May 1, 2012
Sarah Palin? and other delights
Rhonda and I woke up at the crack of dawn got in the Land Cruiser and headed towards the start of stage 1. We left Arwen, Mary and the kids to sleep and instructed them to take their time, enjoy the pool at the Oasis, and try to meet us at the end of the stage. If we beat them, we could just meet in La Paz.
After missing the entire second day, we were a bit out of the loop. One thing lacking with NORRA, us and everyone in Baja, is communication. So, we went to look for the start and didn’t find it. I did find and finally met Bill Brindle and his International Harvester. I’d “friended” Bill on facebook because he had raced a Bronco in previous years and was a fan of Ween. You don’t find that combination too often and to me that said he was okay. He informed us that the start was outside of town at the Del Boracho Saloon and that there would be a very special guest, Sarah Palin.
It turns out that Trig? or Todd? or Trap? or Trip? or “something” Palin is friends with Walker Evens. Sarah would be racing stage 1 as his navigator. (side note - to make me feel better Walker Evens DNFed the Mexican 1000 also). So, we headed out of town to Del Boracho for our complimentary breakfast and the start of the stage.
|I have to admit, I was more interested in this old Suzuki Gaucho than Sarah Palin|
When we got there nobody knew we were still racing but they were excited that the zebra was back. We were sent to the back of the line with all the other cars that were still racing even though they wouldn’t technically finish. We went in the Saloon had a couple breakfast burritos, coffee and orange juice.
The field seemed really small at this point, a fraction of the cars that started the race.
Mary caught up with us and took a few photos of Palin.
Sarah Palin and Walker Evens went first.
Then the bikes, buggys, trucks and finally all the Broncos and then us.
Stage one was a trip. We started on paved road went three miles and turned off the road into a wash. Then after another 2 ½ miles we were back on the pavement. The treacherous mountain road people had warned us about no longer existed. The car shouldn’t have been in four wheel drive and it wasn’t happy with the luxurious paved road. Finally, after about 13 miles the pavement started to end with a series of detours off the road and eventually it became a dirt road all together.
We hadn’t really researched this leg of the race. We were a bit surprised by San Javier. Not only was it a beautiful oasis with a cute tiny town and cobblestone streets. There was the giant mission. This was going to be a day of “did you see that?” asked in a way to check if you were hallucinating or time travelling or something else.
The first stage was a blast. After San Javier the road was fast but could throw you for a loop with the frequent washes. Towards the end the road there was an odd combination of hard pack with about six inches of sand on top. It was a bit like running around on linoleum in socks. The corners were “interesting” and I eventually made us pull over to see if we had a flat. We didn’t.
We finished the 64.4 miles with a time of 1:36:57, which wasn’t fast but was acceptable.
video recap and next chapter here!