THERE'S A SHEET-METAL FIGURE of the grim reaper that stands on a highway in the mountains just south of Mulege, about halfway down the Baja Peninsula's eastern coastline. It's an eerie-looking thing, a shrine to a dead traveler, with a scythe in one hand and an owl perched on the other. The owl's eyes are holes punched out of the rusting iron. You can look through them and see dorado breaking bait on the surface of the Sea of Cortez, 1,000 feet below. • I saw the reaper this spring when I passed it with some friends on the eighth day of a nine-day FIELD & STREAM adventure spent fishing Baja California, Mexico, by motorcycle. We'd been on the road that day for 10 straight hours and had at least four more to go before we could stop for the night. Our backs were aching; our heads hurt. Chances were good we'd get a shrine of our own if we pushed ourselves much harder. • This trip had been a stretch from the start. A few months earlier I'd convinced myself, my boss, and three of my friends that we could fish our way from San Diego to Cabo and back in just nine days. Four down, three to catch marlin and roosterfish on Baja's East Cape, then a speed run back north, 1,100 miles up Mexico's infamous Highway 1 in time to catch a flight back to New York City. Just to make things interesting, I was doing this without having ridden a motorcycle in my life. I'd crossed the border into Mexico using a learner's permit.