This isn't field research, product testing or Baja prerunning anymore, actually this is the end result of all those things... and a pretty cool drive story.
I spent two weeks driving the Baja peninsula, the full monty... the long way down to Cabo taking what I call "adventure lines". Half the time I knew where I was and what I was doing, and the other half, I had no clue where I was, while I was figuring out what I was doing.
This trip started in Ensenada and the first tracks were cut south to San Felipe on the highway.
One of the cool things about this run was that I turned 6 digits on my tachometer. My truck lives an interesting life, it's never had a daily commute and it's idea of going to work is driving in the name of having fun and living life.
There's just something about having a 500+ horsepower, King Shock suspended, Carli Engineered toy with all the aftermarket crap a growing boy could want. This is how all of these things get put together and run through the mixer. These are high performance good times and how I adventure party.
First you yank the back seat and turn the family seating area into your overland cargo area, loading shit in the reverse order that you're going to need it. First in was my tools and chase gear, then scuba equipment, then camping gear and on top was clothes and my mobile office.
I was in search of warm weather, clear water and as much off-road as me and my truck wanted. The idea of prepping this truck for a trip like this was an oil change, tire rotation and some window washer fluid. My chase equipment consisted of a spare air filter, fuel filter, tools and tie-rods. I've carried more save-your-ass gear to a Glamis weekend with a AAA card in my pocket... after so many miles, you just know what you really need. I opted to leave a spare steering gearbox at home, but did opt for the extra spare tire, which I didn't need. Sorry Toyo, I won't do that again.
There's nothing to report on the way to San Felipe, on the highway it's like driving from Barstow to Vegas. Nothing happens until the pavement ends and you jump right into Baja's rock pack washboardedness... Mexico's idea of a road.
There's lots of these on this drive - hard pack rock-topped mexican streets that go to cool places.
When you commit to this, it would be like committing to driving to El Paso Texas from Santa Monica, over whatever lies between. The hard pack dirt roads started to feel like epic comfort zones after the first couple of days.
Not seat of your pants comfort, but mental comfort, that you were somewhere that maybe if something happened, someone might drive by and give you a hand. This was the dream part of the drive.
You don't really start to get out of town for the first couple of hours after San Felipe, then you might go on some stretches where you are alone and you have whatever you brought to get yourself out of whatever you got yourself into. Lucky for me, I'm riding on the best in the business. My adventures have names like Cummins Turbo, Carli Suspension, ATS Diesel, Toyo and Red Head written on my Baja mission criticals. The products that haven't submitted to anything I've done to them.
Taking the fun lines out of town means you're participating in Baja's heritage of off-road racing people and places. Everyone that has seen and been inspired by Dust to Glory remembers Coco and his spot on the map.
Here we get to celebrate an awesome weekday, some of desert racing's most popular lines and the fact that there's no cell phone reception or some dude posted up around the next corner with a laser speed detector and nothing better to do.
One of the best things about Baja is that the land is open to you... you can still be wild and free here. Sure there's off-roading where I come from, but it's complete with rules. You can only go so far and then there's something telling you that you have to stop, slow down, go the other way or otherwise be limited. Baja is still old school like that, you are only bound by your respect for other people and the land.
After Coco's Corner, you drive through epic desert that offers a driver everything there is, with infinite straight aways, twisty rock passes, sand washes, silty split track trails and you're in the biggest cactus garden there is. This is where my truck rides the best, I just sit back, unclick my seat belt, get comfortable, play party music and let the miles roll by. At one point my co-driver was kneeling on my center console and hanging out of the sunroof taking pictures and video while I mowed through the desert at 50+ mph. My truck rides down Baja roads like others do on concrete freeways.
The cool thing about having 3" shocks with Sage's do-it-all shock tune is that I get to fly down washboard rock pack at 70 mph with my arm on the windowsill taking in the sights and planning my next photo op - my shocks are tuned for maximum comfort. When I get onto some cactus rally trail littered with sun bleached race markers, I don't have to slow down for every goocher there is, I can maintain my speed and mosh through some desert shit - my truck's built for it, and my shocks are tuned for that too... all in one.
