Prior to our rendezvous in San Diego a few last minute changes were made. First, Brandon found a great Toyota shop on the way to San Diego and decided to make a couple last minute tweaks to his front drive. He also provided IT tech support and gopher services for the shop for a few days. John and Tyler, at the last minute decided that his Ford 350 dually would provide better storage capacity than the Land Cruiser for the group, and was it ever! Arrivals on Friday met up with all for drinks and dinner after the early arrival team was thrown out of two local establishments for drinking all the tequila they had.
All were assembled by 9am at the lovely(cheap) hotel and departed for the shopping run at Costco. Brandon headed to pick up Radu and Sam and Paul dropped off the Dodge at Sam’s produce yard. We started the ‘Kitty’ for 200.00 each and accepted Jesse’s services for the CFO, Chief Feline Officer. Bubba and Matt formed the BPO, Beverage Procurement Office, stocked up our hydration needs and John, Ty and team acquired the needed food and snacks for the trip. Since TJ boarder was closed that morning for repairs, we decided to go to Tecate for our crossing, left about 11am. A very nice drive and easy crossing in to Baja, a little long, but new ground for us. We took highway 3 towards Ensenada and trough some backroads and even through a private ranch. Nice Caballero let us through his gate to save us time. We skipped Hussongs this trip and headed for Mikes Sky Ranch directly, stopped in Lazaro Cardenas for fuel and 7 bags of ice. We did not arrive before sunset, set up a nice campsite and went to their bar for a welcome drink, a bit light for our tastes so back to camp for proper cocktails and dinner. We had Ty’s wild boar sausage’s around a great fire pit and fire, that evening under probably the best nights sky view ever. A cold night, but we were prepared.
Carnage report – Matt punctured a sidewall, slow leak.
Mike Sky Ranch, breakfast was toasted Banana Bread(Ty and Lisa) with butter and coffee from our Barista Brandon. Broke camp and headed back down highway 3 about 30 miles to the turnoff to Laguna Diablo. Speed trials were under way and some snotty mud was gathered on the vehicles for the next couple weeks. Nice assortment of cattle bones were retrieved from the dry lake bed as hood and grill ornaments. Also, picked up Sam’s tire carrier, he decided it was to heavy and left it 15 miles back, for Ty to carry in the White Bootie. Then out to San Felipe for some quick fish Tacos….2 hours later and a couple of empty Don Julio’s we proceeded to a camp ground 10 minutes south called Punta Estrella. Very nice beach front sites with palapas. Ty cooked up his outstanding Prime rib and Juan prepared potatoes and asparagus’s.
Carnage report – Horny Toad lost his tire carrier, deemed un-repairable in Baja and Randy dis-assemble it and stored parts in WB. Matt got his tire fixed.
9/25/17 – Day 3 - Headed to Matomi Wash. Packed up after a run on the beach, at Punta Estrella in the Jeeps. The a fun run in the wash, but no real primary path, so we lost each other at times but all ended up on the main path up the wash. Right before our camp site, Brandon and Juan put on a side show for us all, names “The Tip”. No damage, even though Jesse was standing in the sand through his window. Brandon started with putting his right tire on a large bolder to show his articulation (Macho move). Juan came up nose to nose with Brandon but a little steeper. Moved up the wash to a nice campsite, big bon fire and Randy prepared the ‘two-barrel trash tacos’ for dinner, killer. At dusk Jesse provided the pre- dinner entertainment by climbing a not quite vertical rock mountain, then back down in the dark with led assistance from the base camp.
Carnage report – White Booty pinched a tire, RR slow leak. Brandon’s front bumper kissed by Juan’s.
Had breakfast, chorizo and eggs and packed up. Radu topped the other peak opposite of Jesses crazy climb the night before. Ty and Sam headed back to Puertocitos to get WB’s tire repaired and the rest of us headed up the wash and would meet the others in Gonzaga Bay that afternoon. Not. The trip up the wash was great, some nice rock crawling and a few sliders got action. Made it to the actual ranch where the wash begins and then headed back down about noon. Got back out to the main road, Sam was calling us on the radio? He was parked 50 yeards south on the highway. Sam was parked with a broken steering control and Ty headed to get his tire fixed and Brandon to San Felipe for a tow truck for Sam. We headed off back to Punta Estrella for a regroup. Unfortunately, the tow truck for Sam did not get him back to camp until almost dark, he and Randy were very parched. Matt and Juan went clamming and got about 50 nice manila clams, we purged them in salted water.
Carnage Report – Juan’s jeep experienced numerous vapor lock beer breaks, Sam’s broken steering control, Ty’s tire repair and Matt’s power steering leak.
