Stay tuned, fans! Great, big, exciting news coming your way from the crew behind The Devil’s Road.
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We are currently seeking musicians or bands for music use in the film. Think 1960s/70s Latin/South American surf/folk/garage rock. Please see our current videos to get an idea of the style we are looking for.
This is a chance for an established or emerging musician or music group to gain exposure, as we plan to present our film to a number of film festivals and screenings across the country and abroad.
Check out these links:
YOUTUBE CHANNEL: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0yRlXoSaIve9Odxb4ZcXRQ
The Broken Wagon Films team would like to take this opportunity to let everyone know that our main expedition is complete. All of our team members participated during this two-month filming expedition, as well as a few additional and short duration assistants. I first must say that JT said it best: “The film is in the can!” Meaning, we have the footage needed to put together a stellar documentary, and as the director, he is very pleased with what we have been able to accomplish and where we will be in a year or so after the editing is complete.
The Baja Peninsula threw everything she had at us and we still escaped serious injury and had no significant mechanical issues. We persevered through it all: slept in the snow, got stuck in the sand, blown over by the strong and gusty winds, poked and scratched by just about every plant with thorns, swarmed by thousands of bugs, embraced by the wonderful Baja culture, and even slept with a scorpion.
Here are a few numbers for you to ponder and for your entertainment:
- 5280 - miles driven on the motorcycles in two months
- 29 - times the motorcycles were “dumped” or we crashed at low speeds (20 by Todd and only 9 by JT). Two of JT’s crashes were Todd’s fault! And Todd dumped his bike three times while standing still!
- 7 - cameras used on the expedition
- 36 - hours of footage from all the cameras
- 8 - inches, the length of the “World Record” Nelson Trout caught by Eric
- 530 - pounds in weight of each bike including gear, food, and water
- 4 - people we met along the expedition that said, “You're the Devil’s Road guys! We've heard of you!”
- 11,000 - feet, the altitude that Scott flew his plane, without a side door and with JT harnessed in so that JT can get aerial footage of the Sierra San Pedro Martir range of mountains
We look forward to sharing with all of you our stories and experiences. JT has an enormous task ahead of him to sort through and edit all that we have. When we have a working version of the film we will call upon all of you to help critique and finalize the film.
Again I would like to thank all of our sponsors, donors, and crowdfunding backers. We would not have been able to do this expedition without your support and generous contributions--in the form of mission-critical equipment and otherwise. I would also like to thank our assistant expedition contributors; Wayne Bruce, Scott and Laurie Bruce, Eric Bruce, Heidi Lewin, Bri Bruce, Jade Lewin, Gia and Eric Doughty, and Guy VanCleave. Because of all of you, we were able to secure some fantastic footage that will make this film shine.
As always, keep watching our website for updates and new items. And don’t forget to keep sharing the project with others on social media. We are very excited and pleased with what we have thus far.
Producer, The Devil’s Road
April 18th (Guerrero Negro)
We took off with the desire to recreate another photo of Goldman's. This picture is of a man wearing a sombrero picking up salt from a salt flat near Vizcaino and in the background are two horses. We rode out to the salt ponds off Laguna Ojo de Liebre. The motorcycles did the job as stand-ins for the horses and we walked away with a great sequence of shots.
We were going to camp by the bay, but the wind was blowing at about 25 knots, kicking up sand, and the fog was rolling in. A $30 hotel room in Guerrero Negro was just what we needed to charge devices, shower, and get a good night’s sleep.
April 4th (Punta Conjeo to El Triunfo)
Everything was wet when we woke. The dew was so strong it seemed as though it had rained during the night. But, within an hour, most everything was dry. We had found a cool camp site tucked in under some low growing trees and had a great night’s sleep. Our next move was to head to El Triunfo. We had a day to kill before we needed to be in La Paz, so the decision was made to bypass La Paz and film El Triunfo.
Getting through La Paz has always been a problem for us and is notorious for other travelers as well for having very poor signs. We got lost again. One dead end road after another had me frustrated. I flagged down a passing motorist to ask him where the road to Cabo was and he began to stumble as to how to give us directions. After a few puzzling seconds, he said, "Just follow me." This nice man took us three miles out of his way and took us to the right road to Cabo San Lucas. Only in Mexico will you find that kind of hospitality. Thank you!
El Triunfo is an old town with a storied history. At one time 11,000 people lived and worked in this gold and silver mining town. Now only 500 people make it their home. The mining operation is in ruins and restoration work is in place to save the 70-meter smokestack that was designed by Gustav Eiffel. We were met by an interesting fellow that said he was a tour guide and asked if he could show us around. We agreed and he set about to tell us things like, "This is the machine," and "This is the quartz," and "This is the cow." In the end he asked for a propina, or tip, and continued to give us a blank stare when we asked how much the usual tip was. When I reached into my wallet and pulled out a bill, he seemed to not understand what I was doing. Or, was it his way of saying that it was not enough? We were perplexed.