You do a lot of driving on rock roads with breaking-bumps. Those are like big fat washboard, not quite big enough to be called a whoop or a bump and are in such a tight frequency that if your shocks aren't tuned for everything, cab chatter would drive you nuts before you got to your first camp site.
The farther south you go, the better the scenery gets and that stays true until you absolutely run out of earth. The the first taste of this is when you see the Sea of Cortez again. The sand is white, the water is a different color and this makes a weekday taste even better.
Score more points for my Toyo MT / Walker Evan's combo... I still haven't checked my air pressure since I put my tires on in May. I run 34/30 PSI. I don't have to air down to go beach exploring and my sidewalls have enough stand up game to hold cargo tossing corner G's on the highway.
Over a hundred miles of this drive was on beaches, some of it was easy and some of it was deep course sand that took some deliberate thinking to navigate. Baja really does allow you to get your fill of off-road and will put everything to the test right in the middle of your party. It doesn't matter what you want to drive through, you either commit to driving from one point to another, or you commit to driving over what you wish, but not both. If you do enough of this, your off-road game will improve, it just comes with the territory.
This side of the peninsula there wasn't much distance to cover on beaches, this op here was just to go say hello to the Sea of Cortez and get my feet wet for the first time of the trip. This landed me in Bahia De Los Angeles, and since Ensenada, the party hasn't seen a traffic signal. So far the plan was working out perfect, an entire day's drive only passing a few people in the Puertocitos area on the road.
This is what it looks like heading for Baja Sur after Bay of L.A. - humbling views and being able to throw down however you want behind the wheel. There's lots of openness where all you have to watch out for is the occasional wild donkey, horse or bovine. Other than that, it's just you and your right foot.
Some guys do this with a GPS device. I was leaving town without so much as a map. My girlfriend purchased a tourist map last minute because she wanted to know where we were.
Sometimes you have to take a cut-off between two marked Mexican streets on a map, which means the road less traveled. In Baja, these are typically lined with coarse marking ribbon and orange arrows facing south.
Here is a section of trail that is exactly as wide as a full-size truck, with rocks that stick out of the bank that will snap your steering wheel to 9 o'clock in a split second.
This is where you go-go-gadget Toyo side walls, dual steering stabilizers, Red Head steering box and Carli Ball Joints. Here is your 1-ton truck front end nightmare. Sections like this is why desert racing has the attrition rate that it does. Hauling ass down trails like these means that you're going to connect with the shit sticking out of the side of the trail... and when you do, you can only hope it doesn't snap something. I had two contacts down this wash and both times it was like a thousand pound gorilla grabbed one of my Toyo's and momentarily stopped it. My steering wheel went from 12 to 9 o'clock so fast it couldn't be held onto.
But that's why the front end is bullet-proofed... in my world, it's got to be able to do this for an undetermined amount of miles and just keep going.
My truck left Ensenada driving straight down the road, palm steering easily at slow speeds and there wasn't a click or clunk coming from it... and that's exactly how it came back. Nice work Red Head.
This is what it looks like to cross the state line into Baja Sur. Most people go through the whole circle jerk with a military base, agricultural inspection and wash down station as well as the formalities of travel visas. Not here, this is the bullshit-free method of tourism.
All you need is a compass that points north and put it behind you... then a vehicle that can carry all of your stuff and handle the speed and off-road for hundreds of miles a day for two weeks straight.
Full-sized desert balling diesel trucks are probably the best way to do Baja, next to a sailboat or an bush plane... one can aspire, but for now, it's an 06 Megacab with everything on it.
Doing all of this eventually puts you back in the middle of the peninsula and if you want to stick to the Sea of Cortez, your best bet is to jump on the highway and start ripping towards Santa Rosalia
In just two days of adventure driving and around 450 miles later you reach the half way point. Now you're starting to get down to some Baja Sur action.
