Gerrero Negro, Baja Sur
13 Jan 2009
|Woke up today to the sound of roosters crowing. Today we had to drive across the what the Mexicans call the Baja Central Desert. The Americans call it the “Baja gas gap”. It is 350 km drive across the desert with no gas stations or services of any kind.
Actually it is not a separate desert but is part of the Sonoran Desert. The Sonora covers most of southern Arizona and the south east corner of California. From there it sweeps south into Mexico and then west to the coast in central Baja. The coastal area of California and northern Baja are not part of the Sonora. Neither is the southern tip of Baja, only the centre.
I saw a plant today that grows only in this area. It is called the Cirio tree. (The Americans call it the Boojum tree). It does not look like a tree at all. It has white bark and very tiny branches. It looks like a hairy telephone pole. It can grow to a height of 20 metres. Saguaro cactus grow here, as they do in Arizona, because it is part of the Sonora, but here they grow bigger. Here you can see the largest cacti in the world.
With the narrow, windy roads it took all day to drive the 350 km across the desert. The temperature was 31 degrees C.
We went through another army checkpoint today. Just before reaching Gerrero Negro, we crossed the border into the state of Baja California Sur (Baja South). We had to pay 20 pesos to get the underside of the vehicle fumigated in order to cross the state border.
There are four campers in the campground here, all from Canada. One of them told me about someone who hit an oncoming vehicle on the narrow roads and scraped all down the side of their trailer. The highway is 19 feet across. That includes a couple of inches of shoulder on each side and the yellow line down the middle. When a big truck comes in the opposite direction, there are only a few inches so spare between vehicles. There is no room for error. Going off the pavement is not an option either. Sometimes there is a large drop off the pavement that could cause the vehicle to tip. Good thing I am a good driver. I am doing ok with it but it is a little scary at times.
We arrived in Guerrero Negro before dark and after a shower, went to a nice restaurant to eat. I had filet mignon cooked to perfection, with mushrooms. With a margarita of course. I am getting quite fond of margaritas.
When we arrived at the campground I went in and registered. I asked for a camping spot for a few nights. Asked where there was a Laundromat and what exchange rate they gave on American dollars. I did this all in Spanish without a word of English. Laura stayed in the truck.
I was feeling quite proud of myself until we got to the restaurant. I could not understand a word the waiter was saying. Oh well. My Spanish is slowly improving.
Guerrero Negro is the Spanish version of “Black Warrior” which was the name of a ship that grounded and sank near here in the 1850's.