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.
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.