Gary Graham – ROAD TREKKER

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Coci … my fish spotting dog

Mex 1 road trip conquered with common sense, coupled with modern technology
After three solid weeks covering back-to-back tournaments — Los Cabos Billfish, Bisbee Offshore — the Black & Blue, and finishing up with the 19th Annual Western Outdoor News/Yamaha Los Cabo Tuna Jackpot Tournament — I left Cabo early on a Friday morning heading north on Mex 1.

I usually take the “Roadtrek” south in the spring, leaving the van in storage, and fly back and forth monthly until early November. This year was no different.

Last year I managed to take a wrong turn out of Cabo and it had taken more than an hour to sort it out.

What was different this year, was that I used the Google Maps app on my cell and zipped right through the outskirts of Cabo and onto the highway north.

UNTIL THE COCO'S Corner turnoff, the only traffic in either direction was a 3-car group headed south.

Making it through La Paz before the usual early morning traffic, I was soon rolling past the first inspection point north of La Paz with little more than a “Buenos Dias” from the Officer on duty. Caution: There is still some roadwork just beyond that point and it’s in rough condition. Expect detours and drive with caution.

Expect additional roadwork south of Ciudad Constitución with dirt detours as they are widening the road, followed by the 20+ stop signs in town that are a favorite hangout of local police. Be careful! NO ROLLING STOPS!

Past Ciudad Insurgentes, the next road work is approximately 30 miles north where there are dirt detours around bridge construction projects.

Mid-morning, I pulled into Puerto Escondido at the invitation of Gregory Nash Rhew, manager of the Puerto Escondido Marine facility. The marina is owned by a new group that has changed the face of the area.

Rhew gave me a brief tour on his Marine facility … a full-service boat yard equipped with a cement ramp and a travel lift for larger boats. This is a welcome addition for the Loreto boating community as well as for cruising yachts.

Back on Mex 1, I continued my journey homeward. Santa Rosalia is a mess with the main road north of town along the waterfront under repair until the road turns inland. There had been chatter about several police cars equipped with radar stopping travelers in both directions beyond San Ignacio after the Military Inspection point. Sure enough a few miles before the Abreojos turn-off, several south-bound Baja 1000 support vehicles were pulled over.

With the Baja 1000 scheduled for the following week, from that point north the southbound traffic increased.

AS I ARRIVED in San Felipe the bright full moon was just dropping behind the foothills to the northwest.

Beyond Guerrero Negro, the reports of more potholes mentioned frequently on the various forums were confirmed. The number and severity definitely demanded a reduction of speed going northward. It was almost dark by the time I arrived at Punta Prieta where the road to Bahia de Los Angeles heads east.

I stopped at a small Café where there were a handful of big rigs. I inquired about parking for the night, and a rancher visiting with the truck drivers volunteered that I could park on his small ranch on the other side of the road for 60 pesos.

By all reports, Mex 1 was in very rough condition with pot holes and worn roads from where I was parked to Km. 133 north of Cataviña.

When I awoke at 2-am, the surrounding desert was brightly lit by a full moon. Although I do not normally drive at night, I was back on Mex 1 heading north. I wasn’t alone that early Saturday morning as big rigs streamed south. By the time I reached the Laguna Chapala Mex 5 turnoff, the number of potholes combined with the increased traffic, convinced me that with the bright moon the Mex 5 option made sense.

Until the Coco’s Corner turnoff, the only traffic in either direction was a 3-car group headed south. The road lived up to its reputation of being rough and rocky but well-marked. I drove slow and resisted the impulse to speed up on the straight stretches.

I was back on the paved road heading north in about an hour and a half. From Gonzaga Bay to Puertecitos is 30-kilometers, paved and in great condition; from there to San Felipe, itis in rough condition. The paved road has eroded in many areas and there are potholes. If you are driving it, go very slow as there are numerous vados that can sneak up on you.

Arriving in Mexicali, once again I depended on Google Maps to lead me through the maze to the border, which it did perfectly … even though at the last few minutes I was sure the directions were wrong. However, modern technology prevailed, and as I made the left turn it instructed, not only was I at the crossing, but I was at the Sentry entrance.

Once again, common sense, coupled with modern technology, brought me home safely!

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