The Baja Insider: Baja 1000 2008: La Rumorosa Grade
Baja Safari has worked on many Hollywood Baja shoots, including Troy in Cabo San Lucas, yes ladies, with Brad Pitt. We did most of the horse wrangling and lots of 'lost' pilot shoots. The E! Entertainment 'Celebrity Adventure' pilot, in the southern Baja waterfalls, was one of our favs.
One of our first technical jobs was the "License To Kill", finale scene at the La Rumorosa grade. The film company had hired us for general field work, since the crew would be there for over a month and we spoke english. Most of the crew was from England and had never been in Mexico before and didn't speak spanish. We showed them the more entertaining haunts of Mexicali, Tijuana, Ensenada and Tecate. The town of Rumorosa, the coldest in Baja, has a great bakery and serves Cinnamon Coffee.
All of the semi-truck stunts, explosions and various stunts for the film was done at the La Rumorosa grade, Baja California Mexico. This years, 2008 Baja 1000 hits the grade area again!
We also had special 'talents' handling the local challenges, lets say. In those days the grade was made up of two asphalt lanes from the top of the grade, in pinon pine forests, to the bottom of the grade, in the lower Mexicali desert. Almost as dry as Death valley. Because the government was just starting to realign and rebuild the highway, the film crew had permission to use the newly closed road to do all its dangerous film shooting. Including stunts, explosives and time consuming star film work.
Now the highway to the bottom is a wide, safe, super-toll road. Except for the trail the racers will use in just a few days!
Baja Safari was able to make things easy for everyone with our intimate local knowledge and respect for the local culture. Including the spirit caves, curses and stories of the souls who had passed in car crashes on the very dangerous La Rumorosa road. If you get a chance to visit the exhibit at La Rumorosa, of INAH work there, maybe you'll see a ghost.
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Spoiler: The explosion in the photo is NOT the one described in all the narratives. Look at the landscape in both shots. You'll need to speak with our INSIDER source to get THAT Ultra-classified information!
"A James Bond Ghost Story!
I have just acquired the DVD of the James Bond film, License To Kill. The documentary on the making of the film contains a very interesting story about how one area where they filmed was supposedly haunted.
For the film's climactic truck-chase scene, where Bond has to destroy a convoy of large trucks that are loaded with drugs, the producers were given permission to use a stretch of road in Mexico that had been closed due to the alarming number of fatal accidents there. The stretch of mountainous road consisted of many twists and turns as well as wide,level sections.
During filming, many accidents occurred, some minor and some quite serious. This is to be expected, you might say, in a movie with many dangerous stunts. However, some of these accidents were quite bizarre. A man fixing telegraph poles TWO MILES from where they were filming was hit and injured by a missile that went astray from the set! Timothy Dalton was close to death when a truck he was driving narrowly missed going over the edge of a cliff when another truck that shouldn't have been there veered into him.
It was the stories of ghosts and apparitions that really interested me. Strange, ghostly figures were seen in the area where the trucks were parked overnight. When challenged by the security guards, they simply vanished. A truck moved by itself and parked itself somewhere else!
But the best story came from Albert Wooster, the Second Unit Director. While filming the explosion in which the baddie (Robert Davi) is killed, he explains that behind him, one of the stuntmen was taking snapshots of the explosion for himself. Wooster (and the rest of the crew for that matter) was astounded when he was shown one particular photograph. It clearly showed a giant, flaming, clawed hand reaching out of the explosion! He was so amazed that when he tried going through the film of the explosion, frame by frame , to see if the other cameras had caught the bizarre phenomenon, none had."