Updated:   Monday, 16 April 2012 Visit our friends at:
Colonet, San Quintin, 
El Rosario, Camalu,
Punta San Jacinto, El Pabelon
31 August - 3 September 2009

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The Missions of Baja California

Google Earth Placemarks



Third trip since returning to Southern California.

Mostly to visit some of the upper missions and document their conditions for inclusion into my large, award-winning Google Earth KMZ.

And have 3 fillings put in by my new dentist. Who happens to be next door to my new VW auto mechanic that took care of some of my problems. Sheesh, I love it down here at half price.

Pages like this take ALOT of time to create. Mostly in the preparation of the raw materials and then the actual creation of this web page. And since I have much to do in the career search field (a.k.a. job hunt), I'm going to simply post the pictures in chronological order, minimize writing of the narrative and get on to my various job priorities, five of which have revealed themselves since this trip --- including solar & wind sales in Rosarito, permitting solar & wind systems in Redondo Beach, an environmental interview in Anaheim, LAX construction inspection and contracting opportunities for the city of Pico Rivera.
Google Earth Placemarks

Fun Facts


Southern California
Set terrain = 2x for best effect.  

Missions of Baja History
Set terrain = 3x for best effect.  

aaa_baja.jpg (6222791 bytes)Ever wonder why Loreto, San Felipé, Los Cabos and other select Mexican destinations come into being and grow like crazy? It's not luck or coincidence. It's all very well-planned. Thanks to Fonatur, the "institution responsible for the planning and development of sustainable tourism projects." And with respect to the Baja Peninsula specifically, there is the vision of the Escalera Nautica, the Nautical Ladder --- a mega project. As of August 2009, this project was HALTED by the Mexican federal government.   

CLICKABLE Baja Norté map.

I maintain a pocket-size "red book" in which I keep a diary/log, should anyone care or need to find something if I die or wind up locked away in a foreign prison. Also a very detailed Excel spreadsheet "timecard" just in case.



On this first trip deeper into Baja (September 2009) in 15 years, I got only as far as 50 miles north of Cataviña (about 250 driving miles south of the US-MX border). I was favorably impressed with the infrastructure efforts during my absence:
  • Mex 1 lanes have been widened in many locations along the 2-lane portions (from Mexican 9-foot lane widths to American standard 12-foot lane widths).
  • The asphalt riding surface was in excellent condition everywhere (no potholes)
  • There are several construction zones where you'll be driving on dirt --- many sections of highway between Maneadero and Tijuana are being widened to 4 or 6 lanes.
  • Most of the vados are gone, replaced by bridges.
  • Curve 'post' markers have been replaced with guardrails and reflective signs everywhere --- I saw none missing.
  • Missions are well signed --- although sometimes only from one direction --- meaning you may have to drive through towns both ways to see them.
  • Villages, towns, ejidos, recreation are generally well signed, though there is still a lot of guesswork to finding the actual turnoff or when there are forks along the dirt roads.
  • Through four military checkpoints and one Federalé checkpoint I was always treated with courtesy and respect.

I did use Lonely Planets' Baja guide. Most of the time it was right on. And also a camping and kayaking guide. Plus the AAA map of the peninsula (above).

NOTE: When I reference Km markers, they are reset to ZERO at various location along the peninsula which can make it confusing. The zero-reference start points include: US-MX border, Ensenada, El Rosario, the border between Baja Sur & Baja Norté and Los Cabos.


Video Clips

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Driving from Rosarito Beach towards Ensenada (01:04)


Barbara, Cecil, Denise and Roberta were in Los Cabos during this time --- it looks like we each claimed one end of this 900-mile long peninsula --- when Hurricane Jimena swept past in a "non-event." jimena_southern_hemis.jpg (98869 bytes) hurr_jimena_track.jpg (127275 bytes)
When I die, I'm coming back as a pelican.

And hanging out at Km-58 near La Fonda.

