Laguna Diablo to San Felipe
-(a quick side note to myself in 2013)
Hey Sean, remember to deflate your tires. Don’t just think about it or just let it cross your mind but do it. 15psi.
The Learning Curve
At the start of stage 2 we broke two rules. The first is “never pass gas in Baja.” Pemex stations are far and few between and sometimes they don’t have gas at all. Obviously, second, deflate your tires. We would learn these rules from Dan the sweeper about 37 miles into this 44.3 mile stage.
Rhonda started at the wheel and before the battery died our hero camera recorded about 5 seconds of it….enjoy
Laguna Diablo is a smaller lake that Laguna Salada but it has the same amount of silt. It was two deep troughs that the truck sort of sat it. The Fj40s wheel base was much narrower than the modern race cars so it was a bit challenging to keep it in the groove.
Twenty miles into the stage we left the lake bed and went through an elaborately decorated cattle guard and the GPS went out. This wasn’t good. I wasn’t great at navigating with the GPS and without it we would be lost. I grabbed my multi meter and tested it – no power. I rewired it to one of the flood lights and we were on our way. That’s when I noticed all our gauges were out.
Luckily there was a Mag 7 pit within a quarter mile. We pulled in and told the guy what was up. He popped the hood and said “there’s your problem.” A wire had come loose from the battery. He fixed it, gave us some water and we were on our way.
Thanks Mag 7!
After that the course got sandy and we started getting stuck. The first time we powered ourselves out. The fj40 doesn’t have lockers, so when it get’s stuck one front wheel spins and one back wheel spins (next year lockers).
We went a bit further. Avoiding whoop dee doos Rhonda got off course and wound up in a wash. We really got stuck and we hadn’t seen another car for miles.
Out of nowhere there was a handsome guy, his hot girlfriend and their nice truck. They seemed to be locals but were way too clean for the silty mess of Laguna Diablo. They agreed to help us but as we were getting the tow line hooked up a military hummer arrived. They waved the cute couple off and pretty easily pulled us out. We gave everyone t-shirts and were on our way.
I had wound up behind the wheel and that’s when the fuel issues kicked in. The truck started lurching. The last time I’d filled up was in Calexico but I had a 35 gallon tank (Two days later we’d learn it was the fuel filter that didn’t like having about 10 gallons in the tank). We lurched on and about six miles from San Felipe started hitting whoop dee doos. That’s when we met team Brutus.
We’d both gone of course to find a smoother route and both got stuck.
After trying to get our own cars out I decided we should team up and help each other. Jason and Matt are good guys and we first tackled their front hubs which weren’t locking. Everyone was tired and a bit addled.
Then Dan the Sweeper showed up. Dan drives a stock 2 wheel drive Tacoma and sweeps the course for NORRA picking up all the straggles. Thank you Dan!
One of his first questions was “how much air do you have in your tires?” My stomach dropped and I immediately remember the error of my ways. My dad had always harped on us about low tire pressure. Dan recommended 15psi (which is lower than I would’ve gone) and we went with it. It took what seemed like forever to let that much air out of the tires but once we were done the car easily crawled out of it’s hole.
Then is was time to help Brutus.
We were ready to pull them out but Brutus wouldn’t start. They’d lost a transmission line (?) and coated their engine with fluid. Eventually their distributor got cleaned out, we got 5 gallons of gas from Dan and we were all on our way to San Felipe.
the day continues here
the day continues here