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BAJA!: TO MISION SANTA MARIA MEMORIAL DAY. LOCKERS and A-TRAC only!

Discussion in 'Off-Roading & Trails' started by David K, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. Apr 30, 2010 at 9:30 AM
    #1
    David K

    David K [OP] Well-Known Member

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    WHO: TACOMAS WITH 4WD, LOCKERS OR A-TRAC, 9"+ GROUND CLEARANCE.

    WHAT: BAJA'S TOUGHEST 15 MILE ROAD TO AN ENCHANTED LOCTION

    WHEN: MAY 29-30, 2010

    WHERE: RANCHO SANTA YNEZ TO MISION SANTA MARIA (AND BACK)

    WHY: BECAUSE IT IS THERE! (and it is a totally beautiful, exotic Baja place)
    ===========================================

    This is a repeat of the Memorial Day, 2007 trip we (in a Tacoma) took with 'TheSquarecircle' (Roy) and Blanche using a Land Rover LR3: See http://vivabaja.com/msm

    Now, we were planning on this last February, but the wet weather shelved the plan.

    May was beautiful last time in there (3 years ago)... perfect weather... and we even had a bighorn sheep encounter (see photos).

    Because all things a flexible and things change, I am just putting this out there for those interested and properly equiped. This is a seriously tough, steep, rocky road... a Jeep Trail... or maybe a Tacoma Trail!

    We are 90% certain of going at this point... but I will put the details here so anyone can be comfortable going. This originally was 'BAJACAT's' tour, but he asked me to re-start it as he is only 70% certain for going.

    We plan to zip down to El Rosario Friday night (we will be long south of Tijuana by dark), leave El Rosario after breakfast and be at Rancho Santa Ynez by 10-10:30 Saturday morning (Santa Ynez is a mile past Cataviña, 76 miles from El Rosario). Some may be able to take Friday off from work and head dow earlier... perhaps set up camp at Santa Ynez?

    Wonderful and inexpensive motel rooms can be found in El Rosario at 'Baja Cactus Motel' next to the Pemex station at the entrance to town and at 'Turista Motel' on the far side of town. Other motels in town include Mama Espinoza's 'Las Cabañas' (next to Baja Cactus) and the Sinahi Motel as well as Baja's Best Bed and Breakfast (across from the Turista Motel). Good meals at Baja's Best, Mama Espinoza's, Tacos Mision and many other places and taco stands.

    In Cataviña there is a Desert Inn Hotel with restaurant, and a roadside motel, a couple of taco stands. At Rancho Santa Ynez, you can camp or stay in their bunk guest room... they have a taco stand/ restaurant as well.

    The mission is 14 1/2 miles from Santa Ynez and will take 2 1/2 to 3 hours to do the drive in, with photo stops!

    We will camp Saturday night in the mission valley... either near the mission or near the oasis, which is a mile past the mission down a grade that is steeper than The Widowmaker!

    Sunday, being in no rush, we will return to El Rosario and come home on Monday. This is a kind of road that is good to have another vehicle along, just in case. If anyone wants to stay until Monday at the mission, then I advise finding another vehicle to also stay with you... and drive out together. Returning to Santa Ynez is harder than the drive to the mission as you will be climbing UP the Widowmaker.

    Please anybody that comes must have a mechanically sound 4WD with low range and lockers or traction control. New or near new condition tires, as well.

    This is only a 'welcome to join us' event... not an organized club activity, business or tour... Everyone going will be on their own and self contained.

    Some photos of the road and area...

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    Punta Final on the gulf (Gonzaga Bay)

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    WHO'S READY FOR "MISSION IMPOSSIBLE"? :cool:

    ROAD LOG

    0.0 Rancho Santa Ynez, take road through left gate, north of ranch.

    0.9 FORK, go left/ uphill.

    1.8 Deep Gully, 4WD climb out (if this scares you, go back!).

    2.4 Rock pile, a road to left, go straight/ right fork.

    4.7 Cement monument off to left (tracks continue past monument).

    5.6 Arroyo crossing with palms.

    9.9 Peninsular Divide, view of Punta Final on the gulf.

    13.3 Top of the 'Widowmaker' grade.

    14.4 MISION SANTA MARIA

    15.4 Road enters sandy Arroyo Santa Maria, after very steep downgrade.

    15.7 Turn left, out of arroyo (may be hidden by plants). Tracks ahead in arroyo end in 1/4 mile.

    15.9 El Camino Real climbs to the left, up hillside. The mission trail stays out of the canyon, along the north ridge and returns to the arroyo at the east end of the canyon.

