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Old 12-08-2007, 06:56 PM   #1
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Baja MisAdventure

(I originally intended this for one of the many 'bad news from baja' threads, but it is really a trip report. I also apologize for the lack of pictures, but that is one small part of this misadventure and I will try to obtain some from other sources as they become available.)


I just crossed into SoCal from my adventure with the Baja Mil. I drove chase for the final leg with team 303x (racingforlife.org). I guess I'll point out the dark events as they occured, or as I encountered them.

Our plan was for two drivers to convoy two trucks down to Cabo where the rest of the support staff would fly into. The team captain/rider drove his truck and I, mine. Thanks to ADVrider and other internet sources, we employed the Ryan Arciero Police Evasion Strategy in Tijuana. We made it to Guererro Negro without incident and decided to push on to Rice & Beans in San Ignacio an hour before sunset. The sun set while we were refueling in Vizcaino and our speeds dropped from normal cruising to the posted limit.

Just after passing an oncoming semi, the blind spot disappeared and three cows appeared 10 feet in front of my hood. One of them took flight after crumpling my front end. I had time to hit the brakes and hear the ABS activation to my rear, I guess the team captain was following a little close. Anyhow, the truck still drove fine, the alternator light came on, I could hear hissing from the radiator and I lost right side visibility as I searched for a clear spot on the shoulder to pull over. As luck would have it, the boulders were only volleyball sized where I decided to pull off.

Pinche vaca!



Three errors here: 1. Driving at night. 2. Driving too fast when you can't see. 3. Pulling off the highway after an accident. I missed a five foot culvert by 50 feet.

The tow truck came from San Ignacio after about 90 minutes. While I waited, Jim returned to Vizcaino for assistance. Passers by stopped and the first notified the authorities/Federales in San Ignacio. The northbound people who stopped were more interested in the location of the victim. Apparently, there is no longer a fine for cow smashing in Baja and the spoils go to the finder.

The local police showed up as the tow truck was removing me from the volleyball field. And Jim showed up right as we were departing with news that I had to go to the Federal Impound Yard in San Ignacio. For those interrested in the details: 1100 pesos for the tow, 500 pesos/day storage fee and $20 for the police (non-negociable). And, my truck wouldn't be released until the Federales gave their approval which seemed to be my showing a Mexican Insurance Policy, any policy(Seguridad). I could have shown my last year's policy as he didn't take any details.

He mentioned the normal procedure was to have an adjustor come from Santa Rosalia and have the truck towed to an authorized repair shop. But, I replied I only had coverage for the cow, not collision. And, I needed a local mechanic to do the repairs, without another costly tow charge.

We loaded everything into the other truck and finally spent the night at Rice & Beans. The next morning El Leon came and took my truck 500 meters down the highway to his shop, gave me his phone number and we left expecting a "Baja Fix" to my 2000 GMC 1/2T, make it road-worthy.
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Old 12-08-2007, 07:04 PM   #2
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Sounds like your next trip to Baja will be better.. glad it all worked out with the federales..
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Old 12-08-2007, 07:09 PM   #3
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Ryan Arciero Police Evasion Strategy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trey650
Quote:
We were affected as well on our team. It started with me and a couple of my guys heading down to Ensenada to prerun. We crossed the boarder at about 6:20am, still dark. They pulled us into secondary on the mexican side and I was in the passenger seat. There were two boarder guys on the driver side and one on my side. The guy on my side pulled out his cell phone and was talking to someone. He looked really out of place and was shaking really bad while he was on the phone. As we pulled out I had bad feeling in my gut as we proceeded to head out of town. I told Benny who was driving to follow the speed limit and don't put a wheel out of place. As we made our way up the hill out of TJ and then down the bottom, the road veers right to get on the road that will take you to Ensenada. As soon as we made the veer to the right a cop car pulled right up behind us and put his lights on. It was still dark and no cars in sight. After hearing the stories of the surfers we were not going to stop. It was in the same place. I told Benny to keep driving and get us to the first toll booth because at least there would be people there. He came up next to us light flashing and sirens going off. It was one of the worst feelings all of us ever felt. I told Benny to keep driving, don't look at them and just get us to the toll booth. The cop car had tinted windows, which I thought was strange as well and the passanger window was cracked. He then dropped back and everytime he would make an attempt to come up along side us Benny would pinch him off, still going the speed limit. As we approached the first toll booth he turned his lights off and turned around. Like I said we were all shaking, but more than anything just completely pissed off at the situation. I immediatley called Oscar Ramos and Oscar looked into the situation. I told him that I thought the entire problem is starting at the boarder. They are calling telling them who is coming and what vehicles they are.