Sam’s tow truck showed up on time to take the Horny Toad to the welding shop. Matt and Jeff headed in for their repairs. All returned later with trail repairs competed. Jesse and Aussie Juan went fishing in a ponga, got plenty for us, the camp host and the community! Radu, not to be out done, spent the afternoon in pursuit of 7 nice blue crabs, quite the scene to see. He would corral them between him and the beach, wait for them to get in the attack mode then snap them up with cooking tongs…. So that night we had a fresh clam bake party. Clams and cracked crab with melted butter, and Matt and team fried up his now famous Krusties and corn flakes fish filets, thanks fisherman, crabber and clambers.
Carnage Report – Just the fish.
We all packed up and drove to Gonzaga Bay in time for a great lunch and some libation. Ty, Aussie, Sam, Mike, Matt and Randy stayed there for the night and went ponga fishing while the rest of us pushed on to the Mission. We would all hook up the next day in Guerro Negro. The Mission team made it to a large wash about half way to the mission on off road, set up camp and Jeff cooked us up chicken Tikka Masala and rice and served with a nice wine. Radu, Juan, Brandon and Jesse ‘tried’ to take down an old dry tree with their winches. Tree 1, 4x4’s 0. Radu and Bubba got out the saws and hatchets and we had another nice fire to dine and enjoy a beverage by.
Carnage Report – The tree….eventually.
The next morning, we broke camp and made our way to the Mission, great ride and the trail was clear, had a little water in the stream. At the mission there is now a log book and there had been several groups down this year, one group 5 days before us. Jeff flew and took some pictures with his drone. On the way out Jesse decided to show us the underside of Juan’s jeep, Jeff jumped on the bumper and Bubba hooked a winch to pull it back to earth….cool. After a quick beer stop at Coco’s Corner, looks like and adjusted and cleaned up room, now sporting a Bajaneers Label!, Then up to Guerro Negro and Manuel’s margarita’s. Ty, Randy and Sam had fresh ceviche and quack and beverages waiting for us at Manuals direction, after a reception of some sort. Some bets changed hands on our expected arrival time, Sam won. Well, he used his winnings for our bar tab! Got the fishing report from the Gonzaga crew, Mike got a bite!
Carnage Report – Just to the fish.
Got a little late start after all repairs, laundry and banking were complete. Good run, made it to a few miles sort of the beach, which turned out to be good, as our usually camping place was gone and full of flotsam. Made a night time camp and quick dinner….and libations and a big bon fire. A night run to the beach was had by the Toyota crew, and someone hit a rock on his right rear. Trail repairs complete and back to camp.
Carnage report – LC 1 tire and 2.5 lug nuts. Righty tighty, lefty loosy!
The morning started with a jaunt to the beach for a bit. Some treasures were found, Sam’s tail and a few bones, plus Mikes official fish (see pictures). And Juan officially used the bumper dumper down the beach. Then back and up to the pipeline trail to Tortugas. The sand hill was still a fun challenge, but when I arrived John and Matt were already up at the top! We only needed to pull the Ford truck up the last 20 feet, and Brandon and Juan’s winches and Jeff’s paddles make quick work of it. Uneventful, beautiful ride for the day. The trail had a few new offshoots and more fish camps then previous, and we tried to find someone with lobsters for sale. Manual had indicated they should be plentiful right now, no luck. Got into Tortugas and set up a nice beach camp, not in the night club which is now private. More fish filets in Krusteaz and cornflakes, accompanied with rice and salad. Yum!
Morning started out with a show of Ty on the bluff sitting around while a coyote walked up to check him out. Brandon and Sam went to town for some trail repairs. Then Randy’s eggs and Juan’s camp cakes for breakfast, always a favorite. Easy ride to San Ignacio today…pool time and libations. Then dinner and more libations….I see a pattern developing…
Walked to town and saw the mission and had breakfast at a restaurant on the square then loaded up and back to Guerro Negro for a few last-minute repairs and more of Manuals Margaritas. We decided to tow Juan’s jeep back to the border rather than submit ourselves to more beer brakes every 45 minutes:-). Hmm, might need a tow bar for that. Juan and Pablo searched a dozen places in town to no avail. Back at the hotel, Manual put his network to work and some cousin’s friend’s sister’s boyfriend had and old one he would sell us for 120.00. Rusty but identical to the ones we used…we were in business.
Final farewell to Manual and hit the road early to San Quintin. Got there and decided to make for Ensenada. San called Michelle and she got us rooms at Estero Beach Resort……very nice way to end our trip in Baja. And they gave us FAST passes for the boarder.