Tag Archives: colorado

Almost 6000 miles since Jersey…

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We said our final farewell to Colorado, anxious to cross into Mexico. Two months after our initial departure from Jersey, we are starting to feel like our trip has really begun. After over a year of planning and saving, we are ready to begin on this journey: the truck is dialed in, our attitudes are refreshed, and Lupe still has no clue what is going on.

After leaving Colorado, our first stop was Moab, Utah. It was truly breath-taking scenery, but high winds and chilly weather kept us moving southwest at a rapid pace. The landscape of the desert becomes hypnotizing after driving for days. Mexico is close, but driving long hours is hard. When I was younger I once drove for 19 hours straight, but those days are long over and the combination of sore bones and tired eyes makes me out around 8. The southwest has epic terrain, we have a yearning to stay and explore, but we know more interesting things are on the horizon and, besides, there is a sense of “been there, done that”. We have a stronger desire to get out of this country and feel the rush of being someplace unfamiliar. We blaze through Utah, Arizona, and the California desert, deciding to ride the adrenaline all the way to the border.

We spent a night in Potrero, California, at a campground only minutes from the border town of Tecate, Mexico. We had received word that this border was easy to cross, as well as uncrowded. This all sounded great considering that the first, and last, time I was in Tijiuana (many years ago) things went pretty sour, pretty quick. As it turns out, crossing the border was not nearly as big of a deal as we made it out to be. The Mexican border peeps were helpful and friendly. They spoke good english and gave us free tacos when we got across (that’s all true accept the free taco part.) But anyway, we crossed with ease, drove through the trash-ridden streets of Tecate, and cruised down into Northern Baja wine country. Yea, thats right, Northern Baja has wine country (aka Ruta del Vino). After a handy tip from a fellow camper, it was decided that we would drive a full day  past the riff-raff of North Baja, with hopes of arriving at a quieter place to pop-up the Autohome.

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After hours behind the wheel in Mexico, we took a sand covered road for about 10 miles to the fishing village of Punta Baja. This is, in fact, a surf destination, but with no one in sight, high winds, and cold water we decided to skip the surfing and pop open our box of wine. The view was epic, and the sound of the waves put us to sleep. Before we knew it Mexican fisherman were driving through our camp at dangerous speeds in classic toyota pickups. They barreled  down the dirt road before sunrise, making preparations for their day’s work. They did not mind us sleeping in their camp, but once again the high winds made us pack up and leave early.

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We decided to make the drive to the Sea of Cortez side of Baja to a town called Bahia de los Angeles. This drive is known as one of the “gas gaps”  meaning there is no fuel for hundreds of miles. I get about 250 to 300 miles to a tank so i felt pretty good about the situation, but to be cautious I filled up my two 5 gallon jerry cans. We set up camp on the beach.  The air was hot and dry and relaxing here for a couple nights sounded like a good idea. We busted out the snorkel and saw an abundance of sea life. There was an oversized flounder a few feet from my face camouflaged in the sand. This thing was the size of a Thanksgiving hors d’oeuvres platter. I came to the conclusion that i now need a spear gun. I need to pick one of those up somewhere soon. We did wind up catching about 7 barracuda off the tip of the peninsula in about 20 minutes, but we can’t eat those so we threw them back.

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After a couple more military check points, that we pass with ease, we head further south. We currently sit in a an RV Park in the town of Guerrero Negro, in preparation fro our next destination. Our fellow campers have provided us with great tips about some spots to check out, and we are excited to continue onward.  Soon we will post up somewhere for a few days, relax, and fish. So far Mexico has been extremely pleasant, with warm hearted locals and and abundance of Canadian tourists.

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Why are we still in Colorado?

We have some friends in the Boulder / Longmont area of Colorado. I have been working for my friend Brady, at Burke Builders, and Sara is working with Jason at Cellular Recycler. We have both been working full-time for the last month, or so. We have been living in one of Brady’s vacant rental homes that suffered some minimal flood damage. All in all things have been going well.

