The dedication our team has to bring our customers high quality apparel with distinctive features and unique designs will always be a top priority.
As well as our dedication to our retailers as we want to make sure they have the opportunity to see our new collections, touch the softest fabrics in person, and enjoy a few beers with the team while listening to tunes from Big Bertha.
We love festive gatherings and we were determined to provide one at our first Outdoor Retailer in Denver.
A common phrase we get whenever we pop up the bus is ... "Let me come on the next trip!!!!"
There's only a few true souls that can handle these summer adventures and if you're one of them, let's get you signed up for the next one because you'll be run through the ringer and we'd love to cheer you on.
Here's a quick recap of this latest sprint from Orlando -> Denver -> Daytona Beach
1) IS THE BUS READY TO GO?
Looking at this picture - absolutely not. This was taken Saturday in Orlando, with the expo starting the next Thursday in Denver. Our massive radiator still hasn't been replaced with a pending $8,000 new one, that had to be built because the government thought they needed to equip the bus with the highest quality materials while transferring US' finest from penitentiary to penitentiary.
Fast forward, two days later, good news. Radiator was finally installed and Sean (cofounder) was off solo at 7pm Tuesday night. The completion of this radiator job was one month late, so that left us basically zero time.
Only 1,900 miles in 30 hours, easy.
2) MAX SPEED, 65mph. NOT FULLY WEATHER PROOF. 175 GALLON TANK
When you open google maps and you see 26 hours left to your destination the initial thought is "I got this!"
Then you realize as you're driving, the ETA on your phone keeps getting longer and longer. Most speed limits on the highway are 70mph+ so while Big Bertha is agile, she's usually in the 60mph range. Throw in some of the worst down pours of the year, and you're sitting at 40-50mph
The first few hours you feel like you're making good time, then BAM it hits you - your ETA is no doubt going to be longer than what you planned for. You drive an hour, and you look down, and it maybe takes off 40min of the total trip. You almost feel like you're going backwards. Multiply that by 26 hours, woof! Devastation starts to kick in. Not to mention the surging gas prices, you're really in for a beat down. I think I got about 1/4 tank here.
3) WALMART BECOMES A 2nd HOME
Night time creeps in quickly and you've set aside 2 whole hours to sleep. That's all you really need right? What better place to snooze than a sought out Walmart parking lot. Lots of space, concrete is always looking fresh, and their sign keeps you up like an adult night light.
4) DAY 1 IN THE BOOKS. ALMOST THERE!
That's the constant mindset. Then BOOM!!! Nope. Brand new radiator is great and all, but if your fuel filter is clogged, then you quickly realize that the bus won't go faster than 10-20mph. Nothing gets your butt clenched faster than driving 15mph on the highway and having semi's fly by you going 70.
It's alright. This is a good time to pull over, let the bus rest, and take a quick 20min nap. Everything will be fine when you wake up.
This. Was. Not. The Case. It was apparent that the bus wasn't going to make it and needed some repairs. This was made VERY clear once the bus completely stopped on the highway at 2am in Springfield, MO. This required a tow (to the nearest Walmart) where I could get a mobile mechanic in the morning to come check and see what the issue was.
5) 7:30am DEADLINE
I couldn't have asked for a better mechanic and person. Shout out to Josh and Gilbert's Mobile Services. He diagnosed everything that was wrong, helped replace what needed to be done, and I was back on the road by 4pm Thursday. Day 1 of Outdoor Retailer had already started and will conclude, yet Bertha has gone too far to not finish the job.
Still 760 miles away, with the absolute cut off deadline being 7:30am the next morning, I could experience no more delays. Blessed with another magical 2 hours of sleep, and basically no stops allowed moving forward, the final leg.
6) LAST MINUTE LLAMAS
No shower in 3 days. 6 hours combined sleep. Yet no energy lost as Baja Llama thrives on making sure the show goes on and we live up to our own motto to Fight Against Boring.
It didn't matter who was tasked the drive - they would have found a way to make it and that's how we roll. A few 10x10 stands was the last thing that was going to stop us from getting set up.
No better feeling than meeting new people that will help shape the way your business grows. Lasting memories are always created, especially when you have a few bump in the roads. Every moment is just one more step in our Baja Llama journey and we're happy to be sharing it with you.
But wait, there's more! Let me explain the power of no AC in a 40ft hot box, flat tires, starter not working, all while driving through the south in 100+ degree weather to get back to Florida. What it can do to your mind is phenomenal in part 2, coming soon...