Terror On the Road

Friday the 13th

Our next stop was to be Los Barriles, another kitesurf destination which is not too long a drive from La Ventana and the Adventure Travel map showed two different routes. Someone mentioned that the shorter route was a dirt road but that we would have no trouble on it especially with the 4X4 of the Suburban; at least we thought that’s what they said. There are several turns and every time we stopped to ask someone the way we were directed to the longer route. Having decided on the shorter scenic route along the coast we kept poking around until I saw a dirt road that was clearly going in the right direction. I could see a slash in the side of the “hill” in front of us that I could tell was heading up over to the coast where it would be smooth sailing along the coast to Los Barriles.

 

On this trip Ann does the vast majority of the driving while I navigate just taking the wheel when she needs to rest or if the conditions get rough or we need to squeeze through some tight spots. The road started to get steeper and soon it became a four wheel drive situation. Ann wanted to turn around but we had already gone a fair distance out of our way to take this route and I wasn’t about to turn around now, especially since I could tell that we were just about at the crest of the hill and soon we’d be through the worst of it. I took the wheel and put her in four wheel drive. About an hour later we still hadn’t crested the mountain and the road was now an extreme four wheel drive path that was way too narrow to turn our big rig around. Ann was terrified; I was trying not to sound terrified but I kept thinking, if we get stuck out here we’re toast. We kind of crested a pass but we still couldn’t see the sea as we were supposed to. The road got narrower and more twisted and it kept going up and down with no end in sight. In several places we had to stop and get out and move giant boulders just to make it so we could squeeze through. Sometimes we’d scrape bottom and the sound would make me cringe. It was blazing hot mind you and at one point there was this swarm of red wasps that kept hovering just above the hood of the vehicle. There were dozens of them, some sitting on the hood and then hovering a few inches above it as we drove along. I didn’t want to risk overheating so we had the air conditioning off and the windows open. These red wasps were very ominous looking. Why are they following us? What if they swarm inside the vehicle?

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DSC00447Ann’s all smiles since we can see the sea after cresting the mountain but it ain’t over yet.

After another hour or so we finally crested a hill and could see the sea in the distance. Thank God we made it, or so we thought. Now we had several miles of driving along cliffs with rock walls on one side and drop offs down to the sea on the other.

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It looks as if we’re home free but it’s a long way down.

It was about another hour of white knuckle driving along these cliffs in what was truly spectacular scenery although it was kind of hard to appreciate it. Finally we got down to the beach and we could tell that the ordeal was behind us. We saw a couple fishing in the surf, the woman in a bikini and the man in board shorts. Civilization! We drove down to talk to them.  We told them the way we had come and they said no one drives that road except maybe motorcyclists in the Baja 1,000. Later in Los Barriles a guy shook his head in disbelief when we told him what had happened. He told us of a guy who drove that road and came back with the side of his vehicle all scraped up from hugging the mountain side of the cliffs afraid of falling to the sea on the other side. All I can say is that I’m glad we had the work done on the differential and the radiator because we’d have never made it if we hadn’t. I’d also like to thank Chevrolet for building a truly capable vehicle. This is NOT just a soccer mom car.

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