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Author: Subject: Tecate to San Felipe via Laguna Hanson
bajaric
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[*] posted on 2-21-2018 at 02:15 PM
Tecate to San Felipe via Laguna Hanson


First attempt at a trip report. This is a trip I took in January 2018. This includes about a 60 mile stretch of dirt road that connects Hwy 2 near La Rumorosa and Hwy 3 near Ojos Negros via Laguna Hanson. This route is known as the "high road". Starting in Tecate I went east on Hwy 2 about 50 miles and made right turn at sign with the unwieldy name of Parque Nacional Constitution de 1857. The paved road quickly turns to dirt and ascends a grade. Soon you are in the pinon / juniper forest, a unique ecosystem. There are several forks but the route is well-signed; if in doubt follow the signs to Rancho El Topo.


small lower rd.jpg - 156kB

For about 24 miles the road is smooth and wide until you approach a steep concrete ramp and squeeze past a boulder.



small boulder.jpg - 153kB

While the BCA shows the road here as a graded highway it is really more of a rocky 2 track, slow going for the next 14 miles to get to the lake:


small road rough.jpg - 143kB
I stopped several times along the way to get out and do a little exploring. Lots of interesting geology in this area and very pristine and unpopulated. Indeed, on the way to the lake I only saw two passing vehicles. When I arrived at Laguna Hanson and the pine forest I decided to drive towards the east and look around and do a little exploring. As I was driving around the time slipped by and soon I looked at my watch and realized I would never make it to San Felipe before dark. It was a balmy 67 degrees, and I pulled off on to a side track and found a nice little spot to camp for the night. The sun went down and I found myself in utter solitude. This being around 5000' elevation the temperature plummeted and I soon crawled into a sleeping bag, fully clothed, to spend a chilly night amongst the pine trees. I was treated to a chorus of coyote howls and an owl asking who who who? in the darkness. In the morning it was 28 degrees and I got in the cab of my F150 truck, (that I have nicknamed "The White Ghost" due to its paint job and also how quiet the 2.7l engine runs), and idled the engine for a while with the heat on full blast to get warmed up.

The White Ghost
small white ghost small.jpg - 161kB
After a short hike to check out the surrounding area, I got back on the road, headed south past the lake, and started the next leg of about 30 miles of dirt road to get to Hwy 3. There are a couple little stores just outside the park boundary that sell Tecate out of tubs of ice. The road here is a long downhill grade and is much faster and has a lot more traffic than the northern part. Local drivers like to drive as fast as the limits of physics and machisimo will allow, sometimes with bad results. You have to always be ready to dodge a speeding vehicle coming the other way on blind corners. Note the beer cans on the dashboard. They had broken out the back window to get out and were gone when I rolled up on this.


small tundra flip small.jpg - 150kB
Finally Hwy 3 is reached and its a long fast drive across the desert plateau, past the little town of Lazaro Card##as and down San Matais pass to the military checkpoint at the junction with Hwy 5 to San Felipe. The paved Hwy 3 is in good condition with little traffic. You can really hammer it and make up for some lost time, although it still takes about 3 hours longer to get to San Felipe from San Diego versus going through Mexicali due to the slow dirt sections.
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nbentley1
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[*] posted on 2-21-2018 at 02:46 PM


Was at Hanson for the first time last year and despite the remoteness was amazed at how may people were camping there.
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David K
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[*] posted on 2-21-2018 at 03:33 PM


Thank you. Good job!!



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TMW
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[*] posted on 2-21-2018 at 08:28 PM


Thanks for the report. Turning on your side can ruin your day.
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BornFisher
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[*] posted on 2-21-2018 at 08:42 PM


Thanks, great report, great pics!!! You may have dodged a bullet by staying the night.



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bajaric
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[*] posted on 2-23-2018 at 03:20 PM


Quote: Originally posted by TMW  
Thanks for the report. Turning on your side can ruin your day.


ya right? Looking at that pic I still can't figure out how that Toyota Tundra could have ended up on its side. It was a downhill curve and had a chill down my spine when I saw the wreck. I was in the white ghost driving down hill above it and wondered if anyone was hurt. Then I saw several tire tracks where people had driven around it, and knew it was OK. So I walked down past it and took a picture looking up the grade. So, how did they manage to roll it and end up on the side???
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Maderita
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[*] posted on 2-23-2018 at 04:20 PM


Text"Looking at that pic I still can't figure out how that Toyota Tundra could have ended up on its side. It was a downhill curve..."

Maybe a typical rookie mistake. A wannabe offroad racer going too fast around a sweeping left curve. Lightweight over the rear axle pickup, and perhaps some washboard causes even more loss of traction. Rear end skids out to the right. Inexperienced driver over-corrects and/or slams on the brakes. Front right hits the berm, which pitches the truck onto its side.

I drive the Laguna Hanson road very frequently between El Topo and La Rumorosa. Another typical scenario, which I see every time, particularly on Sundays, is to be driving along at what should be a reasonable speed. Oncoming ATV, SxS (side by side), moto or pickup/SUV coming head on and fast in the middle or wrong side of the road. Often have to swerve off the road to the right to avoid a head-on crash.
That berm is at the perfect angle to flip a vehicle on its side.
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bajaric
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[*] posted on 2-23-2018 at 05:04 PM



Quote That berm is at the perfect angle to flip a vehicle on its side.

I think you're right Maderita; locked it up, hit the berm, rolled it. The impressive part was the landing --
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[*] posted on 2-23-2018 at 05:12 PM


Yes, a 9.7 on the landing. Oh, that's the Summer Olympics...
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