Our drive out from Stone Island was some what uneventful except it took another hour because of a special holiday here in Mexico....Revolution Day 1910... It's a 3 day holiday and EVERYONE goes to a beach, and I mean EVERYONE !!! We decided to take the "Free Road" vs. the TOLL (just because we're cheap...). We were running great until we were about 20 miles outside of Tepic and then we got into traffic that was stop and go for miles upon miles. It was a two lane narrow twisting road that took us into the mountains before dropping us into the city of Tepic (about 200,000 people). Now that we have driven from the coast by Mazatlan to the interior (Tepic), we turn back west and make our way back down from the high to the low of the coast and finally to La Penita (40 miles north of PV prox). Because we are a little earlier than some that make the La Penita park their winter home we were given a beautiful view site for a short while (which I was happy to take...). Yesterday we did a lot of swimming, meeting with old friends, taking an ATV ride into La Penita for lunch, and finishing the night off with free margaritas and pork tacos at the large palapa shown here next to our site... tomorrow... more of the same prox.
I really want to say, we have never had a meal at Hotel and RV park MALARRIMO in Guerrero Negro....NEVER. Even the service and the prices are the best. I just wish they had a MEGA or some type of major grocery store there AND a decent bank. OK, enough about GN, now back on the road... As we continued our journey today for 85 miles Southeast, we found San Ignacio. For many years and many trips north and south we never took the time to stop and explore San Ignacio. There we found a tranquil lagoon, lots of date palm trees, a wonderful and picturesque laurel shaded plaza that was surrounded by the single storied "Old Mexico" buildings, and the true beauty of the community, the Mision San Ignacio de Kadakaaman. It seems like we are on a hunt this trip for the missions of the Baja, and maybe we are. Anyway, this one is architecturally beautiful with it's setting in a small village, the construction materials of 4 foot thick lava block walls, the wood carved alter, doors and shutters, and the wonderful forged bells that call for worship. The construction of this mission finished in 1786 and stands just as beautiful now as it did then.
After our self and "guided" tour by Rigo we headed across the plaza and enjoyed a wonderful lunch of Huevos Rancheros (yes, we know, that's a breakfast meal, but we all enjoyed every bite...mmmm GOOD) Now it's back on the road and heading to Mulege and our beach site at Playa Santispac...
I LOVE to set the day by having my first POT of coffee sitting just outside of our door with the sun warming my body, the sound of the incoming tide just feet away and my bare feet settled into the soft sand... anyone want to change places with me ??? This will be our last day here in Bahia de Los Angeles. We continue our journey south with John and Jennifer in the morning BUT, before we go...let us fill the kayak with air and hit the wster for a little exercise, exploring, and getting to know our next door neighbors Dale and Sue from Baker, Oregon. They have borrowed a kayak from a good friend in the states and thought today would be a great day to try it out. They ask us to join them which was hard to turn down. Louise and John wanted to stay on the beach so Jennifer received the pleasure of a paddle with me tagging along. The water was perfect as well as the company, and for a couple of hours we just enjoyed the moment as the surf lay almost perfectly flat, the pelicans swept by searching for a meal, and the mountainous islands gave a framework of all the besuty of Bahia de Los Angeles. Tomorrow, Guerrero Negro...
Mision San Francisco de Borja
We wanted a little more excitement in our lives today so we opted for a drive to see and explore the Mision (Mission) San Francisco de Borja... they told us "if you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle with good ground clearance this would be a great opportunity to see and experience a little history that most people traveling the Baja can't take advantage of, and on top of all that, you will be traveling through one of the most beautiful mountainous areas that are filled with some very special catus that can not be found anywhere else but in this very small part of the world.
The Mision San Francisco de Borja was founded by the Spanish Jesuit who had walked the length of the Baja to establish missions all along their route. First off, you can't imagine how remote this location is from either coastline, and how deep into the rugged catus filled mountains they had to WALK... Not long after establishing their following with the indians in 1759, they started building the mission. In 1801 they had to rebuild and then in 1818 they closed it due to the decline of the indian community. Today the family that watches over it (and lives there with their closest neighbors living about 2 hours away because of the remoteness and the tough roadway) have found a way to survive and serve. The family we met today was the 8th continuous generation and they hope it will be 8 more at least...
