BajaNomad

BOOK REVIEW: Mexico's Diamond in the Rough, c1959

David K - 4-14-2018 at 11:16 AM




Inside cover.

This was one of the books from Mike McMahan's library. Mike was the creator of the famous Baja Wall maps of the 60s to 90s. Mike also wrote an excellent book in 1973, 'There It Is: Baja!, which was republished 10 years later in softback with the title changes to 'Adventures in Baja'.

Mexico's Diamond in the Rough (Lower California Adventure) by O.W. Timberman c1959 was one of many adventure books written by those who traveled by automobile down Baja when a four-wheel drive was almost mandatory and the high adventure and sport fishing or hunting was just too great to not be excited over.

The pavement ended 70 some miles south of Ensenada and began again only 24 miles north of La Paz on their trip in the late 50s. La Paz to Cabo was all dirt roads (in 1966 on my first trip, it was paved only to 10 miles south of town and about 100 miles north).

The book is a well-written account of the couple's no-hurry travel down the peninsula with many interactions with locals at various villages and ranchos.

I will recount a few passages from the book that stood out about the road or places or people described in follow-up posts.

Baja Highway about 60 years ago...


Famous Beach Palms...

60 years later, they are still at the edge of the sea, and not in it!


[Edited on 4-28-2018 by David K]

mtgoat666 - 4-14-2018 at 12:30 PM

Quote: Originally posted by David K  


60 years later, they are still at the edge of the sea, and not in it!


Global sea level on avarage has risen 4+ inches in past 60 years. Some places have seen more or less sea level change.

The scientists that study this use accurat guages (not inebriated observations of palm trees). Many parties have observed damage of infrastructure/property due to sea level rise.

The link between greenhouse gas and global warming is real.

You have to be a doofus to ignore the science, spend your energy monitoring palm trees and base your arguement on one palm tree you happen to be fond of.

bajatrailrider - 4-14-2018 at 03:31 PM

Quote: Originally posted by mtgoat666  
Quote: Originally posted by David K  


60 years later, they are still at the edge of the sea, and not in it!


Global sea level on avarage has risen 4+ inches in past 60 years. Some places have seen more or less sea level change.

The scientists that study this use accurat guages (not inebriated observations of palm trees). Many parties have observed damage of infrastructure/property due to sea level rise.

The link between greenhouse gas and global warming is real.

You have to be a doofus to ignore the science, spend your energy monitoring palm trees and base your arguement on one palm tree you happen to be fond of.
Hey doofus MT retard tourist Make America decent again and Baja. Throw your ugly ass out you win Idiot of the year. Nobody wants to hear you retard. Thank you David for great write up Shame this loser from San Diego. Mt your lower then whale turn that is why global warming. :bounce::bounce:

bajatrailrider - 4-14-2018 at 03:35 PM

Quote: Originally posted by David K  



Inside cover.

This was one of the books from Mike McMahan's library. Mike was the creator of the famous Baja Wall maps of the 60s to 90s. Mike also wrote an excellent book in 1973, 'There It Is: Baja!, which was republished 10 years later in softback with the title changes to 'Adventures in Baja'.

Mexico's Diamond in the Rough (Lower California Adventure) by O.W. Timberman c1959 was one of many adventure books written by those who traveled by automobile down Baja when a four-wheel drive was almost mandatory and the high adventure and sport fishing or hunting was just too great to not be excited over.

The pavement ended 70 some miles south of Ensenada and began again only 24 miles north of La Paz on their trip in the late 50s. La Paz to Cabo was all dirt roads (in 1966 on my first trip, it was paved only to 10 miles south of town and about 100 miles north).

The book is a well-written account of the couple's no-hurry travel down the peninsula with many interactions with locals at various villages and ranchos.

I will recount a few passages from the book that stood out about the road or places or people described in follow-up posts.

Baja Highway about 60 years ago...


Famous Beach Palms...

60 years later, they are still at the edge of the sea, and not in it!
Thank you David great write up and pictures. Sorry that loser Mt from San Diego has to write his wroth less crap. That is his job Baja Blow Hard loser:light:

JZ - 4-14-2018 at 03:39 PM

Quote: Originally posted by mtgoat666  


Global sea level on avarage has risen 4+ inches in past 60 years. Some places have seen more or less sea level change.

The scientists that study this use accurat guages (not inebriated observations of palm trees). Many parties have observed damage of infrastructure/property due to sea level rise.

The link between greenhouse gas and global warming is real.

You have to be a doofus to ignore the science, spend your energy monitoring palm trees and base your arguement on one palm tree you happen to be fond of.


He goated you with that troll, that's a scientific fact.


