ROF's BEACHES OF BAJA 17

Ace Brown

Adventurer, Overland Certified OC0019
Finally finding time to write up my trip report. It will be posted by chapter and photos added st the end of each installment.

When I head down towards Baja there is no way to get there from my home in Western Colorado without crossing some high passes. In the winter this can be a problem, not just the unsafe travel, but getting salt all over everything. So I'm usually watching the weather pretty close to decide if I go the Flagstaff route or down through Vegas. Well I chose the later and hit a messy snow storm crossing over the Utah backbone. Got so bad everyone was getting off the interstate to hole up in motels. Luckily it warmed up the next day and some light rain removed most of the salt spray. The same storm had left some big puddles on Hwy 95 across the Mohave which helped clean the undercarriage. I met Tom B. near El Centro and did some last minute errands. We crossed the border at Mexicali East on December 27. Tom B. from Oregon was driving a 80 series Land Cruiser with RTT. I'm driving a 15 4Runner with custom off road trailer. The border inspection went smoothly, but we noted the northbound lane was backed up about a mile. Stopped at Pete's Camp for traditional fish tacos. Our first camp was south of Puertocitos where we met an interesting character who called himself Bud and introduced his dog Pit-run. He was running low on funds so he decided to spend all winter at that same location.

Next day we continued south through mess of constructing the new highway. Also made the obligatory stop at Coco's Corners to sign his log book. I believe that I'm in his books five times now. This day was a long one and we made it all the way to San Ignacio just at dusk, nearly breaking one of my rules to never be on Mexican roads at night. San Ignacio has always been my favorite town in Baja but it looked pretty rough this year. I learned later it was hit hard by a hurricane last fall. They also lost a lot of date palms in a fire.
 

Ace Brown

Adventurer, Overland Certified OC0019
Day three was down through Santa Rosalia with its ugly dump welcoming you to town. Continuing south on Highway 1 where we finally see the beautiful azure blue of Conception Bay. We planned to stay at Playa Escondida (hidden beach) but it was pretty crowded, so went a few more miles to the sand spit at El Requeson. This spot is unique in that it can only be driven to at lower tides and it's small enough that you won't have neighbors camping too close. We stayed there several days and did some kayaking. We elebrated New Years Eve with a campfire on the beach and plenty of Pacifico. Tom got a message on his Delorme In-reach about some family emergency so he rapidly packed up and headed north. I returned to Escondida and found it less crowded with the holiday over, so I set up camp and stayed there nine days. Spent my time kayaking when it was calm, fat biking when the wind got up, which it does a lot in Baja. Note to tent campers: the winds of Baja like to destroy tents.

Next camp was what we call KM 87. When I arrived there where three other campers but I knew them all. More kayaking, hiking and biking.

I always dread breaking camp but after 5-10 days I need to move on. Heading further south on Hwy 1 I was enjoying the gorgeous views of the brilliant Sea of Cortez. But taking your eyes off the road can be deadly as the road is very narrow with no shoulders. Next camp was at San Cosme that again can only be driven to at low tide. This location has a hot spring that is exposed at low tide. We had high winds that shook my trailer badly on two nights there. Glad I didn't have to listen to any canvas flapping. I estimated gusts to 60 mph. One day I drove to the village of Agua Verde to get some beer and decided to move there but was forced to move again soon when the wind blew non-stop for several days. Took cover in a RV camp in Loreto where many other overlanders had also retreated there. Spent the down time shopping, laundry, gas and getting more pesos from an ATM. The latter chore was a little iffy this year. Some had their cards refused, but mine worked each time.
 

80t0ylc

Hill & Gully Rider
Interesting to read what I missed! What beach was that you were set up on in the pic - San Cosme?
 

AggieOE

Trying to escape the city
So this is being added to my bucket list for sure but after I build a trailer since that wind sounds brutal!

Your journey sounds great though with such diverse scenery.

Where were those last two pictures taken from?
 

Ace Brown

Adventurer, Overland Certified OC0019
So this is being added to my bucket list for sure but after I build a trailer since that wind sounds brutal!

Your journey sounds great though with such diverse scenery.

Where were those last two pictures taken from?
Near Aqua Verde shot from the road to the village.
 

WU7X

Snow on the Roof
I am looking forward to trying this with my wife some time soon. I'm guessing the winds are primarily from the west. Correct? Just trying to figure out the best way to park my little trailer/RTT setup.

Ace, what kind of stakes are people using to stake down their tents with?

Hope to see you the end of May.

Dale
 

Ace Brown

Adventurer, Overland Certified OC0019
I am looking forward to trying this with my wife some time soon. I'm guessing the winds are primarily from the west. Correct? Just trying to figure out the best way to park my little trailer/RTT setup.

Ace, what kind of stakes are people using to stake down their tents with?

Hope to see you the end of May.