We arrived at the campground in Bahia de Los Angeles and almost immediately started celebrating John's birthday. Thank God it seems that we have finally out run the rain.
The morning we pulled out of El Rosario we ha spent a night of heavy down pour which left the camping area and everything that wasn't paved in a sea of mud. Our first concerns were whether we could get onto the roadway before getting stuck. As it turned out, there was no reason for getting all concerned, the only negative was we all picked up enough mud getting out that we looked more like a mud pie making our way down the highway than the spic-n-span rv'rs we are... We had been in heavy rain fall even before we pulled out of Yuma and we had hoped to leave it behind by the time we pulled out of Ensenada but that just didn't happen. After leaving El Rosario our next stop was Bahia de Los Angeles on the Sea of Cortez. Fortunately the rain was left along the highway someplace but we have picked up a STRONG wind that damn near blew us into the sea that first night in B.LA... Now we are all settled, no more rain, no more wind, but just some long awaited sun, sand, and surf and an enjoyable mid 70 degree temperature...
Edward James, eccentric, rich through inheritance (American railroad and mining) loved orchids and after finding his special place in the jungles of Mexico and after fleeing England, cultivated tens of thousands of orchids there. Unfortunately after a trip to New York, that part of Mexico received a freak snow storm and destroyed all his lovely orchids. This place meant so much to Edward James so he decided to replace the orchids with something the weather couldn't destroy, so in 1962 he dedicated much of his life and fortune to building spectacular series of concrete sculptures amid the luscious vegetation of Las Pozas, his vast estate in a tropical rain forest high in the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains near the tiny town of Xilitla. Our drive to his site took us again high into the mountains using the very narrow , winding, HEAVILY forested, LOW and DENSE tropical rain forest. Once we found our turn, we had to endure a road(?) of rock, mud, HOLES filled and not filled with rainwater for just over a mile of pure white-knuckle driving (??). There were many times I had to fully stop just to keep the camper on the bed of the truck... Was it worth it? I'll let these pictures "try" to show you... Edward James died in 1984.
After leaving Zacatacas we headed East towards Rio Verde, were we spent another night in a Pemex station. Fortunately this one was out of the way from EVERYTHING and nice and quiet... In srarting this morning we took the "Free Road" East looking for Tamasopo which is a location that turned out to be STUNNING... Our first turn off of the main road "promised" us a "waterfall"... well that turned out to be a great drive to no where but a railrcrossing and a tight place to turn around. What's another 10 K and return??? We knew that if we were going to see a waterfall, we had to find the right "left". Another 8 K down and up this narrow and winding "free road (with tree branches close to taking our roof off) we again turned left, through a great little village and finally arriving at the Tamasopo Falls... This turned out to be one of the most spectacular sights we have ever seen.. Absolutely AMAZING !!! The roadway getting us there was truly one of 30 mph max ( and those that have followed or led me know that that is NOT my average speed) because of the narrowness and tight corners on this high tropical folaged road. Our day pass and parking was a total of 40 pesos ($2.40). Entering the parking area and seeing just a couple of th MANY SPECTACULAR waterfalls stunned me, I just couldn't believe my eyes. I only hope that my pictures do it justice (Doug you just have to photograph this location, and so doing it the way YOU do, plan on at least 2 FULL Days) ... Tonight we find ourselves in Cuidad Vallias, or should I say we're about 5 miles west camped in a Balneario (hot springs area with 2 lightly smelling sulfer sulpher swiming pools). As we drove through the gates we were amazed to find 21 additional RV's already here. It is a caravan from French speaking Ontario, Canada (a couple speak a little English hut the others, not much at all).
What a day, piano recital in a church being refurbished, the aqua duct of the 1700's, and and, and...