Bower Media Adventures BFG KO2 Tire Launch in Baja – with Charlene Bower
Today’s adventure is going to take you deep into Baja for the BFGoodrich Tires KO2 launch. Baja is a very interesting place; either you love it or you hate it. It really depends on the reasons you are there and the resorts where you are staying. In our case, it really isn’t about the resort at all. It’s about the comfort of the chase truck and the vehicle you have with you to run the trails of Baja. This trip I wasn’t going down to chase a vehicle or a team, I was going down to see the launch of the brand new KO2 All Terrain Tire.
It was a media and friends-of-the-brand event where they invited quite a few folks crossing all categories over 3 waves, on a 4-day adventure. I couldn’t help with the first wave, but I was down for the second and third to help with the pictures and videos of the whole event. It was a ton of work, but a ton of fun at the same time.
It was a very different style of trip for me. I’ve always met the team that I am going to follow on the California side of the border, and went with them down in their trucks. This time I actually flew into San Diego and met the group, and joined them on busses to go down and across the border. Who knew that you had to get off the bus with all your luggage and actually walk across the border while the bus drives across. That was a new experience for me!
The real excitement started as we pulled up to the gate of Horsepower Ranch and we were greeted at the BFG semi with a warm welcome and the opportunity to drive a wide-open Baja car and a Ford Raptor, with an instructor of course. The goal was to be able to put a couple of laps down and understand how they worked so we could be successful on the trails for the next few days. I took the opportunity to get into a car and then wandered out into the desert and start taking some pictures.
When we were all done driving, the bus continued up the road to the iconic Horsepower Ranch for an informational seminar, cocktails, and dinner. By the time we reached Estero Beach Resort where we were staying, it was time to get settled in and get ready for our next two days on the trail.
Well, I was there to work. My job was to take pictures and videos of the event so that all the media folks that were there had stock photos for their stories. We had the first evening, two days on the trail, and a final dinner, and then I had to have all the pictures on a thumb drive and ready to go before they left on the morning of the fourth day. If you just thought, oh my gosh that sounds crazy, then you just joined my team!
Day 1 we had our quick breakfast and then we loaded up and headed back to Horsepower Ranch to get into a Wide-Open car. I got, what I call, the hop seat or the fun seat. I start in the first car, then I ask to get out at certain points and get left in the middle of the desert. Then I take pictures as everybody goes by me on the trail. Then, hopefully, the back car will pick me up! I do that a few times, moving through the packs of cars as well. My goal is to get at least one good photo of everyone.
In true BFG fashion, the hospitality was amazing. We stopped for lunch at one of their typical pit locations and it was a great mix of fresh shrimp and tortillas. During the lunch, guests had the opportunity to drive with some of the performance team in their race or pre-runner trucks. Drivers included Rob McCachren, Walker Evans, Ryan Arciero, RJ Anderson, and Gustavo Vilosola, in a 600 hundred thousand dollar pre-runner truck that was absolutely amazing. Of course, we all know that I’m not necessarily “normal”. Instead of focusing on how fast we were going, I was actually analyzing how each of the drivers drive, 2-foot or 1-foot, 2-hands or 1-hand, etc. It was fun to be able to be inside the cab of the professionals. Each of these vehicles that the celebrities were driving were being navigated with the BFGoodrich KO2 All Terrain Tires.
At lunch all the groups rotated, moving from the wide-open cars to the Raptors. This was also where we had our first wave of drama come into play, because of course nothing we do can be free from some drama. There was a hurricane that was coming up the coast, and it looked like it was going to hit us that afternoon. We had lucked out that morning with no rain, but I was getting a little nervous. If it was just me, I would be fine, it wouldn’t matter, but to have all of my cameras and equipment out and potentially get them damaged or destroyed isn’t. I knew I needed to start making some arrangements.
After talking to Jeff Cummings, he suggested that I jump in the Bronco with him and we meet the group at different points along the trail, which sounded great to me. I could keep everything dry and still get the shots that I needed. So we did just that. Thankfully so, because this storm hit in a big way! We were going through flood zones in the truck and still making it through to where we needed to take our pictures.
When we met the group at the top, the stories the guys had were insane. Some of them got caught in flash floods and some of them just got rained on, but ALL of them were soaking wet! Meanwhile the folks who were in the Raptors got to giggle at their luck.
There was one more activity waiting for us at Mike’s Sky Ranch. Poison Spyder’s Larry McRae, Raceline Wheel’s Greg Mulkey and Bart Dixon, Lovell Racing’s Brad Lovell and JT Taylor, and Pirate 4×4’s Lance Clifford, were there waiting to give folks a ride in their 4×4 equipped vehicles up the special rock-crawling course they had built out back. The rain on the rocks during the rock-crawling and the mud that the drivers had to go through allowed the tires to shine even more than they had going through the desert. BFG has claimed an increase in their mud traction since the older versions of all terrains, and I will stand here and say and guarantee that no one on this trip would argue against that claim!
Mike’s Sky Ranch is another iconic place in Baja that racers frequent during pre-runs and trips. It was exciting to take folks from the media that have never been to Baja, to a place like this that they otherwise probably would have never visited. Dinner was served and the generators stayed on until 10 pm while the bar stayed busy.
I sat in the corner listening to everyone’s stories while I worked on the pictures from the day, getting them all organized and ready to go. The goal on a work trip like this is to never get behind!
The third day of our trip didn’t offer as much drama. I had the same morning routine with getting in and out of the cars and wandering the desert for the good shots. We met on the coast for lunch and more opportunities for a fast and furious ride along. Then I jumped in the truck with Jeff and got more shots as we crossed paths with the group headed back to Ensenada.
The final stop of the day was at Acambaro where the guests were relieved of their driving duties, were offered chips and salsa and Coronas, and then driven back to the resort to clean up for dinner. I passed on the chips and salsa and peeled out on the first truck back to the resort so I could work on getting all the pictures organized. By the time I got to dinner I was in a good spot with getting everything ready to load that night. I got the dinner shots, and after socializing for awhile I headed back to the room to work.
The last thumbdrive was done loading at 4 am, allowing time for a short nap before being back at the bus at 6 am to give it to all the guests. I went back to my room for a little more napping, then caught a ride back to Horsepower Ranch to start the process all over again.