Boise to Baja in a 60 Series Land Cruiser


Boise to Baja
I have always dreamt about Baja since I was a little boy, the thought of the cool ocean breeze and vast desert landscapes had always appealed to my inner being. This year I had the opportunity to make the trip happen after many failed attempts, seemed my job or life just always got in the way.
Back in August I bought a 1986 60 series Land Cruiser, it had the 5.3L Vortec, 4L60E transmission, air lockers, gears, and a ton of other stuff already done to it, I had to fix a bunch of stuff on it and make sure it would be up to par for the journey, but it is what I consider to be a great rig, the perfect mix of size, power, reliability and simple enough to repair in the back country if needed.
My good friend Ian and I have talked about making the trip to Baja for several years now, and as I mentioned I could never pull it all together between my family of 5 and work, but somehow the stars aligned towards the end of 2014 and the possibility of making the trip was looking more and more positive. I submitted my time off request at work and with the blessing from my wonderful wife the trip was on! Luckily I was able to talk my good friend Mike into riding along with me as well to help with the cost of the trip, driving duties and overall companion for the 3500 mile trip.

Day 1 & 2 January 15, 2015 Boise to Vegas to San Felipe - 1065 Miles
Today just so happened to be my birthday and what a better present than to be leaving for this awesome adventure! I picked up Mike and loaded his stuff into the Cruiser and we left Boise around 2:00 pm, we had planned to meet Ian in Las Vegas as his good friend was flying in there and we could all gather our thoughts and make a game plan from there. Unfortunately Ian was coming in from Jackson WY and was running about 8 hours behind, so we got a room in Vegas for the night and let Ian catch up to us. After a quick call to Ian in the morning he was still on the road and about 8 hours behind us. We decided to go ahead and continue on and make a run for the border agreeing to meet up in San Felipe. We had to go through Glamis sand dunes on our way and stopped for a few t-shirts and the quintessential dune picture of the Cruiser. We crossed the border about 4:00 on Friday, a busy time to be crossing the border, however we were able to figure it out with little effort and after getting our papers we were off to San Felipe. I don’t recommend crossing the border on a Friday afternoon at rush hour if you can, Mexicali is a large city and traffic was very heavy, it took us about an hour to get through Mexicali. Anyway we made into San Felipe and stayed at Victor’s RV Park for the night, it was nice place just a little pricey at $25 a night. We go our spot and headed down the street for what we had all been waiting for, cold Cerveza and fish tacos! After a few awesome tacos and a few cold ones we headed back to camp and set up our sleeping arrangements, me in my Cruiser mounted Hammock and Mike in his tent. I climbed into the hammock and somewhere around midnight Ian and his friend Chris rolled in, we enjoyed another cold one and high 5’s we passed around as we were happy that we were all together and had made it across the US and into Baja with no issues.

Glamis Beach Store

The Quintessential Dune Pic

Fish Tacos!

Nice 80 Series

Not a bad place to wake up!

My bed for the next few nights, very comfortable.

San Felipe

Ian needed some sleep…

Ian’s Sweet 80 Series

Day 3 San Felipe to Gonzaga Bay – 110 Miles

Saturday morning was beautiful, sunny no wind and WARM, something us northerners haven’t felt in a few months… Ian had added much weight to is 80 over past few weeks in preparation for the trip and his rear springs (over 10 years old) had given up, so he stopped by Cruiser Outfitters on the way down and picked up a set of new coils and some 1” spacers to try and gain some more up-travel out of his newly installed Fox remote reservoir shocks. Luckily the campground we were staying at had a suto gantry type of lift that would make it super easy to lift the back of his Cruiser with my winch to unload the rear suspension. Within an hour or so we had the old coils out, the new coils and spacers in and sitting back on the ground with a much needed lift. I must say the winch rope paired with the Factory 55 Flat Link and Hawse Fairlead worked like a charm!
With the new springs installed we packed up the rest of our stuff and headed down the road to Gonzaga Bay. We crossed over a huge wash and decided to blast down the wash towards the ocean and find us a camp site for the night. We found a great spot on the beach and proceeded to break in Ian’s new grill and cook us up some mighty tasty steaks.

Getting the gantry into position.

Up She Goes…

Road to Gonzaga Bay

Video of Gonzaga Bay Wash Run

Pelican about 5’ from Mikes tent!



