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Getting there is all the fun

Locos Mocos had 3 separate groups of pre-runners.  The first and most colorful was the BCG/ Total Chaos group.  This bunch was made up of 12 people in 5 Toyota pre-runners and a long legged Ranger.  These are not the prettiest paint and putty trucks you have ever seen. These are dirt proven hard driven Baja trucks all equipped (except the Ranger) with Total Chaos Suspension components.  Some of these pre-runners have more racecourse miles on them than a lot of old race cars.  This group led by Locos Mocos head cheese, Mark Naugle picked their way down the peninsula running only the toughest , most challenging and scenic parts of the race course. Kind of like a wine cynosure would pick his way through a wine cellar.  Sampling 30 miles here and 200 miles there, of only the best Baja has to offer.  This raucous crew keeps up a constant banter on the radio that is so funny the author can not accompany them for it is impossible to operate safely at high speed with tears of laughter streaming from your eyes.

The crew took a hard left off Mex 1 at a turn in the road known as El Crusero.  El Crusero (a non descript left sweeper on Mex 1) is the gateway to 30 miles of the most fun race course on the continent. The terrain through this section is devoid of straight and flat.  The road before you is never visible for more than a couple of hundred feet it winds, twists and turns while oscillating up and down instantly 30 feet at a time.  This 30-mile stretch of race course is the best E-ticket ride in all of Baja.  Back on the highway and south to San Ignacio where the group exits back on to the race course.  Multiple summer time hurricanes (one of which made land fall right here) have necessitated a race route that has not been followed in 2 decades.  None of the group has ever seen the first 100 miles of this section. Wow check out the pictures.  Passing through El Datil the group makes it to Scorpion Bay and stops to wash the dust down at the Cantina meeting up with this years Pit Captain Will (gadget) Mitchell and his lovely wife Gidget.  The Mitchells have been waiting for the rest of the crew to catch up for a day or so.  The whole group is causing such a stir at the cantina that they are adopted by a local resident and invited to spend the night a Casa Juan Y Juan (all 14 of them).  Casa Juan Y Juan is a multi million dollar private compound situated on the breath taking cliffs of San Juanico overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  The Hacienda is a regular stop for world class surfers and Hollywood types. Guests usually arrive by private plane not pre-runner!

(CARNAGE) the next morning a couple of miles past La Purisma Gadget droped his 6000 lb. Bronco into a G-out and snaped the full floater Ford 9î housing in two.  The axels were pulled and the housing is pulled back together with rachet straps. BCG 7 and a potable welder are pressed into service, Mike welds the rear end back together and the break is gusseted with a 1-1/8 combination wrench welded in place like a truss.  The drive shaft is removed and the Gadgit Bronco limps toward Mulege on the front diff.

The second group, The Farm Boy Crew had a more ambitious schedule. Farmy and the boys got on the race course at Race Mile 140 and intended to be in Cabo San Lucas in less than 3 days.  The Farm Boy crew was made up of 4 Toyota pre-runners hauling 8 loosely wrapped individuals.  Led by a young Air force Veteran, Mike Hardesty aka Farmboy in a newly built but tested Toyota Pre-Runner. This Group equipped with The best in GPS navigation and lit up with HIDs set out to cover 400 race miles a day.  The Farm Boy Crew showed up at the pit with quite an adventure story.  Their trip was uneventful till they reached El Cuarenta.  The group had been navigating by GPS on the 2002 course.  Unfortunately the silt beds at El Cuarenta had become a lagoon filled with a plaster like compound only found in the finest mud baths of Europe.  After extracting themselves from the goop, it was impossible to determine the make or model of any of the trucks.   A few miles short of Punta Canejo BCG Lamont (so named for owning a truck that resembled the Jefferson’s rig) dropped into a massive truck-swallowing hole. When he emerged the entire rear axle was no longer connected to his vehicle. To make matters worse the tail shaft housing was shattered on the transmission.  The crew spent a day in La Paz scouring junk yards, mixing and matching parts until they came up with a combination that would allow the truck to continue. A new transmission and output shaft were installed that was coupled to a drive shaft of unknown origin. The connection was completed by going through box after box of U joints at a local parts store.  A set of miss matched leaf springs was fitted by using 2 different length shackles. The break lines were replaced with new ones and the Farm Boy Crew headed north to join the rest of the Locos Mocos at the pit at race mile 440.
The third group was BSB (Big Strokey Bronco) . BSB is a 2 wheel drive Ford Bronco with a 3 link rear and a Front I-beam setup out of an old Dave Ashley Class 8 Truck.  The owner is a good natured fellow named Paul Cosner (Pauly).  I had the privilege of riding right seat for the trip.  I carry a bag of limes and a salt shaker, my name is Jones.  Our intention was to run the course from San Felipe to La paz , around 800 miles of dirt. We were supported by My F150 that paralleled us on Mex 1 with a pile of spare stuff and extra beer.  The ride was more fun than adults should be allowed to have.  We spent 4 days getting to La Paz and we added a couple of side trips.  15 miles south of El Arco we left the race course for a 150 mile detour, turning due west through Visciano Jct. across Mex1 out to Bihia Asuncion and then south to Punta Abreojos. In Abreojos we purchased a dozen lobsters from the Cooporativo. (fishing collective) and headed east to the finest oasis in Baja. Ricardo Romo’s Rice & Beans in San Ignacio.  We checked into our rooms and then to dinner where we ate lobster and drank margaritas till we could no longer…

From San Ignacio south was our longest day on dirt, 250 miles to Loretto. We hooked up with some local racers in Loretto.  Stan Burns and his race team run a full schedule of 6 races per year in their class 8 truck (all south of Loretto).  The team was in  final prep mode for the upcoming 1000. We were treated to a phenomenal Carne Asada BBQ and seemingly endless supply of Tecate at the Burns race shop. One of the welds on the big Dana 60  in BSB was showing sings of failure. The next morning Felix the fabricator fixed us up with a Nickle Rod stick weld repair, We had to force him to accept payment for his service and we were headed for La Paz by 9:00 am.    After La Paz we joined up with the BCG/Chaos crew in Mulege. We were treated to some unexpected but welcomed logging for the night. Nichole of Total Chaos had acquired the keys to a mansion in Punta Chivato (Casa Fodor) Once again the Locos Mocos were bivouacked in a palatial waterfront Hacienda. 20 strong at this point the 10 or so beds filled up and the rest of the bodies were strewn across the 1000 square foot front porch.   We awoke to the soft lapping waves of the Sea Of Cortez.

Baja Jones

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