our tourist visas we hit the pay road towards
Mexicali. We’d eventually take the cutoff for San Felipe, Puertecitos and out
to Laguna Chapalla. At Laguna Chapalla the road would reconnect with the main
north to south highway in Baja, Mex 1. We prefer this longer but more scenic
route because it allows you to avoid the dreary agricultural region between
Rosarito and San Quentin, we call that area Baja Sorrow. Baja Sorrow is a long
stretch and it’s really ugly and boring. There are no ocean vistas just lots of
small towns with topes, stoplights, slow trucks and slower buses. No thanks.
|This is where you come off the road, back onto Mex 1 at Laguna Chapalla. See that white SUV right at the tire shop across the highway? That was the dumb gringo who was hauling ass on the road when he should have aired down and taken it slow. He shredded two tires and drove the last couple of miles on bare rims. Dummy. |
is much more pleasant. There are very few trucks
so you don’t have to make any sketch pass maneuvers. The highway is new, it’s
wide (sometimes four lanes) well paved highways and the Sea of Cortez over your
left shoulder once you get past San Felipe. It’s our route of choice every time
we drive south. Gassing up in San Felipe we continued south through the desert.
The road here was a bumpy dirt road just a couple years ago, in the last three
years, the government has been going full time trying to get this stretch paved
all the way to the Laguna Chapalla reconnect. It’s both cool and not so cool.
On one hand, the road will be a high speed work around to avoid Baja Sorrow. On
the other hand, it’s sad to see the beautiful and pristine desert being gouged
open for a road and there’s always the reality of the “good roads bringing bad
people”. For example, take a look along any of Baja’s well paved routes and
you’ll see plastic trash bags snagged on cactuses, dumped vehicles and garbage.
Change and progress are inevitable, I guess. I’m glad I got to see it when it
was still a little bit wild.
|Can you see CON KSO down there? This is the end part of the Laguna Chapalla road, you can see how excavators are cutting up the hillsides.|
put us behind a couple of hours so it was
getting dark by the time we reached Mex 1. The CO2 PowerTank that I carry with
me allowed me to air all four times back up to 80psi in about ten minutes,
which is fast but is still a time drain when you’re trying to race the last
light of day. I hoped we could reach Guerrero Negro, the halfway point in our
journey before dark but it was no becoming obvious that we’d be driving in the
dark part of the way. This is never a good idea in Baja. It’s not the cartel,
or bandidos that you have to worry about here, it’s the two ton black cow
that’s standing on the road just around the next corner. Cows on the road cause
all kinds of death and destruction down here.
|That cooler lid is all the warning you'll get before you bottom out in this pot hole. See the previous post and you'll get to see how deep that hole really is. |
that we only had a couple of hours in the darkness
to make it to a nice hotel in Guerrero, I told the girls we were going to roll
the Baja road dice and go for it. Bad decision, we almost didn’t make it. Two
thirds of the way there, we hit a very deep, very gnarly pot hole that I missed
as I was dodging a couple others. The right front tire banged down into the
hole (which is why you buy the best tires you can afford before you drive into
Baja- a blow out would have meant rolling the truck) and threw CON KSO to the
left- straight across the dividing white line! If there had been a truck in
that lane at that instant, we would have all been dead. CON KSO being slightly
top heavy went into a wobble, weaving in the road. Being cool paid off here
because jerking the wheel to the right would have increased the wobble, maybe
rolling her. With stability control warnings beeping and a couple of girls
hollering, I eased her back into the proper lane and made the decision I should
have made earlier, we were getting the hell of the night road.
|Shell Beach, at least that's what we call it. A safe place to camp half way down and a way better option than driving at night. |
that a couple minutes up the road we could take the
Punta Rosalilita turn off out to one of our favorite camp-over spots. We call
it Shell Beach. There’s actually a goofy, mushy, dead-end right hand point off
the beach if you were amping to surf you could have at it. We, on the other
hand had just finished almost ten hours of hard driving and we just wanted a
safe harbor for the night. Safely tucked in into CON KSO, we called it a night.
|Liza got one at shell beach. The surf's been pretty small so finding other things to do is important. The girls like to collect shells and stash them all over the truck in plastic bags. I'm not so sure if I'm a big fan of the collections. |
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