Trip Report Lets go to Baja!


Make RME Rockcrawling Again!
"Let's take a newly built and unproven trailer, a recently purchased and modified truck to Mexico over 2,400 miles and take an easy solo trip.... "

2 days later, on the Baja 1000 race course, in 4 low with the rear locker engaged. :eek:X-D (It may not look like much, but it was a steep climb, not to mention the dozens of water crossings and soft sand down in the wash.)


So some quick thoughts.... the truck was amazing, it's a pleasure to drive on the freeway towing the trailer and offroad, bouncing around offroad and blasting at speed. I was worried about how 'mild' it is, but it turned out to be ideal for the trip.

The EcoBoost engine is impressive, we averaged 14 MPG on the way down and 12 MPG coming back, facing a nasty headwind most of the time. The trailer has enough weight & rolling resistance that the EcoBoost is running with the turbo's spooled up much of the time. I don't really care about the mileage, but LOVED the 36 gallon gas tank. It took so much stress off planning around getting gas in Baja and on the drive down and back. We had 10 gallons of gas in the truck just in case, but never needed to consider dumping it in. On our last 2 days, we drove from Bahia de Los Angeles (8 hours South of the border) and well into California before needing gas again. Last time we went, we took my Jeep which is only good for 220-240 miles per tankful. The truck is so easy to drive it makes all the miles pass easily. Both my wife and I were very happy with how well the truck worked.

The offroad manners of the truck were simply incredible, even more so when we left the trailer behind and pushed the truck at speed on the sandy Baja roads. As simple as this truck is with nothing but shocks, wheels & tires it was ideal for a offroad Baja trip. The Falcon shocks add so much control at speed and the BFG KO2's and Method Wheels helped manage the impacts. There were plenty of times when we had the trailer hooked up that I wish it wasn't there.... because we could have covered ground much quicker! :eek: It's like this truck was built for this kind of stuff... I'd dare say it's not to far off from a Raptor, without the factory long-travel suspension, wide fenders and 35's.

That said, the OUT trailer from Anchor Mountain Overland performed flawlessly and was so nice to have when it came time to set up camp and the ARB RTT. Everything was quick & easy to deploy and put away, I did love how easy it was to access the RTT with it sitting on the lid. Putting away a RTT on the roof of a lifted 4x4 isn't always easy! Speaking of the lid, I was thankful for it as well as the locks to keep everything secure. The whole package was pretty low-key but having things covered and out of sight helped keep interested eyes from seeing anything they wanted. There were several times that we parked the truck & trailer and were away from it for hours and it was nice to know all was secure. We didn't use the hot water shower or cook stove as we had access to running water and food at the places we stayed. The firewood was much needed though, keeping us warm on the chilly, long evenings. Glad I brought so much and had plenty of storage for it on the trailer! The trailer actually got air quite a few times, on road and off... and survived without damage! I think I'm going to make a spring change, I had to add longer shackles after getting it loaded down and I don't like them. I think I could use more arch to the springs.... also seriously thinking about adding shocks to the trailer. It bounces a lot!

The Falcons were also very nice to have with the trailer in tow, running them set on the #2 'Medium' setting of the Tow/Haul mode. The trailer had more tongue weight than needed, but the Falcons kept that hitch-bounce that you can get, far away. Honestly, it was often hard to tell there was a trailer hooked up at all on the highway and freeway. The truck and trailer were stable and planted at all times.

I'm still processing pics and video, so I'll be adding to this tomorrow.


Registered User
Arm Utah
Glad everything went well and really happy to see that a truck with the right equipment is capable of this trip. It's on my bucket list.


Make RME Rockcrawling Again!
Glad everything went well and really happy to see that a truck with the right equipment is capable of this trip. It's on my bucket list.

After the last trip and a few of you guys asking what kind of trucks could make it, I thought this was a good test. We did end up in some very narrow & overgrown parts of trail at one point and there may be some light scratches on the truck, not sure if everyone that wants to go during a future trip would be OK with that. I'm hoping a good wax job will clean up the scratches. Having good tires & decent ground clearance is 90% of being capable for Baja, 4WD is always good. We only used 4 Low 2-3 times and the locker 5-6 times, mostly out of precaution rather than necessity.


Make RME Rockcrawling Again!
How many days total was the trip?

