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Author: Subject: BAJA 1/09... So super fine! Part 6: Las Flores
David K
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[*] posted on 1-6-2009 at 06:39 PM
BAJA 1/09... So super fine! Part 6: Las Flores


This is continued from Part 5 at: http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=36263
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Having perhaps the greatest Baja experience, we left the mesa behind as we headed back towards Bahia de los Angeles!

Just before reaching the San Francisquito graded road...



Zipping along, the road was in excellent condition...







Las Flores jail and gold storage (2 rooms), built by Dick Daggett, Sr.















The railroad bed... the train engine that was here for so long was moved to the L.A. Bay town plaza... It is now covered with spray painted graffiti :(





The south end of this railroad line is quite interesting! See photos of the terminal platform here: http://vivabaja.com/402/page4.html


The graveyard is just northwest from the jail house...



















We stopped by Paulina's to visit and share the news, but her neighbor said she left that morning.

Back to Bahia de los Angeles, and hit the road to El Rosario for a comfortable stay at Baja Cactus (or so we thought)!



[Edited on 1-7-2009 by David K]




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[*] posted on 1-6-2009 at 07:23 PM


David-----------that last shot really appeals to me------beautiful!!!

Barry
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[*] posted on 1-7-2009 at 09:30 AM


L.A. Bay is beautiful, for sure!



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[*] posted on 1-7-2009 at 04:05 PM


David, did the Daggets live in town or out there near the rails? Were there other buildings out there as well as the jail?



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[*] posted on 1-7-2009 at 04:10 PM


Thanks for the post.

Those Arce's did and do get around!



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[*] posted on 1-7-2009 at 04:16 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by Barry A.
David-----------that last shot really appeals to me------beautiful!!!

Barry


I agree.
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[*] posted on 1-7-2009 at 04:18 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by Sharksbaja
David, did the Daggets live in town or out there near the rails? Were there other buildings out there as well as the jail?


Dick Sr. lived all over Baja and is credited with establishing ore mills at Calamajue and working the King Richard/La Josefina gold mine just north. His home base was likely Las Flores...

His son Dick Jr. is the person in Erle Stanley Gardner's books and other Baja travel books of the 40's-60's and he lived (as an adult) in Bahia de los Angeles... working for Papa Diaz or himself, as a mechanic. I met him in 1967 and we bought the cap gun toy made from a spark plug and nail that all the boys in Bahia de los Angeles had. (I was 9-10 then).

Dick Jr's. son is Reuben who runs Daggett's Camp...

A few years ago there were some other buildings (adobe) out at Las Flores... only the strong jail house remains... Naturally all the dozens of wood houses would have been scavenged for the precious buiding material.

Heck, in the original rooms at Casa Diaz you can see some of the railroad tracks... great frame material!




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[*] posted on 1-7-2009 at 04:42 PM


david K,,, I really enjoy your posts and photos... you really know your stuff,, I have only been to LA bay twice,, and didnt know about all that is around there,, guess I need to slow down,, great work,
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[*] posted on 1-7-2009 at 04:52 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by desertcpl
david K,,, I really enjoy your posts and photos... you really know your stuff,, I have only been to LA bay twice,, and didnt know about all that is around there,, guess I need to slow down,, great work,


Thank you very much... I really enjoy going to all these places to show them to you all as much as myself!

There is no excuse for not knowing what's out there, however!:light:

See the first link below my posts...? Find Baja Location Photos Fast: http://community-2.webtv.net/vivabaja/tours

Click on it and see dozens of links to photos of sites in Baja.

Here is what is listed just under Bahia de los Angeles:

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 Rafeal

Las Flores Railroad and Tramway

Rock Palm Hill (near Yubay)

Bahia las Animas

Punta La Gringa


NOW, check it out and go see these places for yourself. Plus there is a lot more things to see than what I have pictures of, as well!

[Edited on 1-7-2009 by David K]




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[*] posted on 1-7-2009 at 04:55 PM
Gun


"I met him in 1967 and we bought the cap gun toy made from a spark plug and nail that all the boys in Bahia de los Angeles had."

Do you still have it, I'd love to see it.




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[*] posted on 1-7-2009 at 04:59 PM


thanks again david k,, I will check them out,, its been fun just following the forums here and all the great posts,, it will make our next trip alot more fun
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[*] posted on 1-7-2009 at 05:03 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by Sharksbaja
"I met him in 1967 and we bought the cap gun toy made from a spark plug and nail that all the boys in Bahia de los Angeles had."

