catching side of the mirrors. Half the auxiliary lights still illuminate. It was perfect!

My night vision isn’t so great, so I took it for a test ride the next day, then threw handfuls of money at my friend and took the title to the DMV soon after.

The idea was to buy it, ride it around Baja and sell it, and the price was low enough that I know I would easily get my money back if sold in Southern California. I wanted to load it into my truck and jam down I-5 to get the party started, but then I would have 2 motorcycles AND a truck to deal with relocating or selling or fixing all in California. It seemed like too much of a production.

2016-01-08 16.08.57

I dug my summer Olympia mesh gear and Rev’it rain oversuit out of storage in a friend’s basement. My helmet, gloves and a pair of boots that aren’t exactly motorcycle safe were in Portland with me. After changing the oil, cleaning and lubing the chain, I felt confident that I could load up the DR650 and ride it from Portland all the way down. My departure would be delayed a few days by wind and snow, but I eventually layered up and enjoyed a dry ride with minimal wind.

Under the mesh pants I’m wearing jeans over fleece lined leggings over Moto Skiveez over undies. My top half had a thermal shirt and two layers of Columbia Omni Heat. The rain suit would go over all these layers to block the wind as the temperature in the Siskayou Mountains was under 40°F.

People I would chat with about this adventure assumed I would take more time along the coastal roads down, but it’s cold now and I wanted to get to warmth and sunshine. I-5 south of Salem to Mount Shasta is a beautiful ride, especially in dry weather.

The trip felt real once I pulled off the highway at a viewpoint, positioned the bike and snapped a few pictures. I was exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Wipe the road grime off the lens before taking a picture, RoKo.

While working at AIMExpo and Long Beach IMS trade shows, I met the Adventure Trio, who live near Mount Shasta. I asked if they had floor space for me, and Sandy responded with delight in having me spend a night in their guest room. 377 chilly miles from Mom’s apartment in Portland, I arrived to a warm welcome at the home of Sandy, Terry & Jack. After snacks and catching up a bit, we had dinner at their friends’ home in McCloud. The next morning, Terry told me about a GPS app called which they used on their phones while traveling on their motorcycles around South America. He also sold me some pesos and we talked about their adventures, our mutual experiences, and the weirdness of being “home”.

Sometime after breakfast, I showered, packed and prepared my DR650 for another 300 mile ride to the Bay Area. The Adventure Trio and I snapped a couple of pictures and off I went!

Thanks Adventure Trio!


This trip would not have been possible without the generosity of my friends, family, and community. Thanks to:

Mom for letting me occupy your living room floor for a month and store too many boxes of crap in your laundry room while grumbling at the television programs you were trying to watch.

Erin & Joe for letting me crash for 2 months (and Cash Dog for walking me).

Adventure Trio for your hospitality, valuable information, and selling some pesos.

Noah & Charlie at Radio Cab for helping me earn a bit of money.

EJ for selling this stellar bike at the right time for the right price.

Vic for helping me with moto maintenance, giving me bits and pieces, shuttling me around and dinners.

Jack for the gifted Rotopax and hardware.

Emily and Zach for letting me store my stuff & truck at your house.

Friends for helping me get house sitting gigs.

Sean for the Moto Skiveez  (they saved my tush!)

Everyone who still prefers to take a Radio Cab in Portland, especially those who tipped me profusely when hearing their money would buy mas tacos pescados y frio cervezas!

You for caring enough to read this.


2 thoughts on “Chapter 2: Baja Bound

  1. Sounds like you are off to a good start on an epic adventure! There is something about traveling that fills the soul. I think it’s the thought of adventure. When I travel nursed there was always an adventure into new territory that was thrilling.


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