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Archive for March 9, 2008

Sunday 9 March 2008 – San Diego to San Quintín

Greetings from Motel Marie Celeste in San Quintin (my 3rd visit).

I have been writing daily Diary reports, as and when time permits, since leaving the UK on 1 February, and Eunice has asked me to include her friend Gloriana in the audience, consisting of my partner Angie, my sons Anton & Christiaan, my sister Margot, my good friend Alain, who made this trip with me in February, and Cliff, Ian and Eunice, the 3 Amigos who are accompanying me this time. The Diaries will help us once we get home to sort our pictures.

So, people were afraid that seeing Baja the second time, so soon after the first, would be boring. Day 1 of Trip 2 confirmed to me that this is not the case. Last time was very much ‘driving into the unknown’. As a result we arrived in San Quintín in the dark and then, on top of everything else, we got stuck in the sand. This time, Eunice and I were well rested instead of Alain & I coping with jet lag. Eunice was on familiar home territory, leaving San Diego, so that we even had time to pop by a Frye’s (like a massive PC World in the UK). She had managed to fry (excuse pun) her USB port on the laptop the night before, so popped in to get a replacement. Cliff made use of the stop to get a Laplink cable.

From the Computer shop, straight on to I-5, to the border, where I was now very familiar with the procedure of getting a Mexican Visitors Visa. Last time we missed the turn to MEX1D and as a result went the hard way through Tijuana, Mexico’s 4th largest city. This time I knew where to go and saved a good hour by using MEX1D, the scenic toll version of MEX1.

Eunice was getting excited and frustrated as we passed rock face after rock face covered in Dudleya. These were D. brittonii, the most desirable of the genus, covered in white farina (a white waxy powder). It was impossible to stop to take their picture. So I pulled over on to MEX1, which here runs parallel to the toll road, soon found a stop (S860) and photographed: Mammillaria dioica, Dudleya hintonii, D. sp. (green), Bergerocactus emoryi, Cylindropuntia sp., and Agave shawii (some plants in flower). The location enabled us to look down a beach, with Mexicans riding their horses along the surf on this wonderful sunny, yet hazy, Sunday afternoon.

The next stop, S861, was Puente El Mirador, where Alain and I had also stopped on our first Baja Day in February. Amazing how much more you notice on a subsequent visit. In addition to Bergerocactus emoryi, Agave shawii and an Opuntia sp., this time we also found Ferocactus viridescens, Mammillaria dioica and a Dudleya sp. How come we missed these a month earlier? Unbelievable!

Another stop, S862, was again prompted by our Dudleya spotter, Eunice, but also revealed Ferocactus viridescens, Agave shawii and an unidentified Cucurbit (member of the Cucumber Plant Family).

S863, again along MEX1, was for a green Dudleya sp., while S864, farther along also had Mammillaria dioica on the scene. The difference was mainly that we had more time and I guess it was easier to park along the road with the higher clearance of the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4×4.

Overall, the rains of last January, that had already created a super green scenery when Alain and I drove through it, had developed further. There were fields and hillsides covered in yellow, purple and mauve flowers and the grass was now so tall that it would hide many of the smaller cacti from the eye.

We arrived at Motel Marie Celeste, this time in daylight and enjoyed a few Margaritas over dinner, looking back over yet another fabulous day. There were a few moans when I suggested it was time for a rest, but Cliff was snoring his head off within minutes of his head touching the pillow. I’m sure that the fresh air and new sights will make us sleep like lambs, as tomorrow we want to be up & ready for breakfast at 8 a.m. at the latest.