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Bahia de Los Angeles

November 30, 2011

The roads in Baja are much better than I expected but I shouldn’t really say roads – there is the Mex 1 going all the way from North to South and then most the other roads are dirt. But the Mex 1 is mostly in really good condition. Every so often you get to a 5k long section that has been ripped up to be replaced and there is a diversion over a pretty rough track but that’s balanced by loads of really good surface.

There are two flies in the ointment of driving in Baja though. Firstly the majority of the Mex 1 is narrow – so narrow that when we pass a semi truck our offside tyres are on the edge of the road which can be bit nerve racking. Secondly there’s Topes, or speed bumps, they’re everywhere. Small ones, big ones, well sign posted ones and my favourite the stealth tope. You don’t spot these guys and they’ll trash your suspension.  Sometimes they’re in logical places like coming into a town to get you to slow down – sometimes not so logical like on the far side of a sharp bend going uphill. We’ll have to get used to them though as they are popular throughout Latin America – or so we’ve been told.

After leaving Ensenada we spent a full day driving and got as far South as San Quentin on the Pacific coast. We stayed the night in a great little campground called Fidel’s El Pabellon Palapas Alvinos. This was a big area with a few Palapas (little open sided square thatched huts) right on the beach. The Beach was endless and completely deserted.

This was just a stop though because it was still not warm enough and we were seriously craving warmth. So the next day we got back on the road heading for Bahia de Los Angeles or Bay of LA.

On the way to the beach we made a couple of stops.  Firstly we took a 17k dirt road off the highway (in pretty good condition) to the long closed Onyx mine at El Marmol. Here we saw a half collapsed schoolhouse made of Onyx and a couple of graveyards (with around 40 graves each) which had headstones of onyx. Not sure it was entirely worth the drive down the road but you don’t know that before you start out.

Secondly  when we were driving through the desert around the Catavina area the growth of Cactus gets really dense and there are some cool rock formations. We went for a short walk through the boulders and looked at the different types of cactus.

After this we travelled a few more miles to a small deserted parking area by the road. From here we hiked around half a mile across and up the side of an Arroyo to a small cave which had some ancient Indian cave paintings in it. We weren’t really supposed to do this without a permit and a guide but there was no one around !

On returning from this hike we got back in the Truck and had to make a mad dash to get to Bay of LA before sunset. In Northern Baja the time is the same as California and its starting to get dark at around 4.30 and fully dark by 5. Fortunately when we turned onto the spur road to the coast we discovered a newly laid tarmac road with not a car on it. So we managed to make good time and arrived at our campsite just as the sun was setting.

We stayed for two nights at Bay of LA in a place called Daggett’s Beach Camping. This was a mile or so out of town but right on the beach. We went for a nice walk along the beach to the nature reserve at the point of the bay and also went snorkelling (not much to get excited about but I did see a small stingray). Also at Daggett’s were two french couples and their children who were also driving the Pan American so we spent an enjoyable couple of hours talking to them over a couple of beers – despite a bit of a language barrier.

One Comment leave one →
  1. matt dailey permalink
    November 30, 2011 8:41 am

    Mate you can never drive to far to see onyx! You seem to be having an amazing time and we really miss you both.

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