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Author: Subject: TRIP #7 (OCT 2017) Tijuana to San Quintin & San Pedro Mártir (ALL 6 DAYS POSTED)
mtgoat666
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[*] posted on 10-24-2017 at 08:54 AM


Quote: Originally posted by David K  
The buildings don't appear to be bigger than the 84" scope observatory. But, they were a ways away. The supervisor didn't mention mirror diameters, only that it was a Mexico-Taiwan project.


They recently finished building 3 telescopes, called TAOS II project - don't know if it's online yet. I think they are also working on a 6.5 m telescope? The observatory also installed a fiber optic line and electric transmission line to service the facility.

[Edited on 10-24-2017 by mtgoat666]




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[*] posted on 10-24-2017 at 11:06 AM


David K, your travel contributions here are always appreciated for those of us who can't be there as much as we would like to, and the out of the way spots some of us couldn't reach anyway without such a capable and reliable vehicle.

There was test video I watched recently of the traction system for the Tacoma, where they buried the truck to the axle and it crept out without any digging or sand tracks. Impressive, to say the least. TLF, TLR, is something close to the group who was doing the testing.

Please don't take this as a criticism, but when I see you and your truck camping in some very out there places, one of those fold out truck mounted tent set ups always comes to mind. It gets you off the ground, and still allows the truck bed to carry all of your gear, and if you had to pack up and leave in a hurry for some weather or whatever, you could be on the road in no time.

These could be useful and keep you drier than a tent on the ground and keep the train off your gear in the bed. I suppose I am looking at it from a more comfortable position than camping on the ground with whatever creepy crawlies there may be around.

Thanks for sharing your love of Baja. Peace, love and fish tacos.
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[*] posted on 10-24-2017 at 11:49 AM


Quote: Originally posted by surfhat  
David K, your travel contributions here are always appreciated for those of us who can't be there as much as we would like to, and the out of the way spots some of us couldn't reach anyway without such a capable and reliable vehicle.

There was test video I watched recently of the traction system for the Tacoma, where they buried the truck to the axle and it crept out without any digging or sand tracks. Impressive, to say the least. TLF, TLR, is something close to the group who was doing the testing.

Please don't take this as a criticism, but when I see you and your truck camping in some very out there places, one of those fold out truck mounted tent set ups always comes to mind. It gets you off the ground, and still allows the truck bed to carry all of your gear, and if you had to pack up and leave in a hurry for some weather or whatever, you could be on the road in no time.

These could be useful and keep you drier than a tent on the ground and keep the train off your gear in the bed. I suppose I am looking at it from a more comfortable position than camping on the ground with whatever creepy crawlies there may be around.

Thanks for sharing your love of Baja. Peace, love and fish tacos.


I agree with you that those above rack tent setups for the Tacoma are very cool. As you see, I have a Coleman Instant Tent and there just isn't anything easier for sleeping outdoors but covered from the wind/rain or privacy other than a camper or set up like you mentioned.

The A-TRAC (now called MTS/CRAWL) traction system is amazing... all 4 wheels working to get you up, over, or through most anything and if you do bury yourself in sand because you forgot to put it in 4WD or the correct button pushed... then it will crawl you out of a stuck, like the video shows.

Thanks for the positive feedback!
I still have another day and a half of trip to report here... soon!!!




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[*] posted on 10-24-2017 at 01:44 PM


Quote: Originally posted by mtgoat666  
Quote: Originally posted by David K  
The buildings don't appear to be bigger than the 84" scope observatory. But, they were a ways away. The supervisor didn't mention mirror diameters, only that it was a Mexico-Taiwan project.


They recently finished building 3 telescopes, called TAOS II project - don't know if it's online yet. I think they are also working on a 6.5 m telescope? The observatory also installed a fiber optic line and electric transmission line to service the facility.

[Edited on 10-24-2017 by mtgoat666]


Thanks for that...
TAOS (Transneptunian Automated Occulation Survey)

Here is a post from Facebook (August 2017):

Three Ash-Domes have been lifted into place this week at the Observatorio Astronómico Nacional - Sierra de San Pedro Mártir in Baja California, México for the TAOS II project.

TAOS II, the Transneptunian Automated Occultation Survey, will measure the size distribution of small objects (~1 km diameter) in the Kuiper Belt and beyond. More information can be found at https://taos2.asiaa.sinica.edu.tw/




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[*] posted on 10-24-2017 at 02:50 PM
Day 4, continued...


The new development (this sign was down by the El Coyote road junction):



Just past Km. 74.5...

