Baja Trip!

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Post by coluke on Wed May 27, 2015 9:25 pm

I left Colorado at about 3pm to head towards Las Vegas where my buddy Ross from MN was flying into. I B-lined it for St. George UT, I knew I would be having a late night dinner here consisting of In and Out Burger.  I made it to Mesquite NV at about 10pm. Grabbed a inexpensive room at one of the Casino's enjoyed a beer and played some black jack for a few hours.

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Good By Colorado

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Hello UT

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The rare occasion I am bypassing Moab....

Day 2. Woke up, breakfast at the casino, a little more blackjack and it was off to Vegas with an extra 80 dollars in my pocket and the room covered by winnings. Picked up Ross at 1230 at the Airport we headed to the nearest grocery store to fill the coolers.  Next was lunch, Yup, In and Out Burger.

We headed south down US-95 and then over to the Glamis sand dunes where we would camp for the night.

Day 3 we woke up early and headed towards the MexiCali border about 40 minutes away. We stopped in El Centro/Calexico on the US side to get some Peso's and a few last minute items at Walmart. Grabbed gas and we were off to Mexico.

At the border crossing we immediately got flagged. Truck full of camping gear covered by a tarp with a weird looking roof top tent looked a little fishy I guess. They had us drive into a giant X-Ray machine, kicked us out of the truck and took the X-Ray. They then quickly had us back on our way which was conveniently right next to the immigration office. (We would have missed this had it not been for getting flagged)  We grabbed our tourist visa’s and headed south down the MX-5 highway.

The plan was to head south off road via the Arroyo Grande to Mike’s Sky Rancho where we would spend our first night.  Unfortunately it was pouring rain with no end in sight.  An arroyo is a dried riverbed so with the rain we would be putting our selves in a flash flood area.  We decided  to head to San Felipe which was just south of the line of rain.  Here we experienced our very first fish taco’s. WOW, they were good.  

We explored San Felipe a bit and then headed back north to access the road to Mikes Sky Ranch. It was still pouring rain so it was a good thing we decided to abandon our off road route. We still had 30 miles of dirt road into Mike’s.

The dirt road was now mud, but I was glad to throw it four-wheel drive, finally, working our way through mountains. About 20 miles in we found another group. They had one 4x4 truck and two 2wd trucks. They asked if we had a strap, which we did, we lent them the strap and they said they would see us at the ranch.  

We would arrive at Mike’s with out issue and a muddy truck.  It was still pouring rain.  We were the first ones to arrive for the day, we poked around and finally found some one. The lady asked if we need a room, and then said room 21 in broken English and then said you will have hot water for the shower in an hour.  We headed up to our room and a worker went sprinting by us, behind our room to fire up the water heater.

There is no power at the ranch, but they do have running water from a well with fresh, pure spring water. At night there is power for a few hours. The best way I can explain this place is that it is straight out of the late 70’s with all original furnishings. But the place is amazingly clean and taken care of.  Pool, bar, and they feed you dinner and breakfast, they cook some awesome food, and I am pretty sure the amazing tortillas and salsa were home made.  What more can you ask for? It’s pretty much the ultimate guys trip destination. Most ride their dirt bike or ATV down to the ranch from the border and use it as a base camp.  

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This was  a good section of the road.

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Still Raining.

We woke up the next morning to sunshine and another amazing meal for breakfast. We tracked down Mike and paid our bill, they are amazingly laid back here, to the point we had to remind them we needed to pay. We swapped some stories with some of the other guys there and got our strap back. The guy who borrowed the strap said that he first came to the ranch when he was 4 years old when Mike looked at the land when he bought it. He said they have been coming back ever since. He had plenty of stories of awesome riding and crazy parties.

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Finally lots of sun!

We took off from Mikes and head back to San Felipe. We got gas and noticed a shack across from the gas station that said Car Wash. I pulled in the muddy truck and asked how much? The gentleman took a double look and politely said, “10 dollars”. SOLD! He went to town with his pressure washer and bucket of soap for about 45 minutes, even crawling under the truck and getting the under carriage nice and clean.  The truck was spotless and incredibly shiny, he explained he used soap with wax in it. Whatever it was it worked well.  I gave him about 20 bucks in pesos for a job well done.

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We headed south to Gonzanga Bay on the Sea of Cortez. The views off the MX5 Highway were amazing.

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We got to Gonzanga Bay just in time for lunch at Alfonsinas hotel. They claim to have the best fish taco’s. They were good, but I liked the ones in San Felipe Better.

On the opposite side of the bay from Alfonsinas is a camping area where we setup camp for the day/night.

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Not a bad view from the tent.

The next morning we packed up to head south and over to the pacific.

The nice new pavement of the MX5 Highway quickly disappeared into a gravel road that did not appear to be maintained. I felt bad for the truck drivers trying to crawl through this road. I put the Icon suspension to use  and the truck was quite comfortable at 40mph soaking up what was left of the road.  This was a bit fast for this road but hey it’s the closest I will get to the Baja 1000….

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We took a pit stop at the famous “Coco’s Corner” we met Coco who was hard at work building an antenna out of an old speaker. We had an interesting 15 minute conversation, a cold drink and continued south.  You may want to google Coco’s Corner if you’ve never heard of it… Hard to explain!