Bahia Conception is probably the first spot where it starts to look like a tropical paradise... and in Baja fashion, you can drive right up and include your truck in the photos. The beaches south of Mulege are pretty bitchen, the water is clear and the sea looks like a lake with islands and white sand.
Merry Christmas... that's what these photos should say. Heck yeah, truck loaded down with scuba equipment, camping gear, water, food, beach chairs with a hundred pound co-driver... and this is what the earth looks like. Right about here, the trip starts to kick in. Everything behind was cool driving, but the Baja adventure starts when you get out of the truck and start doing things.
I spent a day driving in and out of beach roads, through estuaries and up and over rock trails scoping the place out and playing with my truck. This Megacab has been squeezed through some tight spots. I have video of one tire barely touching the side lugs in a salt water lagoon and the other fully tucked into the wheel well crawling over a muddy rock. Long wheel base beach exploration without having to say no to a tight trail.
Turns out, this is the windy season for that part of the Cortez... and I wasn't going to wait for conditions to change, all I had to do was point my rig in another direction and pull the trigger. So that's just what I did.
We'll get back to the Sea of Cortez later, the adventure had just started and I was looking for near perfect conditions. All I had to do was drive to the other side of the Peninsula and check out how the Pacific side looked, then I could evaluate the two and decide where I wanted to spend a couple days.
This is not an uncommon view for highway driving in Baja Sur. I learned that real quick. Driving the highway in Sur sucks rocks. You spend an hour looking at the exact same view - endless cactus horizon with mind numbing straightness of the highway.
To top this all off, you have to look out for cows. For some reason in Baja Sur, the grass is greener right next to the shoulder of the highway and all cows know this. So as you're desperately trying to reel in the emptiness, you have to watch out for grazing bovine close enough to snap a side view mirror off, or worse.
So, the new adventure motto became "Fuck the highway
". The very first road pointing West was taken to where ever it went that wasn't on the road of vast cow-lined nothingness.
Finally we hit something cool. Double-wide washboard gravel roads with banked corners. Sometimes at the shop, I'll pick up the phone on a sales call and chat with a customer and they'll ask [insert Texas accent here] "Yeah, well, I drive on real hard washboard roads you know and, well, what does your truck do on those?
" Now I would say, "Ninety. My truck does about ninety on washboard.
" but that's after the adventure motto update attitude. I charged to the water's edge in search of southbound adventure lines. And I found em.
This brings us to the first real adventure part of the trip. I found the Pacific side really quick and the conditions were much better. The only part that I hadn't considered was, where on the Pacific side I was. There wasn't a beach, it was a mangrove coastline with intersecting sand trails to navigate.
Well I had one thing going for me, that was we're in Baja and you're not lost until you're out of fuel. With the ocean on either side of land, it's real easy to find south, if it's cold water with waves, South is water on your right, warm water and Islands, it's water on your left.
These photos are backwards because I was one tank of fuel away from being lost. Luckily I was still getting over 17 mpg, I had a lot of room before I officially became a victim of my own decisions and had to start asking for help.
This is when things got interesting and the driving started to give some pucker factor. Once I got my truck pointed in the right direction, all I had to do was navigate a maze of trails next to a mangrove estuary. Literally, next to, like the water touched the trail and sometimes you couldn't tell that the trail was wet, until you were in it.
It started out like some kind of mental test. Once the nicely defined trail faded away, you kind of had to just figure it out. The super cool part started when you went from lifting silt off the trail, to breaking through the surface into "ice mud", at least that's what it felt like driving over.
It was weird, you'd be driving along and the next thing you know, your steering wheel doesn't work, your RPM's spike and the truck does it's own 4-wheel drive half pirouette into the rough. Sometimes the little bushes afforded enough traction to get you back on track though.
This went on for too long. At first it was a surprise, then it was something to watch out for and be able to see coming. Then it just got to the point where it was pissing me off. This was the first time I've driven through something like this, and now I knew why there was a maze of trails. Anytime there was an inch of water, every vehicle drove way the hell around it. Wet = bad in this part of the land. The water didn't go anywhere, it just sat there ready to piss off any would-be drivers attempting to cross these paths.