We were lucky I think and I will never go through there again in the dark. It seems that most of the problems are taking place either at night or early in the morning. I think it might be a lot harder to do in the day when there are a bunch of people around. Maybe I am wrong but like I said I will never cross again at night.

We also had stuff once again stolen in Ensenada at the Coral Hotel. This is the second time this has happened to us. This is a guard gated place so I really believe it is an inside job. I know it happen to two or three other big name teams as well.



Read it and learn.
http://www.race-dezert.com/forum/sho...t=36344&page=2
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Old 12-08-2007, 08:11 PM   #4
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The Grab & Go

We made it into Mulege just as Jim's dad was cleaning up his boat after a morning fishing expedition. We had lunch together and about an hour down the road, Jim remembered he left his cell phone on the counter while accessing the internet. Yes, Baja has cell service and hot-spots in the major areas now.

After viewing the Bay of Conception thrice, we made it to Constitucion a little after dark. After three tries, we found a motel that had a vacancy. There was no internal courtyard, but they had external cameras monitored 24/7. Jim hit the computer again while I b/s'd with a local about how nice CD Constitucion was, being an agricultural/fishing town.

Our favorite seafood place closed early, so we had to eat at a place on the main strip. We parked just around the corner and had a quick bite.

Mistake #4 Don't leave your vehicle unattended. My duffle bag that went to Alaska with all my camping gear disappeared along with some tools and BeamerBoy's Chinese License Plate with some Cabo Pulmo T-shirts. The rest of the stuff was pretty well tied/locked in the truck bed, so their booty was minimal.

Now what is an adventure without some setbacks? I don't need to sleep in a bag, on a blanket, in a tent! And, since my Husky never breaks, I don't need no stinking tools! And, I bet the theifs will look great in those Chick shirts with the lovely Osprey birds on them! And yea, that Chinese motorcycle license plate will make anyone invisible to the Federales!

The police arrived in about ten minutes and began examining the dirt for footprints & tire tracks. They took some pictures and my inventory and cruised the neighborhood looking for suspicious characters

That night we unloaded everything left from the truck into the motel room including bikes & gas containers. Don't you just love the aroma of 91 octane as you nod off into la-la land?

Then, on my 3am smoke break, I found the security monitor asleep

Are we enjoying Baja yet? I haven't put a mile on my bike and already I've been welcomed to the dark side
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Old 12-09-2007, 08:32 PM   #5
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Day 3

The contact number for the police in Constitucion is 411. It finally dawns on me that I probably won't get the correct department while pre-running from La Paz, Todos Santos & Cabo. So, a quick check in the morning and nothing to report.

So we head down to the turn off for Punta Conejo (KM78), off-load the bikes, stash all the equipment in the cab and head to Todos Santos. Mostly, it was rocky graded road with a couple of long silt areas. There were a couple of wide open areas on the mud flats and after 90 miles we refueled and returned.

The truck was unmolested so we headed to our motel in La Paz. It took two hours to find another motel last year in La Paz. But this year we stopped and asked a traffic cop on the Malecon during daylight, "4 kilometers a la isquerda". We found it right where it was supposed to be, off-loaded everything but the bikes, had a good meal & a $10 margarita.
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Old 12-10-2007, 01:59 PM   #6
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Day 4

This was to be a short day as Jim had to fly back to do a news conference and pick up the rest of the crew. So the plan was to drop Jim off for a solo run from Todos Santos to the Soccer Stadium in Cabo San Lucas before the flight.

