Baja is arguably the best place in the world to hit the dirt. Its harsh landscape makes for some of the most grueling off-road action in the world. If you haven’t experienced Baja for yourself, it’s definitely one of those things to add to the bucket list.
When a few of the guys from GoFastBroncos.com told us about a charity trip they were organizing in that region, we knew we had to be a part of it. The idea was to convoy from El Cajon, California, to the U.S.-Mexico border in Tecate, Mexico, where we would hit the dirt all the way to Ensenada, Mexico. Although this was mainly a Bronco event, there were a few non-Broncos in the group.
There were 16 trucks in all, and everyone was packed with bags of clothes that were to be donated to El Oasis Orphanage in Valle De Trinidad. On top of that, Bill Varnes donated his Baja 1000 commemorative edition bottle of Añejo Azuñia Tequila to the Baja HID Excursion; it was raffled off and brought in more than $500 that was also donated to El Oasis. The organization takes care of 54 kids, and thanks to the 2011 Baja HID Excursion, they were able to buy all the kids science calculators, USB flash drives to print their homework at El Oasis, as well as new shirts, pants, and shoes. We later learned that for two of the kids, these were the first pair of new shoes they had ever owned—and they’re teenagers.
It goes without saying that giving back to the community is something all off roaders should take part in, and the GoFastBronco guys did just that. The fact that we were down in Baja with the nicest group of people who were willing to get out in 100-degree heat to help a broken rig get back on the road really created a sense of comradery amongst the group. The action we witnessed in Baja was unbelievably awesome to say the least—at one point we were flying down a dirt road at well over 50 mph and had to make a sudden stop to let two cows cross the trail. Even driving down the highways was an adventure in and of itself. The fact that you have to stay on top of your game and watch out for fast-moving vehicles that may pass on the wrong side of the road through blind curves really gets your blood pumping.
Baja is like nothing else and we’re glad we came along with the guys from GoFastBroncos.com on the annual 2011 Baja HID Excursion. Needless to say, we’re in for the next run!
Editor’s Note: We’d like to thank Chris Puente, Tom Webber, and Tony Rojo for organizing this outstanding trip with the greatest group of people!
We’d also like to thank Autofab, Mirage Racing Products, BajaHID, RacerX, Fox Racing Shox, Johnny Lightning, MasterCraft Safety, BajaScott, CP Documents, Ollie Penchansky, Four Wheeler, and the Horsepower Ranch for sponsoring the 2011 Baja HID Excursion.
The Horsepower Ranch has a rustic atmosphere to it which gives it more character than any five-star hotel could ever dream of. After we all got washed up, we sat down for the Baja HID Excursion Banquet dinner where we ate some of the best steak we’ve ever had! Tony, Chris and Tom organized a white elephant giveaway which basically allows you to steal someone else’s gift if you so desire. Again, sorry about taking the Mirage Racing Products SMS shovel, Chris. The lucky winner of the night was Rick Bagwell, who ended up taking home the much sought-after Baja 1000 commemorative edition bottle of Añejo Azuñia Tequila.
We heard over the radio that someone had broken a shock so we all pulled over in a shady area where the temperature was a cool 95 degrees in the shade. As it turns out, Andy turned his Bilstein 5150 shock into a 5100 by shearing off the piggyback reservoir, as well as the top shock eye mount. Andy didn’t seem to mind too much since he was having a blast in Baja.
Brian Beeler had some issues with his Bronco and had to go in to town to replace a map sensor, as well as a fuel filter and oxygen sensor, before he could hook back up with the group. His wife Carmen wasn’t too pleased since this would take away valuable air time she planned on getting in the Bronco.
This used to be David Kennedy’s (editor of our sister rag, Diesel Power) old long-travel, eight-lug Bronco. Ryan White purchased it off of him and has been treating it well. He’s certainly not afraid to air it out.
Tom Webber is the proud owner of one cool TTB F-250. His ’82 F-250 (AKA the Mint Green Metallic F-250) started out life as a leaf-sprung TTB truck until Tom decided it needed to keep up with trophy trucks. The attention to detail is incredible on this truck. The entire cage and suspension were custom made to be bolt-on. The camper shell is removable without having to unbolt the cage. A Ford Lightning motor makes sure he has enough power to mob around the deserts of Baja without breaking a sweat.
We ran with our lights on even in the day because if you don’t, you won’t be able to spot the road through someone’s dust cloud. Baja HID’s products could be seen on almost all the trucks that made the trip and we can tell you first hand that HID’s make all the difference when it comes to increasing your visibility.
Jackie Gleeson earned the tough guy award for blasting through the trails at decent speeds in his ’73 Jeep CJ-5. The only suspension he had was the one in his suspension seat and despite that he kept a smile on the whole time.
He definitely got everyone’s attention when he started pulling the front tires off the ground on this loose hill climb. It’s a wonder those smiling KC Daylighter lens covers didn’t start frowning from the grueling terrain Jackie pushed them through.
Tony’s Bronco developed a driveline vibration that turned out to be a bad U-joint. Randy just so happened to be carrying a ball-joint puller, which was put to good use to remove the worn-out U-joint.