On Oct. 4 a group of 24 determined dirt bikers and their 20-person strong support crew embarked on what, for many of them, was the adventure of a lifetime. Over the course of eight grueling days they zigzagged across the Baja California peninsula in an attempt to ride from the U.S.-Mexican border all the way to Land’s End in Cabo San Lucas. Here’s a play by play of what happened on the first day of the trip.
Ensenada to Santo Tomas to Erendira
Day 1 of the 2012 Rip To Cabo was essentially a shake down day–a day to get on the bikes and give them a quick mechanical test before the real riding began. It was a warm day in Northern Baja, minus the lingering fog and cool onshore breezes often associated with the area.
This year’s ride included 11-time Baja 1000 champ Johnny Campbell, world champion surfer Sunny Garcia, off-road racer and trip organizer Cameron Steele, three-time world record holding distance jumper Trigger Gumm, professional FMXer Ryan Hagy, and a collection of off-road and dirt bike enthusiasts from all walks of life–from turbo builders to firemen to car dealers to everything in between.
The mood was positive, overall, with the newbies (aka Fresh Fish) a bit apprehensive, and the vets determined to overcome all the obstacles they knew would come their way eventually. After a quick taco lunch in Ensenada, the group rallied in the tiny wine country town of Santo Tomas, started their bikes for the first time and hit the road traveling south.
The riders exited Highway 1, then took a short ride along the coast before reaching a technical hill climb, which was the only real challenge of the day. There were a few falls on the hill climb, with guys ditching their bikes on the first day–probably not a great move considering there were seven more days of riding and nearly 1,400 miles to go.
All 24 riders took the curving, graded road into Erendira just before sunset. The little hamlet of Erendira is home to Coyote Cal’s, which would serve as base camp on the first night of the trip. Cal’s was rustic to say the least, with nearly everyone packed four to a room on two bunks. The location and the food made up for the accommodations, however, and the 180-degree view was spectacular. At lights out, though, we all knew Day 2 would be a very different day.
Group shot in Santo Tomas. Photo: K. Ward
Erendira sunset at Coyote Cal’s. Photo: N. Goss