Brass Monkey 2004
by Joe Russo, Jr.    

2/10/2004.  We left Tucson at 9:00 a.m. and spent the night in Jacumba, CA, population 500.  While we were in Jacumba we saw the border patrol chase down a pick up truck at high speed with 16 illegals inside, using helicopters, dogs, unmarked cars, etc.  The Jacumga Hotel has mineral and hot spring pools.  There were eight of us at the hotel including two sidecar rigs.

     2/11/2004.  We left Jacumba at 7:15 and headed towards Tecate, 30 miles away.  Tecate is a lot smaller and easier to cross into Mexico than TJ.  We got our paperwork and traveled to El Rosario with the same group.  While in El Rosario we stayed at the Hotel right by Mama Espinoza’s, a famous seafood restaurant that has been there for seventy years.    


2/12/2004.  Leaving at 6:15 we had a full day of traveling putting on 400 miles before spending the night in Mulege’.  The Pemex station is still closed in Catavina so they had two guys selling gas out of 55 gallon drums.  It’s 3 dollars a gallon and the man says “it’s premio”.  It’s 225 miles from El Rosario to Guerro Negro and the Baja is not a good place to run out of gas!  It was the same four years ago when we came down.

     Friday we hung out in the morning and then went to exchange some money.  Traveler’s checks have to be cashed at a bank now and that takes time.  We went down to Jakes Place early in the afternoon and said Hello! to everyone.  About 20 of the same regulars were there to greet us.



2/14/2004.  Today is the day of the Brass Monkey dinner and we all had a good time.  After that we sat around a campfire and told stories for the rest of the night.

     2/15/2004.  After breakfast we went down to Jake’s Place to say our good bye’s.  We spent the night in GN.  It was a nice room with a king size bed for 20 dollars.

     2/16/2004.  Sherry and I are traveling by ourselves now and our plan for Monday was to go whale watching.  GN is well noted for whale watching.  It has an inlet which makes it a good calving area with calm water.  There were seven adults and two children on the boat.  Sherry and I actually got to touch the whales.  The lady guide said there were 1,200 in the inlet.


     2/17/2004.  Touching the whales was an unforgettable experience for both of us.  After a short day of 225 miles we stayed in El Rosario.  We got some tacos and ceviche tostadas at the local taqueria and picked up some beer for back at the room.  We were there about two hours and Dave, Tom and Rob showed up.  Two Canadians on bikes showed up and later on a man and his wife from Tucson showed up.  We all went to Mama’s together to eat and tell stories.

     2/18/2004.  We ran into Tom a couple of times and got some tacos in Tecate and talked for a while.  Sherry and I spent the night in El Centro and Tom and the Gods of Speed went back to Tucson, they’re always with him but you can’t see them.

     Trip Summary.  Before we left Sherry bought a book “Traveling on the Baja”.  It was very helpful with restaurants, hotels and tourist info.  We traveled 2,000 miles - 600 in the states and 1,400 on the Baja.  The bike ran great and we had a great time!


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