|CAUTION: Don't believe everything you read about Baja, including this post.
The problem is that there isn't ever just one way to describe it. Ours is a first-time visitor's perspective, an RV'ing perspective and the viewpoint of canadian travellers. I guarantee that anyone else's account will be dramatically different, to the point where you will wonder if it is describing the same place. But describe it I will. Over this and the next few posts we'll try to give you a sense of our maiden trip to the wild west of Mexico, the mecca for sailboarders and kite surfers, the do-your-own-thing destinations, the local feeding and fiesta atmosphere and the helpful charm of the mostly spanish speaking population.
So hold on to your wide-brimmed sun hat or the wind will carry it south, slather on the sun cream or you'll roast in the noon day sun, pour your favourite libation (a cold can of beer, a Margharita or a big bottle of water) to stay hydrated ;-) and to wash down the dust...
Arriving In Baja California - We crossed at Tijuana from California by the coast. Did you know that this land border crossing is the world's busiest? So how surprising when we crossed at 10am on a weekday in late November and just sailed through virtually unchallenged! In fact, had we not chose to use the far right of several lanes and stop voluntarily to get our Visa's signed and stamped, there wouldn't have been any formalities whatsoever. Our strategy was to get past Tijuana and the border area as quickly as possible. The toll road cuts around the city and past some very unpleasant shanty squalor. Our first nervous stop was for lunch in the Walmart parking lot in Ensenada. Wouldn't you know it, there we bumped into our friends Carol and Brian, who were heading down to there property at the same time. With some reassurance from them we relaxed a bit and enjoyed the sites for the rest of the ride to San Quintin where we found our campground down a bumpy lane just west of of the highway.
Campestre Don Diego, like many of the Baja Norte RV spots, is geared more for transient rv'ers and not as a destination itself. Our campground had a nice restaurant, a friendly owner and young, enthusiastic wait staff. There we enjoyed our first Margharitas. We were told that each waiter has their own favourite recipe and they take great pride in the correct preparation and serving.
The transpeninsular Highway 1 does a lazy zigzag back and forth from the Pacific to the Sea of Cortez and back again. In between one travels through plains, desert, plateaux ad mountain passes and canyons. The road is two lane and much narrower than anything we are used to. What is more, there are no shoulders whatsoever. Remember, this is their main highway! Oh, and there are few overpasses to ford the intermittent river washes called arroyos. When the water flows, it simply flows right across the dip in the road - driver beware! The next stop was just inside natinal park land at a ranch in the middle of the desert. The ranch is at Santa Inez. This is dry camping with no hook-ups. But the scenery is stunning. A variety of cactii, big and small and many other sorts of trees and shrubs strain to survive in this curious boulder strewn region. We're starting to get a feel for this place. Starting to relax, to trust and enjoy our surroundings.