1965: Mexicali to Bahía San Luis Gonzaga, by Jeep

The new ’65 Jeep Wagoneer and tent trailer, south of Puertecitos.


1966: Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas, by Jeep

At 8 1/2, Baja was already a special place to me! Here I am at the base of a cardón cactus, somewhere beyond El Rosario.

My dad and the panga owner who took us fishing at Cabo San Lucas.

Hook up off Cabo!

My first dorado!!!

My dad (Ed Kier) and I at the new La Paz Ferry terminal waiting to board, for our trip to Mazatlan.
Anyone who did the drive from Tijuana to La Paz (and Cabo San Lucas), before it was all paved, was a veteran of “The Road.” This patch was sold at Dick Cepek stores for people like my parents and I.

The following are some photos from 1967 to 1999 of trips into Baja, as well as Baja and Parker 400 off road races.

July 1967, arriving at Casa Diaz Resort, Bahía de los Angeles.
1967: We drove from Ensenada to San Felipe in our Jeep Wagoneer. Was almost all dirt road. Sorry dad for cutting you off in my photo! Mom is in the Jeep looking out the side window.

Sept. 1967

A small group of campers at Agua de Chale (Nuevo Mazatlan). My dad’s white Jeep Wagoneer is in the center as is my school principal’s VW who joined us.

Thanksgiving 1967

Here I am (age 10) with a school friend (Shawn Grover) at Nuevo Mazatlan.

Mom, Dad, Shawn and I, at Nuevo Mazatlan in 1967. Some trips we could back the trailer right into the cabana, this time the sand was too deep.

1967: Mexicali to Bahia de los Angeles

A couple months before I turn 10, at the gold ore mill ruins of Dick Daggett over-looking Arroyo Calamajué.

Campo Nuevo Mazatlan 1966-69

Before today’s forest of trees were planted, shade was provided by large cabanas on the beach. Built of ocotillo by Luis Castellanos Moreno. The tree planting began about 1970. See http://vivabaja.com/nm


Fishing was awesome at a small bay 1 1/2 miles north of Nuevo Mazatlan. Around 1970, a new tourist campo was established there and it was named ‘Bahia Santa Maria’. Vacation homes were constructed on leased lots and that idea spread along almost the entire coast south of San Felipe over the next 30 years.

Shrimp Boat

Blown way into the lagoon and salt flat just north of the bay during the ’67 hurricane. It never reached the sea again, and slowly was dismantled over the next 15 years.

Jeep won’t start! Mom in a classic pose.

After returning to the Wagoneer from a walk to the shrimp boat, it wouldn’t start! Some people with Jeep pick ups were camping just south of Nuevo Mazatlan, so I walked a couple miles to get my parents some help, before the tide came in!

Jump ahead to 1972. Dad gets a Chevy Suburban 4×4 and we tow a dune buggy to Baja.

We bought this dune buggy in 1972. Here I am at 14, driving it at Nuevo Mazatlan (March 1972).
In July 1972, I pose with Nuevo Mazatlan founder, Luis and his wife, Felicitas.

San Pedro Mártir Observatory, Oct. 1972

My dad (Dr. Ed Kier) and I on the new road to the observatory. Perhaps one of my favorite photos of us. This man is responsible for my love of Baja.
Baja’s highest peak, Picacho del Diablo (over 10,000 feet) is just right of my head. I am 15 years old, pre-beer gut!

November 1972, dad and two dentist co-workers travel to the tip.

The three dentists traveled first to Nuevo Mazatlan, then Gonzaga Bay, then L.A. Bay, then Mission San Borja, then San Ignacio, reached the new pavement coming north past Santa Rosalia, went to Punta Chivato, Mulegé, Loreto, Cabo San Lucas and back to La Paz where they took the ferry to the mainland.

Mission San Borja and one of the dentists up by the arch with the local children below.
San Borja children, Nov. 1972
Look at how the kids hang with my dad! Does this dentist have candy?
My dad, Dr. Ed Kier, but the Baja dad to me!
Hotel Punta Chivato
Hotel Punta Chivato
Mulegé, the hotel on the hill (went by many names).
Loreto’s Flying Sportsmen Lodge 

Happy dad!
Hotel Finisterra, Cabo San Lucas. My dad was always impressed with how they built this on top of the rocks.

