desert

Discovery Channel Crashes a Plane in Baja

“A Boeing 727 passenger jet has been deliberately crash-landed in a remote and uninhabited Mexican desert as part of a scientific experiment for an unprecedented international television documentary for Discovery Channel, Channel 4 in the UK, plus Pro Sieben in Germany.” Read more

Now, a year later, the crashed 727 is being stored in a dirt lot south of Mexicali.

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Random Baja Photos, Pre- and Post-1000

This is a collection of random Baja photos taken the days before and after the 1000. Photos were taken in Loreto, Bahía Concepción, the beaches around Ligui, and along Highway 1.

Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó was founded on October 25, 1697 in the present city of Loreto. Established by the Jesuit missionary Juan María de Salvatierra, this earliest successful mission in Baja California is sometimes considered "head and mother of all the Spanish missions in Upper and Lower California."
Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó was founded on October 25, 1697 in the present city of Loreto. Established by the Jesuit missionary Juan María de Salvatierra, this earliest successful mission in Baja California is sometimes considered “head and mother of all the Spanish missions in Upper and Lower California.”
The Mission is still a working Catholic church.
The Mission is still a working Catholic church.
Bahía Concepción right about here.
Bahía Concepción right about here.
Fresh dorado tacos at Rancho Buenaventura on the Sea of Cortez. Olivia always makes the best food.
Fresh dorado tacos at Rancho Buenaventura on the Sea of Cortez. Olivia always makes the best food.
A dog obsessed with a pool ball at Buenaventura.
A dog obsessed with a pool ball at Buenaventura.
A race team was camped at Buenaventura. We were told that this crew member got after it a little too fast, a little too early in the morning. The photo was taken at 2 p.m.
A race team was camped at Buenaventura. We were told that this crew member got after it a little too fast, a little too early in the morning. The photo was taken at 2 p.m.
We visited Bertha's Restaurant for a couple ballenas at Playa El Burro, located right about here.
We visited Bertha’s Restaurant at Playa El Burro for a couple ballenas, located right about here.
A palapa at Playa Santispac.
A palapa at Playa Santispac.
South of Loreto, scenery along the highway was spectacular. A recent visit by hurricane Paul dumped lots of rain on the area, so the desert was green and blooming.
South of Loreto, scenery along the highway was spectacular. A recent visit by hurricane Paul dumped lots of rain on the area, so the desert was green and blooming.
Steve and I take a break along Highway 1 - Monserrate and Santa Catalina islands are in the background.
Steve and I take a break along Highway 1 – Monserrate and Santa Catalina islands are in the background.
Taking another break from Highway 1, we drove down a wash to a remote beach at Ligui, right about here.
Taking another break from Highway 1, we drove down a wash to a remote beach at Ligui, right about here.
And who shows up? COPS Team people Manny and George. Great minds ...
And who shows up? COPS Team people Manny and George. Great minds …
The verdant, leafy desert around Loreto made it look Kauai-like.
The verdant, leafy desert around Loreto made it look Kauai-like.

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One of the half-dozen Federal checkpoints along Highway 1 in Baja. This one is located just north of San Ignacio.
One of the half-dozen Federal checkpoints along Highway 1 in Baja. This one is located just north of San Ignacio.
Boojum Trees in the central Baja desert.
Boojum Trees in the central Baja desert.
Drifting onto the non-existent shoulder on Highway 1 can be problematic.
Drifting onto the non-existent shoulder on Highway 1 can be problematic.
The Baja desert near Catavina.
The Baja desert near Cataviña.
Baja's Highway 1.
Baja’s Highway 1 – not for the squeamish.

 

Video: COPS Racing TT#50 Fuel Stop

The COPS Racing Trophy Truck receives fuel at the BFGoodrich pits near Race Mile 747 (La Purisima) in the 2012 Baja 1000. Fifty miles down course from this pit, #50 would lose two engine cylinders (listen to the engine sound at the pits). Driver: Dan Martin.

Death Valley, Eureka Dunes, Steel Pass, Saline Valley Rd.

On Friday afternoon we met friends Dave and Irene, George and Vince, and Bob at the Eureka Dunes in Death Valley. The dunes are the second highest in North America, but that wasn’t why we were there. The plan was to drive  up thru Steel Pass, stop to visit the Warm Springs, then exit the park on Saline Valley Road.

