Mel Bohnert and Shirley Thompson with Joe and Sandra Bradshaw ....leaving 2/2/09

Mel and I have each been to Cabo San Lucas previously but are expecting major changes in each of the little towns we plan to hit this trip. Starting with San Felipe itself………

This is the San Felipe mountain range, the beautiful scenery as seen from San Felipe itself.



San Felipe is now a town of about 14,000 inhabitants. It is right on Highway 5, about 120 miles south of Mexicali. Temperatures here average around 70 F in winter to 100 F during the summer. It started as a little fishing town but has since become more of a tourist and vacation spot for aliens north of the border. We live in Campo Ocotillos in a brick home high on a bluff and have a trailer in Playa del Sol, also high on a bluff, both overlooking the Sea of Cortez. Life in San Felipe is the best!



Our camper, their motorhome
Mel and I will be traveling in a Ford 4-door pickup 350 with a large Coachman Camper. We are traveling with Joe and Sandra who have a large 40’ Fleetwood Excursion 4-slide motor home. We are packed to the gills and will keep in touch with an Intercom System.
Just a tiny part of the open scenery around Las Canadas campground, with the mountains in the rear. There were several camping areas within acres of this quiet scenery.

2/2/09 Monday: ENSENADA: We found a captivating campground, Las Cañadas not too far out of Ensenada, as we were heading for San Tomas on Hiway 1. We are in a campground space away off of the Highway where there are no lights, and no noise (and no other people tonight). Joe and Sandra parked and opened their 4 slides. We chomped down BBQ Hamburgers and beer at the picnic table under clear skies, and sparkling bright stars. It’s almost too dark to enjoy much more, so we’re off to bed.
It's morning now and we are amazed. A huge, complete enterprise of its own, this campground is covering acres of land. Different classes of RV’s seem to be steered to various sections amongst garden dividers; a little store and business section to boot.
However, we are self-contained. After a full breakfast we’re off.
2/3/09 Tuesday: We traveled now over a good 2-lane highway for miles into the inland territory over the mountains with scenery of boulders and forests of the famous Cardons and Cirio trees (which some call the Boojom tree, which appeared to be growing upside down with the small root system coming off of the tops to nowhere). There were barrel cactus and low growing ironwood trees but the ground cover was very little. A few, not too skinny, cows were headed towards the spring greenery that was just starting to sprout along the highway.

That meandering hiking trail wound around for 1/2 mile of nature paths. Someone has a lot of imagination.


Mel spotted this old antique car which brought back memories

2/3/09 KM 180: CATAVINA: We asked some road workers and were told they had Diesel fuel at Catavina, but ‘not true’. We did find a lovely ‘Desert Inn’ Motel, which was previously part of the ‘El Presidente’ chain. After cajoling with the head clerk & others, being sent in several directions including an abandoned Pemex, Mel & Joe were able to talk them out of 10 gallons of Diesel to get us all the way to the little town of Villa Jesus Maria. They also allowed us to park overnight in front of the hotel. What could we do in return but eat dinner there. It was excellent, but so was the price. In the morning we enjoyed the beautiful landscaping surrounding this hotel. They had made the most of rocks and a few large trees which they surrounded with antiques and borders.

Well, now filled with food and diesel we can head south to our next destination. Again we saw forests of Cardon and Cirios trees high among the mountains of boulders. Remember we are skirting the tops of the mountains down the central corridor of Baja Norte.
KM 233: We are passing the cut-off at Chapalla, the road that leads back to Bahia San Luis Gonzaga that we have learned is now a gravel road, passable for the right vehicles.
KM 281: On down we pass the Bahai de Las Angeles junction that would also take you back over to the Sea of Cortez to that bay. We learned that this highway is built to standards but only the first 56 miles is oiled. The road was being improved to allow trucks to transport seagoing vessels between the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean overland. But to date this has not been accomplished.

Guerro Negro has very narrow streets.

2/4/09 Wednesday: KM 217: GUERRO NEGRO: We pulled in at a well-known RV park, El Malarrimo, on the first highway leading into town. It had a restaurant and advertised Wireless Computer, but we were not able to accomplish that. After spending the night there we walked into town to check prices and information on whale-watching. Different quotes from different agencies: one quoted $50 and said the best time was right now….but another told us a similar price stating the best time was the last 2 weeks in February and the first 2 weeks in March was best. This suited our purpose better. Later we drove through the town. Guerro Negro is know for its salt manufacturing. They have created salt evaporation ponds where they continually fill with ocean water, let evaporate and leaves thick, dry ‘Salt-Beds’ to be harvested and trucked for shipping. Next we found a large market where our friends stocked up on groceries. They were really out to look for lawn chairs, but found none. We must get on to our next stop. With their motor home following we got 20 miles down the road before we realized Sandra was missing. Before we could turn around, here comes a taxi with a very frustrated Sandra. Joe paid the $50 (2-way fare) gladly. “All’s well that ends well”.

ACROSS THE STATE LINE :between Baja (norte) & Baja Sur. Once Baja was California. When separated it became just Baja. Then the south became its own state and was named Baja Sur, [as opposed to Baja norte which never carried the name norte.]

2/5/09 Thursday: KM 74: SAN IGNACIO. Whale watching. As we rounded the last curve we came upon an unbelievable view of

The zocolo, or town square in St. Ignacio
El Padrino Park where we stayed and ate.

acres of Palm trees. Between this valley of palms and a nearby creek a small town is spreading. It sports of two big hotels, and 5 RV parks, but a very small town center. We chose the RV Park named ‘El Padrino’, almost across from the ‘Desert Inn’ motel, another of the old ‘El Presidente’ chain. This tiny park seemed to be in winter clean-up, not quite as attractive as we had remembered. We chose to eat at the little café. Everything was delicious; the owner and his helpers were very friendly. However infrastructure left much to be desired. Next morning Mel and I walked the 1⁄2 mile into the town square, so quaint and clean. Founded by the Jesuit Missionaries in 1705 the church was not completed until 1728 and is the center of attraction.

To see pictures of the missions from 1683 to 1767 press here

Later the 4 of us took the truck back into town and we became guides for the others. An interesting thing that caught our eye in one of the larger tiendas was the famous leather beer holsters (look-alike gun holsters). Oh well, back to the camp and on the road again.

Note: At Rancho "San Ignacito" there is a concrete marker stating this is the point where the two ends of the transpeninsulor Highway came together and where roadwork was finished in September 1973.



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