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Author: Subject: The Great, Weird, Largely Unsuccessful Baja Road Trip
MexicoTed
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[*] posted on 4-5-2017 at 09:10 PM
The Great, Weird, Largely Unsuccessful Baja Road Trip


Alejandro Cota Maclis looks gravely at the remains of his grandmother’s garden, a five-by-fifteen-foot patch of limestone and churned dirt. At the back, grape vines lean like broken caryatids against a ramshackle fence of sticks and wire. A committee of vultures perch in the high, green tops of date palms. Behind him, an austere limestone church—the Mission of Santa Gertrudis—stands on a lonely rise in the center of the silent village.

Read more at http://roadsandkingdoms.com/2017/road-trip-wine-bajacalifornia/




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shari
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[*] posted on 4-6-2017 at 08:28 AM


Wow...I rarely have time to read an article and often just dont bother as I have lived here for so long but I read this over my coffee this morning and it is EXCEPTIONAL!!!! so informative and very well written. It really describes well the ranch life.

As one lives here longer here in Baja,we are able to really get into the "outback" and meet the folks and founding families of the region. I found myself adjusting my diet to include their fruits, veggies, olives, dates, goat and lamb, the outstanding cheeses and AHHHHH that mission wine!

Most of our forays to the ranches include the search for that nectar of the gods, which is unlike anything else I have ever tasted. We try to help out the local craft folk by buying whatever they make and get to eat free range organic meat from their animals.

There is so much magic in those mountains that few tourists experience...so much history, beauty and bounty. And now with better road access, one can visit easier...and some artisan wines can be found in local stores.

Thank goodness the mexicanos are rebuilding their family ranches and keeping the history alive. There is a new and vital resurgence to restore their ancestors abodes. Friends of ours from Santa Gertrudis are working to create a hacienda where visitors can stay and go on photo safaris for bighorn sheep and also to show cave paintings in the area which will really help these ranchers supplement their meager income and provide new baja adventures.




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David K
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[*] posted on 4-6-2017 at 08:40 AM


Hi Ted,
Thank you for posting that story, colorfully written with a mix of history and humanity. The unsuccessful part being he couldn't buy a bottle of Baja Sur made wine, but quite interesting the people he interviewed.

Some notes on the history...

The Santa Gertrudis mission was actually founded in 1752, on July 15. The stone church being many years newer, built for the Dominicans in 1796. When the Jesuits were removed from California (Feb. 1768), there were 1,360 native Indians at Santa Gertrudis. The die-off was not the Jesuits' doing as much as the change to Spanish government decisions and personnel, along with the harshness of the Franciscans and Dominicans towards the native neophytes at the missions.
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EDIT: I see Shari's reply after posting mine... and I have to say, how cool that Shari lives there and experienced the local tastes and traditions so often! I would love to join you and Juan on a trip to the mountains of mission villages to have a deeper look at their lives and foods.

Here are a couple od Santa Gertrudis photos...









[Edited on 4-6-2017 by David K]




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[*] posted on 4-6-2017 at 09:16 AM


Great article. In November at the Mulege Expo a man from San Ignacio was offering his wine and 3 weeks ago in La Purisima I saw a large sign on a place on the west end of town offering local wine and as Shari has reported there is still wine being made in Comondu. Unfortunately for any tasting experience, I quit consuming alcohol some 40 years ago but I will admit to being curious about their product. I wish these folks well in their efforts.
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ursidae69
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[*] posted on 4-6-2017 at 11:10 AM


What an absolute pleasure to read. Thank you for taking the time to write and post this.

Quote: Originally posted by MexicoTed  
Alejandro Cota Maclis looks gravely at the remains of his grandmother’s garden, a five-by-fifteen-foot patch of limestone and churned dirt. At the back, grape vines lean like broken caryatids against a ramshackle fence of sticks and wire. A committee of vultures perch in the high, green tops of date palms. Behind him, an austere limestone church—the Mission of Santa Gertrudis—stands on a lonely rise in the center of the silent village.

Read more at http://roadsandkingdoms.com/2017/road-trip-wine-bajacalifornia/
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[*] posted on 4-7-2017 at 04:12 AM


love the pictures so much. funny about "drive South":biggrin:
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Santiago
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[*] posted on 4-7-2017 at 05:18 AM


A gem.
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shari
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[*] posted on 4-7-2017 at 07:11 AM


the only thing I didnt like was the title...it just doesnt do the article justice...I didnt see the trip as weird or largely unsuccessful. ..weird title for such a wonderful article.



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wilderone
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[*] posted on 4-7-2017 at 07:55 AM


Wonderful article. It's discouraging to learn of the natural disasters that have impacted the grape vines; I hope the ranchers persevere, though it appears that it will take many years, and the ranchers elderly. I have see the old mission vines at Mision San Borja and the huge stone vats at San Gertrudis - now I know what they were for. Did some wine tasting at San Jose Comondu. Now more wine-making destinations to experience - and date paste!
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[*] posted on 4-7-2017 at 01:25 PM


Thanks for posting the link. Really enjoyed the article and glad I opened it despite the title. The mountainous spine of Baja hides some real interesting places and the people, ah the Arces, who call those places home are equally interesting and a pleasure to meet and hang around with.




And it never failed that during the dry years the people forgot about the rich years, and during the wet years they lost all memory of the dry years. It was always that way.― John Steinbeck
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BajaBlanca
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[*] posted on 4-8-2017 at 08:48 AM


I beg to differ - I liked the title. It made me want to read to discover WHY a trip south was weird. and largely unsuccessful.

That writing was magical, almost like prose.

I saw grape vines at the ranchos we visited when we went into the mountains east of San Ignacio lagoon. The wines made from those grapes are so rich. Every so often, rancheros come to La Bocana and do wine and cheese events. So delicious.....both cheeses and wines. The locals buy out the whole stock within an hour.

Thanks so much for posting MexicoTed

BTW isn't the name maclis just great?




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ElCap
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[*] posted on 4-8-2017 at 09:08 AM


I agree, very well written article. We have a few very old grapevines on our property in San Ignacio - they also took a beating during Hurricane Jimena flooding, but some years produce lots of grapes. We gave them to Terry at Ignacio Springs and she made some wonderful jam with them.
Another interesting connection - my wife's maiden name is McClish - Scottish ancestry. We met a guy in San Ignacio with the same name, he was an incredible musician and guitar player, and turns out he was a distant relative of my wife. Maclis, MacLeash, McClish . . . it's a small world!
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pauldavidmena
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[*] posted on 4-8-2017 at 11:40 AM


At first I didn't like the title either, but it's growing on me. It's long enough to meander like the author's journey, which I believe is the entire point. A thoroughly riveting read.



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