When? June 16th, 2018
Destination: San Diego to The Wall (Close to Santa Rosaliita)
Temp: 70 and Sunny – Low 50s at Night
Vehicle Configuration: 2017 Tacoma TRD Off-Road & Tepui Rooftop Tent
Purpose: Tacos, Surfing and Beach front camping with the boys
Thought of the hour: I should camp in Baja more often
CG description: Off-grid dispersed camping 20 feet from the beach. Not a single soul in sight.
As usual, there was a lot of preparation, planning and packing involved to get ready for our Baja trip. We had the perfect little crew of 4 with 2 rigs. Of course I was bringing the TopoTerra Tacoma, but my high school buddy Seth also has a pretty dialed Tacoma, perfect for Baja. Seth and the boys rolled into town Friday afternoon for last minute prep before our early morning roll out Saturday. After a glorious shop at Trader Joes and Bev Mo and some loading of the rigs, we were ready to hit the road in the morning. Unfortunately, after we were actually fianlly ready it was just pas midnight. Our 3:30am wake up call was approaching quickly, so we all hit the sack for some quick rest. I doubt any of us actually slept though given how excited we were to get on the road. After a few hours of sheet karate, it was time. We packed our remaining items, finished loading the rigs and hit the road about 4am.
We cruised through the border, Tijuana and Rosarito quite quickly given there was nobody on the road that early. Our first stop was San Miguel to see if there were any waves for a-quick surf. San Miguel is just before Ensenada and was about an hour and a half drive from my house in San Diego. We made it to our first destination just as daylight broke. The excitement of firing Baja waves was quickly shattered as we approached the parking lot and then walked the short distance to check the surf. Nada. Nill. Nothing. No waves for us! This was definitely a bummer, but we knew there were 6 more days of possible waves ahead, so no big deal. We took advantage of being stopped, used the bathroom and re-grouped on our plan of attack for the day. Our furthest destination was set to be Punta Abreojos, a 12+hour drive from us in San Diego. We figured that might be a pretty aggressive drive in 1 day, especially since we were running on only a couple hours of sleep. Seth had a couple other spots earmarked, so we made a plan and got back on the road. The next destination El Socorrito was a couple hours away, so we got back in the Tacos and charged on. None of us had ever been to this spot, so it was slightly more challenging to find. Luckily, as we made our way down the dirt road, the owner of the property Ricardo was there to point us in the right direction. At the end of the road was an awesome little camp area right on the beach; a couple pull in campsites with Palapas, grills and trash cans. We watched the waves for a few minutes while trying to decide on the next move. The waves weren’t great, but the excitement of getting in the water was unbearable for the guys, so they suited up and headed out for a quick surf. I used this time to take a much-needed siesta, as I was having serious trouble staying awake on the road. The guys weren’t in the water long. Seth was in first, so he and I prepared some lunch for all of us. Turkey sandwiches with hummus, fresh cheese and avocado hit the spot! After scarfing down some grub, we looked at the map and decided our next and final destination for the day would be The Wall, closest to Santa Rosaliita. All of us were eager to get to base camp for the night, set up and do some serious relaxing, so we began the 3.5-hour journey. Although the drive was quite desolate, the desert landscape was still very beautiful. We stopped a couple times for some photos, gas and went through a military checkpoint or two along the way. In fact, we passed through 3 military checkpoints day 1 and luckily had no issues. We finally hit the dirt around 5:30pm and boy were we pumped. We traveled west on the off-road trail that had some minimally technical driving spots, but never had to put our trucks in 4×4. 2WD vehicles are fine on this road as long as you have some decent tires and ground clearance. After about 10 minutes on the dirt road we could finally see bits and pieces of the ocean. We were here! We made it! I don’t think we could have been more excited. We stumbled on an epic little camp spot right by the beach that had a nice little mound to block the wind and a small fire pit. Daylight was fading, so we quickly set up camp so as not to have to work in the dark. I don’t think we could have found a better spot. Sun shinning, waves crashing and not a sole in sight. We truly were off-the grid, surrounded by nature, with peace, quiet and of course, freedom! We through some dinner on the grill cracked some cold ones and reflected on the long journey of the day. There is a feeling that can’t be described on your first night of an adventure such as this. The excitement, the thrill and just knowing that this was only day 1, left us wondering, what we would encounter next?
