13 hours

9 Dec

13 full hours. That’s how long it took to get Skyhorse out of the mud. That plus 2 friends, 3 cops, 7 locals, a front loader, a Dodge Dakota, a garbage truck and a semi wrecker. Oh and $533.

After being in the Sea of Cortez in Bahia Concepcion for a while, we wanted to quickly visit the Pacific Coast one last time before heading to the big cities in southern Baja (La Paz, Los Cabos). There are a few small fishing towns on the Pacific side off the stretch of highway between Loreto and La Paz, one of them being Puerto Lopez Mateos. There’s practically no information about this small village in any of our books but we decided to go anyway.

Caravanning with Toby and Chloe, we arrived in the town around 1pm and started looking for a beach to camp at. We had boondocking suggestions, but one was a nonexistent beach and the other was a rundown old parking lot. Feeling adventurous and craving a sunny beach day (it wasn’t sunny by the way), we followed a road we shouldn’t have in search of a beach to camp. There was no beach. Neither Skyhorse nor Moby (Carpe Viam vehicle) had any problem going out to this secluded muddy area but coming back was when shit hit the fan.

We were following Moby and saw them get stuck in the mud so Hani maneuvered Skyhorse down a different set of muddy tracks. Next thing we knew, we lost traction and slide off the path and sunk in muck.

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That was around 2pm. The four of us spent an hour pointlessly attempting to free both vehicles. There was nothing around to give us traction as we slipped and slided in the mud. Not a soul was in sight either. Hani ended up dropping the motorcycle and, armed with a Spanish dictionary and photos of the truck and our location, we headed to town to the police station. They were BEYOND helpful and got a front loader (co-driven by a 10 year old) out to Skyhorse and Moby right away.

Moby was freed pretty fast.

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Skyhorse was a totally different story. Not only were we so wedged in, we landed in the softest part of the muck.
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The front loader kept getting stuck and had to be pulled out while completely tearing up what was left of the dry road. Before we knew it, we were all ankle deep in muddy water, completely filthy and freezing. With every teeny tiny step forward in freeing Skyhorse, we were set back ten fold by some dumb move on the part of all these cops and locals trying to run the show.

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By nightfall, the garbage truck arrived (after approval from the town hefe) only to get immediately stuck in the mud.

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I think at this point, the local guys realized they needed reinforcements. Since it was Saturday well after 5, there was no one else in town that could help. The other front loader’s driver had left for the night and taken the keys with him. Somewhere. It was either wait for him to return on Monday or drive to neighboring towns with a local guy Felipe until we found someone to help us.

At 9pm, Toby and I rode with Felipe down narrow dirt backroads in the blackness to 2 neighboring towns hoping the town bosses/front loader owners would have pity on us and come to our rescue. One guy made up some lame excuses and the other few weren’t home. We ended up driving an hour to Cuidad Constitucion, a bustling city. Felipe’s uncle, Rafael was our hero that night. He promised to meet us with his giant semi wrecker in Lopez Mateo. Toby, Felipe, and I picked up dinner (at 11pm) and made our way back, with a detour thanks to the lovely cops of Cuidad Insurgencia. We were thisclose to having our driver Felipe thrown in jail. Apparently it’s ok in Lopez Mateo to drive around with busted taillights and no license but not so much elsewhere. That would have just been the icing.

Surprisingly, we beat the wrecker back to the scene and waited another 30 minutes. As soon as the wrecker arrived and hit the soft mud, it got stuck. Now we had to wait for the front loader to come back and get the wrecker out. No joke. At 1:30am, the freed wrecker was finally hooking up its winches to Skyhorse.

Thus began the painfully slow process of pulling Skyhorse out of the mud. It took until 3am but it happened! And amazingly with no damage. The joy of our freedom was swiftly crushed when everyone and their mother started asking for money. We ended up paying $500 for the tow and $33 to Felipe for gas. Toby took care of the front loader and gave some more to Felipe because that guy was seriously the man. He drove us all over the place and he really didn’t have to. I think we all now need to name our first born Felipe.

The next morning (well, afternoon), we cleaned off the layers of caked on mud and plant-life as best as we could and returned to the scene of the incident. This area is completely impassible. I am shocked the police didn’t fine us for tearing apart their land. Thank god it wasn’t a preserve or anything but it was left pretty horrible shape.

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So that was our Saturday. How was yours??

8 Responses to “13 hours”

  1. Barbara Maya December 9, 2013 at 11:05 pm #

    Pictures tell a 1,000 words!!!!

    Sent from my iPhone

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  2. shari bondyshari December 10, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    Oh my goodness…a true Mexican adventure! My response is…it could have been worse…good thing you werent on a tidal flat with the tide coming in right! I hope you got it all on video. It is a classic baja tale you will tell for years to come. Sorry for your misfortune.

  3. James December 10, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

    looks sticky! glad you guys were able to escape

  4. Mike McMullen December 10, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    The harder it get the better the story.

  5. Joaquin Suave December 11, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    Good on you guys! It looks like your new tow strap came in handy. Hani, Did you try to use your winch?

    • Sarah December 12, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

      That tow strap was a life saver! Thanks for telling us to buy one! As was the winch. But because both pulled us down and not up, we sank further in. The tow’s winch got us up and out!!

  6. Bruce Evans December 11, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

    Thanks for the interesting post. What a circus! We’ve been in that same situation more times than I care to mention…yes, in the tidal flats of Baja California. Guess you didn’t want to get that monster winch dirty? 🙂

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