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Baja California, Mexico (2012) in a Tacoma for 15 days:

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Old 08-03-2012, 09:43 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Hardscrabble View Post
David,
Wow, awesome pictures and write up!
I've never been to Baja but have always wanted to go.
I'm reading it all and learning a lot. Thank you.
Looking forward to the rest of the trip.
Glad you like it! For further research into Baja, see my web site: http://vivabaja.com

My favorite things about Baja is the miles of beaches, usually deserted; the history with the Spanish missions (1697-1849) and their road 'El Camino Real'; the old gold and silver mines; and the Indian rock art sites. Oh, and naturally the dirt roads and the off road races, too.
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Old 08-04-2012, 11:20 AM   #22
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DAY 8-a, to Todos Santos and San Pedrito

Because we saw so much on this day, I need to break it into a couple of separate posts...




Saturday, July 21st (Day 8)

Today we use the Tacoma to drive the Cabo Loop (go south from La Paz to Cabo San Lucas on the Pacific side via Todos Santos, and return north to La Paz on the gulf side, via Los Barriles). The total miles we drove was this day was 247.

The Todos Santos/ Cabo highway (Mexico #19) has been widened to four lanes except for a few miles around Todos Santos. We do take a side trip in Todos Santos and photograph a wall where anti-mining graffiti was painted (a Canadian company has been trying to open a new gold mine some miles from Todos Santos, but not everyone seems to be in favor of it.

Just a few miles south of Todos Santos we take a dirt road angling to the southwest from the highway and park for the ½ mile walk to the beach of San Pedrito. The walk takes you from pure desert to pure tropical paradise, and soon you could be easily dreaming of a scene from the South Pacific islands. We are after all in the same latitude as Hawaii.

An old ruin near the parking spot was once the villa of a Mexican general and an airstrip was there, too… I will let the photos tell more. Bajatripper can fill in the additional history as it is quite interesting!

Photos:



4 lanes south from La Paz to Cabo, except through Todos Santos.


Protesting a Canadian gold mine project in the mountains northwest of Todos Santos.


Ruins of a Todos Santos sugar mill.


Desert road to a tropical beach, San Pedrito.


Maybe a half mile walk to the beach.


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The general who had a villa at San Pedrito also had facilities for his beach guests. Bajatripper showed me an old photo showing some building here, a refreshment bar and restrooms, I recall?








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Time to head back to the truck…






Ever see a creeping palm tree?




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What I was photographing.

Steve says ‘let’s go look at the general’s villa… first we pass the watchman’s home (it is empty).



















Next, we drive south to Land’s End, Cabo San Lucas… the tip of Baja!
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Old 08-04-2012, 09:24 PM   #24
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CABO SAN LUCAS!

It is an easy drive on south to the end of the California peninsula at Cabo San Lucas. When I first came here in 1966, it was a small fish cannery town with a pier and a salt flat that was an airstrip for a lone tourist hotel, the Hacienda. When the Transpeninsular Highway (Mexico #1) was completed in December, 1973 tourism really had an impact on Baja California, and probably nowhere more than right here at the end of the peninsula. The old salt flat runway is now a marina, and the sleepy fishing town is a city with hotels, condos and nightclubs.

Steve and Zully have a treat for us and it was outstanding… a boat ride out to El Arco (The Arch) at the tip of Baja… ‘Land’s End’. There is a secure pay parking area by the docks for the glass bottom boats and water taxis. Soon we were on the water and entertained by our captain who pointed out the sites along the way.

When you go out past the tip and look back at the arch and the splashing waves, it is quite an experience. Lot’s of photos and back after 45 minutes… very fun. We have lunch at Cavendish’s by the docks… all good food and drink!

Photos:


Entering ‘Cabo’ on Hwy. 19.




We drive up to the Hotel Finisterra for photos.












Several interestingly named boats are for hire!


We get a good one!


The English pirate Cavendish is waiting for the Spanish ship Santa Ana to poke around the cape!




Plenty of colorful fish down there.




Rock is the Baja peninsula, upside-down.


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We sure appreciated this ride… what a treat! Thank you Steve and Zully!


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There it is!


















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It’s a dragon taking a drink!




Only fitting that such a fantastic peninsula have such a dramatic ending!


Do you see the horse’s head?




Mango Margaritas seem like a natural choice for our lunch beverage.



We leave Cabo San Lucas, and can only go north from there, but on Highway #1 back to La Paz. See the rest of today’s adventures, coming up next (El Tule, San Jose del Cabo, Santiago, Las Cuevas)!
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Old 08-05-2012, 04:39 PM   #25
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North from Cabo, still a lot to see on DAY #8!

We leave Cabo on Highway #1 and head northeast past many resorts and condos towards San Jose del Cabo. Along the way, we turn off the four lane highway to El Tule beach. El Tule is a rare, undeveloped piece of beach here in the Los Cabos region of Baja.

