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Author: Subject: TRIP REPORT: The Baja Extreme 2016. (11 days, 4 Toyotas, 1,700 miles)
David K
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[*] posted on 9-20-2016 at 06:12 PM
TRIP REPORT: The Baja Extreme 2016. (11 days, 4 Toyotas, 1,700 miles)


Hello Amigos,

This will be a few days and several posts to complete, so be patient. I have over 400 photos to try and pick a few out of to give you all a taste of what I saw!

In addition, most of the other 7 members of The Baja Extreme also took photos and videos, so as they get theirs uploaded, I will be adding much better pictures than what I have taken (I am sure)!

I will try to post the trip by the day, as each day was a fun filled adventure and that will help to add more photos for those days by others... I am thinking that will keep the trip report organized so that any of you can follow along ion person or on that Baja wall map you have.

The four wheel drive vehicles and members of The Baja Extreme:

Toyota Tacoma TRD OFF ROAD: David and Pat
Toyota Land Cruiser Wagon: Jesse and Marland
Toyota 4Runner: Christine and Nick
Toyota FJ Cruiser: Ham and Jerry


Photo from Shari at Bahia Asuncion

Our nights from Friday Sept. 9th to Sunday Sept. 18th:
9th) Shell Island (near Laguna Percebu)
10th) Mission San Borja
11th) Camp Archelon, L.A. Bay
12th) La Huerta Motel, San Ignacio
13th) Concepcion Peninsula
14th) La Perla, Bahia Concepcion
15th & 16th) Shari's La Bufadora Inn, Bahia Asuncion
17th) Las Pintas (7 miles off Punta San Carlos road, 17 miles from Mex 1)
18th) Ron's Abalone Farm, near San Quintin



The plan...

I named it The Baja Extreme for very good reason... it was extremely fun, tough, tasty (Jesse is an executive chef at a hotel), and entertaining for us all.

I had been contacted by Pat (who met me at my book PowerPoint lecture for Discover Baja Travel Club in July) to take him to see missions and rock art sites, that the others wanted to see on their 11 day Baja expedition (most had never been to Baja before).

Anyway, they liked my suggestions which incorporated 2 key things Chef Jesse wanted to do: Drive to the end of the Concepcion Peninsula and go to as many seafood sources as possible so he could work his magic with prepping meals for us! That meant (to me) taking them to Bahia Asuncion, La Lobera, and Ron's (Baja Gringo) oyster farm at San Quintin Bay. Jesse had begun Facebook chatting with Ron and Shari, so all was in play.

We had really too much Baja and almost not enough time ("so much Baja, so little time") to get all this done! They were all full of energy and didn't mind the schedule, which we were able to follow almost without altering...

Here was what I designed (I will detail what changed in the forthcoming trip report):

This plan is just a suggested guide. Conditions and personal input can and will change what we do. Hurricanes or tropical rains (Chubascos) may very well keep us off the Concepcion Peninsula. Some places may beg us to stay longer just as likely as some will chase us away. It wouldn't be an adventure if everything went 'by the book'!

Sept. 9 Friday (300 miles from Escondido):

To Shell Island via Mexicali. 150 miles from the border. Quick look at San Felipe.

You guys very well may like Shell Island so much, you will want to stay a full day here and practice you deep sand driving too. Knock off the free day at L.A. Bay if we stay. There is no place else like this! But, if we leave the next morning...

Sept. 10 Saturday (190-240 miles, 75-100 dirt):

To Gonzaga Bay (quick look at the bay), Coco's Corner, Calamajué Mission, Montevideo Painted Cliff, San Borja Mission. Maybe camp at San Borja or Montevideo, if late. On to L.A. Bay, if early enough (4-5 pm or sooner).

Sept. 11 Sunday Free Day (0-50 miles, mostly dirt):

Explore L.A. Bay (Bahia de los Angeles) or relax. Many sites like La Gringa, El Toro, Las Flores, and a great little museum should not be missed, either!

Sept. 12 Monday (190 miles +?, 140+ miles are dirt):

Big dirt driving day, all but about 50 miles. Possible sites: Las Animas, San Rafael, Giant Painted Cave, Pozo Aleman ghost town, Mission Santa Gertrudis?, Mission San Ignacio. I think a motel night in San Ignacio (La Huerta) would be appreciated, but camping is available too. If early (3 pm), Mulegé is about 2 hours away.

