Colorado to Baja and over 200 fish tacos consumed!
Trip Start Mar 02, 2009
1Trip End Mar 27, 2009
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Well my friend Jenny and I had a fabulous time in Baja. This was my second time down in 3 months and I am here in Denver wanting to go back tomorrow. Here is my trip report.
Arrived in Ensenada on March 4th and were greeted with an overwhelming military presence just north of the city. Apparently President Felipe was in town for some fish tacos as well that day. We checked in the Villa Fontana hotel not bad for 60 bux. I like the balconies they have overlooking the main section of town and that it is with in walking distance of the fish market and marina and Hussong's Cantina.
Headed down for some fish tacos then over to Hussong;s to listen to a little Mariachi/Floyd. They cover "The Wall". Fairly surreal.
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March 5th. We head South to El Rosario and just take in the sights, sounds of the road. I think we saw 4 cars on the road that day. About 6 miles before the Baja Cactus Hotel in El Rosario we take a detour to check out "La Lobera", the Sea Lions Sanctuary. This is a must if in the area, cost is 2 bux to check it out. This collapsed sea cave is a home to several Mama seals and their pups. I am not quite sure how the rest of it doesn't collapse around itself but what do I know. We then proceed to check in to 5 star Baja Cactus. $27 bux gets you two king 4 post beds, tiled floors, Big TV, AC, Internet (bring ethernet cable), the most beautiful interior woodwork with marble and tile/granite bathrooms with his and her's and a glass shower with brass fixtures. Not to shabby! Headed over to Mama's for some crab tacos and chili rellenos. First time I have ever had dinner with 2 Federales next to me with M 16's in their laps. At least they were pointed away from us. I think they just had the soup.
March 6th. Yippie ki yay we are on our way to see Juan and Shari! Another wonderful drive of ever changing landscapes. Stopped somewhere along the way where I had camped before in January where there is a wash with a little Palm Tree Oasis. Cave paintings up a short hike as well. Stopped several times pretending to be Bear Grylls from Man vs Wild but just could not seem to remember what Cacti and flowers I was suppose to eat to stay alive. Instead we opted for just opening my Engel fridge in the back of my FJ Cruiser and making some sandwiches, We took a little detour to drive the pac coast for a little bit and headed into the fish camp of Santa Rosalillita we drove about 25 miles of deserted beach until we headed back inland to meet back up with Highway 1. It makes me think of the saying, "If a wave crashes on a deserted beach, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?"
We stop in Vizcaino to pick up Megs a nomad from Alaska just exploring around. I think she said 2 weeks ago she was in Yemen. We arrived in Bahia Asuncion around dusk and were welcomed with an amazing sunset for the past 30 minutes. Met up with Shari who is the most welcoming, wonderful free spirited woman. She had taken in an injured sea bird ( A Royal Turn, that she calls Queenie) who was found in the road. He was living on her living room floor and we got to feed it little pieces of bonita fish. The day before we left It was healthy enough to fly away so it did. Juan, her husband, and another amazing person was getting ready for Caracol season.
We soon get settled into our Sunset Casita which we spend the next 6 days just gobbling up fish tacos, drinking pacificos, watching whales breach right from our patio porch, have many conversations with Tuto our host dog about the freedom less life of the American canine. I had a hard time making out his Spanish bark but I think he said he was part lab and part sheep or crab herder. (Apparently every rental comes with it's own friendly dog.) It turns out he lives next door but at night he wonders over, I am sure with a full tummy from his owners, and gives us that look. You know that look! That look that says hey guys? can you maybe open up that fridge and make me a sandwich? Of course we did. Tuto likes boiled squid, smoked tuna and garlic crackers too!!! Tuto slept on the patio and always greeted us when we came back from a day of exploring. I wonder what Tuto is doing now. Hmmmmmmmmmmm............................
During our stay there we enjoyed fresh fish tacos, fish caught by Juan and prepared by both Juan and Shari. We spent some incredible afternoons on their patio writing emails and watching the waves crash into the rocks below. We explored several remote beaches and watched giant squid wash up on the shore. We met some great locals and had some awesome simple meals at the local spots. We also had the privilege to tour the local cannery where they were processing Caracol (Sea Snails) and even have a taste. Thanks Juan!!
We will be back to this place!
Day I don't know. Today we headed back North to check out the Whales in Scammon's Lagoon. Three words sum this experience up. ABSOLUTELY FU##ING AMAZING!!!
Saw a little bit of the salt mining operation. They sure don't guard the salt mines in the US like they do down here. Hmmm................
