10,000km from Minnesota to Cabo and Back in the Green Machine

nbutze

Active member
Wow, thx mucho!

This is a Great and Interesting story...and so far, this is one of the better documented and well shot expeditions appearing on here. During these pandemic times when so few folks have gotten the chance to get outside and explore, reading your experiences today was inspirational and an absolute delight.
Thank you so much! It is fun to relive the trip by telling the story!
 

nbutze

Active member
So, we spent the day traveling from the East side of the peninsula in Loreto to the West, and back to the East to LaPaz. It was quite a day. Probably the best day of overland travel I have ever had.

We brought about 20 soccer balls with us that were not inflated. Now that we were on our own and just cruising we made a point that when ever we saw a kid we would stop and give them a soccer ball. We were out in the sticks. I will bet 4 hours in any direction (minimum) from a paved road. We gave these kids a couple soccer balls and they couldn't believe it. It is too bad we didn't get it on video or even a photo, but I remember it vividly and I am sure those kids do too. (we inflated the balls with the air compressor, we didn't give the kids flat soccer balls!) I highly encourage any of you going down to Baja to do something like this. If you have a compressor the soccer balls don't take up much space and you can quickly blow a few up every now and then. Because of Covid we just tossed them the balls from a distance or gave them a good punt. Out in the middle of no where I can see why they would be scared of Covid, but the parents were so welcoming. We needed to keep going, but you could tell they wanted us to come in.

The views on this day were absolutely insane.
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As I took the above picture I noticed the first (and what would amazingly be the only) carnage of the trip. The skid plate mounts broke!

I had upgraded the rear tank skid plate and they prescribed to using only the original mounts. That turned out to not be true for the heavy duty thicker plate. So, I have to make something better.

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For now, a quick ratchet strap fix.
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nbutze

Active member
So, finally we saw the Sea again, back to the East Side of the peninsula. The sun was starting to go down and the map looked like an easy ride into LaPaz. Follow the coast on a well marked road.

As we were coming along this steep mountain edge this good ol boy rolls up in his 1980's F150 Pick Up with 3 different tires that had one thing in common... they were all bald. He has a BIG box in the back. As we get closer we saw it was a foam box. He was coming down and we were going up. So, we pulled as far to the right as we could.

The G had it's passenger side tires climbing up the cliff and it felt like we were going to roll, but we needed to make space for him. As he got closer he says "Hey! How you doin?"
We hadn't seen another person in hours and a person that spoke English in days! He spoke great English and let us know it was a "crazy way to town" "bad wash out and big rocks" "BOOM BOOM BOOM"

He lived another 2 hours down the road and he let us know it was 3 hours to LaPaz.... GREAT

As I looked into his cab I noticed he had a freshly made Birthday Cake riding in the passenger seat with the seat belt around it, but he wasn't wearing a seatbelt. Cake Safety first! Another one of those moments that just wasn't on camera. :(

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Even though we just heard it was 3 hours to LaPaz (and another 40 minutes to our campsite) we couldn't resist to stop and soak in this sunset. It was unreal.
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nbutze

Active member
After the amazing sunset the road got ROUGH and it was DARK. We didn't see another car from the birthday cake man to LaPaz. Cows on the road, mud, and wash outs that you wouldn't believe. Finally we made it to the official campsite of the BajaXL. We found a few friends from the group! Some Hungarians and Frank the German American! We had a campfire, a few shots of Hungarian booze and went to bed.
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As you can see it was obviously dark when we rolled in.

We had no idea what the campsite looked like. All we knew was it was by the sea.

The long day on the road. The Hungarian Schnapps or what ever that was, and the perfect temperature made this night of sleep amazing.

We woke up to a view that dreams are made of.
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Ace Brown

Retired Ol’ Fart
I commend you for traveling those remote backroads solo. I have traveled in Baja a lot but never ventured too far on those seldom driven roads. That cake with a seat belt takes the cake.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

billiebob

Well-known member
Amazing photos and documentation. Well done and love yer Benz too. I'm a bit older than yer Dad but I too remember the Montana where speed limits were considered "within reason" and discovering my reasoning and the cops reasoning were different, I too paid it at the roadside. I kinda wondered where the money might go but within a year those demerit points showed up on my Alberta License.

Honestly, yer Benz ranks in my top 10.
For going remote, off the beaten path, it is one of those bullet proof vehicles you can depend on.
 

nbutze

Active member
Well, at the camp fire and in the morning over coffee we got a lot of intel from the other BajaXL competitors there about what happened, where everyone was, what the organizers were saying and we pretty much lost hope of the race re starting at any point in time. So much for "by any means" the race goes on...

Although we were living on this adrenaline rush from the competition I was a bit relieved to relax. The day before was a full day that I would never have pushed through if the road map of the Baja XL said I should. That is the value that nobody understands when they see the rally costing $1400 for a list of GPS points. What you are buying is the community and the assurance that it is possible. If those darn Hungarians could map this out in their rental Jeep in a day. . . I sure can!

None the less, the chance to relax was welcome.

Some good instant oatmeal on the beach and some coffee, it was time to hit the road.
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After 4 intense days of off road, the G was starting to make sounds it didn't before. The brakes weren't working properly after all day in those dusty then muddy then water crossing roads that were super steep riding the brakes all day. Checked the brake fluid, that was fine, the brake pads were new before we left and still looked thick... a little rattle sound coming out of the serpentine belt and pulleys.
The truck was too dirty to climb around.
$5.00 car wash and $3.00 tip these boys sprayed on the G for at least a half an hour.
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Lesley wasn't interested in walking the neighborhood even though I saw a shop that I thought we should go to...
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While waiting for the G to be washed I wrote a facebook friend of mine, that I had spoken to in the past, but didn't really know. I knew he lived in Baja, but I didn't really know where, but I also knew he was into G's in a big way... Mr. Karl Volger from the company www.G-WagenAccesories.com !!!

