As we currently venture through the bustling byways of America's famous Route 66 stretching from our Midwestern home base all the way to California on a course to meet up for this year's 2021 Biltwell El Diablo Run we wanted to take a look back at the 2019 EDR to appreciate all the good times. An adventure that we certainly didn't realize at the time we would appreciate so much before the world was changed forever by the events of the past year. The El Diablo Run has been held bi-annually since 2006 and fast became a rite of passage for many riders all across the entire United States converging on the city of Temecula, California where it begins. The run takes anyone brave enough on a trip through some beautiful California countryside and down into the barren desert terrain of the infamous highway 5 that stretches across Baja, Mexico. A place where many of the best stories of camaraderie on the run are born due to its lack of any service stations or support. Once you crack throttle down that road, theres no turning back. Its San Felipe or bust.....and truth be told many a brave souls have certainly gone bust,... but walked away with stories well worth their weight in pesos.
The ultimate goal is to reach San Felipe on Friday night and enjoy the fruits of your labor partying the entire weekend at Reuben's camp or one of the adjoining beachfront campsites. In previous years before 2017 the run was structured a little differently where the Rubens camp spot was only for Friday and Saturday and then Sunday it would stretch across to the other side and end up in Ensenada. This forced many riders to enter back into the California through Tijuana and Bill and the crew felt like everyone might have a better time if they stayed in San Felipe the entire weekend, so in 2017 it was changed to make it a little easier on everyone.
The run consists of roughly 300 miles of diverse road conditions winding through beautiful hills and mountains after leaving Temecula and crossing over the Mexican border through crowded cities, a few small towns and then finally the dreaded highway 5 where many choppers and motorcycles with insufficient gasoline or tools go to perish. One of the main issues with highway 5 is a 120+ mile stretch of road with no gas stations, no service stations and in most cases no way to call for help. So riders are encouraged to bring enough tools and gas to make it through this long stretch that usually ends up with many making themselves acquainted with one another through means of lending a helping hand. A tool here, a few drops of precious Mexican petrol there, or even moral support during the scorching heat.
As the run begins its way stretching through California each gas stop and pit stop becomes something of a rotating bike show/service spot where the riders continually talk shop, exchange tools, tighten up and fix issues and strap themselves in for the long road ahead. Many riders choose to ride newer performance motorcycles such as evo and twin cam dynas and FXR's but the real inspiration comes from the brave chopper riders and vintage modified stock motorcycles serving as an ice breaker where the most interesting stories always begin.
After making their way down to San Felipe and getting a good solid night of partying out of the way the Saturday brings some serious fun with the dirt racing event that Biltwell likes to call the "circle of death". Where a run what you brung cast of characters slaps numbers on their bikes and competes against each other in an all out war for total dirt domination (all in good fun of course). Whether spectating or competing this is often the highlight of the weekend for many and a good way to get hyped for a beautiful night on the beach. The palapas huts and beachfront camping spots fill up quick and everyone gets settled in for a quick power nap before hitting the town for some good natured bar hopping.
Sunday Brings everyone from the beach front down to the main strip in the center of town where the city allows biltwell to put on a full blown bike show right there by the famous San Felipe sign. This usually brings out the best of the best in terms of performance bikes and custom choppers and is definitely not to be missed if you've made the trek all the way down. Sunday night ends up filling everyone's stomachs with delicious Mexican cuisine either from a warm street cart or stand or the kitchen of Rubens camp supplying the much needed fuel and energy everyone will need to make the trek back up to California the next day. An equally daunting task as most choose To take the reverse route of Friday's trip.
Whether you're a veteran of the run or if you only make the trek across the States to experience it once, we definitely suggest you add the Biltwell El Diablo Run to your 2021 or 2023 calendar. The experiences we have gained from attending several years of the run have forged great friendships, countless stories and a sharpened sense of what our good friends at Biltwell get to experience riding on the west coast day after day. A true moto adventure geared company that not only supplies riders with the tools to live better and safer lives on two wheels, but also with inspiration in the way they live their own lives. Bill and his crew continually set the example that you must make time for the right experiences in life that keep your spirit alive and theres no better way to get a solid dose of life affirming moto adventure on the west coast than the El Diablo Run.
Photos and words by Mike Vandegriff