The truck was recently brought in for service at Pelmans Automotive in Boulder. The following is a list of the resulting work: Trip check (includes looking over the entire truck for anything that might need attention), new front rotors and brake pads, clean lube, adjust rear brake drums, flush and replace front and rear differential and transfer case fluids, and the installation of a new starter. Total cost : $1,164.

But wait, there’s more… my check engine light is on, my catalytic converter is busted and needs to be removed. The catalytic converter is not necessary south of the border, as far as I know (so far), so we are left at a crossroad.

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Option 1: Do nothing and have the check engine light permanently on and risk the cat innards breaking up and clogging my muffler.

Option 2: I can remove the cat, and replace it with a straight pipe for $200, but the check engine light will still be on. To turn the light off, I heard I can buy online, and install illegally myself, some type of censor blocker, so my computer does not know my cat is busted. The sensor cost is unknown, as of now.

Option 3: Find one online and do it myself $$??

Option 4: Replace catalytic converter through mechanic $1000

I’m going to look into doing it myself, I think It will be fine, but either way something will be done. This leads the  the answer to the initial question: Why are we still in Colordo? It’s all good though. We are in no rush to go anywhere, and feel little stress in general. It is important to us to leave here, and cross the border, with the truck in tip-top shape and a refreshed mental state. Besides we have great friends here that have been a pleasure to be around, as of now.

Besides all of the truck stuff there is a number of things that we need to get done before we make our final departure South. These include a full check up for Lupe, our last Hepatitis vaccine, our Yellow Fever vaccine, potential purchase of an inexpensive Garmin navigator, and possibly a fridge (to replace our wack 12-volt cooler).

Our only disappointment is that we will miss Day of the Dead in mainland Mexico. Looks like we might do Christmas in Mexico City instead for whoever wants to meet us there.  Feliz Navidad!

Colorado Floods

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We have been staying with friends in Boulder and Longmont since last Tuesday, before the floods. When we arrived the locals were dumbfounded by all the rain, but us being from NJ and recently living in Portland, OR, found it to be normal. Little did everyone know, this storm was going down in history. The media first labeled it as the 100 year storm, then the 500 year storm, and I even caught wind of a rumored 1000 year storm, but who the hell knows. The flood resulted in loss of life, a bunch of missing people, and everything is still a complete mess. And while some people are attempting to get back to their routine and it seems like a thing of the past, there are others who will unfortunately be dealing with the repercussions for quite a while.

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After work on Friday, my friend Kevin and I left the job site early to head back to Longmont from Boulder. We were half a mile from his house and the roads were all blocked. The river was rising quickly and we were about to get trapped in the WalMart section of town. The authorities were telling us that we cannot walk across the bridge, nevermind drive a vehicle across it. The bridge was not covered with water yet, but they informed us that a gasline had broke so no one would be allowed to cross. In these kind of situations, you have to take matters in your own hands.  We grabbed the bottled water we had just purchased, ran across the bridge, and hiked home. Once we arrived, we explained the situation to Sara and it was decided that we would head back to rescue the truck (which was parked close to the river in prime flood zone). The three of us jumped on a few bicycles and headed for the truck! It was a total scene from “The Goonies”. When we arrived at the bridge, we were surprised to find that it was covered with heavy flowing water. It was up to the peddles and flowing quickly. Kevin was not stopping, and Sara followed. When I rode through the moving water I could feel the current was dangerous and was hit with a sense of relief when I arrived safely on the other side. We got in the truck and drove past the cops (who were blocking the road), sending rooster tails of water shooting out from the tires onto the onlooking crowd. We made it! If we did not pick up the truck it would have been underwater. After we made it  back to the house, we laughed at our stupidity, but had a general sense of relief (no regrets). Soon after the episode, that bridge (and the surrounding land) was turned into a heavy flowing lake. It was underwater for days, suffering severe damage.

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Our hearts go out to all that suffered through this tragedy. We watched people loose their homes once again. We were in Jersey city during Sandy, and this storm definitely reminded us of that.