This was the stickiest mud I've ever had blasted onto my truck. I had just washed my rig and it was barely coated in a slight dust and an hour after this crap, it was coated in Toyo thrown fuckall.
This stuff didn't fall off either, it just kept sticking to itself and packing up thicker and thicker. I hated mud to begin with, but this just tops it off.
There's nothing I feared more than getting stuck in Baja. I do so much driving alone, that getting stuck would for sure bring my party to a screeching halt. Not to mention that the guy with the 8,000 pound truck burried to the hubs in mangrove mud wouldn't be the thing that a guy on a horse could undo.
I really don't have an option, I can't get stuck... which means mud and silt make me pucker up and get a little intense. Those are two things where horsepower doesn't always help. In this case, even a flick of the throttle just redlined my motor. This was lame sticky mud in some unknown location along my adventure drive somewhere in Baja Sur.
After I got out of the mangrove estuary swamp maze, I found myself in what I would call B.F.E., but in this case, B.F.B.S., for Baja Sur. There I was with an endless horizon shot with this split track trail going south into infinite cactus hell... and behind me looked exactly the same. This was some interesting terrain too. The cactus was so tough that I clipped a mirror and shattered the glass. Sometimes driving these split track trails sucks because when you're the widest thing to drive down it, both tires are fighting for the low spot at the same time, so driving becomes this constant left-to-right battle where only one side can win at a time.
After finally reaching a terrain change, I hit a riverbed and things went from sandy straightness, to silt. Yay. Silt is my second least favorite stuff to drive through. Not only do you have to roll your windows up, but you never know when you're going to have to go to the mat and get nasty.
Silt can appear to be nothing and a second later, suck you into a moment that you'll never forget. This was definitely Baja adventure driving day...
Time stamp that on the adventure clock.
Finally, on the day's drive, I got onto something that I was happy with. Beach sand. I can predict beach sand. When I got out to take a look around, I spotted the under carriage of my truck - I officially had Baja barnacles.
The entire under side of my truck was covered in whatever the hell I drove through however many miles ago, where ever I was. It was the strangest mud I've ever seen. This stuff lasted just like this, for another 2,000 miles without even flaking off. Only the sides of my truck came clean, but that was from the cactus tearing it off as I pinstriped my way south.
Well at this point in the drive, I had to be deep in Baja Sur, but wasn't quite sure how deep. The good news was that I had a half a tank of fuel left and it was low tide.
This became my personal record of beach driving... the beach run to top all beach runs. This made going to San Quintin feel like a trip to the liquor store. I got my rig up to speed and drove at almost a hundred miles an hour for over half an hour and didn't see a damn thing but birds, crabs and coyotes... yes, coyotes chilling on a beach in Baja. First time for me too. I was passing things so fast that I only got a glimpse, so it took a few times before I actually identified what they were, starting with the crabs and ending with the coyotes.
It was a peaceful beach and I'm sure my Cummins sucking air at a hundred was felt before it was heard and by the time it was within ear shot, everything was getting the hell out of it's way. It was my beach this afternoon.
One thing did change however, and that was the angle of the beach. It started out mostly level and eventually that gave way to a pretty stout angle. If I so much as went left more than a truck width, I would get sucked down so fast overdrive was not an option and it took 70% throttle to maintain speed.
I started to wonder how I was going to get off the beach... Well, get off the beach without airing down or having to turn back. I hate party downers, and having to get out and change air pressure would probably suck, I've never done it, so I'm assuming.
It turns out that when you commit to something, it all just seems to work out. I just studied the waves and timed my approach to maximize the hard pack sand, kept an eye in my rear view mirror studying my tire tracks and staying as low as I could without kicking up any water.
