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|February 2022 — Exploring Baja California|
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Copyright © 2015 - 2023 Larrie Easterly
My buddy Charles invited me to go along with him to Baja again this year. Naturally I said yes, it is a good way to get out of the cold, rain and damp of the pacific northwest for a few weeks during the winter. This trip would be a little different in that Charles’s wife Sharon as well as my wife Ann would be joining us midway through the trip.
I left home the end of January headed for Bullhead City, AZ where I met up with Charles. The next day we headed to Calexico CA. Where we exchanged dollars for pesos and met up with Charles son Pat and his nephew Daniel before crossing the border.
The border crossing into Mexicali México from Calexico went smoothly even though the border guards had me stop so they could look in my van. In order to travel in Baja you need to get a Forma Migratoria Múltiple or more commonly know as a FMM. These are applied for and gotten right next to the border inspection station.
La Paz — Photo Galley
La Ventana is noted for its wind. It that comes up everyday between 10:30 and 11:00 AM and blows itself out around 5:30 pm. As a result it is a mecca for kite boarders, wind surfers, and foil riders. The beaches are crowded with campers and people involved in the sport. It was fun to relax in the sun, enjoy the warmth and watch the wind surfers do their thing for a few days.
La Ventana Beach — Photo Galley
Tug Boat — Photo Galley
Most of the road to San Evaristo is along the coast except for a steep rough and rocky pass over the mountains about ten miles from the village. The whole reason for traveling to the village was to enjoy the views along the coast and to see the beautiful bay the is ringed by the village.
From San Evaristo we headed inland, west, on a gravel road over a different mountain pass with a goal of reaching the fishing village or Tembabichi. Most of these mountain pass are about one and a half lanes wide making it problematic when, happened to us, meeting other vehicles coming the opposite direction. The vehicles we met decided to back down to a wide spot so we could around them.
San Luis Gonzaga Mission — Photo Galley
Leaving Ciudad Constitution the next morning we started the 63 miles of gravel road out to Tembabichi. Six and a half hours we arrived at our beach camping spot. The gravel road had good sections, bad sections and very bad sections of washboard that rattled the entire vehicle like it was on a shaker table.
Like most villages on the east coast of Baja we needed to navigate a mountain pass to get to It. This one scared me. Partly due the fact that you cannot see it coming. It was an easy ascent up the west side of the mountain. Then I came around a tight blind corner and found my self pointed steeply down hill on a track that was not much wider than my van. It was so narrow in spots that the passenger side mirror scraped the uphill wall in several spots. After about four miles and several more tight 120 degree blind corners where I did not know if the road was wide enough for my vehicle we made it down into the wash at the base of the mountain.
Beach near Tembabichi — Photo Galley
The following day we stocked up on groceries and fuel before leaving Ciudad Constitution on our way to the beach at Juncalito, about 30 minutes south of Loreto. Juncalito is one of my favorite beaches. The sand is soft, there are rocky outcroppings to explore and lots of fish and sea creatures to look at under the water.
Juncalito Beach — Photo Galley
As usual Charles had brought his Cornhole boards so we spent time each day throwing bags and enjoying each others company. In the evenings Daniel brought out his domino game and we played several rounds before heading to bed.
We spent three days on the beach at Juncalito before heading into Loreto to stay at one of the RV parks. While not ideal, the park was tightly packed with vehicles, the park has showers and laundry facilities that we all needed.
In the past we have done laundry using the parks machines. This time we used the laundry service across the street. They did the laundry $5.00 USD and ready later that afternoon. When we picked it up it washed, dried, and very neatly folded. This freed our time up so that we could pick up Ann and Sharon at the Loreto International Airport. Both of them arrived safely and on time. While there we dropped off Pat so he could fly back to the US.
Ann and Sharon as well as Chris and Maureen had never been to Baja before so the second half of the trip was more about showing them the sights rather than exploring deserted beaches and old ruins.
San Xavier Mission — Photo Galley
From Loreto we headed north to an area near Posada Conceptión on Conception Bay. The drive along the bay is one of my favorite sections of México Highway 1. We were hoping to camp at Playa Escondida. That beach was pretty crowed so we backtracked a few miles and camped for two days at Playa los Cocos instead.
Playa Cocos — Photo Galley
Margo's Bakery — Photo Galley
It is a short drive from Mulegé to Palo Verde and the turn off on to a dirt road to Punta Chivato. We stayed at what our friend, who lives there, calls his fish camp for a few days. The beach is one of the few in Baja that faces south. It looks directly down the throat of Conception Bay. At night you can see the lights of Mulegé twinkling in the distance.
Shell Beach — Photo Galley
Two days after arriving we continued north. On the way we stopped at a beach that Daniel had found on his explorations that was covered with broken shells. This may not sound interesting however it was extremely fascinating. All of the shells fragments were highly polished like they had been through a rock tumbler. The only reason we could think of for the polishing was the wave action mixing and rubbing the shell pieces together.
San Ignacio de Caborica Mission — Photo Galley
For a long time Ann has wanted to go whale watching in Baja. Today was the day. We drove seven miles south of Guerrero Negro and then 14 miles west through the Salt Explorers Inc. salt mine to Campamento de la Ballena Gris or in english Gray Whale Camp. The seven of us were able to get on one of the whale tour boats by ourselves.
Whale Watching — Photo Galley
All too soon the tour was over. We headed back through the salt mine, the largest in the world, on our way back across to the east side of the peninsula and the Sea of Cortez. This time instead of pavement we were on dirt and gravel all the way.
Cave Paintings — Photo Galley
We discussed spending the night near the cave. Instead we drove another eight miles to Rancho Los Panteras. The rancho is a large working ranch that also has a small campground with showers and cabins that you can rent. They cooked us a delicious meal of their locally grown beef, chicken and vegetables.
The next day we follow the gravel road east and then north to Bahía de Los Ángeles where we camped at Camp Archelon for the night. We were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the food at the camp’s restaurant.
Sharing Photos — Photo Galley
The border crossing back into the US took some time and was uneventful. We said our good byes to our friends and headed to Yuma for the night while our friends continued on to their destinations.
Snow in Winnemucca — Photo Galley
We had a great time on this trip. Ann was initially uncertain she would like it in Baja. By the end of the trip she was asking about going back again next year.
Baja California Mexico
Barrancas del Cobre
282 feet below sea level
Summer Lake Hot Springs