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Morning fog & marine layer along the toll road. It's great constantly being on or near the Pacific Ocean. Those must be aquaculture nets (farm-raised seafood). sep01_115.jpg (285198 bytes) sep01_116.jpg (290862 bytes) sep01_117.jpg (302386 bytes) sep01_118.jpg (309372 bytes) sep01_119.jpg (311109 bytes)
Beachfront property for lease. Nice.  sep01_120.jpg (294346 bytes) sep01_121.jpg (271796 bytes)
Back in Ensenada after 16 years. Garmongous Mexican flag flying above the port and cruise terminal. Images of Ensenada. sep01_122.jpg (267850 bytes) sep01_123.jpg (268731 bytes) sep01_126.jpg (293012 bytes)
Complete road re-construction and widening south of Ensenada in Maneadero meant the first of many off-road driving segments. And alot of dust-collecting. And just a very light rain mist for a few minutes. sep01_127.jpg (270357 bytes) sep01_128.jpg (289361 bytes) sep01_131.jpg (268335 bytes)
Bahía de Los Angeles: 497 kilometers.

Wineries and vineyards in the Santo Tomás valley.

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The Volkswagen Jetta with California license plates. sep01_142.jpg (299263 bytes) sep01_143.jpg (282438 bytes)
San Vincenté, one traffic signal

Up and down the peninsula, school children dress their best, many times in simple black & white uniform. If they don't have a uniform, they still seem to conform to a light shirt and dark trousers or skirt.

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Colonet, one traffic signal

Police office and the requisite Catholic church surround the ubiquitous main square & park .

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I was the sole diner for lunch here in San Telmo, the turnoff for the Sierra de San Pedro Mártir National Park and the national observatory. It was tempting to drive to a higher elevation (10,000 feet) to camp, but it's a distance of 100 km and I was not prepared for Alpine climate. sep01_187.jpg (273918 bytes) sep01_188.jpg (284660 bytes) sep01_189.jpg (287629 bytes) sep01_190.jpg (304705 bytes) sep01_191.jpg (296675 bytes)
Decisions, decisions.

On to Colonia Vincente Guerrero.

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Modern "plumbing" from near the mission and the spring at the head of the canyon takes water down to town.

Great campground up the canyon has pool, trees, green grass, plenty of room.

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Decisions, decisions. On to San Quentín.

Guerrero Negro (Black Warrior): 430 kilometers is the half-way point to the cape (los Cabos) and has a very interesting story and is on the south side of the border between Baja Sur & Baja Norté.

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Another one traffic signal town.

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Some driving around looking for some beach time and a place to camp overnight. Stumbled upon a wonderful bluff hotel / resort. sep01_233.jpg (291909 bytes) sep01_234.jpg (304195 bytes) sep01_236.jpg (287479 bytes) sep01_235.jpg (287793 bytes)
Nothing really available in Camalu. Back northward to a Lonely Planet suggestion of a bare-bones campground with a sunken ship 'near' (on) the beach. Watch for these signs for the turnoff then down a LONG (when the sign says 3 Km, it's really double or triple --- just get used to it) dirt road to an encampment of trailers. Punta San Jacinto / El Barco

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The beach was rocks. The campground non-existent. Ugh. What a letdown. But then, again, this is Baja. It's all good.  Not a soul to be seen for miles.  For two hours I got 'comfortable' outside, had some beers, wrote in my diary, reviewed maps & guides and then headed south again.

"Migrant" (?) farm workers. This area if full of agriculture for over 100 miles. sep01_242.jpg (276922 bytes)
A typical Mexican military base in the larger towns.

And I was treated with respect at each military checkpoint, 4 in all, once each direction.

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Pemex oil prices are going up! Yippie.  New police cars & trucks for everybody. Locals and Federales.

Green Angels for assistance.

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Then a bit beyond to Km 16 to find a gem of a campground called Fidel's El Pabellon (there are two turnoffs. Use the 2nd one southbound. It's more direct, just after the Pemex station outside of San Quentín --- $100 pesos (US$7) instead of US$10.

