Wild Mexican Dogs:
We dedicate a day for a long hike. I studied the guide book and looked at maps. There’s an old trail starting a few miles out of town leading from Punta Lobos at the abandoned canning factory to a hidden bay somewhere south. In the 30’s this bay was used for exporting tomatoes and fish and some say hiding Japanese subs. We’re headed to the other side of the far hills along the coast.
Loose dogs are everywhere in Todos Santos. We just reach the outskirts of town and could see a pack of them just waiting and eyeing us up. This is why we got rabies shots before the trip. Well,… the first dog to Heidi’s left was looking at me like he knew me so I pretended like I new him, I did my “All right dogs, lets all go on a walk together” thing and bingo, our expedition team was formed.
Punta Lobos to the left, abandoned canning factory below. We’ve had 4 dogs with us for about 4 miles now and Heidi is getting concerned for their welfare. She says “They’re away from their home, they’re chasing rabbits all over hurting their paws on the cactus and they look thirsty”. I won’t share any of our water and Heidi is getting mad!
I say ”But they’re so cute and they’re having so much fun and they love us!”. OK, that worked, they’re in, we’re all on this mission together.
Heidi spots two whales just a couple hundred yards off shore near the point. We see them surface several times.
The trail is tough and you need to stay focused.
Hidden bay. We hike all the way down to the volcanic gray beach below to find nothing but bowling ball size gray rocks. It was a two hour hike from home base to the bottom. We chill on the rocks for a while then climb back out.
On the way down we heard what sounded like sea lions, on the way back out we heard it again. Heidi gets out the binoculars and finds the rocky point jetting out on the right filled with sea lions flopping around. Some were huge. Unreal.
Heading back. This is the end of Todos Santos beach, it stretches over twenty miles long with no development.
You gotta have yourself 50 posts and be registered for something like 30 days. It's some covert way to see if you're a bonafide internet Jeep-geek and not just a chump with a keyboard and some p0rn pics I suppose.
Make a few more posts in a thread outside of the General forum, and watch the magic happen on your posts above.
Now that we have a little dialog going, I'm in the beginning stages of researching an expedition through Mexico in Summer of 2006. While I've done extensive backpacking in mainland Mexico and another Jeep trip throughout the entirety of the Baja peninsula, I'm searching to see some remote "stuff" of Northern and Central Mexico.
Did you explore much in northern Mexico? Other than major destinations, such as Copper Canyon, what should I see and do? I'd like to visit some old missions, rustic towns, and interesting nature/ecological sites. Would have any input here? It looks like you saw a lot of coastal destinations with watering holes.
I'd like to get your input if you have any...
Thanks so much!! This is the way it should look, Sweeeet.
2006! You have to be fired up.
The almost 3 months we spent in the Baja really took it’s tool on our 90’ Wrangler so by the time we hit the mainland we didn’t do a lot of off road-ing. The Volcano area of Colema was nice and had a lot of off road things to do. I will think of some others and get back. If your doing Central America I could defiantly recommend Belize if you really want some cool places to get to . The far southwestern section of Belize rocks. Here is a trip report of Belize --> http://cavebiker.smugmug.com/gallery/1637
Keep in touch and good luck. Maybe see ya on the road next year.
I think I know a shortcut out to the beach without going to Punta Lobos, a place we can be more alone. It’s an ultimate Baja road, one where someone would have to back up a long way if two vehicles meet and high clearance is a must. I’m sure we walked this way once before. Finely the trail leads to the beach, yes. We walk out as far as we dare toward the rising tide, lay out a towel and wait to see what happens. I think I caught for the first time the florescent green flash that sometimes happens just at sunset while looking out to sea. I’m not making any of this up! Heidi says she sees what looked like heads of divers, I question her sanity. For the next fifteen minutes we’re watching two sea lions surfacing, flipping and popping straight up out of the water right in front us. Heidi says “They see us and are waving at us” We wave the next time they come up. No kidding, next we see a whale blowing and surfacing in front us.
WHAT DO WE DO? People I know have always asked me what I would do with all my time if I quit my regular job. Heidi and I have been here in Todos Santos now for a month and have another month before we hit the road again. It’s not a lot of time but we’ve had to try to work out a routine for our day to day. Hey, who said the good things in life are easy? And then there’s the technical stuff like when to be at the beach for the best waves, this all takes a lot of planning and constant tweaking. We pursue this like a fictitious job that has workdays weekends vacations and if we feel like playing hooky, days I call in sick for one or both of us.
