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January 2017 - A Trip to Baja

Now that we have our lovely Ford F350 truck with a Lance 1010 Camper it was time to take it for a spin, so we headed down to Baja California for the month of January. We were assuming (correctly) that Mexico would be warmer than Canada at this time of the year. It was also a chance to visit the Gray Whales that migrate to Baja annually to give birth to their young. Another item crossed off the bucket list.

View all the photos as a slide show.

January 2017. From Phoenix to Cabo via Santa Cruz.

We finished our 2016 travels around Arizona and the Grand Canyon in Phoenix, where we left our camper with our friends Bevan and Clare. This trip began with some visits to friends in Arizona and California and a long stop at the Monterey Clam-Bake Regional Bridge Tournament.

Boondocking near Cattail Cove State Park Arizona at The Steps.

Not how we planned to start the day. A failed cam position sensor and problems with the fuel injection system prevented the engine from starting so we had to be towed to the local Ford dealer in Monterey. Fortunately they had the parts in stock and we were back on the road by the end of the day.

Thank you, Good Sam!


Carpinteria State Beach. A pleasant place to stop for lunch on the drive south.

San Diego Botanic Garden A fun place to spend a few hours trying to learn about the plants in southern California.

Perhaps you are wondering why we are dilly-dallying on the route to Mexico. We were waiting for the Gasolinazo Protest over fuel price increases to abate. Some areas had no fuel at the pumps due to blockades by angry protestors. Some border crossing points were actually closed by barricades. We waited until things settled down and we were lucky to avoid any delays or incidents on our trip.

How could we not spend a night at Lake Jennings? A pleasant campground with a few snowbirds spending the winter as well as some nomads passing through.

Lake Jennings; Lakeside, California.

Admiring “my” lake in the morning.

Sunrise at San Felipe. This is exactly what we were expecting.

A rising tide may float all boats, but I don't think these boats will ever float again. San Felipe, Baja California;

San Felipe, Baja California;

Good Morning!

San Felipe, Baja California.

We had to stop at Valle de los Gigantes, the Valley of the giant cardón cacti.

This is one big cactus towering over Jane.

Fortunately we came prepared.

Campo Beluga on Gonzaga Bay. We would have stayed longer, but it was cold and windy. On a rainy Saturday morning we decided to cross the mud road to highway 1.

Handyman special. Bet you can get a good deal.

Udo is prepared to travel roads that we weren't prepared for. He headed towards Bahia de Los Angeles and we met him again a week later squeezing oranges in Mulege.

Coco’s Corner. An institution in the desert for 80 years.

There's art at Coco's Corner, too.

Ojo de Liebre. Formerly known as Scammon's Lagoon. We came here for the whales.

Ojo de Liebre Vehicles large and small come to see the Grey Whales that come here from Alaska to give birth.


This mother with her calf spent over an hour with us. Diving back and forth under the boat, posing for photos, and reaching out a fin to say hello.

It doesn't look so big at a distance. .

But as she dives under our boat, you realize how big she is. One flick of the tail and we would be in the water for sure. .

She holds out a fin for us to touch. We sensed her curiosity, intelligence, and gentleness as she swam back and forth around and under our boat, carefully managing to never touch it despite coming within inches.

Plenty of barnacles. I guess whales have not developed anti-fouling coatings.

Peter and the whale. Eye to eye.

There were lots of these Portuguese Man o'War jellyfish as well. Very pretty, but don't touch. Also known as Floating Terror their sting is painful and can be fatal.

Even out of the water, these are big whales.

14 meters long. 31.5 metric tons.

It may look like ice, but it is really salt. .

We had heard there was a campground in San Roque. But when we arrived the entire town was deserted.

Not a soul to be found anywhere. We felt like we were in the twilight zone.


I can understand that some streets don't have names in these dusty small towns. But does it really make sense to put up a sign indicating that the street has no name?

We found a spot near the beach to spend the night.

A good road follows the beach with great views, away from the tide and the deep tire grabbing sand.

We did not find any explanations for this symbolic gesture other than it is an example of Mexican Humor.

Mission San Ignacio.

San Ignacio Lagoon; There are whale sightseeing trips here as well. It was a windy day, and the water was rough, so we decided to stay ashore this time. The couple in the serious overland vehicle were from Bordeaux, France, having shipped their truck to Halifax before heading south.

San Ignacio Lagoon. When the tide goes out, the sea can go far far away.

Iglesia de Santa Bárbara (Santa Rosalía). The church was designed by Eiffel and built in France for the Universal Exhibition of 1889. It was purchased by the Bolero Mining company and shipped to Mexico and re-assembled.

The Panadería El Boleo is a french bakery that has been baking baguettes since 1901.

Iglesia de Santa Bárbara (Santa Rosalía)

Santa Rosalía is a copper mining town founded in the 1880s.

At Fabi's oasis near Mulege. All the oranges you can eat or squeeze into juice. They even provide an industrial strength squeezer near the pool so you can have fresh juice every day. Ray and Fabi used to run a restaurant on the site, but it has been closed since Ray passed away. Fabi is still hosting campers. We reconnected with Udo, last seen at Gonzaga Bay a week before.

Playa Santispac. This seems to be the favorite beach for a lot of snowbirds. On the way south, many of them recommended it to us. We arrived on an unusually cold and windy day but managed to find a somewhat sheltered corner near the mangroves.

Our very own mangrove lagoon complete with rays and birds to watch.

Santispac beach is a snowbird favorite. There are 2 restaurants to choose from. Local vendors come in the mornings to sell fresh tacos, vegetables, fish, and locally made products. There's even a delivery of potable water and propane.

We danced the night away to a rocking band at Playa Santispac. A few more gigs and these guys are going to make it big. I am sure they have put in their 10,000 hours.

The sun rises at Santispac, too.

A pleasant hike along the shore from Playa Santispac.

El Requeson playa. At low tide you can walk to the island, but if you stay too long, you will have to swim back.

Loreto, Baja California Sur was the first capital of the Californias so it has a long history.

In the summer the shade is a pleasant respite from the bright sun at Loreto.

The Museo de las Misiones shows many artifacts from the times of the missionaries. The population figures show the devastating effect of diseases brought to America by the European settlers.

The Mirador Frida near Puerto Escondido.

A shrine at the Mirador Frida.

We enjoyed the art galleries at Todos Santos, a dusty town with a passion for the arts. This gallery is a short walk from town but worth it.

Todos Santos.

Todos Santos Mission.

Hotel California There are legends and tales of the relationship between this hotel and the Eagles song. It matches the lyrics so well that you will feel that you have been here before.

El Litro campground in Todos Santos. A dusty walk to town from this funky old campground.

Cabo San Lucas.

Camino Cabo Este. Head east to get away from town. Past the private land being developed into gated communities and hotels you will find miles of beaches. Beware of deep sand.

The beaches are a favorite place for dune buggy racing, so there are lots of tracks.

A quiet place to spend the night.

San José del Cabo;

San José del Cabo is known for its Gallery District. There is an art walk map available that makes it easy to find the better ones.

San José del Cabo

Playa El Tule is the only spot of undeveloped beach between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.