Southern and Central Baja Trip 2012 – Day One

North of the border rendezvous

North of the border rendezvous

Our trip south started under drizzly skies with a rendezvous at the Salk Institute.

Our trip caravan consisted of two diesel Toyota Land Cruisers, a brand new Jeep Rubicon (who would later earn the name ‘El Jepe’), and Mike’s large 4×4 Toyota Tundra.

We drove through the border at San Yisidro without any incident and headed south trying to escape the madness of Tijuana and Ensenada.

Watching huge tank creep up the highwayOur mantra when travelling down in Baja is “expect the unexpected”. This was reinforced 50 km north of El Rosario when “la policia” stopped our caravan to let a construction truck trailer pass us.

Unfortunately for us this wasn’t an ordinary truck. It was trailering a massive two lane wide tank that was completely blocking the highway.

As the caravan slowly inched up the hill, it soon became apparent that the weight of the enormous tank was too much for the truck. Everything came to a halt, and the truckers decided to start backing the massive structure back down the hill.

Car backup outside of El Rosario

Car backup outside of El Rosario

Problem was there were a growing line of cars at the bottom, us included, with nowhere to go.

To add to the spectacle, an old relic of a van pulling a trailer loaded down with household goods decided he should pass everyone on the left. He forced his way to the front of the pack only to discover he was going nowhere.

Huge Dump Truck tip over near El Rosario

Huge Dump Truck tip over near El Rosario

Just when it was looking like we would have to turn around and camp towards San Quintin, the truckers managed to rearrange the trio of trucks towing the trailer and get a running start up the hill. Once at the top, with enough space to pass, the line of 50 plus cars was allowed to squeeze by.

Since the delay cost us precious day light hours and we have another mantra “never drive in baja at night”, we gassed up our trucks in El Rosario and rushed to find a nice camp site.

Desert Camping near Catavina Baja

Desert Camping near Catavina Baja

Our delay by the large tank was somewhat of a blessing in disguise. J & G knew of a nice spot in the desert somewhere between El Rosario and Catavina that was beautiful. The area was full of large Cardon cactus (think Saguaro but larger) and numerous cactus flora unfamiliar to us north of the border.

Trucks were parked, rooftop tents cranked up, sausages were thrown on the grill and we settled in for a night around the camp fire, laughing at the events of the day.

Sometime later in the evening the owner, of the property stopped by and was offered a couple cold Pacificos in exchange for letting us camp on his land.

On To San Ignacio >

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