Most of the land surrounding this community is private and well fenced, so we decided to head for Los Barilles to spend the night on the beach. The 30-mile ride was a wonderful mountainous and curvy ride that made the trip out to the beach that much more pleasant to be camping on.
Middle of nowhere to Bahia de los Angeles
During our debriefing last night we realized that we were one day ahead of schedule. Not wanting to camp at Yubay for two nights, we decided to head to Bahia de los Angeles, get a hotel, shower (since we have not had one in five days), charge all of our gear and batteries, and regroup.
Tomorrow we will head out to Yubay and meet Greg and Guy to film the tinaja and surrounding areas.
Cataviña to the middle of the desert
All ten of us set off to see some of the sights on Nathan's ranch. The ranch, La Bocana, is located where three rivers converge. We saw two ancient "rock circles" built by the native Baja California peoples thousands of years ago, and found basalt rocks that were chipped to use as cutting tools. We found puma scat, swam in the pool of water in an oasis, and photographed several rock art sites. What an experience and well worth the difficult road to get in and out.
We then set our sights on Calamajue. This is a small bay that was used as a ship landing to offload supplies for the miners in the area and to load shipments heading back to Guaymas or Ensenada. Coco's Corner is well known to those in the motorcycle and adventure crowd and was a confirmed stop of ours. A short consultation with Coco made it clear that the road to Calamajue would not be doable on these bikes unless we were "loco." So, another finely planned adventure was aborted and we were forced back out to the highway and continued heading south.
A short drive on a side road to find a good camp spot turned out shorter that we expected as we hit deep sand and I dumped my bike again. We decided to camp right there for the night. The wild flowers were in full bloom and we slept among a flowerbed of blue and purple flowers.
San Quintin to El Rosario
Without a room for the night, we were forced to sleep in the parking lot. The three hotels in the area were full for the night and as it was near dark when we arrived, we were not going to head back into town to find lodging. We woke with all of our gear soaked in dew and commotion about the area. Our only salvation was to quickly pack up and head south (without coffee or breakfast).
We arrived at Mama Espinoza's Restaurant an hour later and were immediately greeted by Elvira Espinoza (Doña Anita's daughter) who now runs the restaurant. She was very gracious and invited us to stay and enjoy the festivities with "This is your house, too!" We were told there was a benefit motorcycle ride the day before and today was an opportunity to give the town’s children beans, rice, and a toy. Many of the children and their parents showed up to receive a gift.
We were able to interview Elvira with interpretation help from her grand daughter, Michele. This is a wonderful and big family that does so much for the community. We met many family members that travelled from as far away as Ensenada and Tijuana to participate in the communal event.
Shortly after, we headed out of town with the hopes of following the Nelson-Goldman route up the arroyo to find the camping spot they called "the cave." It was a popular spot where the "teamsters" would stop while delivering supplies to the local mines. We were thwarted by cultivated farmland that seemed to not allow us to get to the road into the arroyo. So, we changed course and went to a known campsite our family has always referred to as "Crash Dummy Car." When JT and Bri were young, we would always camp here. It was well off the highway, secluded, and the side road ended at an old overturned car. They loved to throw rocks at it, for the sounds they made were enjoyable.
We had a great evening to film and camp under a full moon.
Sierra San Pedro Martir to San Quintin
It was cold last night. Sleeping among the snow patches at 9,000-foot elevation usually is not considered to be a warm and pleasant experience.
The moon was nearly full and at this altitude it looked bigger than ever. It was brighter, too. The giant log we threw on the fire had completely burned up and left a perfect bed of coals to restart the fire when I woke. I really did not want to get out of my sleeping bag. I grabbed the camera and went for a walk as the sun was rising over the mountains and spreading across the snowy landscape. It was quiet, the air crisp, and if I closed my eyes I would swear that I was in the Sierra Nevada.
This range is a separate island extension of the Sierra Nevada that broke off hundreds of thousands of years ago. The Jeffery pine, granite rocks, juniper, and other shrubs are all the same. Camping next to us were three young biologists and photographers that were there to photograph and study the environment. So we took full advantage to grab an interview and get to know these three men. One was a marine biologist, the other was a guide, and the third was a herpetologist that specializes in animal rescue where roads are being built. All were very knowledgable about the fauna of Baja California.
As we were organizing and getting our riding gear on, I noticed a nail sticking out of my rear tire. With a 60-km drive to the nearest town, I was weary about pulling the nail out. My mind quickly went back to the repair seminar that JT and I received from Bob Davis of Davis Moto Works back home in Santa Cruz. How to fix a flat tire in the desert was highlighted, and eventually all the tricks came flooding back into my head. A swift pull with the pliers revealed only a flesh wound. Lucky for us, no air was leaking and we were on our way.
After a quick stop to drive to the top of the mountain to see the observatory (it was closed and no tours were being conducted) we took a few photos and pointed the front tires down hill. JT and I enjoyed a family tradition of a snow cone! This time it was Baja style: Margarita!
