October 12, 2018
There is no question that technology has transformed our lives in profound ways. It’s opened up our connectivity, enhanced our efficiency, and given us a sense of security. During a recent trip to Baja, Mexico I experienced first-hand the way that tech can enhance our human experience and allow us to take risks and explore new opportunities that were once off-limits.
I got this wild hair to head to Guadalupe Canyon Oasis, a campsite nestled near some hot springs deep in Baja, Mexico. Just over four hours from my home in San Diego, the intrepid trip required 40 miles of travel down a remote dirt road with the last ten miles requiring high clearance and sharp navigation skills. I planned on taking my enduro motorcycle down for a little solo adventure to the Guadalupe Canyon hot springs for a quick overnight getaway.
Although this may sound a bit furtive, I did have a few key pieces of tech to help mitigate the risks involved. First, I had special insurance that came with roadside assistance anywhere in the country. However, there was still some risk involved in traveling along remote roads in rural Mexico, so I decided to bring along a Garmin InReach. These handy devices not only have a GPS with a tracker, but they also allow you to contact search and rescue, should something go haywire. This piece of tech is an added insurance policy since I had contact with the outside world in a place where there was no cell service. In essence, I was comfortable with the level of risk I assumed on this journey because I had the tech to help me out. Feeling confident with my bike and emergency technology, it was time to ride.
Excited for a weekend away from it all, I opened up the throttle and hit the road. As I approached the turnoff for the dirt road, I took a look at the vague directions that the campsite had sent me. Everything seemed correct, although there wasn’t a soul in sight. My GPS said I was on the right track despite the vacant roads. Weary, I decided to continue on, I had made it this far and those hot springs were calling my name. So far, my timing was perfect, I was due to arrive at the hot springs just before sunset.
I was driving down the dirt, enjoying the scenery flashing by and feeling the freedom of life on the bike. Then suddenly, my trusty bike of over ten years sputters to a halt. The temps were soaring, and I figured the old gal just needed to cool down. I tried to find some shade amongst the scrubby bushes, but it’s a bit futile. I try to start the bike and she gets going only to break down a mile down the road. This goes on for a bit until the tachometer refuses to work and the fuel light freaks out. This time, my trusty motorcycle dies for good.
As the sun hung low in the horizon I began to worry. I have seen no one for several hours. Reality sets in. I’m stuck here alone, and no one knows where I am. I can either panic or focus on the things I can control. Then I remember my InReach. Seamlessly, I sent a message for help with my tech. On the other line, someone replies asking about my insurance and roadside assistance coverage.
Immediately I feel a sense of relief, a tow truck is on the way. Technology to the rescue! Exhausted, I take comfort in the fact that I could reach out for help and enjoy some snacks and camping food. I kick back and watch as the sun sets beautifully over the desolate horizon.
Over two and a half hours later I see a set of jittering headlights on the horizon, help has arrived. Although I was feeling quite comfortable, the man in the tow truck comes out worried and apologetic for his late response. He didn’t think anyone was actually stuck down the dirt road. As we made the bumpy trip back to the pavement I learned that the area is littered with scorpions, poisonous snakes and a strong history of military training fatalities due to heat exhaustion. People go missing in that area frequently.
I never felt like I was in any sort of danger once help was called, but upon hearing more about where I was I counted myself as lucky. It’s nearing 11 o’clock and the tow truck driver drops me at a place to stay in Mexicali. He also mentions that my bike can get fixed at his friend’s shop the very next day.
I awoke the next morning and as promised, the tow truck driver brought me to his friend’s shop. I looked around and all I saw were Honda bikes, mine is a BMW. My hopes quickly dwindled in ever having the bike gets fixed again. Thinking about how much an Uber ride back to the US would cost, I headed next door to the pancake house attached to the motorcycle repair shop (quite the enterprise!). As I sat and sipped the hot brew, I read the side of the cup. It read (in Spanish) “Life is a journey and a journey on a motorcycle is the best kind.”
I pondered on how this journey wouldn’t have been possible without the help of technology. The risk would be too great. But technology served a holistic purpose on this trip. It helped me stay safe, but the technology of my bike also failed me. Without it, I would not have come to this sleepy town and experienced the goodwill of strangers.
At People Driven Solutions, we see tech as holistic, touching every aspect of your thriving business. Without it, we not only carry severe risk, but we miss out on an opportunity because we are doing the job that technology can do for us. That message transcends business and applies to life in the same way.
After my coffee, I returned to the shop with a new perspective. The mechanic informed me that the bike was road ready once again. I couldn’t believe it! As I drove through the streets in disbelief I thought about my adventure. I never made it to my destination, but technology allowed me to take advantage of the opportunity to travel off-road in a foreign country. Things didn’t go to plan, but I had an incredible journey and met some good-willed people along the way.
Overall, the technology I carried allowed me to feel comfortable with extra risk and take advantage of a unique opportunity. Like all of the best stories in life, my adventure didn’t go to plan, but without that technology, I would have been in a much worse situation. My Garmin InReach saved the day and salvaged my weekend!