Quick trip to Baja (1 Viewer)

Joined
Jan 20, 2008
Messages
173
Location
Grand Junction, Colorado
My wife and I took the week of Thanksgiving for an impromptu trip to Baja, plans were to base camp South of San Felipe at her parents place and explore from there. On my list was to stay at the Guadalupe Canyon with the natural hot springs, then drive on down to Bahia de los Angeles. Unfortunately due to time constraints, Guadalupe Canyon got cut out of the plan... next time for sure!

We prepared the 100 Series Cruiser, loaded up and headed to Yuma, AZ by way of Kayenta and Flagstaff, the first day. The following morning we headed to the East Port border crossing into Mexacali, passing thru the Glamis on the way. The drive South thru the border was way too easy, didn't have to stop or talk to anyone... just cruise right in. Mexacali is... well, Mexico. It was pretty interesting driving next to the border fence, on the "wrong" side.



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San Felipe is 190 km from the border and the road is in great shape after a lot of recent work! We pulled into town and headed straight to the market, searching for fresh fish & shrimp tacos! You haven't lived until you've had a proper fish taco in San Felipe! We saw a few boats coming into town with their fresh catch.

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We met up with some of Catherine's family at the house and hung out and worked our way down to the beach for some beach combing.

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The following morning we were treated to an amazing sunrise over the Sea of Cortez, more beach combing and then into town for lunch of Chiveche and Shrimp Cocktail. After that it was siesta time... another favorite about vacationing in MX! The seafood is the best part about being in Baja... it's so good!! The battery in my nice DSLR wasn't fully charged and ended up dieing on the 1st full day and my charger had gone MIA... so all the rest of my shots were taken with my phone. :(


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Joined
Jan 20, 2008
Messages
173
Location
Grand Junction, Colorado
Finally it was time to head further South, to the Bay of LA! We headed out, on the highway MX 5. The country is in the process of paving it and connecting it to MX1 and once that is done, this part of the country will have easy access by car, which is a huge turnoff. The process it supposed to be completed at the end of next year, so if you want to see it while it's still dirt... better hurry! On the way down we stopped by Puertecitos, which is known for it's hot springs on the rocky beach. Continuing on, we passed some amazing views of the Sea of Cortez and several islands.

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We finally reached the part of the highway where they were still actively working on building the new road... you have to run along side the road, in the sand & dirt. We aired down the tires to 18 PSI and started following the dirt road, I have to say that the adventure started when we aired down! We came across a group of Land Rovers that looked to be carrying many BFGoodrich reps, judging by all the BFG stickers on the vehicles, one of them was towing an Adventure Trailer. We also ran across another solo 80 Series Land Cruiser that was fully loaded, the people were very enthusiastic about seeing another Land Cruiser in the dirt!

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Eventually the road got VERY rocky and bumpy and there were shredded tires every couple miles, you could see that it was a brutal road for tires. After taking it easy on the rocky road, we came to Coco's Corner! Coco was there with a couple truckers, working on his truck. We said Hi, signed his travelers log and stopped for a few pics. His story is an interesting one, talk about a guy that refuses to give up! We got back on the road again and met another traveler coming the other way... we stopped and he pointed out that one of the Land Cruiser's fog lights was hanging by the wires. Apparently the rock road had vibrated the nut that holds the light in place, right off! I disconnected the light and tossed it inside.

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We continued on and the road wound thru a steep canyon, still rocky as ever. Eventually we made it to MX 1 and the pavement.... the road is very narrow, no shoulder and a good deal of traffic with plenty of semi traffic. Going by an oncoming semi really gets your attention! We turned towards the Bay of LA and the noticed the massive Saguaro and very strange Boojum trees. Coming into the Bay of LA you could see how much damage the recent Hurricane Odile did in September, the road drops to the coast thru a steep canyon and the road was washed out in a couple spots. One part had almost 20' of gravel OVER the road!

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Joined
Jan 20, 2008
Messages
173
Location
Grand Junction, Colorado
Coming into the Bay of LA was amazing, it's so beautiful! The many islands, color of the water, everything about it lived up to the hype that I'd heard about. It was getting dark, so we headed out to explore the bay as the sun set. Coming into town you could see massive amounts of damage the hurricane did, we later learned that 70 houses, 1 hotel and 1 restaurant were destroyed by the material and floods making it's way to the ocean.

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We had a reservation at Daggets Campground for a room and after checking in, it wasn't what they claimed... the toilet didn't work and overflowed, no warm water from the shower, etc. It was a huge disappointment, to be honest. We had a long day and were looking forward to a nice room. We left and ended up getting a room and dinner at Villa Vitta, in downtown Bay of LA. The dinner was amazing, it was so tasty... My wife had a Yellowfin Tuna filet with garlic in a butter sauce and it was amazing. I had chicken and carne asada. I had the best Margarita that I'll probably ever have, it was excellent... the host made it with some chili powder and wow!!

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Joined
Jan 20, 2008
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Location
Grand Junction, Colorado
The next morning we left town, planning to explore some dirt roads, look for an old Mission, etc. Leaving town we came across 2 coyotes hanging out near the road... they weren't very scared of humans either.

