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[*] posted on 1-25-2016 at 11:01 AM
Three Nomads Adventure in Baja


Nomads JohnM, Squarecircle and I met at the Pep Boys parking lot in Calexico Friday morning Jan. 15th. After talking over our travel plans we left for the Mexican border. We took the main route thru Mexicali and hwy 5 to San Felipe. We stopped at Pete’s Camp for a drink and snack. After stopping for gas and ice we went thru San Felipe and made our way to Nomad El Comadante Locos place south of town for the night.


Saturday morning we are off to see Coco. We had his Christmas presents one of which was a nice trophy with the inscription Coco, Our Friend Forever. Coco got a little emotional over the trophy, saying he had never been given a trophy before. The trophy had an emblem of Tacate beer on one of the statues and Coco said he was going to change it out with a Pacifico emblem.


It is somewhat amazing the work being done to hwy 5 out to hwy 1. Before long it will all be paved. After taking hwy 1 north and home it can’t come soon enough for me. Next up is LA Bay for gas then south to the jail for the night.


Sunday we make our way to Panchos’ place at Bahia San Rafael. We gave him his Christmas presents then inspected his two generators. The Onan will require a new starter circuit board. I took the board with me to match it for a new one. FYI: Pancho said his pants size is 28 waist and 30 length and his shirt is a medium.


We’re then off to El Barril and one of the main reasons for the trip. That was to inspect the area where the No Wimp Trail heads for the coast of the Sea of Cortez. We’re looking for tire tracks to see if anyone has been that way recently. We get to the where 4x4abc went thru last year and there was no tracks of either a 4 wheeler or motorcycle. The only tracks we see are those going toward Rancho Santa Barbara. Another reason was to visit Rancho Santa Barbara as we had never been there. We camp for the night in the arroyo.



Monday we follow the tracks and come to Rancho Crestones. The Lady of the ranch comes over to meet us. She was friendly but spoke no English. Our little bit of Spanish seemed to work OK. She explained that both Rancho Santa Barbara and Rancho San Miguel were abandoned. When asked about rebuilding the road into her ranch after the rains she said her husband did it with his bulldozer along with the owner of Rancho La Ilusion and his bulldozer. We gave her some can food, blankets and a moving pad. I had forgotten to give the blankets and pad to Coco which I’ll do on my next trip. In return she gave us a big bag of pulled beef. We said our goodbyes and went back to LA Bay.






In LA Bay we have dinner at Guillermos and also get rooms for the night. Tuesday morning John leaves for home. He needs to be back on Wednesday and looking for the Mission Visita will take too much time. Roy (Squarecircle) and I have breakfast in a beautiful outdoor setting looking out over the ocean, what a site. We also notice a lady tending to some cactus plants in a garden setting. On our way back to the rooms we again meet her and she is Luz Galvan, the owner. She goes by Lucy. She paints art and has an Art Gallery in LA Bay. She told us her family moved to LA Bay in 1942 or 1943 (I forgot which). She was a very nice lady to talk with and spoke excellent English.


Roy and I leave and head north on Hwy 1. We stop for lunch at the hotel in Catavina. I think it’s called the Santa Catavina Hotel. Soon we are on the road and stop at the La Virgen Shines, new and old. Next is the turn off at KM103 and up the dirt road joining the 2013 Baja 1000 race course. North of Rancho Las Matires we camp in an arroyo.
New


Old



Wednesday it’s onward on the race course to a junction near RM622. This is the turn off for the Mission Visita San Isidoro. At the Junction there was a pile of what looked to be Yucca plant post. There were also several tents made from plastic tarps, I assume whoever was living there cut the post. The road in is somewhat narrow at times with only a few places to pass an oncoming vehicle. About a mile in Roy calls me on the radio that his engine was over heating and he had lost coolant. I stop and back up and we find a place to pull over out of the way. He adds water to the reservoir and the temp comes down. It was getting dark so we look for a place to camp and find one. We wait until morning to figure out what to do about his Land Rover.

