Day 34, 2/2/13
Bahia Concepcion to Rancho Piedra Blanca
That evening we sat on the sand as the sun went down and were treated to an LED light show...the snowbirds along our
stretch of the Bahia enjoyed creating light sculptures with twinkle lights strung along the fronts of their camps.
We fell asleep to the gentle sound of the Sea of Cortez lapping near our feet.
That morning I woke with the dawn, my tent glowing orange. Almost every day in Baja begins with a
great sunrise, but I think this was the queen of all sunrises, at least for our trip.
Today's goal was to get some miles in--we wanted to get back to our friends at Surf Camp and spend
a few more days with them before our trip ended--and we still had a long way to go. The destination I'd
planned was Rancho Piedra Blanca, another place I'd read about here and at bajabound.
We weren't expecting to really find anything there; at this point of our journey we'd found that the best
places were found, not planned and so as we rolled out of Bahia Concepcion we knew that we had
a few options if Piedra Blanca didn't pan out.
We followed Mex 1 north through Mulege--that name is just plain fun to say: Moo La HEY--and along
the coast to Santa Rosalia where it turns west towards San Ignacio. The road is very enjoyable as it
sweeps past the volcanoes and up and over the backbone of the peninsula.
We pulled into San Ignacio, filled up at the Pemex and once again stocked up at the tienda there.
It was Saturday afternoon and the market was the place to be, full of people, busy in a good way.
We slogged on northwest along 1, painfully aware of the saddle as the road became straighter,
bulling its way through the central plain and eventually we found ourselves in Vizcaino where we
filled up our tanks again. We'd made good uneventful progress, now we could indulge ourselves.
Just beyond Vizcaino a dirt road angles off of Mex 1 towards Punta San Francisquito and
Bahia de Los Angeles, we were ready to get off the asphalt and ride some good ol' dirt.
A fun ride, not too difficult to navigate although there were several intersections and mazes. We'd
become used to finding branching roads that eventually all come back together, usually the branch
has been created to get around some obstacle or another. A good mix of sand, rocks, washboard and
dust. We were having a great time.
When planning this trip I'd spent a fair amount of time trying to locate the Rancho. It wasn't easy, as the
people who I found who'd been there hadn't marked its location carefully, so I'd placed a waypoint as
a guess based on things like "yeah, it's about where that creek on the map crosses the road, right where
it reads '21.2'..." We were about a 1/2 mile from my waypoint when we see a weatherbeaten sign for
Rancho Piedra Blanca, round a small spur and there it is.
We ride up amongst people on horseback, small girls hiding behind fenceposts, dogs running and
barking------not sure if this is the right place. Is this Rancho Piedra Blanca? Can we camp here?
It is one of the best memories of the trip. And one of the reasons I wish I could have spoken better
Spanish. As near as I can tell it is a family-run ranch, with cattle, horses, herding dogs, the works.
They've built a few casitas on the upper edge of their homestead along with a very nice bathhouse
and separate toilet building. There's a big palapa with chairs and a table, a barbecue, places to camp
and a HUGE dining room.
The owners are very friendly, curious and it would have been so much more enjoyable to be able
to converse with them, but all we could do is stumble along in our poor Spanish, use some sign language,
and lots of laughter.
They prepared us a delicious meal of carne asada burritos, and when we'd plowed through one plate
fixed another until we were stuffed.
There were some good-looking rock formations nearby so my son took his bouldering shoes and went
off in search of some climbing
while I sat in the lawn chair
and watched a young man practice his roping skills on a calf, helped by a dog or two.
One of the men had made sure to light the water heater as soon as we arrived and we took advantage,
I think we turned it into a sauna, but we simply couldn't help it.
The perfect Baja day.