Tuesday, March 12, 2019

San Felipe, Baja California.

The Desert Road.

At Pete's Camp. San Felipe.

Dawn beside the Sea of Cortez, Baja California.

Digging in the sand at low-tide for the hot springs just south of San Felipe.

The pool at Reuben's Camp.

Deserted and derelict RV park south of San Felipe.

____ From Puerto Penasco we took Highway 30 along the coast where the Gran Desierto joined the Sea of Cortez and sand dunes stretched across the road. Heading west to cross the Colorado River on Highway 4 between Coaluila and Ledon; although it was easy to mistake the Grand Canyon’s water source for an average size irrigation canal, such is the volume of water extraction in the area. It was here that we encountered our first military checkpoint; conscripts of the Mexican army needed a guided tour of the Mack and I muddled through with some half-forgotten Spanish. It was a long wait in line but a relaxed examination from a young bunch of guys just doing their job. The other aspect of driving in Mexico that revealed it’s self on the road to San Felipe was the “Road-Hump.” Definitely not to be ignored and taken at speed. These were plentiful; some official speed control devices and some local improvisations that were intended to attract trade to nearby enterprises along with home-made Stop-signs.

____ We turned on to Highway 5, south of Mexicali and headed for Pete’s camp on the northern outskirts of San Felipe. A good four-lane coast road on the opposite side of the gulf; running through desert country within view of the water. Pete’s is down a well sign-posted dusty track but has the air of a prosperous resort; not so much camping but more villas and holiday homes. Just a handful of RVs; lined-up with the palapas on the beach. The place has a restaurant/bar, good toilets and showers; overall very clean and tidy but once again we felt like it was out of season. During our two day stay, we had long walks on the beach and met Ross from British Columbia. The old guy reckoned he had a Mack motor-home too and pictures on his phone proved that two years ago he brought it down to Pete’s Camp. We had several long chats about old school trucking and I think he wished he had his 1955 LT Mack with him this year instead of his 45 foot diesel-pushing motor-coach.

____ From Pete’s Camp, we moved to the south of San Felipe and Rueben’s Camp; like chalk and cheese. From opulence to an RV park post-Zombie Apocalypse. Rueben’s had once been high-end camping and a huge capital investment but now was being re-claimed by the desert. Dereliction everywhere with the attraction of “Hot Springs” as the only plus point. Hot water bubbled through the sand at low-tide and with some digging, one could have one’s own hot-tub right on the beach. Due to rain, we just dug a foot-spa; stood around getting wet and put it down to experience. We did some fishing from the rocks but caught nothing and the two nights at Rueben’s wasn’t a good or bad experience just different. Rueben is a nice guy and I think I would have given twenty dollars even if he said the camping was free. Loaded-up with water and supplies, we headed South from San Felipe still searching for that special Baja California experience.

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