I am making many notes of the kilometer markers and elevation as well as taking a small side road to see if I could find the (former) Los Manzanos Campground and tiny RV park... I did!

There is a big gate in a wide open field on the south side of the highway (Km. 73.5+ (just downhill a bit from the Km. 74 marker. Traffic can access the location by driving right past the gate into the abandoned facility.

Los Manzanos was named for the apple trees once here. A ranch house, shower/bathroom building, and the camping area were around it all. Now, the ranch house and bathroom building are all that remain. Weeds have filled in and some gardening looks to have been going on, with drip irrigation tubes.

There was a big spring here, against the hillside and the astronomers used to get their water from it. This was back in 2000 when I was here last.

Once off the larger mountain, I went down the dirt road from the highway to check out the Meling Ranch. It is a guest ranch with an airstrip and people have enjoyed the hospitality of the Meling family for over 100 years.


Beautiful Meling dining room. Meals are Breakfast US$8; Lunch $10; Dinner $15.


Rooms are US$70 and camping is $10. http://ranchomeling.com/




The original family home.

Back to the observatory highway, it is just a half kilometer to the Rancho El Coyote-Meling road junction at Km. 49.



Go 4.5 miles north then 0.4 mile west:


El Coyote camping area... nice grass to set up a tent on. $10. Showers and flush toilets.


Swimming pool.


Rooms are US$65/pp and include dinner and breakfast (the food is excellent).

It is about noon and Larry and his friends have not yet arrived. The chase truck with two ladies was there and Andrea was enjoying the poolside sundeck. I collected the price details then went over to meet Michael Diogo, who is a friend to dirt bike riders and a solar electric specialist in this region of Baja, down to the coast. Larry told me to look him up before trying to go to Mike's Sky Rancho.

Michael was very nice but believed the road was too badly destroyed by rains and the recent Baja 500 for my nearly stock truck. I told him I would be careful and see how far I would get if not to the Sky Ranch, about 12 miles away. To complete my data collecting on this trip for the future road guide, getting to Mike's and on the Hwy. 3 was pretty important.

Well, almost immediately, the road was very 'dippy' with ravines that almost wanted to hang up my rear bumper or stub my front. That didn't happen, but at Mile 3.7 from El Coyote was a short steep climb up a granite boulder and was easiest done with the A-TRAC* in low range.
(*Active Traction Control, a system that nearly locks the front and rear tires to rotate equally and eliminating the spinning caused by open differentials.)

The Tacoma mastered the climb. I stopped on top.

When I parked to get a visual of what was ahead, for tire placement, and got back in, released the e-brake and put the truck in Drive... the brakes on one side (left) stayed locked. Thinking the hot front disc was just sticky, I rolled on. However, there was a distinct thump-thump and feel!

I then thought the brake pad was either cracked or a rock got lodged in it?

I parked and thought about the situation, sent a couple emails (using the inReach satellite device) alerting my friends to contact me (for advice). Knowing lots of help was less than 4 miles away, I decided to see if I could drive it back to El Coyote, and I did.

I parked by the pool and visited with Andrea as we waited for Larry ('bajatrailrider') and the guys to show up. Maybe an hour later I decided to plan on camping there and was going to drive onto the grassy area for camping. That's when I noticed the liquid on the inside of my left rear tire... brake fluid. Until then, I presumed the problem to be my front brake pad, not the rear drum brakes (which get very little wear and these were the original brakes that came on the truck). Yes, my mechanic checked them last time I replaced the front pads and they did not need replacing.

Larry and the guys riding with him arrived and he gave me a pair of vise grips (adding a strip of rubber from Michael) to pinch off the rubber brake line going to the rear wheel. That was all I could do until getting to a mechanic. Nobody had brake fluid up there so I would watch the remaining half inch in the reservoir as I drove down the mountain, the following day.

I set up camp and had a fantastic dinner with Larry and his friends that evening... followed by a huge campfire outside the cabins, with fun conversations. I slept well but was seriously bummed that my last full day of research and the drive back to the border from where I planned to be (Laguna Hanson) was not going to happen.

End of Day 5.
To be continued...




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[*] posted on 10-24-2017 at 03:07 PM



The road going from El Coyote east (to Mike's Sky Rancho) is badly eroded and may not be passable to full-size 4WD vehicles.





[Edited on 10-24-2017 by David K]




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[*] posted on 10-24-2017 at 05:40 PM
DAY 6 (Sunday Oct. 15, 2017) Cautious Drive Home


Was loaded up and left El Coyote at 9:40 am. Said goodbye to Larry and his friends with last-minute warnings to me to not use brakes heavily and downshift instead. Stop frequently to check brake fluid level. If it drops then I could add engine oil, coke, even urine... just so long as to not let air get introduced into the system!



