How to Survive Creek Crossings out on the Trail

Bruce Anderson

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How to Survive Creek Crossings

out on the Trail

Even the best of us end up in the drink

Hello, again! Welcome to Go Baja Riding/Go Desert Tours weekly blog post. Bruno here. Just pondering some of our greatest rides from this last year. One being some of the heavy rains that we had going in to the winter months created some deep, deep water crossings down in Baja. One time in particular was some very enthusiastic clients. We had some water sections that were at least a hundred feet across. You never know how deep the middle is. You never know how deep any of it is until you send out the guinea pig or the lamb to slaughter.


A lot of cases that’s me. Being the lead dog on the tour, sometimes has its disadvantages. If it’s shallow and I get my boots up in the air, I look good. If it’s deep and we badger down over the bars and into the drink. Well, I might as well bring a soap because you know how that goes. We had a couple of serious, serious bike drowning down in Baja. One time in particular, I got into some quick mud (sort of like quick sand). It bogged the bike down so bad that I almost got stuck. I got on throttled the bike to get out. Broke the chain. Put the chain through the center case of the engine.

You can imagine what kind of a day that was. We were hours and hours towing ourselves out of this remote location. So a terrible tragedy at the time but always good stories later on. We always survive somehow. I recommend if you’re the guy or the gal that’s leading your group, if it looks too deep, you can always scatter around through bushes to try find to find a way around or maybe if you see tire tracks. A lot of times, tire tracks don’t always mean that it’s not going to be super deep. I’ve gone over the bars before, just dropping in to a hole and killed the motor.


Once the bike goes under, you got at least a half hour to 45 minutes, even an hour worth of work ahead of you to clean out the air box. Clean out the motor. Get the poor thing around. Again, it can be a challenge. If you’re in a pouring driving rain, well, your buddies are going to hate you for that one. In many occasions down in Baja or even in the desert during the winter time, I’m not immune to put a kick stand down, then kick off the boots and socks. And waiting out there. It might look a little corny. I might get a few laughs. But hey, if we can get through in one piece, I’m all for it.

The worst case scenario is if you’re going in and you know it’s getting too deep. You try to clutch out of it. You’re not on the right gear. Or you do go into the water, you can suck motor in pretty quickly and been the rod in your engine. Hydro lock the engine can mean serious engine damage. So I think my top picks here are probably going to be… I think my top picks here for avoiding serious damage to your bike on a big water cross would be number one, I recommend if it looks too deep and you haven’t been a crosser before, go ahead and drop the kick stand, then kick off the boots and socks.


Be the guy or the gal that wades out there to find exactly how deep it is. Anything up over the engine case can really be a challenge. I like to try to go through with my boots up in the air to keep my boots dry if I know I can make it. Spending the whole day with wet socks is no fun for many of you. I’m sure you’ve had that issue. The other thing is I try to go in very slow and then pick up speed as I go. Some riders would like to go in bonsai wide open. If you get in there and you hit a slick rock or something and you do go down under, make sure you get the engine shut off before you do go under because it can make for a long clean out of the engine.

We’ll talk about cleaning out an engine later in our blog this week. If you like more information about our adventure rides, feel free to go on one of our two websites. Go Desert Riding Tours or Go Baja Riding Tours. We’ll see you on the trail.
Thanks again,


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