Guest Post: Mulegé Mike : My Favorite Ride
Mike Colyar is out on the trails so often, he’s become our unofficial trail scout here in the Mulege area. Who better to ask for a favorite ride? If you’re lucky, you may be here on a day there’s a group ride; a mix of Jeeps, Land Cruisers, and bikes, often leaving from Daniel Bukovecz’s Automotive and motorcycle shop at the north end of town on the highway. You can follow Mike (handle Gulliver) on the Baja Nomad forum.
The other day I found Mike hanging out at Daniel Bukovecz’s Automotive and motorcycle shop on the highway at the very north end of Mulegé.
You can have a great time motorcycling Baja. Maybe renting a Harley with a support van. Maybe a hardcore off road week covering most of the peninsula without seeing much of the pavement. These extremes get a lot of attention but there is a middle ground of easy riding in beautiful places down lonely dirt roads.
Don’t get me wrong. You can find yourself a few miles from help if you break down but it’s safe and fun. Pick the right roads and the right riding buddies and there is no place in the world quite like it.
I live in Mulegé, about two-thirds of the way down Baja. I throw a sack lunch in my backpack on sunny mornings (there is no other) and head into the hills. I ride a medium-sized 350 Suzuki that I can pick up if I make a mistake. Modern bikes are so reliable that breakdowns any more severe than a flat tire are almost unheard of. You are very seldom far from a rancho and it is rare to stop for more than a few minutes without hearing a goat.
There is almost no single track riding in Baja Sur. With few exceptions the roads are used regularly by the ranchers. There is lots of loose rock. Some occasional sand. But more often it is just one beautiful scene after another. Bring your camera and start early to get the morning light on the Sierra.
My favorite ride is to the west from town. About twenty-five miles of mixed riding. Lots of places to stop, stretch your legs, and take pictures. The first ten miles are flat Sonoran desert with all sorts of confusing intersections. Take a wrong one and you will soon find yourself at some small rancho with a farm wife ready to set you on the right path.
As you ride across this flat country you see the mountains ahead. It looks impossible. Like some scene from a movie about a lost world. Enormous mesas with no obvious way through. But soon you are winding your way through one narrow canyon after another. Passing the occasional small goat or cattle ranch as the rock walls rise above you.
Finally you reach the narrow spot. The cliffs close in and there, at a shady turn in the road, is a ranch. How they survive the occasional flash flood is a marvel.
The road climbs steeply and within a couple of miles you are at the high point of the ride where the water begins to flow towards the Pacific Ocean miles to the West. There are several ponds worth stopping for and perhaps it is a good time for a snack and some hydration. In the mornings it is cool but the afternoons can be hot. There are fish in these pools and dragonflies. Always a buzzard or a hawk above. If you are very lucky you will see a rattlesnake crossing the road. Beautiful animals. I have seen rarer creatures like a Coatimundi.
From here to the turnaround is only a few miles. A winding road with the views opening up as the Raymundo Canyon tempts you to ride on and on. At the intersection you are invited to go to interesting places like Estanislau or La Ballena. We can go there another day on longer rides to the Pacific coast or further up other canyons.
Slow down. Meet the people and their animals. You will be back.