When Bad Roads Have a Nasty Effect on Your Trip: Custom Welding in Baja, Mexico

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The truth is I disrespected my speed the day we left Bahía Gonzaga. I tried to motor along at 50 MPH or better. The road is a wide washboard slice in the desert complete with dips, hills, and holes, and just when you're getting really tired of it you find Coco's Corner - nothing short of what you'd expect from a wild watering hole in nowhere Mexico. Campers on blocks and old fishing pangas repainted for the theme.

Yeah, I remember cresting some hills and feeling this tingling sensation in my loins as the truck lifted off the ground for a split second.  Yeah, I heard my daughter in the back seat say, "That tickles!" and let out a few giggles. Yeah, after the first one I told myself to slow down.  Then I'd get a little too comfortable and hit it again.  Everything has a yin and a yang.  On the good side, this obnoxious speed smoothed out the washboards.  On the bad side, it was much too fast to react appropriately when I'd notice a dip, hill or bad spot.  I must have hit one of them too hard.

But I didn't think anything about it until we pulled into Coco's Corner and I found my spare tire dangling by a thread:


Oops.  One more bump and I'd have left it lying in the road somewhere, along with the rear view camera. 'Twould've sucked, yes.

In Guerrero Negro, I found a shop to do some welding.  There was just one guy at the shop and he told me that the owner, who does the welding, was out for the moment.  I left, met up with my wife and brother at the internet cafe, told them the story, then went back to the shop.

I asked the guy, "¿Donde esta el maestro?" He laughed and whistled for him.

They all took a look at the carrier and didn't say a word except to one another.  Maestro worked fast, like he was in a race.  He pounded the piece into place, held out his hand and asked for his mask and welder. He zipped it up in about a minute.

And this is where he just killed me. When he finished, he stepped back from the truck with pride, flipped his mask back over his head, put a cigarette in his mouth, lit it, kept a stern bandito-esque face and barked, "100 pesos."  That calculates to a little over eight bucks, American.

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