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Baja Bound - An Odyssey of Wonder


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#1 Tyler

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 02:15 PM

This will take some time… have patience! 

My dear friends, Sue and Scott Wade, had done trips to Baja and it was something that was on my bucket list. So when they said they were going to do a trip in March 2012 and asked if I wanted to join them, I said HELL YES!!! So the preparations began and on Friday, March 16th, I headed out in the afternoon to meet up with Geoff, Dorothy, and Curt to knock off a few miles to Santee where we would meet the group the next day.

The afternoon’s ride was a bit wet but not too bad and we arrived at the Best Western in Santa Maria, got a bit to eat, and headed to bed. The next morning dawned grey, gloomy, and wet. My camera was accidentally on the wrong setting so this photo is a bit greyer than it was… or was it?
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Our intrepid quartet geared up in multiple layers and off we went into the weather.
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It was quite an adventure just getting to Santee. On 101, near Malibu, the Spyder actually hydroplaned due to the standing water on the freeway so I moved to the slow lane and reduced speed. The others graciously waited for me to catch up and then we detoured off of 101 and along 1 through Malibu which was actually quite nice since there was no traffic this particular day.

Dorothy summed up the day’s mood quite nicely…
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After a bit of getting turned around and almost missing the group as they veered left at a freeway split (really hard to see them with the rain and spray being kicked up by all the cars), we finally arrived at the hotel in Santee where Scott, Sue, Isaac, Jim, Chris, and my dear friend, Sally Tyler (all the way from UK once again to join us!) were waiting for us in the hot tub. And so the next episode of the Sally Tyler Risk show, with special guest stars, was set to start rolling.
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We walked across the street to the local cowboy joint for dinner, Lacy’s Bar & Grill. The place was hopping with line dancing and some really impressive dancing couples. Food was great and it was nice to unwind after the day’s challenging ride down.
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The lead singer had nice, um, jeans. :D
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Isaac had taken a shine to the owner, Lacy, after he had the homemade meatloaf for dinner and chatted her up about it.
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Live simply, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly.

A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.


#2 Tyler

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 02:19 PM

Sunday morning once again dawned rainy but onward we moved after a briefing by our fearless leaders, Scott and Sue. Geoff is wondering what he’s gotten himself into...
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We crossed the border in Tecate and, as we were checking in to get our papers and passports stamped, it began to hail. Fabulous! Luckily it was short lived and we continued our soggy forward momentum. Crossing over the pass through the wine country proved to be dicey with 30-40 mph winds, sideways rain, sections of road construction. For a short while, all I could think of was “WHAT THE F*CK ARE YOU DOING?!?!?” and wondered if I would live through the day. I did.

The only gas stations in Mexico are Pemex and many are few and far between so there is a lot of traffic at those stations and it can take a while to get gassed up…
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Ninja bikers… while it didn’t rain, it was still quite cold so we stayed bundled up for most of the day…
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After making our way through Ensenada, we stopped at a small restaurant in the middle of nowhere (which seems to be where most of these places are!) and the sun started to come out and warmed our spirits. Food was great and the ambience was fun as it is a stop for many of the Baja 1000 participants. A family run business, the husband took our orders and the family cooked them right then and there.
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Lots of stuff to look at…
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Open air windows kept the birdies busy as they came to visit and see what we were up to…
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Their young daughter kept herself amused with a movie and paid no heed to the crazy gringos around her…
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Live simply, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly.

A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.


#3 SkooterG

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 02:22 PM

Cool! Cant wait for more. Trip to Cabo San Lucas 8 years ago with mi bastard step-pappy is my favorite of all time. I would like to do it again someday.

