El Condor to Mike's, San Felipe and Back

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El Condor to Mike's Sky Ranch

Getting from San Diego to El Condor was pretty much of a no-brainer.   The border crossing was easy and the trip on Mex highway 2 was uneventful.  We got to El Condor at about 10am and got ready for the trail.  El Condor can be seen in the photo below.  Basically, it is a bus stop, road house and home all in one.  Below, you can see the tail end of a Mexican bus parked at El Condor getting passengers.  Note the yard is naked dirt and there is no vegetation of any kind.  The water is stored in the elevated tank on the left, probably filled by a truck that brings it from another rancho with a well as there was no well here.  Below, my passenger Steve Anderson returns from taking photo of the building.  As backwater buildings in Mexico go, El Condor was better than most.  After all, it *did* have a steet light.

Steve Anderson at El Condor.

Not having a trailer resulted in logistical challenges in getting both 3 wheelers in the bed of the truck at the same time.  We had to stack them like pancakes to make them fit.  The biggest issue is height of the lift and the fact that it is a 2 or 3 man operation to get the 350+ pound machine into the pickup bed.  Getting them down is somewhat easier, but care is still required.

The weather was good, not much wind and the temperature was reasonable.  El Condor is in an area called the Tecate Divide.  The Divide is around 4,000 feet and is in an area where it is subjected to major wind storms from time to time.  Note in the photo below that there is a pronounced absence of trees on the rolling hills in the background.  Big trees get toppled in the wind, so the areas of highest wind are tree-less.

Preparing for the trail, prior to unloading.

On the Trail to Mike's

We left El Condor and headed south through the trails and into the mountains gaining elevation as we went.  At first it seemed that things would be an easy cruise, but I was wrong.  On this trip, I had 2 passengers in my truck.  Neither passenger was a highly experienced off road driver, but since the plan was to stay on the dirt roads, that did not seem an issue.  We agreed that Steve Anderson and I would start the day on the 3 wheelers and Bruce would drive the Chevy.  Normal driving advice was given, we saddled up and off we went.

Sometimes, the "ignorance is bliss" philisophy works, but not this time.  It did not take long before we got into trouble.  Bruce hit something with the truck, the result is below.  As you can see, in addition to taking the tire off the rim, it bent the rim as well rendering the rim useless.

First Blood.

Actuall, this was not a bad situation.  The road was basically flat and open and no obstacles were in the way of an easy tire change.  Note the tools in the road below.   While Bruce was unfamilar with the exact process for changing the tire, Steve and I came back and helped and in no time we were back on the trail heading south and deeper into the mountains.

A different view of the damage.

Below is a rest stop for the group.  Note that the character of the terrain has changed due to the increase in elevation.  Now there are pine trees in addition to the scrub brush.  Also, the rolling terrain has given way to granite boulders and their by-product decomposed granite sand.

A rest stop on the trail.

Below is my nearly-new 1982 K-30 diesel 4X4 truck with all the amenities.  I bought it new and it was not a very good truck.  While that is another ugly story, I can say that the experience has caused me to boycott all GM products to this date.  Note that the trees are getting bigger and that the sand in the washes and trails is unconsolidated, resulting in very soft conditions and the chance of getting stuck.

My K30 Chevy 4X4.

There were a number of friends of Rod's on this trip.  Below, is John Hill preparing to enjoy an adult beverage in front of the blue pickup of our mechanic Rick.  Rick has his jack out for reasons unknown.

John Hill.

Happily, the balance of the trip to Mike's was uneventful, if not long.  We arrived well after dark and had a great dinner in the ranch's dining room.  The food at Mike's is cooked by the owner's wife, and she does a great job of home-style Mexican dishes, usually served with home made tortillas, rice and beans.  Yum.

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