San Ignacio, Baja
We leave Bahia de Los Angeles disappointed to leave the calm bay and amazing sunrises but not terribly sad to leave the flies and gnats behind.
We are heading for the pacific side to check out a few of the central baja surf breaks hoping for some waves. We drive across and leave the highway towards Santa Rosalillita (yes, theres really that many l's). Even when pulling into town we are certain we've gone to the wrong spot. We had read this place not only had a long righthand break but also that it had been earmarked for a tourist destination and was being built up. It first looks like nothing but two trailer homes because you approach from the top of the cliffs, but then as you drop down to sea level you see…not much more. This is still a nice tiny and local pueblita, though you can see the new breakwalls for a marina- which we assume is the direction of the tourism/growth they are chasing. Regardless, the sea is flat like glass (and has been/will be for days) so we decide to keep going.
We stop en route for gas and a tamale, but when the owner mentions a beach a few km away with a vball tournament we have to go check it out. More than a little out of our way, and Jen and i were clearly the two things that didn't fit in on the beach but the event was very cool. A sunday afternoon gathering of what appeared to be the entire town on the beach to play some volleyball and soccer, enjoy some tecates and each other…this is the type of neighborhood community we hope to live in, wherever home is. The locals even rushed over with a truck and a rope when they thought we were stuck in the sand (once again our air compressor comes in handy) and we helped push another guy out when he was stuck by the water to even out the days's karma. We ate our tamale picnic, watched the soccer game and left after realizing the town had more than enough people for two teams of volleyball.
Had another military checkpoint midway, which has been true for every major day of driving. Each checkpoint has required a inspection, which has been a pleasure- and gives us a few moments to chat with the guards about our trip, get handshakes and smiles and continue on our way. We also take note that we haven't seen a middle finger since the states and that every vehicle (even those stuck behind us up a hillside) comes with a wave or a peace sign. Every one.
We head onward, and back east towards the sea of cortez again. This stretch has a lot of driving with not quite enough beach/relaxation for our pleasure, but really gives us a feel for how vast baja is. We pass by Guerrerro Negro hoping to reach San Ignacio before dark. San Ignacio doesn't disappoint, and as we read it's an oasis in the desert. Not like a real cool spot in the middle of nothing, but an actual legitimate oasis in the desert. A tiny valley filled with thousands of palms fed by an underground river- very cool. We stopped to check out a BnB run by a couple from BC, in hopes of chatting with them about their experiences and life in baja. As it turns out they are currently in BC enjoying the end of summer north of the border. We had a great chat with the couple filling in and got a tour of the grounds. Really amazing accommodations- well placed yurts to adapt to the palm forrest around it and inside well outfitted and comfortable rooms. On any other trip (with less of a budget) we would certainly be staying here. We highly recommend stopping at Ignacio Springs BnB if you are driving through Baja.
We instead camp right next door over the wall from the BnB…apparently in the same campground that brought Terry and Gary here years ago, and inspired the BnB. We pull in after dark, nestle up to a giant palm and start making dinner. We realize that the caretaker leaving the gate open for us also meant that two horses had let themselves in, so we spent a few minutes trying to shoo the horses back out of the gate in the dark, but realize the property (and this job) is much bigger than we thought and decide to go back to dinner.
We eat a simple but delicious meal of tostadas with beans, fish and salsa-mole and fall asleep with the horses amongst giant palms.