Feb 12, 2020
We left Laguna San Ignacio around 9 am and drove the 10 hard miles of washboarded roads until we made it to the pavement. Once we were on the pavement it was an easy drive into San Ignacio.
Today was a day of driving. Once we were back on highway 1 we headed north. Nothing interesting happened as it was highway we had already traveled. Highway 1 is the main highway that goes from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas at the tip of the peninsula. It criss-crosses back and forth from the Pacific coast to the Gulf coast to hit all the larger towns. It is pretty much one lane each direction for the entire length, except in the major cities it may expand to 2 lanes. I think it has only been 5-10 years when the entire length was paved. Some of the highway is newer, so it is smooth pavement and has a small shoulder. That is maybe 20% of what we have traveled. Most of it is rough, broken pavement with lots of potholes. There is very little shoulder on the side of the road. At best there is 4 inches outside of the white lines. At the end of the shoulder there is a 2-4 foot drop off. The road is so rough, driving the van is like riding a bucking bronco as the van jumps back and forth on the rough pavement. While I am trying to keep the van in the lane, there are semi truck blasting past us only inches away from hitting us. There is also the drivers that will pass on any hill or curve, regardless of if they can see ahead for oncoming traffic. About every mile there is a memorial for someone who has died on the road. Some of the memorials are just a cross and flowers, but most are small buildings, anywhere from 4 square feet to 15-30 square feet. They have flowers, pictures and candles inside the opening. Most are very ornate and are nicer and better maintained than most houses.
For lunch we just ate sandwiches at an parking lot. North of Guerrero Negro we turned east off highway 1 and drove about 40 miles to the east coast. The town of Bahia de Los Angeles is like most small towns in Baja. There are a lot of abandoned homes and buildings, but there were a few nice homes. This town has a lot of vacation homes for Americans. When we arrived school was getting out and all the kids in their school uniforms were walking home. We picked up a few supplies at the “tiende” and then continued through town to find a camping spot on the south end of the bay. The dirt road was very rough and bumpy, but after 5 miles we found a spot among the dunes, just off the beach.
And the Earth Shook
Feb 13, 2020
At 12:15 am, both Eva and I woke up to the van violently shaking. At first I thought it was a gust of wind, but the night had been calm and we could not hear any wind blowing. Eva thought maybe someone was rocking the van, but it would be impossible to rock it that much. We finally decided it was an earthquake. And in the morning everyone else confirmed that they felt it. We decided it was between a 3 and 4 on the Richter scale. I am a little worried in driving back into town as most of the buildings are ready to collapse without an earthquake. Later when we were back in town we found out it was a 4.3 quake centered on the island about 24 miles from our camp.
We ate breakfast as a group and then sat on the beach watching the water and enjoying the day. It was real nice in the morning, but around noon the wind started blowing and kept blowing until 6 pm. Eva and I spent the afternoon in the van reading and resting.
Later that evening the wind had stopped so we started a campfire and sat out there until 9 pm. Most every camp in Baja has been very dark and it is amazing how black the sky is and how many stars you can see. We saw several shooting stars. The past few weeks the moon didn’t come up until later in the night, so around 7-8 pm the sky was full of stars. It is different than the stars we are used to seeing. Orion’s Belt is alway just above us, and the Big Dipper and the North Star are very low on the horizon, that it is difficult to find them some nights. We went to bed about 10 pm and had another calm night in the van.
Feb 14, 2020
This morning was a very calm morning. We were sitting on the beach watching the water when we saw a few dolphins. As we watched they came in closer and we think there were between 20-25 in the pod. They put on a show for us for about an hour. They would chase fish and the birds would chase the dolphins. There were several times that dolphins would jump completely out of the water. As they fished they got closer to us until they were around 100 yards from where we were sitting. Unfortunately they were still to far away to get good pictures or videos, but I tried.
After the dolphin show we packed up camp and drove the 5 miles of rough road back to town. It was Valentines Day so we stopped for a lunch at a restaurant. We all had something nice for dinner. Eva had the Mexican combination and I had garlic scallops. While we were eating a group of motorcyclist pulled into the parking area. There was one guy from Vernal. They had driven from the border over the previous two days and were spending 2 weeks riding in Baja.
After lunch we drove the paved road back to highway 1 and then to the new highway 5 that takes you up the east coast to the border. As recently as last year it was a winding dirt road, but now the first 20 miles are a new modern highway. It has been a lot of miles since we had such a wide smooth road. It felt great to drive it. After the new section, it was still a better road than any other in Baja.
We rode up highway 5 to San Luis Gonzaga Bahia. Fortunately the gas station was open as we were down to less than a quarter tank of gas. After gassing up we continued through the military checkpoint and about a mile later turned off the highway. There was a 2 mile dirt road that took us to Papa Fernandez campground. We were a little worried as the road was taking us through a junky shanty town, but once we passed through the gate and over the hill there was a beautiful bay with 20-25 camping spots. The cost was 100 pesos/car ($5.25 USD) There were two other groups camping there, but there was still plenty of space. We took some spots near the beach and set up camp. It was already getting dark by the time we got camp set up, so we spent the rest of the evening in the van.