When not riding the FJR, I am a big Country-Western dancer. Last time out visiting mom in San Diego back in January I went to Lacy's for the first time. Fun place.
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#4 Tyler

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 02:22 PM

We ended up in El Rosario for our first night in Mexico at the fabulous hotel, Baja Cactus. It was the perfect place to end up after the day’s challenges, beautifully decorated, and a fantastic shower to warm up our cold tootsies, among other body parts!
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Sally did a little laundry and got creative on the drying aspect…
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Bikes were safely tucked behind a gated entrance to the parking area…
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We dined at Mama Espinosa’s which was right next door and another Baja 1000 beacon. The food was great… as was the beer!
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Sally and Dorothy…
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We sauntered back to our hotel to share a bit of tequila to celebrate surviving the day…
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Even Sue’s frog got into the act… he got into a wee bit of trouble on this trip… more on that later…
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Curt’s first night of tequila drinking…
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Next up, to San Ignacio… stay tuned!

Live simply, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly.

A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.


#5 Tyler

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 03:26 PM

The next day dawned with cloudy skies but no rain to speak of and we were on our way, spare gas cans filled (the first leg was over 200 miles and most of the bikes were tank challenged) and ready for whatever came our way. The roads in Mexico are paved but they didn’t spend any extra past the white line. The lanes are narrow, with a 1’-2’ drop on either side without many pullouts so no room for error… hence, not many photos while we were on the road. Oh, it’s also the main thoroughfare for semis which just barely fit in the lanes… let’s just say making passes was quite, um, exciting at times!!

The road was frequented by many makeshift memorials – some more “upscale” than others but it was a constant reminder of how precious life is and to make the most of it while you can…
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Many had stopped in the middle of nowhere to graffiti their words on the rocks but someone got a little bit more creative and left this happy face behind…
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There usually is someone in this small town selling gas but you can’t depend on it so we had carried our own gas to be on the safe side… today, gas hungry vehicles were in luck as “The Gas Guy” was there!
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Reminders along the way of a hearty soul/s who ventured out into the barren desert to try and make a life for themselves… many not successfully…
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Jim on his Multistrada… his bike got almost as much attention as the Spyder did as you don’t see many of either in those parts…
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I was able to get by with my rudimentary left over high school Spanish… but when I saw this sign, I knew basura meant garbage so I thought it said no tire garbage… only to be reminded that “tire” in Spanish is the action “to throw”… everyone enjoyed ribbing me for that one the rest of the trip!
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Stopped to regroup and there was a makeshift men’s room behind a concrete wall… trust me, you did NOT want to know what was back there… Chris was brave enough (or his bladder was small enough) that he ventured back there…
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The “Other Gas Guy” also was out today and Jim took advantage of the opportunity so he could rest easy…
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Our merry little band of misfits…
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Jim & Dorothy swapping some tall tales…
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We continued in to Guerrero Negro for gas and lunch… the best tacos aren’t big commercial restaurants but rather small shacks that you just pull right up to, hop out, and watch your food get cooked right then and there… and chat up the folks that run the place… it’s a very personal way to get food…
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The others went to the market and I back tracked to get this shot… I had to explain to Sally what Tecate was…
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Riding through the towns you have to be very aware of speed bumps unlike anything we have here in the states for the most part other than in a parking lot… there are warning bumps most of the time before you get the “BIG” bump and it would be wise to heed the warnings or you won’t be happy with the result!

We arrived in San Ignacio and pulled into Ignacio Springs which would be our “home” for the next three nights. If you want to visit Baja and stay somewhere really wonderful, this is the place to do it… individual yurts and cottages with AC, heating, plumbing/bathrooms, etc. The folks that run the place, Terry and Gary, are wonderful hosts. The price included a homemade breakfast each morning and for a few bucks more, they will fix you an amazing dinner feast… we took advantage of that every night and were not disappointed!

The patio outside Dorothy & Geoff’s yurt became our social gathering site each night… it was surprisingly cool for most of this trip but I didn’t mind it because it wasn’t raining!
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We kicked back, enjoyed some libations, and while waiting for dinner, were treated to an appetizer of a fabulous sunset, always a favorite of mine…
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Bellies full and bodies relaxed, we headed for our various abodes to get a good night’s rest before the next day’s adventure… whale watching which was one of the main reasons we went down there… and not only were we not disappointed, we were simply amazing, astounded, and gobsmacked… stay tuned!