We took 10 days, we could have made the trip longer and were going to, but the weather was pretty poor... lots of wind and cold. The camping was OK, but Winter in Baja is usually better. We're back home now and have a little time for R&R before going back to work.


Make RME Rockcrawling Again!
OK, so this trip wasn't nearly as extensive as our last Baja trip, my wife had family down in San Felipe and they came down over a few different days and we spent quite a bit of time catching up with family that we don't see often enough, which cut into our travel time. I totally understand though, Family is important and spending time together is very valuable, so I can't complain. We did take the whole family into town for some fresh Fish & Shrimp Tacos at Brendas, right on the main street of San Felipe... they were amazing, as always.



While around San Felipe, we took a quick driving tour thru Valle de los Gigantes (Valley of the Giants). The valley is home to an impressive forest of cardón cacti, the tallest growing cactus in the world. The Verbena were in full bloom, carpeting parts of the valley floor with purple flowers... much of the desert was a brilliant green, the Baja desert looked alive and healthy! The drive thru Valle de los Gigantes is short, but impressive.... highly recommended if you're in the area. It costs $10/vehicle to enter and the the sand on the back-end of the park gets pretty soft & deep, requiring 4WD. The sunrises in Baja are amazing, lighting up the Sea of Cortez and making some beautiful colors.... they're one of my favorite things to photograph.




We did finally venture out and head 5 hours South, to Bahia de Los Angeles. The attempt by Mexico to finish building a road from South of San Felipe and meeting up with MEX 1.... but it seems that mother nature by way of a recent hurricane is reclaiming any attempt by man to tame the Baja peninsula. About a dozen parts of road have been washed out and made impassible, some times totally washing away the road. There are temporary bypasses that have been built, but they can be pretty rough. We didn't need 4WD, but came close a few times. The road is simply falling apart down there, Mexico can't keep up with the repairs! Most of the damage is around Puertecitos and down to Gonzaga Bay. It'll be quite a few more years before the highway is repaired/completed, which is good news IMO... I'd love to see this part of Baja remain hard to get to.




The Bay of LA is a out-of-the-way, sleepy fishing town with a beautiful bay surrounded by massive, barren islands. It's a place where Whale Sharks come to have their babies and there is plenty of other sea life as well. You can charter boats from many places to go fishing, whale watching, etc. We camped at Daggetts where they offer palapas with fire pits and running water with toilets and hot showers. The facilities are sketchy and questionable, like many other places in outlying Baja.... but it does the job. We dropped the OUT trailer and setup the ARB RTT, then used the truck by itself to run around town and explore.








Random, friendly doggo (pit bull?) running on the beach.... I was taking pics kneeling down and she body-checked me, damn near knocking me over! Scared the crap out of me too, because I didn't see or hear her coming! She was super friendly and just wanted some attention.



We had a great breakfast at Costa del Sol and got to see the one-eye'd Great Dane Scooby, who we met 3 years ago.


When we left the Bay of LA, we hit MEX 1 headed North and turned off at one of my favorite route.... into Calamauje Wash. The first time I heard about this place, I was warned to stay out. Deep sand, rough two-track and a wash that usually has running water and some deep crossings. The warning had the opposite effect.... I HAD to see it for myself! We've been thru before, 5 years earlier in the '98 Toyota Land Cruiser and is was SOFT, the Baja 1000 had just ran thru and churned up the sandy wash. This route can be broken down into 3 different parts, from the highway turnoff.

The first part is simply incredible, massive Cirio trees, Saguaro cactus and the gigantic Cardón's reach nearly 100' into the sky here! This is Baja's jungle.... and it feels like another world. A whooped out two track stretches for miles, winding it's way thru the beautiful Baja jungle. While we were passing thru a storm moved in and it was lightly raining, which is rare in Baja. We were a little concerned, as dark clouds where hanging over the wash we were headed towards.

The 2nd part of the trail is down in the wash, soft sand and running water have created quite the oasis down in the canyon. It's beautiful, the wash crossings are mostly tame but a few of them got deeper than expected. There are steep canyon walls and rock that has been carved out over hundreds of thousands of years. At one point there's a spring with minerals building up and cascading down the cliff.




See any familiar stickers? :D



The last part of the trail climbs out of the wash and among the Ocotillo plants, it's very whooped out, diving in and out of rocky washes. It requires careful driving, but there are a few parts that you can pick up the speed. Eventually the trail spits you out at Coco's Corner and the more traveled roads and highway construction in progress.