The new Baja highway, under construction 1973

While we had believed the highway was nearly completed, what we discovered was over 100 unpaved miles and some on the old main road. Here I photo my dad in the Laguna Chapala dust along the new roadbed.
On the new highway roadbed, Laguna Chapala valley.
15 year-old me congratulating my dad for getting through the dust bowl. El Portezuelo, the pass south of Laguna Chapala.
Mom at El Portezuelo, new highway under construction.

Juncalito/Loreto 1973

Ramon Villalejo holds a beautiful dorado (dolphinfish/ mahi-mahi) caught by my mom, Lynn Kier.

Ramon and his father, Juncalito 1973

Nuevo Mazatlan, August 1973

In August 1973, we pull the dune buggy back to Nuevo Mazatlan for another fishing trip. My dad was 66 on this trip… just over a year older than I am as I type this!

1973 Baja 1000

PJ’s mechanic, Dick Russell, holds on!

Here is Parnelli Jones, winner of the ’63 Indy 500, ’70 & ’73 Baja 500, and the ’71 & ’72 Mexican/ Baja 1000). I was lucky to be by his trailer when he zoomed in from pre-running in his ‘Big Oly’ Bronco, the day before the race.

The day before the race, I took this photo of the overall winner, Class 1 buggy driven my Johnny Johnson and Bobby Ferro.

My first (no parents) Baja Trip, on Spring Break, 1974

My friend, Pat Goforth, wanted to try riding on the roof, south of San Felipe.
San Fernando petroglyphs
Do you see a ship?
The El Presidente hotel at Cataviña
Agua del Mezquitito 29° 59.160’N, 114° 34.155’W

This waterhole is 15 miles north of Gonzaga Bay and just west of the road. At 16, this was during my first trip to Baja without my parents, traveling with a friend (Pat Goforth).

One of the big grades heading north to Puertecitos,, 1974
My travel friend Pat gets out to photo my buggy coming down one of really steep grades.
The sulfur mine south of San Felipe, 1974.

July 1974 SCORE’S FIRST BAJA RACE ‘The Baja Internacional’

This race would replace the Baja 500, run by NORRA 1969-1973 and once by BSC in 1974. It took SCORE a few years before they could legally call it the Baja 500.

My mother and I traveled in my dune buggy to Mike’s Sky Rancho after a stop in Ensenada the day before the race. At Mike’s, on race day, I noted the times when racers arrived at the checkpoint. See my 20 photos and more of the first SCORE Baja race: https://vivabaja.com/1974-score-baja-internacional/

April 1975 Spring Break

On the road to El Mármol, with Mike Clancy. Spring Break ’75

New buggy passes old, on the southern route out from El Mármol. This was my second (Easter vacation) one week Baja trip, at 17 with a school friend (Mike Clancy) and two other vehicles that joined us. I began leading Baja tours then!

Mike Clancy collects some turquoise at a mine between Calamajué and Gonzaga Bay.
A pair of burros on one of the grades north of Gonzaga Bay, 1975
Just north of El Huerfanito, 1975.
My dune buggy (in the carport on the left) got updated to this Jeep Cherokee Chief in May 1975. The hope was for a more reliable Baja vehicle.

1975 SCORE Baja Internacional (‘Baja 500’)

The day before the race, one can see the vehicles before they get dirty, damaged, or destroyed!

At Valle Trinidad checkpoint, world speed record holder and founder of SCORE, Mickey Thompson pulls up in his Chevy LUV truck with a rear/ bed mounted 454 V-8 engine. It utilized an Oldsmobile front wheel drive installed on the back.

Here’s Mickey Thompson who was racing with his co-driver son, Danny (examining the wheel).

BAJA 300, Aug. ’75, in Santo Tomás

Before becoming a famous Toyota racer, Ivan Stewart was winning in buggies. Here, Ivan just crossed the finish line.

This was great… a racer broke down near a ranch and borrowed a horse to finish, in his helmet and fire suit!

