Today’s drive will take us from the east side of Baja California Norte to the west side via a 25 miles dirt road called Mex 5. We left Gonzaga Bay first thing in the morning with the Wandrly crew expecting a long driving day… and a loooooong driving day is what we got.
It didn’t take long for the pavement to turn into dirt, construction signs to warn us that things are happening and to see workers pop up along the route.
We’ve been on a decent amount of dirt roads lately, especially with Alaska under our belts, but this is the first time we’ve seen truckers speed so closely next to us on their normal delivery routes.
Sometimes Wandrly passes us, beep their horn twice and we laugh because it reminds us of the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote.
When his VW bus tells him it has to go, it has to go. There is no time to take it easy behind our slower truck camper. Beep Beep!
A quick glimpse of the famous Coco’s Corner, about the half way point of Mex 5. Didn’t have a chance to stop in today since we were determined to get off of the dirt road as soon as possible. Coco’s and his beer can wait for another time.
Plus, when one the kids falls asleep on our drives, we tend to skip certain destinations in favor for a quieter drive. Especially if it’s the youngest one. Oh and don’t worry about my mesh jacket holder thing falling over their seats. The dirt road took it down but VHB tape will make it all right very soon.
About 15 miles down the dusty and rocky dirt road connecting back to Mexico Highway 1, the bus started to experience some issues. What was just a minor inconvenience of a finicky throttle yesterday has now become an unresponsive throttle.
We got it running for a bit but then it stopped once again.
Yes, I was taking photos of strange cacti while the dudes were figuring out our next steps. Look at that thing! It’s like a cactus/ocotillo cross breed. We’ve only seen them during our drive on this stretch of the dirt road.
Rather than being stranded in the middle of the Mexican desert, we were able to hook up Wandrly’s bus up with our tow strap and pull him the remaining 8 miles out. The article here mentions the gear we used and I have to tell you, we were glad to have it.
At the end of the dirt road, we reached Mexican Highway 1. Lucky for us, just across the highway is where we found Jose who runs a used tire shop servicing mostly long haul truckers.
As we pulled the bus for one last stretch across the highway, we were immediately greeted by a slew of barking tire shop dogs and random guys popped out of their trucks to help push the bus into the tire yard.
Thanks for push!
Before we left for Baja, we visited the travel clinic in Long Beach to get some vaccinations. The nurse basically told us not to eat street food, don’t wear flip flops, and don’t pet any stray dogs. Ummm, why the hell are we going to Baja then, nurse?!?!?! As we pull up, all the dogs are barking and in a pack. But as soon as I open the truck door, I am greeted by sweet puppy eyes and wagging tails. So far, all the dogs of Baja just want some love. Most just wait for the okay, then roll over and just want belly rubs.
As we waited for Jose to assess the problem, we made some lunch and the boys all wanted to get out and touch all the stuff.
This place kept them busier than any playground could have ever done.
Luka and Dan watching Jose hopefully working his magic.
As much as we tried we just could not get her running good enough to complete the drive to Guerrero Negro which was still 150 km away. With no services or utilities of any kind we waited until the satellite phone at a nearby truck stop came online at 4pm and waited another 6 hours before roadside assistance finally came through with a flatbed truck and got them safely to a hotel in Guerrero Negro at 3am while I followed.
We broke down ourselves this past summer. We had no reception, no assistance, no choice but to drive our crippled van to safety. It really sucked. The entire time I wished we were caravanning with others but it wasn’t meant to be. So as much as Nathan tried to give us excuses as why we should just split up and meet up later, we weren’t falling for it.
Sure we could have just left them and waited until they sorted out their problems in the comforts of a RV park but this is why we are in this together. To us, friendships are measured by the amount of inconvenience one is willing to endure. To bail on someone at the first sign of trouble is no friend at all.
Thanks for reading,