From there we hit the road back to San Felipe, getting to the InLaws place just as it got dark. We were tired and needing sleep, as we were heading to the border and on home early the next morning.

I had been talking to Dan aka @notajeep as they were planning to be in Baja a few days after we arrived. We weren't able to meet up, but found out that we were less than 10 miles apart one evening! X-D Funny that you can be in Mexico and have another RME member nearby.


Make RME Rockcrawling Again!
So, a little side story.... the place my inlaws have is in a campo South of San Felipe and there are a lot of other Americans that have homes own there. The locals that own the property and lease out lots to the Americans have setup a nice place and put on events a few times a year. For the New Year, they put on a Poker Run. My BIL Dave got us signed up for it and we took my FIL's bright Yellow "Barney". What's a Barney you ask? It's a custom built, square-tube one-off people-mover/dunebuggy.... it has stock VW Bettle frontend, engine & suspension. It has 3 bench seats, meant for cruising around.... NOT a racecar by any means. :oops: It has expanded steel floors, the seats are plywood with a thin covering of foam, NO SEAT BELTS, etc. There was a local guy building these, he made about 50 of them and you see them around every now & again.

So we show up at the Poker Run and there are built up SxS's and a handful of hardcore prerunners sporting coilovers & triple bypass shocks, 40" BFG Baja race tires, etc. We have the only VW-based vehicle. Dave participated in a past Poker Run and it was pretty mellow, just drive around the desert, collect some cards and head back for some good food and drinks.

So the 'Poker Run' starts and it's more like a full on desert race.... the loop went out 13-15 miles into the desert. There are whoops, banked turns, super-soft sandy washes, rutted out 2-track, etc. I'm driving the Barney and pushing it as hard as the engine & suspension will allow, trying to maintain our position. The route was pretty well marked out, but there were a few times where we were on our own, wondering if we missed a turn! We got passed by SxS's a few times, then one of the big prerunners came up behind us.... it was a 90's fullsize Ford Bronco. We were stuck in a deep wash and he wanted to go fast... I finally found a kinda wide spot and pulled in, waving him past. We got peppered with rocks and sand as he opened it up!

At another point (and this happened 4-5 times) we hit some deep ruts and the belly of the Barney, which is open with expanded steel, launched silt & sand up into the car, blinding us and covering us in layers. Dave even commented, wondering how I kept my eyes open.... well, I had to drive! I was washing sand out of my eyes for the next 3 days. :confused:

Once we finally made it back to the end, there were quite a few people asking us if we had taken the Barney on the full course, as we were back pretty early! We even beat the Bronco, after it had issues half way thru! And then a handful of folks were checking it out... X-D Anywho, this is probably the closest I'll ever get to racing in Baja.... and it was epic and so much fun! I wish I would have taken the GoPro, I didn't expect it to be so challenging!

Here's some folks checking out the Barney.... I don't think I have any shots from the front. :(


Bad pic of one of the prerunners....



Well-Known Member
Kaysville, Ut
There is a reason that volkswagon based cars ran and still run Baja. Did you ever feel unsafe down there? I so want to ride my dirtbike the length of Baja. Its on my bucket list.


Make RME Rockcrawling Again!
There is a reason that volkswagon based cars ran and still run Baja. Did you ever feel unsafe down there? I so want to ride my dirtbike the length of Baja. Its on my bucket list.

No doubt, Russ! VW's have a rich history with offroading & Baja!

I've never felt unsafe, but there have been times where I've been on full alert and very aware of whats going around around me. IMO the most sketchy places are around the border. We try to cross the border early in the morning, coming and going. The last time we went down, the friends we traveled with decided they wanted to leave earlier than we had planned and we ended up driving into Mexicali late at night, then hit construction that blocked our planned route. We had to reroute 3 miles thru very busy, very sketchy neighborhoods in our 4x4's that stuck out like sore thumbs.

This is the crossing we use, it's newer and flows pretty well.... but it did take us almost 3 hrs to get back into the States -

I wanted to ride Baja so bad, doubt I ever will though. The easiest way to do it would be with a tour group, I know @anderson750 has friends that did it that way. If you could have food & lodging planned ahead, then a route figured out, it would be cake.