In November 2015 Mike Henshaw and I took a ride to Baja with an overnight stay at Maria Navarro’s Hostel Sauzal, six miles north of Ensenada. Mike was riding his 475 pound Triumph Tiger 800XC and I was on my 350 pound Top Gun DR644. In our opinion here at Top Gun any motorcycle that weighs more than 300 pounds is not a real dirt capable motorcycle, but my properly set up DR644TG does pretty well.
After a good night’s sleep at the hostel, we enjoyed breakfast and good conversation with Maria. Then Mike and I headed north on Mexico Highway 3, stopping in the little town of San Antonio de Las Minas for a second breakfast at Restaurant Correcaminos (the Roadrunner Restaurant). After some great Mexican food Mike proposed doing a 60 mile loop in the mountains. The route would have 35 miles of dirt, some of which would be in bad shape due to recent heavy rains and no grading.
We left our heavy stuff in the corner of the restaurant and took off for La Mision near the coast. Immediately after turning on to the dirt road that runs from La Mision to the Valle de Guadalupe, we stopped and aired down our tires before heading into the mountains. Understanding that there are no octogenarian dirt riders, I fully expected to ride a slower pace than Mike and to help him pick up his ADV Triumph at least once, as we traveled over the worst parts of the rocky rutted road.
Boy, what a shock I had! Not only did Mr. Henshaw establish a pace that kept me out of his dust, but he “cleaned” the whole thing on his semi-knobby shod monster ADV Triumph triple without so much as a bobble. Now the Triumph triple is an excellent motorcycle but when you consider its 24.3º rake and 3.8” of trail steering numbers, excessive (un-dirt bike like) weight, and high center of gravity, it’s absolutely amazing what Mike was able to do out there in the dirt. He made me his fan in just one dirt ride.
Don’t get me wrong; despite being in his mid-fifties, Mike is gold-plated proof that one who starts riding dirt bikes in his early teens and continues doing so throughout his life can go just about anywhere over any surface on anything that is equipped with an engine and two wheels. Good show Mr. Henshaw!
After hitting the pavement again in Valle Guadalupe we headed south to the Pemex station in San Antonio for air and gas before returning to Restaurant Correcaminos for a tasty lunch. Once we’d refueled our bikes and bodies, Mike and I headed north on Highway 3 to Tecate and the border crossing and then east bound on State Highway 94 en route to our respective homes.
Mike, thank you for the great two day 260 mile ride! And Pauline thanks you for the extra liter of Kahlua, to spice up her morning coffee