At the entrance to San Jose del Cabo, we take the right fork and go to the estuary for a walk along the water and palms. A totally unexpected place of serenity surrounded by so much development. The dirt path was patrolled by police, each riding (standing) on a Segway. The southernmost California Spanish mission was first established here by the estuary in 1730, Mission San Jose del Cabo was perhaps more important to provide water and fresh fruit to the ships of the Manila Galleon which sailed right off this coast on their way to Acapulco, with treasures from the Orient.

The mission site was moved several times until the final site, which is in the town plaza, where a newer church replaced the ruined mission church here. Last photographed about 94 years ago, see the photo of it before being demolished.

San Jose del Cabo has old colonial style, narrow streets and are all one way. It takes us some effort to drive in front of the church for photos, and no place there to park. A tiled mosaic above the church entrance illustrates the murder of a Jesuit priest by the natives during the Pericu Indian uprising of 1734. All four of the southernmost missions were temporarily abandoned during this revolt (La Paz, Todos Santos, Santiago and San Jose del Cabo).

Highway #1 is four lanes until reaching the Los Cabos International Airport, then it is two lanes past farm towns that include Santa Anita, where the bus station next to the highway looks like an old home seen in photos of the past. We stop and talk with one person who lived there for over 50 years and says this building was there at least as long. It had very thick walls, as typical of early construction.

Several miles north, the highway crosses the Tropic of Cancer and a monument consisting of a large white globe, marks the spot. Just beyond is the paved side road into Santiago, a tropical village at the final site of California’s tenth Spanish mission dating back to 1724. A modern church is built on the site, right on the paved road through town. The pavement ends at the Santiago Zoo, which despite protests by animal advocates, remains open and a popular place for family visits.

Some five miles north of Santiago is Las Cuevas, ‘The Caves’ . Access them by driving under the Highway #1 bridge, over the Santiago riverbed and a mile or so up it. The large cave is on the east side of the arroyo and in the entrance are beehives, way high up. Inside are bats, lots of bats! What a great tour Bajatripper has given us (again) today!

On our way back to La Paz, we take some photos of the fishing boats off Los Barriles and the town of San Antonio from a view point along the highway. This has been an incredible day with so much sites and experiences!

The photos:


El Tule (between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo)













At El Estero de San Jose del Cabo:










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See the top of the ‘mission’/church, in town above the estero plants.


The beach sand, at the other end of the estero.




The modern church on the final mission location.


Tile mosaic of the Pericu Indians murdering Padre Tamaral.]


1918-1919 era photo of Mission San Jose del Cabo, the 12th California mission, est. 1730.


Santa Anita bus depot, but an very old home dating back many years.


My Toyota Tacoma on the Tropic of Cancer in Baja California Sur, Mexico.


My wife on the Tropic of Cancer, silly girl!


Modern Santiago church on the final site of the 1724 Jesuit founded California mission, it was number 10 of the 48 total California missions.




At the zoo, we turn around and head back to Highway #1, to continue north.



Las Cuevas and the Bat Cave:





The next six photos are looking up, at the ceiling:













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Nearing Los Barriles on the Bahia las Palmas, East Cape of Baja California Sur.






Looking down on San Antonio from a view point.



That wraps up DAY 8 (Saturday, July 21, 2012)… Stay tuned for DAY 9 (diving with sea lions off the islands in the Sea of Cortez)!
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Old 08-07-2012, 12:14 AM   #26
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DAY 9: Boating out of La Paz, snorkeling with sea lions and a great dinner!

Sunday, July 22, 2012 (Day 9)

Today is our ‘island day’ featuring a boat ride from La Paz north to Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida at the north end. We enjoy the scenery of La Paz from the bay and of El Mogote with its failed hotel and housing development (El Mogote is the sand bar peninsula facing the city of La Paz). Next, we go past Pichilingue and the now abandoned U.S. Navy coaling station that operated here from 1866 to 1925. A bit past Pichiligue is Bahia Balandra with its popular ‘mushroom rock’ we visited from land on Friday. Next we zoom across the San Lorenzo Channel to Isla Espiritu Santo. On the southwest coast of the island is Bahia San Gabriel with its ruins of a pearl oyster farm from the early 1900’s. We cannot beach the boat because of the rocks, so we go over the side and swim to shore to have a closer look at the immense rock works there.

With some effort (mostly on my part), we get back into the boat and continue to the north end of the island and its nearly connected twin, Isla Partida. Here are many boats bringing people to some clear water shared by sea lions… and we put on masks and fins and go in!