George and Vince in the black Bronco are followed by Bob, meeting us at the Eureka Dunes.
George and Vince in the black Bronco are followed by Bob, meeting us at the Eureka Dunes.
Carol shows off our camp site at the dune. We were sure too get there early enough to watch the sunset and shadows on the dunes.
Carol shows off our camp site at the dunes. We were sure too get there early enough to watch the sunset and shadows on the dunes. Here’s a cool video we made of the trip, including a sunset time-lapse of the dunes.
The morning sun reveals critter tracks on the dunes.
The morning sun reveals critter tracks on the dunes.
The backside of the Eureka Dunes.
The backside of the Eureka Dunes.
After leaving the valley floor and the dunes, we head up through Dedeckera Cayon.
After leaving the valley floor and the dunes, we head up through Dedeckera Cayon. The road stair-steps up and over rocks and ultimately tops out at near 5,000′ at Steel Pass.
Carol is the first in our group to take advantage of the Marble Bath, near the summit of Steel Pass. To help the cause, we added a couple hundred blue marbles to the bath (which, as it turns out, is not a lot of marbles).
Carol is the first in our group to take advantage of the Marble Bath, near the summit of Steel Pass. To help the cause, we added a couple hundred blue marbles to the bath (which, as it turns out, is not a lot of marbles).
We checked out the lower Warm Springs.
We stopped to check out the lower Warm Springs. Even though we’re in a National Park, clothing is optional at these springs. Nope, none of us had to worry about sunburning personal areas.
The remaining towers of the Salt Tram near Saline Lake. At the turn of the (last) century, salt was mined, then carried 14 miles over the Panamint Mountains to the town of Keeler in the Owens Valley. It operated sporadically from 1913 to 1936, but ultimately proved too expensive to operate.
The remaining towers of the Salt Tram near Saline Lake. At the turn of the (last) century, salt was mined, then carried 14 miles over the Panamint Mountains to the town of Keeler in the Owens Valley. It operated sporadically from 1913 to 1936, but ultimately proved too expensive to operate.
Bob, George and Dave arriving at the shores of the Saline Lake.
Bob, George and Dave arriving at the shores of the Saline Lake. Remaining towers form the salt tram run up and over the Panamints to the shores of Owens Lake.
Remaining rotted piers, where salt used to be mined in Saline lake.
Remaining rotted piers, where salt used to be mined in Saline lake.
Carol and George get the fire started with the help of a little gasoline.
Carol and George get Saturday night’s fire started with the help of a little gasoline.
Sunday morning sunrise.
Sunday morning sunrise. The drive out of the park on Saline Valley Road was going to be challenging – a week prior it was hit by heavy rains, flooding, mud slides. The water had turned the regularly smooth graded dirt road into 4×4 fun.

Video: Death Valley, Eureka Dunes, Steel Pass, Saline Valley Rd.

Starting at the Eureka Dunes in Death Valley, we drove through Steel Pass and out of the park on Saline Valley Rd., stopping briefly to see naked people. Saline Valley Road had been recently trashed by heavy rains, transforming it from a smooth, graded dirt road, into a genuine 4×4 experience. A seriously fun weekend.

COPS Racing in the BITD Vegas to Reno

The COPS Racing Team ran two cars in the Best in the Desert Vegas to Reno Off Road Race. The Class 1 ran a nearly flawless 500 mile race, but the Class 10 DNF’d after colliding with an overturned car early in the race. No COPS team members were injured in the accident.

Zak Langley stages the COPS Class 1 car (#1593) at the start of the V2R near Pahrumph, NV. The 500 mile race course roughly parallels highway 95 all the way to Reno.
Zak Langley stages the COPS Class 1 car (#1593) at the start of the V2R near Pahrumph, NV. The 500 mile race course roughly parallels highway 95 all the way to Reno.

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John Langley started the COPS Class 10 in the V2R race. Fifty miles later, he would collide with an overturned race car hidden in dust, taking the COPS car out of the race.
John Langley started the COPS Class 10 in the V2R race. Fifty miles later, he would collide with an overturned race car hidden in dust, taking the COPS car out of the race.

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Zak Langley handed off the Class 1 driving duties to Dan Martin half-way through the race. Here, Martin is slowing down for a 25 mph pit speed zone.
Zak Langley handed off the Class 1 driving duties to Dan Martin half-way through the race. Here, Martin is slowing down for a 25 mph pit speed zone.

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One of the COPS pits with a gravity-fed fueling tower.
One of the COPS pits with a gravity-fed fueling tower.
IonEarth technology allows us to see other COPS chase crews along with the race cars, greatly reducing the "guess factor."
IonEarth technology allows us to see other COPS chase crews along with the race cars, greatly reducing the “guess factor.”

