38 Day Baja Tour Underway

November 14, 2017 – Have to say this years 38 Day Tour really started with a bang, literally, as thunder, lighting and heavy rain engulfed our orientation 15 minutes after we started, it was quite a show. Oscar and Barbara were not in attendance as their exhaust manifold broke on Motorhome they arrived in, so they headed for repairs in San Diego. Robin and Cicely were late as tire pressure problems persisted after the installation of sensors, it seems installed incorrectly. The morning had gone much smoother, we completed the permit process in record time and were only delayed slightly when the US Customs agent wanted some extra facetime with Guy.

Day 1 was a much calmer start. Our eager group headed out from Potrero under sunny skies and warmer temperatures. We crossed the border at Tecate with little fanfare and were on our way on Hwy 3 to Ensenada before you could say “enchilada y papas fritos por favor”. It was surprising to see a new ARCO and VIPS gas station in Tecate, then several new BPs in Ensenada , PEMEX is no longer the only dog in town. Our stop at COSTCO and Soriano was productive and we arrived at Villarino’s Campground earlier then normal. We headed up to La Bufadora to see the action, lots of vendors, not too many tourists as the ship traffic had mostly left. I was able to purchase the vanilla Lisa was looking for.

Day 2 we headed into Ensenada for a look about. The Art Gallery and Cultural Centre were the 1st stop, the historic downtown and fish market. Very quiet streets, no cruise ships were in and some shops were closed, it really warmed up in the afternoon. We returned about 2:30 pm to the campground to relax before our next stop Fidel’s past San Quintin. On our way south we were delayed by an accident involving a semi and other vehicles. It took about an hour for the road to open, so far on this tour we have seen 3 big rigs upside down off the edge of Hwy 1. As we say in or orientation “keeping the tires on the pavement at all times is the priority!”

The next 2 days we spent on the beach at Fidel’s, windy when we arrived but as usual it did calm down as the sun set. The next day stated out cloudy but soon the sun arrived, and it warmed up. Folks walked on the beach, read a book, worked on their tans, took showers and generally kicked back. No takers with the boogie board in the surf. Before the Hot Dog roast early in the afternoon Oscar & Barbara showed up with their newly repaired RV. Everyone was very pleased to see them and this made the Weiner roast and fire complete for sure. It was great to have them back after missing them for Day 1.

Day 5 we were headed off to Catavina. No incidents, just lots of Baja racers and lousy road. Within 2 hours of leaving the beach we hit 30C (84F), it warmed up fast. Nice to see some new pavement after El Rosario, unfortunately the bad road was still bad, we just took it slow and easy. After arriving in Santa Innes and lunch those wanting a hike boarded the bus and off we went to see cave paintings. Shortly after returning Mike & Kelly showed up, they had left Sordo Mudo in the morning. Everyone went for dinner at the Cantina, including Mike & Kelly. We also had a couple of visit with Ralph who continues to defy the aging process. We underway the next day destination Malarrimo’s in Guerrero Negro. Good to see some new pavement north of the Bahia de Los Angeles junction, we understand when complete this add 16 KM (10 miles) of new road, fabuloso!

We had a great dinner last night, as always. Chris &Jeannie also arrived at Malarrimo’s and it was good to catch up with them. We will see them on Santispac in a couple of days or on our return in Mulege. This morning the gang is taking a tour of the Salt Works and we head to Rice & Beans in San Ignacio after lunch.

Did you know?
The “BAJA 1000” (BAJA MIL) is an off-road race that takes place on Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula in the fall of every 2nd year. The event includes various types of vehicle classes such as small and large bore motorcycles, stock VW, production vehicles, buggies, trucks, and custom fabricated race vehicles. The course has remained relatively the same over the years with the majority of events being either a point to point race from Ensenada to La Paz (1600 KM), or a loop race starting and finishing in Ensenada (1340 KM). The name of the event is misleading as the mileage varies.

The first official race started in Tijuana, Baja California, on October 31, 1967, and was named the NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally. The course length that year was 849 miles (1,366 km) and ended in La Paz, Baja California Sur, with the overall winning time of 27 hours 38 minutes (27:38) set by Vic Wilson and Ted Mangels while driving a Meyers Manx buggy. From 1967 to 1972, the race was organized by the National Off Road Racing Association (NORRA). In 1973, the Baja California governor turned over the event to a non-profit Mexican corporation called Baja Sports Committee (BSC). BSC renamed the event to Baja Mil (Baja 1000) and scheduled the race to run on the original dates chosen by NORRA.

Unaware of the challenges, BSC found promoting Baja races more difficult than anticipated. Instead of giving up the race, the Mexican government requested help from Short Course Off-Road Enterprises (SCORE) in hosting and promoting future Baja races. Through negotiations with Mickey Thompson and his SCORE organization, the Government agreed to give exclusive rights to SCORE to hold Baja races and also reluctantly allowed SCORE to cancel the event for 1974. SCORE hired Sal Fish as president and took control of the Baja 1000 from that year on with the Baja 1000 race resuming under new control in 1975.

Although motorcyclists participate and are often the overall winners, many competitors drive modified or stock 4-wheel vehicles such as cars, trucks, ATVs and dune buggies. Race teams consist of factory supported groups that build custom fabricated vehicles and provide chase vehicles via helicopter, to the much smaller and less glamorized sportsman teams competing in an all-stock vehicle with no chase vehicle support at all. Stock Volkswagen Type One Beetles are modified for use in off road terrain, known as Baja Bugs, have been a common sight throughout the event duration, but the factory-supported all-spaceframe Trophy Truck entries are the most visible.

50th TECATE SCORE BAJA 1000 runs November 14th-18th, 2017


Catavina boulder fields Ciudad-Constitucion Juncalito - Bahia Concepcion La Ventana La Ventana Los Cerritos - Pacific Coast Los Cerritos El Requeson - Bahia Concepcion Bedtime-for-vultures-in-Juncalito