Baja California 2008
Following the tracks of the Baja1000 and sipping margaritas on the beach

Over Christmas and New Year 2008/09 I spent nearly 3 weeks riding in the tracks of the Baja1000 and sampling the other delights the wonderful Baja California in Mexico. I flew into of Los Angeles where I met Mike a.k.a Osii who leased me a very reasonably priced tricked-out Suzuki DRZ400e. The bike ran without a hitch (What else do you expect? It's not a coincidence I
have one at home myself). Osii is a great bloke and all my dealings with him ran super smoothly. I'll be heading Stateside next summer to use one of his bikes on the TransAm and Continental Divide Trails.

Below is a video story, divided into 2 parts: 1. North/Central and 2. South. There's also a separate whale watching movie. If the story runs too fast, remember the pause button!

Baja Video Story 1 of 2
Baja Video Story 2 of 2

When organising my Baja trip I never expected to come across the United States Treasury department known as the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC): Before even hearing about Osii, I had arranged with another chap I also met on advrider called James Smith (surname changed, but his real name is a very common Anglo Saxon name) for him to buy me a bike in California, USA. Should be no problem, just wire him the money. That's what I did...

After 7 days, then money hadn't arrived. I contact my Bank (Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS): The most useless bunch of muppets, bar none). According to these freaks James was being investigated under OFAC laws, allegedly because his bank had asked for this to happen. My first 2 word on hearing this sounded similar to "O Fac": 4500 bucks down the drain...

The summary of everything is: 1. I eventually got my money back after threatening HBOS with legal action, 2. James' bank never knew anything about it 3. James is a law abiding US citizen living in the USA 4. the incident caused myself and James 3 weeks of grief. Sorry James! Since all this happen, HBOS have been taken over by LloydsTSB who have now been nationalised by the UK Government because of the monstrous toxic debts HBOS built up. I have closed my HBOS account.

Underneath the movies there's a little tale of how the trip nearly never happen. It involves the US Treasury and Anti money laundering and narcotics/ terrorism laws!
Don't forget you can watch them in full screen.
Californian Grey Whales off Guerrero Negro
I should have smelt a rat from the start: The OFAC list only includes one "James" and he has a latin name and lives in Colombia. 100% of the people on the list live OUTSIDE the USA, mostly in exotic places like Afganistan, Iraq and Libya. So that a law abiding person living openly and legally in California being on such a list is a hoax.

With Osii I used PayPal to send the money and there weren't any problems...
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