This is Hazael Mayoral’s dirty, unedited story….
What is your name, where are you from?
Names Haz and I am Originally from Ensenada Baja Mexico, grew up in different places of Baja until my family moved permanently to the US when I was 16yo, prior to moving to the US (permanently) I lived and studied in in the US/Mexico on and off I now live in LA Cali, both countries have given me so much and love them both passionately.
How long have you been going off-road, how did you get into it? How did you decide on your off-road rig?
I started officially going on trips off-roading and camping off grid in 2016 when I did my first Baja expedition but it was early 2000 when I started reconnecting with my roots after being caught up with drug abuse and bad decisions, I met my wife and I got my first off road vehicle a 2005 Range Rover classic, we started scuba diving together, then we married, and got our first Jeep a 1995 YJ then she bought me a kayak and then I met a friend who got me into surfing and my whole lifestyle changed to one of adventures, all of this helped me reconnect with nature and re-sparked the adventurous kid I was growing up in Baja living in the coast my entire childhood.
In 2008 I bought my first new car ever (yes it was a jeep of course) a 2008 JKU a unicorn 🦄 that came with factory rear lockers and electronic sway bar disconnect and leather but it was not a rubicon it was an X model, anyhow I liked it just the way it was stock and thought I’d never modify it and it stayed that way for a long time, kids came and as soon as my first was old enough we started camping because I felt the need to expose them as much as possible to the outdoors like I was growing up and we did, we camped out as much as possible my son got his first campfire burn when he was like 4yo 😂 then I got the itch to explore more in my jeep so I figured I’d need some upgrades and I always had a picture of those camel trophy Land rovers and Safari vehicles in Africa I knew exactly what I wanted an expedition jeep not a rock crawler or anything like that so I started doing some research on the intraweb and came across “OVERLANDING” 😂 and I was like wow so this is a thing, what we used to do when we were kids. My dad would pack up our wagon three stories high and wrap it all with a tarp 😂 and we’d go on “vacation” for long periods of time down Baja there were no hotels of course it was all primitive camping we’d stay at a beach two three days then move on to the next spot, we’d get stuck and just camp out until help came and now I ask my pops what were you thinking? Hahaha, but it was awesome and have stories for daaaays about those trips and well here I am now.
Why did you decide on the vehicle you have?
Well I kinda just fell right into it, like I mentioned my first off road truck was a RR classic but I flipped it and had to get a new vehicle and I loved the rugged boxy look of the rover. I already knew regular cars weren’t for us at that point so we were looking for something similar, nothing specific, just boxy, rugged 4×4 and found a dealer that had that beautiful 95 YJ. They were willing to finance it with my bad credit so we got it and fell in love with it. After that I got my JKU which I still have, then I got a 97 TJ, then a 2017 JK which I traded in for my Gladiator and sold my TJ to buy my little trailer. So I currently have my JKU and the gladiator and my trailer. I decided to trade the Gladiator because we needed a bigger vehicle for the family, since I had my TJ that was my daily and turned my JKU into an adventure jeep full time and removed the rear seats and made a platform for camping. The JK was our family vehicle but kids are getting bigger by the minute so I didn’t work anymore. I’ve never been a pick-up truck guy but when I saw the Gladiator I liked it and after driving my pop’s tacoma and having to borrow someone’s truck haul anything other milk and cereal it just made sense to get the glady and we love it.
What have you do to it for modifications?
Welp you know how this question goes for anyone, lol but to sum it up on the JKU I’ve changed set up so many times, started with 2.5′ rough country lift and learned quick the hard way. It now sits on a 4-5″ lift I put together myself with various components I selected not a lift kit. I’ve swapped my front D30 with an ultimate D44 from spicer, after blowing my D30 in kern county trying to climb up some rocks with a locked D30 on 5:13s. Upgraded to chromoly shafts etc. On the Gladiator I wanted to keep it simple and went with 2.5″ EVO stage 4 overland kit. (very nice, I love it) Running 37″ Nitto trails on AEV Borah beadlocks, I’ve upgraded a few other things like the head lamps to led’s, chopped fender turn signals, snorkel and a few other things.
How did this lead to your tacos? Or how are they connected?
