Riding with the Wind
You’re astride a Honda XR250, tucked in, heart in your mouth as you go flat out across a dried lakebed in the Baja—then one of the other riders zips past you! No, you’re not riding in the Baja 500 or 1000. You’re on a motorcycle adventure trip that takes you from town streets over sand, down dry washes, up mountains, across deserts, and across dry lake bottoms. When you’re on the all-inclusive Baja Adventure tour with Chris Haines Motorcycle Adventure Company, speeds range from slow in the more technical areas to as fast as you want to push your machine.
The trip originates in San Diego, California. You’ll go by van to Ensenada, Mexico, and spend 3 days riding off-road bikes approximately 500 miles (805km) through Baja, Mexico, partly on the Baja 1000 course. Longer trips are also available, which can provide the opportunity to see the Sierra de San Francisco rock art. The equipment, meals along the way, and scenery are all first-rate.
Haines, your guide, won the Baja 1000 more than a dozen times, but you don’t have to be a racer to enjoy this trip. Groups are made up of novices, intermediates, and expert riders. Outriders from the company help beginners through tricky areas and ensure the headcount is correct at the end of the day. Support vehicles carry gear, spare parts, and equipment.
Another company, Elite Motorcycle Adventures, runs day trips and point-to-point trips through some of the most beautiful country in the western United States. Trips leaving from Moab, Utah, take you through canyons past natural arches and old homestead cabins, along rivers, and through the red sandstone country. The company’s Barlett Slickrock Tour takes you over age-hardened sandstone and provides a unique opportunity to test the limits of your riding skills. The Dubinky Desert Trail ride will leave you awestruck by the beauty of parts of Utah that relatively few have seen. Elite will take novice and expert racers on their tours, providing separate guides based upon rider ability. For touring trips there are numerous companies. Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Holidays in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, provides guided tours through western Canada and the western United States. Ayres Adventure Travel, based in Plano, Texas, offers tours in the United States, Alaska, Africa, Canada, Europe, South American and New Zealand.
Chris Haines Motorcycle Adventure Company ( 866/262-8635; www.bajaoffroadtours.com). Elite Motorcycle Adventures (435/259-7621; www.elitemotorcycletours.com). Ayres Adventures ( 877/275-8238; www.ayresadventures.com). Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Holidays ( 888/299-5534; rockymtnmoto.com).
When to Go: Sept–May for Baja; Mar–Nov for Utah.
San Diego International Airport, Canyon Lands Field.
In general, tour companies make lodging arrangements.