1975 BAJA 1000, SCORE’S FIRST 1000

Here’s Parnelli Jones in his new racing Chevy Blazer 2WD ‘funny car’. This is at Valle Trinidad. After the racers passed through, I relocated at the sulfur mine (south of San Felipe) to watch them on the return loop, the next morning.

In my Jeep Cherokee Chief, going from Valle Trinidad to San Felipe (on the old road, east of Diablo Dry Lake).

June 1976 (to Loreto, L.A. Bay, and more) High School Graduation Trip

Following my graduation, my girlfriend (Lynne Anderson) and I took my Jeep to Loreto. Here she poses for me at the Eagle Monument (state border) near Guerrero Negro.


My mother joined us to see Mission San Javier while my dad went fishing. The caretaker was very nice and permitted us to go up to the roof.
Lynne strikes a pose.
Mexican humor at its best. A cow dies in its tracks along the road between Loreto and San Javier!
Puerto Escondido in bikini weather!
Bahía Concepción (near El Requesón).
Lynne and I are watching the fishermen at L.A. Bay bring in their catch. My parents came along using their car, as well. That’s my mom on the right. 
Lynne and I at the El Mármol cemetery with the onyx schoolhouse in the background.
Lynne (my girlfriend) and Lynn (my mom) at El Mármol, 1976.

Baja Off-Road Races in 1977

Ivan Stewart and one of his sons, the day before the 1977 Baja 1000 KM race.

Shell Island, March 1978 in my Subaru 4×4

Having walked onto the island for shell collection the past few years, I finally discovered a way to drive onto it (at low tide)! I am 20 years old here.
A little humor at Percebu, 1978.

June 1978, near Picacho del Diablo


After watching the Baja 500, near Mike’s Sky Rancho, I got my Subaru through to the Observatory road then drove up to the top. Here at 9,280′ the view is awesome! Photo by my friend, Jon LaFrance

June 1978 Baja Internacional (‘500’)

Near Nuevo Junction, my friend Jon LaFrance captures an exciting moment for German car mechanic Wally Schwaia, in his racer.

EL PARRAL Canyon, Jan. 1979

A couple weeks after finding the ‘lost road’ from the sulfur mine to Valle Chico, I returned to head south and see Matomí canyon for the first time.

My worst stuck… Arroyo Matomí

Driving from Tomas Dowling’s lower ranch (now gone) to the upper ranch (by the waterfall), was this water crossing. I made it across, but was blocked ahead by high water. This happened on the return crossing, and the water was rising!

In August of 1979, some friends and I made it all the way to the Matomí ranch house and the waterfall-fed-pool below it…

Pre-running the 1979 Baja 1000 course:

Very steep grade and my little Subaru 4×4 (no low range) had a tough time climbing it, but did! The road was soon impossible to drive (for most) until a new graded road was built in 1985-86.

Calamajué Canyon

I am pre-running the Baja 1000 course I am to be driving in the race soon after this trip. My first section is San Matias Pass to El Crucero. Alas, we broke down before I got behind the wheel!

Baja 1000, Nov. 1979

Here I am pre-running a week before the race. This was the first time SCORE ran the 1000 to La Paz. We broke down, but I was a happy 22-year-old co-driver. Driver Skip Ylhainen in the #2 seat.

Race program (I am listed in it!)
From my participation in the Baja 1000, a jacket patch and the starter’s pin. If you made it La Paz, in the allotted time, a lower portion was added.

SCORE Parker 400, 1980 & ’81

I was the pit captain here for the Los Campeones Racing Team, at the Turtle Mountains in the California desert.

Mickey Thompson, Parker 400

Mickey breaks down near my pit in his monster V-8 sprint car-like, off road racer. I think that was the world’s tallest shock absorber on each back wheel. Mickey and his wife were murdered sometime after this race in a mysterious, unsolved crime.

Shell Island 1980

My friend Mark Boehm and I went to Shell Island. Mark took this photo of 22-year-old me.

