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Author: Subject: TRIP # 4 (April 2017): Valle de Trinidad, San Quintin, remote Pacific roads Puerto Santa Catarina to Laguna Manuela
David K
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[*] posted on 4-26-2017 at 06:44 PM
TRIP # 4 (April 2017): Valle de Trinidad, San Quintin, remote Pacific roads Puerto Santa Catarina to Laguna Manuela


I just returned last night from seven days of continued research and driving in some of Baja's most interesting or challenging areas. This makes the fourth trip of road data and traveler's service info gathering to possibly create a new travel guide to the 'best of Baja' (if long drives, dirt roads, camping, exploring, and occasional motels stops is your thing).

When I return from these trips, I post many photos and details here on Baja Nomad to give my friends a look at some places that may be new to them or places they have been to in the past, for a current view.

Here is the outline of this 2017 project: http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=85982

If you are new to Nomad or just have not seen the previous three reports, here are the links to them.
WARNING: Viewing my photos or reading the details MAY CAUSE BAJA FEVER!

TRIP #1 (Jan. 2017) San Felipe to L.A. Bay to Punta San Francisquito: http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=85374

TRIP #2 (Feb. 2017) San Ignacio to Loreto to San Javier, Comondú, La Purísima, San Borja, Luz de Mexico: http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=85756

TRIP #3 (Mar. 2017) Mexicali to San Felipe to Valle Chico to Matomí + Chapala to El Rosario (and San Juan de Díos & El Sauce): http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=85989

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

TRIP #4
DAY 1 Wed. Apr. 19:

On the road at 8:25 am, arrive at Calexico at 11:25 am.
Buy pesos at 17.70: Dollar

Note to supplement the previous trip: Km. 51.5+ Campo Sonora is closed.

Take Hwy. 3 (Ensenada highway) west.
Km. 195 Military Checkpoint (just west of Hwy. 5).
Km. 179.5 Borrego pit area, race road crosses highway.
Km. 163 & 162.5 Road to SW to the top end of Diablo Dry Lake, signed 'Colonia San Pedro Mártir'.
Km. 152.5 Road north to Rancho Arroyo Grande (may be closed by locked gate)
Km. 151 San Matias Pass. Original road to San Felipe to left.
Km. 141 San Matias village. At least three eating places along the highway.
Km. 137.5 Road south to Mike's Sky Rancho (31 kms./20 miles).
Km. 120* Valle de Trinidad, paved entrance, Pemex station.
* no sign seen, the Pemex station gave me the km. number.

From here, I take the dirt road that crosses the hills to Highway 1, just south of San Vicente. There are a few turns to get started on the correct road (I won't detail them unless requested) and then it is up and down for a total of 40 miles from Hwy. 3 to Hwy. 1. Took me about 2 hours to drive. 2WD road, but not for motorhomes or Porsches!

Highway 1 is reached at 4:30 pm (Hwy. 1, Km. 103).
I book south to San Quintin, take the 'new' paved road west at Km. 1 for the OLD MILL, and the road is already potholed!

The Old Mill hotel and restaurant is 3.2 miles from Hwy. 1.
I have a delicious LOBSTER burrito plate, with soup and salad and a Pacifico for 230 pesos (U.S. $13)!

I arrive at El Rosario, where the nicest bed and pillows await at Baja Cactus Motel.


Mike's Sky Rancho Road


Over the hills to Hwy. 1




The Old Mill (Molino Viejo)



This is just the beginning of a dose of BAJA, oh yaaaaa!

To be continued with Days 2-7...




