June 12, 2013

The Adventure in Baja Continues….

Moving a business ain’t a joke, particularly when your company is bombarded by orders and the UPS man’s back is cursing the day you were born.   It was all hands on deck when the Semi Trailer showed up to take the first load to the new shop.  24 pallets of coils, boxes, shocks, and powder-coated product were stuffed inside a 53’ van and Carli’s move to 18,000 square feet of breathing room was finally commencing.  

Breaking down racking and shelving, loading fabrication equipment and machines, and strapping 20,000 lbs of leaf springs to a flat deck trailer was just the start for our crew; they had another 2 weeks of warehouse setup and assembly to look forward to all while knowing they had to get their areas setup pronto to resume normal operations. 

Without missing a beat, these guys manned up and got shit handled.   Within 2 days of being in the new building, a small team assembled another batch of ball joints fresh from the Dry-Moly Coaters while the rest of the Carli crew installed the new shelving and created homes for the dozens and dozens of pallets awaiting attention.    Each passing day yielded more shipping volume until the shipping department was up to 100% .

To reward the guys for sticking it through and hustling, Sage wanted to treat them to a weekend down south of the border to watch the Trophy Trucks rip through the Mexican desert with a belching cloud of roost.  It actually couldn’t have worked out any better; a well needed break for the exhausted staff accompanied by a legion of heavy duty trucks stacked with some parts that still needed a good thrashing to prove their worth in the stable.  

Friday Morning started with grabbing the requisite insurance stop at the border, and then it was off to Ensenada to fuel up, top off the coolers, and make a B-line towards San Felipe to scout out a base camp for the night that would put us  up front and center to the race course.    A few hours of wheeling with no pre-determined destination sat well with the whole convoy…   it was just us, the desert trails, and the occasional cow staring back at us while we caravanned down the various trails.   In the end, we posted up on the dry lake bed with plans on driving a few miles to the southern-most point of the race course.

The night gave way to morning with obscene temperatures that instantly made us regret our camping decision.   9 o’clock in the morning and the mercury was swelling at 92 degrees; an obvious reminder that there’s a reason we were in the middle of nowhere watching a race so grueling and evil that the majority of participants don’t even finish the race.   A quick regroup led to a new rally point: Colonet, right on the Pacific Ocean where weather was supposed to be in the 70’s.   Beach weather, camping, Mexican cervezas, tacos, and a fire?   Shit, this is the real Mexican experience we all signed up for.  We topped off the coolers again in San Matias, then headed out to Valle de Trinidad to fuel up, grabbed a few Quesatacos, and proceeded to blast through the vineyard road.  

A few hours later, the beach is in sight, the race is well under way, and we spot a perfect location for an overnight base camp.    Just as the coolers and armchairs hit the ground, the first Trophy Truck comes charging over the hill, sideways and pinned to win.   It’s Robby Gordon, and right on his coat-tails is B.J. Baldwin weaving some man-lines in the rutted dirt that would fold most other vehicles.   We watched and cheered for the TT’s, which then turns to cheering  for the Class 1’s, and then it was time to explore our local camp with a few well-sprung Dodge’s and Super Duty’s.  

New for our Mexico runs is a 2006 Ford F-250 with a full-tilt Carli Pintop Leveling Kit….   Yeah, you read that right: a leveling kit.   This kit features the same King Pintop 2.5’s that is in our taller systems but in a shorter lift height for those fella’s that need to keep their lift to a minimum;  a lot of our customers ask for the leveled stance but with the signature Carli ride quality and performance.   This system delivers just that, and turns out this little bad ass kit can boogie in the dirt, too.   Full Deaver Leaf Springs and a Front Diff Guard rounded out the prowess of this sleeper kit.   Also seeing dirt for the first time was Carli’s new Fabricated Radius Arm for the Super Duty’s.   Built like a M1 Abrams with more bracing than a Dubai skyscraper, these arms laughed off everything Sage could throw at them.   The re-buildable spherical joints allow for unmatched articulation while letting the axle “breath” from constant sharp hits and quick droop-outs.  

Also seeing Mexico for the first time was our 2012 Dodge Megacab with a 6” Bilstein 2.65 Radius Arm System.   The majority of the terrain was eaten up like butter, while the bigger rougher stuff was sloughed off with almost no transfer of energy into the cab.   The ACV’s on the 2.65’s handled the terrain like a champ, pushing back at the terra firma like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson raising hell in the ring. 

Thankfully, the assortment of Rigid light bars again proved they are the best investment in off-road lighting, turning abyss into daylight.   A couple of amber 20” lights bars cut through the silt dust allowing the Carli caravan to chow down the trails with blistering speed and pure confidence.    Chalk up another win for the boys at Rigid Industries and Carli Suspension.  

For the Baja veterans in our group,  it was another day-in-the-life weekend of pounding on some new trails that always seemed to get away while refining some drifting skills on a few dozen choice apex’s.    The Baja Newbies not only got to see the sights and thrills of being in a foreign land to watch history happen, but they also got to see the product they fabricate and assemble in action; for most of these greenhorns it was an eye-opening experience to see what a Dodge could do in the whoops, or to watch a Ford make a Baja plateau it’s little bitch.   These guys definitely walked away from the experience humbled and full of pride knowing that they are part of a team that delivers the absolute very best suspension components for any Heavy Duty truck worth owning.   I have a feeling they’ll be chomping at the bit for Round 2 shortly…..