Do you still have it, I'd love to see it.


Nope... I wrote about it here on Nomad before...

Here's that 1967 trip report (including the spark plug cap gun toy):

All these wonderful Bahia de los Angeles stories have me thinking back when I was almost ten years old, in the summer of '67 (my 'wonder years'). My parents and I had been traveling/four wheeling in Baja for two years and all of us were totally entranced by the rugged and beautiful peninsula.

The previous summer (1966) we made the great journey from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas (took two weeks, with 800 miles on dirt). We didn't detour to L.A. Bay then, saving it for next year!

Our route to Bahia was to go down from Mexicali & San Felipe. Even though the 'toughest' road in Baja was this way (Puertecitos to Gonzaga), that was better than going through the dust bowl at Laguna Chapala on the main transpeninsular road, which we experienced the previous year. That talcum powder fine silt, one had to plow through before the dry lakebed, was the worst part of the 1000+ mile trip!

The 'Gonzaga Grades' (as we called them) south of Puertecitos were a great challenge, even with low range four wheel drive... Today's graded dirt road people think is bad is a super highway compared to the original road over the volcanic ridges. Parts of it can be seen from the present graded road on opposing canyon walls.

In 1967, San Felipe's main street was dirt and a devastating chubasco would (soon after our trip) do terrible damage. We stocked up on bolillos at the bakery and headed south. The road was graded to Puertecitos and stayed inland from the coast passing through the sulfur mine valley.

Puertecitos was then a small resort settlement with a cafe, motel rooms, airstrip, and some wonderful albeit stinky hot springs at the water's edge.

It was here, in 1965, patrons informed my dad that this was the 'end of the road'. My dad (that year) made it to Gonzaga Bay, anyway...towing a tent trailer! A determined dentist and a Jeep Wagoneer is a combination NOT to be underestimated...LOL!

Leaving Puertecitos we engaged 4WD Low Range and crawled the Jeep over each of the six extremely steep volcanic staircases ('Gonzaga Grades' my folks called them) that ended at El Huerfanito. A small cafe was built near the shore across from the Little Orphan island (El Huerfanito). Many children appeared and my parents had brought hard candies (dulces) for them... much appreciated!

The road alternated between flat and small grades as we continued on. The next campo was 'Okie Landing', a sport fishing camp with some palapas and an ice house built in a cave.

Finally, Bahia San Luis Gonzaga came into view. The first time we came here, was in '65 and stayed near the campo now called Alfonsina's... back then I don't recall the official name.

From Gonzaga we headed south through the boulders of Las Arrastras and water filled Calamajue Canyon to El Crucero on the transpeninsular main road. The main roads were just two deep parallel ruts in sand or rock terrain. You could almost let go of the steering wheel and the ruts would steer the Jeep for you! In a few miles we turned off the main Baja road and headed for L.A. Bay.

At Desengaño we stopped to examine the several adobe buildings from this 1930's gold mine. Several more miles traveled and, just like today, the first view of the 'Bay of Angels' was breathtaking!

The town of L.A. Bay was only about 100 people who mostly worked for Papa Diaz or hunted turtles... Casa Diaz was THE place, the ONLY place for tourists in 1967!

Casa Diaz was operated by 'Papa' (Antero) and Cruz Diaz. Now, the problem was Mrs. Diaz did not appreciate being called 'mama' by anyone but her own children. However, where there is a 'papa' then there must be a 'mama', right? This issue was documented in many publications of the time. In more recent times I heard Cruz relented and accepted the name 'Mama Diaz' with a smile!

Cruz was a famous for her turtle steaks, as she ran the kitchen at Casa Diaz. Pilots would make great detours in flight plans should an opportunity for a meal prepared by Senora Diaz arise! Most customers at Casa Diaz were pilots and their passengers. The closest paved road was just north of Colonet, 280 miles away. Jeep and motorcycle clients were rare.

The L.A. Bay airstrip's south end was at Casa Diaz, a collection of cinder block groups of cabins, where pilots would taxi their planes up to and park in front of their room. Much like autos at a motor lodge.

Legendary Baja pilot, Francisco Muñoz, operated a small airline called 'Baja Air Service' that flew from Tijuana to L.A. Bay, Mulege, and Puerto Vallarta... an airline ahead of its time. My dad flew with Muñoz over Baja in the co-pilot's seat, that year!