The need to share my stoke for Baja definitely!! As I started exploring Baja as a grown up in my Jeep and even before that when I used to go just to parties. I always found myself inviting friends and made it a point to have them try the best fish tacos. I always thought they were something else for some reason. I literally have been going to the same spot my whole life. When we were kids and would come into town ( because we didn’t live in Ensenada even though I was born there) my folks would stop there to eat tacos – it was a thing we’d look forward to when coming into town to visit grandma. So of course every time I’d bring someone I’d bring them to eat fish tacos, and I always bring friends to Baja – I mean always. I want everyone to know my hometown etc. and living in LA I’ve tried different fish tacos but never one I thought lived up to the “Baja style” or “Ensenada Style.”
Maybe my expectation bar was set too high, and also they’re not as easy to find as your regular asada or street tacos. So for many years I thought I should make fish tacos, but real authentic fish tacos, not Baja style or Ensenada style but the real deal from Baja. I figured if I can sell tacos that are just as good as if you’re eating one in Ensenada it’d be a home run. So there it was, the idea. For many years this project has been in the back burner and year after year I kept talking about it, then when I started off roading/camping the idea of bringing fish tacos to the trail heads came about. So I started thinking about it more and more, and as I camped more I realized I actually enjoy cooking at camp, and I always cook at camp, and I thought it’d be pretty cool if I could make fresh fish tacos on remote areas etc. So I figured an off road trailer would be perfect for that purpose, but of course they’re expensive and I just kept thinking about it. At this point it wasn’t just making tacos but to do it in a way people would feel they’re out camping. I wanted to share not only my tacos but also the love for the outdoors, cooking outside, sitting next to the camp fire etc. I knew I didn’t want to do it in a traditional food truck and just be another roach coach lol. I wanted something different and share all the things I love, live for and I’m passionate about with everyone. But it’s easier said than done.
So I just kept talking about it until my wife gave me the push I needed. She said “if you’re going to do it, just do it with what you have.” Why don’t you start in the back yard and see how it goes? So I did. I ordered my firedisc cooker cause I wanted to keep the overlanding/camping style and after that things started happening – everything just started falling into place, I found my little trailer but they were asking for too much so I low balled it and the guy surprisingly came down on the price by a lot. So I figured I can sell my TJ and try to get it (there was now way I’d be able to tap into our savings to buy a camping trailer lol) but didn’t want to sell it and then miss the trailer and have no TJ and no trailer. I put up the TJ for sale and it sold the same day for way more than I expected to get. Earlier this year I was rear ended and the insurance had given me some cash for the accident. Welp that amount plus what I got for my little TJ was the exact amount the guy was willing to let go the trailer. How crazy is that? So I phoned the guy right away and told him I was on my way to pick up the trailer. Anyhow, that’s kinda how everything came about.
Any particular trips you’ve had great and not so great experiences?
Every trip has been a great experience, even the bad ones have been awesome. When I’m out there everything is different. I’ve broken down, gotten lost, gotten stuck, had rough nights in storms and the list goes on. I have no recollection of ever complaining or regretting anything, it’s all part of the adventure. I never plan my adventures, I keep them that way, I just set some interest points in the direction I want to go and just go looking for an adventure. Not everyone enjoys these type of trips but I always make sure I pick the right people for the voyage.
As far as great experiences, I have many. One of the best ones is when we got lost trying to get to Sierra San Pedro Martir in Baja through the back roads. It was definitely one for the books. We went through some very sketchy trails. It’s different when you’re at your local trail cause you know where you are and can get help, but when you don’t know where you are and have to go through some sketchy stuff not by choice. That’s the only way it gets real fun!!😃
Is there any place you’d like to go that have not been with your vehicle?
Yes. THE trip I want to make with the final destination being Nayarit Mexico, where my mother is from. This involves traveling through Baja to the end of it, taking a ferry to go across to mainland and keep going south in mainland through the coast.
I’m working out the logistics and I’m hoping it will happen in the next couple of years. I will be about a month on the road. Another place I want to go is San Juanico (Scorpion bay) just for surfing. This is a trip my little bro and I have been talking about for many years too.
If you can take anyone, real or not, on the trip in question 6, who would you take and why?
My little brother. He’s always come on my adventures and wouldn’t change that for anyone else.