It was the highlight of the day to swim with the tropical fish and the thrill of the day (for me) when a sea lion came within ten feet of me, showing its teeth! There is a fine line where the sea lions don’t want the humans any closer to their spot, and that is fine with me! Following our dive time, we and other boats went to a nearby beach to have lunch and swim in the sand bottom bay.

On the way back to La Paz, we stop to have a close look at a set of cliff caves called ’the mask’, and the photos will illustrate why the name. The first Spanish sailors to come to California should have been warned by it, as most of them died in their attempt to land at La Paz. They were unwelcome by the Pericu natives, and the leader Fortun Jimenez and 22 of his crew were killed when they landed to take on water. The survivors sailed back to the mainland and word eventually reached Cortes about the ’island’ they discovered, rich with pearls… The following year (1535), Cortes personally came to La Paz, (he named the bay ’Santa Cruz’) to start a colony and harvest the black pearls. The colony failed and most did not survive the two years it was reported to have lasted.

This was a wonderful day and it sure was the icing on the cake of our time in La Paz, thanks to Steve and Zully! It was only fitting for us to take them out to dinner at the famous resturant ‘Las Tres Virgenes’ (alta cocina peninsular) owned by a friend and fellow Baja Nomad, ‘Jesse’. Here is what I posted on Facebook:

We were in La Paz last month and came to Las Tres Virgenes with our La Paz friends Steve and Zully. The service and the food were OUTSTANDING, AAA#1. I am telling all my Baja bound friends that when in La Paz, they should treat themselves to a dinner here! My wife had the rib-eye and it was more of a prime rib and she said was easily the best she has ever eaten. Between the four of us, we could sample several offerings. The lamb taco appetizer was an awesome start to a great meal. My hat's off to Jesse and his brother Pedro for an outstanding restaurant and I only wish it wasn't 900 miles away from my home! The address is Madero 1130, Colonia Central C.P. 23000 La Paz BCS, Mexico. This is just a couple blocks up the hill from the Malecon, and north of the church. Telephone (612)123-2226 and they have a Facebook page, where I just posted the above comments.

Sadly, Jesse wasn’t there, but his brother Pedro took good care of us and got Jesse on the phone so I could chat with him. It was a repeat of the last time I came to his restaurant (in Tijuana, back in 2006) and he was gone that day, but I spoke to him then on the phone.

Well, it was a fantastic time in La Paz and the Cape region the past four full days. Tomorrow we head back north with plans to overnight at Bahia Concepcion and then head out the Vizcaino Peninsula to meet Blanca and Les at La Bocana then return to Shari and Juan’s bed and breakfast at Bahia Asuncion.

Enjoy the photos for Sunday, Day 9:


Leaving La Paz, some pretty large yachts are passed.


Looking back at La Paz, see the church steeples?


The doomed development on El Mogote.


El Mogote housing… expect them to me gone during the next big hurricane.


La Paz gets smaller as we cruise north.


American Navy coaling station, closed in 1925.






The truck and car ferry returning to La Paz from the mainland.


The mushroom rock as seen from the sea.


Crossing the San Lorenzo Channel.


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The San Gabriel pearl-oyster ruins of the early 1900’s, on Isla Espiritu Santo.


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Steve, Zully, Jorge, Nikki


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Returning to our boat.


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Frigates and their nesting area.


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Several sea lions along the island’s coast.




Clear sea water.





Nearing the snorkeling area we join many other boats.






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After our snorkeling experience, we cruised over to a sand beach on the island for lunchtime.


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Fishermen’s huts on the island.


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A popular stop is to see the ‘mask’.


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Heading back to La Paz!


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Such a great day, thank you Steve ’Bajatripper’ and Zully!

Tomorrow we head north for more fun, Baja style!
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Old 08-08-2012, 12:14 AM   #27
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DAY 10: North from La Paz to Bahia Concepcion

Monday, July 23, 2012 (Day 10)

We have a final look at the beautiful back yard of Bajatripper’s and say our goodbyes to Steve and Zully. We are on the road at 9:30am and head out of La Paz. There is no inspection at the checkpoint outside of town, as we are waved on through. About 70 miles from La Paz is a small town of Las Pocitas and I spot some interesting furniture on display, so we stop. It is the shop of Manuel and he permits me to take photos of his arts and crafts display. One item of interest is an artillery shell form Bahia Magdalena. Bajatripper had told me about how the U.S. Navy practiced shelling one of the islands of Magdalena Bay (without Mexico’s approval), many years ago.

We are back on the road at 11:15am. I note the the road to Mission San Luis Gonzaga is at Km. 195 ½ and would like to see it in person one day, but I know we need to keep moving in order to set up camp before dark tonight. The 14th California mission (est. in 1737) will have to wait until the next trip!

