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Snooth User: Philip James

Baja Offroading

Posted by Philip James, Apr 15, 2008.

I've always wanted to do this. After watching the movie from Dust to Glory even more so. We started talking about this on another thread (, but I wanted to move it to its own.

Its a 1,000 mile non-stop race from the top to bottom of the Baja peninsula. You get to ride in silly tricked out cars with 3 feet of suspension like this:

I know a few companies offer packaged offroad motorbike tours ( but thats the only way I think I'd get the chance to try something like this.

Ocean/RBoulanger - you both know about this. Help fill me in! Thanks


Reply by oceank8, Apr 15, 2008.

Right now is a bad time because of the government upheavals in Baja. The last Baja 1000 saw some kidnappings and thefts. Although I still go to Mexico and have not seen any troubles, I would wait at least another year before trying to get involved with the race.

That being said, it would be quite an experience. My husband and I have been offered to go along with a group and help out. We seriously considered it but ended up not. It was going to cost us a lot to go along (gas, food, lodging) and it is a LOT of hard work! We still consider that we may do it some day. I don't know about tour companies because we aren't involved in that end. Sometimes you can develop a friendship with the smaller teams and tag along (pretty much what we were looking at doing).

The route is interesting, it changes yearly. Sometimes it goes a straight 1000 miles (this last one was more than a 1000); and other times it goes in a loop. It usually starts in Ensanada, which from what I understand, tends to be quite a party! If I couldn't go along, that would be the part I would want to see as well as the end.

My husband wheels a '96 Land Cruiser and I wheel a '07 FJ Cruiser. We are involved in many groups and they have runs into Mexico which sometimes include part of the 1,000. The area also offers some neat things like poker runs. We have always planned to go to one of these but haven't made it yet :(

On a different note, if you just want light offroading, I always wanted to try one of the quad tours through the Gualdalupe valley and wineries!

Reply by Philip James, Apr 16, 2008.

OK, now i officially need a vacation!

Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, Apr 25, 2008.

As awesome as Baja looks, I have always been more interested in the Paris-Dakar rally. Maybe its just my euro-ness or maybe its the endurance aspect of spending 2+ weeks going across the Sahara. Dakar is like the Tour de France to Baja's marathon. Both are gruelling, but 1 is about getting it all done in a week-end whereas the other is about not going mad over 2 weeks.

Sadly, the 2008 Dakar was canceled because, in this era of climate change, sub-Saharan Africa isn't really the safest place anymore. The next Dakar has been relocated to South America, so we'll see what that future holds for these kinds of rallies. Maybe they'll go the way of the Targa Florio and the Mille Miglia (some of the great on-road rallies) and will become historical tours.

Any ideas on how to prepare for one of these events?

Reply by oceank8, Apr 25, 2008.

I don't know about a 2 week event but prep for Baja starts a year in advance. Lot's of work on the vehicle, prepping your body, making sure you have more spare parts than you could ever think you would need. Also, quite a few practice runs. In Mexico it's interesting because part of the event can take place on the regular highway, which is illegal. Add in a practice run and you really start to see why the streets are so crazy down there.

I don't know anything about the Dakar, really only privy to local stuff. It sounds like an insane, grueling race, the longest I have ever wheeled is 4 days and I stopped to eat and sleep (and drink) at the end of each night. Can't even begin to imagine 2 weeks (I also don't RACE)!

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