EP14: Baja, Don’t Go!

You really shouldn’t go to Baja. You really shouldn’t go to Baja if you’re wrapped up in the scary things you’ve heard. You really shouldn’t go to Baja if you’re not ready to hang up your ego and have an adventure with open eyes and open arms. You REALLY shouldn’t go to Baja if you think you’re too good, if you think people are here to serve you, or if you think this place is a shithole. Stay home. Baja will be just fine without you. If you’re reading this, that’s probably not you, because you listen to Rigged for Dirt and you are all about the adventure! So let’s buckle up, grab your passport, kick the tires and light the fires! We’re heading to Baja, arguably the last truly free place in North America, oh AND TACOS!

We should begin with a huge shout out to our guides Matt and Andy of Camp4Lo. We met in San Diego about 2 minutes from Mexico’s port of entry. We met up with the rest of the Camp4Lo attendees, topped off fuel and exchanged some dollars for pesos. Important note, don’t fill up your fuel cans. Carrying fuel into Mexico is not allowed.

This is Frank’s second time heading south with this outfit and Ali’s first. You can get all the details on Ali’s hesitation to head south in the podcast. It’s an important statement because it’s a common misconception. The reality is that–yes, there’s an extreme chasm between wealth and poverty–but you’re no more likely to have a bad experience than you would in some of America’s largest cities. So let’s cross the border and begin our adventure south to Cuatro Casas hostel, about 4 hours south.

At about the halfway point we made a much-needed fuel stop, not the petrol kind, the Baja kind: TACOS! We stopped a popular and amazingly delicious stop, Tacos El Trailero. It did not disappoint. NOTE: we’re not responsible if you drool on your phone or keyboard.

After a quick food stop, we hit the road and were off to Cuatro Casas Hostel. What an amazing location, right on the bluffs of the Pacific Ocean. This place has showers, rooms for rent, and food–good food we might add! We opted to camp and get the full adventure experience, but you don’t have to rough it. We all agreed that probably the best thing about this place is people watching. It’s a hub for Baja travelers and you get all sorts of adventurers and wanderers alike. All amazing people, and all with great stories!

Of course, there was a ton of off-roading and trail runs! So let’s skip to that goodness, you should be getting all the details from the podcast episode!

No Baja trip would be complete without a mechanical and some dune play! This Tundra snapped its shock and the fix was pretty ingenious. In a show of true community, folks gathered together and put this rig back together. Then we hit the dunes where Ali got get recovered this time!

We wrap up our trip with some craziness in the evening and relaxation at Cuatro Casas for a final night before we head home. We’re not quite ready to put the adventure behind us but we definitely had an experience that is impossible to fully capture in a podcast or even this blog post.

One last part before we say goodbye to Baja, this is the guy that helped Ali with his caliper bolt. Humble, skilled, and just happy to be of service. This is Baja.

Baja is an experience and the truth is, despite the title, you should go. (That earlier part about not going to Baja is just a running joke between veterans of the Baja experience to keep Baja small and humble, and free of some of the worst that we sometimes bring with us. These are a people with their own culture, and their own way of life. And that’s OK. Enjoy it, appreciate it and what you have, but don’t assume they’re not happy. Baja isn’t perfect and nowhere is that more evident than at the port of entry in Tijuana. Frank will tell you, as will many more, Tijuana isn’t like the rest of Mexico. It’s its own beast surviving by straddling two cultures that live at odds and also embrace. It’s that duality that brings the best and worst to this town. Be grateful, be generous, be humble–and experience Baja.

This has been a collection of Frank and Ali’s images taken on adventure in Mexico. We hope you enjoy this episode. As you can tell, there was a lot of passion behind this one, unexpected levels actually. Travel safely and always explore!

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