The First Annual Trip to the Tip by Brit Adude

The First Annual Trip to the Tip-1380 miles in Baja, CA

by Brit Adude, Arsenal MX

Man, its been about a month since I returned from Mexico and i’ve just now sacked up to sit down and put this experience on paper. I contemplated endlessly on how to start this novel, just like back in College. I thought about the ‘ol…It was the Best of Times, It was the Worst of Times…..Actually, it was The Time, The time of a Life…except for one Near Death Experience, a lifetime of chips and salsa, and more “deductions” than any good-hearted American can stand for!

It all started in a small town south of Ensenada called Estero Beach. This is where the crew would come together. It was each man for himself at this point, but this would be the last, a complete team effort would be needed to complete the 1380 mile route back and forth across the Baja Peninsula to Lands End, Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur.

The Desert Assassins chose to cross the border with Big Daddy and the chase truck/trailer. The DA crew was made up of Cameron Steele, Clyde Stout, BR Kellogg, and Cameron’s Dad. The majority of us hopped on a train in San Juan Capistrano headed to San Diego, where we’d jump in a van, cross the border and begin the drive to the elusive Estero Beach. Our crew, consisted of ArsenalMX owners myself and Mark Moss, Outlaw Offroad’s Connor Gilmer, Larry and Lance Badgwell, Shawn Dolmage, and Rusty Espinoza.By the time we found this joint it was dark, a mini-mission in itself. We had some dinner and then headed into town for a couple of cocktails.

Upon return to the hotel we ran into a lil surprise, long distance jumpers Seth Enslow and Trigger Gumm had made a last minute arrival and were joining us on our Mexican Adventure. That made a perfect 12, The Dirty Dozen.

Let me step back for a minute at this point. Seth and Trigger may have shown up last minute, but thats just their style. For the rest of us, we had about a month of planning and preperation in this adventure. We had several planning, mapping and safety meetings, a trailer had to be modified to hold twelve bikes and all our gear, thank God we had a fully equipped chase truck w/ GPS, SAT phones and radio provided by Clyde from Desert Assassins, and the majority of us had to convert our CRF’s into desert racers. Some people even bought XR650’s just for the trip, and those lucky bastards still have fresh 450’s at home. But ‘ol Seth and Trigger, they just showed up, they weren’t scared…..big surprise huh, for guys who jump there bikes over 250 ft. Seth borrowed Etnies team manager Matt Chapman’s new DRZ400 and Trigg just showed up w/ his stock CRF450, no desert tank, no handguards…just some secret gearing he’d later clue us into!

Before we knew what happened Cameron a.k.a PAB was knocking on the hotel doors, day one was underway. Estero beach to San Quintin, a lil warm-up ride, only about 150 miles. A short run down Hwy 1 to Santo Tomas and then we’d shoot to the beach for some fun. Unfortunately, our fearless leader was the first to have technical difficulties, the ignition on his built RMZ450 took a shit and we couldn’t get it to fire for the life of us.

Problema Numero Una, but not for Mr. Steele, a quick call to Performance Motorsports and then to Timmy at the shop, and Presto….a brand new XR650 uld meet us in San Quitin that night…Cameron, you know this, always Ride Red! PAB jumped in the chase truck w/ Big Daddy and the rest of us trusted the GPS mounted to Clyde’s bike to take us to the Old Mill, our resting spot for night #1, a sweet lil fishing inlet.

We all had a blast that day, blazing trails to the beach, pinning it on the sand. That was the last day we’d all play together!

Sure Enough, Cameron’s new bike showed up that night.

After some minor maintanance on the bikes, the Cadilac Margaritas we’re calling and we answered. The people staying at this small fishing camp tripped on us, just like about every spot we would venture to on this trip….glad to see us come, couldn’t wait till we left. I know all the boys will remember how funny Enslow was this night, talking so much shit, it was hilarious.

Bam, 6:00a.m time to suit up and get our backpacks together and get on the road. Today was a long one, all the way to Bay of L.A (or Bahia de Los Angeles) probably close to 280 miles. We we’re ready though, this is what we came for, a challenge, the Baja Mil, Dust to Glory! The plan was to avoid Hwy 1 as much as possible, only hit it when there was no dirt to ride.

Day 2 would begin w/ about 20 miles of Hwy until we reached Cameron’s “Possible Alternative Route?” We left the Old Mill in a Blaze of Glory and it wasn’t 5 minutes into the ride when all shit “hit the fan.” Trigger and Seth boned out around a Semi, then Shawn D. I took a look then backed in behind the 18 wheeler, one more look, then i boned out…..for some weird reason the boys pulled off the side of the road, I followed. The only reason this was weird is becasue we normally go to a turn or about 20 miles to check on the rest of the crew, wait for the sweeper. I was like, “What’s Up?”

Before I knew it a gringo in a chevy S10 pulled up to us, pale as a ghost, eyes bulging out of his head yelled “You’re buddy went head on w/ a car.”