[Edited on 4-27-2017 by David K]




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

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blackwolfmt
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[*] posted on 4-26-2017 at 06:53 PM


Nice DK splurging for din din Lks Yummy



So understand dont waste your time always searching for those wasted years
face up and make your stand and realize that your living in the golden years
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[*] posted on 4-26-2017 at 07:17 PM


Nice!
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David K
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[*] posted on 4-27-2017 at 03:19 AM
DAY 2 (THU APR 20)


My lobster burritos from last night were still providing energy and I was ready to get down into the 'Never-Never' of Baja! (Never-Never means no paved roads, no cell phone service, and not much civilization)

On the road at 8:30 after topping my tank and my extra 5-gallon can. 87 octane gas here was $3.459/ gallon. I averaged 17.7 mpg for the 287 miles traveled yesterday. Starting today, my truck now has mostly ethanol-free gas in the tank. That usually bumps up my mileage 1-2 mpg. However, off-roading and four wheeling will knock that gain down.

Last month I made notes on the points of interest and road junctions between El Rosario and Laguna Chapala (~100 miles south, where Hwy. 5 from San Felipe meet Hwy. 1). I knew there were more points I wanted to add... Here they are:

Km. 108+ Loncheria El Descanso (popular with truckers, for meals and tire repair)
Km. 116.5 Monument to Hector the young truck driver killed on this curve.
Km. 129 Café La Pasadita (a newer place)
Km. 131 Rancho Los Cuates tire repair.
Km. 132+ Road south to Puerto Santa Catarina, Puerto Canoas, and south.
Km. 132.5 Road north to Guayaquil, 0.5 mi. A ghost town where a delegation office, schools and weekday housing for area ranch children, and an airstrip once existed. The town was created around 1970 and the town's 50-80 people expected the new paved highway to pass right through their little place to provide prosperity. In mid-1973, the highway engineers put the highway up on the ridge, a half mile away and that placed Guayaquil out of sight of travelers.

Since I am bound for the remote Pacific region, I return to Km. 132+ and drop my tire pressure once again (I dropped it for the 40 dirt miles between Valle de Trinidad and Hwy. 1, yesterday).

Dropping tire pressure has three major effects, one is that the ride is softer as some of the bouncing is absorbed in the tires. The other, more important reasons are flats due to sharp rocks are greatly reduced as the tires can wrap around, rather than force a sharp rock into its tread. Traction is enhanced as softer tires can climb/ grab without slipping and float on sand much better. I don't lower them as much as others, but dropping the normal 34 psi to 24 psi seems to work very well. Of the hundreds of dirt, rocky miles, not one flat (that came later, on the highway, at full pressure)!

The roads into Puerto Santa Catarina and most of the way to Puerto Canoas were excellent, and that's considering the extremely wet winter and spring we just had that has damaged so many other roads in Baja.

It was 10:38 am when I was on my way in the dirt.
On the highways, I use the kilometer markers to help everyone locate a point. But, on the dirt roads (most don't have markers, or they aren't consistent) I have no choice but to use my trip odometer. While my odometer is a bit slow on the highway (I am running 1" taller than stock tires), when I drop the pressure they seem to be pretty close to correct (on the dirt roads with kilometer markers, my odometer matched them).

However, many of you may have vehicles with less-than-accurate odometers, so the mileages are just an approximate location spot to help you find points.

0.0 Hwy. 1 Km. 132+ (Signed for Santa Catarina) 10:38 am.
7.0 Road in from the left was the original route to Puerto Santa Catarina from El Mármol, whose blocks of onyx were transported to the coast and placed on ships using a very difficult looking system! The system was used from the early 1900s to maybe the 1940s when an automobile road allowed trucks to ship the onyx to San Diego.
18.4 Santa Catarina, a ranching settlement. It was once much bigger!
20.3 FORK: Puerto Canoas left, Puerto Santa Catarina right. 11:25 am. The right branch travels high on a ridge offering great vistas of the surrounding country and the Pacific coast (hidden by clouds or fog) before dropping down to the large arroyo valley. A farm's gated entrance is 11.2 miles from the fork and the famous ammonite hill was nearby. Ammonites are fossil snails found in great quantity at one time, near here. One is on display in Mama Espinoza's Restaurant, El Rosario.
37.0 (16.7 miles from the fork) is the fish camp and landing of Puerto Santa Catarina. Many blocks of onyx are littered about on the tidal rocks. It is 12:45 pm and the time includes photo stops and a short walk to try and find fossils to photograph (removing fossils is illegal for foreignors).