Sept. 13 Tuesday (155 miles, 32 dirt):

Down the Tres Virgenes volcano to the Sea of Cortez we go. Santa Rosalia has the church designed by Eiffel himself. Mulege is the Hawaii of Baja. A quick look at the 1705 founded mission is in order and great photo spot you won't want to miss is behind the mission of the river and jungle below! On to Bahia Concepcion with its many beaches. Maybe a stop for a cheeseburger and beer at Mark and Olivia's Playa Buenaventura Bar? El Requeson and La Perla beach camps are just a mile south. Take a quick look or camp here? Otherwise... go to the end of the 25-mile- long bay and across to the other side, and 30 off road miles up to the point.

Sept. 14 Wednesday Free Day (0-10 miles dirt):

Fun and relax day on the bay. Side trip to the WWII manganese mine ruins, 5 miles away.

Sept. 15 Thursday (295 miles, 90 dirt):

Big day as we drive across Baja to the Pacific coast seeing Punta Abreojos, La Bocana, San Hipolito and end up at Bahia Asuncion. Shari is our host here at Campo Serina and La Bufadora Inn. Seafood capital of central Baja!

Sept. 16 Friday Free Day (0-20 dirt miles):

Fun day, fishing, swimming, surfing, diving, eating seafood, hunting for fossil sharks teeth, all at Bahia Asuncion!

Sept. 17 Saturday (355 miles, 25 dirt):

Big drive day to Guerrero Negro, Cataviña, Mission San Fernando, Las Pintas fossil grotto. Camp at Las Pintas or go on to Baja Cactus Motel in El Rosario.

Sept. 18 Sunday (80 miles, 40 dirt):

If at Las Pintas, we go to El Rosario (can see one mission site, right off the highway, in town), get gas tanks filled up, go to La Lobera sea lion crater/ seafood growers, go to San Quintin and meet Ron of the oyster farm. Camp at small, beachside campground.

Sept. 19 Monday (200 miles):

San Quintin to Tecate Border, possible stops at missions, Ensenada, Guadalupe Valley wineries??? Or, we've done so much Baja in 11 days, we can save what we didn't see for next time! If we get to the border early in the afternoon, the wait may be less than a half hour... if later, over 2 hours possible, but usually not at Tecate.


FRIDAY SEPT. 9, 2016:
We met at the Calexico Pep Boys (Ken Cooke's Pole Line Road meeting spot) at 11 am.



Arrived in San Felipe a little after 2 pm (one stop in the desert to stretch our legs).

Filled the gas tanks and Jerry cans we brought.

Showed them the Malecon and we had tacos then searched for some seafood to cook later in the trip... found corvina for sale and Chef Jesse was stoked!

On to Shell Island, set up camp, and went swimming in the wonderfully warm sea.

For the first dinner, Chef had made Chile Verde... melt in your mouth tender!







=======================================================

SAT. SEPT. 10, 2016:
The air was so perfect, I didn't use my tent and had slept under the stars on my cot. The beach was so inviting but everyone was anxious to see more Baja, right away! More is exactly what they would get!

Once packed we did a cruise to the end of the island which is across the lagoon from Percebu.













I let Pat experience sand driving for the three miles south to where the road to Highway 5 meets the beach (at low tide). During the highest monthly tides, it will be underwater, as it really is an island!


Our camp is near the umbrella on this map.


Once the tires were aired back up (pressure dropped to 20 psi from 35, in my case, for sand driving) we head for the highway. Christine's 4Runner (with Nick driving) is on the section that is underwater at the highest tides (full and new moon).





Heading south, we pass Puertecitos on the highway and make a stop to see the Enchanted Islands at the Km. 99 viewpoint.


(this photo from 2 months earlier)

We arrive at Gonzaga Bay, top our gas tanks, go to the Rancho Grande market (I buy a hat), then drive to the shore of the bay for a quick look.







On south, the pavement still ends 20 1/2 kms. south of the gas station, but there is work on the road and unlike 2 months previous when I was here, you can now drive on one of the new bridges.





===========================================================



Parked next to a Hilux at Coco's:





Chef Jesse with Coco. He brought some gifts for the famous Coco.


Marland greets Coco.


Cameron and his Trail of Missions tour was here in June.



Coco makes a hanger to add a bottle of Born and Bred American Vodka to his ceiling. Born and Bred Vodka is being promoted by Marland for his Hollywood buddy Channing Tatum (they were both in the movie Magic Mike, 2012).



We leave Coco and head east for Calamajué mission, gold mill, and water run canyon...


Pat jogs ahead to get a video of the caravan of 4 Toyotas.


Arroyo Calamajué


Gold ore mill ruins.


Jesse, Christine and Nick


Coming down the grade to the arroyo.


Not much left of the mission church, here from October 16, 1766 to May of 1767 when the bad water of Calamajué forced the mission to move and be renamed Santa María de los Angeles.


A pretty side valley is passed going up the canyon.








