So I want to do a Baja trip

Shiftonthefly1

Well-known member
Aug 11, 2014
426
1
Las Vegas
My trip would be starting from my home in Vegas. I'm going to post this on a few different forums to get as many opinions suggestions and advice as I can get. I'll most likely be going solo w my dog as the majority of my friends don't seem to want to go. I plan on going in May or September depending on funds and work I get done to the truck. Trip time will be about 2 weeks. Tentatively the wife will meet me in Cabo on a flight.

I'll explain my truck first. What I've done to it and what my plans are for the next few months to get it going. None of this is specially for this trip. This set up will get used extensively if it all works out on the trip.

1988 Range Rover Classic

4.2 V8. Currently in middle of doing a top end rebuild. The bottom end is in very good shape. Installing reman heads w new valves/guides and seals, new rocker arms, CraneCams lifters, a new cam, double roller timing chain, new water pump, fan clutch, oil pan gasket, oil pump, and all the other associated gaskets.

I had my Mean Green 200 amp alternator tested and cleaned up.

Dual Interstate 1000 CCA batteries. Less than a year old.

New belts. Hoses. Radiator. Thermostat. New cap, rotor, Kingsborn wires, plugs, IGN amp module replaced and relocated.

Trans filter and fluid changed. No noteworthy residue when I dropped the pan. Shifts fine. I've got a weird but cool belly pan armor plate that covers the Pan and some of the TC.

2" TerraFirma HD springs and ProComp shocks. I've yet to try out this combo so these may get replaced. My MD OME lift was sagging badly when I was fully loaded so I needed to make a change.

24 spline rear Detroit locker with HD GBR shafts and drive flanges.

Rear fuel tank skid. Front steering skid. RTE dampener relocation brackets. Procomp steering dampener. HD steering bars. Rebuilt steering box.

Rear ARB bumper. Front brush guard. Twin 6" HID lights.

5 BFG KO2's mounted on steel wheels. They have less than 5k miles on them.

D2 weather stripping. Manual D1 seats that have been recovered/rebuilt. Extensive heat/sound insulation.

I've driven this truck for awhile before I blew the head gasket. I will obviously do an extensive test on the truck before taking it on this trip.Most everything works. I have no draws or shorts. This was a dry climate truck so I don't have corrosion/rust issues.

My current spares:
3 IGN amp modules. 2 complete distributors. A set of wires. Cap/rotor. Another set of plugs. 2 ign coils. Two fuel filters. Two fuel pumps(electric part only). A full set of new belts. All hoses. Various relays/fuses. Wire. Hose clamps. Front and rear drive flanges. Swivel shims. Thermostat. 2 Exhaust rubber hangers. 2 wheel bearings.

Recovery box includes:
The obvious tool set. Along w axel nut tool. Huge-tiny zip ties. All fluids. A bottle jack. Various nuts/bolts. Gasket paper. Duct tape. Gloves. Mechanics wire. JB weld. An actual paper shop manual. Big wrenches. Breaker bar. A few funnels. WD40. Starting fluid. A Smittybuilt compressor w extra hose. Tire repair kit. Bearing grease.

My planned modifications/updates include:

A full roof rack to replace my Yakima box/generic rack set up.

A rear swing out tire set up. Either custom made or purchased. This I want two Jerry cans so I always have plenty of fuel.

A front winch bumper/winch.

Sand tracks.

Either a RRT or a drawer system that would allow me to sleep on top of it inside the truck.

A full brake job including all wheel bearings pads and rotors.

I want to buy a complete 24 spline front axel. I will add a TruTrac front diff and rebuild the entire thing. Including swivels CV's and Genuine bushings.

I need a headlight upgrade. Mine suck. Either HID, Halogen or LED

Finish the snorkle.

My friend has a rebuilt 1.4 transfer case that he hopefully will sell me soon. With all this weight I'd really like to have a bit of a lower gear on the road.


I plan on doing about a 50/50 off-road/on road while there. I want to explore and see both coasts. The plan is to camp the majority of time. Maybe hit a hotel in Lapaz then head to Cabo.


So am I missing anything? Suggestions? I welcome any criticism.
 

Shiftonthefly1

Well-known member
Aug 11, 2014
426
1
Las Vegas
Why have so many of the same spare parts? Install a new one and carry the old one as a spare.

I distrust Lucas ignition parts immensely. Multiple Distributors and coils is probably pretty dumb. The ignition amps are small. None of it takes up much room. I'm just thinking I'll be thousands of miles away from the nearest Rover parts.
 