Into the mountains


Thursday morning we decide it’s best if I go back to the Mission Visita and take pictures and he’ll look into the car problem. So I’m off and down the road. At 3.3 miles in I come to a camp site where someone has been living. Another plastic tarp, a table and other odds and ends. It is near a creek with running water, not deep and about 10 feet wide where the water is. I cross the creek and climb up an embankment and over some rocks and walk back about 100 yards or so and see an opening in the barbwire fence. I go thru and look around. My problem is twofold. One I did not write down the GPS coordinates before leaving for this trip. Two there was a lot of brush, cactus and some trees of various heights. A light goes off. I go back to the truck and call DavidK on my satellite phone. I get his voice mail and leave a message.





I’m looking at the Google Image I had of the site and the pin marker and I think I needed to go further west. I cross back and follow what appears to be a horse path up the embankment and slip thru the fence. I’m just sort of walking and looking around when bingo I see the adobe remains of the site. I take several picture and GPS the site then go back to the truck and leave. I did not see anyone while I was there. I left another message to DavidK on my findings.



Back to Roy and he thinks the thermostat is bad. He pulls the cover and removes thermostat. Once all is in place he adds water and off we go. Soon he says it’s still overheating. At the junction there are two men working on a truck. It has a small hole in the radiator and they asked for some silicone seal and I gave them a tube. One of the men said the road north was good and to get to San Quintin or Vicente Guerrero would take about 5 hours. We had about 30-35 miles to hwy 1. Off we go.

The problem with the SUV was odd in that the temp gauge would cycle hot to normal and back constantly. There was what seemed to be a bleeder screw and Roy would loosen it to let off steam and the car would run better for a little while. We stopped ever so often to bleed it. Following my Garmin NUVI-50 in car GPS we came to a road that went to hwy 1 and we took it. It came out to hwy 1 at KM187 north of San Quintin.


The problem with the SUV had me worried on how to get it out if it quit running. I did not relish the ideal of pulling it with my 2004 Tacoma over that race course road. The SUV is heavy and the road is narrow in places, sometimes off camber with lots of steep up hills and down hills with sometimes deep rain ruts and in places rocks. I was hoping that having pulled the thermostat it had somehow fooled the computer and that was why the temp gauge was acting weird.

Anyway once on the hwy at times he had little power and could only go 30 mph. Other times it would do 50 mph. We decide to stop for dinner at the hotel south of Colonet that sets back from the hwy. It was dark by the time we finished dinner. I decided to stay the night at the hotel. Roy decided to keep going and was going to cross at Tecate. I told him I was going that route too and if he had to pull over and stay the night in his SUV I would be looking for him the next day.
I spent the night at the hotel and was on the road at 8am. I crossed at Tecate at 1pm and had only 10-12 cars in front of me. I made a few stops on the way home and made it to Bakersfield at 10pm.

It was another fun and interesting trip, one I won’t soon forget.
TW

An update on Roy and his SUV:

Soon after he left the restaurant the engine quit north of San Vicente and he spent the night in it. The next day he saw me go by but I never saw him. To make a long story short he had trouble getting a flat bed tow truck and when he did one took him to the Rosarito area and another took him and his car home. There may have been a third tow truck involved from Rosarito to the border, I’m not sure. He was harassed by the local police several times while staying in his car. They wanted him to move it which he couldn’t until a tow truck came. It seems to me the police could have been more helpful like let him use a phone to call someone (he didn’t have a cell phone) or they could have arranged a tow.





[Edited on 1-28-2016 by TMW]
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[*] posted on 1-25-2016 at 11:45 AM


Thank you, Tom, for the report... and great photos!

I turn off my phone volume at night and when I went to it the next morning, I had just missed your second call by a minute. I heard both messages and left one to you. It worked out well, because for me to bring up the Visita San Isidoro GPS waypoint would have taken a few minutes.
I have added your photo and the GPS to my new book!

