By slow baja
Slow BajaJun 20, 2021
Sal Fish On SCORE And More
Sal Fish, the Godfather, is back for his second conversation on Slow Baja. This time, we met above the beach at his place in La Paz. We picked up where our previous conversation ended around 1969. At the time, Sal worked for Petersen Publications as the Publisher of Car Craft and later Hot Rod Magazine. One day, while visiting Revel, the model company, with Bob Weggeland, his advertising salesman, the company’s owners asked Sal and Bob to race the Baja Bug in the NORRA Mexican 1000. He knew the adventure would be a good story (and ad sales) for the magazine and leaped at the opportunity. Sal competed in the 1969, 1970, and 1971 races.
Racer and entrepreneur Mickey Thompson recruited Sal as a partner soon after he created SCORE International in 1973. By 1974, Sal and Thompson were hosting the Baja 1000. Sal used his people and publishing skills to rapidly grow the organization and soon bought Thompson out. In the process, Sal realized Thompson’s vision to make off-road racing as big as NASCAR. Sal sold SCORE in 2012. Active and fit, he enjoys living in Malibu and spending time with his wife of nearly 50 years, Barbara. The couple has a second home in La Paz, where Sal enjoys kayaking and entertaining his friends.
Sal is a 2006 inductee of the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame. Visit their website here:
Enjoy this Slow Baja Podcast conversation with Sal Fish. Get your Baja insurance here: https://www.bajabound.com/quote/?r=fl9vypdv2t
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Bob Bower What About You?
At age 8, Bob Bower read about the Bill Stroppe Lincoln teams that dominated the 1953 Mexican Carrera Panamericana and later learned about the Baja 1000 race to La Paz. It became a fixation with him to be part of it someday.
Living the life of a Corvette enthusiast, Bower caught the eye of BFGoodrich at a time when the Brand was in the early stages of marketing performance tires to car clubs. He accepted the offer to go to work for BFG in 1977 and found himself at the Mint 400 as a pit volunteer. The fixation transformed into a deep passion for off-road. From that day forward, he would make a huge impact on the world of off-road racing in a variety of roles. Pit volunteer, chase crew, race team manager, pit manager, program manager, winning co-driver, winning driver, ESPN TV color analyst, and teacher. Bower’s goal was to have a positive impact on whatever he was doing. His philosophy of “be alert, listen to what people have to say and always use the truth” served him well.
It was 1982 when BFGoodrich put him in the role of Off-Road Program manager. With very thin budget resources available, the challenge was to provide support for the contracted teams and win races. Bower’s race strategy was very straightforward… “You start winning rather than finish winning.”
Bower’s vision was to establish a common direction on the race course and in the pits, and bring all the teams into one big BFG team. “The direction we’re heading is very, very clear.” “That is to be the best between the green and checkered flags”. Bower launched the BFGoodrich Pit Support program. To this day the BFGoodrich Pits are arguably the most successful and widely used pit service in Off-Road Desert Racing.
The 1985 Baja 1000 ended early for Bob and his teammate Mike Randall in the Class 4 Honcho when they got off course and lost, ending up sunken to the frame in a tidal mud marsh. It took two days for the team to find and retrieve them. Bower swore, and promised his wife Necia, that we would never be lost like that again in Baja.
He would make detailed maps of the race course, highways, and chase roads (KM mileage included), along with other information like fuel and food locations. The chase crews knew at any given time they could drive to the correct chase road and how long the drive should take. Teams raced with a higher degree of safety for their chase crews because of those maps. In the early 1990s Bower turned the map making over to BFGoodrich in order to make it available to the masses. By widely distributing the maps, all of the chase crews could support their teams with a higher degree of safety.
Bob wrote “What About You?”, a powerful piece that has been included in almost all pit books over the past 20 years. It remains fresh and relevant today because of its absolute raw truth. “What About You?” is Bob’s heartfelt advice to everyone in off-road, about safety and taking care of yourself and those you are with during the race. Many are convinced “What About You?” has saved lives over the last two decades. Bob says he was “simply speaking from the heart.”
Over the years Bob has shown his passion, humility and wisdom. They are matched only by his unshakeable ethic. There have been many young racers who have been helped along their way by Bower. He’s always been a champion of the little guy. Sometimes it’s a quiet conversation, sometimes a few hours of highway windshield time, other times simply introducing them to others in the sport who could help them get better. Young stars like Robby Gordon, Ivan Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Arciero, and Rob MacCachren all have had Bob help them along in their racing career in one small way or another. For Bob Bower, it has been a labor of love. “I never wanted to change things in our sport, I just wanted to do what I could to help it along.”
-- Courtesy of ORMHOF
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Antonio "Toni" Reséndiz Campo Archelon Bahía De Los Ángeles
In 1978, shortly after graduating as an oceanologist, Antonio Reséndiz Senior went to live in Bahía de los Ángeles. They called him "Crazy" Reséndiz since he arrived with almost nothing and lived in a tent on the beach.
Commercial exploitation of the turtle had skyrocketed, and the species was on the brink of extinction. The National Fisheries Institute and Reséndiz created the first Center for the Study and Conservation of Sea Turtles in Bahía de los Ángeles.
Today, the sea turtle is no longer in danger of extinction, and the scientific knowledge about its lifecycle is extensive. One of the turtles that Antonio kept in captivity was released carrying a radio tracker. A year later, this turtle appeared in Senday Bay, Japan. An epic journey of eleven thousand five hundred kilometers!
Antonio "Toni" Reséndiz Jr. runs the eco-tourism resort, Campo Archelon on the grounds of the now-defunct turtle research center. On today's Slow Baja Podcast, we discuss his history at Campo Archelon and his focus on sustainability in every aspect of life, from reducing, reusing, and recycling to creating a hamburger from Tonno, a little-loved member of the tuna family. If you visit, have a meal at Toni's locally-focused Cafe Siete Filos, although I strongly suggest sharing your plates as the portions are sizable.
Campo Archelon is Slow Baja Approved.
Visit their website here:
Enjoy this Slow Baja Podcast conversation with Toni Reséndiz. Get your Baja insurance here: https://www.bajabound.com/quote/?r=fl9vypdv2t
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Trudi Angell On The Museo Antigua Californio
Trudi Angell makes her third visit to the Slow Baja Podcast to discuss her new "retirement project," The Museo Antigua Californio in Loreto, BCS.
Trudi is well known in Baja as the longtime owner and "Bell Mare" guide-in-residence of the mule-packing outfitters Saddling South. Through her travels into the remote mountains of the Sierra de Giganta, she befriended Dario, a gregarious rancher and "keeper of the old ways" who became the subject of her fabulous documentary film La Recua. https://larecua.com/
You can visit the Museo de Antigua Californio in the Pueblo Mágico town of Loreto BCS on the corner of Benito Juarez and Calle Davis.
To book a mule-packing trip, contact Saddling South:
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Kurt Williams Talks Land Cruisers And Travel
Today’s Slow Baja conversation is with Kurt Williams. He owns Cruiser Outfitters, a legendary company specializing in parts and services for Toyota Land Cruisers. I am eternally grateful to Kurt and his staff at Cruiser Outfitters, who were instrumental in sorting (and sponsoring) my suspension upgrades last year.
Williams, a lifelong Utah resident, bought his first Land Cruiser Fj40 at age 15. He’s an intrepid traveler (40 countries and counting) and an integral team member of E-7 (Expeditions 7). In that fantastic experience, Williams drove five of the seven continents and befriended fellow team member Clay Croft, whom he’s joined in several X-Overland Expeditions.
As a member of Canguro Racing, he’s raced a "stock" Land Cruiser 200 Series in the grueling Baja 1000. While he embraces the Slow Baja travel philosophy, Williams attributes his success in finishing 8 out of 9 Baja 1000s to going just slow enough to survive. He’s a Tread lightly Master Trainer, HAM radio operator, Land Cruiser Heritage Museum Board Member, and a member of several local Utah 4×4 clubs.
