Day 6: Jan 2, 2003
Campo Miramar to Stalton Sea (369mi total, 27mi unpaved)

Today I rode the remaining 27 miles of unpaved road to Puertecitos. After a refreshing sleep, I was able to relax and concentrate better, and I was going much faster on the dirt road because of it - 30-40mph instead of 15-25mph yesterday.

unpaved road to Puertecitos - dusty bike and Gulf

unpaved road to Puertecitos - bike on road, green bushes

unpaved road to Puertecitos - bike on road

The road from Puertecitos to San Felipe was more or less paved. I was glad to be on my motorcycle because I could find the little bit of paved road between all the potholes.

There was a salt flat (``Laguna Salada'') along Mex. Route 5 between San Felipe and Mexicali. Although the desert in Mexico has little vegetation and altitude variation compared to a forest or pasture, the salt lake makes you realize how much it has. All the way to the horizion, there's not more than an inch of elevation variation, and no vegetation or animals were visible on the salt flats.

Laguna Salada on Mex 5 - looking out on the salt flats

Laguna Salada on Mex 5 - crackling salt

Laguna Salada on Mex 5 - bike by salt flats

I stopped for dinner in Mexicali, which seemed to be much more of a ``real'' Mexican city, rather than the tourist trap city of Ensenada and the villages that cater towards the American traveler.

I had to wait in hour to cross the border back into the United States. As I was waiting in line, several people advised me to lane split to the front of the line. I didn't see any motorcycles in line, so I didn't have any example to follow. I didn't mind waiting and didn't want to piss off any other people waiting who might not be as understanding, so I just stuck it out. When I finally got to the border, the guard had me turn off my motorcycle and he asked me a few questions like where I had been and when I had entered Mexico. The interesting thing is that he didn't ask to see any paperwork, and he only made my open my tank bag briefly. He looked at my license plate and then waved me through.

Through my entire journey in Mexico, I wasn't asked to produce a single piece of documentation ever - not my passport, not my tourist card, not my drivers license, not my motorcycle registration. Even when I was stopped at military checkpoints when traveling north in Baja, they never asked for documentation, they just wanted to know where I was coming from and going to. Certainly convenient.

Even though it was well after dark, I wanted to get as far north as I could. I couldn't make it to the camp site I intended, when I was exhausted I passed by a site by Stalton Sea and so I camped there. Here I got my first taste of camping at a big campsite with lots of other people. Not very fun. I enjoyed my night alone in the freezing rain much more. At least it's inexpensive.

camping at Salton Sea - tent and tree

camping at Salton Sea - campsite

Next: Day 7 Stalton Sea to Las Vegas, NV

Day 1 San Francisco to Los Padres National Park
Day 2 Los Padres to Lancaster, CA
Day 3 Lancaster to Ensenada, Baja
Day 4 Ensenada to Cataviña
Day 5 Cataviña to Campo Miramar
Day 6 Campo Miramar to Stalton Sea, CA
Day 7 Stalton Sea to Las Vegas, NV
Day 8 Las Vegas to Death Valley National Park
Day 9 Death Valley to Minden, NV
Day 10 Minden to San Francisco