    16.0 Roadbed washed out. Park and hike on to end of bulldozed grade to see petroglyphs, canyon view, Indian trail to canyon bottom.

    2007 MSM TRIP: http://vivabaja.com/msm
    2003 MSM TRIP: http://vivabaja.com/403/
    1999 MSM TRIP: http://vivabaja.com/missionsm/
    1999 Panorama: http://bajamur.homestead.com/files/mission.html
    BAJA MISSIONS INFO SITE: http://www.vivabaja.com/missions1

    FINDING THE MISSION:

    BAJA CALIFORNIA... note 'Cataviña' almost 1/3 down and in the center of the peninsula. The mission is between Cataviña and San Luis Gonzaga, on the east coast of Baja:

    [​IMG]

    Cataviña is 300 miles/ ~7 hours from the border (Tijuana or Tecate). Last Pemex station is El Rosario, top off tanks! Gas may be available from cans at Cataviña. Hotel and motel rooms, meals, some supplies at Cataviña may be available. El Rosario is the closest town with dependable supplies, rooms, meals, 76 miles from Cataviña.

    [​IMG]

    Rancho Santa Ynez (Ines) is a mile south of Cataviña on a paved side road. Meals, drinks, bunk rooms and camping at Santa Ynez.

    Map shows two routes to the mission from Hwy. 1. Only the northern route is an autombile 4WD road. The southern route is a foot trail over a mountain.

    [​IMG]

    The El Camino Real comes up to the Mision Santa Maria valley from the desert floor near Gonzaga Bay. It is a difficult 6 hour hike between the mission and the end of the road from Gonzaga, near Las Palmitas.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Apr 30, 2010 at 9:38 AM
    #2
    98tacoma27

    98tacoma27 :POOPCORN: Staff Member

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    Bump for an awesome (looking) trip
     
  3. Apr 30, 2010 at 9:57 AM
    #3
    David K

    David K [OP] Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

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    When crops wouldn't grow at Calamajue, the Indians showed the Jesuits their oasis of Cabujakaamung 20 miles north, with its sweet water. The Jesuits moved their mission and had only constructed palm log shacks when they were removed from California, in early 1768.

    The Franciscans who replaced the Jesuits built the adobe ruins
    that we see here. Santa Maria had a very brief mission history.
    In 1769, the first Franciscan mission in California was founded by Junipero Serra some 35 miles away.
    Named San Fernando by Father Serra on his long walk from Loreto to Alta California.

    San Fernando was a superior mission site and soon
    Santa Maria was reduced in status to a visita.

    Photos taken in 2007 by David Kier.
    More photos at
    http://vivabaja.com/msm
    GPS: 29°43'54.5" 114°32'50.2"

    1949 Marquis McDonald photograph of Santa Maria mission:

    [​IMG]

    A mission was much more than a church building, it was an organization, an outpost in the wilderness, and a center of 'civilization'. The Jesuit missions were funded by donations of wealthy Europeans. The Spanish government wished to colonize California before the Russians or English did and the mission system was the method used to convert the native population. Instead, the diseases brought to California killed off the natives.

    Besides the mission itself, there usually were several 'visitas' (mission visiting stations) for each mission where a chapel was built and the priest would visit and hold services. Some visitas were very large and their churches and functions resemebled missions. A true mission was funded by an endowment, and historic records are clear that there were 17 Jesuit missions established and operated in California (today's Baja California).

    The list below includes some missions that changed their full name because of a relocation (#7, #9 and #17) thus each has a dual listing. Also, #13 (Santa Rosa at Todos Santos) was absorbed by the mission of Pilar de la Paz when Pilar de la Paz moved to Todos Santos.

    1n 1683, Jesuits with Spanish soldiers first tried to colonize California. They first landed at La Paz Bay, but were soon forced north and tried again at San Bruno, just north of Loreto. The effort failed after two years and some ruins of the San Bruno fort are still visible.