In this episode, we discuss his extensive travels, his love for paper maps, and his shop locally, eat locally philosophy that feeds his passion for connecting with locals --usually over a meal!
Cruiser Outfitters is Slow Baja Approved.
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Enjoy this Slow Baja Podcast conversation with Kurt Williams, powered by Baja Bound Insurance. Get your Baja insurance here: https://www.bajabound.com/quote/?r=fl9vypdv2t
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TopoTerra And Legends Overlanding Baja Safari Solutions
We meet Brandon Thomason and Nathan Stuart in today’s Slow Baja conversation. Brandon owns and operates TopoTerra, a leading off-grid vehicle and camping gear rental provider. Based in San Diego, California, with operations in Colorado, TopoTerra “has the rig and the gear to help you escape the daily grind.” Whether you are looking for an off-road vehicle, a rooftop tent, a camper van, a trailer, or an off-highway adventure vehicle, they have you covered! Their slogan says, “Adventure is our specialty; get out and explore today!”
Nathan Stuart is a highly-respected travel guide. He’s the son of a mountaineer, diver, pilot, sailor, and backpacker, and went on his first hike strapped to his father’s chest at 16 weeks old. He learned to love the outdoors and adventure at a young age, --and moved to Baja at 18. His deep passion for nature opened a path to guiding that has him well positioned to show his guests a side of Baja few travelers see.
Nathan operates Legends Overlanding and provides small-group, African Safari-style, vehicle-based adventures up and down the Baja peninsula. His experience, knowledge and meticulous attention to detail set him apart. Legends Overlanding shares Baja’s wild side, --from private chefs delivering delicious locally sourced food to expertly scouted, exclusive camp locations, Nathan can get you to where the wild things are.
Check out their upcoming Loreto and El Camino Real trip here:
Learn more about TopoTerra Overland Vehicle and gear rentals here:
Learn more about Nathan and Legends Overland here:
Zihul Martinez Whales Cave Paintings And Knives
Zihul Martinez is the man to know in Guerrero Negro. He is a highly-respected wilderness guide who can show you the whales, the cave paintings, the pronghorn, or, as he says, "the magic of the central desert."
Born in Chiapas, Mexico, Martinez moved to Mexico City at fourteen to attend school. Later, he joined the Mexican Army and had a twenty-one-year career, eventually retiring in Guerrero Negro --the location of his last post. He says he loved the place and the people and decided to start his retirement "doing only things that make me happy."
In addition to his guide services, Zihul operates a hunting supply shop that carries a large selection of his handmade jewelry and knives. His tidy workshop is next door to the shop, and his home, campground, and secure parking lot are located across the street.
Zihul Martinez is Slow Baja Approved.
Calle Pedro Altamirano E Mz 64 Lt 5 Colonia Fundo Legal CP 23940, Guerrero Negro, Baja California Sur, México. Abierto de lunes a viernes de 1000 hrs a 1600 hrs Teléfono: 615 1554106 | Celular / Whatsapp: 615 1592998
Enjoy this Slow Baja Podcast conversation with Zihul Martinez, powered by Baja Bound Insurance. Get your Baja insurance here: https://www.bajabound.com/quote/?r=fl9vypdv2t
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Blake Wilkey And Michael Squier On The Slow Baja Safari And Urban Assault 3 Tijuana
Note: Strong language warning. We bleeped the F-bombs but left the other swear words unbleeped!
In this Slow Baja Podcast conversation, I sit down with off-road personality and Shreddy brand founder Blake Wilkey and filmmaker extraordinaire Michael Squier. The duo teamed up to run a Manx Remastered in the 2023 NORRA Mexican 1000 Slow Baja Safari Class.
From Squier, we get an update on the smashing success of his Baja Bug Movie. And a brief history lesson on Bruce Meyer's record Baja run from 1967 that led to the first Off-Road Race. We dive deeply into Wilkey and Squier's five days in the Slow Baja Safari Class. And their unabashed delight in running a Manx Dune Buggy 1286 miles --with a smile on their face and their foot firmly planted on the floor.
Our conversation concludes with Wilkey and Squier's new film project, "Urban Assault 3," where Wilkey rips his VW-themed trophy truck, “Jaws,” through the streets of Tijuana. This film is a fully-sanctioned project in the style of his famous 2016 video "San Diego Shark Attack Urban Assault" that went viral with over 3M views and resulted in Wilkey spending 45 days in jail.
Enjoy this Slow Baja Podcast conversation with Blake Wilkey and Michael Squier, powered by Baja Bound Insurance. Get your Baja insurance here: https://www.bajabound.com/quote/?r=fl9vypdv2t
Watch Urban Assault 3 on YouTube:
Follow Blake Wilkey on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blakewilkey357/
Check out Shreddy Lyfe here:
More information about The Baja Bug Movie here:
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More on Meyers Manx here:
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Adam Sheard Speed Deluxe Vintage Motorcycle Adventures
Adam Sheard, a Brit by birth, has always had an affinity for old vehicles. He runs Speed Deluxe, a full-service motorcycle shop in Chattanooga, Tennessee, specializing in custom builds, restorations, and fabricating unique solutions.
He started Speed Deluxe Vintage Adventures to combine epic road trips with vintage motorcycles. Harking back to the days of multi-day enduro events --where you have to fix your bike as you go and make it to pre-scheduled stop points each evening. The grueling Vintage 1000, now in its ninth year, has been a smashing success!
Adam has developed a loyal following over the years --with his ever-expanding array of trips. A testament to his devout following, his first Baja Vintage Adventure sold out within 24 hours of querying a select list of Vintage 1000 veterans.
Check out Adam's Speed Deluxe Motorcycle Adventures here:
Marty Harriman Baja By Horse
"Experience life in the old west with us, riding through 1000 acres of privately owned ranch land and wilderness. Wide open spaces, epic vistas, and sightings of grass-fed cattle, pasture horses, wildflowers & a variety of birds all await your soul." -Baja by Horse.
Marty found her way to Baja in 1961 when her parents bought a lot in La Mision and built a simple vacation house.
She would steal her father's garden hose and lasso local horses to keep herself entertained. Marty would swing herself up and go for a ride until she fell off. And she ALWAYS fell off!
She calls Rancho La Pila --Old Baja. "It's a ranch. When you're out there, you've got no phone, no service, nothing. You unplug, but you recharge."
These days, she spends her days sharing the slow life with friends, new and old. To book your stay and get a ride on her 1000-acre slice of heaven, contact Marty through her website: https://bajabyhorse.com/
Evan Christenson A Slow Ride On The Baja Divide
“Evan Christenson is a dirtbag who believes that the slower you ride, the more you take away. He’s also a photographer and a burnt-out roadie who’s bikepacked on four continents.”
We met in 2021 while Evan rode the Baja Divide on a 1700-mile first date with his new girlfriend. I was on the BajaXL Rally and was happy to share a little Fortaleza Anejo to celebrate our meeting. I was delighted to run into Evan again in February at Casa Concepcion. We were going in opposite directions this time, and we both had to get on the road. We recorded a quick conversation about Evan’s Baja ride and his work for BikePacking.com.
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Travel Talk With Slow Baja Hotel Seven Crown La Paz Malecon
The Hotel Seven Crown is an laid-back boutique hotel beautifully located on the famous La Paz Malecon. With clean architectural lines and updated rooms, some featuring spectacular bay views. A stay at the Seven Crown puts you in the heart of the lively La Paz waterfront. We arrived as one of the many Fiestas celebrating the 488th Anniversary of La Paz was underway. With scores of street closures, Ted had to do some seat-of-the-pants-navigating to get us to the hotel. A security guard jockeyed some cars to accommodate our open FJ40 inside the secure garage. We dropped our bags and took in the carnival-like fiesta --wandering past games of chance and vendors hawking food that would be at home at any state fair, we reveled at being the only gringoes in attendance. Singer Eugenia León was on the main stage, and we listened for a few songs before our hunger had us moving on to dinner at HarkerBoard Companies' roof-top restaurant. For this Travel Talk conversation, I spoke with Faine Lara. Faine is the Community Manager of the family-owned hotel. We sat down in El Aura, their fifth-floor restaurant and meeting space. The airy terrace dining room has a friendly vibe and unobstructed waterfront views. Enjoy this relaxed conversation and consider a stay at the Hotel Seven Crown La Paz Malecon.
