Altar Dunes Day 6 11/09/2000

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Leaving the Dunes and the Return to San Diego

There were still plenty of big dunes between our last camp and home.  The path still had many obstacles to overcome and many miles of tundra before reaching Cesar's loncheria.

Below, Dan stranded himself on the top of a sizeable razorback.  He had to be towed off the high center point so we could proceed.  His lack of a fully functional difflock was the primary cause of getting stuck.  Also, on these razorbacks, momentum is required to get fully over the lip.  

 The last lunch in the dunes.  We had sandwiches, nuts and beer.

Below is a view looking to the northeast as we enter the tundra for the last time.  The mountains in the distance are Tinajas Altas mountains in the US.

The photo below shows detail of the blow sand on the flanks of the small volcanic hills in the foreground of the photo above.

Below is the finished product.  The whole team came through the Altar Dunes without major damage and no injuries.  This photo was taken where we aired up the tires for the trip back through the Mexican checkpoints and to San Luis del Colorado.

The border crossing in San Luis was uneventful.  Customs put us into secondary inspection due to the odd nature of our vehicles as well as the decaying dolphin skull Kai had zip tied to his winch.  Through the border, and on to Yuma.  On the way, Kathleen stated that she was not feeling well and wanted me to pull over.  She had been battling some form of stomach ailment for the preceeding day, so she clearly wanted to visit a restroom.  But, by the time I could get the truck pulled over, she had lost conscienceness, slumped forward hitting her head on the dash and proceeded to vomit between her legs onto the seat and floor.  Emergency stop!! She came to quickly, but there still a number of things that needed attending to.  She stated that she felt better, so we cleaned up and we proceeded to Yuma, back to the Sans End RV Park to change the tires on Kai's mog for the trip back to San Diego.

The tires were changed and Kathleen claimed to be functional, so the group went for a last meal together at Tacos Mi Rancho.  After dinner, last goodbyes were said and we headed back to San Diego.  Dan and Kelly remained in Yuma, where the 1300 will be stored.  They had a flight back to Indiana the following morning.  Kai, Matt, Bill and Kathleen started the 3 hour journey back to home.

About 40 miles out of Yuma, the 1300 suffered a full speed blowout.  The front passenger tire exploded and began to wobble violently.  I thought I was going to lose control, but was able to bring the truck to the shoulder.  But, as I approached the shoulder at perhaps 40 mph, it was clear that I was going to have to ditch into the sand.  I was fearing that the combination of the speed, truck on the rim and the slope of the shoulder would cause the 1300 to roll.  Happily, it did not happen.  The tire that failed was the "leaker" that had to be refilled several times a day.  I checked the tire in San Luis, but did not check it it Yuma after dinner.  In that time, sufficient air had leaked to cause sidewall failure and the blowout.  Kathleen took the photo below just after the 1300 stopped.  Note the size of the rip.

All parties helped.  Gladly, we had repaired one of the tires the night before, so we had a spare.  The spare was installed and all the tools were stowed for travel.  The shot below shows Matt and Bill inspecting the size of the hole in the tire.  This hole had to be at least 18" long!

Happily, the balance of the trip went without a hitch.  Kathleen felt much better and sleeping in a non-sandy, warm bed after a long shower sure felt good.

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