We enter Ciudad Constitucion and the highway becomes a divided multi lane affair at Km. 209. There have been repeated reports of hungry city cops issuing tickets for the slightest or even no altercations. This was our second time passing through this city on this trip, and no police were even seen, let alone provided us any harassment either time. The highway to Puerto San Carlos is at Km. 212 and we soon are out of Constitucion. The highway remains 4 lanes wide for the next 16 miles to Ciudad Insurgentes, where Highway #1 turns to the east to cross over to the gulf coast. It is 12:31 at Insurgentes, as we keep moving back into the desert.

I see lots of pitahaya dulce cactus, but the fruit is not yet mature. We pull off to take photos and see a dead cow, that is mostly bones. Elizabeth wants to save the horns, she doesn’t ask for much. Not too much further we reach the top of the sierra, and the steep drop down to the coast. Ligüí is not far from the bottom of the grade, so we pull off at Km. 84 ½ (by the school) and drive 0.6 mile to the monument to the 3rd California Spanish mission, San Juan Bautista de Ligüí/ Malibat (est. in 1705).

The mission foundation was totally washed away in 2001 by the changing arroyo, I took photos of the rubble back then. By 2009, on my next visit, people erected a cross and a parking area just beyond were the mission once stood, as a monument. Today we find that the arroyo has widened more and has started eating away at the new memorial site!

There is a new grave across the road from the memorial park. We continue the half mile more to the beach of Playa Ligüí and see some property owner has almost made the beach unreachable with his new fence right up to the palapas at this Playa Publica. We continue on from Ligüí at 2 pm and arrive in Loreto at 2:30. First order is to top off the gas tank, as it has been 228 miles since La Paz. It takes 600 pesos to fill with 59.7 liters. Now with nearly all of those miles on the highway, my mileage would typically be 17-18 mpg with the load I am carrying. My first clue that the pumps at this Loreto Pemex (on the highway, by the entrance to town) are not accurate is the mileage with that many liters was only 14.4 mpg. When I filled up in La Paz after driving south, my mileage was 16.8 mpg. Oh well, nothing to do, the gas is still a great deal at $2.95 a gallon.

Just a mile north, on the west side of the highway, is the great fruit restaurant El Cañaveral, run by ‘Charlie’. We each order the fruit salad (again) and I also try the Liquado de Mamey which is a smoothie made with the mamey sapote. What is a mamey sapote? Well, it is native to southern Mexico and Central America, and is the national fruit of Cuba (either for the sweet taste or that it is red inside)! http://fruitmaven.com/2012/04/mamey-sapote/ and http://livefoodexperience.wordpress....ote-good-eatn/
Are a couple of web sites showing them. I described the mamey liquido like a cross between a chocolate and vanilla milk shake. Yum!! We also had a serving of coconut horchata to cleanse the palate.

It is 55 miles from Loreto to Playa La Perla on Concepcion Bay. Along the way is a military checkpoint, with the typical questions and search and then we saw several huge dust devils to the west of the highway.

We arrived at La Perla on Bahia Concepcion about sunset. The other family that was there last week were gone, we were all alone… until a seagull made himself our friend and actually would take food from Elizabeth’s hand! It took a while, mind you… but it was pretty cool.

Monday’s photos:


On the road again!


Stopped here in Las Positas.
















U.S. Navy shelling a Baja island, maybe 100 years ago?


Entering Ciudad Constitucion


Pitahaya dulce cactus. Sweet pitaya/pitahaya cactus fruit.






Pitahaya agria cactus. Despite the name (Sour pitaya), its fruit is also excellent.






Back to the Cortez side we go!











The only fork driving towards the mission and beach of Ligüí. To the right goes to Ensenada Blanca.


The monument to the washed away mission ruin is also soon to wash away.












Playa Ligüí, A 180º panorama begins here, looking south and swings around to the north…













The Sierra de la Giganta.




This used to be a lagoon and island called Nopolo, I swam here in 1973. Now, it’s a golf course.


This Jeep at the entrance to Loreto must have a story?


Loreto is just a few kilometers away from these other Baja towns.


Back at the Fruteria El Cañaveral, just north of the Loreto entrance road.








The south end of Bahia Concepcion.


The old Baja main road, carved into the hillside at Bahia Concepcion.


Driving into Playa La Perla, we use some of the old main Baja highway. This was the road to La Paz before 1970 when the new highway roadbed was built from Loreto north to Santa Rosalia. The entire new highway was completed in late 1973.















Tomorrow, we drive across to the Pacific coast of Baja, and meet new friends at La Bocana and see old friends at Bahia Asuncion!
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Old 08-08-2012, 12:48 AM   #28
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Looks like such a great trip, and awesome photos and write up!
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Old 08-08-2012, 07:35 AM   #29
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This thread is so full of win.
Absolutely fantastic pictures and your information is a joy to read.
Thank you for taking the time to do this.
I'm sure everyone appreciates your efforts......
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:05 AM   #30
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I love your trip threads!
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Old 08-08-2012, 10:18 AM   #31
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Thank you Dustin, Mike and Kevin!

