Mt. Diablo (3864 ft at its peak) is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, near Danville and has one of the best views in California from its peak. It is said that one can see forever on a clear day and although claims that is has the best view shed second only to Mt Kilimanjaro is not true, one can see quite a distance for such a moderately high mountain. There have been folks who say they can see Mt Shasta which is approximately 240 miles away. I myself have seen the Pacific Ocean from its peak. Mt. Diablo is only 3,864.
Mt Diablo’s full name is Monte del Diablo, or Thicket of the Devil. It seems that when the Spanish were chasing the natives peoples, the Chupans would hide in the nearby willow thickets. They literally seemed to disappear and the Spanish were a bit spooked. People later on misinterpreted “Monte” to mean Mountain. The foothills are commonly called The Devil’s Hills and I have spent much time traipsing in around and on the Mountain and foothills.
The Baja 1000 Is a brutal Cannonball Run type of race held in Mexico. It gets its name from the original starting point of the race the Baja Peninsula in Mexican California. THe 1000 comes from the length of the race which is , of course, 1000 miles. Ok that is not totally true. Most of the races today fall a little short of 1000 miles but close enough.
THe Baja 1000 is not a race for a particular model of car or make of motorcycle. There is a category for just about everything, from motorcycles, to Dune Buggies, to trucks, to VW Bugs . Pretty much anything goes. And that is the true spirit of the race. People from all over come to not only compete but to watch the race. And one of the more interesting things about the race is that the spectators themselves get involved. It is not uncommon for them to booby trap the race course. A participant may find their race car launched into the air by a hidden ramp or their motorcycle at the bottom of a disguised pit.
So by now you are saying, what in the heck is going on here. The title of this post is The Weatherman. What does Mt. Diablo and The Baja 1000 have to do with a Weatherman? The answer is….. “EVERYTHING”.
As stated, the Baja 1000 is a very long race. There are miles upon miles of racetrack. It would be impossible to have emergency vehicle or support vehicles along the race course. During regular races, or I should say shorter races, there are Emergency vehicles, tow trucks and other support vehicles all along the tracks. Not so during the Baja 1000. So not only do you have hundreds racers you have an indeterminate number of spectators all along the desert off road track. So what does one do when there is an emergency? Say a spectator booby trap goes wrong and harms one or both the driver and the spectator. What does one do? They call the Weatherman.
During the race, when an emergency is determined, in order to relay information, they radio the Weatherman. One might hear “Weatherman, Weatherman Spectator down…” followed by coordinates and or details.. The Weatherman, who is located on top of Mt. Diablo, approximately 1000 miles away. The Weatherman then finds emergency personnel and dispatched them to the scene. He has quite a network of folks who are ready and waiting to help out. The original Weatherman was called such because he launched a weather balloon with an antenna attached.
I know there is a documentary available about the Weatherman and the Baja 1000. I have not yet seen but I certainly do intend to. Those who have seen it have said it was a very good movie, keeps your attention and has a On Any Sunday feel to it. The movie is called Dust to Glory by Dana Brown.