Cooper Discoverer - The Road to La Purisima, Baja Sur

Trouble you can't fool me,
I see you behind that tree
Look out trouble, you can't fool me, trying to get the ups on me
Trouble you can't fool me
You want to jump on me

You know every day can't be Sunday.
That's right, that's right
It's a funny thing, it seems, just before daylight, is the darkest hour
And you know one thing, behind every silver lining, there isn't a dark cloud
And you just can't go around worrying because the fact of the matter is, you just be too late
And you know one thing,
what's that, what's that?
Every time you get around a tree,
You better stop and grab a brick
Why, why, why?
Because old man trouble is laying and waiting for you
That's why, one thing

Trouble you can't fool me
I see you behind that tree
Lookout Trouble,
You can't fool me, trying to get the ups on me
Trouble you can't fool me
You want to jump on me...

But, so glad,
Trouble can't last...

(Ry Cooder, Trouble You Can't Fool Me, from the Album, Bop 'Til You Drop)

We heard about the road to La Purisima, read about the town, looked at the Nat Geo map and saw it was marked as "An improved dirt highway." All I can say is that the only thing the road to La Purisma is paved with is good intentions. The town, well, we never saw the town.

We were prepared to tackle 45 KM of dirt road, and back. I wish I had gotten a new set of Cooper Discoverer tires before this trip. Instead, I swapped the tires around on the Xterra to put the two newer tires from the rear to the front and took the weakest tire off the ground and mounted it as the spare. This gave me a chance to practice using the high-lift jack in the sand, jacking up the X from the rock rails that run the length of the rocker panels. We had water, food and money. We had a full tank of gas. We had sand ladders. We had skid plates. We had a winch. We had beer. We had money. The only we didn't have was guns and lawyers (see Warren Zevon).

The road was rough. The nicer spots were washboard. The worse spots were basketball size rocks, loose dirt, washed out tight turns, an up hill climb, around a corner, with a 200 foot cliff off one side, all at the same time.

Many of you have heard me say that we measure the degree of our adventures by the times Bobby says "We're all going to die." Well, she didn't say that on the road to La Purisima. I like to think that was because of her confidence in my off road driving skills and the meticulous preparation I have made to the X. Or, it could have been just she, being breathless, at those critical, "Oh my God," moments. She did ask "when are you going to turn around" so many times that I lost track. There was always another ridge, another curve. There has to be a town up here somewhere.

The map shows towns. But when you get to the spot a town is marked, the most we saw was a fenced corral, maybe a shed and a small casita. These were struggling rancheros, not towns. We did see a couple of caballeros and a few steers. But, eerily enough, there were long spells when there were no signs of life other than the cactus, the wild flowers and the palo verde. Not even a vulture to keep us company. Oh, but Bobby says "there were butterflys, all those pretty orange ones. And later we saw all those horses, the mare with her new foal and the burro she adopted too. And the pregnant dapple grey, beautiful horses running to keep up with the X and then to run ahead, to cross in front, to head back to their ranchero." "But, if I tell everybody that, it won't sound so desolate," I say. Ok, so it wasn't all that desolate, just remotely deserted.

We made it about 36 KMs down that long lonely road. I was determined to go further, but a pick up truck was stopped in the middle of the road with a blown tire. It was getting to be about 2 PM and the sun begins to set about 4:30, so we did the three point, well, maybe 4, to turn around. I would have stopped and helped the truck with the flat, but he had it well in hand.

So, we headed back the way we came. I had carefully recorded in my mind's eye all the trouble spots. We eased on down the road and were making better time on the way back than going. When we were a couple of klicks from Mex 1, we came across a 1980s Ford pickup broke down. OK, so I was feeling a little guilty about not helping the guy fix his flat.

From our broken Spanish we learned the family in this truck were out of gas. Of course, they had a gas can and several size pieces of hose. We tried snaking the house down the filler neck on the X, but could not get it pass the fuel vent lock. So, we disconnected the vent lock hose from the tank from underneath and got the hose to siphon straight from the tank. I let our new amigo Luis suck the hose, but was kind enough to give him my last Indio Cerveza to wash out his system.

Luis, his wife, mother-in-law and three kids all had fun getting to know Sadie and her them, as we waited for the gas can to fill, slowly. Our rescue of Luis and his family took about an hour and we gave them about 4 gallons of Pemex Magna. When they asked how much do they owe us, I said "da nada, Feliz Navidad." I hope our, "pay it forward" will result in some dumb luck Gringo getting a helping hand from Luis someday. And, maybe Luis' kids will think kindly of Americans and be less afraid of big dogs.

We made it back to Posada Concepcion just as the sun was setting and with a quarter tank of petrol. I feel good that trouble did not find us and that we were able to help a Mexican family stuck in the middle of no where. Well, not, no where, it was somewhere. We had an adventure Sunday, but I think we'll stick to pavement for awhile. No sense pushing our luck. Trouble just may find us, I see you behind that tree.
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