I think you will enjoy the next 5 days of my trip real well... Finding petrified sharks teeth and fossil coral near Bahia Asuncion; Being fed abalone burgers and lobster omelettes at Juan y Shari's bed and breakfast in Asuncion; Giant cave art in the center of Baja; another deserted beach for the night... all coming soon!
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Old 08-08-2012, 10:46 AM   #32
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Wow, what a great trip. I enjoy the pictures and the narrative.
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Old 08-08-2012, 11:31 PM   #33
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My pleasure... please feel free to ask questions... in the meantime, stand by for the rest of the trip... still lot's of cool stuff in Baja we enjoyed, to come!
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:55 AM   #34
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All these years you've spent down there, I assume you speak fluent Spanish now?
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:06 AM   #35
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I wouldn't say it is fluent, but I usually get by. I want people to know that speaking Spanish is not needed to have a Baja vacation. English is spoken in most places, but learning a few words or just practicing can be a fun way to interact, for sure. If you are going to be camping, your only contact might be at the gas station where 'lleno el tanque' (yea-no el tahn-kay)/ 'fill the tank' may be said. Regular (87 octane) is Magna, in the green (verde) pump and Premium comes from the red (roja) pump. Not hard, verdád?

The pumps read in liters, and our Tacoma holds 80 liters, so depending on where your needle is, you will know about how much is going to be pumped in. The price is in pesos, and right now, about 13 pesos equals a dollar. The price of Magna (regular) now is 10.05 pesos per liter. There is 3.785 liters in a gallon. So, 10.05 x 3.785 = 38.04 pesos per gallon. 38.04 divided by 13 (pesos per dollar) = $2.93/gallon. There is an exception, and that is stations within 20 km. (12 miles) of the border, where prices are a bit higher.
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Old 08-09-2012, 12:54 PM   #37
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DAY 11: Bahia Concepcion views then on to La Bocana and Bahia Asuncion.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 (Day 11)

Our camp is pretty easy to pack onto the Tacoma, and this new easy-up tent is great. We leave La Perla at 9am and drive out on the El Requeson road, since we are northbound. We take photos of some views of Bahia Concepcion and of a highway crew painting new stripes on fresh pavement. Next we pass through Mulege, without stopping and the same for Santa Rosalia. We have a long drive to get out to La Bocana and Bahia Asuncion, on the Vizcaino Peninsula. That is the big point or ‘hook’ of land that sticks out into the Pacific, halfway down the peninsula of Baja California.

Both La Bocana and Bahia Asuncion have bed and breakfast establishments operated by members of the Baja Nomad forums on the Internet. We have stayed at Bahia Asuncion once before (in 2007), and were looking forward to seeing the additions made there, since. The town of Bahia Asuncion has become very popular with Americans and Canadians who heard about it on Baja Nomad, and came for the fantastic fishing or just a quiet get-away, in a small Mexican town.

As we pass north of Santa Rosalia, and we get a photo of the new pier being built for the new mines openening up there for copper and manganese. New discoveries and a rising copper price will pump life into this former French copper mining town, on Mexico’s Baja coast.

The steep grade ‘Cuesta del Infierno’ was being widened and repaved and we were one of the first to drive on the new pavement heading up the grade on this day. The narrow, shoulder-less Baja Highway, finished in 1973, is slowly being modernized to a wider highway with shoulders having enough room to allow bikes or pedestrians safe space from the trucks, busses, and cars the highway was built for. It also allows for broken down vehicles to not totally block a lane of traffic.

We arrive in San Ignacio at 11:14 am and fill up the gas tank for the long drive from here. It is 163 miles since I filled up in Loreto, so I need a half a tank to top it off (40.3 liters/10.6 gallons), cost is 405 pesos ($31.40).

The highway to Punta Abreojos joins Highway #1, 14.5 miles west of San Ignacio at Km. 97 ½ and the road is paved all the way to Abreojos now, 65.5 miles. In 2007, the pavement ended about 10 miles from town.

We arrive in Punta Abreojos and miss seeing the road on to La Bocana, so we turn around at the end of town (built on a point) and spot the north road that drops down onto the salt flat… which is smoother than the graded dirt road, we missed at the entrance to town. Of course, after a real big high tide, you don’t want to use the salt flat! We leave Abreojos at 12:45pm and have an easy drive for 12.6 miles to the La Bocana Bed & Breakfast run by Blanca and Les www.labocanahotel.com located on the west side of town with a clear view of the Pacific, beyond the expanse of low dunes.

