February 7, 2014 – So today we are at the end of Day 1 of our February 2014 28 Day Tour. This our 19th tour since we started this company in 2009, Baja Amigos 20th tour since Dom & Diane now have a tour under their respective belts. By all accounts we chose wisely as the evaluations were outstanding from those on their January 2014 28 day Tour. Congratulations to both of them, we knew they would do a fabulous job! To today they meeting their next group in Potrero, the tourist cards, orientation and rendezvous reception are tomorrow.
We met our group on our arrival in Potrero a couple of days ago and before you knew it they had already arranged the first Happy Hour in the Potrero Club House, before Day 0, a first but a good sign to come for sure. Day 0 went smoothly as planned, no glitches with the tourist cards, no problems with the border, in fact we learned that if we phone them (US border) prior to our return they will be more accommodating with our larger group of RV’s, all good for sure. The weather has not been good the last couple of days, rained steady at the campground. Fortunately the park folks let us use the clubhouse for our Orientation and Rendezvous Reception, good thing because it was cold, windy and wet. We all said hi and goodbye to Gil & Kevin who agreed to drop off our tour and jump onto Dom & Diane’s tour. You see we were actually one (1) person over and the other tour had a last minute cancellation which is all resolved now, thanks to Gil & Kevin. It went well and after about 3 hours everyone headed back to their RVs with lots of new information, anxious to be heading south.
Day 1 and it was still raining so we had our pre-meeting on the radios which was definitely a dryer option. It took us about 40 minutes to get through Tecate then headed off to Ensenada on Hwy 3. The good news only 21 km of the old highway remain and we know everyone enjoyed that. Most commented that the roads were better then what they had expected, this is only Day 1. After our COSTCO stop in Ensenada we headed off to Villarino’s Campground & RV Park and our first Mexican excursion, La Bufadora. When we arrived at our destination we did notice that they seemed to be setting up for an event. Later that evening it became apparent that a group of young folks were having a social that involved lots of music and dancing, but alcohol free.
Clearly they had a lot of fun, I even enjoyed a lot of the music they played. 19 times Baja Amigos has stayed at Villario’s and all you could hear after 8 pm was the surf, not tonight!
Did you know?
The history of the Mexican/American War of 1846 to 1848 in Baja California is often forgotten due to the fact that the war and most of the more sensational battles were fought in the interior of Mexico.
On May 13, 1846, US President James Polk signed a declaration of war against Mexico following years of hostilities and failed negotiations. In the summer of 1846 the U.S. Fleet established control of the Pacific coast of California from San Francisco to San Diego. In August, Commodore Robert F. Stockton (for which Stockton, CA is named) declared that region by default of control, the Territory of California and property of the United States. Meanwhile, the war had stagnated on land in the east and it became clear that occupation of Mexico City would be the only way to end hostilities. Stockton ordered two second-class sloops to blockade Mazatlan and San Blas with the aim of taking Acapulco. Acapulco would serve as a base to invade Mexico City. Minor skirmishes ensued and two Mexican vessels were seized in San Blas and a brig in Mazatlan. In late September, 1846, Samuel F. Du Pont, commander of the second-class sloop-of-war “Cyane” made port of call in La Paz and received a pledge of neutrality from Colonel Francisco Palacios Miranda, governor of Baja California. On October 1, Du Pont seized two Mexican navy vessels in Loreto and days later attacked Guaymas with canon fire. The blockade of the two ports didn’t work. It lasted about 4 weeks, during the peak of tropical cyclone season. The U.S. vessels were under equipped and had to leave station often to re supply. This allowed the Mexicans to reopen the ports as soon as the two U.S. ships left. The two U.S. sloops returned to San Francisco and following the shelling of Guaymas.
On February 2, 1847, Stockton ordered Commander John B. Montgomery on the first-class sloop-of-war Portsmouth to resume the blockage of Mazatlan and to raise the American flag over San Jose del Cabo, La Paz, Pichilinque and Loreto. In March, Montgomery left his station outside Mazatlan and proceeded to La Paz. A group of Baja residents, displeased with the pledge of neutrality, met north of San Jose del Cabo and declared Colonel Miranda a traitor. They appointed Mauricio Castro the governor of Baja California on February 15. Castro later tried in vain to raise a volunteer force to expel the Americans from La Paz. Montgomery accepted the surrender of La Paz on April 14, 1847 from Colonel Miranda, who had previously pledged neutrality. The city fathers soon signed an agreement of capitulation and in turn were guaranteed the rights of U.S. citizenship and to keep their own local government and laws. The American flag was raised over La Paz and Pichilinque on April 15, 1847. Land at the tip of the Pichilinque peninsula was seized as a base of operations for the U.S. Fleet. The chunk of land was purchased or leased from Mexico following the end of the war and was used as a U.S. coaling station for the fleet through WWI. Worn remnants of the U.S. presence there can still be seen today.
*To be continued
PS. Happy Birthday to my sister Ruthanne!