Tag Archives: San Quintin

San Quintin to Catavina, Baja California


 

180px-Boojum treeThe trip continues into a landscape that is forever changing. This road to Catavina is far less busy and less populated, apart from one small town with a yellow cafe with a hand painted Starbucks logo to let you know that you can buy this good old brand in Rosarito, a dead horse, fields of garlic and of course the endless litter along the highway, this road was mostly surrounded by desert. For those not familiar with deserts the assumption is that is all looks the same, just vast sand dunes or sand with the occasional cactus. The desert is so diverse. We have been driving through desert now for over 1,000 miles through Utah, Arizona and now Baja California but the colour and texture of the sands, the density and variation of the flora keeps changing.The drive today was magnificent in places where the most unusual looking cacti revealed themselves. These are the Dr Seuss looking Boojum Trees and grow up to about 20 meters in tall thin trunks covered in thousands of short spines and flower just at the top in what looks like ‘Side Show Bob’s’ hair (of The Simpsons fame). They cover the landscape along with many other shapes and sizes of cacti.The campsite we found was cheap and cheerful at $6 a night which is a far cry from the $25-30 a night rates on offer in the mostly full hookup RV parks. Having an older trailer in the US made us standout a little but the nice thing about Mexico is that it fits right in and we are finding the more daring Americans riding these highways unaccompanied like real grown-us (not in a Caravan) also have older trailers.

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Ensenada to San Quintin, Baja California


Driving from Ensenada to San Quintin (3 hours), and locating what has to be one of the most spectacular campsites so far on our entire trip – El Pabellon Rv Park , was different again. The small towns off the highway had no paved road at all. The streets looked like Serge Leone depictions of the wild west. Cars and trucks drove alongside the highway on the dirt roads and then jumped up the ledge to get back on the roads. Shops and houses were situated off the highway down desert roads which on this day had low visibility due to the winds that were whipping along the streets and the cars leaving dust trails. The air around us was at times quite dense with dust which looking at the locals seemed to be a normal occurrence as they had the hats and scarves wrapped around their faces for protection. This is the desert. Some of the land is farmed with an extensive looking tomato growing operation with greenhouses and a sea of plastic stretching out onto the horizon. Some of the land is left fallow due to the limitations on the water supply into Baja. Some of the water is sourced from the Colorado River in the US which is over a thousand miles away. The campsite was down a dirt road off the highway about 200 yards from the Pacific ocean set on the edge of some sand dunes. When we arrived there was only one other trailer which had about 8 OHV’s parked up next to it. These were promptly jumped on by a bunch of local teenagers and adults and ridden over some fantastic looking sand dunes. The beach itself was more like a road with vehicles driving through the campsite onto the beach and then alongside the ocean. So with the waves crashing, the sun setting and the full moon rising I cooked a surprising salty potato, lentil and split pea soup (saltiness came from the brackish water) which we ate whilst cooing at the various local dogs who came to sniff the strange soup.

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Driving Baja Highway One, Mexico


Driving in Baja has improved substantially over the years with access along the peninsular only being possible since 1973 on the opening of the trans-peninsular highway. The furtherest point that people could drive with anything other than off road vehicle was to San Quintin . The highway has opened up Baja to tourism but it seems concentrated in certain towns. Driving from Tecate to Ensenada took us through smaller villages along the way which consist of low rise settlements with the usual mixture of homes and brightly coloured one room shacks used by hairdressers, taco shops, garages and the like all with hand painted signs which gives the place a look that is so un-American looking is almost brings tears to my eyes. This road is relatively busy with many large trucks hurtling past us on this single lane highway which has just enough room for the trucks going in either direction but with no hard shoulder at all. The drop-offs vary from a few inches to a few feet so I am still adjusting to the fear of falling off the edge which is akin to how you feel walking along a precipice with a 100 foot drop as oppose to how steady you are on your feet and in your mind when the drop off is only one foot. Christopher suggested I sit a little more snugly beside him to ease the fear.

There is also a little trick which we have now mastered and that is the use of the left indicator. This is not used to indicate that you are turning left (well sometimes it is) it is mostly used to inform the car behind you that there is a clear road in front so that they can overtake you. Indicating with the right indicator means do not overtake and the uninitiated are in for a rough surprise when they make the silly assumptions that the car wants to turn right or pull in. Overtaking in this scenario is likely to lead to you being blocked until you learn the rules…

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