Live simply, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly.

A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.


#6 Surly

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 04:27 PM

Hi Tyler,
looks like you are having a hoot. There are so many places I would like to visit, when I read posts like this the number always goes up.

Best regards
Surly
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#7 beemerdons

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 04:38 PM

Ai Tyler, I am in Motorcycle Nirvana! Only thing I like better than riding Mexico is reading about riding Mexico, you are doing a fantastic effort with this Ride Report and I will be anxiously waiting for the next installment. Muchas Gracias, mi Querida Bonita! Mi illegitimate bastard Hijo SkooterG and his Papa Chuy Viejo always stop for a fuel top off en Catavina; want to keep him in business!

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#8 Tyler

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 04:54 PM

When not riding the FJR, I am a big Country-Western dancer. Last time out visiting mom in San Diego back in January I went to Lacy's for the first time. Fun place.


Skooty, you never cease to surprise me... ;) Yeah, the folks on the dance floor were really impressive and we enjoyed watching them struttin' their stuff!

Mi illegitimate bastard Hijo SkooterG and his Papa Chuy Viejo always stop for a fuel top off en Catavina; want to keep him in business!


Yup, Papa, Catavina was the same place we stopped! I figure you're gonna be able to fill in anything I forget or get wrong since you've been there so many times! B)

Hi Tyler,
looks like you are having a hoot. There are so many places I would like to visit, when I read posts like this the number always goes up.

Best regards
Surly
:ph34r:


I know what you mean... why is it that as we mature (like a fine wine!), bucket lists get longer but time starts flying by faster... it's not fair, I tell ya!! :ph34r:

Live simply, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly.

A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.


#9 ynotride

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 05:02 PM

Loving it so far. Baja is a special place :yahoo:
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#10 McRide

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 05:12 PM

Damn Girly Girl, you sure do a good RR... Looking forward to the rest.
I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're going and hook up later.
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#11 Panman

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 05:28 PM

Waiting young lady waiting!
Remember half the fun is getting there, and the other half is getting back!

#12 BackRoadBob

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 05:58 PM

Great ride report! Enjoying your photos. You have a good eye!
Bob

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#13 escapefjrtist

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 06:54 PM

Thanks for taking us along Tyler...waiting on the next installment! :)

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#14 Tyler

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 01:47 PM

We left San Ignacio around 9 a.m. to head for the lagoon where we had reserved space for whale watching. Every year, thousands of gray whales undertake the longest migration of any mammal. Traveling more than 10,000 miles, from the summer feeding grounds in Alaska to the winter breeding and calving destination in Baja California, gray whales swim day and night, even while sleeping. The extraordinary journey takes about four months. Hundreds of gray whales use Laguna San Ignacio, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as a mating and calving destination every year.

We had hired a van to drive us out. I wondered why we didn’t just ride the bikes but after traversing that “road,” I understood why! Dirt, rutted, sand, etc. – would’ve killed most of the bikes! It takes about 2 hours to get out to the lagoon and I was glad we did it in the van! It was hard to get a clear shot as we were bouncing around a bit but here is one shot of a “good” part of the road.
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It turned out to be a perfect day for our adventure – a cool breeze, blue skies dotted with fluffy clouds, brilliant sunshine, and temps around 72.
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Jim & Isaac
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Our watercraft awaited us as we got last minute instructions from the tour guide. Again, a family run business… our guides were a father/son team and had been doing this for years. We all managed to get into the boats without getting wet by loading off of the rocks nearby.
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I think Geoff was feeling better about the trip…
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We headed about 15 minutes out into the lagoon and then cut the engine and floated about…
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Live simply, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly.

A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.