I asked Karl if he knew a good mechanic around LaPaz that could look over the G and give me some piece of mind before we start heading North Solo.

He openly offered "come on by my place I will take a look at it. I have a G 400 CDI taken apart right now!" and so.... where is your house? It was only about 7 or 8 miles up the road.

As we were following his directions we ran into the Slow Baja and Rotorwerks team from Canada. We met up and talked about plans and places. Where everyone was. It was re assuring to hear that more people were coming down, but at this point we really had the day off.

We got to Karl's and it was an absolute treat. What an amazing guy. We had a long talk about all things G Wagon, business, USA, Germany/Europe, and what it is like to live in Baja. An absolute highlight is meeting Karl on this trip.
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Karl and I crawled around the G. Everything seemed fine! Nothing loose, nothing bent or cracked.

We did find a nail in the tire. So, pulled that out with plans of having it patched at a tire shop. (it doesn't seem to loose air and I must admit... one month later we are home and it hasn't been patched, but will be before the next trip) these BFG KM3 tires are absolutely with out a doubt the most amazing tires I have ever owned. We saw so many blown tires in the first 2 days of the rally. We had no issues.

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If you go to my instagram you will find a highlight reel called "BajaXL 2021" and you will see a bunch of videos. I need to get this onto youtube, but I am not a video guy. In these videos you will see the amount of bush and branches we drove through.

To give you an idea... this snorkel was like NEW when we left home.
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We headed South to Todos Santos to the official hotel of the BajaXL. Checked in and truly relaxed in a little beach house we rented. It was awesome.
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Just ran across this, great reliving it and seeing how others fared. Team 09 here. Think we were ~13th after the first 2 days. Got to enjoy Diablo (not so) Dry Lake bed ourselves. Got off the track and dug it in for a bit. Did get ourselves out and went back the way we came. The desert run at night before the lake bed was awesome. We didn't get caught up in the BCS dragnet but our travel partners had mechanical issues in Vizcaino as that was going on so we went back (we had been deep in the desert on the shortest route challenge at the time). From there it turned into a Yonke Tour (junkyards) looking for a spring. We were behind a day or so and ended up more touring leisurely after that point.

Looking forward to seeing the areas we missed and reliving the areas we did get to.

1R4A6416 by John Russell, on Flickr
 

nbutze

Active member
Just ran across this, great reliving it and seeing how others fared. Team 09 here. Think we were ~13th after the first 2 days. Got to enjoy Diablo (not so) Dry Lake bed ourselves. Got off the track and dug it in for a bit. Did get ourselves out and went back the way we came. The desert run at night before the lake bed was awesome. We didn't get caught up in the BCS dragnet but our travel partners had mechanical issues in Vizcaino as that was going on so we went back (we had been deep in the desert on the shortest route challenge at the time). From there it turned into a Yonke Tour (junkyards) looking for a spring. We were behind a day or so and ended up more touring leisurely after that point.

Looking forward to seeing the areas we missed and reliving the areas we did get to.

by John Russell, on Flickr
Man! I remember seeing you on the first night in Tecate, and after we left Tecate I don't remember seeing you last. We all thought we had 10 nights of bon fires ahead of us to get to know each other!
Baja is a pretty awesome part of the world.
Are you going again in 2023?!
 
Yep, we're signed up (I'm assuming you got the email from Evi)! Can't wait. I remember talking to people who had done it before and they kept saying you'll be driving in a group, then all of sudden you realize there's no one around. Then all of sudden you have vehicles coming in from completely different directions. I was wondering how that could be if we were all taking the same general track, but boy were they right.

Yeah, was thinking the same thing about the bon-fires too. Did have a chance to BS with the guys from the Limo (Team Voodoo), great guys, and also the guys on the bikes. They were rock stars, super impressed with those guys doing it all on those bikes.

I will say the suspension of a 3rd gen 4Runner is not ideally suited to desert running, did okay, but was glad to be out of the whoops. 1st night just before Diablo Lake bed, ~3+ hours condensed into about 3 minutes...
 

nbutze

Active member
In Todos Santos we were on vacation mode. What a beautiful part of the world. As a Minnesotan.... Surfing isn't my thing, but it sure was fun to watch them. IMG_3540.jpeg
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We hopped back in the G after spending half the day at our resort/hotel. It seemed like we hadn't seen our friend in a long time!

We heard from Karl that the beaches North of Todos Santos were open and amazing. So.... aired down the tires and hit the beach. Not so sure if the Morflate system is worth it, but this was the first time I had to try it. I think the the little caps I screw on work faster for airing down.
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1leglance

2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
Great writeup , I wish more of your pics would work as the ones that do come up are great.
Thanks for the blow by blow style of writing, it really got suspenseful !!
 

nbutze

Active member
Great writeup , I wish more of your pics would work as the ones that do come up are great.
Thanks for the blow by blow style of writing, it really got suspenseful !!
Darn! from my side on chrome and safari and on my iPhone the photos are working. I am not sure what I can do differently, but there are quite a few of the photos on my instagram @nickbutze and also some videos that I haven't put on here.
 

mog

Kodiak Buckaroo
Darn! from my side on chrome and safari and on my iPhone the photos are working.
Same here. PC with Windows 10 Pro, they are working fine with Chrome, Edge, and Firefox.
BTW, a great thread! Thanks for the enjoyable stories and great photos. (y)
 

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