On day two in Baja I was up with the sun after a chilly night. I took a few more pics of the area since the sun was in the east now and shining right into the canyon.
Packed up and ready to roll
The water crossing was the first thing I encountered upon leaving the campo - still knee deep - no problemo!
I passed this farm on the way into Canyon de Guadalupe yesterday, right at the intersection where the road splits to go into the canyon, but didn’t get a pic of it so I stopped in the morning to get a shot of it. There were rows of trees that went on for what seemed like at least a mile. The entrance was beautiful, and very well kept. I didn’t notice anything growing on the trees so I don’t know what they were, but I could hear what sounded like a farm tractor at work deep inside the fenced farm area.
From this point I had two options. My destination for today was Gonzaga Bay - Alfonsina’s. If I followed the dry lake bed it would lead me to MEX-5 just a few miles north of La Ventana, this would be about a fifty mile ride. Or, I could ride about 25 miles back out on the dirt road I came in on, then about another 70 miles of pavement to where I’d come out if I followed the dry lake bed. The problem with continuing along the lake bed was that I had been told it was pretty much all sand, with a few good-sized silt beds thrown in. It also did not appear to be a very frequently traveled route. Fifty miles of sand and silt didn’t really sound too appealing, and it sounded like it could be slow going so I might not really save much time, if any. Since I was traveling solo and not really running optimal tires for sand I decided to skip the sand and silt route. Maybe I’ll try that route next time when I’ve got better sand tires, and maybe a riding partner.
So I headed back out to MEX-2, then east back toward Mexicali, picked up MEX-2D over to MEX-5 and headed south. I must say, as I began heading south on MEX-5 I was very disappointed and discouraged by the amount of trash lining the sides of the road. I expected it near the city, but even ten miles outside the city there was a lot of trash lining both sides of the highway. Twenty miles outside the city - not much better. Thirty miles outside the city - not much better! It was really discouraging, and I started to wonder if it was going to get any better, and if Baja was worth the effort. I didn’t take many pictures in this area, and I didn’t take any that included the trash because I really never wanted to see it again, and it’s not how I wanted anyone to see or remember Baja. It was really surprising how far this went on, but as I neared San Felipe it began to disappear and it wasn’t long before the beauty of Baja had all but erased any memory of it.
Did I mention the dry lake bed is HUGE! It runs all the way from MEX-2 down to ME-5 just north of La Ventana, crosses MEX-5 and looks like it goes on all the way to the Sea of Cortez. Absolutely massive!
I came to my first military checkpoint a little north of San Felipe. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The soldiers didn’t really seem to speak any English, and my Spanish consisted of the word “campo”, but I found them to be very professional and polite, even friendly. I pulled up to two young soldiers with automatic rifles and shut the bike off. One of them said something in Spanish and I responded with “No habla Espanol.” He said something else in Spanish, but seemed to understand what I said and started pointing at my saddlebag so I got off the bike slowly and opened the saddlebags and rear box for them. They talked to each other a little in Spanish as they looked in my luggage, but I really didn’t understand anything they were saying. Although they looked carefully at what I was carrying, they seemed just as interested in my bike. As one was checking my cargo, the other was looking over my bike with seemingly great interest. He tried asking me something a couple times and I could tell he was asking about my bike, but I just couldn’t understand anything he said. When they finished checking my bags they motioned that it was OK to close them up, so I did, then I got back on the bike and they were both close on each side of me really checking out the bike when one pointed at it and said with a heavy accent “off-road?” Finally, something I understood. A big smile came to me as I looked at him and said “Se, se, mucho off-road, yes!” They both shook their heads and smiled in approval as they stepped back indicating it was OK for me to proceed. I started the bike and rode off with a big smile. So much for being worried about scary military checkpoints! I think this was the point when any fears I may have had about traveling in Baja started to disappear - seemed like Baja was going to be just fine.
Shortly after that I came to San Felipe, a small town on the east coast of Baja. I fueled up, but didn’t really stop for anything else but a few pics. It was pretty much what I expected, fairly small, but big enough to get most things you might need, not as well kept as what we’re typically used to in the US, but that seemed to be true of just about every place in Mexico.
From San Felipe the road followed along the coast the rest of the way and I had about a hundred miles to go to get to Gonzaga Bay.
I wasn’t sure how scenic this area would be, thought it might just be a road to get me where I was going, but it turned out to be quite nice.
I didn’t expect to see much in the way of people or homes through here, but I was surprised to see numerous areas where there would be a string of homes along the coast, in the middle of nowhere really.
Puertecitos was the one “town” I did expect to see, but it didn’t consist of much.
As I made my way further south the coastal views just kept getting better and better. The road was great and the scenery was beautiful.
Never knew what I’d find around the next corner.
The road was in amazingly good condition, but I had heard that the pavement would come to an abrupt end somewhere south of Puertecitos. And it did. Termina Pavimento!
The highway ended . . . and a dirt road began . . .
The dirt section started out pretty flat with a lot of washboard, but it got worse. I found myself standing on the pegs and keeping the speed up most of the way to skim over the washboard. I learned that at the right speed you can skim the washboard and float thru the sand, as long as the sand doesn’t get too deep!
I was quite surprised when I went over the rise in this pic and encountered an 18-wheeler pulling a flatbed heading north on this road. He was crawling along at about 10 mph.
The rest of the ride to Gonzaga Bay was quite scenic
Made good time and reached Gonzaga Bay at about 2:30 in the afternoon.
I was a little concerned to see the PEMEX gas station was closed, because this place is a long way from anything else. Uh oh! I soon found out that the station closes from 2:00-4:00, siesta time I guess.