Patty Upton On Her Guinness Record For The First All-Land Crossing Of The Infamous Darién Gap And Around The World Drive
When Patty Mercier jumped in Loren Upton’s 1966 Jeep CJ5, she knew she was in for an adventure. The man behind the wheel was on his fourth attempt to cross the Darién Gap. The first three trips had ended in death and disaster, but Upton, an intrepid adventurer, would not be deterred.
In addition to his determination to cross the treacherous Darién Gap entirely on land, Upton had raised the stakes on this voyage. For his fourth attempt, he decried that he would drive one American-made vehicle around the world. The route would be from North America’s Northernmost point to South America’s southernmost point. The only water crossing would be the South Atlantic. They would continue from the Southernmost point in Africa to the Northernmost point in Norway.
The trip started in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, on 15 June 1984. They traveled more than 56,000 miles and took five years to complete the drive around the world. The crossing of the 125-mile Darién Gap was an astonishing 741 days. The Sand Ship Discovery, the name that Upton gave his intrepid Jeep, reached the Sletness Lighthouse near Gamvik, Norway, On 4 July 1989.
The couple earned a citation in the 1992 Guinness Book of Records for the “First All-Land Crossing Of The Infamous Darien Gap From Yauiza Republic of Panama to Riosucio, Columbia 22 February 1985 to 4 March 1987.”
Loren Lee Upton died at 87 years old on 9 August 2022
Patty Upton is searching for a museum to house Sand Ship Discovery, the 1966 CJ5, and for a writer to capture the story of their around-the-world drive. Please get in touch with her through her website: www.outbackofbeyond.com
Mary McGee Motorsports Pioneer And Baja Racing Legend
Please enjoy this archive edition of Slow Baja with Mary McGee. The Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame just voted McGee into the class of 2023, and I am delighted to share this Slow Baja conversation that originally aired on 1 August 2022.
Mary McGee is an American motorsport racing pioneer. She was the first woman to compete in motorcycle road racing and motocross events in the United States. McGee started as a sports car racer in 1957. She drove the finest cars of the period. McGee raced the best of the best, from her first race in a Mercedes Gullwing 300SL to running Porsche Spyders and Ferrari Testa Rossa.
After legendary racer and Porsche dealer Vasek Polak suggested she take up motorcycle racing to make her smoother in the car, McGee started road racing bikes in 1960. At a New Year's Eve party in 1963, McGee's pal, actor Steve McQueen said, "McGee, when are you going to get off those pansy road racing bikes and come out to the desert?" A few weeks later, she began riding dirt bikes and racing with McQueen and his stuntman pals.
She raced a Datsun 510 in the first NORRA Mexican 1000 in 1967. McGee was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame 2018 and named an FIM Legend for her pioneering motorcycle racing career.
Her career accolades are as follows:
• Past Pacific Coast Champion SCCA Sports and Formula Cars
• First woman US MC/FIM motorcycle race in the US – 1960
• First woman to finish the Baja 1000 in 1968
• First woman to Road Race motorcycles in the US
• First woman to race motocross in the US
• First woman to compete in International motocross
• Only person to ride the Baja 500 solo - 1975
Follow Mary McGee on Facebook here.
Learn more about the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame here.
Johnny Johnson Baja In His Blood
Johnny Johnson was one of the early champions in off-road racing. With 112 career victories, and eight Baja 1000’s where he proudly claims “l never got out of the car!” Johnson was one of the very very best in the dirt. He was inducted into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2010. Revered by his fellow racers for his fabrication and tuning skills, it is his humility and willingness to help anyone, anytime, that his friends say is his defining trait. Famed writer, George Plimpton chose Johnson, to star in his 1971 television special “Behind The Wheel.” In the feature, Plimpton interviewed Formula One racer Jackie Stewart at the Monaco Gran Prix before jumping into Johnny’s buggy for the Baja 1000.
Thanks to Carol Mears, and Lynn Chenowth for arranging this Slow Baja conversation.
Travel Talk With Slow Baja Meet Nathan Burbey Casa Concepcion B & B
Meet Nathan Burbey of Casa Concepcion B & B in today's travel talk with Slow Baja. In our conversation, we discuss his history in Bahia Concepcion. --Nathan's father owns the restaurant and campground just down the road known as Mark and Olivia's Playa Buenaventura. Nathan has lived between Posada Concepcion and Buenaventura since he graduated from college more than a decade ago.
My Podcast producer, Keiser, and I stayed in Casa Concepcion on our recent BajaXL trip. I was delighted by the hospitality. The Inn was sold-out, but Nathan held our room for our 10:00 PM arrival --a kindness not practiced routinely on the peninsula. The room was lovely, thoughtfully decorated, with cotton sheets and blankets --and was a generous cut above the Baja standard. Cold beer was in the fridge, and Nathan invited us to help ourselves to a snack if we were hungry.
Nathan had the coffee brewing at 5:30 AM for the early risers. As we poured our cups, he implored us to follow him across the road to watch the sunrise. His stoke for nature's beauty was infectious, and the show was a stunner. Casa Concepcion at Posada Concepcion is Slow Baja Approved. We look forward to returning soon to slow our roll and fish with Nathan. Find links to Nathan Burbey and Casa Concepcion in the show notes at www.slowbaja.com
Surfer Glen Horn A Study In Slow Baja
Glen Horn is about as Slow Baja as it gets. He has prioritized a life filled with surfing, physical fitness, and living modestly and in harmony with nature. After moving to San Diego as a "young tike," Horn grew up playing Davy Crockett in the local canyons. Soon his older brother was surfing, and the Horn boys were hitch-hiking down Balboa Drive to the beach.
He began surfing as a youngster and tried his hand at shaping a board when he was 12 years old. Soon he was exploring Baja looking for his version of Endless Summer. Amazingly, he found it and has held on tightly to it for decades.
In The Bull, Filmmaker Eric Ebner captured Horn's beautifully spare existence feeding his surf habit and living his soulful life. "A secret spot in Baja, California, hundreds of miles from civilization. An old milk van converted into the perfect surfing mobile. A 67-year-old man at the peak of his physical fitness and in line with mother nature every step of the way. "The Bull" is the award-winning story of San Diego surfing legend Glen Horn and his journey to an unconventional lifestyle.
Enjoy this intimate Slow Baja Podcast with shaper and surfing legend Glen Horn. Hearty thanks to his wife, Roberta Horn, for her help in making this conversation happen.
Ivan "Ironman" Stewart Baja It's All About The Adventure
Stewart made the unlikely leap to off-road racing in 1973. Scheduled to co-drive the Ensenada 300 in a Class 2 buggy with his friend Bill Hrynko --before the race, Hrynko broke his leg. Stewart raced the event solo, virtually unheard of then, and won! A tradition and a nickname were born.
In 1983, Stewart joined PPI Motorsports, Toyota’s factory-backed race team. At the time, Stewart was seeking a ride from an American manufacturer --“something with a V-8 motor.” The 4-cylinder motor and the Japanese truck didn’t sound like a winning combination to Stewart.
Cal Wells, head of PPI, stressed the reliability and the better weight-to-horsepower ratio of the Toyota and talked Stewart into taking the ride. This unlikely marriage created one of racing’s longest and most successful relationships. Stewart and Toyota teamed up for over 30 years resulting in unparalleled success in the Mickey Thompson Stadium Series and SCORE Off-Road desert racing.
Slow Baja would like to thank Carol Mears for her help in arranging this conversation. We would also like to thank Ivan and Linda Stewart for their generosity in opening their home and making time for us.
Learn more about Ivan Stewart here.
Follow Ivan Stewart on Facebook here.
Photos courtesy of Kurt Scherbaum see more of his photography here.
Pauline Marguerite Wickham The Mule Mujer Of BDLA
Today’s show is with Pauline Marguerite Wickham --Paulina, as she’s known in Baja, is a retired “child-whisperer,” having taught for over 35 years. She resides full-time in Bahía de Los Angeles, where she keeps busy with three mules, a burro, an elderly dog, and her husband, "Dern." We discuss her life and friendship with Baja legend, prospector, and raunchy-raconteur Herman Hill.
She began traveling to Baja at 3. She fondly remembers sport fishing trips to Ensenada with her Grandfather. As the men fished, she would dip her sleeves into the bait well filling them with cool water and tiny fish.
From those earliest days, Baja has played a significant role in Paulina's life. Her parents were adventure-seekers. They were avid off-roaders and raced motorcycles. Paulina soon joined them, running enduros in the powder-puff class. She made many trips to Baja in high school and continued traveling to BDLA to study Marine Biology in college.
She is a highly accomplished mule rider and had ridden with the vaqueros of Rancho San Gregorio during the spring round-ups --an experience she calls “life-changing!” Paulina loves a challenge and relishes her arduous remote emergency radio work with BFGoodrich for SCORE. She rides for hours carrying radio equipment by mule high into the mountains so the racers and teams can maintain vital communication.
Enjoy this Slow Baja Conversation with the Mule Mujer of BDLA, Pauline Marguerite Wickham.
Follow Pauline Marguerite Wickham on Facebook
Finding Chango The Surf Monkey Fellowship With Beth Slevcove
As we sort our video and audio recordings from our recent BajaXL drive, we are delighted to share one of my favorite shows from last year. We will return next week with a video of our Slow Baja conversation with Ivan Stewart on YouTube. Please subscribe to our YouTube Channel here.
"Chango," the twelve-inch tall, plaster-of-Paris, irregularly painted statuette, first appeared in the San Ysidro border traffic lines during the early 1970s as street vendors hawked them to passing tourists. Many a gringo returning from their surf trip, tourist jaunt, TJ bar run, or mission trip came home with one of these in the back seat."
Slow Baja has questions, and in this riveting interview, Beth Slevcove of the Surf Monkey Fellowship has the answers. Monkey or ape? Who is Chango's creator? How did an icon of border tchotchkes become nearly extinct? Stay tuned for all the answers!
Check out the Surf Monkey Fellowship
Follow Surf Monkey Fellowship on Facebook.
Baja Beginners Get A Dose Of Adventure On The NORRA Mexican 1000 With Sam Hurly and Danny White
Today’s Slow Baja conversation is with filmmaker and photographer Sam Hurly and his Baja chauffeur and amigo Danny White.
Sam creates automotive films and photographs for Turtle Wax. He convinced the fine folks at headquarters to send him down to Baja to follow us in the NORRA Mexican 1000. Sam needed a skilled off-road driver with a reliable rig to pilot him while he made photographs and shot film. Danny White got the call.
The Baja beginners get a heaping dose of adventure --and they speak candidly about their pre-trip worries and the multitude of scary stories that (well-meaning) Baja veterans gleefully shared with them. After a day or two in Ensenada, the myths and preconceived notions flew out the window, and after a few tasty tacos, all was well.
Watch the Slow Baja Turtle Wax Sponsored film here.
Watch the behind-the-scenes cut of the film here.
Follow Sam Hurly on Instagram here.
Watch his YouTube channel here.
Learn more about the NORRA Slow Baja Safari here.
Ramon Castro "El Tomate" Class 11 Champion And Baja Legend
Today’s Slow Baja conversation is with Ramon Castro, the genial Class 11 Champion better known as “El Tomate.” Growing up in Ensenada, Ramon Castro watched the early Baja 1000 races from his elementary school playground.
When he was only 17, much to his mother’s chagrin, he entered his first Baja 1000. He had no experience, no plan, no pre-run, nothing. Amazingly, they finished second. “We were young boys; we don’t know nothing; we raced to La Paz, turned around, and raced home.”
Castro dominated Class 11, winning Championships in ’83, ’86, ’87, ’88, and ’89 in --’84 and ’85, they finished in 2nd. He became a Baja racing legend, setting the fastest finish time of 27 hours in Class 11. He worked tirelessly with SCORE chief Sal Fish behind the scenes, negotiating with ranchers, marking the course, and helping young racers get their start in his RECORD Off-Road Series.
Enjoy the ride and this Slow Baja conversation with my amigo, “El Tomate.”
Backpacking The El Camino Real With Genevieve Mattar And Kevin Branscum
Genevieve Mattar and Kevin Branscum met in South America while exploring the Andes ruins and the Amazon forests. He was an American seeking adventure, and she was a travel guide leading a group of French Canadians.
The couple soon married and as Kevin was a Southern Californian and seasoned Baja traveler, they began exploring the remote regions of Baja Sur. They became interested in the old mission trail while visiting the Sierra de San Francisco rock art. One day on a mule ride, they came across a track that looked different from the one they were following. They asked their local guide about it. He replied, “That is the old mission trail, el camino antiguo de los misioneros.”
El Camino Real. The El Camino Real, or “King’s Highway,” is the mission trail leading from Loreto in Baja Súr, Mexico, to all Californias. They include Baja Súr, Baja, and Alta California, better known as the state of California.
The mystery of that trail, combined with its history and the beauty of its surroundings, hooked them. For twenty-two years, they’ve regularly returned to explore El Camino Real, locating and accurately mapping additional trail segments. They hope to find and preserve the exact position of as much of the El Camino Real as possible. Only through sharing the story and developing eco-tourism --will the historic trail remain alive.
Learn more about their work here.
Paul Ganster On His Epic Journeys With Harry Crosby
In this archive edition of Slow Baja, we return to my 2020 conversation with professor Paul Ganster. I wanted to share this show again as I recently watched Isaac Artensteins's magnificent Journeys of Harry Crosby documentary. The Crosby film is available to stream on PBS here.
Ganster began traveling to Mexico with his friend and former high school teacher, Harry Crosby, in the early 1960s. When Crosby landed his 1967 commission to photograph the El Camino Real, he asked Ganster, then a graduate student at UCLA, to make the trip with him. In retracing the original Portolá missionary expedition of 1769, Crosby and Ganster covered 600 grueling miles, mostly by mule.
Ganster took trail notes, made detailed drawings and maps, and shot scores of photographs. However, no job was more important than feeding the mules. Each evening, he would climb the palo verde trees and use a machete to hack off branches that the mules would crunch on loudly. The trip was a life-changing trip for both men. Crosby's photographs from the journey were published in The Call to California in 1969. He often returned to Baja to photograph cave paintings and study early life in Alta, California, and published several books on the subject. Baja figured prominently in Ganster's life as well. In his long academic career, he is an acknowledged expert on the U.S.-Mexico border region.
Currently, he directs the Institute for Regional Studies of the Californias at San Diego State University. He's recently edited Loreto, Mexico: Challenges for a Sustainable Future (2020, SDSU Press) with Oscar Arizpe and Vinod Sasidharan. He and Arizpe, a professor at the Universidad A. de Baja California Sur, collaborated on two earlier projects examining Loreto's sustainability.
Check out Paul Ganster's extensive writings here.
Bruce Trenery Racing The Wild And Woolly La Carrera Panamericana
In today’s Slow Baja Podcast, we talk to Bruce Trenery about his experience racing the wild and wooly early days of the La Carrera Panamericana Classic. Bruce ran in the LCP Classics from 1987 to 1993. In its early “Baja” period, the race was a high-speed sprint from Ensenada to San Felipe. A few years later, the La Carrera moved to mainland Mexico and, at 2000 miles, officially became the world’s fastest, longest, (and most dangerous) vintage car race. Bruce raced it for three more years before moving on to less perilous racing pursuits.
In 1987, I was a college kid on Spring Break in San Felipe and heard the snarl of a Ferrari V-12. I followed my ears to the finish line and marveled at the assembled cars. Rumors of mayhem and death swirled around the event. For decades I’ve wanted to talk to somebody who ran that crazy race and hear their account of it.
Bruce Trenery owns Fantasy Junction, a classic car dealership in Emeryville, California. Over the last 30 years, he has built a reputation for quality and integrity worldwide. With his son Spencer, he has raced the NORRA Mexican 1000, among many other events. Spencer, a highly accomplished racer in his own right, now runs the day-to-day operations of Fantasy Junction, allowing his dad the occasional afternoon off to record a Slow Baja Podcast.
Learn more about Fantasy Junction here.
Follow Fantasy Junction on Instagram here.
Follow Fantasy Junction on Facebook here.
Giving Back With Doug and Shannon Miller
Doug and Shannon Miller open their hearts to share honestly about their service-first approach to family travel. After their newly adopted daughter from China needed open heart surgery, they did the only sane thing you can do with two weeks of "use it or lose it" vacation. They packed up their fresh-from-the-ER-brood and headed to Baja!
When Doug realized his family was spending their "vacation" hunkered down on a wind-whipped beach so he could enjoy kite-boarding, they began exploring family-friendlier locations. One day a flat tire on their minivan led them to seek help nearby at Rancho Sordo Mundo, a home for the deaf and mute. Soon they realized why they had come to Baja. Seventeen years of service travel, and giving back have followed that initial encounter. Enjoy this uplifting conversation with my new friends, Doug and Shannon Miller.
To learn more and support the places mentioned in today's show:
Casa Hogar Mulege BCS click here.
FFHM Orphanage Vicente Guerrero BC click here.
Rancho Sordo Mundo, Deaf Ministry click here.
PAW Animal Clinic Mulege BCS click here.
To contact Doug Miller about Baja service travel, click here.
BajaXL Rally Update with Andrew Szabo
In today’s Slow Baja Podcast, we catch up with Andrew Szabo, founder of the BajaXL Rally. Unfortunately, we had some technical glitches and used Andrew’s voice memo app as a recording device. When he sent the files, they were static-filled and nearly unusable. My producer Christopher Keiser did yeoman’s work to make the audio (barely) tolerable.
My apologies for the static, but we had dumped a previous conversation due to poor audio, so this had to fly. If you get through the entire show and see me in Baja, I promise to pour you a shot of Fortaleza Tequila or buy you a beer.
“The ten-day, 3000-mile BajaXL Rally is a minimal assistance road rally. There are no rescue trucks, medical helicopters, or travel guides. You must rely on your wits and resources to get out of trouble. The BAJA XL is open to ‘anyone by anything.’ If it’s street-legal, you can drive it. The rally is open to cars, motorcycles, trucks, and whatever else you can think of.”
Space is limited to 50 teams in each category. We hear there are a few spots left! For more details, check out the BajaXL Facebook group.
Sal Fish The Godfather of Off-Road Racing
Sal Fish is the beloved Godfather of Off-road Racing and former President of SCORE International. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, the son of a humble and kind auto mechanic, a loving mother, with a Sicilian Grandmother at home who only spoke Italian. His parents scrimped, saved, and sent Fish and his three brothers to the Roman Catholic, college-preparatory Loyola High School for boys. Sal was class President but freely admits he was not a very good student. The Jesuit education system served him well, and he was accepted “under probation” at the University of San Francisco.
At USF, his charm and drive carried the day. He excelled in making connections. Soon, Sal was on the basketball team’s coaching staff, eating and drinking for free in North Beach, and had an apartment above the embalming room of a prestigious neighborhood mortuary. He even had a “no-show athletes job” at a brewery, where he punched in at the beginning of the week and returned at the end of the week to collect a paycheck and two cases of beer. With all the fun he was having --by his own admission, he barely managed to graduate.
After surprisingly being declared 4F by the Army, Sal returned to Los Angeles to work with his father in his auto repair business. He attended carburetor, brake, and transmission school and did his best to give his father a rest while he ran the shop. A body surfing buddy saw Sal’s secret strength and offered him a job selling advertising for Car Craft Magazine. His father was thrilled to get him out of the shop. Sal was a natural salesman, rapidly rising through the ranks of Petersen Publishing, and soon became the Publisher.
Through his travels with Hot Rod magazine, Sal and ad salesman Bob Weggeland landed a VW Beetle and an entry into the 1969 NORRA Mexican 1000. In our conversation, Sal recounts the experience --a hilarious story of ignorance, perseverance, survival, and a heaping dose of luck. After breaking their transmission, Sal and Bob flagged down the crew of actor and racer James Garner and got a tow to the checkpoint at Lake Chapala. --“We went faster on a tow rope than we had been going in the race.”
Racer and entrepreneur Mickey Thompson recruited Sal as a partner soon after he created SCORE International in 1973. By 1974 Sal and Mickey were hosting the Baja 1000. He used his people and publishing skills to grow the organization rapidly. Eventually, he took over SCORE and bought Thompson out. In the process, Sal realized Thompson’s vision to make off-road racing as big as NASCAR. Sal sold SCORE in 2012. Active and fit, he enjoys living in Malibu and spending time with his wife of nearly 50 years, Barbara. The couple has a second home in La Paz, where Sal enjoys kayaking and entertaining his many Baja friends.
A special thanks to Lyman Scherer for connecting me to Sal.
Travel Talk With Slow Baja Exploring Malagon Winery
In today's travel talk with Slow Baja, we meet Anton Jimenez from Malagon Winery. In our conversation, we discuss the winery's history, which dates back to Russian settlers, their award-winning wines from sixty-five-year-old vines, and a new craft beer brewing project.
Ted and I stayed in Casa Azul, and I was delighted by the sweet sound of nature. We arrived in the evening to the yips of coyotes, and in the morning, the cooing of doves --and an occasional rooster's crow provided the soundtrack as we devoured Lazaro's chilaquiles.
Ranked as one of the top best Bed and Breakfasts in the Valle de Guadalupe, the four-room Mission-style hacienda was a perfect spot for some tranquilo time.
Anton says, "Malagon Winery is in the middle of everything and away from everything." We couldn't agree more.
For more information and inquiries, check out their website here.
Casa 8 And The Beautiful Bruma Universe With Ruth Loyola
In today’s travel talk with Slow Baja, we meet Ruth Loyola. Ruth is the General Manager of the Bruma Universe. In our conversation, we discuss Casa 8, the casually elegant bed & breakfast, Bruma, the stunningly beautiful winery, and Fauna, recently selected as one of the top 50 restaurants in Latin America. We stayed in a beautiful room in Casa 8. Each of the properties' eight rooms is unique, blending traditional Mexican design and locally sourced materials. The rooms are arranged strategically to respect privacy --yet are attached to the main house, which holds the kitchen, living room, pool, and outdoor lounge. The opportunity to meet other guests and make new friends is integral to the design and is an expected part of the Casa 8 experience. Casa 8 is a STRONG Slow Baja Approved!
Visit the Bruma - Casa 8 website here
Follow Bruma - Casa 8 on Instagram here
Follow Bruma - Casa 8 on Facebook here
Follow Fauna on Instagram here
Reserve a table here
Jon Rebman Conserving The Rare Plants of Baja California
Jon P. Rebman is the Curator of Botany at the San Diego Natural History Museum. Originally from rural Illinois, Rebman landed a Fulbright Fellowship that took him to study in Ensenada. During his year south of the border, Rebman traveled the peninsula cataloging cholla cacti with his fellow students and the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California faculty. He credits this formative experience for igniting his passion for the region's rare endemic flora.
Rebman earned a doctorate from Arizona State University and wrote his dissertation on the Cylindropuntia (Chollas) cactus family of Baja California. He is a profoundly energetic expert on Southern and Baja California plants and is relentless in identifying them. Rebman says, "if you can't name it, you can't conserve it." Through the crowd-sourced iNaturalist App, Rebman has answered more than 500,000 plant genus inquiries, I am optimistic he will hit a million answers soon.
Rebman authored the Baja California Plant Field Guide with Norman Roberts and co-authored the stunning new bilingual photographic book A Guide To The Flora Of The Sierra De San Pedro Martir. Both are available from the San Diego Natural History Museum Shop here.
Thanks to Cypress Hansen at the Nat for walking me through the fabulous new Expedition Baja display and for her work arranging this conversation. Additional thanks to Robert Blaker and his daughter, Sierra Blaker, for planting the seed for this show more than a year ago.
Check out Expedition Baja here.
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Follow The Nat on Facebook.
Download the iNaturalist App here.
Geoff Hill Baja Bound Insurance
Geoff Hill is back for an update on Baja Bound Insurance, spoiler alert --Baja Bound can now insure your home in Mexico! We talk Baja travel, trip preparation, where he's just been and where he's headed next. Geoff's not your average Insurance agent. Since his first surf trip in 1990, he hasn't been able to escape Baja's pull. After surfing his way to a degree at UCSD, he joined Baja Bound Insurance in 2003. He is the VP of Business Development, the face of the franchise --and as I say Geoff "lives the brand."
When our Lucha Libre Racing Team took on the grueling La Carrera Panamericana in 2006 -we were honored to be the first racing team sponsored by Baja Bound Insurance. We are thrilled to have their continued support for Slow Baja sixteen years later!
In this conversation, Geoff announces the new Baja Bound Home Insurance program. We dive into the phenomenal success of the Baja Bound Lifestyle and Travel Expo. The growth of Escapar ala Baja, and the van life explosion. The pros and cons of working remote with Starlink. The bounty of the Valle de Guadalupe, and driving in the NORRA Slow Baja Safari.
Get a quote and buy your Baja Bound Insurance here
Visit the Baja Bound Insurance Travel Guide here
Follow Baja Bound Insurance on Instagram
Follow on Baja Bound Insurance on Facebook
Eric Solorzano The King Of Class 11
Eric Solorzano, the King of Class 11, is a humble mechanic from Tijuana. He’s been racing a Volkswagen in Baja for over 30 years. “Out of the car, I don’t know anything. In the car, as soon as I put it in gear, a calm comes over me,” says Solorzano.
Honored by the Mexican Government as the Winningest Mexican in Off-Road Racing history. Solorzano has 11 SCORE Championships, 1 Baja 2000 win, 9 Baja 1000 wins, 7 Baja 500 wins, 11 San Felipe 250 wins, 9 SCORE Primm 300 wins, 4 SCORE Desert Challenge wins, and 3 Mint 400 wins.
An iconoclast among his peers, Solorzano does not pre-run. Instead, he spends his time obsessively preparing his race cars. He is outspoken about the current state of SCORE racers and owners. Solorzano compares racing SCORE (with Sal Fish) in the 70s to the era’s music versus music today. I’ll leave you to draw your conclusions, but at 62, it’s safe to say he cherishes his memories of race days (and organizers) of the past.
Listen for the story of the Baja 2,000, where Solorzano jumped a junkyard fence, came face to face with a pair of pitbulls, grabbed the needed parts, and went on to win his class in only 69 hours!
Follow Eric Solorzano on IG here
Follow Eric Solorzano on FB here
Watch Eric’s ORMHOF induction film here
Watch The Legend of Solorzano by Jonny Mass here
Matthew Schnitzer Changing Lives With Barbers For Baja
Matthew Schnitzer is a barber in Dana Point, California. Today's Slow Baja Podcast discusses how he formed Barbers for Baja. After organizing two immensely successful holiday toy drives, Schnitzer made a dramatic and ambitious pivot to focus on sending kids in need to college.
"Barbers For Baja began at The Kings Club Barbershop with a toy drive for La Mision, Baja California, Mexico in 2019. We were shocked at how quickly our little community rallied together. Our shop was overflowing with toys for these children in no time!
We decided to participate in the La Mision toy drive once again the following year. Only this time we reached out to our friends at surrounding barber shops asking them to get involved. Once again, we were shocked at how quickly everyone rallied together to help.
In 30 days these barber shops raised over 7K in toys and funds for the children of La Mision. The generosity these barbershop communities had was truly overwhelming!
Our hearts were filled with immense gratitude following that event, and we were eager to figure out how we could continue to help. So here we are, combining our barber shop communities to help children all across Baja California have better access to food, education, and medical supplies."
Learn more about Barbers for Baja here.
Follow Barbers for Baja on Instagram.
Buy your box set or donate to Barbers to Baja here.
Michael Squier On The Premiere Of The Baja Bug Movie
Michael Squier returns to Slow Baja to give us an update on the premiere of The Baja Bug Movie. The film has three screenings at the 2022 Newport Beach Film Festival. October 15th and 18th are sold out, but tickets (as of this posting) are still available for the closing night on October 20th.
“When the Volkswagen Beetle was first brought into the United States in 1949, only two vehicles were sold. In the early 1950s, the “Bug” established itself as America’s budget car and was so adaptable, it could be turned into a dune buggy, which is exactly what Bruce Meyers did, creating the “Meyers Manx”. By 1967 Bruce Meyers, Vic Wilson, and Ed Pearlman had created the Mexican 1000, a race from the top of Baja to the bottom. Every type of vehicle imaginable, from big 4x4 trucks, stock Volkswagen bugs, motorcycles to home built creations was entered into the race; Bruce and his crew were laughed at when they showed up to the starting line with their little buggies. But to everyone’s surprise, when the first vehicle crossed the finish line 27 hours later, it was the Meyers Manx, paving the way for Volkswagens to take over off-road racing. Celebrities like Steve McQueen and James Garner helped catapult the sport and inspire weekend warriors seeking adventure. This is the story of the humble little car that conquered the desert.” -The Baja Bug Movie
Watch The Baja Bug Movie trailer here
Check out The Baja Bug Movie website here
Follow The Baja Bug Movie on Instagram here
Follow The Baja Bug Movie on Facebook here
Buy tickets to the Newport Beach Film Festival here
Andrew Norton Baja Broncos Bill Stroppe And Big Oly
Andrew Norton is a nerd. He freely admits that he's been nerding out on cars since he was a kid in Iowa. His first love was the bold and beautiful Mustangs and Cobras built by Caroll Shelby in the 1960s. Peter Brock was a childhood hero, and Norton often dreamed of the day he would find a dusty Daytona Coupe hiding in a neighbor's barn.
By 16 years old, Norton, now living in California, would spend afternoons driving his 1965 Mustang "looking for cool Fords." When he spied an orange and white Bronco, his passion for Shelby's told him he was looking at something special. Fascinated by the bold paint and the "Baja by Stroppe" sticker on its fender, Norton went directly to his local library to research what he had just found.
A full-fledged obsession followed, and soon Norton was flying to Texas to buy his first (worn-out) Stroppe Bronco. A web page dedicated to Baja Broncos (early days of the internet) followed to share information with the community. Norton launched Baja Broncos Unlimited and has become a leading source on Stroppe Broncos. He and Todd Zuercher raced a Stroppe Bronco in the NORRA Mexican 1000 for over a decade. They joined Big Oly in the Slow Baja Safari Class this year.
Follow Andrew Norton and Baja Broncos on IG here
Visit Baja Broncos Unlimited here
Learn about the Slow Baja Safari Class here
Check out Dusty Times issue 03 here
Travel Talk With Slow Baja Remembering "Coco" Of Coco's Corner
RIP Jorge Enrique Corral Sandez. The Baja Icon, better known as "Coco," was found dead at his residence. For decades, a stop at Coco's Corner was a must for travelers heading south of San Felipe.
Coco was the informal archivist of Baja's highway 5. He recorded every visitor in his guest registry. Every time we stopped, we would buy a beer, sign the book, and Ted would ask Coco about the road conditions. Coco inevitably would draw a map as he explained in detail the construction progress and the current state of the dirt sections.
I recorded this podcast on July 9, 2021
Coco passed at his ranch, South of Gonzaga Bay, on August 30, 2022
Check out Coco's Facebook page here
Peter Brock On Datsun, Baja, And Mary McGee
Peter Brock is an American automotive design and motorsports legend.
At age 19, while attending Art Center School, Brock became the youngest designer ever hired by General Motors' design department. In November 1957, legendary GM stylist, Bill Mitchell, selected one of Brock's sketches to become the iconic 1963 Corvette Stingray.
After securing his SCCA racing license at 21 years old, he acquired an ex-Le Mans Cooper and returned to California to pursue a career in racing. He landed at the famed Max Balchowsky's Hollywood shop. His next move would be as Carroll Shelby's first employee, running the newly-formed Shelby School of High-Performance Driving. Soon he was working for Shelby American, where he penned logos, merchandise, ads, and car liveries. He designed the Shelby components of the Shelby Mustang GT350s, and his renowned Shelby Daytona Cobra coupe won the FIA GT World Championship.
Following his success at Shelby, he founded Brock Racing Enterprises. Brock put the previously-unknown Japanese car maker, Datsun, on the map. The BRE prepared Datsun's dominated SCCA racing, winning on Sunday --and selling on Monday. In 1967, he ventured to Baja with Mary McGee to race in the first Mexican 1000. The experience led to an obsession with off-road racing, and the desolate peninsula. Brock returned to lead the Datsun factory race team for the next three years. Since those early days, he's repeatedly covered the Baja 1000 as a journalist.
In 2010, the Art Center College of Design awarded Brock their Lifetime Achievement Award for "Outstanding accomplishment in the fields of automotive design, technology, innovation, motorsports, and journalism."
He was inducted into the Sports Car Club of America Hall of Fame in 2017.
Follow Peter Brock on Facebook here.
Learn more about Peter Brock and BRE here.
Mary McGee Motorsports Pioneer and Baja Racing Legend
Mary McGee is an American motorsports racing pioneer. She was the first woman to compete in motorcycle road racing and motocross events in the United States. McGee started as a sports car racer in 1957. She drove the finest cars of the period, from her first race in a Mercedes Gullwing 300SL to racing Porsche Spyders, and Ferrari Testa Rossa's, McGee drove the best of the best.
After legendary racer and Porsche dealer, Vasek Polak, suggested she take up motorcycle racing to make her smoother in the car, McGee started road racing bikes in 1960. At a New Year's Eve party in 1963, McGee's pal, actor Steve McQueen said, "McGee, when are you going to get off those pansy road racing bikes and come out to the desert?" A few weeks later, she began riding dirt bikes and racing with McQueen and his stuntman pals.
She raced a Datsun 510 in the first NORRA Mexican 1000 in 1967. McGee was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2018 and named an FIM Legend for her pioneering motorcycle racing career.
Her career accolades are as follows:
- Past Pacific Coast Champion SCCA Sports and Formula Cars
- First woman US MC/FIM motorcycle race in the US – 1960
- First woman to finish the Baja 1000 in 1968
- First woman to Road Race motorcycles in the US
- First woman to race motocross in the US
- First woman to compete in International motocross
- Only person to ride the Baja 500 solo - 1975
Follow Mary McGee on Facebook here.
Learn more about Mary McGee via the AMA HOF site here.
RVing Baja Exceeds All Expectations With Nicole Demme Kapturowski
I am pleased to share this 2021 Slow Baja archive conversation on RVing in Baja with Nicole Demme Kapturowski. With the Summer travel season in full swing, I've been fielding loads of questions from folks planning their first Baja trip. I love Nicole's enthusiasm, and her honesty as she shares her heart-felt endorsement for Baja as an RV travel destination. This lively conversation answers many questions and assuages so many concerns that I thought I would share it again.
"We have a full plate. My husband retired in 2019 because he has stage-4 cancer, but he's doing well. We're just trying to make the most of our time and not be the cancer family—much the same way with my son, who's autistic. I try not to let that define us. We're not the family with the autistic child; we're just another family out there doing things and living our life. We try not to let those things define us."
Moved by the kindness of strangers and stunned by the warmth, attention, and care shown to her autistic son, she eloquently posted about it on Talk Baja. The post received over 2700 likes, 410 comments, and 200 shares! Read her Talk Baja post on Facebook here.
Greg Tomlinson On Growing Up With Baja In His Back Yard
Greg Tomlinson, aka GT, grew up in Dana Point, California. With Baja practically in his backyard, GT has nearly 50 years of Baja stories to share. A lifelong surfer, motorcycle rider, and adventure seeker, exploring Baja is where his wanderlust began.
Reflecting on his first father and son camping trip in the early 1970s, "The dads rode in the cab while the kids rode in the back. As the pickup truck, piled high with dirt bikes, surfboards, and camp gear, cruised south, we could barely contain our excitement for the epic adventure to come."
GT is the founder of Von Zipper Sunglasses and spent years traveling the globe as the host and webcast presenter of the Billabong World Championship Surf Tour. He's a national title holder in the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association. He races classic 60s Triumph motorcycles on both road courses and dirt. During Winter, you'll find GT snowboarding, chasing waves in sunny climes, or riding Baja with his buddies on the Slow Baja Vintage Expedition.
Follow Greg Tomlinson on Instagram
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Learn more about Von Zipper here
Learn more about AHRMA here
Baja Like Nowhere Else With Josiah Roe Founder of Escapar A La Baja
Josiah Roe is the co-creator of The Journal of Lost Time, a digital publication that shares stories of timeless immediacy. After acquiring a painters-tape green Vanagon, which he lovingly calls Barb, Roe set out for an extended Christmas vacation in Baja. An epic adventure ensued, and he vowed never to miss a winter exploring Baja Sur again.
Upon his return, he left his tech job and his comfy apartment in San Francisco and embarked on being a part-time van lifer. Combining his passion for travel and photography, he began creating stories for destination marketing organizations. The Journal of Lost Time was born, and on a road trip to Baja Sur, he dreamt up Escapar a La Baja, a Vanlife and Overlander meet-up in La Paz.
The first Escapar a La Baja in 2019 had sixty vehicles, and this year's event has grown to 250! The Lost Places event series, "a celebration of gathering in beautiful places," followed and now hosts meet-ups in six locations.
Follow Josiah Q. Roe on Instagram
Learn more about The Journal of Lost Time here.
Follow The Journal of Lost Time on Instagram
Learn more about Escapar a La Baja here.
Read Baja Like Nowhere Else here.
Curt LeDuc Salt Of The Earth Off-Road Racer
This Slow Baja Podcast is an archive edition with Off-Road Hall of Fame Racer Curt LeDuc. I recently saw LeDuc at the NORRA Mexican 1000. He led the Ford Factory Bronco Team. In a test of engineering and endurance, Ford ran a stock 2022 Bronco Wildtrak with a Hoss 3.0 suspension. The only modifications were a roll cage and five-point racing harnesses for safety. The stock Ford Bronco ran from the start in Ensenada and finished without issue 1000 miles later in San Jose del Cabo.
LeDuc is a salt-of-the-earth Baja racer with an impressive record of DIY accomplishments in off-road racing. When asked about his approach to building winning racers, LeDuc said, “I’m not an engineer; I’m an imagineer” He’s built and raced his vehicles at the highest levels of desert racing for decades. He’s won championships in Desert Class 8 -five years in a row and has two Short Course Off-Road Drivers Association titles, a Governor’s Cup, and a rare and valuable Borg Warner Cup.
Inducted into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall Of Fame in 2015, LeDuc, through all his successes, is revered for achieving it all with his own hands. He is a blue-collar racer who earned a reputation for fixing anything with almost nothing. Skills that got him hired by icon Walker Evans. Not only is Curt the guy you want with you in Baja for his mechanical aptitude, but he reportedly knows every mechanic, welder, and taco shop on the peninsula.
Enjoy this Slow Baja conversation with Curt Leduc, a man that legendary racer Jack Flannery said was made of “gristle!”
Visit Curt LeDuc’s Baja Legends Website
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Learn more about ORMHOF here
Travel Talk With Slow Baja Meet Leda Gamboa Of Adobe Food Truck
Today's Travel Talk with Slow Baja has me chatting with Leda Gamboa, the owner of Adobe Food Truck in the Valle de Guadalupe, Baja, California. Adobe Food Truck is a top-notch Tapas Restaurant masquerading as a food truck.
I visited for lunch and asked Leda to pick something for me --she selected the spicy beef tongue and a Jardin Magico, Sauvignon Blanc, from Adobe Guadalupe Vineyard next door. I was delighted and a little surprised by the pairing. Later that afternoon, I returned to talk with her about her culinary journey and the food scene in the Valle. She was happy to have a Slow Baja conversation and shared several of her favorite wines, winemakers, and restaurants.
Adobe Food Truck is dog-friendly and open to the public. It's located just before the main gate of Adobe Guadalupe Winery.
Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Adobe Food Truck is Slow Baja Approved
Follow Adobe Food Truck on Facebook
Read about Adobe Food Truck on Tripadvisor
Mentioned in today's show:
Travel Talk With Slow Baja Meet Raul And Caroline Of Rancho La Bellota
Raul Aguiar and Caroline Kane are the affable owners of Rancho La Bellota, a 2800-acre guest ranch located in Tecate Baja, California.
Rancho La Bellota is a portal to another era. Free from cell service and wifi, guests quickly adapt to the rhythms of ranch life. The coffee is ready at 6:30 AM, and after a cup on the porch, the guests gather in the sun-washed dining room for a hearty breakfast.
Following breakfast, it's time for a ride. I select a cowboy hat from the rack and make my way to the saddled horses. Jan, a La Bellota regular, knows the hat's owner (he leaves it at the ranch) and says it looks good on me. It's been forty years since I've ridden a horse, so I'll take the compliment. The horses at Rancho La Bellota are retired from a life of working cattle. Hence, as I mount my handsome palomino, Raul gestures to the horse and says, "it's an automatic with power steering and power brakes," letting me know with a wry smile that it's an easy horse to ride.
In addition to being an expert horseman, Raul is a devoted overlander and drives a pop-top 1969 Chevrolet Suburban that he designed. He regularly hosts overlanders on their way up and down the Baja peninsula. He's quick to stress that he's not running a free campground; he's a proud native of Baja California who gladly shares his knowledge and experience to help travelers enjoy their time in Baja.
Rancho La Bellota is Slow Baja Approved
Learn more about Rancho La Bellota here.
Follow Rancho La Bellota on Facebook
Follow Baja Peninsular on Instagram
Sandra Dibble Foreign Correspondent And Host Of The Border City Podcast
Sandra Dibble is a veteran reporter who worked as a Tijuana-based foreign correspondent for the San Diego Union-Tribune for 28 years. She earned a master's degree in Journalism from Columbia University and worked at The Miami Herald for nearly a decade. Dibble was part of a team awarded the Pulitzer Prize in national reporting for uncovering the Reagan administration's clandestine support of the Nicaraguan Contras. She wrote about Oaxaca, Mexico, for The National Geographic. She hosts the Border City Podcast for the Union-Tribune.
"Border City: A podcast about beauty, violence and belonging in Tijuana from a journalist who spent more than 25 years reporting at the border. In this eight-part podcast, Dibble introduces listeners to Tijuana the way she was introduced to it — through the news stories she covered but also through her personal connections in the city's cultural community and her friendships with ordinary Tijuanenses." -The San Diego Union-Tribune
Border City is available wherever you find podcasts.
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Paula Pijoan An Earth Day Conversation On Forest Bathing And Native Plants Of Baja
On Earth Day, I am delighted to share this Slow Baja conversation with Paula Pijoan. Paula is a native plant expert and a fierce advocate for the land and nature. She is a certified practitioner of shinrin-yoku, the Japanese art of forest bathing, also known as forest therapy. We met at Vinos Pijoan, her family vineyard in the Valle de Guadalupe. When I arrived, Paula was transferring native plants, so I sat down on the ample patio and ordered a cheese plate and a glass of Pink Convertible -- a dry rosé of Zinfandel + Grenache. "My relationship with wine is that I drink it --I don't get so involved in the production of it!" Paula said as she joined me in this conversation.
Enjoy! Vinos Pijoan is Slow Baja Approved!
Follow Paula Pijoan on Instagram
Follow Vinos Pijoan on Instagram
Learn more about Forest Bathing at Respire Bosque
Follow Respire Bosque on Instagram
Learn more about the native plants of Baja here
Gabe Erivez Agave Expeditions Adventure Tourism Outfitter
Agave Expeditions Gabe Erivez is an adventure tourism outfitter who leads with his heart. With over a decade of professional guiding experience in Patagonia, Iceland, and Baja California, Erivez brings a lifelong passion for the outdoors to his work. He strives to be mindful in his travel, and "Be Here Now" is his mantra.
"The human and cultural element gives exploring these wild places their richness, and I believe when we unite cultural heritage with adventure travel, we begin to have a more meaningful connection with the places we explore. Utilizing 4x4 overland vehicles as our mobile basecamps, we aim to explore the diverse culture and eco-regions of Baja California. We shift between remote desert camps, generational sierra ranches, locally owned eco-lodges, and coastal outposts. We work exclusively with local guides and outfitters, the true peninsula experts." -Gabe Erivez.
Learn more about Agave Expeditions here.
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Natalia Badan Rancho El Mogor The Soul Of Valle de Guadalupe
Natalia Badan has spent her life on Rancho El Mogor, the vineyard and organic farm her Swiss-French parents built nearly seven decades ago. "We are romantics and have always been a little eccentric. We were always organic, since my father's time. They called it biological agricultural, and everybody thought we were completely crazy. My father studied a lot; he had all the books from the University of California at Davis. These are my childhood memories --seeing him marking the books. Now it's common, but at the time, it seemed a little eccentric, but we were absolutely doing the right thing."
When I ask her about the current state of Rancho El Mogor, she warmly tells me about all of their diversified activities. "We have the project of the vineyard; we have the winery; they go together. We have the organic garden that went for 24 years with the market, and now that goes to the restaurant. We have sheep and some cows which we need to improve the land. We move the animals from one place to another so they don't overgraze. Where they go, the soil becomes better with time. This is a very long-term project --improving soil and making a ranch like this more fertile takes many, many years --many more than I will live. But I think it is worth it, and this way, we don't put all our eggs in one basket."
In addition to the winery, the farm and the animals, El Mogor is home to Deckman's Restaurant. Michelin-starred Chef, Drew Deckman, prepares hyper-locally sourced fare in an open kitchen. "Authentic, sustainable, and seasonal." Reservations required.
Rancho El Mogor is Slow Baja Approved!
Please email the winery to make a reservation.
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Travel Talk With Slow Baja Meet Javier Martinez Of Boules Restaurant Ensenada
Travel Talk With Slow Baja Meet Javier Martinez, owner of Boules Restaurant.
Today's Travel Talk with Slow Baja has me chatting with Javier Martinez, owner of Boules Restaurant in Ensenada. I wanted to sit down with Javi to learn why everybody is raving about Boules and its gregarious owner? I loved the food and the atmosphere. #SlowBajaApproved
Boules Av Moctezuma 623, Zona Centro, 22800 Ensenada, Baja California +52 646 175 8769
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