“Fuck!” We whipped the bikes around and pinned it back toward San Quintin, a million thoughts racing through our minds. “Who, How , Why,” we were quickly upon the carnage. One of the gnarliest things i’ve seen. Bike parts everywhere, a totalled Toyota Camry, and Lance Badgwell being carefully attended to by his brother Larry. People we’re panicking, Cameron was trying to direct as well as keep people calm. This is where it gets gnarly. Lance was on his back, he had regained consciousness, both legs we’re pointing different directions. He thought he was going to die, and by the looks of his bike and the car, nobody really knew what was going to happen. The chase truck was now on the scene. Having witnessed events like this before while racing in Baja, Cameron yelled at us to grab the bike and stick it in the trailer. We lifted the bike and it folded like a taco…it was literally broke in half. Just springs we’re hanging out of the forks, the front wheel was missing, and the swingarm was actually in half.

We we’re quickly stopped by the Federales and almost went to jail for tampering w/ evidence. The ambulance had arrived by now and they didn’t have a clue what to do. Connor started rifling through their rig for a splint and a stretcher, we had taken over the scene by now. Lance did not know what the hell had happened. Seth gripped his hand tightly, offering words of confidence as we straightened his legs out and lifted him onto the stretcher. Larry hopped into the ambulance w/ his brother, Cameron paid the mexi $1500 for his car, Clyde called the Medi Vac, and the rest of us pinned it toward the hospital….hospital right, more like a shack down a dirt road, maybe it was a Vetinary?? At least Lance was stabilized, but we knew he had more than a compounded tib/fib and broken femur…there just had to be. The Medi vac plane took about 5 hours to clear customs and land on this dirt strip in San Quintin. If Lance was not in such good shape, he might not have made it. We said our prayers and loaded him into the plane. He would soon be in an American Intensice Care Unit.

You could say this, or you could say that. The fact is that shit happens and Hwy 1 in Mex is dangerous as HELL. But we were now fighting for sunlight and had to race the sun all the way to Bay of LA…down Hwy 1. I almost packed it up at this point. PAB, BR, and Clyde we’re over it and rode in the chase truck. The rest of us, including Larry, pinned it 80-100 mph the whole damn way. It was every man for himself at this point, we knew the chase truck was following. When I got to the 35 mile turnoff, it was dark and knobbies were missing all over my rear tire. I was pissed, that was not fun. But we had to get our boy back to the States. Trigger soon rounded the corner, piggybacking off a car. Chupacabras we’re making weird noises in the pitch black desert. Seth and his Yellow bike rounded the corner w/ a light. Trigger gave a loud, “Never Surrender,” and we were on our way…35 miles, 3 bikes, 1 light. Day two done!

Day three was SWEET! We we’re now riding down the Gulf side of the Peninsula and the views we’re incredible. We had some fun posing for shots in an old Mexican jail that had to be hundreds of years old.

The winding dirt rode that would lead us to our first stop, San Rafael, gave a few riders their first taste of Mexican dirt. Mossy found himself in the rocks off the beaten path and Shawn D could not steer his monstrous XR650 out of the way of a quickly approaching rock while turning on a dusty road at about 70 mph. He was more worried about his new tattoo than any of his other fleshwounds. He rode the rest of the day w/ his throttle down by his right knee…funny thing is, it didn’t slow him down much. Next, we’d lose man number 2. Clyde would collide w/ Connor…go figure! I love that play on words. Fortunately, both were alright, banged up but alright. The same could not be said for connor’s KTM. The ignition box was smashed and he’d have to tow for about 20 miles to San Rafael….the home of Pancho, the first Mexican Astronaut (coined by Trigger on a previous trip)!

Pancho had been living on this point for the past 18 years and was amped when we rolled up. Seth, Trigger , and I took some pure Agave Tequila shots w/ our new friend, while several people tooled on the foreign KTM. Once again, always ride RED.

Thank God, Sal Fish form SCORE had donated an old Ford Bronco to this remote location for safety during the Baja races. After showing us his entire 8-Track collection, Pancho, the Mexican Astronaut quickly changed the tire on the old truck. He would start his day w/ tequila in his coffee so was way too drunk to drive by 10at the hell had happened. Seth gripped his hand tightly, offering words of confidence as we straightened his legs out and lifted him onto the stretcher. Larry hopped into the ambulance w/ his brother, Cameron paid the mexi $1500 for his car, Clyde called the Medi Vac, and the rest of us pinned it toward the hospital….hospital right, more like a shack down a dirt road, maybe it was a Vetinary?? At least Lance was stabilized, but we knew he had more than a compounded tib/fib and broken femur…there just had to be. The Medi vac plane took about 5 hours to clear customs and land on this dirt strip in San Quintin. If Lance was not in such good shape, he might not have made it. We said our prayers and loaded him into the plane. He would soon be in an American Intensice Care Unit.