A normal work day:
- Coffee, computer time and a run before Heidi wakes up in the morning. 2 – 3 hrs.
- Big breakfast or blended health shake. 1+ hrs
- Get to the Gym to lift weights and/or aerobics. 2 hrs
- Light lunch and time around the pool. 1+ hrs
- Beach walk and/or desert mountain hike. 2 – 4 hrs.
- Surfing and hanging out at the beach. 1 – 5 hrs.
- Fishing and hanging out at the beach. .5 – 1 hr
- Reading, practicing Spanish, computer and digital camera play. 1 – 3 hrs.
- Shopping. Not always easy, sometimes having to drive 6 miles to get papaya. .5 – 1 hr
Obviously we overloaded our days, no way can we possibly fit everything in every day. After all this we like to end the day spending a little time around the pool for unwinding and socializing with people at the hotel. Ahhhh… we went from 40 hr. weeks to 90 hrs., the stress is unreal at times! To the beach, but what beach? We have the choice of several, all a short distance away. One beach has a good break in a NW swell but has rocks and is not great at low tide. Another has hot showers, nice bathrooms but we have to pay $1.80 to park on the beach. Sometimes we need to tweak our day mid stream because maybe there’s no wind and it’s already late morning and that means the waves should be good so we should go to the beach now instead of later. People think this is easy, it’s not! At a normal job most of your day is laid out ‘for you’. Here we’re on our own and it’s up to us to design our day to be productive or not, not as easy as it sounds. The beauty of adventure travel is that you have control of all your time which gives you the opportunity to do something great with it!
Lots of pic’s of our days in and around Todos Santos, Baja Mexico:
Morning run: Some days I run with company. This day I had the same 4 dogs that went on our hidden bay hike. This one on the right is always so fired up every time I see her.
These dogs are so well behaved and always get off the road when a vehicle comes.
Punta Lobos in the distance. That’s where all the fishing action takes place.
When I get to the beach I see Rubia (We like to name the dogs we meet) a dog I’ve met before and another dog I haven’t met. These are beach dogs and I’m running with city dogs? Then it hits me, this could be bad.
All 6 dogs got along great, not one aggressive display, I could not believe it. The two beach dogs ran almost all the way back with us. I love running with dogs.
Fisherman launching boats in the surf: The boat on the right just threw a rope to the one on the beach.
They’re timing the swell and yell to the boat out in the water.
The boat out does the same ‘sling shot move’ you do while trying to pull a water skier out of the water with a small outboard. You gun the motor pointing the boat sideways, just keeping the rope taunt. Then when your RPM’s and boat speed is up you turn the boat straight out, this yanks the other boat out into the surf and out to sea. Waaaay Cool! 7:00AM This was the last boat to go out. It has to be dark when they start launching. Today the swell is small, I can’t imagine them doing this in the dark in a big swell.
Fixing a health shake:
Setting up early at the reggae fest: The reggae fest is happening about 4 miles up the coast from us at San Pedrito beach. We had to pay for an overnight camping spot to be able to park on the beach, $6, bargain.
What a spot, stage on one side surfers on the other.
Lots of fun people hanging on the beach.
Beach is filling up. The bands started playing around 3:00PM
Whale watching: Unreal, weâ€™re walking along and see three or four whales just a short distance off shore. I guess they scrape their barnacles off in the sand shallows while passing buy.
For sure if you were crazy enough you could run and dive into the water and grab onto one of these whales. That close! But they were at least 30 plus feet long. Not me. We were in awe of witnessing this right in front of us.
OK, Iâ€™m fishing out on some rocks at Los Lobos and not having much luck.
I see a fishing boat come in and stop a little way out. They were cleaning out the boat or bailing it out, I wasnâ€™t sure which.
They then fired up the motor and circled around by shore for a bit, I think to time the swell. Then they gunned the motor and ran straight up on shore. A truck would come and pull it farther up, there the fisherman clean and crate the fish. After that the boat is towed further up past the high tide mark for the night. This all happens around 3:00PM.
Los Lobos fisherman:
This guy on the left I think owned the truck and was having the crates filled up with selected filleted fish. I imagined him running a kitchen of a restaurant.
This guy on the right was having one or two selected fish filleted for him.
