Thursday, November 8, 2007
One Track Mind: Unwritten Rules of Baja Travel or How to Get Invited Back Down
This is going to piss some people off. On the other hand, some old hands will undoubtedly be shaking their heads in agreement and maybe even passing the cactus juice one extra time in my honor. Since I'm short timing for a Baja run I figured I'd share some of my observations regarding successful Baja travel. Here goes:
The Unwritten Rules of Baja Travel
1. Person who supplies the vehicle and drives never pays toll for the pay road.
2. Driver's responsible for filling vehicle with gas and buying insurance before everyone meets up for departure.
3. This isn't the city bus- all travellers meet at Driver's house for load up.
4. Passengers should offer gas and insurance money- driver should never have to ask.
5. Never claim "shotgun". Always concede the seat to anyone older then you, more experienced then you, meaner then you.
6. Organize all of your stuff into one container (size dependent on trip length) your gear shouldn't be strewn all over the vehicle.
7. Don't be a food troll- if it's offered then go for it, if not- make something of your own.
8. If you're making some food- make enough to share, if you can't- be discrete.
9. If you're a kitesurfer, Driver never self launches.
10. If you're a passenger, don't tell the driver how to drive or where to go- unless asked.
11. Drivers, no sketch passes- I've never had a passenger who was mad because I drove too slow (well, there was one).
12. Passengers cover all parking fees.
13. Lunch is on the passengers.
14. A surf trip is to and from a discussed spot, don't drop a sudden side trip to your Uncle Barney's house in the TJ suburbs on the crew.
15. Don't decide to buy a large clay pot, surfing monkey or Elvis statue that in any way takes up space in the vehicle.
16. Driver picks music (if you don't like Bluegrass hillbilly music, don't ride with me).
17. If you're new to the crew, don't talk too much. Listen more then you talk.
18. Don't eat the last sandwich (sorry Kiwi).
19. A chair that was brought into Baja is the sovereign nation of its owner. It doesn't matter if it's left unattended for hours, in a Baja camp, it is still the rightful property of its owner- and is reserved exclusively for his ass.
20. Bring contraband into Mexico...with me? Are you sure your in the right blog? Jah won't mind if you don't commune with him for one surf trip- get stoned at home.
21. When it's time to load up- start grabbing stuff and moving it- even if it's not yours, move fast and snappy- don't linger.
22. Coming back, at the border- don't start cracking jokes or flirting with the border patrol agent- after jockeying in the line for two hours the last thing I want to do is go to secondary because you were being cute.
23. Drivers- before you volunteer your vehicle it's up to you to make damn sure its reliable- not reliable, forget it!
24. Never invite yourself on a Baja trip- if guys are discussing a trip and you want to go, try this approach, "What time are you guys leaving? Is it okay if I follow you down?".
25. Bring your own beer or pitch in for the beer run- if you don't, DO NOT even asked for a beer and if offered one refuse-at least the first time.
26. Be the guy who always just grabs the pots and pans and goes down to wash them- without waiting or asking. This will get you back in the truck for sure.
27. Back in the States, at the drop off point, it's always a nice gesture to offer to help clean up the vehicle or move the drivers gear.
28. If you're the passenger in a truck with a camper on it, do not assume you'll be sleeping in the truck unless it's been discussed previously- be self sufficient.
29. If there's more then two guys in one vehicle, do not bring more then two boards.
30. Bring extra wax.
31. Practice Beer Managment: Take one out put one in- simple.
32. And for goodness sake, close the cooler!
These rules are, of course, flexible depending on how well you know the guys you're traveling with. In retrospect, they seem to be a variation of the all important Golden Rule: Be the guy you'd like to travel with- if you follow that rule, I don't see how you can go wrong.
Got any of your own travel rules? I'd love to hear them and they don't have to be for Baja travel, for example- what are the sacred rules of the boat trip?