    The Jesuits built roads to connect their missons and visitas. Many are easily seen today and make interesting hiking or mule riding adventures. The primary mission road in California is known as EL CAMINO REAL (The King's Highway).

    The Jesuits were expelled from California (Baja California) by the king of Spain following rumors that they were hording vast treasures of gold and pearls (a highly unlikely scenario). The padres were rounded up and removed in 1768, the Franciscans replaced them but had interests in Alta California, and in 5 years handed the peninsula missions over to the Dominicans.


    The 17 Jesuit Missions of Baja California

    1) Nuestra Señora de Loreto Concho 1697-1829

    2) San Francisco Javier de Biaundo 1699-1817 (moved 5 miles south in 1710)

    3) San Juan Bautista de Ligui/ Malibat 1705-1721

    4) Santa Rosalia de Mulege 1705-1828

    5) San Jose de Comondu 1708-1827 (moved 22 miles south in 1736)

    6) La Purisima Concepcion de Cadegomo 1720-1822 (moved 10 miles south in 1735)

    7a) Nuestra Señora del Pilar de la Paz Airapi 1720-1748 (moved to Todos Santos in 1748)

    7b) Nuestra Señora del Pilar de la Paz (Todos Santos) 1748-1840

    8) Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Huasinapi 1720-1795

    9a) Nuestra Señora de los Dolores Apate 1721-1741 (moved to La Pasion in 1741)

    9b) Nuestra Señora de los Dolores Chilla (La Pasion) 1741-1768

    10) Santiago el Apostal Aiñini 1724-1795 (moved 2 miles south in 1734)

    11) Nuestro Señor San Ignacio Kadakaaman 1728-1840

    12) San Jose del Cabo Añuiti 1730-1840 (moved 5 miles north, then back, then 1 mile north)

    13) Santa Rosa de las Palmas (Todos Santos) 1733-1748 (absorbed by moved La Paz mission in 1748)

    14) San Luis Gonzaga Chiriyaqui 1737-1768

    15) Santa Gertrudis de Cadacaman 1751-1822

    16) San Francisco de Borja Adac 1762-1818

    17a) Calamajue 1766-1767 (moved 30 miles north in 1767)

    17b) Santa Maria de los Angeles 1767-1769
     
  4. Apr 30, 2010 at 10:11 AM
    #4
    adktacoma

    adktacoma Well-Known Member

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    Man, you socal guys are really starting to piss me off, j/k, that looks like a great trip. Wish I could be there.
     
  5. Apr 30, 2010 at 10:18 AM
    #5
    Crom

    Crom Time is precious; use it wisely

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    Many, see build thread.
    David, I am very interested in going on a trip to Baja. Thanks for the invitation, I am intrigued. Unfortunately for me, I will be unable to make any trips for a while... Probably not until next year. :pout:
     
  6. Apr 30, 2010 at 10:34 AM
    #6
    David K

    David K [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Bummer... if things change, join us!

    Regarding expenses: The trip is really low impact... and you could camp each night and avoid the motel cost (however, motels in El Rosario are $30-$45). Overall fuel use for the 650 ish mile trip from San Diego should be close to 40 gallons and gas in Baja is less than $2.50/ gallon in El Rosario. Mexican Auto Insurance is a must have, and available online at www.BajaBound.com (good guys) or for members of a good travel club with group discounts: www.DiscoverBaja.com Should be close to $40 for full coverage for 3 days... check and see, quotes online.

    I hope that anyone going is familiar with driving in Baja and isn't fearful of the drug cartel war against the police and government. Tourist are rarely involved... you have a better chance of being hurt going to Disneyland, IMO. Night driving is not recommended... and we plan to be well south of the border cities by dark, as we are going down Friday, after work.
     
  7. Apr 30, 2010 at 10:43 AM
    #7
    07trd4x4

    07trd4x4 Well-Known Member

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    Wow. Looks fun!!!! Wish I could drive down.
     
  8. Apr 30, 2010 at 10:44 AM
    #8
    skunk

    skunk what did I miss?

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    wow, what a blast..... too bad I won't be around, this looks like a memorable trip.
     