We are invited to see their rooms and then asked if we would like some chicken stroganoff… Why yes, thank you! Their newest and biggest room is quite the accommodation. I called it the ‘Deluxe room’ and took several pictures. We had lunch and there was even some chocolate/lemon cake for dessert. When I offered to pay for the great meal, she declined, but I said, “for the children”… (Blanca has been helping the village children get and do things that can make a difference in their fishing village lives).

We left La Bocana at 3:12pm and after missing the correct street out of town, found it (maybe the only 4 way stop sign intersection in La Bocana) with a small sign for Asuncion. The road now is a graded dirt road and had recently been graded, so the drive was pretty fast. A new water pipeline is being placed in a trench along the road nearly the entire distance to Asuncion.

We reach the paved highway to Bahia Asuncion (at Km. 34), just 3 miles from town, and 44.7 miles from La Bocana, at 4:35pm. Juan & Shari’s Bed & Breakfast is on the far side of town, on the point with a clear view of Asuncion Island. Take the left fork at the Fisherman Monument where the entrance road splits, then work your way over the rise to the other side of the point. To go any further past their B&B, you would be in the ocean! www.bahiaasuncion.com . Shari was there when we drove up and showed us the new ‘Rock room’ added since our last visit. It is actually two rooms, available together or separately, so it is great for a family with children. Another new room was nearly finished on the other side of Shari’s house, the ‘Dolphin room’ with great views. Upstairs will be another addition, in the near future. For dinner, Shari makes us abalone burgers! Food from the sea is her specialty and you would be hard pressed to find a more pleasant and accommodating host. Shari came to Baja from Canada to study the whales and marine life, over 20 years ago. She has made Baja her home, speaks Spanish like a native, and married to a local fisherman from the famous Arce family that date back to the time of Spanish soldiers who guarded the missions. Shari’s daughter (born in Baja) and son-in-law help operate their campground in Bahia Asuncion, and are raising Shari’s grandson, now about 2 years old! During the whale breeding season (Feb.-Apr.), Shari offers guided tours and whale watching from boats on the lagoon ‘Ojo de Liebre’ (Scammon’s Lagoon). The gray whales swim right past her home, as well as they migrate to and from the Bering Sea, off Alaska.


Here are today’s photos:


Leaving Playa La Perla and there is the sand isthmus of El Requeson.


We camped there in 2007 http://vivabaja.com/707


One of the most photographed beaches on Bahia Concepcion is El Coyote.






The highway offers many great views of this big bay and the islands it holds.








Elizabeth was fascinated with how they painted stripes on the highway.






There is the Mulege mission in the distance, past the highway bridge, over the river. The mission was named Santa Rosalia de Mulege and was the 4th Spanish California mission, founded in 1705. The stone church we see today was constructed beginning in 1766.









Mulege is often known as the ‘Hawaii of Baja’.


New mine pier north of Santa Rosalia.


It was dirt last week, but we get to drive on new pavement going back up the Cuesta del Infierno grade.




The distance from San Ignacio (540 miles) which is just 10 miles south of the halfway point between Tijuana and Cabo San Lucas (1,059 miles) on Highway #1.


Just south of Highway #1, on the Punta Abreojos highway, the old main road is crossed… so naturally, I turn onto it for a photo! This was the main road to La Paz from Tijuana before 1973. I traveled on this road with my parents in our Jeep in 1966... When driving in Baja was a REAL adventure!




Arriving in Abreojos, a new Pemex gas station is not yet open, up ahead.



Ospreys make their nests on any high object.


The fast road to La Bocana… If the ice caps begin melting, then this would not be an option!


The front of Blanca and Les’ bed and breakfast in La Bocana.


The view from the porch.


Blanca and Elizabeth.


Nice place for a meal or drink, out of the sun and wind.


The Deluxe room.








View of La Bocana.




Blanca takes us on a tour of town. Here is where the fishermen launch their boats (pangas).


The school… our friend Antonio’s (‘Baja Cactus’ of El Rosario) father was the principle here, many years ago. Probably not the same building.




The road out from La Bocana, northwest to Asuncion.




New water pipeline, coming over 100 miles from wells at Vizcaino.




We made it, the Blowhole Bed and Breakfast at Bahia Asuncion.


Shari shows us the new Rockroom, and we get to stay there for two nights!




The view from one side of the Rockroom.


The other side view.


Shari makes jewelry.




The future upstairs room.


The Blowhole.




Hard to beat the view here, and listening to the sea lions barking from the island!





Tomorrow, we go hunting for fossils, including shark’s teeth from the dinosaur age.

