Baja Travails

From the editor (Pat Rose):

As I’ve been looking through Elden’s archives on motorcycles and pistols, there have been a few surprises. A good case in point is an article written by Elden for the Feb/March 2000 issue of Dual Sport News. He was a regular contributor to the publication in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.

Most of this one page article covers topics like KLR650 valve adjustment procedure, sprocket replacement technique and simplifying the removal of the rear shock absorber using the Ron Jensen method.

But “Baja Travails” in the right hand column is the one that really caught my eye, so I decided to post it here for our readers. I also found an illustration for the story – a nicely rendered pencil sketch done by artist Glenn Collins, which shows Elden’s 72 year old wife Pauline throwing rocks at the bull after having vaulted off the motorcycle.

Baja Travails

Pauline and I, on our KLR650, along with Joe Carpenter and Rod Morris on DR350’s, just got back from southern Baja. This particular biannual trip turned out to be our most perilous.

While passing an 18-wheeler on a narrow paved mountain road, the truck driver decided to pass someone in front of him. With two smoking tires and a foot to spare at the corner of the trailer, I barely avoided going into a concrete ditch.

While riding too fast through a ranch, a large gray horse decided to cross in front of me. I started to brake and just as I thought all was well he made a hard right and decided to drag race me. The horse managed to reach 25 mph before I locked up my two wheels and got down to plus or minus 25 mph. I won’t say we were close, but I could count the nails in his rear hooves!

The third incident involved a bull blocking the road up the side of a mountain. Rod Morris got by him but pissed him off. The bull then charged Joe Carpenter who ended up on his left side. When Pauline and I came onto the scene the bull had decided to not let anyone up the mountain. At this point I proved that bovine creatures are not always dumber than Homo sapiens.

I decided to try to spook him so I ran into his space revving up my engine and honking my horn. He at first turned away and then changed his mind. My 72 year old athletic wife leaped off the pad clearing the tool bag just an instant before the bull crashed into the bike’s headlight. Fortunately he didn’t hook with his horns and was satisfied with one hit. Other than pushing me back two or three feet he did little else but bend the KLR’s fairing and headlight brackets badly. The plastic cover on the headlight saved the lens.

Baja is a wonderful place where motorcycles have more freedom and respect than in our country but one should always ride prudently. At age 65 I should know better – especially after 26 years of riding in Baja.