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Dan Martin brings the COPS Class 1 to the finish in Reno after running out of fuel only a few miles out. A helpful course worker added commercial pump fuel to the race car's fuel cell to limp it to the finish.
Dan Martin brings the COPS Class 1 to the finish in Reno after running out of fuel only a few miles out. A helpful course worker added commercial pump fuel to the race car’s fuel cell to limp it to the finish.
Post Mortem: The COPS Class 10 after the race and after the collision with a fatally-damaged front right suspension.
Post Mortem: The COPS Class 10 after the race and after the collision with a fatally-damaged front right suspension.

Mojave Road: West to East

Carol and I joined a bunch of friends to run the Mojave Road eastbound, starting in Afton Canyon and running to the river. We deviated from the Mojave Road at Marl Springs, and bopped down the pole line to visit the Kelso Depot, and then returned to The Road through Cedar Canyon.

Desert Longhorn Sheep in Afton Canyon.
Desert bighorn sheep in Afton Canyon (no, this is not a diorama).
An old, buried boxcar in Afton Canyon, just below the train tracks.
An old boxcar in Afton Canyon, buried just below the train tracks. Right about here.
The Mojave Riverbed runs thru Afton Canyon, flowing away from the Pacific.
The Mojave River runs thru Afton Canyon, flowing away from the Pacific.
A train running northbound through Afton Canyon, on its way to Las Vegas and beyond.
A train running northbound through Afton Canyon, crossing the Mojave River at Basin, CA.
Stopping to regroup after passing thru Afton Canyon.
Stopping to regroup after passing thru Afton Canyon.
One of the Tacomas was two wheel drive and experienced problems in the soft sand, providing lots of amusement for the rest of us.
One of the Tacomas was two wheel drive and experienced problems in the soft sand, providing lots of amusement for the rest of us.
Crossing Soda Dry Lake.
Crossing Soda Dry Lake.
Stopping to sign in at the Mojave mail box.
Stopping to sign in at the Mojave mail box.
The Frog Pond behind the mail box.
The Frog Pond behind the mail box.
At Marl Springs, we deviated from the Mojave Road, running down the pole line to Kelso, to check out the newly-renovated Kelso Depot, now a BLM visitor center.
At Marl Springs, we deviated from the Mojave Road, running down the pole line to Kelso, to check out the newly-renovated Kelso Depot, now a BLM visitor center. NPS: “Civil engineers working for the railroad in Los Angeles drew up the plans for the ‘Kelso Clubhouse & Restaurant,’ in 1923. The building would include a conductor’s room, telegraph office, baggage room, dormitory rooms for staff, boarding rooms for railroad crewmen, a billiard room, library and locker room. Construction started in 1923 and the depot opened in 1924. Originally, the restaurant and telegraph office each had three shifts, operating around the clock. This continued through the boom years of the 1940s, when Kaiser’s Vulcan mine caused Kelso’s population to grow to nearly 2,000.” The Depot is right about here.
The telegrapher's office in the Depot.
The telegrapher’s office in the Depot.
The Beanery in the Kelso Depot still serves food. They also make an unbelievable banana shake.
The Beanery in the Kelso Depot still serves food. They also make an unbelievable banana shake.
Carol manages to relax in the Kelso waiting room.
Carol manages to relax in the Kelso waiting room.
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Old graffito at Ft. Rock Springs. There's also numerous Indian petroglyphs nearby.
Old graffito at Ft. Rock Springs. There’s also numerous Indian petroglyphs nearby.
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Sunset in Lanfair Valley, the location of our Saturday night camp.
Sunset in Lanfair Valley, the location of our Saturday night camp.
Igniting the campfire in Lanfair Valley.
Igniting the campfire in Lanfair Valley.
The ruins at Ft. Piute Springs.
The ruins at Ft. Piute Springs, located right about here.
The Mojave Road elevation profile from Afton Canyon, with detour to Kelso, Lanfair Valley and ending at highway 95.
The Mojave Road elevation profile from Afton Canyon, with detour to Kelso, Lanfair Valley and ending at highway 95. Click to embiggen.

San Felipe Baja 250

This race was originally slated to be run in Primm, NV, but at the last minute it was moved to San Felipe – the reason so few racers showed up. Also, it was hot – San Felipe is a good place to avoid in September (or July or August).