Tugela

Well-known member
May 21, 2007
4,453
268
Seattle
Your planning sounds pretty thorough. A couple suggestions to add:

Don't eat the salsa in San Felipe
You don't mention communications and navigation tools (but I take it your line of inquiry was focused on the vehicle)
There are lots of good options for nav, I'm partial to Gaia GPS app on the iPad using downloaded maps
Buy a temporary phone/data plan for Mexico
Maybe a DeLorme InReach is overdoing it, but could bring some peace of mind
Small gifts for people you meet along the way
A base for the bottle jack - chunk of 2"x6" lumber or similar to keep from sinking in the sand

Should be an awesome time, bummer your friends can't go.
 

Shiftonthefly1

Well-known member
Aug 11, 2014
426
1
Las Vegas
Your planning sounds pretty thorough. A couple suggestions to add:

Don't eat the salsa in San Felipe
You don't mention communications and navigation tools (but I take it your line of inquiry was focused on the vehicle)
There are lots of good options for nav, I'm partial to Gaia GPS app on the iPad using downloaded maps
Buy a temporary phone/data plan for Mexico
Maybe a DeLorme InReach is overdoing it, but could bring some peace of mind
Small gifts for people you meet along the way
A base for the bottle jack - chunk of 2"x6" lumber or similar to keep from sinking in the sand

Should be an awesome time, bummer your friends can't go.

Thanks for the reminder. I totally forgot to mention communication. Yes that's something I need to work out. Those are all some great ideas. Thank you.

The inReach thing I've considered before. Much of our state is uncovered by cell towers once you get off the highways. I was considering it before but now Maybe I should look into it again. Definitely going to check out the Boost type throw away phone on the Mexican plan along with extending my own two network phones to temporarily allow international calling. It's 20 a week. Not too shabby.
 

Mongo

Well-known member
Apr 19, 2004
5,731
2
56
Get a SPOT gen3 or Sat phone...both are cheap piece of mind
You'll be amazed witht he cell coverage in MX, but always have a backup
Never pass a gas station south of San Felipe without filling up
Dont' travel too late into the night, shit just gets weird
San Felipe, Bay of LA, Coco's corner on the East Coast
Santa Rosaria, Scropion Bay, Conecpion on the west

Here's a lnik to this years Baja 1000 penisula run course, shadow it and you'll see most of the cool shit

http://score-international.com/raceinfo/gps-files-baja-1000/

ping me if you're going thru southern AZ...
 

Tugela

Well-known member
May 21, 2007
4,453
268
Seattle
If you want a taste of what it's like driving a RRC in Baja, take a peek at this video of when a handful of Discowebbers thought it would be a good idea to join a team in the 2011 Baja 1000. The truck didn't finish the race, but it was a ton of fun. Plus you get to see Frank (Mongo) in action doing some creative field repairs.
 

jymmiejamz

Well-known member
Dec 5, 2004
5,817
229
33
Los Angeles, Ca
I have an InReach and love it. Aside from the obvious reasons of having it, I use it linked to my wifi only iPad for GPS. They have their own map app that works well.
 

the deputy

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2017
86
0
michigan
No first hand experence, but I just recently finish reading a couple different blogs about traveling in the baja peninsula.

Both stories mentioned how they were glad they had "back up" paper maps (and as many different ones as possible) and had several tire punctures (one sidewall). Also, both couples mentioned having no problems...with weird stuff. One couple had difficulties with theft, but that was after crossing over to the mainland. Tried finding the blogs again to supply links...but I'm having no luck.

Sounds like quite the adventure, seriously jealous.

Brian.
 

garrett

Well-known member
Jun 18, 2004
10,931
4
50
Middleburg, VA
www.blackdogmobility.com
Mongo likely has some better details, but I'd suggest the following. I've been down there a few times now and once on my KTM riding everything from Mex 1, Baja 1000 sections and random "roads" zig zagging to both coasts. You're going to love it.

But I'd get yourself a copy of a few really good paper maps I mentioned below.

Also join the Talk Baja page on Facebook. Lots of current road updates and other good local information. The Baja California Almanac is a great atlas with tons of great detail/information. I believe it's still out of print, so it ain't cheap. Also the Nat Geo Baja North and South are great too. It's all we used when traveling down there for a week. I'd highly suggest getting both.

Also check out the BFG 50 best of Baja on YouTube. Basically a bunch of race veterans put together their favorite spots.

But I wouldn't over do it in terms of bringing "everything". Just be smart and bring a handful of useful items and avoid hanging all kinds of dumb ass shit off your truck - only drawing attention to yourself. Don't pass up any gas stations even with 3/4 tank. Most desolate areas will have someone in a truck with drums of fuel along the road, but it's not guaranteed.