Chris & Blanco from Carefree, Arizona got some K9 biscuits. Glenn & Joan from Pete's Camp N/o San Felipé had one of their dogs pee on my chair.

What a sunset! A nearly full moon-rise. The sand dune and beach to myself. Chris fed me a hearty steak & chicken meal from his mega-camper pickup truck. I left him and Blanco a box of biscuits in the morning. The hot shower felt great.


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On the road again. Heading south on a "mission" --- pun intended. After El Rosario, it's all the way to Guerrero Negro before there's another Pemex. The one in Cataviña is gone. So is the one at the turnoff for Bahía de los Angeles. sep01_258.jpg (276763 bytes) sep01_276.jpg (256850 bytes) sep01_277.jpg (283007 bytes) sep01_278.jpg (274977 bytes) sep01_279.jpg (254695 bytes)
Valle de Cirios (Boojum tree) begins north of Cataviña. sep01_280.jpg (269017 bytes) sep01_281.jpg (259959 bytes) sep01_282.jpg (261916 bytes) sep01_283.jpg (290062 bytes)
Fascinating flora. sep01_297.jpg (305232 bytes) sep01_295.jpg (271867 bytes) sep01_296.jpg (263913 bytes) sep01_298.jpg (287071 bytes) sep01_299.jpg (295203 bytes)
Fascinating driving. With or without music.

Punta Catarina turnoff: turn-around point & a desert oasis.

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Assume the oncoming vehicle around the corner or over the hill is truck. Assume the vehicle is 12 inches over the yellow line. Assume there is a yellow line. sep01_305.jpg (305746 bytes) sep01_309.jpg (290102 bytes)
Roadside rest area: no facilities, no McDonalds.

Trash, unfortunately, is a fact of life.

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Heading back north, looking south from a mesa / plateau, these bands are the outer fringes of Hurricane Jimena. sep02_pan101.jpg (1453186 bytes) sep01_321.jpg (281737 bytes)
Heading back north, looking south from the same mesa / plateau. sep02_pan104.jpg (1498870 bytes)
Driving back north. Lunch by the roadside in El Rosario. sep01_323.jpg (284437 bytes) sep01_324.jpg (281581 bytes) sep01_325.jpg (263773 bytes)
Roadside stop for a few hours of 'comfortable' suntanning and reading and writing in total privacy. Near San Quentín. sep01_327.jpg (278598 bytes) sep01_337.jpg (295407 bytes) sep01_336.jpg (284666 bytes)
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San Quentin volcanic ring. sep01_338.jpg (265437 bytes) sep01_344.jpg (310937 bytes)
And what are these things? They look like hot houses. But who needs those in Baja. Could they be plastic tents designed to reap moisture out of the air to create water for irrigation? They went on for miles (seemingly) in all directions. sep01_339.jpg (280115 bytes) sep01_340.jpg (235096 bytes) sep01_341.jpg (257938 bytes) sep01_342.jpg (306850 bytes) sep01_343.jpg (242116 bytes)
Driving northward. sep01_349.jpg (278409 bytes) sep01_350.jpg (307213 bytes) sep01_352.jpg (280192 bytes) sep01_354.jpg (293588 bytes) sep01_353.jpg (305416 bytes)
San Antonio del Mar, outside Colonet --- what a bizarre little enclave to drive out to (8 miles of dirt road) --- no one home. It felt like a bit of Tennessee during the movie Deliverance.  sep01_356.jpg (308166 bytes) sep01_365.jpg (292289 bytes) sep01_366.jpg (253321 bytes) sep01_367.jpg (301212 bytes) sep01_368.jpg (242664 bytes)
sep01_355.jpg (267786 bytes)Beautiful 360º panorama on my private sand dune. sep02_pan102.jpg (1347075 bytes)
Rancho de la Mora sep01_de_la_mora.jpg (292757 bytes)