Boondocking in El Tomatal (March 5 2016)

Goodbye San Lucas!

DSC06002First stop is Santa Rosalia, for cash and food. It’s Saturday and many people are out, eating at yummy looking taco stands, standing around the church (a funeral seems to be in progress) and just enjoying themselves. There is no stop at the El Boleo Bakery, however. (“We won’t get fooled again!”)

DSC06005DSC06007We are nearly out of everything, but while shopping at Ley, we remember the agricultural check at Parallelo 28 so avoid getting much in the way of fruits or vegetables.

The road north of Santa Rosalia is terrible, with the worst potholes. In fact, some have just expanded into dirt/rock road. A wacko driver overtakes a truck at the crest of a hill and nearly runs into us, coming up the other side. Driving is such a thrill out here!

DSC06009Back through the basin behind the Three Virgins volcanoes, then up and down into San Ignacio. As we had promised ourselves on the way down, we go into the town this time.

DSC06013DSC06014Wow! This really is an oasis! The road down to the town is thick with date palms and foliage. There is a lake and things are lush and lovely. When the narrow road reaches town, there’s a pretty plaza with big trees and a church which might be one of the nicest in Baja. It’s more like one of the mainland churches – large, airy and well constructed out of stone.

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“This should be a Pueblo Magico,” comments Big Dog. All over Mexico, you find towns designated as “Magic Villages.” Some are truly captivating attractive towns while others are…not. Maybe they paid some official for the denomination. Todos Santos carried the nickname although we didn’t feel that much “magic” there. (Santa Rosalia was more “magico” than Todos Santos…) San Ignacio feels better than Todos Santos – like it is more of a real town, somehow.

DSC06024DSC06025Back on Mex 1, we are driving north towards Guerrero Negro. At the military checkpoint, one of the soldiers gets into the vehicle and starts opening cabinets. When he opens the back cabinet, Big Dog’s undies fly out. Good thing he didn’t open the opposite side or my undies would have exploded in his face.

The long, flat stretch before Viscaino is very windy and we get tossed around a bit. Some gusts are strong enough to send poor Sprockets wobbling. On top of that, a bee finds its way into the vehicle and onto Big Dog who gets stung while driving!

DSC06028We want to go back to Antonio’s fish taco truck in Guerrero Negro, but by the time we reach Viscaino, we are starving and stop at the first taqueria, “Señor Taco.” Mr. Taco only has asada and adobada tacos. There’s a tv on the wall playing a popular Saturday variety show. It’s silly and colorful and slapstick – just like a weekend variety show in Japan. We both order one of each kind of taco. They are only P10 each and super taaaaaasty! The best part is the homemade salsa which is full of umami and one of the best tasting salsas we’ve had.

Our hunger is sated, but when we reach Guerrero Negro we go back to Antonio’s anyway. He’s now got a really cute girl working with him.

“So, was it still the best fish taco?” asks Big Dog. On the way down, you thought so, but back then, it was only the second fish taco place we had visited.

“The fish is still awesome, though I like the way the Loreto gals fried theirs. Of course, their fish was different. It was lighter while Tony’s is meatier.”

“If Tony had Señor Taco’s salsa, his would be tops.”

“Or if the Loreto gals had that salsa, they’ve be tops.”

DSC06029Just north of Guerrero Negro is the ag inspection but today, there is no inspection, no spraying of tires. The inspection point looks deserted. Is it because it’s a Saturday? If there was going to be no inspection, we could have bought a bag of oranges. Drats.

DSC06030We are headed to El Tomatal, a beach one of the campers recommended.

“The turnoff is right there at the military checkpoint,” he said, and sure enough, after the “vehicle frisk/pat down” (as I’ve been calling these inspections) and a funny conversation about how to say “buenas tardes” in English, we ask about El Tomatal and they point to a dirt road, partially blocked by their cones.

Not knowing what it is like up ahead, we rattle down the road, passing wild burros and a ranch with some cattle. A ranch hand is there so we ask him if this is the road to the playa. Like, duh, what else is out there?

This dirt road is not too bad and it is short – only about 2.5 miles. As you approach shore, you see dunes in the distance, but just before that, a tiny oasis with a lagoon, palms, grass and clover.

DSC06037Nobody is here, so we just stop in the middle of the road, just before it gets too soft and sandy. There are dunes all around. It feels wilder here. The beach is round rocks, a few shells, but not an overabundance of them, like San Lucas, Bahia Concepcion or even Guerrero Negro. Surf is hard, pounding, rough and rolling. It smells like the Pacific.

DSC06033DSC06032On the highway, we saw purple and white wildflowers but here it is mainly thorny bush and low growing vegetation. It looks like sea asparagus. There are animal prints in the sand but the only creatures we actually see are…ants. Of course.

The setting sun casts a hazy glow. Not a bad place to boondock for a night.

End of Day Miles: 2347.3 mi

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Author: ontheroadwithsprockets

I've been traveling since I was born -- the first big trip was before I was two, across the Pacific, from my native Japan to Los Angeles on a cargo ship. There have been many journeys since then, through many continents and cultures.

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