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

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Old 08-11-2012, 12:01 PM   #41
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Big Painted Cave... Baja rocks!

Day 13-c

We leave Pozo Aleman at 3:05pm and take the graded road for some miles until I spot a side road with lots of travel. It ends in just ¾ of a mile at a turn around, next to the side of a big hill. A close look up the hill and I see a cave. From the turn around, a well worn foot trail heads up the hillside. Obviously many folks have been here, perhaps tours. Along the trail, near the cave is a carved Elephant tree with the name ‘Arce’ and the year ‘1990’, perhaps when it was discovered? The site is a major painted cave, yet Harry Crosby did not include it in his books cataloging the hundreds of central Baja California painted caves. Crosby researched his cave paintings book in the 1970’s, so perhaps this one (near El Arco) had indeed not yet been discovered?

We take many photos at the cave and we note that it contains paintings of 4 men, 4 women, 4 deer, 4 fish and 2 dark figures with one wearing a ‘hat’. So, we call it ‘the cave of fours, plus 2’! Some of the images are faint and painted over others… so take your time and study the art here or in my photos… A most exciting site on our great 15 Day Baja vacation. On our way back down the trail we photograph some boojum trees, some pitahaya dulce, and more ball moss. We are back to the Tacoma and driving again at 5:00pm. It is summer, and the sun is still well up in the sky.

Our goal is Punta San Francisquito where a beautiful beach is located I camped at back in 1983...

Photos:


The El Arco/ Punta San Francisquito road is fast and easy to drive.




Ball moss.


The painted cave is up there.


The trail is easy to follow, and only gets steep near the cave.


The Pitahaya Dulce or Organ Pipe Cactus was the source of much joy to the Cochimi Indians when its fruit ripened in the fall.


The cave… getting closer!


Looking back down the trail.


We can see the giant paintings.























The only sign at the site…














I spot a boojum tree (cirio) about my height… They can grow to 60 feet or more.







The base of the tall boojums.


Here are some young pitahaya fruit. In a couple more months they will be ripe for eating.



We return to the road to Punta San Francisquito and continue east as the sun slowly drops in the west.

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Old 08-12-2012, 01:25 PM   #42
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To Punta San Francisquito and Bahia San Rafael

Day 13-d

The painted cave was just plain awesome, and another of the Wonders of Baja that keep us going back, no matter how much the American media attempts to scare us away from Mexico!

I did some more research into this cave site, as it is one of the grand ones. It would surprise me if a rancher named Arce was the first to find it, in 1990. I have both versions of Harry Crosby’s ‘The Cave Paintings of Baja California’ (1975 & 1997). In the newer Sunbelt edition, I found it mentioned on pages 236 and 237. This cave was seen by Leon Diguet in 1895, who called it ‘The Cave of el Carmen’, but the location was not exact (Diguet said it was between Calmallí and Santa Gertrudis) and Crosby never found it during his travels to the painted caves.

We left the parking area for the cave hike at 5:00pm and we still had 2-3 hours of light to get there and set up our camp, we didn’t know it yet, but Punta San Francisquito would not turn out to be the ideal camp spot as I had envisioned.

Here is a road log and comments from Pozo Aleman to Punta San Francisquito:

00.0 Pozo Aleman entrance at graded road between El Arco and San Francisquito (approx. 2.5 miles from El Arco).

00.4 Road right to/from Mision Santa Gertrudis (20.9 miles).

07.0 Road left to La Unión ranch.

09.5 Cross El Camino Real, the mission road built in the 1700’s here between Mision Santa Gertrudis and Mision San Borja. To the left, it has been turned into an auto road to La Unión. To the right, just a straight trail to the southeast. See map.

13.2 Road south to Guillermo Prieto and Highway #1 (near Vizcaino) in 38 miles. It crosses the Mision Santa Gertrudis road in 12.3 miles (12.8 per the Baja Almanac).

14.9 Piedra Blanca, a ranch and guest resort offering accommodations, meals, guided tours, and more.

In just about 10 miles the peninsular divide is reached with a view of the Sea of Cortez and the many islands offshore. This was once the top of a very steep grade called La Cuesta de la Ley (The Grade that Rules). However, it was totally re-graded in the early 1980’s so 4WD is no longer needed.