[Edited on 4-15-2018 by JZ]

bajatrailrider - 4-14-2018 at 03:47 PM

JAAAAAA good one

Paco Facullo - 4-14-2018 at 04:32 PM

So David, your slipping, I'm surprised you don't have a picture of the same palms of recent vintage ?

You probably do, just haven't found them as of yet >:biggrin:

Oh and also, the OP was REALLY interesting, thanks !

[Edited on 4-14-2018 by Paco Facullo]

mtgoat666 - 4-14-2018 at 07:57 PM

Quote: Originally posted by bajatrailrider  
Quote: Originally posted by mtgoat666  
Quote: Originally posted by David K  


60 years later, they are still at the edge of the sea, and not in it!


Global sea level on avarage has risen 4+ inches in past 60 years. Some places have seen more or less sea level change.

The scientists that study this use accurat guages (not inebriated observations of palm trees). Many parties have observed damage of infrastructure/property due to sea level rise.

The link between greenhouse gas and global warming is real.

You have to be a doofus to ignore the science, spend your energy monitoring palm trees and base your arguement on one palm tree you happen to be fond of.
Hey doofus MT retard tourist Make America decent again and Baja. Throw your ugly ass out you win Idiot of the year. Nobody wants to hear you retard. Thank you David for great write up Shame this loser from San Diego. Mt your lower then whale turn that is why global warming. :bounce::bounce:


Did you get kicked in the head? I’m struggling to figure out why your writing is so much gibberish. I see kernels of corn in your chit,... but the syntax appears to reflect mental defect or brain damage.

bajatrailrider - 4-14-2018 at 08:38 PM

Quote: Originally posted by mtgoat666  
Quote: Originally posted by bajatrailrider  
Quote: Originally posted by mtgoat666  
Quote: Originally posted by David K  


60 years later, they are still at the edge of the sea, and not in it!


Global sea level on avarage has risen 4+ inches in past 60 years. Some places have seen more or less sea level change.

The scientists that study this use accurat guages (not inebriated observations of palm trees). Many parties have observed damage of infrastructure/property due to sea level rise.

The link between greenhouse gas and global warming is real.

You have to be a doofus to ignore the science, spend your energy monitoring palm trees and base your arguement on one palm tree you happen to be fond of.
Hey doofus MT retard tourist Make America decent again and Baja. Throw your ugly ass out you win Idiot of the year. Nobody wants to hear you retard. Thank you David for great write up Shame this loser from San Diego. Mt your lower then whale turn that is why global warming. :bounce::bounce:


Did you get kicked in the head? I’m struggling to figure out why your writing is so much gibberish. I see kernels of corn in your chit,... but the syntax appears to reflect mental defect or brain damage.
Poor nature N-zi troll loser Zip it every time David writes a good story. Your brainless rants your chit for brains. Besides a scared little rat didn't Moma feed you tonight.:lol: MAKE AMERICA DECENT THROW OUT STPIUD GOAT.:bounce:

David K - 4-23-2018 at 05:43 PM

I was going to add some more quotes and observations from this 1950s Baja adventure story... but if there is no interest, I will move along to the next Baja project!

I wonder how many here remember the days of pavement ending before Colonet or if your first Baja road trip was after 1973?

It was a serious wild west adventure. You stopped at ranchos for meals, beer, gasoline south of El Rosario. The only villages north of San Ignacio (on the peninsular main road) were Punta Prieta and El Arco. There was a collection of ranch homes at Rosarito (Nuevo Rosarito today) but not much else.

You could drive about 100 miles a day if there were no problems! On our 1966 Jeep Wagoneer trip, the first night was San Quintin (by the old mill ruin), the next was at Agua Dulce.

The worst part of the entire drive came the third day south and was at Laguna Chapala where the silt beds engulfed our Wagoneer, north of the Grosso ranch. The dry lake bed just south was the best part, where for a couple of miles you could drive highway speeds and blow some of that dust off.

Just some great memories from when I was 8 1/2! I remember all the places because my dad gave me the job of navigator! I read from the Lower California Guidebook as we drove along to know which fork to take or what was the next point-of-interest!


What a nice cover photo ;)

Paco Facullo - 4-23-2018 at 06:49 PM

David,
Back in the 70's all I knew was Tijuana and Ensenada in the 80's along with fishing out of San Quintin.

But I for one am seriously interested in this topic ....

Hopefully there are others that will chime in......

Mexico's Diamond in the Rough, 1959, page 39

David K - 4-24-2018 at 08:31 AM

Halfway up the steep Aguajito grade you come to a small mining operation of manganite ore which looks promising. ...

Still further up the grade, not far from the summit, is a turquoise mine that has been in operation for several years. ...

The few children living at the mine always benefit with gifts of candy and gum.

Quick Quiz

thebajarunner - 4-24-2018 at 10:30 AM

So, where is the location of the photo of the "motor home" sitting in the rocks?
I recognized it right away from a trek through there in 1972.
Any others know that spot?

