Now that the bus was up and running well, we decided it was time to bust a move down the peninsula. There’s not much we want to see until we get farther south, so we got up at the crack of dark and started out. The goal was to drive until we could camp on the Sea of Cortez – Santa Rosalia was 820 km away. A huge day for us.
Lot’s of open desert and a few familiar sights from the last time. Occasional military checkpoints with the usual questions: Where are you coming from? Where are you going? Vacation? Pase.
The big flag at the 28th parallel, where Baja Norte becomes Baja Sur (be sure to fill up the tank in El Rosario – the last chance gas for 300 km before Guerrero Negro). I was quite pleased to fill up again on the main road and blow past Guerrero Negro without venturing into town. South of here, there are no more military checkpoints.
Somewhere in here my coil gave out – again. This one was a brand new blue Bosch coil I bought in L.A. and only had about 10 hours on it. It was smoking hot. I swapped back to my old (used) one and kept going. What kills a brand new coil?
This is also where the road turns east and where things got a bit more interesting for us. By now, it was later in the afternoon and we made the decision to keep going instead of stopping for the night at San Ignacio – a logical rest stop after a long day, with good camping options. No, I wanted to camp and swim on the Sea of Cortez. Santa Rosalia or bust.
Maybe 50 km from Santa Rosalia and getting close to sundown, we came up on wide load. So wide that a big truck coming the other direction collided with it. The resulting debris came directly through our windshield. All in a split-second. Scary stuff.
We immediately slammed on the brakes and swerved off the road. We were stunned and did the quick check to make sure everyone was okay – lots of little glass cuts and rattled nerves. I got hit in the head by some sort of truck part, but fortunately our frame and windshield absorbed most of the impact before it came through the glass. It could have been much much worse.
We looked around and… it was just us. Nobody stopped. Both trucks just kept going.
After calming down a bit and sweeping up broken glass, we didn’t have much option but to climb back in and keep driving. As luck would have it, we eventually caught up to the truck again on a slow winding mountain pass. At the bottom was a police checkpoint.
We frantically waved our arms and flashed our lights just as the federale was waving the truck through… then held him up when he saw us.
We went in circles describing what happened to the police as the truck driver played dumb. He didn’t have an accident, he said. That metal piece wasn’t from his truck, he said (it wasn’t).
There was lot’s of quiet talking behind the truck between the cop and the truck driver. I’m guessing he had no insurance*. In the end, the police decided there was no evidence to prove what happened. Nobody saw anything. We couldn’t prove any fault. We would need to track down the other truck driver to figure it out… Basically, move along and deal with it yourself. At least nobody’s hurt.
I asked if it was legal to drive like this – if he could give me formal permission in case I was stopped by police later. No – it’s no problem, he said. “It’s Mexico.”
* we have Mexican auto insurance, but liability only.