26.0 Bottom of Cuesta de la Ley.

33.0 El Progreso, ranch. Road east curves to the left, road to El Barril forks to the right.

33.6 ‘T’ Junction: Left (west) is road to Bahia de los Angeles, access in 1.5 miles. Right is main road east.

33.8 Rancho Escondido road right, tourist services offered.

44.7 Gated entrance to Cala or Puerto San Francisquito ahead, turn right for Punta San Francisquito Resort. Soon drive along airport runway on dry lake bed.

46.7 Punta San Francisquito Resort. Damaged by recent earthquake, but open for business (meals, rooms).

It is 6:20pm and the sun is still up, but not for a whole lot longer. We have a look around and chat with the lady in charge, who was watching TV. It is windy, waves are crashing on the beach and setting up camp here would be a chore. We also didn’t get a very receptive greeting even though there were no other guests there. When I asked the lady about that, she just said it was too hot for tourists, and returned to watching TV.

We decide to push north for Bahia San Rafael, 35 miles away… We get to San Rafael at 7:30, and the man who runs the camp there, Pancho, is gone and his house is locked up. There are fishermen shacks and one man is there. We drive down onto the beach to have a look at the one palapa on the sand for camping. It doesn’t look real inviting. We see a few coyotes nearby, and I capture one with my camera who is brave enough not to run away. There is another access road onto the beach a bit north, so we turn around and drive back out on Pancho’s driveway to drive 2.1 more miles north to the other beach. That works out perfect for us. We set up camp with ease (love that easy-up tent), make dinner, and enjoy campfire time before turning in for a great night’s sleep!


Maps & Photos:













Guest rooms at Piedra Blanca.


Ball moss on a boojum (cirio) tree.


La Cuesta de la Ley.


















Gate and signs make it not very inviting to go to the cove on the sheltered bay.


This way is open and inviting. Unlike the way it is shown on the map, the graded road goes directly to the cove (Cala San Francisquito) entrance gate, 2.0 miles past the resort.


Along the airstrip.


Punta San Francisquito Resort.












Leaving, we take one more look at the runways.










This is the grade shown on the map as Puerto el Portezuelo.


Sunset, just a few miles from San Rafael.




On the beach, just beyond Pancho’s and the fishermen shacks.





Tomorrow (Day 14) we head for Bahia de los Angeles and meet up with old friends…

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Old 08-12-2012, 11:23 PM   #43
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Old 08-13-2012, 07:26 PM   #44
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DAY 14: Bahia San Rafael to Bahia de L.A., Bahia S.L. Gonzaga and more!

Friday, July 27, 2012 (Day 14)

We awake to a beautiful morning on the beach at Bahia San Rafael. After some photos of the beach, we pack up and are on the road at 8:52am. Once again we are on the graded road, 2.1 miles north of the driveway to Pancho’s San Rafael beach camp and tire repair shop. I reset the odometer to 0. We stop for photos in a couple places as we cruise north on the typical Baja graded road. To help with tire life and smoother ride off pavement, I have been lowering the pressure from the normal 38 psi I run with a heavy load to 28 psi.

Mile 16.8: We come to the road for Bahia las Animas at 9:35am. This side road goes north to a fishing camp on a beautiful bay that was perhaps the possible location for a mission that was abandoned before it was completed. Two miles from the end of the road at the camp, a large hill is passed. On this hill are rock walls, at the base of the hill was an earth dam and reservoir behind it, and nearby is the trunk of a date palm. Other walls go across the desert. It is quite a mystery and first photographed and documented by Desert Magazine editor Choral Pepper back in 1966. Choral later would conclude that this site fits as the location of a ‘started’ mission called ‘Santa Maria Magdalena’ on the 1757 Jesuit map, shown south of Bahia de los Angeles. Las Animas Bay was first explored by the Jesuit Fernando Consag in 1746, who arrived by sea seeking new mission locations to the north of San Ignacio. It is all a great mystery and the purpose of all the work down here is otherwise unknown. See our 2009 examination of Choral Pepper’s lost mission found: http://vivabaja.com/109

Mile 20.6 (9:49am): The old road going south from L.A. Bay leaves the graded road here. It was opened up by the Erle Stanley Gardner party in 1966 using dune buggies and 4WDs to find the ancient trail they were told about by Dick Daggett in Bahia de los Angeles. See the effort in Gardner’s 1967 adventure book, ‘Off the Beaten Track in Baja’.