#15 Tyler

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 01:50 PM

I had almost left my camera behind as I was wary of water/boat/whales around it but Sue had a watertight bag that I was able to put the case/camera in so I brought it along… and I’m really glad I did! At first, the whales were cautious and stayed within a good distance… but as they got more comfortable around us and realized we were not a threat, they came closer… and closer… and closer... breeching upon occasion as if to say “HI!”…
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Mama and her calf checking us out…
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Closer… honestly, my heart was beating hard in my chest and my hands were shaking a little bit at the wonder of these creatures being so close… I wasn’t scared… just in awe…
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And then it happened…
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Curt made the first contact…
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Then Geoff joined in…
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Live simply, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly.

A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.


#16 Tyler

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 01:53 PM

And then, gulp, it was our turn… they came right up to the side of the boat… the calf oft times was lifted up by the mama so it could check out the funny looking humans and let us pet them… holy hell… I was fricking petting a grey whale… I cannot tell you what that felt like… amazing, awe inspiring, soul stirring, unreal… I’ll confess I shed a tear of gratitude and joy to be able to experience this first hand… I put my camera down and just lived the moment… Sally got these pics of me…
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Everyone got an up close and personal moment of their own… (photo by Sally)
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There was a mama and her calf that actually would seek out our boat to get some lovin’… usually it was the calf that was looking for the pats with mama nearby keeping an eye on things… occasionally, mama would grace us with her presence… their skin feels smooth and rubbery with lots of barnacles… we were careful not to touch their eyes, blow holes, or flippers as instructed… (photo by Sally)
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I also was lucky enough to get blow-holed first by the calf, which got my hair a little wet, and then by mama as if to show her baby how it should really be done… I was drenched but couldn’t help just laughing out loud at the incredibility of the moment… we bade our ocean friends goodbye and headed back to shore where the tide had gone out making for a different look to the beach than just 2 short hours before…
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Live simply, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly.

A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.


#17 Tyler

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 01:56 PM

We were a bit quiet on the way back to Ignacio Springs… kind of overwhelmed with the experience and thinking, “Did that really just happen?” Sally got right to blogging about it at our home away from home…
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More relaxation and libations on the patio…
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Scott getting ready to, um, I’m not sure what… but our cameras were ready for it…
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Goobers…
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Dorothy looking oh so innocent…
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Hillbilly dryer…
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Views as the sun began to set and turn the palm trees to gold… almost looked like they were on fire…
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And with that, we gathered for yet another fabulous meal, chatted with other guests there – including a couple from France and a couple who had just gotten married at the tender age of 70 or so… gives one hope!

Still more to come… B)

Live simply, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly.

A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.


#18 SkooterG

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 02:05 PM

Wow!

:clapping:
IBA #327........................ Darksider #52

FJR#1 - The 'Dirty Ol Whore' - 2004 non-abs - RIP @ 226,400 - Gone, but not forgotton.
FJR#2 - The 'Hula Girl' - 2004 ABS - 143k
FJR#3 - The 'Virgin' - 2004 ABS - 4344 miles, a garage queen - Brundog would be proud!
FJR#4 - The Oregon FJR - 2004 ABS - 65k
FJR#5 - The Bastard POS Gen II - 2009A - 42k

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#19 beemerdons

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 02:09 PM

Wow!

:clapping:


+2, Gunny; Double Wow, you never see Old Michael's Ride Reports capturing getting "blown" by a whale! And here is the only "wildlife" Chuy saw en La Playa de Mexico:

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#20 SkooterG

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 04:27 PM

I'm so jealous Tyler! The only whale I saw during my Baja trip was this one:








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And trust me - you didn't want to pet him!
IBA #327........................ Darksider #52

FJR#1 - The 'Dirty Ol Whore' - 2004 non-abs - RIP @ 226,400 - Gone, but not forgotton.
FJR#2 - The 'Hula Girl' - 2004 ABS - 143k
FJR#3 - The 'Virgin' - 2004 ABS - 4344 miles, a garage queen - Brundog would be proud!
FJR#4 - The Oregon FJR - 2004 ABS - 65k
FJR#5 - The Bastard POS Gen II - 2009A - 42k

Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image