Day 4 Gonzaga Bay to Santispac (Bahia de Conception) – 320 Miles
Awakening to the sound of hawks buzzing your hammock at 5:30 in the morning is kind of cool the first time, then, not so cool as they think you are breakfast… Anyway, we woke up and made some awesome Chorizo and egg burritos and decided to bomb it down to Santispac, it’s a long drive through Coco’s corner and down Highway 1, but completely doable in a long day. We stopped in and signed Coco’s book, however he was not there, we were told he was Ensanada at the doctor. We had been warned about the dirt road connecting Highway 5 to Highway 1 eating tires and sometimes worse, but honestly it’s just a bumpy road that the 60 soaked up with tires down to 15 psi. The rest of the drive down Highway 1 is fairly easy, but highway is NARROW! We stopped in for some fabulous Tamales along the way and a fantastic dinner at a restaurant in Mulege, then continued on to Santispac campground arriving around 9:00pm. It was a perfect night with no moon and unbelievable stars.

Road to Coco’s

20 Minute GoPro Video of the dirt road to Coco’s and Highway 1.


Coco’s Panty Collection

Day 5 Santispac to Playa El Requson – 28 Miles
The sunrise at Santispac was one of the best of the trip! We were greeted early that morning to a gentleman selling piping hot, fresh tamales delivered right to us on the beach for breakfast, I can’t think of a better way to start the day. With a much needed break from driving we decided to take it easy and only move down the bay about 30 mile. We packed up camp and headed back into Mulege for some fuel and a few supplies. If you’re ever at the Pemex south of Mulege be sure to look for Mr. Ceviche, by far the best I have ever had! With everything gassed back up we took our time driving along the bay, what an incredible place! We stopped for some sunshine and drove out to a remote island that is only accessible during low tide, cool place for a cold one and soak up some sunshine. It started getting dark on us so we gathered up some fire wood for our Bon Fire and on down to the Playa to set up camp.

Sunrise at Santispac

Pelican on the Bow

Santispac Campground

Beautiful Water

Drive over the Playa at Low tide.

At High Tide

Hauling Wood

Camp Spot for the Night



Day 6 Playa El Requson to Bahia Asunción – 238 Miles
With the sunrise of day 6 I tried my hand at fishing in the bay with no luck… We had decided the night before we would split up with Ian and start our journey back north. We packed up said our goodbyes and drove back around the bay and towards Bahia Asuncion on the Pacific side. I had heard many good things about this place and we wanted to at least set foot on the Pacific side once. We drove back through Mulege, Santa Rosalia and into San Ignacio. San Ignacio is a very unique place on the peninsula; it’s a real oasis in the desert! We stopped in at the San Ignacio Mission that is about 300 years old; it’s a very neat place. We then ventured back up the road to Rice and Beans for some lunch then headed towards the Pacific. We turned off Highway 1 towards Punta Abreojos which is a small fishing village on the Pacific. We found the boat ramp and the tide just happened to be out so we were able to pull down on the sand enjoy the waves of the pacific and a small fishing boat unloading their catch for the day. From there we headed north on a dirt road that took us to Estero de La Bocana, another small fishing village. These small villages have no signs giving directions, so navigating through them takes some patience, we ended up following the power lines through town and found the dirt road continuing north toward Bahia Asunción. With the sun setting quick on us we knew we would have to hammer down and make up some time, unfortunately not taking any pictures along this great stretch of dirt road and Pacific surf. We arrived in Bahia Asunción just before sundown so we drove out to the point to catch a Pacific sunset; it was definitely worth the drive. After sunset we headed back into town and found our campground for the night a nice place called Campo Sirena that had hot showers and Wi-Fi, a much welcomed amenity. After getting camp set up we walked down the street about 3 blocks for delicious tacos and back to camp for the night. Across the street from the campground the local band was practicing for their weekend gig, which was entertaining, to say the least.

San Ignacio Mission

Oasis San Ignacio

Estero de La Bocana

Bahia Asunción

Bahia Asunción Sunset


Day 7 Bahia Asunción to Bahia de Los Angeles – 210 Miles
Once again I was up before the sun and witnessed an amazing sunrise! After sleeping inside the Cruiser for the first time it is very comfortable and I fit lying down without issue. Well, we packed up camp again and hit the Pemex for some much needed fuel, when we pulled up they were filling an 800 gallon tanker right from the pump, but luckily they stopped so we could fill our tank. The Cruiser has a 38 gallon tank and the guy filling her up kept looking underneath thinking it was just dumping out on the ground it held so much fuel. With a full tank we headed towards Bahia LA, the drive was very nice and we stopped along way just outside Gurrero Negro for some more tamales, they are delicious! Once you turn off Highway 1 it is only 65 KM to Bahia LA, the drive is very nice and the road is washed out in a few spots from the hurricane that hit there last year, the road is in good shape and getting around the wash outs is no problem at all. Bahia LA was hit very hard by the flooding, you could see several houses that had been washed away not even sitting on their foundations. When we arrived we cruised around town a little and drove north out of town a few miles and came upon a very nice campground we decided to stay at. As it turns out our neighbors at the campground were from Boise and they were actually clients of my co-pilot Mike, small world… That night we had some excellent street tacos in town and a quiet campfire to close out the night.