Photos:


Loncheria El Descanso (Km. 108+)


Monument to Hector (Km. 116.5). The boojum trees seem to me to be keeping watch over him, like angels.


Guayaquil (Km. 132.5 & 0.5 mi north)


Guayaquil


Guayaquil... with all that anyone in Baja needs, water from the well, a sofa to relax and a boat to go fishing!


I saw many wild (free roaming) horses on this trip.


A sample of the nice road... nice if you like good roads!


Such a great living museum of desert vegetation!


A couple of baby Elephant Trees.


The Fork: Canoas left, Santa Catarina right. (Mile 16.7)


Oh, I didn't forget... so many of you love to see my Tacoma having fun!


Dropping off the ridge and down to the arroyo valley.


It didn't take me very long to find these. I am not sure if the round thing is a portion of a small ammonite, but it made me happy to find and photo. I stopped when heading back at another spot and hiked for a while, but no luck finding any more fossils.




Come at low tide to see the onyx blocks that missed getting on the boat.





May 1948 issue of Desert Magazine:







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


Can you tell I like boojums? In Spanish, they are known as Cirios (candles).

I spot a tiny boojum tree, surrounded by thorny branches for protection...


Someday, perhaps hundreds of years from now, this could grow to 60 feet!

Next, the road to Puerto Canoas... stay tuned!


Red=Wed. Blue=Thur.



Old photo of the onyx loading at Santa Catarina...

[Edited on 4-27-2017 by David K]

Santa Catarina 1900s.jpg - 90kB




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

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

A 15 Day Baja adventure, July 2012: http://vivabaja.com/712

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

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[*] posted on 4-27-2017 at 07:37 AM


Thank you so much for your story,writing on Baja. Also thank you for stopping by other day. For lunch and leaving me your book on baja. On your next trip I promised to show you many roads,trails not on any maps.
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[*] posted on 4-27-2017 at 07:41 AM


Very nice trip report. I was going to ask you why you spent 2 hours in san Vicente. lol.
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[*] posted on 4-27-2017 at 07:49 AM


Looking forward to more!



You can not drink all day. No you can not, unless........... you start in the morning!!!
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[*] posted on 4-27-2017 at 09:03 AM


Nice report! Any suggestions of surf spots:light:



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[*] posted on 4-27-2017 at 09:33 AM


Excellent report DK and the pictures are great.
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[*] posted on 4-27-2017 at 10:21 AM


Excellent !!!!!

Makes my heart yearn......
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David K
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[*] posted on 4-27-2017 at 12:16 PM


Quote: Originally posted by bajatrailrider  
Thank you so much for your story,writing on Baja. Also thank you for stopping by other day. For lunch and leaving me your book on baja. On your next trip I promised to show you many roads,trails not on any maps.


It was fun to visit with you again Larry. Thank you for the hospitality and the great lunch Alma made us. Enjoy the book, Baja California Land of Missions!




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

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

A 15 Day Baja adventure, July 2012: http://vivabaja.com/712

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

Like and follow the Old Missions on Facebook: http://facebook.com/oldmissions
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David K
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[*] posted on 4-27-2017 at 12:22 PM


Quote: Originally posted by ehall  
Very nice trip report. I was going to ask you why you spent 2 hours in san Vicente. lol.


Larry is too kind, hard to say goodbye to nice people. As it turned out, I had 0 wait at the border, drove right to the booth, so thanks to bajatrailrider for the delay. It is more fun in San Vicente than in a border line!!

I will continue with the trip report soon. At Discount Tire now getting the tire replaced that was punctured on Hwy. 1, 2 am Monday!




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

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

A 15 Day Baja adventure, July 2012: http://vivabaja.com/712

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

Like and follow the Old Missions on Facebook: http://facebook.com/oldmissions
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David K
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[*] posted on 4-27-2017 at 04:04 PM
DAY 2 (THU APR 20) continued...


