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Rain, sand, silt and a whole lot of coffee - Roadtripping to Baja


When it comes to Overland travel, I have a simple mantra

“Plan for everything, and if something does go wrong, at least you planned for everything else.”

For more than six months I have been working with Camp4Lo on a Baja trip to travel the Pole Line Road in Baja. As the history goes, the road was built to connect two top-secret military bases on the Baja Peninsula during World War II, with a hard line connecting the two so there were no airborne messages to intercept. The road, which was barely remembered to begin with, was forgotten for many more years before being remembered by some dedicated Baja explorers and mapped in detail.

The crew was put together, the dates were set and much to my aggravation, the installation of my new All Pro Off-Road LT suspension kit had a few set backs, namely the relentless rain in Washington state, and I was down to the wire getting my CVs rebuilt. With only 2 hours to my scheduled departure and rain steadily falling, I had to wave the fiberglass fenders, do some quick fender trimming instead and hope for the best. I planned to leave home at 6 PM when my wife got home from work to intercept the boy and drive through the night to make the 16-hour drive in 15 and try and arrive at the Turf n SurfCentral Coast Landcruisers beach party in Pismo Beach, California by noon, where Overland Coffee Company would be serving evening and morning coffee. Factoring in an hour for gas and naps, my trip started out of balance as I rolled out the door at 9PM.

What I was doing only hours before my schedule departure.

Driving at night doesn’t really bother me; although I can't say I prefer it. In all my previous occupations and including this one, I do a lot of driving, so I have become obsessed with methods for staying awake behind the wheel, well, at least the legal ones. I have talked with truckers, special-forces members, pilots, and former secret service and have picked up a lot of great short-term tricks, but for the long haul, like through the night and beyond, the two and ten special-forces method caught my interest. Its pretty simple, brew a thermos of Overland Coffee and drink it while you are alert, not when you are already dozing. Drive for two hours and whether you are tired or not, nap for 10-15 minutes. Wake up, get going, drink some coffee and back at it.

Huge thanks to Mule Outfitters ( for the last second welding and support of OCC, couldn't have done it without you.

While the two and ten method worked like a charm, the torrential rain slowed my 80 mph plan to 55 mph and stopping to repair a torn CV boot set me back another two or so. Making up time where I could I didn’t make camp until about 5:30pm, just after sun down. Thankfully Overland Coffee Company master roaster Angel Orozco was there to pour fresh coffee for the event attendees in their sand blasted Landcruisers. We were also fortunate enough to have Scout Equipment offer up space in their dialed pull out kitchen for brewing coffee. With the built in water, stove and work surfaces, it was a real game changer compared to our current tailgate method.

I was so down to the wire, I had the backup plan fueled up and ready but it all came through for the Tacoma in the end. Thanks for the support 4WD Toyota Owner Magazine.

By the time I stumbled into camp, sleep deprived and six hours after my intended arrival, having stopped to grab supplies for the morning brew, it was all I could do to find a flat spot on the periphery of camp to set up. Glad to see a lot of familiar faces and happy to be in the presence of so many amazing Toyotas, I tossed my Front Runner Outfitters Flip Pop Tent into the air and watched it spring to life. In seconds I was inside snoring, the alarm set for a refreshing ten hours away; 5AM.

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