Bahia Asunción Sunrise

Boat Ramp Bahia de Los Angeles

Bahia de Los Angeles

Day 8 Bahia de Los Angeles to San Felipe – 210 Miles
Well you guessed it; I was up before the sun and got a few shots of a spectacular sunrise yet again. The Bay of LA is a marine reserve and has several different kinds of fish and WHALES! While we didn’t have time to get a close up look at them we could see them off in the distance blowing out their spouts, pretty cool to see. Once again we packed up and headed out of town back to San Felipe, we had seen that the San Felipe 250 SCORE race was going to be running on Saturday and if you have never been to a SCORE race I highly recommend it. On our way back to San Felipe we took the cut across to Coco’s again and came across a semi that had blown a u-joint on the road, unfortunately we couldn’t the guy out. On the way back we stopped in to Alfonsina’s for lunch, I highly recommend this place, fabulous food! When we arrived back in San Felipe the town was buzzing with action and there were race cars everywhere, we were like two kids in a candy store, this was good and bad… Good to see everything but made it hard to find a place to stay, I had heard about a campground called Kiki’s so we headed over and asked if they had a campsite for the night, which they did however the wind was blowing pretty hard so we decided to get a room instead of camping again, this was the right call as the wind blew all night and never quit until the morning. We went down to the meet and greet under the arches, but we were pretty late getting there and things had pretty much wrapped up by the time we got there. That night we had dinner a La Vaquita, this place is EXCELLENT! I had a bacon wrapped shrimp that was to die for! After dinner we called it a night and headed back to our warm beds for some much need rest, I slept like a baby that night…

Bahia LA Sunrise

Cool Old Camper

Lunch at Alfonsina’s


Day 9 San Felipe Contingency
Friday we awoke to something different, the sound of 800hp engines roaring up and down the street! Friday was contingency down town and let me tell you, contingency is crazy! There were mariachi bands playing as loud as they could on both sides of the street and people everywhere! If you have never been, I highly recommend it, it gives you a chance to get up close and personal to all the truck and buggies and meet the drivers, and it is an experience for sure. That night we had to camp out of town a bit and the campground was a bit noisy, people on both sides of playing music, fireworks and laughing until the wee hours of the morning, not necessarily a bad thing, just noisy… I’ll let the pictures and video do the talking for contingency…

Video from Contingency

Day 10 San Felipe 250 & San Felipe to Las Vegas – 440 Miles
Saturday morning came with that sick feeling that the trip is almost over and knowing that we would have to start our drive home, but we get to watch the RACE! We headed out of camp fairly early knowing the the bikes and quads left San Felipe at 6:30 in the morning and there would be a 3.5 hour gap until the first trophy trucks were off the line. We drove around the race course for bit and found a killer whoop section to watch. We got a spot early and after about an hour a group of older retired folks pulled up next to us, they were nice people and by about 10:00am they were passing around the tequila and having beers, jeez I thought to myself these retired folks know how to party! The first trophy truck rolled by us about 11:30 and man do they haul the mail, slamming through 3’ whoops at speed and not even slowing down, guess I have a lot of work to do on my old leaf spring suspension… The race was very cool, but we knew we had to get back to Mexicali and get across the border so we packed up around 1:00 and headed for Mexicali. The border crossing went off without issue and we made it back into Las Vegas around 11:00pm. We were up early the next morning and headed home, all in all around 3500 miles in 10 days and the trusty Cruiser never missed a beat. Hope you enjoyed the ride!

Waiting for the race.

Where else do you get Pina Coladas delivered to you while watching a desert race! They were yummy!

Last Picture at the US Border…. Kinda sad…

Video from the race!


2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
I am pretty sure I ran into you guys and chatted a bit in San Felipe on the southbound part of your trip.
I was in the old blue suburban and you guys looked like you were off to a great time.

Very nice write up and pics....looking forward to reading about more of your adventures.


I am pretty sure I ran into you guys and chatted a bit in San Felipe on the southbound part of your trip.
I was in the old blue suburban and you guys looked like you were off to a great time.

Very nice write up and pics....looking forward to reading about more of your adventures.
Yes sir, that was us! It was a pleasure to chat with you and thanks for the advise!

PS Your Burb is pretty bad ***!:drool:


I come in Peace
Great pics and trip!

I just got back Sunday from a week in Central Baja myself and some of your pictures look real familiar..

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