I repeated this analysis at 80+ mph for another 15 minutes until we finally saw something, a pier with two guys fishing on it... which I slowed down to about 60 to go under, then pinned back in. Then I came across some people at the water's edge taking pictures. I pulled up and asked how they got there and first they laughed at me, then they pointed and told me that there's a way off the beach just down from them. Turns out, I hit the beach at the perfect time and cut tracks from where ever I was, to where ever I got to... I spent half the day finding out where I was going at freeways speeds.
After the epic beach run, I was back on sandy coastal straight line south bound awesomeness... I was actually relieved to be on solid ground, I didn't want to be the guy who buried his truck up to the axles on the beach with the tide coming in.
Another round of washboard Baja mail hauling and we saw some man-made stuff, which meant we were close to something, I just didn't know what or where.
The cool thing about being in another county is, you really never know what you're going to see next, it's just less predictable than organized super grid miles.
Here's a case of just that... a school buss that was wider than half the road that barely left enough room for an 06 Megacab to squeeze by with glass fenders and 5" backspace Walkers... how do I know this? Haha, the look on the other driver's face as I went by without flinching was probably what mine looked like when I first went crooked back in the mud slick.
I wound up within cell phone reception and I saw that I had a text message from Sage, it read: "Dude, you passed La Paz and are way south now, it looks like you're right on the water.
" He knows that there's no GPS in this truck and was seeing my spot track check-in's blow right passed my said destination.
Well, that's my way of driving to Todos Santos. Directions, from the highway, turn right, when you hit the ocean, turn left and pin it... you'll be there in no time. This was adventure base camp Charlie, complete with cell phone reception and mobile broadband Internet, my office for the day.
I spent two days in Todos Santos and Pescador Beaches starting my base tan... but hanging out at killer surf breaks wasn't going to wear down my tires and have me throwing OEM parts in the trash any sooner, so off I went for the Sea of Cortez once again.
What's the motto? That's right, screw that paved road, we're in Baja Sur, where the driving is only good when you have no idea where you are and you have to dodge livestock and rocks.
True to the adventure form, I got on a line heading East that went straight through the mountains to the other side of the peninsula tip. About this time, I had no idea where I was except a half hour from Pescador Beach and finally came a decision point in the day's drive.
Baja cross roads, a paradigm for a cross roads in life. Left or right, which way to go? Left had race course markers, ribbon and arrows were hanging from trees and cactus, which surely meant that was the adventure line, and right didn't have anything. Fun?.. or more fun? I'm rocking 3" King shocks, so I guess we'll have to take the race course to the next place I've never been from where ever I was.
Adventure navigation here is super easy... the worst thing you face is having to turn around and go back to the other way and try it... which I did a couple of times throughout these weeks. But who cares when you're in Baja Sur? you're always 40 minutes from an Ocean with either great surf, or awesome diving, take your pick... if I really wound up lost, the worst case scenario is I admit my map reading skills suck and I go chill out on the beach.
Baja Sur race courses are much like those in Baja Norte where I frequent. I spent half the day not knowing where I was and in 4-low. It was a bitchen drive and I cruised through the mountains from the Pacific Ocean to the Sea of Cortez hearing my Cummins growl up rock climbs and around corners twisting through Sierra De La Laguna, a Biosphere Reserve and another one of Baja's national parks.
Over on the other side, the drive flattened out and at some point I was laying down fresh tracks, and by now I was the only vehicle to pass since the last rain. At one point, I had to stop and drive about an 8th mile in reverse to a point where I could swing my Megapig around.
The funny thing about driving backwards on a trail where your truck is 1 foot wider than it is, you can't see backwards. Both side view mirrors show you cactus and branches and the rear view mirror shows you your cargo and upper spare tire. I had to drive backwards by feel. At one point everything was going just fine and I thought I had it - I felt like driving backwards all the way to where I started and then, blamo - my wheel went full lock right and my truck came to an instant stop. My left front Toyo caught a boulder and stopped. At the time of impact, my truck's momentum was absorbed through my steering system. Score another adventure blow to my Red Head steering box, billet ball joints and dual Bilstein stabilizers. See that boulder on the left of the trail in the top right picture below? That's the one I hit driving backwards blind.