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Coco’s Corner

We headed south to about 45 miles north of the border of Baja Sur. I had a off road trail I found on Google Earth that lead to a secluded section of the Pacific coast.  The trail was about 15 miles long and I was happy to get off road some more. We had no idea what to expect as I was only going off Google earth. It ended up being one of the best places I have ever camped.  There was nothing for 50 miles north or south. Just miles of  sections of rocky and then sandy beaches and coves.   This must be a surf camp as there was numerous stone walls built up for wind breaks and paintings every where. We were the only ones there now.

On this day we watched the Sun rise on the Sea of Cortez and then watched the Sun set on the Pacific Ocean.

More to come...

Posts : 251
Join date : 2013-11-01
Age : 36
Location : New Castle

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Post by Walt on Thu Jun 04, 2015 6:35 am

Cool Lucas, what were the temps like?

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Post by coluke on Fri Jun 05, 2015 9:10 pm


The temps actually ended up being unseasonably cool. I would say it was about 75. At our farthest point south it finally got a little Warm, probably around 90, and 70 at night, but the cool breeze off the water made it perfect.

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Post by coluke on Fri Jun 05, 2015 9:10 pm

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Camping on the Pacific. This was an awesome place although a bit windy!

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Does it get any better?

It does, on this night we attempted pizza in the dutch oven. Loaded it with dough, sauce, and toppings and it turned out pretty amazing.

The next morning we woke up for a long drive down to the Bay of Conception.

It was a long drive south. We hit Guerro Negro for gas and ice. At the border of Baja Norte, and Baja Sur is an agricultural inspection. I think this was the only time I had an issue with a local. The gentleman came out, showed me that ahead of me was a vent that would blow some sort of smoke under my truck as we passed and it would cost 50 peso's. I kind of looked at him about to argue it but I knew I had a 50 peso's sitting right in my wallet. I gave him the 50 peso's and continued on my way as I watched the next two cars come straight through with out stopping... Oh well, 50 peso's only converts to about 3 bucks...  

We arrived at the Bay of Conception. I was planning on staying at El Coyote but it appeared a little run down and deserted. I had another Google Earth Wild card spot that involved some more off roading south of the bay but it was already a long day of driving. And driving another hour at least wasn't going to happen. Santispac Bay seemed to be the most popular and there was a few spots left. We decided to go here even though we would have liked to avoid the crowds.  Besides the bathrooms being gross this place was pretty nice, especially by Mexico standards. We setup camp grilled some food and relaxed on the beach.

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Due to a red eye flight Ross kind of mixed up the day we had to be back, and we actually had to be back a day earlier. I was hoping to either spend another day or two in Conception or head to the site I scoped out on google. Unfortunately we decided to see how far north we could get to ensure we were in Vegas for his flight.

We got pretty far north up the MX-1 and ended up in El Rosario.  I had read there was a decent hotel in El Rosario. We were now pretty far north and it was late in the afternoon. I didn't know of any good camping so we decided to look for the hotel. We stopped for gas and as the truck was being filled Ross realized the hotel, The Baja Cactus Inn, was right next door. It didn't look like much.

We pulled into the hotel and I saw that one parking area was completely surrounded by a concrete wall with a huge sliding solid gate. That was the first good sign. I went in to the office and it was extremely nice, I asked how much for a room and she said 35 dollars. I asked if I could see the room first since this seemed a bit cheap. She looked at me and nicely said, "I assure you this is what you are looking for, if you do not like the room I will refund your money."  I went to the room and it was extremely nice, probably nicer than a Holiday Inn.  We each got in a hot shower and then headed back to the office.  I told the lady working that the room was extremely nice and that it was just what I was looking for. I asked her where the best place to eat was and she sent us over to Anna’s next door. The food was great!  Typical awesome Baja service as usual.

The next morning we woke up early. I was little bit worried about going through the San Quinton Valley as there was reports of violence due to work protests a couple weeks prior. CoCo even told us to avoid the area and said to come back on MX-5 but before I left it was reported things and settled down.  We took the risk and proceeded north on the 1.  The San Quinton Valley is a little rough but we made it through with out stopping.

We made it to Ensenada and drove around a bit exploring. There was a fish taco stand here that I really wanted to try. We finally found it and spent an hour trying to find somewhere to park with out any luck.  We continued north on the toll way and stopped at a marina for lunch. It was all right but surely not as good as the local taco stand I missed out on.  

As we approached Tijuana we cut back east into Tecate for a quicker border crossing and to avoid all that is Tijuana. I was stationed in San Diego and have been to TJ a few times so I had no desire to go back or deal with the San Ysidro crossing.

The Tecate crossing was about a 15-minute wait.  Flagged again at the border. They wanted to know if we had propane, showed them my 2 1lbs bottles in the inspection area and we were on our way.

He headed back to Vegas. In our Vegas hotel I did’nt sleep that great. The RTT and my Exped Sleeping pad is pretty darn comfortable!  I was kind of kicking myself for not staying another day as we now had 2 days to burn in Vegas.

Oh well now I need to get back to explore that trail and camp site south of Bay of Conception!

Posts : 251
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Age : 36
Location : New Castle

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