Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sizing Things Up On the Mud Flats - 1974

Glen Horn and Bill Minard -1974

Glen Horn and Bill Minard - 1974

In 1974 Bill Minard, myself, my black Lab Rocky and mu girlfriend at the time decided to take an extended trip to Baja in my 1972 CJ5 Jeep.

I constructed a platform with plywood and milk crates for carrying our food supply bolted to the platform.  So imagine the four of us stuffed into this small Jeep.  Bill was sitting in the back on a folding beach chair with my dog laying underneath the chair.  Then all of our camping gear, water, 2 guitars, 4 surfboards and food for 2 months of camping.  For my dog to be able to get out of the Jeep Bill had to climb out and lift the chair up and out so Rocky could climb out, it was a tight fit.  Take into consideration that this was long before NAFTA and there was hardly any supplies in the stores like there are now.  These were the days when you had to take everything you might  need for it was near impossible to find anything.

We were packed in every possible inch of the Jeep.  Bill and Rocky were wedged in the back.  And my girlfriend and I had supplies all around us.  Both bumpers, front and back, had supplies tied onto them.  So we were loaded to the max.  These particular pictures we had taken, we had just gotten out of a really sticky muddy situation on the salt flats east of Abreojos.  The mud is salty and sticks like clay to the treads of tires so basically it is like driving on ice.  The mud fills the treads and builds up so much on the tires that it will make the tires and wheel wells to where there is no room for the suspension to work.  The tires are almost 3-4 inches taller than normal.  We were only traveling maybe 10-15 miles per hour and sliding all over the place from side to side and when I would step on the brakes the Jeep would just keep sliding along and eventually would slowly come to a stop.  It felt like it was all in slow motion.

This all took place because we decided to take one of those infamous short cuts across the salt flats, our destination was 70 miles away and when we were beginning to realize the mistake we had made, the mirages were making things look pretty miserable.  We couldn't tell whether there was water all around us or not.  So in these pictures we are in the process of trying to figure out if we should keep going or turn around or possibly take a different course out of our predicament.  

Eventually 11 hours later, we got to our destination but the poor Jeep was never quite the same.  The salt mud was on every square inch of the Jeep.  By the time we got back to the states, which was weeks later, the mud and salt was already eating the Jeep away.  A year later I sold that Jeep!

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