The photos below are what we saw.
with the 1017A prior to loading our stuff for the trip. With all
the cargo boxes that were recently added, we had plenty of space for
our stuff. This would be our ride for the next 7 days.
the time that we crossed the border, Tijuana was awash in runoff.
While you cannot tell in the photo above, most of that puddle is raw,
untreated sewage. Every manhole in the street was a gushing,
four-foot-geyser of sewage spilling into the streets. Your eyes
may be misled, but our noses were not.
the dark color of what is coming out of the hole in the wall? The
Mexicans refer to sewage as "agua negra" (black water) for obvious
untreated runoff issue is not new; it has been a thorn in the side of
the residents of San Diego County for 50 years. The EPA finally
forced the development of a treatment plant on the U.S. side of the
border to attempt to clean up the effluent before it hits the Pacific
Ocean in U.S. territory. Above, you can see a portion of the
treatment plant as well as the border fence.
of the untreated effluent goes into the Tijuana River. The extent
of the flooding can be seen in the photo above. A portion of the
original border fence made of aircraft landing mat can be seen in the
addition to the effluent, the rain also washed large amounts of debris
onto the highway. Most of the debris was small, but there were
some large boulders in the mix as well.
continued south on the toll road to Ensenada and the rain/wind
continued to build in intensity. In Ensenada, the wind was
blowing tree limbs onto the streets. Kai suffered the first
mechanical failure of the trip. And, it was the worst failure
possible without forcing a retreat to the U.S. - a windshield wiper
motor failure. Kai drove south essentially blind for most of the
first day. Our 1017 suffered a clutch pedal issue shortly
thereafter. The pedal would depress, but not return. But,
by pulling up on the pedal with my foot, the truck continued to be
driveable. We drove it that way for the next 7 days. In the
photo above, the team works its way through the main street in Ensenada
in the driving rain.
of the group needed supplies, so we diverted to the supermarket that
was near the main highway. Above, Dan and Ronald pass through a
significant mud hole in the street.
street was awash in water. Whether the water here was any cleaner
than the border area in Tijuana, I have no idea.
the supermarket, we continued south and encountered this stereotypical,
if not racist, signage.
water was axle-deep on the bus in front of us.
made our way south to San Vicente and started searching for fish
tacos. Sadly, due to the rain, our place of choice was
closed. We did find an open restaurant, but they were out of fish
so we had machaca and birria. As we were eating, a German fellow
pulled in with his Mercedes camper and came into the restaurant to see
who owned the Unimogs parked outside. Above is a photo of his
rig. He stated that he had been "all over" Baja but his
definition of "all over" is likely different than ours due to the
ground clearance on his truck.
of San Vicente, the main highway was swamped at nearly every vado
(wash) crossing. So there is no mistake, the photo above shows
the main highway for the peninsula.
objective for the night was San Quintin. The initial plan was to
camp on the beach, but the rain was making things dicey. We
headed toward the point at San Quintin thinking that wet sand would be
superior to mud, but even that was beginning to look
questionable. The photo above shows the dirt road that provides
access to the point.
Some of these holes were deep and the mud was thick and gooey.
The trucks churned it up pretty good for the locals, so we were pretty
sure that they would be hating us later in the day.
abandoned the idea of the beach camp since the wind was very
strong. Next we considered an organized camp ground, but
abandoned that idea as well since we would be paying for our mud bath.
the end, we decided that our plans needed significant adjustment and
elected to head back inland from the ocean. So, we had to
traverse the mud holes again.
had been in the San Quintin area before on his motorcycle and had
stayed at a nice hotel on the beach. The price was very
reasonable at $47US per night and it was an easy sell to the team
members because of the cold wind. The photo above was taken the
following morning when the skies had cleared.
rooms were nice, as was the whole facility. But, best of all was
that there was a restaurant associated with the hotel so we did not
have to go into the rain to find a place to eat. So, we had
cocktails in the bar, cocktails in the room and then ate in the
restaurant. We all slept well that night, but it continued
We knew that the bad weather was coming, so it was no surprise. That said, it was still a pain. The only thing better than driving on the narrow, heavily traveled highway Mex 1 in the rain is driving section of road at night in the rain. We almost got to do both. We were very lucky to have stumbled upon the hotel we stayed at, the accommodations were more than adequate and well timed given the cold, rain and mud.
continue south down the peninsula to Punta Canoas.
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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2011, all rights
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.