Hitch hiker!


Dancing boojums!



We reached Hwy. 1 at El Crucero. The ranch that was just out of sight of the highway is gone, no more gate to open and close (as in 2012).

On the road to San Borja...






We tour the hot spring and water source for the mission orchard.


Dinner tonight was Corvina Gumbo. It was outstanding!!!

Facilities for camping at Mission San Borja are palapas, flush toilets, and showers! The bathrooms are located behind the palapas, facing the orchard (I didn't know they were there before José showed us). Camping fee was 50 pesos per person (under $3). The family of José will guide you to the hot springs and to the mission for a small gratuity. They are available for longer tours to rock art sites and even up to the San Juan mine if you give them some advance notice. José's son has email (I will add).




=========================================================

To be continued... Montevideo and Bahia de los Angeles next!












[Edited on 10-13-2016 by David K]




"So Much Baja, So Little Time..."

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[*] posted on 9-20-2016 at 06:46 PM


Looking forward to an extremely fine report!! Thanks!!



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[*] posted on 9-20-2016 at 08:05 PM


More maps!
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[*] posted on 9-20-2016 at 08:11 PM


Thanks ... looks like fun to me :):)
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[*] posted on 9-20-2016 at 08:43 PM


I don't see any toys?
Ya should have taken mt bikes and boards or a yak or 3!
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[*] posted on 9-20-2016 at 08:49 PM


Nice! It don't get no better.:D



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[*] posted on 9-21-2016 at 07:14 AM


This ought to be fun!



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[*] posted on 9-21-2016 at 10:21 AM


Wow....wonderfull trip...
Wonderfull FZJ....




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[*] posted on 9-21-2016 at 10:26 AM


Liked the Baja map with timeline along side - helpful to follow along.

Love the photos! You've mentioned video a couple times - will we see any of said video?





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David K
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[*] posted on 9-21-2016 at 12:07 PM


Quote: Originally posted by StuckSucks  
Liked the Baja map with timeline along side - helpful to follow along.

Love the photos! You've mentioned video a couple times - will we see any of said video?



There were 8 of us in 4 Toyotas.
Everyone took photos and some took videos. Ham (FJ Cruiser) had a really intense camera... and was filming constantly. I think the Baja that I took them to really blew them away for photo opportunities.

The sad part is that 11 days of filming will be edited down to just a few minutes of YouTube probably. We will see! Give them a week or two to start sharing. With it raining all day, I have no irrigation work calls, so I am able to begin posting my photos here. On Facebook, Marland has posted several photos and Christine posted a video of going along the Concepcion Peninsula trying to find what was left of the road following Hurricane Newton! It was maybe 11pm and these guys didn't give up until we came to a huge gully about 7-8 miles short of the goal, a white sand beach at the end of the road.

Here is Christine's Facebook video: https://www.facebook.com/cjpa13/videos/10209645450709356/




"So Much Baja, So Little Time..."

A NEW Baja Missions History book in 2016: http://oldmissions.com

My (over 40) Baja Bound Travel Adventure articles: https://www.bajabound.com/bajaadventures/bajatravel/

My Baja web site, to help you plan your adventure: http://VivaBaja.com

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[*] posted on 9-21-2016 at 01:15 PM


Looks like you guys had a great time! I can't wait to see more!



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David K
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[*] posted on 9-21-2016 at 01:25 PM


Quote: Originally posted by BajaGeoff  
Looks like you guys had a great time! I can't wait to see more!


Geoff, the trip could not have been better... the weather was perfect (no wind, storms, not too hot, just ideal), the locations were all in awe by everyone. Poncho at Bahia San Rafael blew away everyone with his sincere modesty, kindness, and attitude. Each day it just got better and better... Of course, nothing was 100% without incident... but in Baja, everything always works out!

Stay tuned, as you have only seen two days (of just my photos) of the 11 days, of The Baja Extreme!


Mission at Calamajué


Poncho's at Bahia San Rafael

[Edited on 9-21-2016 by David K]




"So Much Baja, So Little Time..."

A NEW Baja Missions History book in 2016: http://oldmissions.com

My (over 40) Baja Bound Travel Adventure articles: https://www.bajabound.com/bajaadventures/bajatravel/

My Baja web site, to help you plan your adventure: http://VivaBaja.com

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David K
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[*] posted on 9-21-2016 at 01:56 PM
DAY 3 of 11 (Sunday Sept. 11, 2016)


Mission San Borja, with the sun up...