As you can see from the map, there is a short cut road between Catarina and Canoas. We drove it in 2007, the last time I traveled this area. Well, I couldn't find where it met the road I was on (it 2007, the junction was 1.0 mile from the fish camp. Looking at Google earth, it now goes right into the fish camp, and there was no connector outside of the camp, that I briefly searched for.

No problema, I wanted to look more for the Ammonite hill, which is supposed to be a few miles from the beach. Walt Peterson (1980s Baja Adventure Book) puts it 6.7 miles from the beach. Howard Gulick (1960s Lower California Guidebook) puts it at 4.8 miles. Now, the road alignment is likely different and maybe there is more than one ammonite hill, but close is good enough, usually! That fancy gate entrance for the farm is 5.5 miles from the beach, today. The few fossils I did find where near Gulick's point. On the way out, I hiked to and climbed a hill closer to Peterson's point and found nothing.

Back at the fork (20.3 miles from Hwy. 1) I head on the left branch towards Puerto Canoas, a small fish camp a few miles south (actually more east) of Punta Canoas.

0.0 Fork
4.4 Mina La Fortuna gated entrance.
8.9 Fork, lesser used graded road to the left. Go right. (Left fork goes to Evangelina Copper Mine, per Baja Almanac)
13.6 Junction with the shortcut road to Puerto Santa Catarina (10 mi).
18.4 Fork. Go left, south. Ahead (right) goes to the coast and the mesa of Punta Canoas.
23.6 A graded road coming from inland joins this road. Puerto Canoas fish camp is 1/2 mile ahead.
24.1 (44.4 mi from Hwy. 1) Puerto Canoas
It is 4:10 pm and very windy! Camping near here is out of the question, in a tent. I continue on...

0.0 Puerto Canoas
0.5 Take the graded road (straight ahead or right fork).
1.3 Come to a cross road. Ahead are a windmill and water trough. Turn sharp right (south). A sign is here for Lazaro and Los Morros, to the south.
2.0 Important Fork. The grader has scraped the right branch, and this is the route south closest to the coast. However, in 2007, the left (inland road) was the primary road and we didn't even notice the coast road (which we wanted to drive).

Now, it is windy, and I know the inland road would have better shelter possibilities, in addition to the history that we camped in there with Roy 'The squarecircle', in 2007. I go left... and end up going past where we camped as it was still windy at that point.

This once graded main road was now abandoned, slow, and needed 4WD a couple times on the steep up-grade. I camped in a nice clear spot on the top of the hills. No more wind. It seemed great! It wasn't until my tent was up that hoards of gnats took a liking to me. I have DEET, but the smell is less than enjoyable to have around your face. They did not bite but were just annoying.

I lit one of my fire logs but took refuge in my tent as the flying tiny devils did not rest at sundown.

CREEPY... I realize that this spot is only about 2 miles from where Gary Patton vanished from his 4Runner... The next day, I passed the ranch road, down which Gary's Toyota was found. Gary vanished in September 2013. Here is the thread on Gary Patton: http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=69117

PHOTOS:


The Canoas Road


La Fortuna Mine Entrance Gate


More 'wild' horses


The Canoas road was pretty good until it got to the bottom of these hills and the rainy season of recent months had done some erosion damage. A pleasant change was the amount of silt (fine, talcum-like dust) was greatly reduced from before. There is a mini silt canyon the road goes in, and while there was plenty of puffs of dust. none enveloped my car, covered my windshield, etc. as in the past or typical of Baja's silt beds.


Puerto Canoas


Signs are rare, but can be helpful. This one was 1.3 mi inland from Canoas, on the road heading southward. Lazaro must be the ranch in Arroyo Lazaro, 6 miles south? Los Morros is 10 miles south. I will see them tomorrow when I came in from the south.


Traveling up the now abandoned, inland road past this elephant tree.