And David, your input is always appreciated.
You bring life to a great place (Baja) whilst others seem to only view this forum as a place to act stupid. Maybe they need to "get a life."

OK, back to my question
Where is that spot???

Bajaboy - 4-24-2018 at 10:38 AM

Quote: Originally posted by bajatrailrider  
Quote: Originally posted by mtgoat666  
Quote: Originally posted by David K  


60 years later, they are still at the edge of the sea, and not in it!


Global sea level on avarage has risen 4+ inches in past 60 years. Some places have seen more or less sea level change.

The scientists that study this use accurat guages (not inebriated observations of palm trees). Many parties have observed damage of infrastructure/property due to sea level rise.

The link between greenhouse gas and global warming is real.

You have to be a doofus to ignore the science, spend your energy monitoring palm trees and base your arguement on one palm tree you happen to be fond of.
Hey doofus MT retard tourist Make America decent again and Baja. Throw your ugly ass out you win Idiot of the year. Nobody wants to hear you retard. Thank you David for great write up Shame this loser from San Diego. Mt your lower then whale turn that is why global warming. :bounce::bounce:


Very tactful and informative post...thank you

How about back to the book? Page 40-41...

David K - 4-24-2018 at 05:31 PM

Not far beyond we came to a road junction and turned right for a side trip of about two miles to the ruins of the old adobe mission of San Fernando...

A pity it was to view the wanton destruction of these beautiful old missions, so much of it caused by humans in their lust for something for nothing. Baja California lacks the funds to protect these edifices. The ones built of rock are in a better state of preservation, but here again in some instances the foundations have felt the hand of the vandal...

In the close proximity to the mission were two ranch houses, many palms and excellent water. Everything was green in a land of drought--a desert oasis with friendly people, far from civilization. We camped here for the night under brilliant stars in a tropical setting.


Here is a map from three years after this book was published of the roads around San Fernando...


Page 42...

David K - 4-26-2018 at 10:06 AM

From Rancho San Augustín there was a choice of roads.On previous trips we had taken the short-cut by-passing the village of El Mármol (Spanish for marble). It was eight miles farther this way, but we had never been there, so decided to go this trip. Marble is not quarried here, onyx is, which is more valuable, and El Mármol has been referred to as the onyx center of the world.

From another book, how El Mármol appeared in the 1950s:




The world's only schoolhouse made of onyx!

In 2011:


Page 48-49

David K - 4-28-2018 at 09:38 AM

Stops were made at Rancho Santa Inés and Rancho Jaraguay where the same friendliness prevailed. At one ranch we were asked for matches, and at another for some sugar, which we gladly gave. Payment was offered in both cases, which we refused. Running out of staple supplies on Baja California is a catastrophe, and we are always ready to divide or share what we have.

After another steep climb we came into an extensive valley in which lay Laguna Seca Chapala, a broad dry lake that we were to cross, and the only place since leaving the improved roads where we could attain a speed over fifty miles per hour. The lake itself was a dry, hard, smooth stretch without a ripple or bump. It was an exhilarating ride after being held down to twenty miles per hour and less; but the catch was that the distance across was only three and a half miles and the ride ended almost as quickly as it had begun.

Approaching the lake from the north the road entered deep, flour-fine dust, and as a result many roads had branched off. As soon as one became bad, each car or truck had circled farther out trying to find a smoother roadbed.As many as forty to sixty roads were spread across the next two miles, crossing and recrossing each other, and finally all of them merging at the same point at the ranch of Arturo Grosso, situated on the edge of Laguna Seca Chapala. Whichever road you might have chosen to cross the deep dust, you will invariably wish you had chosen one of the others.

Arturo Grosso, brother to Señora Espinoza of El Rosario, welcomed us...




The area of the Main Road traveled (Santa Ines to Chapala):





The Chapala Valley Dust. Photo was taken in July 1973 on the detour road along the closed/new highway route. I stood up on the elevated new roadbed to get this photo of my dad driving his station wagon through the dust (silt). We had quite the memory of this dust from our 1966 trip.

David K - 4-30-2018 at 09:00 AM

Shall I continue with this review of driving down the peninsula when it was mostly an unpaved, ungraded road to Cabo?

TMW - 4-30-2018 at 01:34 PM

Yes

Absolutely! ANd answer my quiz question too

thebajarunner - 4-30-2018 at 01:42 PM

Quote: Originally posted by David K  
Shall I continue with this review of driving down the peninsula when it was mostly an unpaved, ungraded road to Cabo?


No one wants to reach for an answer?
Or doesn't anyone know....:D:D

TMW - 4-30-2018 at 03:15 PM

The motorhome is at Three Sisters south of Puertecitos.