Mile 30.6 (10:13am): As the graded road curves to the right, an old road comes in from the left. This goes 3 miles south to the railroad terminal area where the gold and silver ore was loaded onto the small railroad cars bound for the mill at Las Flores. The ore came thousands of feet down from the San Juan mine on top of the mountain using a cable tramway. All this activity pretty much ended in 1911 because of the revolution in Mexico. Just past this junction on the graded road, look over to your right and see the railroad bed. The train engine from this railroad is now on display in the Bahia de los Angeles town plaza.


Mile 33.0 (10:21am): Over to the left is a small building. This is the Las Flores jail and vault that was once in a large town at the north end of the railroad line. Las Flores is where the ore was processed into ingots and then they were carted to the bay where boats would pick them up.

Mile 38.6 (10:33am): Camp Gecko, a private residence area now, at one time a fun place to camp with friends.

Bahia de los Angeles town is 4 miles north of the Camp Gecko entrance. We have some friends who have homes just north of Gecko, and we want to visit with them. First we find Mary Ann Humfreville, and she suggests we go have lunch in town and see if Paulina and Dern can join us. Mary Ann and her late husband Mike have been coming to Bahia de los Angeles since the 1970’s. Mike wrote a book about their summers on the bay, both before and after they had children. The book is called ‘In the Shadow of the Volcano’ and can be purchased at the museum in Bahia de los Angeles. In the United States or Canada, contact me as I have the remaining copies that were published.

We all go into town and after filling our gasoline tanks, we go to fill our stomachs at Alejandrina’s Restaurant, a place that has been getting great reviews on Baja Nomad forums. The reunion was great, and good to hears everyone is doing well. The town is quiet, as the summer heat is not enjoyed by many travelers, we love it nice and warm.

Here’s our trip route map, this covers the area from Bahia de los Angeles to Puertecitos:




The highway into/out-of Bahia de los Angeles is in great condition and it is about 40 miles back to Highway #1 (65 kilometers). We get on the road at 2:20pm and reach Highway #1 at 3:02pm.

Along the way, 12.6 miles from Bahia de los Angeles or 27 miles from Highway #1, is the signed road south to Mision San Borja. The junction is at the Km. 45 marker and if you have any time for the 22 mile dirt road drive, visiting this mission founded in 1762 is very much worth the drive and time. San Borja is the furthest north of the cut stone built missions in all of California. Remember, the Baja peninsula was California first, and once the padres came north of the peninsula they simply referred to the new land as ‘Alta (Upper) California’. Once you have an ‘upper California’, to clarify discussion, the peninsula then was called ‘Baja California’. Read more on San Borja in my article published last month, here: http://www.bajabound.com/bajatravel/..._san_borja.php

Northbound on Highway #1: At 3:15pm we pass El Crucero in 12.9 miles, at Km. 261. This is where we joined Highway #1 two weeks earlier, southbound after visiting the Calamajue mission site. At Km. 251, 6.3 miles from El Crucero, is the ‘water road’ to Calamajue Canyon. It was built in 1973 during the construction of the Baja Highway to bring in water. It meets the road to El Crucero from Calamajue, just above the canyon entrance.

At 3:40pm we come to the Highway #5 junction with Highway #1, in the Laguna Chapala Valley. It is 30 miles from the Bahia de los Angeles Junction. We take photos of the many signs including the battered up information one. Now, Highway 5 is still a dirt road for the final 45 miles of it. So, I deflate my tires to help prevent rock punctures and to improve the ride. However, in just a few miles my low air pressure warning light comes on, and my front right tire has a hole in the center.