Parral Canyon about 1981

Before SCORE started using this pass, it was almost unknown… a ‘lost’ road between the sulfur mine and Valle Chico! I am driving my second Subaru, a 1980 4×4 wagon.

David & Dad at Rancho Santa Ynez 1982

The Baja trips we had together were always wonderful. I really miss that man!

Variety Beach (Laguna Manuela) 1983

My dad and I were exhausted from the best surf fishing we had ever experienced.

Mom at Variety Beach

Nice size yellow fin croaker and corbina were the main take, halibut too! Nearby rocks provided all the calico bass you could want. ‘Whistler’ gave me the name he used for this beach north of Laguna Manuela.

Cocktail Hour at Gonzaga Bay 1983

Coming home from Laguna Manuela, we made camp on the beach near Punta Final. My parents knew how to make camping fun as the champagne was always on ice!

Punta San Francisquito 1983

A most beautiful beach with clear water. We are camping on the far end of the beach from the fly-in resort. Whales sang at night and dolphins and mantas played at day.

Shell Island

I often would spend several days just enjoying ‘the Baja feeling’ on this magnificent beach beginning in 1978. Above photo was probably in ’83 or ’84.

Baja Honeymoon 1985 (I met her in Baja in 1984 at a Mexico West Club/ Tom & Shirley Miller camping event)

One of our camps at El Requesón, Bahía Concepción. Previous camps were at San Antonio del Mar and La Gringa…

El Requesón’s palapa to sea distance was not TOO great!!!

We saw this road heading off, and took it to a great beach (Punta Conejo).

Santiago Zoo (in 1985)

Land’s End!

Cabo San Lucas… the tip of the Baja peninsula. Soon after the honeymoon, work, two babies and divorce would postpone Baja vacations… only a couple of exceptions from ’88 to ’99.

1986 Bahía San Luis Gonzaga

The graded road south from Puertecitos made the drive once again passable and a opportunity to bring my new 4WD Subaru south. That’s it, below the trail on the island at Alfonsina’s.

Bringing My Babies to Baja, 1991

Chris and Sarah, south of San Felipe.

Christopher on the Sea of Cortez. Our 4WD Subaru is in the background.

Sarah enjoying sand, sea, friends, and family.

Next year, 1992, a work friend invited us to his Baja home at Campo La Joya

Mission Santa Maria, May 1999

Mur Carver and David Kier, peninsular divide, Mission Santa María road, May 1, 1999

I always wanted to get to see this, and thanks to my new Internet amigo, BajaMur, I did!

This was so cool, to be in the nearly impossible to reach mission of Santa Maria de los Angeles. The rest of the story is at http://vivabaja.com/missionsm.

Flying Over Mission Santa Maria (May, 1999)

The road from Rancho Santa Ynez was built over several years. In this shot, the steep ‘Widowmaker’ grade is seen dropping down to the palm lined arroyo, 1 mile from the mission.

Mission Below!

Just a couple days after riding to the mission, on a quad, Doug Bowles takes BajaMur and I on a recon! The ruins are on that light colored area in the center, above the palms. See http://vivabaja.com/missionsm

End of the road…

About 2 miles east of Mission Santa Maria, the bulldozed road being built to Gonzaga from Santa Ynez, ends on the ridge above the canyon. An old Indian trail continues on, down into the canyon. The Camino Real coming up to the mission from the southeast intersects the bulldozed road just below the photo. Additional photos from this trip are in the next album, link below…

David K… points the way!

This is a real fun cartoon from Bernie Swaim’s book ‘Bouncing Around Baja’ in the chapter about me called ‘The Baja Connection’. I am very honored!!! I hope this sampling of my older photos was of some interest. I am always available to answer questions about my Baja adventures or ones that you may seek. Find me on the Baja Nomad Forums at forums.bajanomad.com/ or contact me at info@vivabaja.com

The next set of photos (1999-2004 trips): 1999 – 2004 Baja Trip Photo Albums (28 albums)

MORE VIVA BAJA/ DAVID KIER TRIP PHOTOS (scroll down the page): https://vivabaja.com

Do you have my books (Baja Mission History): https://oldmissions.com

In March 2022, I return to Baja, with friends!: