Tuesday, September 24, 2013

BAJA 1000 . . . well 10 at least . . .

Lets GO!
One way that we save a bit of money on our cruise travel is to avoid taking all of the shore excursions. There are an amazing variety of things you can do at every port, but they all cost quite a lot. We have got into the habit of looking at them all, and choosing one organized tour on each cruise. People tell me that if you go ashore and bargain with some of the crowd of locals who greet you as soon as you get off the boat, you can get a better tour for a fraction of the money. We have usually stuck with the tours organized by the ship however, because if something ever happened, we know the ship would wait for us, where you are on your own if you go with the independent tours.

Tell us about the Baja 1000
On this cruise, we selected a tour out of the Mexican port of Cabo San Lucas; a mini 4 X 4 tour of the Baja region. Actually Regis found it, and thought I would like it because I would actually get to drive the vehicle. She had read the reviews and they were almost all very positive. It sounded like fun. We decided not to book early, because it was a long cruise and we doubted things would be sold out quickly. Once we were on board we put in our request, but were a bit disappointed when the original time was full, but a new tour had been added at 2:00 PM. This wasn't a serious problem, although since the ship was leaving at 6:00, and it was a 3.5 hour tour, we were cutting it a bit close. Let's hope that last tender waits for us . . . .

The tour started at a ranch out in the country, and each couple were assigned a bright red Honda “Big Red” two person ATV. After a brief tour, safety drill, and operation instructions, I chose a shiny red machine, passing up a couple that were starting to show the fading effects of the hot Mexican sun, so were probably a bit older. There were seven couples along for the tour, and one couple were returning, having done it three years ago (A good sign for sure).

Looking out on the Pacific
Once we set out, the tour proved to be very well organized and thoughtfully designed. The route was challenging with narrow sandy trails, tight switchback turns, gullies, and steep climbs. We had a guide in front, who encouraged the faster more adventurous of us to keep up with him, while a guide followed behind to ensure that those who were not as comfortable felt included and kept on track. This has to be difficult, for a guide; to go fast enough to satisfy us Baja 1000 wanna-be's as well as keeping those slower drivers with the group. They really did an excellent job, blasting ahead on some twisty sections, leading us back and forth across the road and around the Baja vegetation and allowing the others to follow the straight but boring roadway. It really made for a fun ride. The ATV's were powerful enough to make it fun, yet seemed safe and reliable even in difficult terrain. I had fun. Bounced off a few berms, clipped a few bushes, kicked up lots of dust, and slid through a few tight sandy turns.

We stopped twice, once on a hilltop overlooking the spectacular Baja countryside, and again on a cliff overlooking the Pacific. I think the three of us asking the guide for stories about when the Baja 1000 used to run through here encouraged him to pick up the pace a bit after this stop.

We had a great afternoon, and arrived back at the port in time to catch the last tender back to the ship. We were a little tired, and very dusty and dirty, but completely thrilled with this tour. We did miss our dinner in the dining room, and had to eat at the Lido buffet though. Shorts, flip-flops, out on the aft pool deck under the warm setting Mexican sun . . . . . . life is tough!

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like something I'd love to do! Maybe Pete and I will have to reconsider the Cruise as a mode of vacationing again. It will have to be AFTER the drive down the Oregon Coast and the trip to Yellowstone, though ... sigh ... so many places, so little time!