Things went well until I hit the road construction just outside Cabo. Eventually, the 19 is supposed to change from a 2 lane 'highway of death' to a 4 lane 'highway of death'. The bad news was the 5 mph traffic for 5 miles into the city. The good news was the Yamaha/BMW dealer opened a new easier to find shop across from Se Se Se.

I also had time to find the Soccer Stadium. Somehow I was visioning Invesco Field at Mile High, but couldn't see anything close. After asking three times and making wrong turns in the traffic, it turned out to be the beachside lighted vacant field where hwy 1 meets the Cabo Bypass. The only people there were a local take a Mexican Horse for a beach/arroyo ride and a giant film set directly on the beach.

Jim finally showed up and we took the new $2.50 toll road to the airport. It was pretty slick and saved about 15 minutes of San Jose del Cabo traffic.

With Jim safely gone for three days, I had extra travel time that day to find my ex-cousin-in-law at the Las Palmas de Cortez in Los Barriles. The Beach Activities Center was a little slow, so he was put in charge of insuring the new Condo Tower was constantly prepared for prospective buyers. Anyone want to buy a million dollar beachfront condo in beautiful East Cape?

He called Leon El for me and gave me the news that my truck could be repaired for 18750 pesos. We negotiated that a 10000 deposit would be required to purchase parts in Ensenada before work could begin. OK, there was a new ATM in the hotel, it gave me 5000 pesos, and I would come back after the race to get the balance and wire the money via the local Telemex office to him in San Ignacio.

The theft in Constitucion was a different matter, just "write it off".

Then I headed off to home in Cabo Pulmo to relax for a couple of days and catch up on all the gossip.
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Old 12-11-2007, 07:36 AM   #7
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Old 12-11-2007, 03:35 PM   #8
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Day 5&6

Those of you who have traveled up or down the East Cape couldn't help noticing the giant NO TRESPASSING signs. With the success of developers making megabucks off of land that was pretty worthless 30 years ago, there are now four ownership lawsuits working their way through the Mexican court system. I am going to discuss one that has been resolved and one that is current. If you think you can purchase beachfront property for $50,000, think again. The billionaires are pushing out the millionaires.

Forty years ago an elderly gentleman from Washington State purchased about five acres of ranch land 500 meters off the beach. He came down once or twice a year to enjoy the solitude and great desert climate on the Sea of Cortez. He passed away and willed the property to his son around 2000. When the son came down to survey the property, he found Mexican 'vigilantes' (people paid to occupy property) in the house. He politely asked them to leave and they said no.

So the son obtains a Mexican lawyer to file the necessary paperwork to evict these tresspassers. After five years in the courts and $25,000 he won his eviction notice. His lawyer enlists the help of the local police to serve notice and evict the trespassing tennants. The police notice the defending counsel on the paperwork and refuse to comply.

It turns out the defending counsel makes his living by looking thru the tax registers for delinquent or vacant property. Mexico has this interesting law whereby if you squat on land five years or more it becomes yours. And, he pays his 'vigilantes' well. The son's lawyer calls the defending counsel to protest and the reply is "I know where your children go to school". End of eviction process.

To make matters more fun, the original owner of this 20 miles of beach was Papa Castro. He is remembered for his shrewd business dealings. In fact, he sold this same parcel of land no less than four times. And one of the purchasers was then President Portillo of Mexico.

The President is now dead, but his family has discovered the sale documents and accompaning map. When they came out and found all kinds of people living on their land, they hired hundreds of 'vigilantes' to occupy vacant portions and put up fence lines.

One community in jeopardy is Las Barracas. This was a 20 parcel beachfront development in the seventies. Two of these one acre parcels have completly disappeared due to beach erosion. And, several homes have fallen into the Sea of Cortaz. One of my good friends, Dale is a member of this community. He lost his original palapa five years ago and has since rebuilt.

