‘Baja’ has been in my blood since 1965, when my parents began their travels south in a Jeep Wagoneer. Gonzaga Bay was our first destination.
A two week adventure from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas occurred in 1966. L.A. Bay was visited in 1967. In addition to those trips, many long weekends were spent south of San Felipe at Nuevo Mazatlan (Agua de Chale). Later on, I often camped at a beach I call ‘Shell Island’.
At 15, following a family trip to Loreto where I took hundreds of notes on the new road being built, I authored my first guidebook in 1973. Titled, ‘Baja and the Transpeninsular Highway’, it was the first guide to the new Baja highway (then, still under construction) .
Trips without parents began when I was 16 in my street-legal dune buggy. My next Baja guidebook was published in the Jan. 1975 special edition of The Baja California Bulletin.
I made numerous trips to Baja for camping, exploring, and to watch the off road races. I was invited to help a pit team at Nuevo Junction for the ’78 Baja 500. I joined up with the Vista based team ‘Los Campeones’, and was a ‘pit captain’ for several Score races. Class 6 racer, ‘Skip’ Ylhainen asked me to be his co-driver in the ’79 Baja 1000 (Ensenada to La Paz). Even though we broke down early in the race, I had fulfilled a dream, and an experience to be sure! I pre-ran the race in my 4×4 Subaru from San Matias Pass to El Crucero (my first section to drive).
I extensively mapped the area south and west from San Felipe and ‘rediscovered’ a road that leads across the coastal range from the sulfur mine to Valle Chico. This led me to explore Matomí canyon, with a waterfall and large pool, even in August! I wrote a few articles for the Mexico West Travel Club newsletter, and became friends with club owners and Baja authors Tom and Shirley Miller.
In the 1990’s, business, marriage, and children had reduced the trips taken into Baja. But, with the Internet one can revisit Baja daily! I reply to posts on the several Baja message boards and Facebook pages when I can provide information or links. I have also served as Internet ‘secretary’ for Graham Mackintosh (author of ‘Into a Desert Place’ and ‘Journey With a Baja Burro’). On the Internet I met Baja Murry Carver, a great guy, full of life, with a heart set on adventure! We met in person May 1st, 1999 (at 3 a.m.), and by 3 p.m. we had been to Mission Santa María and suffered injuries together attempting to leave the valley containing the mission. Thus becoming ‘Baja Blood Brothers’. That trip is what became the first trip page on my new website.
In July, 2000, ‘Lorenzo de Baja’, invited me to go for a week exploring sites in northern Baja. I met him two months earlier at a gathering in San Clemente where I met Baja amigo Timothy Walker of TimsBaja.com. On the Internet, one discovers an amazing amount of Baja enthusiasm is ‘out there’.
My first ‘Viva Baja’ party was next. Baja people love to meet other Baja people. We share experiences, and realize we are not alone. Others have the disease, known as ‘Baja Fever’! See the Viva Baja party photos. I acquired a four wheel drive truck and took Lorenzo exploring the last weekend of 2000. The Presidents Day 2001 Weekend, was the first Baja Amigos group trip.
Trips of fun and exploration continued. From 2001 to 2019, I have traveled and camped throughout the peninsula, adding to my experiences. In 2016, I wrote and published Baja California Land of Missions fulfilling my desire to provide an accurate source of history on this dynamic period.
For the past several years, I have been writing the Baja Travel Adventure articles for Baja Bound’s online, monthly bulletin, sharing my stories of travel, people, and history of Baja California. A new Road Guide has been prepared for publication by Baja Bound Insurance, following eight expeditions they have sponsored for me to gather, both in photos, notes, and also with GPS.
Communicating on the Internet with many old and new friends means more adventures in Baja are guaranteed! Please also see the VivaBaja.com links to view other great web sites!
‘Shell Island’ and Laguna Percebu
Photo taken by Baja Mur on his way to Gonzaga. Cessna pilot is Doug Bowles.
Shell Island from space!
South of San Felipe, Pta. Estrella to El Vergel. Bahía Santa María is just south of Shell Island.
San Felipe area circa 1988