Wrong Turn = Long Day

It’s hard to get an early start when staying at the San Ignacio Springs Resort. The sign says it all. “An Oasis of Hospitality!”

The included homemade breakfast is fantastic with fresh fruit, fresh squeezed juice, home made sausage, eggs from their chickens and endless great coffee. It was 10:30 when we left. The destination West towards laguna San Ignacio, where some of the best whale watching of the peninsula is.  The road starts paved for about 10 miles which would be almost all the pavement we would see for a long while. 

The gravel/dirt/sand/mud road (typical Mexican road) was easy to the Pacific coast where we turned south to follow the ocean to the very small town of San Juanico. We had gone about 100 miles and my map showed the symbol for a gas station so I thought I should top off the bikes, always a really good idea. The gas station was some guy selling gasolina out of plastic jugs on a back road on the edge of town. All perfectly normal for this part of Mexico. A small group gathered around the bikes which isn’t too uncommon and were asking about the bikes and where we were going. I explained we were going to Loreto and asked about the road conditions. I never got a straight answer as my limited Spanish was failing me but it was interesting that word spread with amazement that we were going to Loreto, clear across the peninsula at this time of day, it was about 1:30PM. I didn’t think much of it until later and we continued on.

We had been following a track from my friend Kevin (GPSKevin) which routed us east out of town. To our surprise we found  the road out of San Juanico was newly paved, wow, how nice was that. We would make good time after all. About 15 miles down the road at almost the same time Deby and I glanced at our GPSs and noticed we were off the track. What? The nice paved road was not shown at all on either the GPS units or either of our two different paper maps. What was this? A new road that circled back and connected with our route? That is entirely possible and has been the case in the past. We decided to follow the road since it seemed to be generally the correct direction. After another 20 miles so we stopped for a conference. We had no idea where this road was going, it wasn’t on any of our maps or GPS and now it seemed to be making a turn towards the coast. I guessed it was just a paved road connecting two fishing villages and we decided to go back to try to find where we missed a turnoff.

We probably spend about an hour on this detour but eventually found the road east towards La Purisima. It was back to a “typical Mexican road” only worse.

Nice road:

Not as nice road:

The road wasn’t difficult beyond our capabilities but it was getting late, we were tired and we had a long way to go. Interesting riding through vegetation. 

A few washboard sections.

More of this as far as we could see. 

We came to a stop not far from a local dump. This was a common scene in Central America and reminds me how long plastic bags stay in the environment, they were everywhere. 

There were some great sights along the road. 

We came to this dry river crossing which had half a bridge. 

Wait, let me zoom in. Can you see where the road came out? Yea, me neither. A bunch of boulders for a road. 

The road went on and on. Beautiful and fun but work and we weren’t making very good time. 

At one point the road on the GPS track disappeared into a canyon of huge boulders. I decided (wisely) not to even attempt it and looked for a go-around. I saw two car tracks in sandy ruts going north and up a steep hill so we decided to follow them. The two ruts curved around to the right and came upon a fence line. Up ahead I saw a shack and some rusty cars and truck strewn about. We were obviously transitioning through someone’s ranch. As we rode along a barbed wire fence suddenly there was someone standing there! I did a un-guy like thing and stopped to ask directions. “Esta la carretera a la Purisima?” Ha, maybe Spanish class was paying off. “Si, aqui.” And we were on our way.

Some miles further we came to a river and a goat ranch, there were goats everywhere. I tried to get a picture. 

Then I got a closer look at the road.

Hey Deby – you go first and let me know how deep it is. And I’ll have my camera ready in case you fall in! 

Ahh, what a pro. No problems.

At this point I have no more pictures from the day. Once we crossed the river the road went up a steep uphill section and suddenly we came to a paved road! Where did that come from? I looked on my GPS and Deby’s and couldn’t find a road. We stopped and I realized that no amount of zooming or anything on either GPS units would show any roads at all. Crazy. We had a choice left or right, north or south. Just then a Coca Cola truck zoomed around a corner out of nowhere heading south. We looked at each other and decided it was getting late enough and we were tired enough to just follow the truck! It must be going somewhere, it was….far far away.

I know now we should have turned left on the paved road and we would have been in La Purisima in a short 5 miles. I also realize now that there is no way we would have been able to get over the mountains to Loreto before nightfall and hopefully I would have had enough sense to find lodging in the town. Later that night I found out the technical problem with my GPS but I didn’t want to mess with it at the time on the side of the road. South we went.

We were on Mex53 the longest, straightest, boringest, lonelyest road of Baja. It eventually meets Mex 1 in the, literally, bend-in-the-road town of Ciudad Insurgentes. We had been there before and I don’t even recall there being a hotel. The sun was getting low and we passed a hotel sign so making a U-turn we decided to check it out.

They had one room left, a small room with two tiny single beds. Not having much of a choice we paid our 200 pesos, about $22 bucks and settled in. It wasn’t really that bad. We pushed the beds together made the best of it. The hotel had a nice restaurant where the family cooked us an excellent dinner and breakfast the next day.

Back in our room I fixed the GPS’s and consulted the map. We were so far south that it only made sense to visit Loreto, another favorite stop, on our way north. We decided to slab it out (motorcycle talk for riding the highway) directly to La Paz where we are now at La Concha Beach Club Resort. Sounds fancy right?

It has it’s own beach which was great with Deby.

Cabana’s with food, drink and a local cat. 


Cool beach to walk on with interesting rock formations.

And last night we even had a beautiful sunset over the bay. Have to include a few of these pictures….

Nice poolside view.

Tomorrow we pack up and ride south, not exactly sure where…….

Donn and Deby



7 thoughts on “Wrong Turn = Long Day

  1. It’s still surprising to me but shouldn’t be that even when things don’t go exactly right, they turn out just fine for you two. Must be good karma!

  2. I’m sorry I missed this when you came through San Diego. Would love to see you two again .I have a pizza guy here in town just like in the middle of Utah! Check in whenever you are close by. We only made it to Oregon last summer,but this year we will make it all the way to Washington. Love your blog,makes me want to head to Baja right now! Jeff from Kevin’s Utah trip

  3. I haven’t been receiving any posts since Feb 9th I’m glad your still enjoying your adventure. I was beginning to wonder if you were locked in a jail somewhere.

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