Finding it too difficult to fill us in on one full year of touring into one or two pages – with biker duo Alex Wong and Allyson Yik visiting too many unforgettable places and finding it challenging having to recollect all the events that took place, this issue’s spotlight on their travels concentrates on one part of their tour to Mexico spanning two out of a total of 12 months spent touring that country.
The adventure to Baja California, Mexico takes place as our adventurous biker couple closes in on the Mexico border on the heels of a cool winter.
Braving the cold winds, even colder rain and sometimes snow, the destination ahead was nothing less than sunny Mexico.
Recalling the trip which required extensive planning way back in December 2013 when Mexico was labelled as a dangerous country as painted by the world press – it being in the news for all the wrong reasons due namely to the Mexican army being at “war: with many drug cartels and reports of killings besides its infamous high crime rate, our biker couple proceeded to visit Mexico with care. “Our perception of Mexico as a dangerous country was also influenced by the people we met in the US and Canada during our five months on the road as we were warned to avoid travelling in Mexico by almost everyone we met including police officers and even the American-born Mexicans of the dangers awaiting us in Mexico,” recalls Alex Wong.
He adds that at best, only a minority few suggested that they ride across Mexico with no delay.
Acknowledging that all the negativity surrounding their safety saw him being a bit concern and hence, instead of heading straight to the border, they both decided to stay a few days in Phoenix, Arizona. This is because the city is just a day’s drive from the US Mexico borderWhile at Phoenix, I asked everyone I met including speaking to the people at the Mexico Consulate to check out how unsafe Mexico is. I also enquired as to which is the safest border to exit the US in order to cross into Mexico. Based on what I discovered, my conclusion was that the safest border crossing is situated at San Luis, Arizona in the US into Mexico via San Luis Rio Colorado, Sanora.
Thereafter, the plan was to head on to Ensenada locate in the state of Baja California which constitutes a day ride from the border,” he recalls.
Having decided on the border crossing, the couple had a further three nights in Yuma enabling them to cross over into Mexico via San Luis Rio Colarado for a day visit there. The day visit would prepare them for Mexico as it is a Spanish speaking country – a language they aren’t able to converse as they wanted to anticipate what to expect and experience minimum delay at the border as their plan was to reach Ensenada before nightfall as this is one of their safety rules avoiding travelling in the dark. Exiting the US proved easy as they only needed to stamp their passports without any custom check. Similarly, their entry into Mexico was smooth – assisted by the helpful and friendly immigration and custom officers that day. Unlike Canada and the US, they had to pay a deposit of USD400 (RM1,708) for their motorcycle, of which the sum was refundable upon exiting Mexico. And, in less than an hour – they were on their way riding off to Ensenada, Baja California.
Their senses being engaged in high alert, as soon as they exited San Luis Rio Colorado, they drove unhurried to Ensenada plying the route on Highway 2. With each passing km, their anxiety of danger dipped lower as they passed through army road blocks, witnessing many army and police patrol cars on the road. After four hours on the road, they finally arrived in Ensenada – a beautiful city on the Pacific Coast.
A Beautiful Life At Baja California
Baja California is a peninsula. In fact, it one of the longest peninsulas in the world with the majestic Pacific located on the West fringed by the beautiful and calm Sea of Cortez in the East. The plan was to journey along the 1,700km stretch from San Luis Rio Colorado to La Paz which is located on the southern tip of the peninsular. However, the couple ended up staying two months instead of in an amazing place peppered with dramatic landscape and seascape filled with memories of friendly locals and sincere hospitality. So much so that in Baja California, the duo found themselves really blessed to celebrate their first Christmas, New Year and Lunar New Year in the Americas spent in the company of new made friends. The couple also managed to squeeze in some amazing experience detailed below.
Having A Whale of A Time Whale Watching At Ojo de Libre Gunerro Negro
Some of the unforgettable magical moments saw them partake of the magic of the moment unfolding before them such as that being in Ojo de Libre where they were sitting in a local panga or boat surrounded by a school of grey whales. These magnificent grey whales have migrated more than 16,000km every winter from the Artic Sea to Ojo de Libre – a designate UNESCO World Heritage Site for their reproduction cycle and to escape the cold winter. In fact, by midMarch, between 2,500 to 3,000 grey whales will dot the area with many new of springs filling the lagoon.
Taking A Dip At Bahai Asuncion
Taking a detour from biking it out, the couple traded their driving gear for swim wear to dip in the crystal clear blue waters of the Pacific Ocean to find themselves in the company of adorable sea lions encircling them within a few feet distance away. The sea of Bahai Asuncion is aboundingly rich in seafood – hence, forming a great attraction for sea lions. The couple found themselves in an advantageous position of being served a plate of freshly caught yellowtail tuna sashimi by none other than the guesthouse owner where they can also indulge in a spot of grey whale watching as these beauties swim past even while they enjoy feasting on some freshly caught fresh tuna sashimi.
Making A Stop At Mulege
A magical place called Mulege also attracted the couple’s attention. Tucked along the coast of the Sea of Cortez – this oasis town with a population of only over 4,000 people situated in a valley blanketed with date palms was founded some 400 years ago and is still a place frozen in time in terms of retaining its customs and traditions. Basking In The Beauty of Bahia Concepcion This lovely paradise tucked 20km south of Mulege covers a bountiful bay stretching over 90km of beaches which are dotted by beautiful coves and lagoons at every corner one looks. Its delightful mirrored surface of the crystal clear shimmering Sea of Cortez is an amazement in itself.
Lounging At La Paz
This leisurely capital of Baja California Sur spans a beautiful city with an equally enthralling Malecon or Waterfront Boulevard where every day ends with an amazing show of a spectacular unrivalled sunset.
Fantastic Food Galore
Due to Baja California being situated in close proximity to the US – this popular winter getaway for its US and Canada neighbours has developed an interesting fusion of cuisine comprising Mexican, US and Canadian food. The creative locals – blessed by the bountiful fresh seafood obtained from the Pacific and the shimmering Sea of Cortez has seen the birth of Japanese sashimi, sushi and ceviche – a sort of seafood cuisine imported from Peru being added to its list of cuisine composition. Of all of these items, the biker couple’s favourite meal was roast chicken which is also a local favourite dish with every town or village here sprouting roast chicken restaurants. Tacos too are the ever popular Mexican street food. In Baja California, its bountiful seafood Shrimp Taco wins hands down for being the local favourite dish. Yummy!