Roy called me yesterday and gave me the horror story about his Land Rover LR-3 ("Winston").

Here is what I gathered (and will edit if I got any part wrong) from Roy's call to me:

He said the Federales (Highway Police) never bothered him, only the local cops (San Vicente or Santo Tomás?) while he was broken down. Once a local was able to get a flatbed truck arranged (and Roy told him that the weight of his Land Rover required the biggest flatbed), one arrived that was too small... of course.

Two nights he slept there waiting. Once the correct flatbed arrived, it demanded U.S. $1,500 deposit and only took him as far as a Rosarito Beach Pemex... where he was left without any more cash!

Through the kindness of (most) Mexican people, another truck took him (he thought to the border, but instead to Playas de Tijuana... and made a connection with a truck that had the visa to cross into the U.S.. That truck took Roy to his bank and then to his home in East County, San Diego.

Roy assumes (or hopes) that driver will pay off the previous truck, who helped Roy on the honor system.

The Land Rover LR-3 may have a bad water pump or head gasket... Hopefully, the V-8 isn't fried. Roy needs to get back into a Toyota if he wants to continue exploring Baja as trouble-free as possible like TW and John M both have!

Mission visitas are satellite visiting outposts from the head mission. Some had churches that were often confused as being missions by early travelers to Baja.

Visita San Isidoro belonged to Mission San Pedro Mártir, located about 4.7 miles east-northeast and 2,000 feet higher in elevation.




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[*] posted on 1-25-2016 at 12:24 PM


Tom,
Great post.....and thanks for the kindness shown to Coco and Pancho....




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[*] posted on 1-25-2016 at 12:35 PM


Great adventure. Thanks for taking the time to post your trip.



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[*] posted on 1-25-2016 at 12:54 PM


Great pictures and report Tom.
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[*] posted on 1-25-2016 at 01:37 PM


Tom,

Thanks for "taking us along", I always enjoy your posts.

"Visita San Isidoro belonged to Mission San Pedro Mártir, located about 4.7 miles east-northeast and 2,000 feet higher in elevation."

David,
Do you have a little something you can share about the Mission San Pedro Martir site?

Bruce
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[*] posted on 1-25-2016 at 01:57 PM


Great photos - thanks! I was able to add a couple place to my bucket list.



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[*] posted on 1-25-2016 at 02:37 PM


thanks for taking us on this trip!

can you pinpoint Rancho Crestone on Google Earth (or a GPS marker)?




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[*] posted on 1-25-2016 at 02:56 PM


Nice interesting report and photos. You gentlemen have kind hearts.
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[*] posted on 1-25-2016 at 03:20 PM


Thanks all. Always fun to go to new places.

Harald the GPS coordinates are 28-04.270x112-58.570, I had sent a spot from there. I had always thought that was Rancho Santa Barbara from looking at Google Earth. However since she said RSB was abandoned I see another ranch (I think) further south at GPS
28-03.430x112-58.920 which I had assumed was a coral used by RSB.
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[*] posted on 1-25-2016 at 03:24 PM


Quote: Originally posted by David K  
Thank you, Tom, for the report... and great photos!

I have added your photo and the GPS to my new book!



Where did you get the GPS from. My GPS at the site east side between the bldgs is 30-45.940x115-32.822 el-2980ft
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[*] posted on 1-25-2016 at 03:27 PM


She also said there was no road from her ranch to Mission Santa Gertrudis.
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[*] posted on 1-25-2016 at 03:38 PM


thanks for Crestone!

did you take pictures of the corral at San Isidoro?




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[*] posted on 1-25-2016 at 04:14 PM


No, I did not see one, just the remains of the three buildings. But to be honest I was only looking for the buildings. would the corral be made from rocks? There was plenty there in the arroyo.
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[*] posted on 1-25-2016 at 04:27 PM


Quote: Originally posted by TMW  
She also said there was no road from her ranch to Mission Santa Gertrudis.


