The road down is really narrow. And, for the majority of the way, there's no shoulder. Drift too far to the right and you're not easing down a gravel shoulder, you're falling. In some places it's a six inch drop, in others it's the end. There really is no margin for error. Got a flat tire? Forget about pulling off, if you get panicky and jerk the wheel over, you just might roll the thing. It's a sobering realization that in some spots you're trapped. The highway's got you.
Photo: Mid-Peninsula pit stop near the oasis of San Ignacio. We're five hundred miles in, and another couple of hundred miles from our second campsite. What awaits us is a big, flat sandy, open beach with flat, warm water and a restaurant with arguably the best food in Baja (Ana's in Santispac, if you're in an arguing frame of mind).
And then there's the Mexican semi trucks. Talk about white knuckling the steering wheel. These guys come at you at sixty or seventy miles an hour and when they pass it's within a couple of feet of your head. Whooosh- the air pushed in front of the trucks does two things. First, the compressed air blows you across the road. Next, you're sucked back into the rig by its vortex generated vacuum. If it sounds heavy, it is. It's the kind of road that must be respected, it's the type of place that will smack you the second you lower your guard. It might be a cow on the road or a drunk in your lane- either one will do you in. On that road, vigilance is required and your head, as they say in the armed service, better be on a swivel.
We planned our trip so that we'd drive the entire length in three days. That gave us a daily driving assignment of six or seven hours. It could've been done in two days if we pushed it. There was even a time when I'd drive it in one continuous twenty hour stretch but those days are behind me. You get older, you feel less like Superman- you realize you're mortal. Nope, six hours on the road is more than enough for me. Besides six hours puts you into a nice rest/camp spot with enough daylight to pull in, crack a Pacifico and walk around a bit. It was a great plan (thanks, Kiwi) and I'll do it the same way next time too.
Photo: I never knew this place existed. It's the perfect first day camp spot, safe, away from the road, clean and wide open. Perfect for pulling in with the camper and calling it a night- as long as you can handle temperatures in the thirties and don't mind the Mexican fud. Truthfully, it's surrounded by some of the most beautiful desert landscape you can imagine- the land of the blue palms. I'm coming back when I've got a couple of more days to spend walking the hills.
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