It takes 3 plugs to stop the leak, and it usually isn’t this hard to do it. In a couple miles the plugs fail, so I repeat the steps to avoid changing the tire, not that that is any big deal. I know they can patch the tire at Gonzaga Bay (Rancho Grande) and prefer to keep the new spare new, as long as possible. 9 years ago, I even purchased a used tire at Rancho Grande when I had a rock hole too big to patch. They actually had the correct size for my 2001 Tacoma. Since then, I lower the air to about 25 psi and avoid big rock damage.

We pass Coco’s Corner at Mile 12.7 from Laguna Chapala, and it is 4:52pm. With the tire issue and sun getting low, we did not stop to visit with Coco. We usually always like to make a visit there and buy a cold Pacifico from him. I wanted to let him know that Calamajue Canyon was no problem two weeks earlier from the little water we found there, compared to past years.

At Mile 25.3 we pass the south acces road for Punta Final (part of it is the older road south, before the graded one we are on was made about 1987). At Mile 33.7 (from Highway #1/ Laguna Chapala) is the road to Campo Beluga, on the bay. We stayed there in 2007: http://vivabaja.com/207/page3.html

Rancho Grande, Gonzaga Bay is 35.0 miles from Highway #1. There one can eat at the new restaurant, shop for many items including booze in their market, and in back is the tire shop. The tire gets fixed, and we are okay on gasoline, so no need to top off at the Pemex station, across the road from Rancho Grande. The Pemex is also next to the road to the bay at Alfonsina’s Resort (Restaurant, Bar, Motel): http://vivabaja.com/908/page9.html and http://vivabaja.com/1106/page10.html for pictures at Alfonsina’s.

The sun is headed behind the mountains, but with so much of the road to the north paved, we are still comfortable about getting to Shell Island. Specially with the tire repaired. As it turned out, the hole was in the same spot as a previous patch made last January when I got the first flat, on this same tire (on a rocky road but didn‘t deflate). Perhaps that is why it was more difficult to plug? The older patch failed more than the tire failed, a second time. That road between Chapala and Coco’s Corner is very rocky, so go slow and save your tires. I have had no other failures during the 24,000 miles I have had on these Hankook Dynapro ATM tires.


I reset my trip odometer at Rancho Grande/ Gonzaga Pemex… just ahead is the military checkpoint, and they do their full inspection. It is all very professional and we are soon on our way.

We pass the road to Papa Fernandez’ Resort at Mile 2.5, then come to new highway construction at Mile 2.7. From here to the pavement we are sometimes on detours, sometimes on the new roadbed. Punta Bufeo Resort road is at Mile 7.5 and we are on new pavement at Mile 12.8. We come to the detour sign at Mile 13.0 and it is all pavement from here north. So, 13 miles from Rancho Grande & the Pemex or 10.5 miles from Papa Fernadez’ road… right about at the turnoff to Campo Delfines, is where the pavement begins going north, on July 27, 2012.

We come to the paved Puertecitos entrance road at 8:07pm and Mile 44.4 from the Gonzaga Bay Pemex. The new paved Highway #5 south from Puertecitos began being built about 5 years ago. In September of 2008, only 2 miles were paved. In July, 2010, 18 miles were paved. In July, 2011, 24 miles were paved. Now, in July/August 2012, 31 miles are paved. The land here is very rugged and the volcanic rock must be a tough thing to cut through!

We arrive at our beach camp on Shell Island tired, but happy. This is our favorite place to camp in all of Baja. Perhaps because it is an easy day’s drive from home (about 6 hours), but mostly because it is all sand and usually no other people. We enjoy the quiet times, but we also had great times with others on this trip!

I will wrap-up this trip with tomorrow’s (DAY 15) details for the drive home and crossing the border…

Hasta Pronto (See you soon)!

DAY 14 photos:



Good Morning Bahia San Rafael!






Our camp from the water’s edge.


On the road, looking back to the beach where we camped.




That’s Boca Grande, just north of San Rafael. Baja Nomads have reported very bad mud out there. The best story comes from ‘Barry A’ about his experience at Boca Grande.




This is the road to Bahia las Animas.