The Portillo 'vigilantes' not only set up camp on various empty portions of the land in dispute, they broke into one of the vacant houses in Las Barracas and started living there. The community called the police to assistance and the 'vigilantes' showed their ownership papers. Of course, the police don't know who to believe and the current 90 year old gringo owner doesn't visit anymore. So, the police do nothing.

The community hired a Mexican lawyer to start the unlawful trespassing procedings to preserve the community. The lawyer says it is decision time. You can either hire your own 'vigilantes' and forcefully remove these guys. Or, we can go through the legal process which may take years. Everybody antes up $2500 and the legal process begins.

Now you might think that lawful property ownership might be easily determined in Mexico. And you would be right for the most part. The legal sales are all recorded in a giant leger which is probably over a hundred years old and all hand written. Every member of the community has a hand written copy of these ledger entries. When the lawyer goes to research the ledger, the page has been conveniently removed! So now we have no idea which of the four land sales was the legal one.

Gringo Eviction, Mulege Style:
http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=33126
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Old 12-11-2007, 07:40 PM   #9
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Please, continue.....
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Old 12-12-2007, 05:51 AM   #10
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Day 7 & Race Day

I picked up Jim, his wife and the camera crew at San Jose del Cabo airport just after noon. We drove back to Nancy's for an early dinner and loaded Jim's KTM and his gear back on the truck. My Husky stayed home for the race. Then we drove back to the same hotel in La Paz on the waterfront.

Our plan for the first day of the race was a little ambitious. Jim wanted to get an early departure so he could pre-run the Punta Conejo to Todos Santos section again. Then he wanted bring the film crew out to film the camping 'ambiance' at Punta Conejo and return to La Paz for sleep. I think he wanted to sit around the campfire and film the party as everyone ate the local salt water oysters. But the excitement started early.

Malcolm Smith and JN Roberts, our first and second riders, took center stage wearing the Racing for Life jersey at the score news conference the previous day. Jim had also arranged for a helicopter to film Malcolm & JN as part of the race documentary which aires sometime this week in San Diego. As the great news kept coming in, our pre-run departure kept slipping, 6am, 7am, 8am & 9am. Jim was basking in glory and deservedly so. He had put together an amazing race effort and events were occuring better than expected.

We finally left at 10 on an upbeat note and returned at 5 to find a more somber crowd. One of the support helicopters had tangled in the power lines at Mike's Sky Ranch. The resulting crash killed two people from the helicopter and closed the course for three hours as utility crews cleared the lines. Our camera crew was worried that it might be their co-workers on our helicopter. News was sketchy as we tried to sleep that night.

edit update: The Malcolm Smith, JN Roberts, Racing For Life video will aire on COX Network Sunday December 23 @ 10:00 pm in San Diego & Las Vegas TV networks. link
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Old 12-12-2007, 06:58 AM   #11
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"Forty years ago an elderly gentleman from Washington State purchased about five acres of ranch land 500 meters off the beach. He came down once or twice a year to enjoy the solitude and great desert climate on the Sea of Cortez. He passed away and willed the property to his son around 2000. When the son came down to survey the property, he found Mexican 'vigilantes' (people paid to occupy property) in the house. He politely asked them to leave and they said no."

Somethings about this just don't make sense. Forty years ago foreigners were not allowed to buy coastal or boarder property closer than several miles in Mexico. Likely he leased the land with a "nudge and a wink" from the owner. Many titles get clouded in this manner. In 1995 it became possible for foreigners to purchase these "corridor" properties threw a bank trust. If it was a purchased 40 years ago, it wasn't legal anyways.
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Old 12-12-2007, 08:22 AM   #12
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Race Day 2

We passed the Honda 1x chase team as we motored into Punta Conejo before sunrise. The news update was that the helicopter belonged to a late entry trophy truck and didn't involve us. In reality, it was a group of drug tzars out for a joy ride. Just after parking, BajaBoundMoto passed on 14x, way to go Tim

We originally planned to have a telephone control center in the states. But, they backed out at the last minute and we had no central way of obtaining bike or rider status. Some teams had satellite tracking systems which updated on various computer networks. But all we had were Baja Pit satellite phone numbers.

