San Felipe
Baja Mexico

Dear Paul,

From the Captain's log I see I wrote to you from Death Valley back in October. Seems like it was another year, so much has happened since then. I couldn't begin to tell you where I've been so I won't bother. I finally rebuilt the gearbox again in Tucson, Arizona where I stayed with some GS100 riding friends I'd met earlier. Gave everything a good going over before going south. Spent Christmas and New Year here in Mexico, (the bit below California), home of the Baja 1000 mile desert race and the place where desert racing was invented. This here peninsular is 1000 miles long and has one surfaced road. Hundreds of unsurfaced ones though plus fabulous mountains, weather etc. I had 3 weeks to kill waiting for the Irishman I'm going to Tierra del Fuego with. He's on a Paris-Dakar GS but couldn't leave L.A. till after New Year. Unexpectedly, I got in the usual Christmas trail riding without having to wear out my nice new clean Tenere. Some people I'm camping with from Nevada rang friends in California who hadn't arrived yet and told them to bring an extra bike for me. Good eh! They live in the same place as Kenny Roberts and Randy Mamola and what did they bring? An XR500 Honda, an XT600 Yam and for me - a TT600 Yam originally built for Kenny Roberts to play on. Modified forks, back end, high comp piston, hot cam. Goes like you know what and handles as well - even with me on it. The Christmas American invasion of Baja is a sight to behold. Things like you wouldn't believe come down on trailers and then take to the roads and tracks. The police don't care if it's registered or not. The only law seems to be "no wheelies in town". We've been out playing on part of the Baja 1000 course which varies from loose sand you can hardly walk in to a dry lake where the racers touch 140 mph. I now know that I am definitely a confirmed gentleman trail rider. Desert racing is not my natural field. Even the flying Houdini would be out of their depth out here.

I'm well on the way to becoming the All-Mexico champion in the Endurance Beer category. These yanks are OK on Tequila or rum but endurance beer drinking is one category where England still leads the world. There aren't any Australians mind! Mexicans don't really feature too much in the bars here - too many yankies - too close to the border but that's easily cured when the paddy arrives. One thing I miss is English rallies. There really is nothing remotely like them in North America. I can't even explain it properly because they just don't understand the concept. A quarter of a million invading a town like Aspen or Sturgis they understand, or outlaw gangs "partying" for the weekend but not what we do. We really are the home of civilization, say hello for me to anybody you see who knows me please. It's time for our "Fish Feast Fiesta" -there's only six of us here at the moment so we have communal meals and barbeques. Saves me cooking. It's cheap too. I lived last week, food, accommodation, booze, petrol everything for £50. I'll get this posted in the States when somebody goes back cos there's no post office in San Felipe so don't know when you'll get it. All the best and keep your pecker up.