No auto road but a Camino Real (mission road) is easy to follow on Google Earth from Mission Santa Gertrudis to Rancho Santa Barbara... and in mission times the trail went to the beach where supplies could be obtained from the south.




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[*] posted on 1-25-2016 at 04:36 PM


Quote: Originally posted by TMW  
Quote: Originally posted by David K  
Thank you, Tom, for the report... and great photos!

I have added your photo and the GPS to my new book!



Where did you get the GPS from. My GPS at the site east side between the bldgs is 30-45.940x115-32.822 el-2980ft


Originally in 2004 from Nomads who hiked to the mission via San Isidoro from Rancho Santa Cruz and San Antonio (Jack Swords, Mexitron, Taco de Baja, and Pappy + non-Nomad 'Huddo'): I met 4 of them a day or two after their return from Mission San Pedro Martir backpack adventure on their way to Matomi canyon... Here near El Parral:


Since then, I use Google Earth to get most waypoints. once I know where to look. Here's what I have for San Isidoro:
Visita San Isidoro N30° 45.92’, W115° 32.83’ (elevation same as yours)

Edit: On my Visita page, I have the GPS in degrees, minutes and seconds:
San Isidoro N30°45'55.2" W115°32'49.8"





[Edited on 1-25-2016 by David K]




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[*] posted on 1-25-2016 at 04:39 PM


Quote: Originally posted by mcnut  
Tom,

Thanks for "taking us along", I always enjoy your posts.

"Visita San Isidoro belonged to Mission San Pedro Mártir, located about 4.7 miles east-northeast and 2,000 feet higher in elevation."

David,
Do you have a little something you can share about the Mission San Pedro Martir site?

Bruce


Of course! Until you have me new book, please use my Baja Missions web pages for information, photos, GPS, etc. http://vivabaja.com/bajamissions Scroll down and click on the page link for visitas... and then see the Mission San Pedro Mártir visita link. Photos from BajaOkie in 2005 (or about then).




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[*] posted on 1-25-2016 at 04:41 PM


Quote: Originally posted by David K  
Thank you, Tom, for the report... and great photos!


Two nights he slept there waiting. Once the correct flatbed arrived, it demanded U.S. $1,500 deposit and only took him as far as a Rosarito Beach Pemex... where he was left without any more cash!

Through the kindness of (most) Mexican people, another truck took him (he thought to the border, but instead to Playas de Tijuana... and made a connection with a truck that had the visa to cross into the U.S.. That truck took Roy to his bank and then to his home in East County, San Diego.

Roy assumes (or hopes) that driver will pay off the previous truck, who helped Roy on the honor system.



Question. Why didn't he stop at an ATM in Ensenada or somewhere else along the way?



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[*] posted on 1-25-2016 at 04:47 PM


Quote: Originally posted by rts551  
Quote: Originally posted by David K  
Thank you, Tom, for the report... and great photos!


Two nights he slept there waiting. Once the correct flatbed arrived, it demanded U.S. $1,500 deposit and only took him as far as a Rosarito Beach Pemex... where he was left without any more cash!

Through the kindness of (most) Mexican people, another truck took him (he thought to the border, but instead to Playas de Tijuana... and made a connection with a truck that had the visa to cross into the U.S.. That truck took Roy to his bank and then to his home in East County, San Diego.

Roy assumes (or hopes) that driver will pay off the previous truck, who helped Roy on the honor system.



Question. Why didn't he stop at an ATM in Ensenada or somewhere else along the way?





I talked to Roy again today, before seeing this Ralph. He says he reads Nomad at night, so maybe he can answer?




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Baja Missions and History On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bajamissions/
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[*] posted on 1-25-2016 at 05:53 PM


Excellent report as always Tom. Nice to see that race course section that you helped me navigate in 2013. I remember when we were looking for an area to pit we failed initially, due to the narrow road that went on for miles. I want to get back out to this area again someday. Thanks for posting.
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