Casa Diaz may have been the first time anyone showered in solar heated water, another innovation in Baja. The only trick was to shower in the afternoon, because without a day's sunlight, any other time would be less than ideal water temperature!

In the summer, it was way too warm at night to sleep in the rooms. So, every room had cots on the outside for sleeping in the open... that was great! About ten o'clock, Papa would shut off his generator (the town's only source of electricity), after a couple of warning brown outs, to give you time to light lanterns. Then a billion stars would grab your attention. No finer sleep at any hotel could be had then that system at Casa Diaz...under the stars!



Papa Diaz had a big yacht anchored off shore. He took groups fishing on it. The yacht was called the 'San Agustin', I believe. If there was an emergency, Papa would go to his yacht and use the HAM radio onboard. The U.S. Coast Guard could fly a helicopter down, if needed to rescue an injured person.

The kids at L.A. Bay had an interesting toy. It was a kind of a Baja version of a cap gun. The toy was the invention of Dick Daggett (Jr.), who was the town mechanic. Several families in Baja have English last names. Dick's father jumped ship in the 1890's, hid in a cave until the ship left and stayed in Baja. More on the Daggett’s in another article... Anyway, using discarded spark plugs, a large nail, and a string, theses 'cap gun toys' were made. The ceramic removed, hollowed out spark plug core was where a wooden match was inserted and twisted, leaving the sulfurous tip behind. The nail was then inserted. A loop of string attached the nail to the spark plug, and then holding the loop one would slam the head of the nail against a wall. The point of the nail ignited the match head, and BANG!!! It was quite effective. We considered marketing the product!

One other family was brave enough to drive into L.A. Bay that summer. It was the Anderson family of Valley Center. Their bodies and vehicle showed clearly they came south from Ensenada as the Laguna Chapala dust was all over them! They were in a Land Rover with two boys a couple years older than my 9 1/2 years of age. I had a Briggs and Stratton powered mini bike and the two Anderson boys were very interested in it. They had a room at Casa Diaz at first, but then moved out to the sand point to camp (where the light house is now). My dad drove us out to party with them one day, on the sand point. They were quite surprised that we had ice and my dad could whip up some ice-cold adult drinks!

The Anderson's note in Diaz' logbook read: "We came over in a Land Rover. The road was rough, but the Rover is tough... We whaled our tails!"

Some seven years later, I took a world history class in high school. The teacher would mention Baja California, he had a Land Rover... yep, that's right, talk about a small world! I started to describe that trip of '67... it was really shocking how we ended up re-meeting. He specially remembered my dad's icy -- censored --tails! I think I got an A in Terry Anderson's world history class! Viva Baja!

That was quite a trip, 35 years ago... and very fresh in my mind. Getting there was only HALF the adventure!

The return trip abruptly changed, just a mile or two from Casa Diaz. For reasons I won't describe, my dad decided not to return at that moment! My mom was already 'Baja Proven' and didn't need any man to drive us back... So, she and I continued north. We got to the old mill ruins at the edge of Calamajue Canyon, where we spent the night.

The next day, just a few miles north, we ran out of gas in the Wagoneer… or something stalled us. My mom was not worried, as we were aware of a Baja tour 4WD Carryall and Nissan Patrol support vehicle somewhere behind us. My mom set up our bridge table and prepared slices of ice-cold watermelon to serve our rescuers! Soon, the 4WD 'bus' arrived and out came the passengers (old ladies mostly). Their air conditioning was on the fritz... and it was well over 100°! One of the tour passengers took my mom aside, and begged her to take her as a passenger, offering large sums of money, even! I guess this early Baja tour company was less than prepared for the toils of the land. My mom declined preferring the uncomplicated status quo. Watermelon was a hit, we got some gas or whatever was needed and headed for Alfonsina's. Alfonsina's had a few rooms for rent back in those days, so there we stayed the second night out.

Back at Casa Diaz, my dad waited for Captain Muñoz to return for a flight out... this is when my dad got to be co-pilot of Baja Air Service!

My dad hopped on Capt. Muñoz' plane on its southbound leg to Mulege and Puerto Vallarta. I think Muñoz gave my dad a tour of Puerto Vallarta before the return flight. Anyway, on the return flight north, Francisco Muñoz invited my dad to sit up front, in the co-pilots chair. Concerned over my mom's decision to drive north over the dreaded 'Gonzaga Grades', Captain Munoz deviated the normal route to Tijuana and flew up the gulf coast to try and spot my mom and I.

