My adventure to Baja begins today. On a plane headed North. Yes, I have my compass rose memorized, I’m headed pretty much due north from Phoenix to Salt Lake City where I will be meeting John Williams at Impulse Offroad to pick up Frankie, the BFGoodrich Tires Jeep JK that will be Marcie and my homebase for the next couple weeks while participating in the Monster Energy Trail of Missions presented by BFGoodrich Tires.
Our road to get to today has been a short one. On May 20th, exactly 8 weeks ago, I was presented with an opportunity to have the Trail of Missions as an option for a Ladies Co-Driver Challenge event. With a couple weeks spent checking with everyone that would be involved, the decision to proceed was full steam ahead. Well, at least internally. We still had a couple weeks of specific details to work out. 10 days ago we were able to officially announce the event and 11 days ago I announced who would be my co-driver.
More About the Trail of Missions - Click Here
Marcie Hricziscse is my co-driver on this adventure. No, I didn’t announce the winner to this opportunity blind, I sent out a couple different emails to the ladies ahead of time asking who had a passport and who was available for the long adventure.
More About the Co-Driver Challenge - Click Here
The logistics of preparing for this trip are mostly on Cameron and his Desert Assassins team. I know when we are supposed to be at the border to cross, when we are supposed to be crossing back into the US and a basic outline of evenings where we will be staying. But beyond that, I’m not in charge. This will be great!
However, there are logistics that were vital to the success of this trip, and the majority of them had to do with Frankie. Frankie, the BFGoodrich Tires Jeep. John Williams from Impulse Offroad is the imagineer and housing for these Jeeps just outside Salt Lake City. He has built, and maintains, them for the different events that BFG attends. Normally, this logistic would be a breeze, but we had a little, ok big, variable in the way. If you remember back, John and I were just at the Bantam Jeep Festival in Pennsylvania, with the Jeeps! They had to be shipped across country and we could only hope they would make it in time for John to do final prep and me to get it and drive south. I booked a flight for Monday at noon, regardless of the delivery, I was headed to Salt Lake City.
It worked! The shipping company understood our situation and was able to get the Jeeps to John by Friday. John spent time over the weekend and this morning getting Frankie “race ready” for our Baja adventure. Arriving at Impulse Offroad I was greeted with a race prepped Jeep and a pile of spare parts to take as security.
And now, I’m headed south.
First stop: Phoenix
My gypsy spirit hasn’t been giving an open road in a while. Handled it. I left Salt Lake City around 7pm and hit the I-15 South. My destination for the night was to IH8MUD.com owner and friend Woody and Heather’s house in Toquerville (St. George). I made some phone calls to some of the Ladies Co-Driver Challenge group and drove straight through in the silence of the night. Ok, I turned on Highway Country for the last hour, just enough to keep me singing to around 11:30pm.
Utah was a strange place last night. I saw a peacock at a truck stop that stopped to talk to me. I saw two Harley's driving fast down a frontage road with the Sheriff chasing them. I saw a car on a different frontage road with their hazards on, enough to attract my attention, and then noticed a guy running behind it. I guess that is how you train in a rural area. I got to see the rise of a extremely full orange moon and a beautiful sunset.
I arrived at the house late and took a few minutes to wind down on the patio over looking Monkey Ridge and Mollie’s Nipple. Why wouldn’t we appreciate named spots as such.
This morning I was awakened by sheet rockers. Bet you weren’t expecting that bit of information! With downstairs construction underway the sheet rockers were ready to put up the walls, right now, right under my head. It was ok. It was time to hit the road!
Back on the highway with a list of folks to call and a lot of miles to cover. I ran truck stop to truck stop. Mileage, gallons and price tracked. With some simple math, we are running right at 14 mpg, at least for our freeway driving.
As I rolled into Phoenix I had to make a couple pre-trip stops. The first to 4 Wheelers Supply where 30 Pack Matt was waiting to change the oil in 109’ temps and check out the power supply situation. I want too much stuff…of course. I want to have my Lowrance GPS, PCI Race Radio and ARB fridg running, plus be able to charge our phones. Why can’t I have it all? Well, I do now. Thanks Matt.
The second stop would be to get my toes done. Yes, for real. And my third stop, to Walgreens for a couple last minute tricks.
I have to give John at Impulse Offroad a load of credit for building an amazing Jeep. It drives like a dream. Did I mention that it is a 2016 with only 1685 miles on it when I left the shop? We’ll wait for a final mileage count at the end.
Before I left the shop yesterday John and I did do walk around of the whole vehicle. Check out how sweet this ride is!
Thanks to these partners for helping build this amazing Jeep ~ We’re taking it to BAJA!!
BFGoodrich Tires – 37x12.50x17
ARB Bushranger Jack
Day 3: We Finish Packing and Head Towards the Border!
Marcie arrived to join Frankie and I around 4pm today and it was all about packing. Making sure we didn't double up on anything. Making sure we had what we needed. Making sure that we didn't forget our underwear, socks and passport! Check and check. We were so good at packing that Matt gave us the thumbs up with an extra 1" still left before hitting the bumpstops. This will change as we drink out 106 bottles of water down, of course.
The drive to the border was easy. Marcie and I chatted about a wide range of subjects from family to jeeps to adventures. We made our first U-Turn, because we were paying attention to getting the GPS working. Yes, seriously. We ate our last fast food meal for a while and we stopped at a couple truck stops. We even made a quick stop at the California border sign for a photo opp. Which didn't work out so well, even with the help of the KC HilLites beams. Just another night on the road.
Day 4: Today we cross the border!
Day 1 of Monster Energy Trail of Missions presented by BFGoodrich Tires
With 1181 US miles on Frankie, Marcie and I made our last stop at Starbucks before meeting up with Cameron and Heidi Steele from Desert Assassins and everyone else that will be joining us on this adventure. We aired down the tires and took some photos before crossing the border.
Click here to see more photos.