Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Gonzaga Bay, Baja California.

Scenic look-out on the road to Gonzaga Bay.

The new bridge still stands but the road at the end of it had washed away.

Waiting for two local trucks to come through one of the narrow detour tracks at the wash-outs.

Lots of repairs needed on the two year old road.

The calm water at Gonzaga Bay.
Parked between the huts on the beach at Gonzaga Bay.

The row of out-houses behind every campsite is convenient but not classy.
____ The Highway 5 South of San Felipe came with many warning tales; road construction and a tropical storm in September 2018 had made for difficult conditions. Pot-holes and dipped sections where water sometimes crosses made for slow going on the first section but that seemed super-sonic when we came to the road-works. Fifteen miles of wash-board on the temporary dirt track that ran alongside a yet-to-completed two-lane highway. All the way to Puertocilitos, where the new highway to Gonzaga Bay had been finished for a couple of years.  But it was here that the Great Storm of 2018 had highlighted the mis-calculations of the road engineers. The water volume during the flash-flooding had been so great that the bridges had become dams and the roadway onto the bridges had suffered catastrophic erosion. Nine bridges on the fifty mile stretch were still intact but un-crossable due the road being washed away at each end. Rough dirt tracks had been bull-dozed down onto the now dried-up river beds; some were easy detours, some were steep with a loose surface of rocks and ever-increasing pot-holes. The large diameter tyres and the heavy weight of the Mack helped us make it through with barely any wheel-spin.

____ At Gonzaga Bay, we chose the Rancho Grande Camping and RV Park. They have a small store and snack-bar on the Highway 5, opposite the Pemex fuel station. Camping was on the beach; down a track that ran alongside the local air-strip. We set-up camp at Palapa 7 with a retired fire-fighter and his wife at Palapa 5, they were from Squamish, BC. They were travelling in a pick-up truck with de-mountable camper in the bed; this seemed to be the favorite type of vehicle along this route; which made sense as a 4x4 was the most practical and there was more dirt road to come for those venturing further south over the pass. We booked-in for five nights, a quiet, scenic sandy beach with the calmest waters we had encountered on the Sea of Cortez.

____ The nights were now warmer with no discomfort for early-risers, we brewed the coffee with doors open; no longer needing the stove to take the chill out of the morning air. Beach-combing was our exercise but mostly we relaxed watching the coming and going of the local fishermen as they launched their small open boats off the beach to the south of our campsite. To the north was Alponsina’s Resort, a line of beach-front properties culminating in a two-story hotel at the far end of a sand-spit that ran out to an island in the bay. The place had a couple of long-term residents who both had inflatable dinghies for fishing; but most of our fellow campers just stayed for the one night while heading either north or south on what is the quieter alternative road in this part of Baja California. Lots of pick-up truck campers, a few travel-trailers, several adventure motor-cycles with their large alumimium box-like panniers and two cycle-tourers from Switzerland. A nice young couple, touring Mexico and Central America; they put their tent in the palapa next to ours and we gave them our lawn chairs to relax in.

____ It’s easy to lose track of time as the days blur together such is the relaxed atmosphere of beach life but I did wash the truck and do the second grease job of the trip. We bought some shrimp and fish locally but after five days our supplies dwindled down to nothing. Cheryl’s hazelnut flavored coffee creamer being the most critical item. We said goodbye to our new friends on the bay, packed everything securely in the truck and made our way back along the torturous road to San Felipe. Electing to have another couple a nights at Pete’s Camp, while checking out more of the town of San Felipe itself.


  1. hi Chris, it`s Mark,i recently commented on your you-tube video and you sent me a link to this blog.I am interested to see how your truck conversion is working out for you because I am looking at buying a similar size retired rescue truck[ford L9000/Marion box] 10 liter cummins engine.After reading your blog it appears you`ve had good service from the truck and a fantastic tour of the southwest.Are you planning another trip this winter?

  2. Hi, Mark. I'm glad you found the blog interesting. I've neglected it a bit this Summer; mainly from working in a remote part of British Columbia and not having cell-phone service or WiFi Internet connection. I'm hoping to put that right now I'm back in Manitoba for a few weeks. After that I'm looking forward to going back down into Mexico to escape the Canadian Winter again.
    Regards Chris.