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Old 08-09-2012, 08:30 PM   #38
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DAY 12: Fossil Hunting for Megalodon Teeth

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 (Day 12)

We had a fantastic, restful sleep in the Rock room… great mattress and the sound of waves and sea lions were great ‘white noise’ affects! Shari serves us lobster omelets for breakfast and it is a super relaxing day with no rushing and no long driving. Ever since our first time at Asuncion, we have wanted to return to do some fossil hunting. Megalodon teeth http://www.the-shark-side-of-life.co...don-shark.html
have been found in the hills near Bahia Asuncion and we were anxious to have a look in the badlands a few miles away. In fact, it was a request from Elizabeth to go so we could have a look, so think of this side trip to Asuncion as her anniversary present! Yah, I am willing to do things my wife likes… like a good husband! Okay honey, if that’s what you really want to do, I will go four wheeling for you and look for fossils. LOL

What was a surprise is that not long after picking one place to start looking, Elizabeth found a tooth! Way to go Baja Angel! We just enjoyed looking at the hills and scanning the ground, and at another location, she found another… and I found one. It wasn’t as nice as hers, and was broken, but still it was fun. There also were lots of tube shaped pieces that looked light rusty ½ inch galvanized pipe. Shari would tell us later that they were coral fossils.

We spent all afternoon out there and it was fun, just Elizabeth and I wondering about and comparing discoveries. I placed them on my tailgate to photograph before leaving them and the badlands behind as we returned to Shari’s home and our ‘Rock room’. We met Baja Nomads ‘Nan & D’ (Nancy and David) who live at Asuncion full time now. They came over to check out the new dolphin room. Nancy is an artist who has paintings, coffee mugs and other creative works on display at Juan and Shari‘s. For dinner we were fed lobster burritos and had a second great sleep.

Today’s photos:


Lobster, it’s not just for dinner anymore!


Asuncion Badlands


The first tooth was just to the left of my truck and about halfway down the slope. Look for shiny ‘stones’ that stand out from the rest.




Whale bones are included.


At another location, under a shrub, I found this.


Elizabeth is a far better hunter than I. She tells me, not so fast… look slowly.


Sitting right on the ledge in front of her, a beauty.


The third area we moved to, and as Elizabeth opens the truck door, a tooth is right on the ground where she steps out.


Fossil coral are the tube shaped pieces.

So, don’t be in a hurry when hunting for petrified sharks’ teeth. We were out in the badlands for about 4-5 hours, having a great time… but we only found about 4-5 teeth and a couple of them were not whole, and none were the big megalodon teeth.


What a relaxing place Juan and Shari have here. So many have also discovered Bahia Asuncion thanks to Shari getting onto Baja Nomad and really boosting the entire town’s economy in doing so.


In our room were some Baja books, and this one had an interesting cave shown.


It also gave a location and we would be in the area, tomorrow!
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:39 AM   #39
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DAY 13-a to Santa Gertrudis Mission (1752)

Thursday, July 26, 2012 (Day 13-a)

Today we awake after another great sleep, and we even asked for a wake up call so we wouldn’t sleep in too long. Not long after we are up and dressed did Shari deliver waffles with real Canadian maple syrup and fruit. It was great…!

The goal today is to go from the Pacific side of Baja over to the gulf side, and this being the widest part of the peninsula and over half on dirt roads, we had some ground to cover. However, this is a site seeing vacation and we hope to see the 1752 Spanish mission of Santa Gertrudis, the ghost town of Pozo Aleman, the giant cave art site as shown in the book we saw yesterday, and to camp at Punta San Francisquito.

Take a look at the route map, and we are going from the far left side, across to the right side of Baja:




For those not familiar with the central part of Baja California, here is the peninsula map I posted earlier with the places we over-night’ed shown:



I made a road log, starting at Shari and Juan’s Bed & Breakfast on the west side of the point at Bahia Asuncion:

00.0 Juan & Shari’s 10:36am
00.9 Fork at fisherman monument, in town.
01.1 Miramar Market, Gas Pump
01.2 Police Station, Curvina Street (road to San Roque)
01.4 Divided street, Campo Sirena access.
01.7 End divided street, town entrance.
04.7 (Km.34) Road to Punta Prieta, La Bocana, Punta Abreojos
25.2 (Km.0) Junction with Vizcaino-Bahia Tortugas highway 11:05am. Turn east.
70.0 Vizcaino at Highway #1 12:00pm. Gas station is 0.3 mile to the north.

The highway to Vizcaino is 90% good pavement, but the 10% of big pot holes can really ruin the whole road, if you let it. There is also some drift sand that covers one lane in a few places. Just lower your speed, and all will be fine.

00.0 Vizcaino at Bahia Tortugas Junction. Turn north.
06.5 Turn onto dirt road, signed to Guillermo Prieto 23 km., but I measured it at 20 km. 12:22pm. We stop for a break a ways ahead and make sandwiches (PB&J).
18.4 Mision Santa Gertrudis sign, pointing a left turn.
19.0 Center of Guillermo Prieto (‘Dark William’), seems to be abandoned. Continue straight north.
30.1 The state border between Baja California and Baja California Sur. Also a change from Mountain Time to Pacific Time. A fence is parallel to the border, about 80 feet north, per my GPS.
32.6 Intersection: Left to El Arco; Ahead to Punta San Francisquito; Right (signed) to Santa Gertrudis. 12:50pm/ Pacific Time. Reset odometer.