  9. Apr 30, 2010 at 10:51 AM
    #9
    RelentlessFab

    RelentlessFab Tacoma offroad armor fabricating beast Vendor

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    Had tons on the Taco's.... new truck is pretty stock
    your description of the trail sounds a lot worse than the pics seem to show IMO. I think my truck would make it without a problem with open front and LSD rear. Looks like it'll be an awesome time. :cool:
     
  10. Apr 30, 2010 at 11:01 AM
    #10
    Zombie Runner

    Zombie Runner Are these black helicopters for me?

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    That looks like a blast!
     
  11. Apr 30, 2010 at 11:04 AM
    #11
    tacomakid89

    tacomakid89 Awesome Member

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    Dude im down for this one. Hopefully ill have my new 5100's on by then and some new tires on by then. About how far is this from Camp Pendleton. Thanks.
     
  12. Apr 30, 2010 at 1:11 PM
    #12
    mntbiker2008

    mntbiker2008 First I derp.. then I herp

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    if that rover got there, a taco sure as hell can!
     
  13. Apr 30, 2010 at 2:16 PM
    #13
    David K

    David K [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Yes, probably... but The Widowmaker is not the only bad grade... Also, there is a mud bog that could be full of water we have to drive in... Some consider it worse than the Widowmaker. It was dry in 2007, but wet in '99 and '03... and Baja got a ton of rain this past winter... washed away several bridges on Hwy. 1 in January.

    The Land Rover had TRACTION CONTROL of some kind, Roy didn't know how to explain it... but it worked. Your LSD may be fine... A Wrangler with good tires climed it in '03 without using his rear locker.

    See you there, I hope!
     
  14. Apr 30, 2010 at 2:38 PM
    #14
    David K

    David K [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Hi... in the post above I give all the mileages and drive times from the border... cross at Tijuana or Tecate (less hassle with traffic, but 25 miles out of the way).

    I live in Oceanside, along Hwy. 76, very near College and the back gate to Pendleton... So from here to Tijuana is about 50 miles/ 1 hour and to Tecate about 75 miles/ 1.5 hrs. (no traffic). Friday afternoon the Tijuana border can be very bad... up to an hour to cross into Mexico.

    Road signs in Mexico are plenty... Tijuana south, the Toll or 'Scenic' Hwy. is easiest... Hwy. 1-D signed for Ensenada Cuota (Toll), about $9 total for all 3 toll booths. U.S. money accepted everywhere in Baja... but have small bills.

    Tecate south to Ensenada is Hwy. 3, and it joins Hwy. 1 just north of Ensenada after passing through Baja's wine country!
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Because I mentioned it would be good if anyone going already had Mexico driving experience... I assume you know you are supposed to have a passport or passport card now for Mexico and returning to the U.S. (However, birth certificates and photo ID is still accepted with perhaps a trip to secondary to make sure they are really yours).

    Travel in northern Baja for less than a week is typically an easy matter without getting an FM-T (Tourist Card). However, the old rule of going south of the border zone (~10 mi. south of Ensenada was the former border zone) requiring one may be of concern to you. Tourist Cards can be obtained at the border, at the INM office. There is a free card for visits of 7 days or less... A 180 day card is about $21... but reusable for future trips, up to the end of the 180 days.
     
  15. Apr 30, 2010 at 5:45 PM
    #15
    TacomaTSP4

    TacomaTSP4 Go Big or Go Home!!

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    Damn i would like to go but its way to short notice to make a trip out of it...maybe next time a few of us norcal guys can caravan down together.
     
  16. May 1, 2010 at 6:59 AM
    #16
    awsumdc

    awsumdc Well-Known Member Vendor

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    Sounds like a cool trip. I'm interested!:)
     
  17. May 1, 2010 at 10:24 AM
    #17
    Zombie Runner

    Zombie Runner Are these black helicopters for me?

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    any pics of the final destination?
     
  18. May 1, 2010 at 10:32 AM
    #18
    David K

    David K [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Umm, yes several... they are there (the mission and the oasis)...

    I also posted links to my other trip photos there (I have been there 3 times) that you can see more photos of the area.
     
  19. May 3, 2010 at 5:22 PM
    #19
    2000uzj

    2000uzj Where's my hammer?

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    Might be time for my annual cross country run. :D
     
  20. May 4, 2010 at 11:00 AM
    #20
    Kyouto42

    Kyouto42 Iron Beard

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    Man that looks pretty awesome. If only I had a 4x4 :/
     
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