Mike’s Mountain comes into view. This is a peak above Bahia de los Angeles were an American (Mike) would climb to regularly and he made a rock house on top. See photos and discussion about it here:
http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=58661



The road reaches the highpoint in the valley and bends towards the bay. The road to the terminal area for the railroad comes in here. Just ahead, on your right is…


… the railroad bed. See photos at the terminal: http://www.vivabaja.com/402/page4.html and http://www.vivabaja.com/403/page11.html




The view from Mary Ann’s porch.




Paulina and Dern found a highway sign that even points the right way, plus my two stickers from years past. The ‘Viva Baja’ one held up to conditions better than the newer ‘got baja?’ one did!


There have been good reviews on Baja Nomad about the new restaurant in Bahia de los Angeles, Alejandrina’s. We agree, it was excellent. Here’s the menu:








Mary Ann, Dern and Paulina listen to Baja Angel (Elizabeth’s) story of our adventures the past two weeks.





Just out of town is a viewpoint where you can get this great panorama of Bahia de los Angeles (Bay of the Angels). The many islands are the angels, and when conditions are right, you can watch them rise above the water. An effect like a mirage causes this and it is quite a thrill to witness!






With a little zoom.




The 2010 Toyota Tacoma, 4WD, Off Road TRD, double cab, has been a awesome vehicle and seems to beg for bad roads, never a mechanical issue.






At Laguna Chapala, approaching the Highway #5 junction.










Hole plugged in the middle of the tread, turned out to be where a patch was placed 7 months earlier.


Once past Coco’s Corner, the road is more sand and gravel, than big rocks.


Getting close to Gonzaga Bay (Bahia San Luis Gonzaga and the bigger bay Ensenada de San Francisquito are together usually called ‘Gonzaga’. Some books and maps mistakenly call Gonzaga Bay, ‘Willard Bay’, after the point named Willard on the north end).


Tire repaired properly at the Rancho Grande tire shop, behind the store.


At the military checkpoint, sea shells were used to make a sign for their troop name.




New highway construction begins less than 3 miles from Rancho Grande.



















On pavement before nightfall!

Stay Tuned… for the final day’s report and photos…

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Old 08-14-2012, 01:07 AM   #47
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I have also had nice replies over on Baja Nomad... I posted this, and it applies to all of you here on TW, too!:

This is fun for me to relive the trip and through this report 'cements' the details better than (my) memory! I am glad some of you are enjoying it and if it sparks the desire to see these places (again or the first time) then that is fantastic.

Baja California (Old California) is truly a land of wonder and adventure. On this 14th day, we passed places I have been to one or more times in the past, thus the links to those older photos were added should you wish to 'see' what I saw there. When or if you go in person, you WILL see more! These photos are just a sample, a tiny sample of what is down there. The ocean, the beaches, plants, animals, mines, missions, painted caves... all in one skinny, long peninsula. Baja has been attracting man to go there for centuries! It must be magic... The magic of Baja...
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Old 08-14-2012, 01:38 AM   #48
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There are so many great photos and good details/stories. Thanks for posting them and writing them all out. I really want to see these places for myself now!
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Old 08-14-2012, 01:44 AM   #49
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Awesome trip report David! Baja is definitely on my bucket list, it's just so darned far to drive from here
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:38 AM   #50
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Thank you!
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Old 08-14-2012, 04:55 PM   #51
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DAY 15: Shell Island to San Felipe to Tecate to Home!

Saturday, July 28, 2012 (Day 15 of 15 days in Baja)

The night was perfect, we had our last campfire and slept like babies. The next morning we had a high cloud cover which made it ideal for packing up, out of direct sunlight. Packing up the final time was a breeze and I cannot say enough good things about our new Coleman Easy-Up Tent… It is now ‘Baja Proven’!

Once the truck was loaded, I drove down close to the water so we could take one last swim in the Sea of Cortez. We were on the move at 8:47am.

Once off of Shell Island, I re-inflated the tires using the Tsunami fast pump and we were back to Highway #5 at 9:18am.

Arrived at the San Felipe South Pemex, 208 miles since filling up at Bahia de los Angeles. The price was 10.05 pesos/liter and the exchange rate offered at that Pemex was 13 pesos per dollar, so the price per gallon in dollars was $2.93.