00.0 Intersection
00.6 Rancho Miraflores (made famous in Graham Mackintosh’s second book, ‘Journey with a Baja Burro’, thanks to Graham’s burro, ‘Mision’)
11.0 Mision Santa Gertrudis (1752), on a level bench above a palm filled oasis. 1:14pm.

The mission church was locked and there seemed to be nobody in the village. A Mexican family with their SUV was parked at the oasis having lunch as we drove by. I guessed them to be visitors, as well. I took lots of photos of the stone church, and its unique separate bell tower. The present church was completed by the Dominicans in 1796. The Franciscans were here 5 years, before moving on to Alta California in 1773. The mission founding Jesuits were here until 1768, when the king of Spain ordered them all removed from New Spain. This mission was planned as far back as 1745 to be called Dolores del Norte, but when funds were available in 1748 with the closing of Mision San Jose del Cabo, the name was changed to honor the benefactor’s wife. Construction of the first adobe buildings started in 1751, a year before a priest was available to man the new mission. The mission was abandoned in 1822, but some families continued to live here.

In 1997, the mission was greatly renovated, and some of its historic charm was lost, on the interior changes. Today there are displays and exhibits on the area history, including a mine cart, perhaps from Pozo Aleman, where we go to next!

Here is a close up, detailed map of the route from Highway #1, just north of Vizcaino to Guillermo Prieto, the state border, then east 11 miles to Santa Gertudis:




The photos for Day 13-a:












Is this the Vizcaino Desert American Consulate?






Baja tailgate party! PB&Js with ice cold Tecates.


It is a great, fast dirt road to Guillermo Prieto, and on to the border, too.




Guillermo Prieto, 11 years ago it was full of people and kids were playing.






Ball-Moss (Gallito) attaches to many shrubs and cactus in central Baja.




On the 28º parallel of latitude, the state border between Baja California and Baja California Sur, also a time zone change.


My truck at the fence line, just 80 feet inside Baja ‘Norte’.


Looking south into Baja ‘Sur’.


2.5 miles north of the border is the intersection with signs pointing to the mission.




All the roads I am on today are good and only 2WD is used.






The information is very incorrect… another sign, much faded is closer with a founding date given of 1751. It was 1752, per direct mission texts and letters.






































In the next part, we go to the old gold mine ghost town of Pozo Aleman, where some people lived in man made caves.
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:47 PM   #40
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POZO ALEMAN (1910 and 2012 Photos)

Day 13-b: To Pozo Aleman (German Well)

We left Mision Santa Gertrudis and came back out the 11 miles to the 4 way intersection. The left road goes back to Highway #1 (26 miles), and was the way we came in. The right hand road continues northward for 12.3 miles to the Punta San Francisquito and Bahia de los Angeles road. We go straight across on the road west to El Arco.

In 5.5 miles, the graded El Arco road bends to the left slightly where the older, Pozo Aleman road continues straight. It is 2:04pm, so we have plenty of summer daylight still ahead. In a few miles we come to some interesting geology and several other roads going to mine claims, perhaps. I expect this road to go right to Pozo Aleman, as the map shows, but instead it meets the El Arco-San Francisquito road just to the east of Pozo Aleman. It has been 4.4 miles from the El Arco/Santa Gertrudis road.

In just 0.4 mile going west, we are at the ‘driveway’ into Pozo Aleman that passes the cemetery. It is 0.7 mile to Pozo Aleman from the graded road. There are several abandoned ruins of adobe and wood homes, as well as the underground homes seen in a 1910 photograph here. There is one rather large home across the gully from the others, and it looks to be occupied, but we see nobody.

There is plenty to look at here and then at the cemetery before we continue our drive east. We leave Pozo Aleman at 3:05pm and are hopeful we can find the big painted cave we saw in the book at Shari’s (I also have seen photos of it on Baja Nomad from at least two other people). To not cause any grief, I will not publish the mileages or GPS of the road to the painted cave. See it in the next part of the trip report.

Map of the area, and mileages on the roads we used, between stars. The 4.4 mile road actually ended 0.4 mile east of Pozo Aleman (not shown on map).




Fork, 16.5 miles from Santa Gertrudis: El Arco left/ Pozo Aleman right.


This is the kind of road I like to drive in Baja!

























1910 photo.
























This building is half in the hillside, I walk over to the roof to look down inside.


Looks like parts of an old truck in there.













Next we try and find the Cave of El Arco…

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