2023 El Diablo Run recap

2023 El Diablo Run recap

What can be said about the EDR that hasn’t been mentioned before? Not a lot really. What started out on the Jockey Journal message board 18? years ago as 25 bikers meeting up in Baja for tacos and beer has turned into a biennial occurrence with guys and girls from all over the world making their way down to San Felipe for a long weekend of riding and partying. 2023 wasn’t any different and per usual, we hosted a little pre-party for our out of town friends.

This year it was at the Biltwell HQ in Temecula and it allowed people to meet up, grab a taco from Roy, a beer or three from Ironfire Brewing and wait their turn for the commemorative EDR ink our buds from Old Rose Tattoo have been slinging for 10? years or so now. You’ll know something is afoot when ya pull into our parking lot and the back is filled with dudes tightening chains, dumping oil, and strapping packs to prepare for a 250-mile ride down south to the drinking village with a fishing problem known as San Felipe. Friday morning, the air in the aforementioned parking lot was thick with the scent of unburned fossil fuel and maybe a little devils lettuce too as some of us saddled up with new and old friends to start the rip down to the border.

Like many EDRs before this one, the weather wasn’t on the side of riders and as they exited east outta Temecula, they were greeted by cold wet showers and a little wind too for good measure. Even though the route we pick is a slow, fun, and twisty one when ya couple that with a dicey display of force from Mother Nature, it makes for a good story once things clear up. And clear up they did as we dropped down the Banner grade into the desert of east San Diego county. Raincoats/trash bags went away and t-shirts came out.

Wish we had access to the cameras at the border when our band of merry men crossed into the belly of the beast in Calexico on a slew of different makes and models of motorcycles. Harleys are always the lion's share of freedom machines, both old and new but bikes of all walks are welcome on the El Diablo Run. No wonder the agents in the border check line frequently wave the procession of freaks through as quickly as they can.

The distance from the border to SF is only 120 or so miles and as long as you remember to get gas just south of town, it’s a short jaunt. The town of Mexicali gives way quickly to the desert scape that's as close to Dave Mann's pullout as most of us will ever experience. Dodge potholes, speed bumps, and broken down bikes and you’ll find yourself pulling into San Felipe around noon, just in time to hit the Malecon for a taco and a Modelo, which is what most riders did before finding their way to either Kiki’s Camp or a local hotel/AirBnB for the weekend. A few hearty souls always choose to ‘sleep’ on the beach but if you’ve ever tried it, you know sleep isn’t what you’ll get down on the sand that nestles up to the healing waters of the Sea of Cortez.

Debauchery and tomfoolery however can be found in abundance Two things happened on Saturday morning: you woke up or you came to. Not a lot of in-between on the EDR but it's ok because Baja isn’t here to judge. We’ve been popping up our merch tent for years now from our friend Kikis Camp, and hawking merch for a few hours before the yard games commence. This year was a little different as we also ran a raffle to generate funds for the Sonrise Hacienda orphanage just south of town. It's home to 45 boys and girls and because of the generosity of the El Diablo Runners, we rustled up over 3 grand cash to help Norma and the kids out. Thanks for this guys!

As the hangovers wore off, we were able to sign up a few brave souls for this year's yard games. Unfortunately/fortunately, we killed off the Circle of Death before it killed someone and replaced it with stuff like the barrel roll, slow race, plank race, and the Metzeler tire toss. Peruse some of the talented @geoffkowalchuk photos below and you’ll see the smiling sunburned faces of attendees signifying the fun that was had partaking in silly feats of strength and/or luck.

No one was injured but MC Otto def hurt some feelings, per usual. A few years ago, we co-hosted a bike show on the main drag w/ the dues from Choppers Mag but COVID put the kibosh on that last EDR so we were stoked to make our way back to Malecon again for more choppers, beer, tacos and lots of mixing w/ locals. The highlight for many of us was when the kids from our aforementioned orphanage set up their orchestra and serenaded us with tunes from some of the instruments all ya’ll helped us procure for them late last year. Again guys, thanks!

Hard to know how many bikes we had jammed on that short stretch of tarmac that parallels the warm water that San Felipe is known for but if ya check out the #eldiablorun2023 tag on the ‘gram, you can see the place was packed! Choppers Mag once again helped with the bike show by sending Aquaman Manny down to choose Best Chop. We had the help of several of our friends in choosing the other winners' bikes. The Cockroach is always a popular category due to how many shitboxes make it down to SF but this year we had a couple of real nice proper vintage bikes in attendance too so that was a hotly contested category as well. Super cool feeling to look down the strip and see motorcycle enthusiasts from mainland Mexico, the U.S., and a few other places all gathered to partake in the freedom and fun Baja affords us.

If drinking is yer thing, the Malecon will accommodate ya, and that Saturday night, it was def feeling generous! Good on ya for taking it in, Los Diablos as the townsfolk call us. On Sunday, Kiki led a group of us down to the orphanage so that we might donate all the loot we’d collectively raised and get a chance to hang with the kids. Members of the Saxons MC from Nevada joined our procession along with probably 25 other guys/gals. Jefe Norma greeted us at the gate and let us inside where we were met w/ the cheerful souls that call this small encampment home. Although everyone was shy at first, most of that melted away as the kids started to perform gymnastics and some singing skits they’d rehearsed in preparation for our visit. Not sure if there was a lot of dust in their small common room but I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a dry eye in the place on the Los Diablos side of the room. We were lucky enough to be able to take the kids outside and give ‘em a ride on our bikes. Damn nearly every one of ‘em took advantage of this but more than a couple had to be peeled off the bikes because of how stoked they were to ride on a motorcycle. Heavy heavy stuff indeed and I think every one of us left with a hefty helping of gratitude that day.

Thanks again to Norma for welcoming us into your world. Monday morning is the same as it is every year: pack yer bike, pick a route, and head home. For our group, that meant crossing the peninsula on the less-than-stellar road that takes ya to Ensenada so we could help ourselves to tacos at El Trailero. We paid the toll taker for sure but the culinary delights from the aforementioned roadside eatery made it all worth it. Shortly after that, we crossed back into the U S of A and headed our separate ways. All of us a little tired but all of us with a story or three too. Didn’t make it this year? That's ok, call Kiki now and reserve a spot at San Borja before he sells out!

Thanks again to our friends at J&P Cycles for helping keep all our bikes on the road.