Thursday, January 15, 2015

Southern Baja: Part 4

The road out of Coco's corner was the roughest one I've ever driven over in Baja. Forget about bringing your fancy pants, RockStar, matching paint job and suspension, wash and wax weekly, bad boy truck... it's just gonna get scratched all to hell. We call it Baja pinstripping- the clear coat penetrating rubs and streaks that come from forging the way through narrow Baja brush.

"That'll buff right out..."
And then there's the washboard. The best explanation I was ever given for why these little dirt rivulets form across the road bed was that the rhythmic bouncing of car suspension eventually creates the ridges. Which is bullshit. Satan made them to shake the crap out of your vehicle, loosen every non-Loctited nut, destroy fragile electrical connections, disrupt your CD player, break all glass beer bottles in your cooler and basically drive you bat-shit crazy. The wrong way to approach washboard is to go faster. Twenty years ago at Punta Abreojos, an old Baja rambler once said to me, "Go ahead, go faster, I'll be picking your fender up twenty miles down the road". What you should do is air down your tires which gives you a little extra cushion. Unfortunately, there is a downside to airing down. Once you've bellied out your sidewalls you are now exposing them to the obscenely sharp, flinty rocks that seem to have migrated to Baja's roads. I've seen rocks completely penetrate steel belts, embedding themselves in the tire's carcass. I bring two spare tires with me and, most importantly, I drive slowly, constantly on alert for what I call, "The tire eaters". 

Pictures don't do this justice- tire placement was crucial, 4x4 low range, slow and safe

Air down for the washboard but you better have a way to air back up again. CON KSO is rigged with a CO2 air up system that can take me from 20psi to 80 psi in all four tires in about four minutes. Bad Ass.

Crawling along the Baja 1000 race course through a beautiful canyon, filled with palm trees and water and mud.
Found this on the road- drive foolishly and you will break things.
Of course, on the tough trails, stop frequently to hydrate.
Dakotah, Liza and Matt rode the trail on the motos ahead of us like scouts- here they scouted out where the quicksand like mud was found. Liza went in and immediately sunk in to her sprockets on her CRF250, Matt followed to check it out and he went it too. Liza and Matt handled it though, both getting off the bikes, gunning them and walking them out.
The place was a dream to ride motos though- people come from all over the world to ride this part of Baja. We were stoked to have gone to the trouble to bring the bikes and not be afraid to use them.
In the end, our little adventure/detour while visually stunning, took a lot longer than we expected. We found out later that we had just driven about sixty miles of the Baja 1000 course and it was tough going. Once we hit the highway, we aired up the tires and beat feet for our first surf stop... and it was worth it: 

A couple days of surfing were on the horizon for us.

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