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Author: Subject: Gonzaga Bay Sidetrips - Part 3 (by David K)
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[*] posted on 12-3-2002 at 11:00 AM
Gonzaga Bay Sidetrips - Part 3 (by David K)

Thanksgiving was pretty wet, but the trip to Molino de Lacy was fun. Chris rode the whole time on his motorcycle, and he was all grins. Irma at Alfonsina's had invited us to their Thanksgiving dinner where pilot Doug Bowles ('Doooglas') asked us to sit at his table. A full course turkey dinner was served to the packed restaurant. I met Alfonsina's son, Roman Card##as. He and his brother Joaquin take care of business affairs for Alfonsina and Antonio and Irma manage the operation, on site. He plans on having satellite Internet service soon. Until then, reservations for Alfonsina's motel can be faxed to 011-52-664-626-2626 or mobile message 011-52-664-648-1951. There are nine rooms in the new building and four 'original' rooms, next to the restaurant. Single bed is $45, double is $50, and triple is $55.

Baja GPS guide 'All About Your Whereabouts' author Kacey Smith was there for the feast. I had met Kacey just before her extensive guide was published, at my first Viva Baja get-together... Kacey and her future husband were researching for the second edition of her book, following their 5th place finish in the recent Baja 1000! One new ride will be a trail that connects Puertecitos with Catavina! is her web site.

Friday was cloudy, but dry! Our first side trip was to Papa Fernandez' Resort, on the north side of Bahia San Luis Gonzaga. It is across the bay from Alfonsina's which is located on a sand peninsula that connects to the island that seperates Bahia San Luis Gonzaga from the larger Ensenada de San Francisquito (usually called Gonzaga Bay, also). In fact, the topo maps have the bay names reversed and some maps even call the smaller Bay 'Willard Bay'. Punta Willard is the correct name for the point on the north end, next to Papa Fernandez' Resort. Papa Fernadez' Restaurant GPS waypoint is N29?49.74' W114?24.12' NAD27.

A military checkpoint is on the main road between Rancho Grande/Alfonsina's road and Papa's road. The soldier on duty will ask for your ID and note it in his log. This is the only checkpoint in Baja I have seen do that. Papa's road is 2.5 miles from Rancho Grande, then about a mile in. Private homes and the camping area on Punta Willard are behind closed 'gates' for security and privacy.

A small restaurant will serve you meals or even cook your own meat or fish, to order. A photo of the late Papa Fernandez with John Wayne is an attraction inside. John Wayne had helped Papa secure his property in the 1960's, being quite fond of his sport fishing operation. A photo of Papa with Baja hiking amigo Desert Rat is at That was when Desert Rat was following the first Baja adventure of Graham Mackintosh ('Into a Desert Place') and walked from San Felipe to Gonzaga Bay.

My next goal was to locate the remains of the Jesuit & Franciscan mission era warehouse built near the shore of the bay. We poked in several roads leaving Papa's, but was successful on only one branch towards the bay.

Just south of the military checkpoint a road goes around the hill and leads to an abandoned fish camp, midway between Papa's and Alfonsina's on the shore. West of the concrete slab at the end of that side road is an older rectangular ruined foundation. I believe that is the remains of the stone structure mentioned in the 1958 (and later editions of the) 'Lower California Guidebook'. GPS: 29?48.91'/ 114?24.57'.

Mision Santa Maria, founded by the Jesuits in 1767 was supplied by shipments, off-loaded here. The Franciscan padres who soon replaced the Jesuits continued to off-load supplies at Gonzaga Bay for their first California mission at San Fernando Velicata. Fr. Junipero Serra had a cargo trail built to haul supplies to Santa Maria, as a more direct route than using the El Camino Real which is reached at the mouth of Santa Maria Canyon, south of Gonzaga.


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[*] posted on 12-3-2002 at 05:23 PM

Great Report David. I always enjoy the little bits of baja history you give us with your reports. k
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