The Adventure to Baja Continues…
DAY 2: “It’s not an Adventure without an Unexpected Delay, Right?”
January 21st 2016 (Thursday)
We had breakfast at the on-property restaurant, our 1st Mexican meal! We were both excited to feast on some “Huevos Rancheros”. We were the only ones in the restaurant that morning, felt like a Gambino having the place to ourselves. One of the two waiters was watching ‘Furious 7’. I was so glued to the screen during an exaggerated action scene, that my food got a little cold. Once the film and coffee simmered down and the poorly written one liners started coming out of Tyrese’s mouth, we hit the road again toward San José Del Cabo.
For the first time on the trip, we were experiencing some nasty potholes on the road. I was pretty exhausted still from the prior’s day drive that I asked “Frankie Baby” to take the wheel. (Side note: Francis has MANY nicknames – Fran, Franny, Frank, Frankie, Framboise, etc.). I hesitated to have her drive because she drives slower than me. I was already going an average of 60 mph because just like many Mexican women, Baja has many curves. Before I tilted my LA Kings hat over my eyes to nap, I warned her of the pot holes. I felt Francis driving faster than normal and wondered if she was feeling a little adventurous. I was a little uncomfortable, to be honest, but I stopped worrying and went to sleep. POP!!! I woke up in a frantic daze and Francis let me know that she hit the worst pothole ever and that we had a flat.
We pulled over to see the damage done to the “Flying Dutchman” and… ladies and gentlemen! We were the proud owners of two very flat tires! Our first 2-for-1 special only an hour into the drive, the adventure just got real. We quickly flagged for help. The first group that pulled over was six older men between two vehicles. They were heading 70 miles in the opposite direction, so that wasn’t an option. Thankfully the next vehicle contained our salvation! Newly wed couple, Zach & Roz (Rozalyn), who were adventuring through Baja from South Carolina for their honeymoon. How awesome is that?
They immediately started rearranging the back seat of their Toyota truck into the rear camper shell. Luckily, my wife and I are skinny people and were able to fit in one seat of the extended cab. In order to fit, I had to sit on a protruding piece of plastic which was uncomfortable for my bum but who cares! We were being saved! When Zach and Roz apologized for the lack of space, I responded, “Hey, I don’t know about you, but right now I’m in an ultra comfortable Bentley!” We were just so grateful to have someone help us out.
The gentlemen who pulled over earlier advised us that there was a “Llantera” (Tire Shop) 10 miles south going towards Bahía de Los Ángeles. Say it with me reader, “yahn-tera” (llantera). After about 30 mins of driving, we realized that the tire shop hadn’t appeared annnnddd that we…. probably should have taken the 2 rims with us… Another 30 mins later, we ended up in the small pueblo of Bahía de Los Ángeles. My original idea was to purchase a “doughnut” from the shop and along with my own spare; we would drive back to him to replace the damaged full-sized tires. To our disappointment, all the mechanic had was five lug spares, we needed four lugs…
On the bright side! He did have the right tire sizes to replace our flats. We purchased them and asked Zach and Roz for a ride back to our abandoned vehicle. These angels without wings said, “Yes, we couldn’t leave anyone behind like that!”. Little did we know that the fun would really begin when we got back to our little Nissan.
So most of the roads leading to Baja California Sur don’t have a real shoulder to pull over to and there are also many little shrubs. You just have to make a decision and pull over where you can. We used our scissor jack and our new friends’ bottle jack to get the car lifted and rims removed. All four of us worked as a team to get the rims off while making sure the car didn’t slide in the dirt and/or tip over, as well as not ending up as windshield decorations. Zach assured us, “No worries, this car won’t flip over, it will only slide. I should know as I’ve flipped every car & truck I’ve ever owned”. Strangely, his words were reassuring.
We were told by the “llantero” (tire guy) in Bahia de Los Angeles that there were other llanteras (tire shops, remember?) nearby our disabled vehicle. We took a right at the fork in the road this time around and as luck would have it, we found a llantera immediately (“yahn-tera”, so you don’t have to scroll up). I mean, we could have walked to this place! LOL. Such an Alanis Morissette moment. We didn’t bother to ask if they had the right tire sizes because we did not want to kick ourselves in the rear over it. We just assumed they wouldn’t be in stock anyway since this tire shop was operating behind a home restaurant in between a few small mobile trailers and junked vehicles.
Back at the “Flying Dutchman” with 2 good wheels, we raised the car higher to compensate for the filled tires. This caused the car to slide and I started to freak out! “Don’t move!!” I yelled while assessing the situation. We slowly manipulated the vehicle, alternating between the jacks to slowly and carefully raise the car. Being sure not to let it drop down to its doom. We figured it out and gladly paid Zach and Roz for their troubles despite their initial refusal. With the crisis handled, we were ready to move on. Next stop, Guerrero Negro!