DAY 8: Mon. Feb. 6, 2017 La Perla to San Borja
Said my goodbyes to the three Canadian camping families, packed up the camping gear (mainly the air mattress and tent), and left at 9:30.
Had lunch in San Ignacio at the taco stand across from the Pemex station. Last September, the Baja Extreme tour group stopped here and we had some great quesatacos, so I had two of those and I was full! Left at 12:18pm.
The dreaded San Ignacio military inspection was next, and sure enough, they had only one lane open and were making everyone ahead of me get out (apparently Mexicans only today) as when I finally got to the soldier, it was just some questions. None of that picking something off my floor mat and lighting it with a cigarette lighter to claim it was marijuana (as had happened in July 2015). [I made sure my floor mat was shaken out when I left camp]
The Vizcaíno Desert was brilliant with flowers!
You know technically, the Pemex station at the Eagle Monument is in the northern state of Baja California. Yet, it (we are told) gets fuel from La Paz depot.
I am gasoline powered and using 87 octane Magna works great in my 4.0 liter V-6 Tacoma. I fill up at Jesus María (Km. 95+), which is about 20 miles north of the border/ Eagle Monument. 1:26pm
The military checkpoint at El Tomatal junction is at Km. 69, 1:58pm.
It is 22 miles to the mission through beautiful Baja desert country. This road is rougher than the north road and I wouldn’t suggest large campers or motorhomes think of using it. Again, a case where the weather has done a number on it the past couple of years. Some trees and bushes are growing into the roadway, too.
Camping is 150 pesos (=$7.50) and includes flush toilets (2) and showers (5). José will light a fire under the water heater if you want a hot water shower. [As found in 2017, reports in 2022 have indicated services may no longer be available]
The mission here (founded in 1762) is the furthest north stone mission church on the peninsula, replacing the adobe churches built by the Franciscans and Jesuits before them. The stone church construction lasted to 1801. The spiral stairway to the roof never got a bell tower, as planned. The Indian die-off from a high of 1,700 here (and more living at various visitas) to just 400 neophytes, spelled an end to the vigorous dreams of a Spanish colony here. By 1816, no more reports came from San Borja as the last resident priest left.
I take a quiet walk around the mission complex, visiting the graveyard and the cool water spring to the east. A warm water sulfur spring is in the orchard, south of the palapas. That water cools and the sulfur odor vanishes (so the books say), so all can drink from it when the other spring dries up in the summer.
End of Day 8.
Tomorrow, Montevideo and Bahía de los Angeles!
DAY 9: Tue. Feb. 7, 2017 San Borja to Montevideo & L.A. Bay
I am packed up and leave the mission palapas at 8:43 am. The road is bumpy and slow-ish for about 11 miles and then is quite good and even fast for the next 11 miles. It is by far the better of the two roads to San Borja, in my opinion, but the road from Rosarito allows a drive through option to not repeat the same road.
There are some of the finest Baja desert gardens you will see, on this road and the side trip to Montevideo. Enjoy the photos! Go there, if you can!
0.0 San Borja
0.8 Junction: Left to Rosarito, ahead to L.A. Bay.
17.6 Fork, left via Agua de Higuera.
18.2 Agua de Higuera (ranch, sulfur water spring)
18.5 Junction with road from 17.6.
20.0 Road right to Montevideo (4WD only), 5.8 miles. Major rock art site.
22.0 L.A. Bay Highway Km. 45. L.A. Bay is 13 miles to the right.
SIDE TRIP TO MONTEVIDEO: In 2019, a rancher installed a locked gate part-way into Montevideo. It was installed to prevent cattle thieves, not stop visitors to the painted cliffs. The key can be borrowed, if you know who to ask!
All the paintings I photographed are within a hundred feet of the road. Many more can be seen by doing a little more walking and some climbing.
On to Bahía de los Angeles, and then north to the border! Still much more to see… on the final page.