I checked it three times coming down the mountain and there was no problem or drop in the fluid level.

At Hwy. 1 in the town by the observatory junction (San Telmo de Abajo, in the Almanac), the auto parts store was closed (Sunday) that Larry said I could find brake fluid to buy. Next, the Pemex station just north at Km. 139. They sold little bottles of brake fluid for under $2 (32 pesos)... I got two.

Gas was 16.25 pesos/ liter and I took on 46 liters for 750 pesos (178 miles traveled = 14.6 mpg).

In Ensenada (and Maneadero) with so many full stops to make, it was really taxing the brakes to begin rolling each time as there was usually some grabbing or rubbing of the shoe to the drum.

At one intersection in Ensenada was this guy juggling shovels on a step stool! >>>



I got to the Tecate borderline wait at 3:15 Sunday afternoon and was across the border at 5:00.

Home at 6:30.
I took this photo of the Baja-Fix that got me home... Thank you, Larry, I owe you (vise grips +):




END OF TRIP #7
Need to go back once more for the Sierra Juarez and Hwy. 3 wrap-up!




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[*] posted on 10-25-2017 at 09:21 AM


Here are the previous 2017 6 trip links:

2017 Baja Bound Road Guide & Map Research Trips

TRIP #1 (San Felipe to Punta San Francisquito via L.A. Bay): http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=85374
TRIP #2 (San Ignacio to Loreto, Ligüí, San Javier, Comondú, La Purísima): http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=85756
TRIP #3 (Mexicali to San Felipe, Valle Chico, Matomí, Parral, + El Rosario area): http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=85989
TRIP #4 (Valle de Trinidad crossover, San Quintin to Laguna Manuela and 7 Sisters coast road): http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=86376
TRIP #5 (Central Baja: El Arco, El Barril, San Francisco de la Sierra, Abreojos, Asuncion, Tortugas, Eugenia, Pronghorn Reserve): http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=86781
TRIP #6 (Southernmost Baja: San Ignacio to San Juanico, Loreto to Cabo San Lucas, San Evaristo, and more): http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=87323





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[*] posted on 10-25-2017 at 04:52 PM


Thanks David.



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[*] posted on 10-30-2017 at 10:29 AM


Quote: Originally posted by fishbuck  
Thanks David.


You're welcome, Mike...
I hope you can move south soon and then you will be much closer to these wonderful mountains to explore!




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[*] posted on 11-1-2017 at 08:07 AM


Quote: Originally posted by David K  
South on Highway 1 to Km. 169+ and the signed road east to Mission Santo Domingo (founded in 1775). It is 4.6 miles to the mission and the road is wide and graded, but pretty bumpy. This large red hill on the south side of the arroyo is where the Dominicans first had services, in a cave at the base. The mission was moved up the canyon by 1798 for better water and farming potential.


Here's a photo looking out from the cave in "red rock."

SD cave1_1.JPG - 216kB
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[*] posted on 11-1-2017 at 08:46 AM


Great contribution to the thread, thank you!



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[*] posted on 11-1-2017 at 05:57 PM
Update on La Cienega de Soto


Quote: Originally posted by mtgoat666  
La Cienega de Soto looks interesting. Did you visit it?



Previous reply:
Yes, it is a new development right on the highway, not looking ready to be in business, yet... Km. 74.5+, just above the former Los Manzanos campground/ RV park (Km. 73.5+)... It will be in the trip report yet to come.




When I wrote the chapter for the new guidebook on this road, I examined the Facebook page, advertised on the sign... https://www.facebook.com/lacienegadesoto/

They show photos of one cabin.

I messaged them and asked if there was more to the place or more cabins planned?

They responded that the one cabin can sleep 9 people, has a kitchen, and two bedrooms. No others are planned now. The construction going on on the south side of the highway is a family ranch being built and not for rent.



[Edited on 11-2-2017 by David K]




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

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

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

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[*] posted on 11-7-2017 at 09:58 AM


Rancho El Coyote web page: http://www.ranchoelcoyote.com/



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[*] posted on 11-22-2017 at 09:00 PM


Finally had a chance to read. This report did not disappoint!! Loved the superman shirt story. Pics were great, thanks!!



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[*] posted on 11-22-2017 at 09:22 PM


My pleasure, Baja is so bountiful in adventures and outdoor fun.
I hope you also enjoyed the other trips in 2017. I can't get enough, but it has been a physical ordeal and I have been working every day on the guidebook set up. I am very happy how it is looking.




"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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