Thursday, January 15, 2015

From One Oasis to Another

After 2 long days or driving, today’s drive from San Ignacio to Loreto will be a more leisurely 170 miles.  Which means we have time to tour the main attraction in town—the eigteenth-century Mision San Ignacio Kadakaaman.

To get to town, we first pass this lovely pond.  Is that a volcano in the distance?

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Palm trees continue as we make our way down to the town center--

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So, check, the tour books are right!  San Ignacio is, indeed, an oasis in the desert!  Now, on to the Mission…

The center of San Ignacio features a number of small shops surrounding a lovely stone plazuela beneath the large bell tower of its historic church.  Thankfully, since it was still fairly early by Mexican standards, there were still plenty of parking for our rigs.

Millie, obnoxiously voices her displeasure whenever I first leave the rig….

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so I had to quickly run and hide behind a stone cross so she’d hush up before waking all the locals!

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The Mission was constructed between 1716-1786, and its ornately carved wood doors and gold-leaf altar are quite opulent for a town as small as San Ignacio.

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San Ignacio was the first place in Baja that finally reminded me of the best historic parts of mainland Mexico that I visited last year.  A charming way to start to our day!

After a stop at the small grocery store, we are soon making our way east along Baja Highway 1 to continue our journey across the Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve towards the Sea of Cortez.

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Before reaching the Sea, however, we first drive right up next to“the 3 Virgins”—ancient volcanoes that played an important role in creating the Baja peninsula millions of years ago.

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Whew!  Made it past the ladies without triggering an eruption!

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After carefully navigating down a series of switchbacks, we are suddenly in front of the Sea or Cortez!

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but as we round the corner expecting to find a lovely, historic town of Santa Rosalía, we instead first see this…the city dump!

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By the time we find a place to park along the malecon, neither the town nor the beach look all that inviting, so we get back in our rigs and keep driving south!  Santa Rosalía will need to keep working a bit more to make a better first impression to tourists I guess.

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Within an hour we’re down to Bahia de Concepción, and find a much more scenic lunch spot at El Requesón beach.

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Baja 1 hugs the hillsides just above the waters’ edge.  Quite an impressive sight after 600 miles of desert!

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Our final hour of driving takes us back into the rolling foothills of saguaro cacti on our way to Loreto.

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Hans has programmed our in-town campground into his new Garmin GPS, but it returns 3 different entries for the same address.  As is common in Mexico, they like to use the same town names in multiple places within a state, and use the same street names within multiple places in a town!  So, he picks the 1st entry and we soon are driving into the increasingly narrow streets towards the city center.

We turn right on the campground’s street only to then be stopped by a local policeman who is standing at the corner.  In very animated, rapido, Spanish he appears to be telling us that our rigs are too big to go down this street and we must turn around.  In very animated English, I try to explain that I cannot back up my rig with the toad attached to it.  Finally, after a few minutes, some careful measuring, and clearing of traffic ahead of us, Ursula gets out to walk ahead of their RV so Hans can carefully drive beneath the arched laurel trees (that thankfully are trimmed just high enough for our Winnies to pass beneath!

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We now take a left back at our original intersection and finally arrive to our intended destination, the Rivera del Mar RV park, a small family-run place with about 20 small full-hookup sites and the first working high-speed internet we’ve found since leaving Ensenada—a digital oasis!  Hoo-ray!

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We settle our rigs between 2 truck campers, and Hans sneaks a pic of Ursula and I planning what Loreto sights we wish to see.  Time to rest for a few days and explore this neat town!

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19 comments:

  1. Looks like you are having a fun adventure. Is that the only way into the RV park? I guess we would never fit.

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    1. Yes, Rivera del Mar was only for smaller rigs up to about 30 feet. Loretto Shores RV park had some bigger rigs though. But after driving Baja 1, I'm convinced it is no place to take a wide-body or long rig. Our neighbor here in La Paz drove via Nogales and took the ferry across from Topolobampo. That would be a good option as the park we're at here in La Paz is big rig friendly with 50 amp full-hookups. But, I'd probably only drive your tow car to any other sites in Baja. Another option would be to bring the rig down to Ensenada from San Diego and base camp from there to explore. Or, just leave the rig in Maz and take the car across and stay at a few hotels or B&Bs over here. It's only a 5 hr drive from La Paz up to Loreto, and only 1-2 hours south to the Cabos, etc. The RV park here at La Paz (AquaMarina) even has some nice apartments available for rent!

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  2. Enjoying the great photos of your trip.

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    1. Thanks Steve. Hope you and the pooches are staying warm and cozy!

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  3. Really enjoy old missions like that one. Thanks for the pictures:)

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    1. The one in San Ignacio is the best I've seen in all of Baja, but Loreto has some interesting ones too. More about those in my next post!

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    1. I regret not discovering it sooner. The people are absolutely wonderful, lots to see and do, and the winter weather is fabulous (daily highs around 80 and lows around 60). Perfect RVing weather!

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  5. Beautiful. We've spent some time in these areas tent camping. We look forward to taking our new Navion down. It will be a different experience. My only advice is, beware the jejenes, they can be brutal on the beaches. We never had a problem on mainland beaches but in Baja, watch out.

    Be safe, Kevin

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    1. Interesting. So far, I've had a bit of the opposite experience. Had to deal with no-see-ums a bit in Mazatlan last year (and I've heard San Blas further south is the absolute capital of the buggers!). But here on Baja in the Winter, the winds are usually blowing nearly every day. That combined with the more arid desert climate makes for fewer bugs in the Winter. But that said, I did get bit up pretty good last weekend at some of the beaches north of La Paz as we had a few rare days of no wind, and the jejenes were nipping at our ankles.

      By the way, another Navion just rolled in to our RV park here in La Paz yesterday, so we have 3 Skinny Winnies and are considering it now a rally! Come on down!

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  6. What are jejenes? I've never heard or seen that word. Are you talking about the "no-see-ums"? That bite?

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    1. Yes. Or sand fleas. For more see - http://www.visitsanblas.com/bugs.html

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  7. Hi Lynn, I'm a long time silent reader. I have enjoyed your posts for years. I now have a question. I also have a blog with blogspot and can't figure out how you get those google maps with your route, into your blog. Could you give me a quick lesson on how to do that? Thanks

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    1. Hi Evie-- Thanks for commenting! The maps are a bit of a merry-go-round. But in a nutshell, here's what I do-- First, I've created a custom map of my Baja locations via "Google My Maps", then I create a 2nd layer of that map to show driving directions (the lines between points A, B, etc) and hide the 1st layer (that has the pushpins and marker names). I then take a screen capture of the map and save it as a jpg and then add it to my blog post as any other image. Hope that makes sense. If not, feel free to email directly-- winnieviews at gmail.com

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    2. I did it. Your directions were great. Thank you.

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    3. There is another way that allows you to put interactive Google maps showing the route but I could not give a quick lesson on how to do that. Use this link to see what I am talking about: http://edwardfrey.com/APImaps/16-12-09.html

      That map shows my route on 16 December 2009 where I stopped in San Ignacio (my favorite place in Baja) for 3 weeks. All of my routes are shown in this manner since I started my full time lifestyle and can be found in my Site Map under Peregrinating.

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  8. Thank you. I'll check that out.

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