This guy says to us â€œYou want to buy some fish? Ha, ha, just kidding. Iâ€™m from Caboâ€? he said he just bought three kilos of fish here for what he would pay for one kilo in Cabo, about $5 US. A big sea bass, red snapper and some other fish he forgot the name of.
Broken down in Mexico:
A week ago we lost clutch fluid and hardly made it back to the hotel. No problem, l will add fluid and bleed it tomorrow. The next day I find the clutch fluid bleed valve rusted shut. Not good, I don't want to break the thing in Mexico!
I've had to add fluid every day now for the last week but today we had to cancel the trip to the beach. Clutch fluid may be cheap but now I can't even make it out to the street without loosing the clutch, no fun. While traveling long term in Mexico or any foreign country it's sometimes good to get to know the local people around you. Mari, the day person at the hotel has a cousin that brings her kids to the pool some days. Her husband Christian pulls up in a jeep wrangler and I find out he's a mechanic. There are a lot of auto mechanics here in the Baja, I'm sure partly out of pure need. Just an hour ago Christian drives our jeep to a shop at his house, not easy without a clutch, I followed in his truck. He jacks it up and we both crawl under, same conclusion, blown slave cylinder. You can tell even when you don't 100% understand the language when someone is absolutely confident in a task. Christian is replacing the slave cylinder and the hydraulic lines. He drives me home. With fingers crossed we're back at the hotel, cocktails in hand and likin life. We keep saying to our self's "What if this happened in the middle of BFE?" then we toast!
Another normal day starting off in Todos Santos except our jeep still isn't in its stall just outside our door. Cristian our mechanic said it would be 3 or 4 days but now its day 5 and we're getting anxious. First thing when Mari gets to work that day she says to me (this is what I pick up) "Cristian yeep listo mas tarde oye " "Cristian Jeep ready later today" Fire Up, minutes later he pulls up in the jeep. He's just out testing it and wants me to check it out. Sweeet, it felt like a new clutch. He tells me that after he got it all back together the first time he finds there's no clutch so he did another road trip to La Paz to get a total clutch kit. It's all done, he just needs to torque everything and do a last check, smiling.
Hidden Sand Beach:
Heidi and I head out on another hike in an attempt to find some hidden bay that has a sand beach and the only way to get to it is along some animal trails along the cliffs near shore. No one here has ever heard of it or seen it but I've read about it somewhere. This sounds scary to Heidi but we have been checking out the possible paths to get to this place when we do our local beach walk. We think we see a path start in the crotch of this hill.
Looks pretty steep. I decide to attempt it another day alone.
Francisco our grounds keeper brought a homemade pizza for Mari and Us to share, how nice!
We're hanging out at the hotel and I'm getting ready to walk over to pick up the jeep when I heard someone say to Francisco "Heidi Tom". I pop up and see an adventure type motorcycle. Instantly I suspect this could be an AdvRider dude. John from Oregon read my report and decided to jump on down with some other AdvRiders and do the Baja, How Cool!
John is electric! He said his only riding mode is from sun up to sun down, he knows no other way. He talked about the great ride he had coming down hwy 1 on the west cost all the way and how his bike loves to go fast. He hit the LA freeways at about 5:00AM on a Sunday and talked about all the hot rods, sport cars and everything fast cruising along, he said for sure they all came out just to go fast on the empty freeways. John just wanted to stop and meet us and say thanks for posting the inspirational trip reports. How nice is that! Then he asks me what kind of beer I like and goes buys us a 6 pack! What kind of world do I live in?
We hang around by the pool talking. John and his wife did an around the word trip some time ago and have some amazing adventure stories that got Heidi and I super fired up. We could have listened for hours but John had to go to meet back up with the other AdvRiders back in La Paz. Thanks again John for the visit, hope to see you at Creel this fall.
I'm off on the two mile hike to Cristian's house where my jeep will be ready. His sister has a house just like this behind his with a court yard in between. Mari's house is just up the hill. Cristian does all his work along side his house. He recently bought a lot up the road on a hill for $1,800 and is going to have a new house with several car stalls for his business.
Cristian is not there so they invite me to wait and offer me coffee, sweet. No English spoken here. My mind kicks into some kind of super heightened state and I pull out Spanish words left and right and manage to pick out some words of theirs. We all had fun looking at the photo's in the digital camera.