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Where we were chasing the prerun inland, it was 122˚. Along the coast it was only 108˚, but extremely humid. So it was either hot and humid, or really hot, but with no humidity.
Where we were chasing the prerun inland, it was 122˚. Along the coast it was only 108˚, but extremely humid. So it was either hot and humid, or really hot, but with no humidity.
Ron manages to stay cool in a kiddie pool the team purchased - the hotel where we were staying didn't have its own pool. A beer helps too.
Ron manages to stay cool in a kiddie pool the team purchased – the hotel where we were staying didn’t have its own pool, so we had to improvise. A beer helps too.

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Street art near the San Felipe Marina.
Street art near the San Felipe Marina.
A couple of local COPS fans were following the team on Facebook and decided to come by the hotel to say hello.
A couple of local COPS fans were following the team on Facebook and decided to come by the hotel to say hello.
Manny, George, Ron and I wait for the prerunners to arrive under the only shade in the area.
Manny, George, Ron and I wait for the prerunners to arrive under the only shade in the area.
John and Bill are in the first prerunner to arrive. We'll gas them up, then they'll finish the course.
John and Bill are in the first prerunner to arrive. We’ll gas them up, then they’ll finish the course.
Bill and John in the four-seater prerunner.
Bill and John in the four-seater prerunner.

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Ripping down the old Puertocitos Road, Zak arrives in the other prerunner.
Ripping down the old Puertocitos Road, Zak arrives in the other prerunner.

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A Baja road marker.
A Baja road marker.
Baja residents waiting to become road markers (or carne asada).
Baja residents waiting to become road markers (or carne asada).
Electricity went out in San Felipe, along with extreme Southern California and parts of Arizona. Hotel people came around and put candles in everyone's rooms.
Electricity went out in San Felipe, along with extreme Southern California and parts of Arizona. Hotel people came around and put candles in everyone’s rooms.
Zak brought the Class 12 home for a clean finish. Or as clean as you can get in a desert race.
Zak brought the Class 12 home for a clean finish. Or as clean as you can get in a desert race.
Endo helps the bartenders serve cool drinks after the race - the Class 10 and 12 both finished uneventful races.
Endo helps the bartenders serve cool drinks after the race – the Class 10 and 12 both finished uneventful races.

COPS Racing at the Baja 1000

COPS Racing entered three cars in the Baja 1000: Class 1, Class 4 (aka 10), and Class 12. These pics were taken at two BFG pits – one near RM690 (La Purisima, night time) and one near RM850 (Cuidad Insurgentes, daylight). John Langley brought the Class 4 to a first-in-class finish in La Paz. Hours later, Dan Martin finished in the Class 1, but not without mechanical problems. The Class 12 ran strong until it blew its motor near RM800 and was out of the race.

Grabbing a 2 a.m. taco before the Class 12 gets to us in La Purisima.
Grabbing a 2 a.m. taco before the Class 12 gets to us in La Purisima.
Waiting and waiting at the BFG pits at La Purisima.
Waiting and waiting at the BFG pits at La Purisima.
Morgan Langley brought the Class 12 in for the fuel stop. The car started in Ensenada, 15 hours earlier, and with the exception of getting stuck in a silt bed for 30 minutes, the trip was uneventful. Joe Taylor, COPS Crew Chief supervises from the left.
Morgan Langley brought the Class 12 in for the fuel stop. The car started in Ensenada, 15 hours earlier, and with the exception of getting stuck in a silt bed for 30 minutes, the trip was uneventful. Joe Taylor, COPS Crew Chief supervises the stop from the left.

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Morning tule fog in the desert cut visibility to only 25' at times.
Morning tule fog in the desert cut visibility to only 25′ at times.
At the BFG pits at Cuidad Insurgentes, Ron Martin discovers a sheared bolt on the Class 1's front suspension.
At the BFG pits at Cuidad Insurgentes, Ron Martin discovers a sheared bolt on the Class 1’s front suspension.
Dan Martin, driver, and Brian Martin, co-driver, cousin, depart the BFG pits.
Dan Martin, driver, and Brian Martin, co-driver, cousin, depart the BFG pits.
The Class 4 arrives at the BFG pits at Cuidad Insurgentes.
The Class 4 arrives at the BFG pits at Cuidad Insurgentes.
Mike Howel handled co-driving chores; Zak Langley was the driver. At the next stop, Zak would hand the wheel over to John Langley.
Mike Howel handled co-driving chores; Zak Langley was the driver. At the next stop, Zak would hand the wheel over to team owner, John Langley. John would ultimately bring the car to a first-in-class finish in La Paz.
Craig Casey inspects the Class 4 before departure. He also blew the dust out of my Tacoma's air filter (thanks!).
Craig Casey inspects the Class 4 before departure. He also blew the dust out of my Tacoma’s air filter (thanks!).

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