The Desert Dutchmen, a group of adventurous men out of Schaefferstown, are preparing to take the trip of a lifetime, and raise money for a great cause while they’re at it.

The team consisting of Craig Dieffenbach, Jamie Wolgemuth, and Marshall Kramer will take part in the Baja XL, a 4,000 kilometer race, previously known as The Baja 4000.

The race begins Friday with participants starting from Los Angeles and heading down the Baja Peninsula to Cabo San Lucas, before taking a different path back north, returning to Los Angeles. Over the course of the race participants will traverse a plethora of challenging terrains ranging from dry salt flats and rocky roads to cracked asphalt and beach roads.

The idea to take part in the event came from Dieffenbach, an enduro dirt bike rider who also has previous experience driving class 10 cars on the Baja Peninsula. The promise of adventure and a deep interest in the region prompted Dieffenbach to recruit long-time friends Kramer, a participant in 2016’s Fireball Run (which made its way through Lebanon), and Wolgemuth, an avid long-distance motorcycle rider.

While the promise of an adventure was enough to peak the group’s interest, it was the chance to raise money for a good cause that really sealed the deal. All three are heavily involved in charitable endeavors locally, and jumped at the opportunity to do help others in a different part of the world.

This years Baja XL, funds are being donated to Corazon de Vida with the goal of building a new baby dorm at a Mexican orphanage, and Cardiostart to help perform life-saving heart surgeries.

With upwards of 140 teams participating in this year’s Baja XL, the Desert Dutchmen have the distinction of being among the top ten fundraising teams

“To be recognized as a small team making an impact from Lebanon County is pretty cool,” says Kramer.

With the exception of some help from friends and local businesses to pay for team gear, the rest of the expenses have come out of the group members’ own pockets.

The team will arrive in California on Wednesday and then pick up their car, a rented 2015 Toyota 4-Runner, in San Diego

They will then travel to Los Angeles to gather some last-minute supplies and download maps before embarking on their 10-day journey Friday morning.

While the team noted that data availability can be spotty throughout the Baja Peninsula, they plan to post updates of their journey on their Facebook and Instagram pages.

For more information on the Desert Dutchmen’s fundraising efforts or to make a donation, check out the team’s fundraising page.


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