Cristian pulls up and shows me all the stuff he did, the jeep was spotless inside and out. We drive the jeep over to look at his new lot, he yells out the window at his girlfriend along the way. I love Mexico.
No 4WD: :eek1
The next day we drive out to the beach to watch the sunset. Driving toward the beach I pull off and onto a trail and stick it into 4WD. Nothing, no 4 wheel drive. We park it and walk to the shore, awesome waves but not much of a sunset.
Ok, I know about my jeeps 4WD system and it doesn't have anything to do with the clutch but I'm still bumming. I just got a new 4WD vacuum motor put in before we left for this trip so figured it had to be a vacuum leak. I heard a hissing sound, even Heidi said she could hear it. The next day I open the hood and crawl under and follow all the vacuum lines and connections. After at least an hour of following all the lines and connections I try pulling a vacuum tube out of its coupler and blowing into it. Zero resistance and I could hear it blowing out somewhere. I blew, I felt, I blew, I listened. The blowing sound was coming from a foot or so from my face but I couldn't feel it. I started grabbing tubes and pulling, a vacuum tube crammed behind the rocker cover and the firewall pulled right apart! I Am Likin Life! No kidding, I take off jogging to the nearest auto parts store about six blocks away and show the guy the broken vacuum tube and say "?Tiene?", he cuts me a piece of tube about three times longer of much stronger tube material, $1.80 and I got 4WD again. !!!
There is something special about repairing and modifying your own wheels and taking a long trip with it. You can form a bond, a kind of love affair. I knew it could happen with a person and a motorcycle but I never thought it could happen with a cage.
I'm off to see if I can find this hidden bay with a sand beach, that just sounds good to me and I want to get Heidi there. The first assent was steep but the trail was good. Great view, fishing boats and the light house in the middle.
Heidi had a dream the night before of me falling off on the other side of this unknown cliff and to the rocks below. She says the photo looks just like her dream. Big eyes, Wow! This was not the bay, no sand so onward around the next headland.
We've had a ton of rain here, it lasted for about two weeks. OK National Geographic here we go, I remember seeing an episode about desert blooming and now I'm in it.
The final leg down. Heidi and I are going to do this section tomorrow but not beyond. I never got over the final ridge to find this hidden sand beach but did try really hard. Three times I had to turn around and go way back and start over because the trail disappeared and I was doing rock hopping stunts I should not be doing. It was fun and I will try it again, different approach.
Sierra La laguna Mountains:
OK, the Moon Baja handbook talks about some great mountain hiking that takes the hiker through 7 different ecological zones and the trail head is less then 15 miles away. I've tried to look for the trail several times but never found it. I knew it had to be up this road with the "No entrance, private land, you need permission from the authorities" sign posted at the entrance. I went to look for the trail again and noticed this time the sign had the "No entrance, private land" section scratched off. That's all I needed, off I go.
Maybe it is a poacher problem?
Going through the eco zones, cactus and trees.
Rancho along the way.
I took a wrong turn and ended at the wrong ranch. This is a trail head but not the one I wanted. All good though, I know I will find the trail head I want tomorrow.
Next day I find it, La laguna trail head. I drive right to it.
I park to check out the trail and out pops a hiker, Shelly. She has been out hiking for 5 days and asks if she could have a ride to town. Without a ride it would have added five more hours to her hike. Shelly knows a ton about backpacking and she also knows a lot about the trails and terrain around the area. She gives me a lot of good info. Heidi and I see her a couple days later and she draws us a map of some great trails with water falls and swimming holes.
The next day we're off early to the trail head, it's over an hour drive, about 10 miles. We would like to make it up to the summit and back in one day. Yesterday I drove past this gate about another two miles but today we have to hike.
It was over a 40 minute hike to get to the point where I drove yesterday, this will impact our schedule.
Playing out in the desert with 4-wheel drive.
While driving around the Baja you often see big wash outs that must get formed during big monsoons. It’s not always obvious but with persistence I usually could find a way to get on to them. I found a great one near Todos Santos. I seemed like I was the only vehicle down this one is years.
I park it in nice sand to take an overall look at the jeep. This would be a great spot to camp just outside of Todos Santos, perfect sand and no one would ever know you were there. I will camp here some time in the future on my way through.
I find another bad vacuum tube, sweet, better now then on the road.
I'm about a half mile from Puente Lobos so I decide to check out the scene. These guys were catching bait fish in the Laguna. They offered me some, how nice.