Mom and I headed towards Puertecitos in the Wagoneer. We pulled off to look at a water hole, 'Agua de Mezquitito'. The area was thick with quail.

Climbing over the grades, we came upon a Mexican supply truck stalled near the summit. We stopped to offer assistance, and the driver quickly placed rocks behind our Jeep's tires, should we roll back to certain death! All along the steep grades between Puertecitos and El Huerfanito were crosses and wrecked cars and trucks in the canyons below. Brake failures, 2WDs losing traction, and simply mis-steering on the narrow trail were the likely cause of those tragedies.

The completion of Highway One, in Dec. '73 changed traffic greatly to Gonzaga Bay. No longer was any maintenance performed south of Puertecitos, as all commercial traffic came in from the south after '73. The new graded road (south of Puertecitos) was blasted through in 1985-86.

Well, mom and I made it to Puertecitos and rented a room for the night. That was when I first enjoyed the famous sulfur hot springs at the water's edge. Timing is critical to enjoy the pools that are totally covered at high tide and too hot if low tide has kept the sea water away too long. Yes, you will smell like a rotten egg, but your aches and pains of the harsh road will be gone!

We were never spotted from the air and made it back safely. In the end, both my mom and dad had interesting stories to compare, and I had gained some new great memories of Baja in the Golden Years! Thank you Ed and Lynn for giving me Baja Fever




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[*] posted on 1-7-2009 at 05:25 PM


I remember reading about your trip,,,

my first time to LA bay was about 1984,,, me and a buddy of mine, went for a week fishing,, I had a ponga then,, it was august,, yea it was hot,, we stayed at the motel Villa Vitta,,
the fishing was out of this world,, it was the first time that I have ever experenced a fish freeding frenzy,, got into 2 of them.
in the evening when we got off the water,, we gave the cook one of our fish to cook,, usually a dorado,, they also made us every night a big plater of turtle,, it was my first time for turtle,, I feel in love with it,, after dinner , we ate so much it was hard to just walk back to our room,

[Edited on 1-8-2009 by desertcpl]
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[*] posted on 1-7-2009 at 05:35 PM


Good for you! Great memories...

I camped at La Gringa in 1984... a nice couple of days then the wind came up and blew us off the beach!

If you find photos, please share them!




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[*] posted on 1-7-2009 at 05:44 PM


i did have photos of the fishing frenzys, and other photos,, but they are all gone now,, my ex had them,, but no more,, I also had some great photos,, of diving off of La Paz , in a place called the Sea Mounts,, under water photos,, that was the greatest dive I have ever experenced in my life,, had one photo of a whale shark divng with us,, and one of the dive buddys got on his back and road him for while,, lost those photos also,,, ex wife had no since of humuor

[Edited on 1-8-2009 by desertcpl]
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[*] posted on 1-8-2009 at 11:24 AM


This trip report continues with Part 7 (the final part) at: http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=36303



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[*] posted on 1-8-2009 at 05:25 PM


I enjoyed the photos. Next time David, you should call ahead for your reservations to Baja Cactus. Let me know if you'd like me to help, I speak good Spanish and can communicate for you if needed.



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[*] posted on 1-8-2009 at 06:03 PM


I speak it well enough Ken, but thanks... Call ahead from where? We had no idea when we would arrive at El Rosario... impossible to make a reservation... It actually was a good deal that Antonio's was full... as it allowed me to check out he new place in town, and was pleasently surprised by beds so soft snd comfortable, we didn't want to get up Saturday morning and a good shower, too.

Remember the time when you got us up to say hello and you saw a Baja Cactus room for the first time (you were at Espinoza's Las Cabañas Motel)?




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[*] posted on 1-8-2009 at 07:06 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by David KRemember the time when you got us up to say hello and you saw a Baja Cactus room for the first time (you were at Espinoza's Las Cabañas Motel)?




I do remember. That was the November pre-run trip for Baja Grande. Chris Glass (CG), Brad and Rhoda, Suzanne, You and Baja Angel...3 yrs. ago.




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[*] posted on 1-9-2009 at 09:04 AM


Right... that photo is at the Espinoza motel, behind us.



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