Having been to both Barstow and Baja, we can attest to the ruggedness of the terrain in both places. Racing in Baja remains the tougher of the two. The reason? One word: logistics. Take your race prep list and add in a border crossing, a language barrier, a steeper entry fee, and the generally uncertain nature of Baja, and you've got a race that's won as much on planning and preparation as it is on driving skill and vehicle prep. With the additional layers of detail required to race in Baja, why go to all the trouble? Months before, Marty Coyne put it in a nutshell when he told us, "It's the unknown. It's the shadow of danger that keeps us coming back." Stock Full racer Bob Graham shed some light on the attraction of the San Felipe 250: "The thing about San Felipe is everybody can have fun whether they're in the race or not. The town has the front walk on the bay with taco stands, bars, and shops. The race is not too long, so you still have the rest of the night to celebrate. The weather is great, and the water is beautiful."
Hidden In Plain Sight
To many, the words beauty and desert cannot occupy the same sentence. We've found that discovering beauty in the desert is a matter of perspective. At a medium distance, the desert seems only to offer parched ground and lowly shrubs. In lush alpine terrain, a medium-distance view offers majestic pine trees and rushing mountain streams. The beauty is readily apparent and takes little effort to appreciate. The deserts of the Southwest and Baja ask only that you zoom in close on minute details, or zoom out to capture the terrain's vastness and drama.
We've also found it's impossible to fully appreciate the intricacies of the desert while trying to successfully negotiate high-speed whoops or clawing our way up dry waterfalls. Next time there's a lull in the action, take a few minutes to discover what's hidden in plain sight.