Founded in 1762 by Jesuit missionaries at a hot spring called Adac by the natives, the only source of water to provide for a mission in the region. The stone church was constructed by the Dominicans who took over the mission program in 1773. The stone mission work ended in 1801, before a bell tower could be added. The number of Indians had dropped to so few that in 1818 the mission was closed. It remains open and repaired for the few area Mexican visitors and tourists who will drive the 22 mile dirt road to see this, the most northern of the Baja California stone missions. The Franciscan and Jesuit adobe ruins are behind the stone church, partially protected with an awning added 16 years ago.










Pat heading to the roof.














Where we camped.


Chef Jesse






José, our host at San Borja.



WE leave San Borja on a beautiful morning after a wonderful tour of the mission church. A full day (or more) could easily be spent at San Borja with such a wonderful family as guides. (Remind me to post the email address to contact them, if I forget)







Northbound, I am showing my passenger how smoothly the Tacoma glides over these roads, and pull over at a fork near Rancho Agua de Higuera (new ranch on the site) to wait for the others to catch up... when I back up closer to the fork I passed, it feels odd... I discover I have a flat, but only let air out when the tire was in one position (I filled it and it held, but when I rolled a few feet, the air whooshed out... a sidewall gash). On goes the spare to go to L.A. Bay.

First, we go the 6+ miles to see the painted cliff at Montevideo.
































OK OK... Baja just keeps giving and giving... and the members of The Baja Extreme are again blown away by how much natural and man-made wonders are to be found on this magical peninsula!

On to Bahia de los Angeles...

[Edited on 9-22-2016 by David K]




"So Much Baja, So Little Time..."

A NEW Baja Missions History book in 2016: http://oldmissions.com

My (over 40) Baja Bound Travel Adventure articles: https://www.bajabound.com/bajaadventures/bajatravel/

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[*] posted on 9-21-2016 at 02:34 PM


Must you torture me with such beautiful photos? But I kind a like it.:coolup:



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[*] posted on 9-21-2016 at 03:27 PM


Excellent DK. Beautiful pictures and it looks like a lot of fun for all. Keep it coming.
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David K
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[*] posted on 9-21-2016 at 05:02 PM


I need to mention that around the campfire at San Borja we had one of the most fun times, for an hour we spoke no English in order to practice Spanish. Mind you, we were enjoying some fire water, so it was funny but amazing how good we communicated not being fluent, or even close!



"So Much Baja, So Little Time..."

A NEW Baja Missions History book in 2016: http://oldmissions.com

My (over 40) Baja Bound Travel Adventure articles: https://www.bajabound.com/bajaadventures/bajatravel/

My Baja web site, to help you plan your adventure: http://VivaBaja.com

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[*] posted on 9-21-2016 at 09:31 PM


Great report! Envious!
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David K
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[*] posted on 9-21-2016 at 09:38 PM
Ham's Two Vides of our trip...





Video includes:
San Felipe
Shell Island
Gonzaga Bay (Rancho Grande beach)
Coco's Corner
San Borja
L.A. Bay (Camp Archelon)
Arroyo Calamajué
Painted Cave (near El Arco)
Pozo Aleman
San Ignacio (Motel La Huerta)
Playa Buenaventura (Bahia Concepcion)
The Concepcion Peninsula
La Perla (Bahia Concepcion)
Arroyo Tres Marias (Concepcion Peninsula)
Bahia Asuncion (Independence Day street fiesta +)
Playa Loma surfing beach
Las Pinta Fossil Grotto (and pizza night)
La Lobera sea lion crater
Ron's Oyster Farm and my birthday cake surprise!

Ham's video of the missions:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/zb6u8vpbriklc5x/missionsbaja.mov?d...



[Edited on 9-28-2016 by David K]




"So Much Baja, So Little Time..."

A NEW Baja Missions History book in 2016: http://oldmissions.com

My (over 40) Baja Bound Travel Adventure articles: https://www.bajabound.com/bajaadventures/bajatravel/

My Baja web site, to help you plan your adventure: http://VivaBaja.com

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David K
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[*] posted on 9-21-2016 at 09:42 PM


Yes, I had a flat tire on the drive out of San Borja... patched in L.A. Bay the next morning, and no other problems for my Tacoma than that.

More trip report coming, tomorrow!




"So Much Baja, So Little Time..."

A NEW Baja Missions History book in 2016: http://oldmissions.com

My (over 40) Baja Bound Travel Adventure articles: https://www.bajabound.com/bajaadventures/bajatravel/

My Baja web site, to help you plan your adventure: http://VivaBaja.com

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[*] posted on 9-21-2016 at 09:51 PM


Quote: Originally posted by David K  
Yes, I had a flat tire on the drive out of San Borja... patched in L.A. Bay the next morning, and no other problems for my Tacoma than


What tires you running? Should have been running BFGs!


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