The adventure begins in the morning as we cross the border together in Tecate and head east just a few miles on pavement before turning south onto dirt and heading up into the mountains. We'll spend the rest of our day making our way towards Mike's Sky Ranch, the legendary off-roader's oasis perched high in the mountains by a beautiful stream.
Seemingly in the middle of nowhere, you'll marvel at the swimming pool in the manicured courtyard while dining on a huge BBQ steak dinner, followed by some bench racing with new friends over a drink or two in their unique bar before hitting the sack.
If it's a clear night (and it usually is), you'll want to take some time out to stare up at the beautiful Baja sky for a truly awe inspiring moment.
In San Felipe, rapid new land developments have been spurred on by Americans who've discovered that a warm, beachside getaway is available for less than half of what they'd spend in California. We'll gas up and grab lunch at one of it's restaurants on the "malecon", or boardwalk before continuing south.
At one time, the road leading to the sleepy coastal village of Puertecitos was one of the most horrible "paved" roads in the world, with man eating potholes and sharp edges impossible to avoid. Now, this stretch has been repaved. However, the new "vados", or dips in the roadbed are so steep and abrupt that careful attention must be paid so as not to hit one at high speed unprepared for it. On the other hand, if you are prepared... they can be utilized as motorcycle launching pads! Quite a few American expatriates call Puertecitos home.
Until very recently, the road to Gonzaga Bay was an extremely harsh and winding two-track, with huge rim bending rocks sticking out of the roadbed everywhere and occasional stints of long straightaways with washboard so stiff and tall you'd forget you were on a "highway". Back then, the road was just meant for a motorcycle!
However, the government has undertaken a huge project to pave this route all the way down past Gonzaga bay to where it meets up with paved Highway 1. Kilometer by kilometer, with each passing month a new section of this once rough and tumble "road" is being turned into a scenic route suitable for any vehicle. But for now, we'll enjoy what's left of the old route and take in the views from the new "improved" section, as the views of the Sea of Cortez meeting the desert along this stretch are simply spectacular. When you next return, the dirt sections will likely be just distant, fond memories.
Reaching our destination, we'll enjoy one of the tastiest seafood dinners anywhere in Baja as we look out across beautiful crescent shaped Gonzaga Bay towards Punta Final from Alfonsina's, a fly-in restaurant and motel that's popular with private pilots from the US.