The rest of the afternoon was dedicated to finding a California condor to film. We think we got film of four soaring out over the edge of the mountain range, but they were too far away to confirm. Either way, with only 30 condors here in Baja, the odds were against us in getting a glimpse of them.
We closed out the day at the Old Mill Hotel and Restaurant in San Quintin.
Guest Blog by Eric Bruce
The eighth day of the expedition consisted of relocating the entire Bruce clan from San Felipe, at the coast of the Sea of Cortez, to Mike’s Sky Ranch in the mountains of the Sierra San Pedro Martir at about 4,000 feet elevation. After waiting (patiently) for JT to run back to the airport to get his riding jacket from the plane and then waiting (impatiently) for Scott to learn how to file a flight plan to exit Mexico in a couple of days, we left our lodging and headed west at about 10 am. I am Eric Bruce, slightly older brother of Todd Bruce, and my job today was to provide transportation for the support crew. There were just four of us, but we loaded the Honda Pilot until almost full. For those of you who’ve ever seen how Scott and Lauri pack, especially when they fly their own plane and space isn’t an issue, you can well imagine.
We traveled on nice highways for almost two hours, passing through one military checkpoint at the intersection of Highways 3 and 5, and stopped at a long stretch of remote road to film Todd and JT on their bikes. My Honda Pilot has a sunroof and it turns out that Lauri’s slim figure was perfect for standing up in the back seat, poking her upper body out the roof, and filming in any direction. So, we stopped at a turnout to get the camera from JT and drove several miles down the road while Lauri got some close-up footage of the bikers – we’d follow, then pass, then get in front, then they’d pass us, and we did this a few times so JT could have some footage to choose from. He seemed happy, so we gave him back the camera and he put it all back into its protective case mounted to the back of his Kawasaki. It was then he said something like, “Oh, sh*t, I think I dropped the two locks for the camera case!” He figured he put them on the bike’s storage box and probably just drove off. So, we returned to the prior turnout and found the locks no worse for wear – one was at the end of the turnout and the other didn’t fall off for several hundred yards and was sitting in the middle of the highway. Didn’t I read something like that earlier? I hope this isn’t a recurring theme for their trip to the cape– equipment on the highway!
Getting to Mike’s Sky Ranch was 22 miles of dirt road – most of it was pretty nice and we barely bottomed out once, but a few steep parts tested the transmission of the Honda. Of course, the dirt bikes were the perfect vehicle for this road. We really had only one minor issue along the way. Despite my really amazing packing job, we heard a pretty loud cracking or popping noise and within seconds we all noticed the distinctive smell of tequila. I stopped and opened the back hatch and I feared that 3 L bottle of 100% agave juice might have broken, or spilled. I didn’t pack it on its side, did I? Of course not – turns out the cork had popped from the elevation change and we didn’t lose a drop.
We managed to make it just fine to Mike’s and were happy to see the place had a swimming pool! Problem was, we couldn’t see the bottom of the pool, so nobody was willing to go in. We made a nice lunch for ourselves poolside and immediately rigged our fly rods and started walking up the San Rafael River in search of the Nelson trout. Our major goal in Sierra San Pedro Martir was to catch and photograph a local trout with its unique markings.
Despite Scott proposing that Todd be given the honor of catching the first Nelson trout (and he practically railroaded the vote by insisting on Robert’s Rules of Order), we really only gave Todd one pool to fish by himself before we all wet our lines and started drifting files down the river. Within an hour, Todd whistled for JT to come film the fish he had on his line and JT ran with his camera to film. There is some footage that proves it was a fish and probably proves it was a Nelson trout, but the fish slipped from Todd’s hand before a close-up could be obtained. Wahoo, there are fish in this river, Captain! About the same time, Scott strolls up to say he caught a fish, too, but he has no photographic evidence. Unlike Todd’s fish, it did not have the characteristic blue spots with the crimson red stripe running behind the spots along the entire lateral line of the fish. About a half-hour later, I caught a fish and was able to get a photo that clearly shows the same marking as Todd’s fish, plus the characteristic white tip on both the dorsal and ventral fins. It, too, was unmistakably a Nelson trout. And I’m sure you’ll be impressed that the total length of the three fish was AT LEAST 13 inches! Two fours and a five. Our goal has been met, technically.
Now, we’re not sure whether there is any established world record for size of a Nelson trout, but due to its very narrow range of habitat, we figure there likely isn’t one. So, our new goals for tomorrow are to catch and release more fish (we plan to go further upstream as there are stories of larger pools of water that might hold larger fish), get one for Wayne and Lauri, get better video documentation, and establish a world record size. For the Devil’s Road record, it was Todd who got the 5-incher! Just what Dad had predicted. In the meantime, Lauri made a really nice painting of the nearby mountains and enjoyed her day on strike (some woman’s acknowledgment thing that some of the guys couldn’t really get behind). She ended her day of leisure with a meal cooked by Mike’s staff that included a piece of grilled beef the size of South America (OK, I meant shape).
Thank you for following this Baja adventure, and thanks to the entire film crew for letting me join in the effort.