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  • Writer's pictureMax S

Joshua Tree and blown out bearings

After leaving Yosemite, I was heading for Mexico with a purpose. That purpose was to go sit on a beach. I decided I would just go for it, Death Valley was on the way but the roads were closed due to flooding. I stopped at the visitor centre to get some water (listed on iOverlander), and met a group of three 80 series Land Cruisers from British Colombia. Their plan was to head into the park by going around the flood damage. We chatted a bit, I wished them luck and went my own way. Death Valley is for another time, I told myself. I found myself driving into the night again, motivated by my will to see the ocean. But it was getting late, so I pulled off the highway and hit some desert trails. It was dark, but I found what I thought looked like an okay spot to sleep for the night. When I woke up that morning, I found the absolutely stunning, towering Sierra Nevada range right behind me. I was in a valley between the mountains. And to this day, I think this landscape let me get some of the best photos and videos of the whole trip. It was

just such a photogenic spot.

I called up Discount Tire further down the road and asked if they had any 33x10.5r15-sized mud terrains. I wanted to switch to mud terrains because as much as I loved my Ko2s, they just sucked in the mud. Also, they were bald, and despite labour being cheaper in Central America and Mexico, the costs of goods is higher. Eventually, I found a shop that carried what I needed, in the Brawley/Calexico area, and set up an appointment. In the meantime, I headed into Joshua Tree National Park. I didn't think much of it on the way, the desert was the desert after all. But after going through the gate I started to realize why this place was so popular, it was like nothing I had ever seen! The rocks were huge and smooth, the Joshua Trees seemed alien, and the whole landscape gave the impression of a movie set. I spent the days walking around and driving. Joshua tree even has some dedicated off-road loops. I left around dark and headed into Red Rock Canyon. It was night time and some of the obstacles were pretty steep and off-camber, I had a blast wheeling around and found a spot to sleep in the dark.

In the morning, I left through a series of washouts and ended up on the Salish Sea. I didn't know much about the history of the Salish Sea until I got there, you can see the remnants of what once was... Eerie. I continued towards Calexico for my appointment and towards sunset found a spot in the dunes, my appointment was the next day. It was windy and felt desolate. The next morning I left as a big cloud of dust was coming towards me, it looked like a sandstorm was coming. I kept hearing this high pitched squeak coming from the front left wheel. Well, I got the wheels swapped and decided that I would cross into Mexico the next day. But that squeaking was bothering me. So I lifted the truck and checked the wheel, sure enough, there was some play in the bearings.

The next morning instead of heading to the border, I went to NAPA. They only had the bearings for one wheel, so I took the hub apart and got to work. I was done by noon. I didn't want to drive through Mexico in the dark, it was the #1 thing people said not to do. I also figured I wanted a fishing rod for Baja, after all, it was know for its great surf casting. So I drove to Yuma instead. I also bought a Garmin Inreach, I figured if I was gonna be alone and remote, I should have a way to contact people in emergencies. I went back into the desert and found a spot for the night, and the next day, I went to the Arizona/Sonora border crossing.

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