The good news was that we had great cell service on the beach. But when we finally found the last Baja Pit that was passed by our bike it was La Purisima. And, one of our riders had broken a couple of ribs on a get-off. But, managed to get the bike to the next rider change

In reality, the rider wasn't injured and didn't crash. But, what else could explain the slow pace? We settled in to watch the race, enjoy the day and try to catch a nap. There was a restaraunt set up at the lighthouse with the worst coffee on the planet. Tecate had set up an ice cold beer vendor. And, there was a hot-dog cart right behind. I enjoyed the race, had a couple of Hot-Tecates and napped for an hour in the cab of the truck.



A couple of other teams set up pit areas here also. One of the most memorable moments occured after dark as a modified VW pulled into the lighted pit across the course from us. It seemed normal at first, but when I sauntered over, the dozen or so Mexican nationals didn't seem to have a clue what was going on. The driver popped thru the roof, took off his helmet and was trying to communicate in English. One of our hosts who had invited us into his camping area got the message right away and began removing the bent steering control arm. The driver pulled a spare off the frame and our host worked dilligently as the Mexicans watched.

About 9 pm things started to come together for us. Les had passed the last Baja Pit and his chase crew showed up. Five hours more of night riding and we can sleep, whoopee. We just had to flag him down as were doing the rider change two miles up from the Baja Pit as previously planned.



He came in just before 10 and went over the condition of the bike,.....hmmm. The E-start wasn't working and he went over a cursory kick-start procedure as the bike started boiling over. Jim hit the kill switch, plugged in his helmet lights, transfered the race pack and decided not to use the radio as it was only good for about ten miles. 1-2-3-4-5 kicks and the bike comes back to life,.....not good. But, I put those thoughts aside as we had a long drive to the finish line, violating rule #1, of course.

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Old 12-12-2007, 08:58 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Natural

Somethings about this just don't make sense. Forty years ago foreigners were not allowed to buy coastal or boarder property closer than several miles in Mexico. Likely he leased the land with a "nudge and a wink" from the owner. Many titles get clouded in this manner. In 1995 it became possible for foreigners to purchase these "corridor" properties threw a bank trust. If it was a purchased 40 years ago, it wasn't legal anyways.
That's another issue with the Las Barracas properties. Apparently, the legal transfer process wasn't completed properly after the 1995 law. It had to be performed again recently to meet compliance. The "nudge and a wink" policy is slowly transitioning to meet the law. But, many property owners(occupiers) are still concerned whether their claim is legal or not. When my Aunt asked about her claim, she was told that as long as she was paying taxes, she had nothing to worry about. Which is in deep contrast with the Mexican property owners who don't pay any taxes at all
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Old 12-12-2007, 09:14 AM   #14
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The past Nudge&wink is a real problem. It is very easy for the past land owner to say it was a lease and grab back the land, especially since ownership was illegal. Any future court case for title could cloud the title and make ownership doubtful. Several places have fallen to that problem and variations. i.e. Puerto Banda, Rocky Point. Some were sold by people who weren't the owners.

I don't find it unusual that those who desired to circumvent Mexico's national laws by leasing with a nudge & wink to obtain property, would have problems in legally proving ownership. I would hope the same in the U.S. This does not excuse other issues.

My land had Stewart Title insurance, and I feel very secure with the investment. Just paid a negotiated prop tax of $423.

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Old 12-12-2007, 10:03 AM   #15
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Bad news that go somewhere else

Amigo I am so sorry for your sad stories, and makes me not want to live here any more, but until then I am f**k.

But this story does not belong in RIDE REPORTS I think it would be better in the Outof darkness Forum, you know next to the DO not come to Baja post

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