Northern Baja, Mexico

Trip Start Apr 11, 2010
Trip End May 20, 2010

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Flag of Mexico  , Baja California,
Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I somehow expected a vast desert of towering cacti to begin at the immediate south side of Ensenada. However, the beautiful Californiesque landscape of hills and valleys, vineyards and olive groves continued for over 50 miles along the winding two-lane road, the Transpeninsular "Highway".  Bodegas de Santo Tomas, Mexico's largest winery, and L.A. Cetto, actually have most of their vineyards around Santo Tomas and San Vicente even though the wineries themselves are in Ensenada and the Valle de Guadalupe.

Mission San Vicente Ferrer is one of the few attractions in the area.  Like many Baja missions it was only active for about a half century from 1780 to 1830 and now consists only of some ruins of adobe walls.

A couple hours south of Ensenada the landscape flattens out to a broad rather flat agricultural plain where the main crops seem to be strawberries and varieties of cut flowers and all the plants sold in the garden section at Home Depot that must be grown partially-shaded under canvas.  A string of dusty, traffic-clogged service towns for the agricultural industry sprawls along the highway - Lazaro Cardenas, Vicente Guerrero, and San Quintin.  I'm sure the beaches in the area are nice, but chilly and foggy enough to warrant waiting until I got further south on the peninsula to do my beaching.

South of San Quintin the Transpeninsular runs along the Pacific for about 30 miles to El Rosario where it turns inland.  I gassed-up and then filled up on some overpriced lobster burritos at famous Mama Espinosa's Cantina, surrounded by Baja 500 off-road race memorabilia.  It's said that El Rosario is where "The Real Baja" begins - 354 kilometers through the desert to the next gas station.
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