My Verizon plan worked pretty good down there and hardly cost me much at all. I just called them in advance and paid a few extra bucks a day.

The people down there are extremely friendly and helpful, so try and learn some of the language.

Short, crappy-ish vid I have of my last trip.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/HlORT3JrBu4" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Check out my friend Jeff's vid too. He won 1st this last Baja 1000 in the iron man division.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UvL33H4riZM" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>
 
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Shiftonthefly1

Well-known member
Aug 11, 2014
426
1
Las Vegas
Garrett that's some great info. Thank you. I dig the videos. In yours is pretty much what I want to do. Criss cross back roads and refuel whenever possible.

Paper maps are definitely a priority.
 

garrett

Well-known member
Jun 18, 2004
10,931
4
50
Middleburg, VA
www.blackdogmobility.com
Garrett that's some great info. Thank you. I dig the videos. In yours is pretty much what I want to do. Criss cross back roads and refuel whenever possible.

Paper maps are definitely a priority.

You'll want to take the road up to Mike's Sky Ranch then - which is the start of my video. Then go over the back side. It's a decent and fun section of road and trail. I believe they are moving the Pike's Peak race to that section of road now.

Also be sure to visit CoCos Corner. The new highway going in will bypass his place, so go see him while you can. It's worth the visit to chat with him.
 

Mongo

Well-known member
Apr 19, 2004
5,731
2
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Good luck finding the Almanac...we use the maps from PCI for a Lowrance, pretty details and accurate. You’ll never beat a paper map, but finding updated ones is a problem. Like I said, shadow this years 1000 course and you’ll hit all the cool places...including Mikes and Cocos...
 

garrett

Well-known member
Jun 18, 2004
10,931
4
50
Middleburg, VA
www.blackdogmobility.com
Good luck finding the Almanac...we use the maps from PCI for a Lowrance, pretty details and accurate. You?ll never beat a paper map, but finding updated ones is a problem. Like I said, shadow this years 1000 course and you?ll hit all the cool places...including Mikes and Cocos...

I think I paid like $75 for mine, but damn I am not seeing them now. Amazon has them for $250. Fuck that noise.
 

Shiftonthefly1

Well-known member
Aug 11, 2014
426
1
Las Vegas
After discussing this w some friends and family that have been to Baja recently I'm starting to get worried about the crime factor. Apparently among recent activity the state department has issued a strict no travel warning to some states in Mexico. They are in the Mainland but Baja is on a Level 2 alert status. A few of the states are right across the Sea of Cortez from Baja. That makes me really nervous. All the talk about not traveling at night. Having bribe money. A fake wallet w fake credit cards and a little money in it....damn. I didn't even think about this stuff before. I was more worried about my truck than anything.

I want adventure but I dunno if I feel like dying/getting robbed to do it.
 

Tugela

Well-known member
May 21, 2007
4,453
268
Seattle
Those are valid concerns and you have to make your own decision to go based on your tolerance for risk. I had no issues there on my trip, but (a) that was 6 years ago, and (b) I was in a group during the Baja 1000 when the place was overrun by gringos and the federales were manning checkpoints on the major roads.

If I was going I'd rather do it in the company of friends who also have their shit together and their vehicles sorted, but it sounds like you are having trouble organizing a group. See if there is a Land Rover club based in Tijuana or Ensenada or somewhere down there. We ran into some guys from a Rover club before the race. They were cool and invited us back, but I doubt I have their contact info anymore - I'll take a look. It could be fun to do the trip in the company of locals who know the area.
 

Shiftonthefly1

Well-known member
Aug 11, 2014
426
1
Las Vegas
Those are valid concerns and you have to make your own decision to go based on your tolerance for risk. I had no issues there on my trip, but (a) that was 6 years ago, and (b) I was in a group during the Baja 1000 when the place was overrun by gringos and the federales were manning checkpoints on the major roads.

If I was going I'd rather do it in the company of friends who also have their shit together and their vehicles sorted, but it sounds like you are having trouble organizing a group. See if there is a Land Rover club based in Tijuana or Ensenada or somewhere down there. We ran into some guys from a Rover club before the race. They were cool and invited us back, but I doubt I have their contact info anymore - I'll take a look. It could be fun to do the trip in the company of locals who know the area.


Yea that's my issue. Im going solo. And because I want to go explore and camp out away from people that makes it worse if I'm "spotted". That makes it scary. Strength in numbers.