Baja Dirt Bike Riding in the 1970’s: Fill ‘er up!

My friend and excellent dirt bike rider, Alan Dietor, and I began riding in Baja in 1974 when the roads were almost all dirt. There were far fewer people in those days and very little traffic except in the larger cities like Tijuana, Ensenada, and La Paz, which we avoided. We made an exception for Ensenada, which was a great place to stay overnight because it was on the coast and yet near the mountains, and offered good motels and restaurants. In short, Al and I rode Baja in the peak years of the 1970’s when you could travel almost anywhere on challenging dirt roads. It was even acceptable to pass through huge private ranches as long as you closed the gates behind you.

The only principal improvement in Baja these days is the quality of the fuel dispensed by plenty of modern gas stations which pump clean regular or premium fuel into your motorcycle fuel tank. In the 70’s you often bought fuel out of an old gallon milk jug, which in turn was refilled from a 50 gallon drum. Plenty of opportunity for dirt to enter the process.

Gas Pump at Independencia, 1970’s

The fuel was a very low grade gasoline called NOVA, which was jokingly referred to as