I drove until the path choked down to something that you needed a Jeep to crawl through... a Jeep that you didn't mind scratching up. Navigating these trails, I used my overhead compass more than the paper map in my console and eventually found my way to a road that turned into a street that intersected the highway... and viola, navigation markers were posted up on the side of the road.
For the first time of this drive I knew exactly where I was.
This part of the peninsula is killer, it's a mix of cactus with a tree canopy. A place called Santiago is host to a natural hot spring where you can camp in the cactus forest and swim in a huge pool of warm spring water. This turned out to be an excellent way to kick off the day. Wake up, make coffee and breakfast, then go soak and swim... then return to pack up the camp and charge the Sea of Cortez in 4-hi.
After coming out of the hills I had options... go to La Paz, or head south to Los Cabos? I wasn't done going South and knew that eventually I had to go north, so that meant La Paz was on the way home, eventually.
What's the motto? Right, so off goes the party heading south cutting down every last sandy trail towards the water. Not a cove was missed or a beach was passed all the way to Los Cabos.
From the mountains to the coast, from the rock to the sand. So far the driving had been nothing but killer and I was now at least 1,000 miles into this party with more places to explore and things to do. This was worry-free adventure driving, all I had to think about was where I didn't know I was and where I was going.
Time was ticking down on 2011 and this was about a day away from waving good-bye to an awesome year and greeting the next. Morning drives like this make you reach for the iPod, crank up Sweet Child O' Mine and let your common-rail diesel motor eat it's lunch tearing ass towards your own New Year party in Cabo San Lucas.
Sure enough, eventually I hit the mass of people in Cabo and went to see what there was to see in San Lucas. After having driven over a thousand miles through everything Baja has to offer and getting glimpses of what I wanted to explore on my more than a week long drive north, I didn't really see the romance in the Crowds in Cabo. Maybe everyone doesn't have a long range off-road Megacab with everything on it for raging in the dirt.
That's the long way to land's end in Baja, 1400 something miles on the trip odometer, 32+ hours on the trip engine clock and I had officially driven my truck as far as you could in Baja... my way. This is ringing the adventure bell... all that there was to do from here was party north.
I decided to feed my truck it's spare AFE 7-Micron air filter for the trip north. You really can't drive here like I do without the right parts. All of this is how I pull it off and always drive home. My truck's never been stuck, never broke, never had a flat tire in Baja after having the full package. This is because of the parts that have gone into this. No more flat tires, no more blown transmissions, no more destroyed steering boxes, no more pounded out ball joints... just party on. If I tried this with a stock vehicle, it would die in it's first week in the line of duty.
Now that I had run the whole damn peninsula to the end, it was time to get what I came down for... and that's what Baja has to offer that I can't get at home. It's not just the unlimited off-road buffet that is attractive to me. There's things here that are more special than bottomless silt beds and SCORE markers... all this off-road is just my way of getting there... but this is what it's about. Doing something.
Cabo Pulmo was my first stop after leaving the city. An underwater national park and Baja's northern most corral reef. This is when the mix pays off. You can park your baddass diesel truck, unload all your crap, find your scuba tanks and charge out into the water and go play in a life-size aquarium.
I had everything I needed and at any time, I could spot a cove and make it my own off-road dive site beach camp and sunrise photo location... without having to do a thing. It's already here, all I had to do was show up.
I could start my own postcard business with just the photos from Cabo Pulmo, both above and underwater. Baja has a unique offering to those who are willing to come down and get it.
But for now, enough of all this hunky-dory rah rah sea life stuff... there's still some driving to do, we haven't gotten to La Paz yet, which is where I told everyone I was going in the first place.
Keeping true to the motto, the highway was not on my radar and northbound went the adventure. I found myself on what I called Baja's road to Mordor. It was a slippy little rock trail that at times, was barely big enough for my truck. This went on for over an hour as I picked my way up the Sea of Cortez heading for La Paz. At this point, all of my wheeling was done in 2-wheel drive. I had this pesky driveline squeak which turned into a constant rumble that amplified in 4x4.