We settled in for the evening in Guerrero Negro at Hotel Los Caracoles. We had a nice stay there. Had wonderful tacos de pescado at Baja Mision in town. Nice little thatched roof outdoor patio place. The owner also runs a hostel/hotel. Very nice folks!
March 13 Guerrero Negro to Bahia de los Angeles (BOLA). We saw our first Coyote on that 41 mile stretch of one way road into BOLA. We read in a guide book that Coyotes have been known to catch crabs by dangling their tales in the ocean and as soon as a crab grabbed ahold they would fling them on shore for an easy meal. I asked Shari and Juan about this and Juan said he has never heard that but has heard of Coyotes fishing for clams in a similar fashion. Hmmm..... Who wants to go snipe hunting?
We enjoyed the quiet fishing community of BOLA. Note to self: Next time bring kayak and panga! We had a good stay at Costa del Sol. $50, Internet, Bar/Restaurant. The owner was really nice lady with a gigantic black great dane named Scooby. Scooby acted as greeter/bar back at this place.
March 14 BOLA to Gonzaga Bay. Took the road to Coco's Corner and got to meet up with that incredible smile of a person named Coco. Enjoyed some fun conversation and a couple cervezas with him. He was awaiting his prosthetics and was hoping that they would come later in the day. About 5 miles before we arrived at Coco's was the only time this entire trip that my hairs on the back of my neck stood up. We were driving on that desolate dirt road for several miles when all of a sudden I look in my rear view mirror and there is this black pick up truck with the bottom lights flashing like it wants to pull me over. It came out of no where and I just kept driving hoping that someone would be at Coco's. When we pulled into Coco's I was relieved to see other people there. Coco asked me if that truck was with us and I told him no, and that it just appeared out of no where behind me about 5 miles back. I asked if they were banditos and he said nah, the banditos stick to the highway. I am not sure what that was all about but no sense on dwelling on it now.
We aired down our tires to 20 psi and resumed our trip north. A nice 30 miles later we arrived in Gonzaga Bay at Alfonsina's. I guess we got lucky that they had a room for us and they did and we stayed a wonderful 2 nights. $50 a night for okay accomodations, but you know what they say right? Location, location, location!!! 50 steps from my room I could cast out into the surf and sit down in my beach chair with a pacifico in hand and just take it all in. We met up with some guys from Mexicali that were there to fish and have a good weekend. They reminded me of myself and my friends doing the same thing off on some remote camping/fishing trip just living it. I was able to fish and catch some nice rock fish and cabrillo and had the restaurant clean them up and cook them up for us. They even added some jumbo shrimp, rice and beans, all for $10. I spent the next day acting as first mate on the shore line for some kids from Tijuana who like me just liked to fish no matter if anything was caught or not. I untangled lines, baited hooks, removed hooks from eager dogs, removed hooks from dangerous puffer fish and sting rays, and had an awesome time doing so. Enjoyed cigars and drinks with the Mexicali crew that night and went to sleep dreaming of Baja even though I was still in Baja. The next day before I left I went up to the manager and asked if I could leave my fishing poles and beach chairs for others to enjoy and he said yes. For me those things are replaceable at a minimal cost to me which is nothing compared to the priceless experience of being in Baja.
March 16th. (Time to head back): Spent the drive just enjoying the isolated road and barren beaches. It still is amazing to me how much of Baja is untouched and that a lot of the beaches are only accessible by boat or maybe by air but definitely not by road. It was on this road where we stopped about 30 miles south of Puertecitos for a stretch and a view and saw those strange circular formations in the sand. I am going to say space ship, I don't care what anyone else says.
We then stopped off in Puertecitos for some fish tacos and a beer. We paid the 10 bux to check out the hot springs but ended up not really checking them out. We continued on and arrived in San Felipe for the evening. We stayed at the well over priced Lobster Hotel $80.
March 17th. San Felipe to Palm Springs, CA via Mexicali. Just soaked in the last several days and looked forward to more.........................
Oh yeah afterI went back to Palm Springs and dropped Jenny off I headed straight to Santa Monica to pick up my buddy Andy and take him down to Ensenada for a couple days. Went bottom fishing one day on a Saturday and had the entire boat to ourselves. I thank them for even going that day. The boat usually would have at least 20 people on it. Caught a ton of snapper and white fish. Gave most to the crew but Took el resto to one of the stands where they turned our catch into a a massive plate of tacos de pescado y filete de pescado con maho de aho. We took some home and I put them in my fridge in the back of my Toyota. The next day on our way out we wrapped the leftovers in tin foil put them on my engine block and then enjoyed left over fish tacos near the beach halfway to Tijuana.