Janells Solo Ride through Baja

Janells Solo Ride through Baja

December 09, 2015


Told from Janell Clarke's perspective.

Narrated Audio Blog

I left Los Barrilles on the 04 December, with my girls on board, nervous and thrilled. The alternative had been driving or flying out with Stu but I really didn't want either of those options, I wanted to continue riding in Mexico for as long as possible, even if it was more or less back the same 2000km we'd arrived from Tijuana. Mexico is a beautiful country where I always felt safe and welcome. I had a really nice send off from everyone staying at Chris's place then I was off with my dogs. It was a beautiful sunny day and I settled in to riding quickly. I was determined to enjoy the ride, I didn't want to rub it in Stu's face but this was an opportunity for some girl time and to run everything at my pace including stopping for photos whenever I wanted.

Chris, Paige & Stu's Farewell
Chris, Paige & Stu's Farewell
Janell & the Girls ready to ride
Janell & the Girls ready to ride

The route was fairly straightforward, I stayed on the main road through Baja. I knew places to camp from our trip south and my friends in Los Barriles had arranged accommodation one of the nights with Martha and Kurt of Black Dog Cycleworks. I hadn't met Martha and Kurt before but had heard of them and their company that makes motorcycle accessories. They were from the US but mostly living near Mulege with their home a few steps from the Bay. They also had a super friendly black labrador called Libby. When I arrived at their place I was welcomed with Margarita's and Ceviche. It was so good, Margarita's are hands down my favourite drink.

Black Dog Cycle Works
Black Dog Cycle Works
Weeti and Shadow on the Sea of Cortez
Weeti and Shadow on the Sea of Cortez

The journey continued smoothly with perfect riding weather. A truck accident stopped traffic for a while one day, I felt so grateful to be observing the situation and not involved. The Police were doing a good job getting it sorted quickly so traffic could continue moving.

Truck accident
Truck accident
A hotel stop on route
A hotel stop on route

We stayed in hotels most nights that we'd used on our way down. They had no problem with the dogs being in the room with me. I'd taken both sleeping bags so I could zip them together and we could all climb in. I didn't draw much attention, only at one restaurant did a man come and have a chat about my Pillion Pooch. He was on his motorbike with homemade panniers and a topbox for his dog. He mostly rode around his town like this, the dog definitely enjoyed riding.

Another biker dog
Another biker dog
Photo Opportunity
Photo Opportunity

My only real fear being on my own was a breakdown because I didn't have a phone and I certainly didn't have internet so I couldn't contact anyone. Then on day 4 my motorbike died on me. I checked my GPS and I was a long way from any town. The terrain was fairly flat so I pushed the motorbike a safe distance away from the road, got Weeti and Shadow off to stretch their legs and go to the toilet and then began pulling the motorbike apart. Nothing obvious was jumping out at me. A few cars and motorbikes passed me but nobody stopped, a thought the bikers would and were surprised that they didn't even wave. Then two guys on bicycles turned off the road and came over to say hi and see if everything was okay. They were really nice and really funny as you can see from the pose they chose in my photo, pretending to me Cactus. I explained what happened and they suggested it might be an electrical issue. They had a poke around, pushed and pulled a few things and then we had a go at starting it and she fired up just fine. We had a chat, I put my bike back together and we were all on our merry way again. I was so thankful to those two young gentlemen, even if the bike hadn't started again, to have had some company and talk through the problem was really comforting.

My bicycle friends
My bicycle friends
Yummy Mexican food
Yummy Mexican food

Day five we made it to the border and had a very smooth border crossing into the US. Stu was staying in San Diego with my cousin Kim and they were both not expecting me until the next day. I rode up Kim's driveway, parked up and walked in the house with the dogs to find Stu, very surprised but very happy to see me. I was feeling over the moon, it wasn't an epic trip but I'd managed it just with my girls and really enjoyed the ride. It was the first time I realised that I really wanted to be riding around the world, for so long I had thought I was only doing it for Stu and just making the most of it. But I was really happy to have the Pack back together and now I could get excited about Christmas.

Mexico USA Border Crossing
Mexico USA Border Crossing
Drinks with my Cuz Kim
Drinks with my Cuz Kim


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Are you a Dog Person?
Do you Love to Ride?

Click below for more information on how you can take your best friend along on your next biking adventure

Also in Dog Blog

Pet Movement through Southern Africa
Pet Movement through Southern Africa

July 27, 2017

We'd had issues entering South Africa from Namibia due to the dogs, but it was easy enough to overcome. What was needed was an animal import permit. Once issued this document could be used to import an animal into any of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) countries and was valid for 30 days. Getting the animal import permit in Namibia had been straight forward. We visited the state vet near the South African border and they checked our paperwork and produced the permit on the spot. But our stay in South Africa had extended beyond the 30 days, which meant we'd need a new permit to continue travelling through the customs union. Obtaining the permit in South Africa proved to be a little more bureaucratic than Namibia. We visited a local vet who explained that they would normally conduct a preliminary examination and then send off the documents to Johannesburg for the permit with a turnaround time of up to 3 weeks. The local vet suggested that if we had time we could walk the doc...

Read More

Vineyards & Wildlife, South Africa
Vineyards & Wildlife, South Africa

July 25, 2017

We spent two fantastic months in South Africa. But it almost didn't happen, sorting out paperwork problems for the dogs took us three attempts to cross from Namibia into South Africa. Tensions were high for two very important reasons. Firstly, we'd sent Janell's motorbike ahead to Pretoria after its breakdown in northern Namibia. And secondly, Janell's mother (Pauline) was flying into Cape Town on 11 June to spend 5 weeks travelling with us. So we needed to cross into South Africa one way or another. The most direct route to Janell's motorbike in Pretoria was via the Ariamsvlei Border Crossing. We arrived at the border and started processing our checkout of Namibia and then into South Africa. We were almost through when the customs official asked us for the Animal Movement Permits for the girls. We didn't know what they were and simply showed the EU PETS Passports. The official explained that we should have obtained the permit in Namibia before attempting to cross the border, we beg...

Read More

Namibia
Namibia

May 24, 2017

The Republic of Namibia reminded us of central Australia. There is so much untouched country, desert left to the animals that can survive there.  It was the first time in Africa we really felt remote, away from people and infrastructure. Namibia is a large country but with only a small population of 3 million yet it's in a better economic situation than its northern neighbour Angola. I think what we enjoyed so much was the 'western' luxuries in towns and cities but then being able to leave those behind to be in the wild. The best of both worlds. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Namibia, even with the breakdowns we experienced. Welcome to Namibia Elephant Poo We did a lot of camping in Namibia and we seemed to have the campsites to ourselves. Using iOverlander for recommendations/reviews we chose campsites set up near known waterholes where wild animals would frequent at certain times of the year. We were again on the lookout for elephants. There were plenty of road signs indicat...

Read More