Dale
Yes, usually out of the west but if the mountains are close behind your camp they often redirect the wind. Best stakes I have found for all soils are the big forged Snowpeaks. But if your camping in soft sand true sand stakes are best. You can buy them or make them cheaply out of boards or pieces of PVC, with a short rope threaded through them. Sand stakes are a bit of a PITA as you need to dig a hole to bury them. But then you have to watch for the weak link which is usually where the guy rope attaches to the tent body.

One major problem with any tent in high winds is the buffeting, snapping and shaking: you can't sleep through it.

Ace
 

80t0ylc

Hill & Gully Rider
Yes, usually out of the west but if the mountains are close behind your camp they often redirect the wind. Best stakes I have found for all soils are the big forged Snowpeaks. But if your camping in soft sand true sand stakes are best. You can buy them or make them cheaply out of boards or pieces of PVC, with a short rope threaded through them. Sand stakes are a bit of a PITA as you need to dig a hole to bury them. But then you have to watch for the weak link which is usually where the guy rope attaches to the tent body.

One major problem with any tent in high winds is the buffeting, snapping and shaking: you can't sleep through it.

Ace
What worked for me, and might work for others is a pet tether. Can be purchased at most pet supply sources - even the pet section in a large store, like Walmart. Pound in a couple of inches and use tent hammer handle for leverage to screw it in the rest of the way. In loose sand I'd screw it all the way in leaving just the triangle head above ground. I've collected about 6 of 'em - about $3 - $4 a piece.
IMG_0414.jpg
 

Ace Brown

Adventurer, Overland Certified OC0019
Continuing:

Agua Verde was my turn around point where I began the long leg northbound. The next camp was a favorite of mine that I first visited almost exactly 10 years earlier. It's called San Basilio, one of the most scenic spots on the Baja. Unfortunately it's gotten too well known and was sometimes crowded during the nineteen days I stayed there. Anytime your camped on a remote Baja beach the stay is limited by how much food and drink you carry in. Some fish or spear fish to extend their stays. I did have to return to Loreto once to resupply. I spent many mornings kayaking on the sheltered bay. Usually the wind would pick up in the afternoon and then I'd ride the area on my fat bike. I do a lot of trail building in Colorado, so getting a little bored one afternoon, I built about a quarter mile of singletrack through the brush behind my camp. It's in my blood. One morning I woke up and noticed I had left my tailgate open all night. Went to feed my dog and found the bag moved from where it's normally stored. I rubbed some of the sleep out of my eyes and realized my truck had been invaded by a family of raccoons. They had eaten all my bananas, some cereal and ransacked everything. Their little hand prints where everywhere. I felt very lucky as they have been known to do major damage to a vehicle. I suspect something spooked them before they got serious. Until then I did not know there were any coons in Baja. This beach attracts a lot of those big European rigs from Germany, Switzerland and more. One German couple organized frequent gatherings on the beach; campfires, potlucks and even a goat roast. A lot of big sailboats utilize this sheltered bay as stopovers as they traverse the Sea of Cortez and their crews often come ashore to socialize. San Basilio is a very international beach.
 

Ace Brown

Adventurer, Overland Certified OC0019
Next Chapter:

Continuing north I returned to Escondida. When you come back to a beach you have visited before you often meet friends that you met at some other points in your travels. Always fun to get reacquainted and share stories of each other's travels.

This year I experienced four serious storms. The first three were high winds that hit at night with no rain. Each time I estimated winds 30-40 with gusts to 60. While at Escondida I experienced the worst storm I have ever seen in Baja. Wind and .3" of rain was forecast. We had some of both early one morning but the clouds began to break up and we all thought it was over. But the sky turned very dark and suddenly the wind began to blast the beach at what I believe was sustained 50 mph with gusts to 70. I noticed my favorite cup rolling down beach and jumped out to save it. When I turned to get back to my trailer I had to struggle to make headway against the wind and pelting rain. I noticed my neighbor struggling with the remains of his Ez-up and started his way to help. Then I saw his dingy was afloat in the surf with gear dumped all over the beach. Three of us rallied to gather up the gear and pull the boat up on the beach. We just finished when a particularly strong gust rolled his 200# boat and motor and tumbled it down the beach like a paper cup. We had to wrestle it down like a crazed steer. We dragged it into the Lee of my trailer and flipped it over. We were very fortunate that the wind blew parallel to the beach and not straight on. If the latter had happened my rig would have been blasted by salt spray and the surf probably would have forced me to drag the trailer away from waters edge. Photos were taken just before the blast hit. I learned later this storm was bad all over Baja. Anyone out in a small boat that morning would have faced deadly conditions. This also reinforces my repeated warnings about bringing wimpy tents to Baja. Just don't do it.
 

Ace Brown

Adventurer, Overland Certified OC0019
My weak signal prevents me from adding more photos. Will try again later.

Edit finally added photos...

 
Last edited:
Top