Eventually, I found myself in a farm valley and intersected the highway. This is when I reaffirmed the adventure motto with even more epic highway straightness than ever before. I took a photo of forward and backward views of Baja Sur's bullshit straight line stretches.
Finally, the road offered some direction changes and then the adventure descended into the city right at the end of the day. Morning scuba dive over a corral reef and sunset in La Paz - 2012 weekday, check.
I was told that the sunsets in La Paz were purple. Turns out, that's true. The most dramatic sunsets I've ever seen. This made those bullshit highway straight-away's fade in my memory bank and that room was once again quickly filled with Baja Sur awesomeness.
La Paz is another unique thing of it's own. Home to more sea life than you can shake a stick at and beaches where you can walk out into the water for 15 minutes and still not be able to swim. No joke, I tried going for a swim from my truck and after 15 minutes of walking, I gave up and changed beaches.
This is where the wild earth rubs right up against modern day life. There's free WiFi on the Malecon and you can jump on a ponga to go swim with Whale Sharks or watch Humpback whales breach in the bay.
Camping in La Paz beaches is killer, you park in white sand with sea shell patches and swim in what looks like drinking water. Here's a view of Thursday's office.
This was the somewhere around the 1500th mile on this trip and about the time an under carriage rumble turned into a moshing grind that had to get dealt with. I avoided this for days, but it was coming.
You can only lay down 1000+ foot pounds of torque in 4-wheel drive and do 100 mile per hour stints until something finally punches it's wear cycle ticket.
In this case, it was a front drive shaft, freshly rebuilt in May during the same reload when the Toyo's went on and a slue of other maintenance items.
This is the cost of doing business - a bucket of u-joints and this truck will be ready to go another season turn-key in Baja doing exactly the same thing. A small price to pay for exercising your freedoms.
OEM wear parts fall off this truck in the name of living life... but as long as it's just factory wear items being replaced, there's nothing one could complain about.
At least I was laying in a white sand beach under my barnaclized Megacab. This would have made such a mess in the shop, I would have been sweeping up as long as it took me to yank the part. I couldn't image what would happen if I rumbled on this chassis with a Blue Point impact.
I heard a rotational squeak before I even got out of town and thought it could have been a hub, which would have kept me from going much farther... So, in Bay of L.A,, I went to a tire shop, borrowed a jack and had a guy spin the left front tire while I laid underneath. The noise was coming from the T-case, not the hub, so I dropped the truck and split, these transfer cases are bullet-proof and I wasn't worried about anything but a wheel bearing.
Once you get to know your truck, things just start to work out better and you know what you have to worry about. Turns out, it was the dual u-joint thing on the front drive shaft and it held on all the way to La Paz, the super long way.
All this truck needs is u-joints, tires and filters and it will just keep doing this. Now I can say that this truck and package is thoroughly proven, it's the one that keeps standing up to all the Baja off-road adventure a guy can throw at it.
The adventure went all the way north and now I'm shivering in Ensenada wishing for quick redeparture south. I found my lines and the next time I hit it, it'll be even better.
I hope everyone's new year kicked off exactly how they wanted it. There's going to be some adventure driving this year that will make the board as well. I try to get people involved and roll out the red carpet for more participation, but once again, this was a solo mission. This year, a Carli Adventure drive should hit the tip with a solid group of guys and trucks.
A half an hour at the pressure washer and this truck is 2 u-joints away from doing this again. My Megacab bounces back from a party without a hangover.
Everyone behind this truck deserves an atta-boy. In the world of license-plated daily driver diesels, this is putting the "fuck yeah" in truck ownership... and it isn't like this until you have it all. Nice up Cummins... way to back it up ATS Diesel... thanks again Toyo... excellent work Red Head Steering Gears and most of all, thanks to Sage and the guys for doing what you do.