The next order of business was getting the truck washed. U.S. customs can turn you back if you arrive at the border with obvious mud and dirt on or under your vehicle. The car wash place is the same we have used before, along the street we come into San Felipe on, on the right. The whole process takes about an hour, so we have some carnitas tacos at the restaurant next door and sodas while we wait. The car wash was $13 dollars, including tip, and we were northbound at 11:15am.

There is a major military inspection checkpoint, 30 miles north of town, but there is very little wait and hardly any time for the boys to look around before we are going again. Soon we are at the detour as they are widening Highway #5 for the next 21 miles… but it is fast and easy. Remember, I am in a Tacoma, made for Baja (and made in Baja, too), so bigger rigs, motor homes or lesser vehicles will find the detours less ‘fun’ than did I!

We took the Highway #2-D toll road from south of Mexicali to Tecate and avoided all city traffic going to the border at Tecate (192 miles from San Felipe). We got to the end of the line at 3:39pm Saturday afternoon. We were cleared into the U.S. at 4:26pm (47 min.) after just a couple of questions and no search.

When we got back to our home town, I topped the gas tank. We had traveled 312 miles today from Shell Island, 287 from the gas station in San Felipe. My gas mileage on this tank was 18.42 mpg (including the 47 minutes idling in line at the border). However, with gasoline at $3.69/ gallon… I think I like being in Baja more!

This was a most fantastic trip… we wish give big thanks to our hosts in La Paz (The Bajatripper family) and our hosts in Bahia Asuncion (Shari and Juan)… their hospitality and the friendliness of Mexican people all over the Baja California peninsula really make the vacation in Mexico a fun time. Our nights camping at Shell Island, Playa La Perla, and Bahia San Rafael were perfect… sure we had to deal with mosquitos at sundown at La Perla, but the weather was ideal at 95º and perfect warm sea water day or night. The sea temperature of near 85º is why we prefer going to Baja in the summer.


Day 15 Photos:


Shell Island and my tracks from last night.


Notice one of my HID lights is missing? The vibration was too much for the plastic housing, it was fixed once before with fiberglass. The all metal Hella lamps just eat up the bumps in Baja. I have the broken lamp, and maybe fix it again?


For beach sand, on the Cortez side, these tires work great at 18psi. Remember, even 2WD, sand is the easiest thing to drive over if you let enough air out of the tires! Sometimes as low as 8-10 psi... whatever it takes to float on top.


Fresh out of the sea and dressed for the drive!


This little blow sand at the edge of the tidal mud flats, made a great/ clean place to air up the tires for the trip home.


Looking towards the island/ beach. This mud flat goes underwater during the highest lunar or storm tides. I call it an 'island' for a good reason!





Close ups of Shell Island on the National Geographic Baja map and satellite image.


Looking inland towards Highway #5 (2 miles), at Km. 26.


Detour along Highway #5, 45 miles north of San Felipe.


Man in the mountain… the volcanic hills take on many shapes, just let your imagination run wild!


I posted something last night on forums where I have been sharing this trip report, and I think I will place it here, at the end of this 15 Days in Baja 2012 Photo Report:

This has been fun for me to relive the trip, and through this report it 'cements' the details better than (my) memory! I am glad some of you are enjoying it and if it sparks the desire to see these places (again, or the first time) then that is fantastic.

Baja California (Old California) is truly a land of wonder and adventure. On the 14th day, we passed places I have been to one or more times in the past, thus the links to those older photos were added should you wish to 'see' what I saw there. When or if you go in person, you WILL see more! These photos are just a sample, a tiny sample of what is down there. The ocean, the beaches, plants, animals, mines, missions, painted caves... all in one skinny, long peninsula. Baja has been attracting man to go there for centuries! It must be magic... The magic of Baja...*
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Thank you and Happy Trails!
David K
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:09 PM   #52
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Baja travel information or questions are welcome!

Been going to Baja since 1965 when I was 7... Been driving myself their since I turned 16.

I have never had any problems with crime, never.
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Old 08-14-2012, 11:53 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by carcharias View Post
When's your next trip?
No plans at the moment, this one was a big one, and takes care of our Baja needs for awhile!