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We drove back to MX 1, North and pulled of at El Crucero. Referring to the map, we found a 'track' that lead to a Mission and decided that was our route. Shortly after we pulled onto the dirt road, we started seeing markers and a road that was VERY whooped-out... it wasn't long before I realized this was part of the Baja 1000 race course, that was JUST ran 2 weeks earlier! I was pretty excited to say the least... the loaded Land Cruiser, with 15 gallons of fuel and a spare tire on the roof rack isn't quite a trophy truck, but it was all I had.

We headed in and at first it was sandy, then rocky and rough... but the whoops never let up. We dropped down into a canyon and the sand and gravel was extremely soft. The canyon walls got steeper and after awhile there was even some water running thru the canyon! It wasn't much water, but it did pool up in placed and was plenty deep to splash thru. Amazing, considering how dry Baja is. I took a lot of video on the GoPro and need to edit & upload it and because I was filming, I didn't take many photos! :( I should have.... but now I know where the place is. Can't wait to go back! We ended up with about 35 miles of driving the race course and it was honestly the best time I've ever had in a 4x4 in my life!

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We reconnected back to the main dirt road near Coco's Corner and began the rough drive back North... as we were driving along, a massive dust cloud approached. 3 RZR's that were build for hauling ass went by us running at least 70 MPH, they were moving! It was pretty cool to see these guys out having so much fun.

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I took some pics at the point where the paved road construction has made it to...

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Around lunchtime we drove down to the coast to eat something at Punta Final, it was another nice break to hangout on the beach and just relax... I would spend every Winter in Baja exploring, relaxing and hanging out.

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A rare selfie with the wifey...

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And a drive on the beach outside of San Felipe... the wife was pretty nervous about getting stuck. The soft sand was a bit sketchy, we did have to drop down a hill and sand dune and I was a bit worried about getting back up. Tires aired down, both F & R lockers engaged and a fair amount of momentum got us up without an issue.

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On Saturday morning we left San Felipe headed for home... the day's of temps in the high 70's, nothing but sunshine and amazing sea food were coming to an end. The border crossing into the States took about an hour and we took the same route home, almost 1,000 miles from San Felipe, MX to Grand Jct, CO. Catherine drove the first half, I drove the rest... 17 hours with nothing but stops for food, fuel and bathroom breaks. We used the HID lights on the Reservation in the dark and fortunately didn't see any animals on the road. A couple deer by Monticello, but none were suicidal.

Grand Total of 2,600 miles over 8 days. I do have to say that the 100 Series with over 260k miles on it performed flawlessly... especially after being abused on miles of Baja 1000 race course! I couldn't be any happier with the vehicle. The trip was amazing, I want to spend much more time exploring the dirt roads in Baja, start putting them together and continuing to explore the peninsula.

Video from the trip! Be sure to watch it in HD!

 
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Joined
Nov 12, 2009
Messages
184
Location
Carlsbad, CA
I went to Bay of LA in September. I will never forget that trip, so much amazing terrain and nice people. I was actually on a sailboat during hurricane Odile and my LX was parked at Guillermo's. The roads were torn up pretty bad after that storm, and my buddy and I joked that they would probably put the road right next to the washed out part so it washes out again during the next storm. The funny thing is, you snapped a picture in the same spot I did.
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Joined
Jan 20, 2008
Messages
173
Location
Grand Junction, Colorado
I went to Bay of LA in September. I will never forget that trip, so much amazing terrain and nice people. I was actually on a sailboat during hurricane Odile and my LX was parked at Guillermo's. The roads were torn up pretty bad after that storm, and my buddy and I joked that they would probably put the road right next to the washed out part so it washes out again during the next storm. The funny thing is, you snapped a picture in the same spot I did.

You were on a sailboat in the Bay of LA during the hurricane? Good hell..... I bet that was an experience! How bad was it?

Yeah, they paved around the parts of the road that disappeared... I'm sure it's not quick & easy to get the machines and material to repair the road quickly. The damage where the town got washed out was impressive, I can't imagine what it was like to see it before and after!

We did drive out to Punta la Gringa North of the Bay of LA and the 'road' leading out there was destroyed. There is one family that lives out there and they had 3 cars that they had to drive on the road.... I was glad we had the lifted Cruiser w/ big tires, can't imagine how they get in & out. I wonder who (or even if) will repair the road.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Carlsbad, CA
Yeah. It was crazy as hell in the hurricane. We dropped 4 anchors in the front and sides and 200ft of chain. Then we had a hurricane party. It was rad.

But yeah, the roads were definitely torn up!
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And this was an epic vacant beach just north of punta santo tomas.

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I would highly recommend everyone do baja at least once in their lives. It's not as dangerous as people say. Just play it smart and don't drive at night. It's a great place with great people.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Grand Junction, Colorado
Yeah. It was crazy as hell in the hurricane. We dropped 4 anchors in the front and sides and 200ft of chain. Then we had a hurricane party. It was rad.

But yeah, the roads were definitely torn up!

And this was an epic vacant beach just north of punta santo tomas.

I would highly recommend everyone do baja at least once in their lives. It's not as dangerous as people say. Just play it smart and don't drive at night. It's a great place with great people.

Crazy, that's an experience of a lifetime! Agree with it not being dangerous, friendly people down there!


Awesome writeup!

Which mission did you visit?

Thanks! The mission was actually nothing more then remnants, hardly even a foundation left... it was mission Calamajue. Maybe next time we'll find one that's been restored!
 

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