David K - 4-30-2018 at 03:51 PM

Quote: Originally posted by TMW  
The motorhome is at Three Sisters south of Puertecitos.



The map inside the book's cover shows the roads they traveled.
It doesn't say in the book, but if I were to make a guess, the older road to La Purísima would be it. The Auto Club posted a photo of a road that looked similar to the photo with the 'motorhome' on it. Let me see if I can find it!

FOUND IT!



[Edited on 4-30-2018 by David K]

Page 52

David K - 4-30-2018 at 05:17 PM



Far easier to scan and crop than to type!

Here is the region discussed, as it was around the book's printing:

1958 Shell Baja Map, showing Las Flores:


San Francisquito is next to Las Arrastras... and the 1956 road blazed north to Gonzaga Bay and San Felipe's sulfur mine by Arturo Grosso is not yet shown

David K - 5-1-2018 at 10:02 AM

More at Las Flores from a 1951 book (The Curse of the Cow):



Las Flores jail in 2017:


The Las Flores Railroad engine moved to town plaza in Bahía de los Angeles:



Pretty close actually...

thebajarunner - 5-1-2018 at 03:28 PM

Quote: Originally posted by David K  
Quote: Originally posted by TMW  
The motorhome is at Three Sisters south of Puertecitos.



The map inside the book's cover shows the roads they traveled.
It doesn't say in the book, but if I were to make a guess, the older road to La Purísima would be it. The Auto Club posted a photo of a road that looked similar to the photo with the 'motorhome' on it. Let me see if I can find it!

FOUND IT!



[Edited on 4-30-2018 by David K]


That spot was on the road out of San Ignacio, headed for the "Beach Route" for the 1000 race in the mid-70s.
I suppose you could say it was on the way to La Purisima, although it was probably only about a third of the way from San Ignacio to Rancho Cuarenta (one of the checkpoints in the race)
I have tried to find the old slides that I took there.
We were pre-running with Bob Gookin, driver/owner of Gookins Gherkin, a green Baja Bug. I stopped ahead and snapped some shots back of him in the middle of the rock road and he put prints of my pic up in his shop wall out in El Cajon.

As to south of Puertecitos.... I don't remember any of those type of trees in that area, nor the distinct pattern of rocky road. But then, there is a lot I don't remember too well these days.

David K - 5-1-2018 at 03:42 PM

Hmmm... I guess there are a few places in Baja where you drive on big cobble rock?

The 1959 book trip did not go south of San Ignacio to the lagoon. There is a chance he tossed that photo in from a different trip, perhaps?

You are correct that there are no cardón trees in quantity between Puertecitos and Gonzaga. Plus, the 1959 trip did not go that way either.

Keep looking for those slides!

David K - 5-1-2018 at 04:57 PM

Before it was moved to town, this is how the Las Flores train engine sat, by the jail in Las Flores. I first visited it there in 1976. This photo is from a 1963 book, Cruising the Sea of Cortez by Spencer Murray.


Love that old jail

thebajarunner - 5-1-2018 at 05:27 PM



Las Flores jail in 2017:



When things get too boring in LABay we drive out there, sit in the shade and have a few cool ones.
Great place to sit in peace (or rest in peace in the nearby graves of the early settlers)


David K - 5-2-2018 at 06:51 AM

When the wind blows, preventing water sports, L.A. Bay has so many area attractions!

On my website (www.vivabaja.com) I have links to pages with photos at some of them:


Bahia de los Angeles Area:

Tinaja de Yubay
Punta Candeleros & Remedios (Bahia Guadalupe)
El Toro Copper Mine
Camp Gecko cabin, turtle research station, & La Gringa
Bahia de los Angeles highway, Pemex, etc. '05
Bahia de los Angeles Museum
Mision San Borja
Mision San Borja (inside)
Old San Gregorio
Santa Ana, San Ignacito
Montevideo Petroglyphs
Las Tinajitas Petroglyphs
Camp Gecko '03
Las Flores
Los Paredones, La Bocana, Bahia San Rafael
Las Flores Railroad and Tramway
Rock Palm Hill (near Yubay)
Bahia las Animas
Punta La Gringa
Mysterious Ruins/ Lost Mission Site?

Continuing the journey...

David K - 5-8-2018 at 07:21 AM


Continuing the journey...

David K - 5-10-2018 at 08:39 AM



Rancho Rosarito is today's Nuevo Rosarito. Also see Rancho Mesquital, El Arco, Rancho Tablón (today is east of the city of El Vizcaíno), ranches and villages on the original 'Highway 1'... as seen on this 1958 Shell Oil Map of Baja:



1958 Central Baja.jpg - 174kB

David K - 5-11-2018 at 08:26 AM

The next couple of pages really paint a great picture of what it was like to drive to San Ignacio from the north in the 1950s and 1960s: