Little Leo's Overland Adventure to Baja and Back

Octotat

Observer
Fantastic adventure! In this day of keeping children in bubble wrap suits, it's great to see people take there kids on adventure.
 

joeyabisa

Adventurer
BDLA would be the turning point of our trip. The temperature down there was 105 and was too much for Leo. At night the wind died and he had a hard time sleeping, He would wake up drenched in sweat and crying from his discomfort. I would fan him till he fell asleep again. During the day he didn’t want to come out from under the palapa because he wanted to stay in the shade. He wanted me to carry him to the beach because the sand was too hot. He kept asking if we could go in the truck to turn on the air conditioner. This is also when he kept telling me he wanted to go home. I felt bad that Leo wasn’t having much fun at this point and was just enduring our two days there.
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This is a time when I wish, I shoulda, coulda, woulda, and if only! If only I had worked harder to finish my camper/trailer build we wouldn’t be in this position. We’d have shelter with air conditioning, a shower, comfortable seating, a place to hide from the unforgiving sun. It would be home, our base camp we could leave it and use the truck to explore the area with its countless off road trails to other beaches, coves, cave paintings, etc. As an adult, enduring the heat in this environment isn’t such a big deal but to a 4 year old, this is the most inhospitable place on earth. I felt like I had taken away the opportunity for more adventure, good times and beauty from Leo. I’m kicking myself from my failure of not finishing the camper/trailer and deserved to feel bad about it.
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The next morning I told him we would be heading home. This brightened him up. He started packing up his toys and putting them in his bag. It brought a smile to my face watching him. There was a weight on my shoulders from his mood earlier and watching him now brought a smile to my face. There would be no San Francisquito, Bahia de Concepcion or farther south on this trip. It was bittersweet leaving Bahia de Los Angeles but it was the right thing to do. Our time here isn’t finished, we would be back. But next time we would be back in the winter.
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This shot was taken the morning we left

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This photo was taken of the bay as we were leaving.
It's a really bad photo and doesn't even come close to doing the place justice.

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4x4x4doors

Explorer
Sorry to hear that the heat and his discomfort took away from your trip.
Hopefully the good times before that will be the memory he keeps.
What happened next? Did you hightail it home or get to continue your adventure on the way?
 

joeyabisa

Adventurer
Sorry to hear that the heat and his discomfort took away from your trip.
Hopefully the good times before that will be the memory he keeps.
What happened next? Did you hightail it home or get to continue your adventure on the way?
Hi 4x4x4doors! Thanks! Yes, we continued the adventure. So northbound we went!
 
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joeyabisa

Adventurer
After getting back on hwy 12 I noticed plants that I didn't notice before. Dr Seuss trees is what they looked like- Boojum Trees! Interesting looking. I guess I was focused on getting to BDLA and wasn't paying attention to my surroundings on the way in.
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When we reached Federal Hwy 1 I hesitated for a moment. There was only two ways to go, south or north. I thought about white sand beaches and aqua blue water to the south but also the heat and misery for Leo. With a big sigh I turned right to the north. Once we reached the Pacific Ocean the temperature had dropped considerably. The thermostat on the truck was reading 78 degrees. I rolled down my window, turned off the A/C and took in the ocean air.
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On the way up we passed many nice looking and inviting beaches. At this point I think Leo was pretty beached out. I'm sure we were passing some pretty amazing places. One of the few places I did want to stop was Catavina. The landscape in Catavina was amazing. A landscape of boulders of every size dotting the hills and valleys, smooth rounded boulders some the size of houses or bigger and some tiny. In between the boulders were huge Cardon cactus and other vegetation growing. The stark contrast between vegetation and boulders was awesome (being as lame as I am with the camera, of course I didn't take any pictures). The wonderful landscape isn't the reason why I wanted to stop there though. I'd read that somewhere east of there over serious 4x4 trails there was an oasis. That is what I wanted to see. Unfortunately, that would not happen on this trip.
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Video of oasis near Catavina on youtube.com from user lhosuna1
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joeyabisa

Adventurer
I had to come up with a plan as to where we were going to spend the night. I figured we might as well just leave Baja and make it to the US by nightfall. So on we pushed. I didn't want to have to deal with Tijuana so the game plan was to cross over in Tecate. I figured we'd get there by 9pm. The farther north we got the less inviting the little towns looked. We refueled once we got to Ensenada then off to Tecate. As we meandered through the hills on Federal Hwy 3 we passed miles upon miles of fertile land and wineries. Mental note for return trip perhaps. I'm not a big wine drinker but next time I might have a lady friend along. ;)
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Well we made it through Tecate, got to the entry port with no traffic what so ever. I was stopped by the Mexican guards who spoke to me in Spanish and when I replied that I only spoke a tiny bit, the guards looked at each other looking jaded and without even looking back at me waved me to keep going. Back on the US side, “Welcome home” were the magical words I heard from the guard at the entry point and caused me to smile. We're home! Wide roads, reflectors and lines painted in reflective paint on the roads. Man, driving in the dark in the USA is money!!
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joeyabisa

Adventurer
18 hours from the moment we left BDLA we arrived in Prescott, Arizona. I was extremely tired, it was a little passed 3am and Leo had been asleep for hours. After crossing the border we'd traveled east on the 94, I8, 95 north at Yuma, I10 briefly, 60, then the 89. The hardest part was driving through the mountains before Prescott. The first mountain wasn't so bad, it was the second mountain, I was so tired at that point and what seemed like never ending curves and switchbacks was killing me. I was driving slower than the speed limit of 20 and 25mph. I was pounding coffee, water, sticking my face out the window and hand out the window to stay awake. Finally! Prescott! We made it and we made it safely. Then I drove into the first motel I saw and we crashed.
 
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joeyabisa

Adventurer
Great pictures.
Hi Wainiha, Thank You! That means a lot considering I feel I'm really bad at taking photos and most of the time I don't even think about taking a shot when the camera is close by or in my pocket. :Wow1:
 
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joeyabisa

Adventurer
I had planned to camp at Watson Lake from the beginning. I knew it was a manmade lake that was dammed up and turned into a reservoir but the sweep of the land was breathtaking. It was part of the plan, it was on the itinerary. So here's the bummer- The lake is practically in town (well just outside of it). The campground was right near a busy road, I might as well have been camped on a pond in central park- It wasn't that bad but you know what I'm getting at. Okay, let's make the most out of it. Then came the second bummer, you couldn't swim in it! Leo was all excited about going in the water then we see a sign that says “No Swimming”. Ugh..
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Okay, let's look at the good points here. There's a kids playground for Leo, there were showers at the campground, there were fire rings and someone before us had left several logs we could split, our campsite was shaded and our backdrop were huge granite boulders. Luckily we had run into a Walmart on the way here, I picked up some small canisters of propane and a toy for Leo.
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Leo wasn't in the mood for a little hike so we played on the rocks at the waters edge. He seemed to enjoy that, picking up small rocks and throwing them into the water. Back to the campsite he was captivated by his new toy and played with it for hours. I was able to split all the logs, set up camp, make lunch and relax in the shade. We were the only ones at the campsite at that time then came another camper… right next to us. Around 5 pm there was a stream of campers that rolled in and by the time the sun was going down the place was packed! I'd really picked a doozy of a campsite.
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It wasn't all bad though, the majority of campers were young families with little kids and there seemed to be an air of excitement to the place with all the little kids running around and climbing the huge granite boulders. Leo was already a climber but he didn't think to climb up the boulders until he saw all the other kids doing it. Oh boy, something new to worry about but I couldn't tell him he couldn't do it because he was having the time of his life with his new found ability of scrambling up and over boulders to reach great heights and look down on his domain.
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I felt lucky that evening because I had a nice pile of wood to burn. We invited our closest neighbor to come sit at the campfire with us. They had a 6 year old daughter who's big sister role came out and she played and watched Leo. They spent the evening drawing, climbing boulders, and making smores. It was nice having them as neighbors since Leo hadn't had anyone to play and socialize with other than me this whole trip.
 
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"The next morning I told him we would be heading home. This brightened him up. He started packing up his toys and putting them in his bag. It brought a smile to my face watching him. There was a weight on my shoulders from his mood earlier and watching him now brought a smile to my face. There would be no San Francisquito, Bahia de Concepcion or farther south on this trip. It was bittersweet leaving Bahia de Los Angeles but it was the right thing to do. Our time here isn't finished, we would be back. But next time we would be back in the winter."
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My son is 4 and I can relate to so many of your stories but this one is something else. Don't beat yourself up over the camper sitch. It's way more important that you got out there than that you got it all perfect. What a fantastic trip. The Baja is a trip I'm so excited to do with my boys as well. Nothing really to add here other than encouragement that you are truly killing it.
 
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