International Mini-Getaway on My F700gs BMW Motorcycle

Puerto Nuevo: a Short Mexico BMW Motorcycle Ride to a Lobster Lunch

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One of the best parts of living on an outpost at the corner of the country is that there’s an entirely new country to explore, just right there. Baja, Mexico is gorgeous, and it’s so easy to navigate on a motorcycle. The epic waits at the border are mitigated by being able to split lanes to the front of the line, shaving three to five hours from the end of the day.

I had an entire afternoon with nothing to do, and I reached out to the right fellow adventurer. His suggestion was, “let’s go to Mexico!” That sounded like a wonderful idea. Lobster was in season, and a ride down for an amazing lunch sounded like an excellent plan.

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Since it was getting close to lunchtime, we decided to turn straight south and returning the long way with happily full bellies. Well, -I- decided that. He had another idea.

We left San Diego just before noon, crossing the border at Tijuana and promptly got lost right across the border. Huge signed pointed south to Ensenada, and my companion started leading us east to Tecate. Perhaps we should have consulted one another a little more carefully before leaving the country? We reoriented south and started riding through the surface streets in Tijuana. The street grading is less standard there, and I spent a few shaky minutes trying to navigate the relatively new, relatively heavy BMW F700gs from a dead stop up and around a steeply up-sloping hairpin u-turn.

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This is one of the simplest and most noticeable cultural differences between Mexico and the United States: people in Mexico are completely willing to gawk at someone doing something out of the ordinary; in the US we are really jaded. In this instance, it meant that traffic came to a halt and about a hundred people watched with baited breath to see if I was going to make it up the hill or dump my new, fancy bike all the way down an asphalt slope, scraping the crap out of it all the way down. If I needed extra incentivizing to get it together, the threat of public humiliation was it.

I made it up. Like a champ. Like it was easy. Like I was born to it.

This was all a show of bravado: five hundred yards away I pulled over and had a mini, belated heart-attack, of course.

ANYway, once THAT was done, wending our way to the coast and the cuota (toll) road was pretty intuitive, and the hour-and-a-half rice was beautiful, with big, vast views of coastal bluffs and big surf.

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Puerto Nuevo
is between Rosarito Beach and Ensenada, and it’s a town made up almost entirely of lobster restaurants. Nearly all of them are named “Ortega’s”, making meeting friends there a little logistically tricky. I usually go to whatever restaurant has the most patrons, as I figure the food will be freshest there. Split, grilled langosta lobster (the local kind without the huge claws of the Maine lobster), beans, rice, homemade tortillas, salsa, chips, and cerveza; a meal in Puerto Nuevo is a perfect mini-vacation.

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We explored the teensy town for a few minutes, checking out the stalls and booths before hitting the road again. Opting for a change in scenery, we headed east along Highway 2, the connector between Ensenanda and Tecate that winds through the Guadelupe Valley. This area is becoming famous for wineries ranging from backyard, family businesses to internationallly-renown, large-scale operations. Almost all of them offer tours and tastings, but this trip was going to be too short for us to do anything but enjoy the scenery on passing.

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The Tecate border usually has a pretty quick wait, especially on two wheels. I always love twisting along Highway 94 through Jamul and back into San Diego, as well.

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The route:
Interstate 805 South to the border, getting lost in Tijuana to Cuota 1, stopping at Puerto Nueva, continuing towards Ensenada, East on Cuota 2, crossing into the US at Tecate, Old Highway 94 to Interstate 94, ending up in San Diego. (140 miles and 3 hours) of fun and beauty, a great afternoon micro-vacation.

What’s your favorite micro-vacation?
I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

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3 Responses

  1. KVN says:

    I’ve really enjoyed the San Diego back country. Just filing the tank and let the day happen as it will. This usually turns into a hundred mile loop somewhere near yet far. That’s what I love about our regen, the back roads are near and feel far away.
    Safe travels.

  2. Stuart Watson says:

    I really enjoyed reading of that ride and viewing the photos.

  3. Terri Androvics says:

    Looks like amazing scenery 😀 I love my f700 gs, same colour as yours …takes me anywhere! Put 60,000 on my f650 but wanted a quicker, sleeker model…great photos!!!

I'd love to hear what you think!