My first camp, a beautiful place, no wind, and lots of gnats! The desert was still very green and in bloom from all that rain this year. This was 9.1 miles up the abandoned road... and still 7 miles from the Faro San José road. See the star on the map for my camp location.


The coastal road via Los Morros isn't even on the Auto Club map.


Mileages between black darts, either those in the Baja Almanac already or ones I have added.

Continued with DAY 3, soon...

[Edited on 4-27-2017 by David K]




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

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

A 15 Day Baja adventure, July 2012: http://vivabaja.com/712

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

Like and follow the Old Missions on Facebook: http://facebook.com/oldmissions
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David K
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[*] posted on 4-27-2017 at 07:21 PM
DAY 3 (FRI APR 21)


Well, I slept okay.. the air mattress helps. It was very quiet and only heard an owl once. No chupacabras and no ghosts.

I got the camp taken down and was on the road at 9 am.

This road log continues from yesterday's, which I will repeat the first four lines here to keep it flowing:

0.0 Puerto Canoas
0.5 Take the graded road (straight ahead or right fork).
1.3 Come to a cross road. Ahead are a windmill and water trough. Turn sharp right (south). A sign is here for Lazaro and Los Morros, to the south.
2.0 Important Fork. The grader has scraped the right branch, and this is the route south closest to the coast.
11.1 Road south, faded sign, no recent tracks (down this road is where Gary's 4Runner was discovered).
13.6 Abandoned ranch site. Cider block room.
16.0 Junction with the main graded road between Hwy. 1 (Km. 168) and Faro San José. Highway 1 is approx 25 miles away. I turn right, towards Faro San José.
Reset trip odometer. 9:52 am.

0.0 Abandoned road to Canoas and San José fish camp road junction.
3.2 Road to right. Trash can. Environmental sign.
4.3 Major Fork. An ejido meeting room is to the left, with picnic tables. I thought this looked like a school house back in 2007. The road to the coast forks to the right. Ahead (left branch) is unsigned but would appear to be a new road east to Rancho Todos Santos, looking at the map and Google Earth.

There is an onyx mine (Cerro Blanco or Cerrito Blanco) on the old road, north of Todos Santos. I had planned to go there this trip, but you will read soon about the rescue mission that altered that plan.

5.1 A ranch to the right.
14.3 Road to the right. Trash cans. 10:50 am. It is amazing that some environmental group thought that it was better for people to empty their trash here (in nowhere land) instead of waiting until they got to a town or their home. The trash cans are full and the excess trash is littering the desert.
16.6 & 16.7 Road to the left (south).
18.4 Road to the right (north).
19.3 Pass home on the left.
19.4 Major Junction. The road to the right is the coastal road north to Canoas.
20.3 Road left is the road to continue south to Bahía Córbin and beyond.
20.4 road left over the hill into the fish camp of San José. Faro San José or San José de la Piedra are what signs and maps call it. A road to the right goes 0.3 mi to a rocky beach.
20.5 San José fish camp
20.6 Beach by camp. A small island is just offshore.

In the next section, I will do the drive north from San José, past Los Morros to where I took the abandoned inland road the day before.

Photos:


Several boojum trees had new coats of green leaves.


Enviro sign and trash can


The ejido meeting room (?) and picnic tables.


Some boojums get covered with Spanish moss or ball moss.


Approaching the house on the left (Mile 19.3) and the coastal road north (Mile 19.4), just over a mile from San José fish camp.


The end of the road at San José. Beach looking south. Mile 20.6.


Looking inland at the San José arroyo estuary. The road to the south goes along the left side of the lagoon.


Islote Pedra de San José, just offshore of San José fish camp.

This trip report will continue with the drive north on the coastal road, 26 interesting miles! Stay tuned!!








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

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

A 15 Day Baja adventure, July 2012: http://vivabaja.com/712

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

Like and follow the Old Missions on Facebook: http://facebook.com/oldmissions
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