February 5, 2012 – We had wonderful Rendezvous Reception in the Potrero County Park on Friday and everyone was keen to head off to Baja on Day 1. I am pleased to report the drive to Punta Banda was uneventful and with out incident (the last tour we had a mechanical and window issue). The weather continues to be great, warm sunny days reaching between 22 -25C each day, who could ask for more?
Our trip to La Bufadora was fun, lots of action as a Cruise Ship was in and lots of other tourists out on Saturday, the vendors were happy for sure. Today we off to Fidel’s, this should be a better drive given it is Sunday. This can be a little crazy sometimes given traffic volume and of course Mexican drivers!
Just a heads up on status of some Highway construction on Baja:
Highway 3: Tecate-Ensenada
They have made great progress on 10 km/6 miles of construction since we were last on this on December 18, 2011. Lots of resources have been committed to this project and it shows. Only 5km/3 miles of construction remains and this is very passable by rigs of all sizes, lots of new pavement and the gravel sections are graded and packed. We expect this will be complete when our last tour completes April 3, 2012.
Highway 19: Cabo San Lucas – Todos Santos
This is an amazing project for sure and the resources, both human and equipment, are substantial, our guess would be 1000 workers and 100 pieces of road building equipment. We have heard they are working on this 24/7 and want this completed in time for the G20 Summit in June of this year, hosted by Mexico, to be held in Cabo San Lucas. The difference between our drive at the end of November 2011 and January 21, 2012 was significant indeed. Only the major cuts and bridge construction sections remain in gravel, well graded and packed. The balance of the highway is paved, some with all 4 lanes completed, other sections only 2 lanes. We are confident this will be complete for June and look forward to seeing what they have accomplished when we are there again in 3 weeks.
Santo Tomas KM 39-KM 49
We have seen immense progress on this project since November 5, 2011. The entire section is now paved, although not entirely complete, with the exception of the actual cut though the mountain at KM 44-KM 47 (best guess). You still must detour around this section, partially on the old road and switchback. We are confident that when we leave Baja with our last tour and drive this for the last time this season on April 2, 2012, we will drive on the new section that passes through the mountain. We can hardly wait!
Catavina: North & South
This has all been paved for some time now and now almost 100% complete. What is a bit puzzling and surprising is the new section south of Catavina where the new sections have developed potholes. We know little about the paving process, however can safely speculate that something went wrong with his particular project regarding the re-pavement aspects. The good news is we have seen road crews repairing many of these sections and the road surface is once again improving. Those that drive this section often will recall this was once the crappiest section of Hwy 1 for many years.
Our first experience on this 8KM/5 Mile section, between the Military Check Point and Jesus Maria, was in early November 2011 and was brutal to say the least. The detour was for “Gringos Only” and the worst Baja gravel road we had been on for years. It was like driving to the San Javier Mission before it was paved! We are pleased to report that everyone is now detoured off the section in construction and the gravel road is in great shape, well graded and flat. We were safely and comfortably driving 30KM/20 Miles per hour on this section. Progress on this section seems quite slow with only a few pieces of equipment a couple of crews ever spotted on the site. What is up with this? Who knows for sure, we will see how things are coming in a week when we return south.
Mexico should be very proud about how much improvement they have made on the Baja Hwy system over the past few years.