Urban Baja Adventure -


Great fun as long as you don't get caught


By Mr. TractorBaja,
John "baja" deere

You probably won't want to take this article as good advice. Unlike the guy who woke up with a missing kidney, this urban baja legend is true!


Bajas are great fun. But I don't know why we @#$%ing did this. Likely it was the busy work schedules. Living in concrete jungles keeps us from getting to the great outdoors.

And the city poses new challenges, different obstacles for the baja bug!


It all started with a quick ride over to my friend's house. My new baja was running, but wasn't up to par yet... the front end made it a real challenge to drive and it wasn't prepared for any off-highway.

My friend, let's call him "JOHN", was giving me a lift in his baja. This vehicle had it going on! We'd just finished building the new front end, and it rode like a skateboard. Fresh performance motor. Roll bar and 4-point harnesses (take note, this will show itself to be important).

The trip started as always, with a roar! About 1/4 mile later, the adventure began. We made an abrupt left turn. Where there wasn't a street. There was a planter. Then there was an elementary school's parking lot. I thought he was going to park, but he just kept going. Over the parking blocks. Through the next divider, full of big river-rocks, like a drainage or something. And back out on the street.

I was shocked, yet charged. I'd always known that bajas could do great things, but this practical demonstration was an eye-opener!

This might or might not have been illegal. We didn't find out, and I RECOMMEND YOU AVOID FINDING OUT, ALSO. The school district would certainly have disapproved! On the hand, tire tracks on rocks and concrete are not truly destructive, so my concience is clear.

We returned to the street. I had an evil grin on my face, yet felt nervous strange excitement. I knew that law enforcement were lurking somewhere. But, I had to know what else this car could do! I didn't have to wait long, at the next stoplight he cut his right turn a little too close. Over an 8-inch curb with the right tires. I was beginning to get the feel for this - it was going to be a bumpy ride.

We had to stop at the bank, but they were closed. Instead of exiting the drive-through teller the way everybody else does, John cut the wheels hard-right, and went over 12 inches of cement between the two lanes, between the posts and teller machine. There wasn't enough room for the turn! John got the back wheels against the curb and gassed it, so the ass end skidded along the curb, improving the turning radius drastically. At this point I was really amazed! I'd never have imagined we could have cut that corner. I saw jacks and prybars in my near future, since I thought we'd be jacking the car & prying it over so we could get out of there. As it was, we hopped out of the bank and made a smooth yet hasty egress away from the scene of the crime.

However, I don't know for sure that it was a crime. But I didn't check. You might want to be more thorough in your investigations before trying such maneuvers. The bankers might have been unhappy but it was my bank and they've taken enough of my damn money, anyway!


Soon we were at the edge of town, with a few farm fields scattered between housing developments. Not really open country, but -

There was mud. It was a drainage pit on the edge of the farm field. Steep sloped sides. Rather small but not a bad hillclimb! Sharp right turn. Over the curb. Into the drainage pit. We whipped it around and flew out the other side! Back onto the streed. Once was not enough, we did it all over again. Quite a cloud of dust had developed (it wasn't all mud) so we bumped onto the street and casually sauntered away from that mysterious dustcloud.

We were careful not to destroy any of the farmer's crops - it's not cool to mess with someone else's livlihood. All we left were tire tracks in the pit, so no damage was done, but the farmer might have been unhappy. Do be careful not to make any farmers angry - they tend to be armed - so you might wish to avoide such maneuvers.


And things were just getting good. The next stop was probably the most brazen, since we were 3 blocks from the police station, if that. There was a large park on one side, known to be patrolled heavily. The access road went to the fire station - firemen and police are best friends. (But I like firemen. Cops and I generally don't get along but that's OK.)

Along side this access road was a construction site. With a large ditch. One end of the ditch had a decent slope into it, so guess what - we went in. Baja disappeared beneath the earth. There was nothing but blaring baja noise projecting towards the park.

Then we discover, the other end of the ditch was vertical wall! No problem, John hooks the sharp left and gets one front tire on the side of the ditch. He pops the clutch and fishes the ass end around, and flies up the ditch side! The front wheels flew into the air and dropped onto the edge of the access road just as the back end cleared the ditch. We beat a hasty retreat from that one, no question.

The ditch got filled in, so not even tiretracks were an issue. Some radical cult built a church there, and although we meant no disrespect we really don't bloody care. Do be careful when running ditches so close to private property, though - it it were a real church you might have to go to confession. Or jail. Or both. Let's not find out!

That was a good time to terminate the Urban Baja Adventure ON OUR OWN TERMS! Baja disappeared behind a closed garage door, maniac laughter slowly died away, and a real sense of accomplishment took hold.


Lessons learned

1) CLEARANCE.
2) You need enough power to steer with the rear end.
3) You don't need open desert or forest to have fun in a baja.
4) Balls and Brains, there's a skill.


Any other adventures out there?