Typically, we take a 3 day trip on New Years to friends' house south of San Felipe, then a 3 or 4 day trip over Memorial Day weekend, then 4th of July (if it falls on a day other than Wednesday, like this year!), a summer vacation such as this one, Labor Day weekend to San Felipe (Shell Island).. and that is about it. We have also gone south to watch or help with the off road races (March, June, November).

See our past trip photos on my web site http://www.VivaBaja.com

Sometimes I go to do something fun with other guys, like searching for the Lost Mission of Santa Isabel, in 2011. Photos were posted here on TW.
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:16 AM   #55
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I have never had any problems with crime, never.
What about Mexican police?
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:59 AM   #56
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What about Mexican police?
What's the question? On this trip of some 2,700 miles driving, we didn't even see any. There is one city in Baja Sur that has a reputation of local cops targeting tourists for speeding, illegal turns, etc. When we went through Ciudad Constitucion (both times) we didn't see one local cop. As always, we came to a full stop (and counted to 3) at each stop sign and also (naturally) at each red light.

Maybe because there are almost no American or Canadian tourists going down that we saw, the cops got tired of waiting or it was an exaggeration. One story passed around long enough can sure grow into something else.

Many years ago, I had been stopped in Tijuana, Ensenada and Tecate for such things as 'speeding', 'no turn signal', etc. I was never ticketed as I just smiled and said no (as in no I didn't break the law)... The whole thing is attitude, and just waiting them out. If you didn't break the law, then they will tire of trying to extort you and move on to easier prey. If you did break the law, traffic fines are small compared to the U.S. so just follow them to the police station and be done with it. Just don't break the law and don't worry.

Anyway, it has been so many years since I was stopped by a cop in Mexico, I don't even think about such things on our trips. The beauty and fun of Baja is why I keep going back and there are thousands of other Americans and Canadians who feel the same way and don't let rumors by 3rd parties or the TV news deny them their fun. Just go to the Baja discussion forums at www.BajaNomad.com and read, participate, look at others photos and trip reports. Some of them are members here (a lot of them have Tacomas and Tundras... the best trucks for Baja)!
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:25 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David K View Post
What's the question?

Many years ago, I had been stopped in Tijuana, Ensenada and Tecate for such things as 'speeding', 'no turn signal', etc. I was never ticketed as I just smiled and said no (as in no I didn't break the law)... The whole thing is attitude, and just waiting them out. If you didn't break the law, then they will tire of trying to extort you and move on to easier prey. If you did break the law, traffic fines are small compared to the U.S. so just follow them to the police station and be done with it. Just don't break the law and don't worry.
You answered it. It's too bad they are still corrupt in certain cases, such as when they see a California license plate. Personally, it keeps me away from Mexico (via car/truck).
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:44 PM   #58
Babytruck, babytruck...I've got a babytruck :)
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David thank you sooo much for sharing your vacation with us. Reminded of the time many moons ago that I went to Puerto Vallarta. I need to get back there again. Loved it there.
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:50 PM   #59
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Quote:
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You answered it. It's too bad they are still corrupt in certain cases, such as when they see a California license plate. Personally, it keeps me away from Mexico (via car/truck).
Seriously? My answer was we drove 2,600 miles in Baja and didn't have any contact with police... I related my contacts from 10 or more years ago, because I guessed that was your concern... It shouldn't be anymore.

1) Don't Break the traffic (or any) law.
2) If you do, fines are far lower than here, so offer to go see the judge. Most often, you are let go with a warning.
3) If the cops offer to pay the fine for you, and you would rather not go see the judge, fine.. but the fines are less than $40, so negotiate... $20. Don't let them scare you. Call their bluff. You will most likely be sent on your way, and they will seek someone more affraid.

Anyway, to me this is old history... Of the dozens, hundreds of trips since my wife and I have been together (2004 on)... not one traffic cop interaction.
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:52 PM   #60
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David thank you sooo much for sharing your vacation with us. Reminded of the time many moons ago that I went to Puerto Vallarta. I need to get back there again. Loved it there.
You are welcome! I have been to Puerto Vallarta once, a long time ago, it is a paradise for sure!
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