You could say this, or you could say that. The fact is that shit happens and Hwy 1 in Mex is dangerous as HELL. But we were now fighting for sunlight and had to race the sun all the way to Bay of LA…down Hwy 1. I almost packed it up at this point. PAB, BR, and Clyde we’re over it and rode in the chase truck. The rest of us, including Larry, pinned it 80-100 mph the whole damn way. It was every man for himself at this point, we knew the chase truck was following. When I got to the 35 mile turnoff, it was dark and knobbies were missing all over my rear tire. I was pissed, that was not fun. But we had to get our boy back to the States. Trigger soon rounded the corner, piggybacking off a car. Chupacabras we’re making weird noises in the pitch black desert. Seth and his Yellow bike rounded the corner w/ a light. Trigger gave a loud, “Never Surrender,” and we were on our way…35 miles, 3 bikes, 1 light. Day two done!

Day three was SWEET! We we’re now riding down the Gulf side of the Peninsula and the views we’re incredible. We had some fun posing for shots in an old Mexican jail that had to be hundreds of years old.

The winding dirt rode that would lead us to our first stop, San Rafael, gave a few riders their first taste of Mexican dirt. Mossy found himself in the rocks off the beaten path and Shawn D could not steer his monstrous XR650 out of the way of a quickly approaching rock while turning on a dusty road at about 70 mph. He was more worried about his new tattoo than any of his other fleshwounds. He rode the rest of the day w/ his throttle down by his right knee…funny thing is, it didn’t slow him down much. Next, we’d lose man number 2. Clyde would collide w/ Connor…go figure! I love that play on words. Fortunately, both were alright, banged up but alright. The same could not be said for connor’s KTM. The ignition box was smashed and he’d have to tow for about 20 miles to San Rafael….the home of Pancho, the first Mexican Astronaut (coined by Trigger on a previous trip)!

Pancho had been living on this point for the past 18 years and was amped when we rolled up. Seth, Trigger , and I took some pure Agave Tequila shots w/ our new friend, while several people tooled on the foreign KTM. Once again, always ride RED.

Thank God, Sal Fish form SCORE had donated an old Ford Bronco to this remote location for safety during the Baja races. After showing us his entire 8-Track collection, Pancho, the Mexican Astronaut quickly changed the tire on the old truck. He would start his day w/ tequila in his coffee so was way too drunk to drive by 10:00 am. Connor rallied that Bronco like it was his custom fabbed race truck and met Big Daddy in El Arco. The rest of us continued along the Gulf Coast to San Francisquito for lunch. We were now calling ourselves the Perfect 10.

San Francisquito was bitchin. They filled us up w/ gas and began fixing us lunch. Cameron and I put on our trunks and took a dip in the Sea of Cortez. This place would be sweet to fly into w/ your chicks, but we didn’t have time to enjoy it. We sucked down our customary Pacificos, ate our carne asada burritos and were once again on our way. I think those burritos were actually coyote…..oh well!

We were now charging back toward the middle of the Peninsula where the dirt would hit Hwy 1 in Vizcaino. We got to ride some of the funnest and most challenging trails on this leg. There was this one stretch with only two ruts from trophy trucks and you had to choose one or the other because rocks and soft dirt filled the middle. I would cross from one side to the other depending on which side had the fewest jutting Cacti arms at the time.We had a blast in that section, all riding like we were racing.

Just before the Hwy, PAB got a flat and it took six nitrous canisters to fill the tire, not one like it says on the box. We fueled in Vizcaino and pinned it down Hwy1, making it to the Oasis known as San Ignacio just before dark. Palm trees and water surrounded this little town built around one of the most beautiful churches Ii’ve ever seen. Not quite the end of Day 3. This is when we noticed that one of the air bags on the chase truck was blown and the shackles on the trailer were flipped causing the tires to rub. Cameron and I jumped back on the bikes and went to look for the local llanteria (or tire store). This is when I almost got kicked right in the helmet by a horse that I spooked, galloping right acrosss the street. I ducked and gassed it, the hoof barely missing my head….i was like, “Holy shit,” after a whole day of off road riding I almost get taken out by a horse in this little town. Strange!

We arranged for the trailer to get fixed in the morning, had some dinner, tuned the bikes and got a good night’s rest. We would need it for Day 4.

The kids in Baja are so accustomed to the bikes that pre run and race the course that they always throw their hands into the air, signaling for you to do a wheelie…they love that, maybe not as much as stickers, but they love it. So w/ a couple of wheelies for the kids, we shot out the back of the town on a dirt road headed for the Pacific. This was going to be about a 200 mile day down the coast to Scorpion bay for lunch and a suntan, then back acrosss the Peninsula to Lareto. We played like kids in the salt flats when we reached the water, roosting everywhere and having wheelie contests.

Trigger is definately the wheelie king, no joke, 5th gear 100 mph wheelies for miles…its unbelievable. This is also a good time to mention Seth’s ride. The thing was classic. Totally round road tires, his ass end swapped from side to side the entire trip….riding behind him was hilarious. He also made a pact that Lance would make the journey in spirit, so he tied Lance’s number plate (w/ fuel jugs attached) to his liscence plate and carried him the whole way. It was cool to see, especially after we got word that Lance was doing better in the care of American physicians back at home. Like w