Baja, Mexico – Day 2
When? June 17th, 2018
Destination: The Wall to Punta Abreojos
Temp: 75 and Sunny – Low 50s at Night – High Winds
Day 2 of our Baja adventures brought new fun and exploration. We awoke to sunny skies and epic temperatures, had some breakfast and coffee, while reflecting on day 1 and all we encountered. We had finalized the plan the day before to trek all the way to Punta Abreojos, which was another 3 hours or so down. Punta Abreojos was to be our furthest destination South and hopefully some of the best waves of the trip. After breakfast we packed up the rigs to begin our short journey. The roads back out to the Highway proved to be some fun; nothing like a fairly moderate dirt road with the traction control on the Tacos turned off, slipping and sliding around turns. Given the road situation we were able to get some mental gopro footage for the after movie. As we made our way South we encountered one more military checkpoint, as well as an agriculture inspection as we crossed states into Baja Sur. We stopped to re-fuel the rigs, hit the bank and use the restroom along the way, and were welcomed with a sweet little tamale shack at the gas station. We all shared a quick bite and hit the road again for our final decent into Punta Abreojos.
A couple hours later, as we turned right off Highway 1 and headed west towards the water, a feeling of excitement and pure frothing came about, building even greater the closer we got to the water. As we entered the main drag of the small fishing village that is Punta Abreojos, we were welcomed with people cheering, dancing and hollering as we past by in our trucks. None of the boys had ever been to this spot, so we drove around checking the different surf spots, getting the lay of the land. Unfortunately, the ocean gods weren’t shinning down upon us, as there were no surfable waves just yet. It was so close, yet so far given the small waves were breaking seemingly right on top of the reef and rocks, making it near impossible to surf. The boys wanted nothing more than for the stories of the epic waves at Punta Abreojos to be true, but it just wasn’t in the cards this day. After some wishing and hoping for tide changes and larger swell, we eventually gave up for the time being. It was early evening and we were all famished, so we moseyed our way around town until we located a Taco shop. Being a Sunday, there weren’t too many options, but we finally stumbled on a rad little spot that proved to be nothing short of amazing. The Tecate and ‘Tacqueria’ signs gave hope of juicy street tacos with all the fixings. The spot did not disappoint, that’s for sure! We scarfed down some carne and adoboda tacos, and were even able to score some fresh tortillas for camp cooking.
After dinner we contemplated all the different camp spots we had found on our wave exploration earlier in the day. We landed on a spot right on the beach, surrounded by dunes on a point to the north end of town. We were able to nestle the tacos in a little dune ravine to help block some of the howling winds. Luckily as night approached and the sun set on the horizon, the wind seemed to calm quickly. We enjoyed our time around camp, telling stories, taking photos and joking with each other, while cracking some cold ones. Even though we struck out on the waves, the camp vibes were strong and the thrill of the next day approaching with possible swell and larger waves was heavy. After a few hours of relaxing, it was time to call it a night. We turned in wondering what the next day would hold, yet still happy and content from the day’s experiences.
Baja, Mexico – Days 3, 4 & 5
When? June 18th & 19th, 2018
Destination: Punta Abreojos to Punta San Fernando
Temp: 70 and Sunny – Low 50s at Night – Moderate to High Winds
After a great overnight sleeping session, we awoke to beautiful sunny skies, no wind and the beautiful ocean at our feet. Unfortunately, the waves were not cooperating very well, but the boys decided to give it a go and hit the water anyways. We had some coffee and quick breakfast. Noting like fresh tortillas from the local tacqueria with nut butter and some fresh fruit to get your day going in the right direction. The guys hit the surf, while I organized camp and did some serious bronzing on the beach. After a few hours less than great surf conditions, the guys made it back to camp to wait patiently for better surf. They waited and waited and waited, to no avail. It was quickly becoming apparent that we were not going to get the firing waves we had seen in all the videos from Punta Abreojos. As the day progressed, so did the wind, making us severely second-guess our current camp situation in the middle of the small sand dune area next to the beach. The wind continued to howl, so much in fact that we were banished to the truck for the rest of the afternoon and evening. The sand storm was a definite less than desirable situation, but we made the best of it. Nothing the inside of the Taco with a few beers, a game of cards against humanity and some serious free styling couldn’t fix. The only real bummer was we couldn’t really cook any sort of real dinner with the sand flying everywhere. We compromised with some salami, cheese, chips and salsa, as that was easy enough to cut up and grub on in the truck. We thought about bailing and moving on to our next destination, but figured it would royally suck to have to pack up in the sand storm, thus we decided to just hold out until morning before departing. That proved to be a great call, given the wind had dies by morning. It allowed us to make breakfast and coffee, then pack up and clean most of the sand off all our gear before doing so. After packing up camp, we filled our rigs with fuel and said by to Punta Abreojos. Although we didn’t quite get what we were looking for, we still made some memories and had epic times in this awesome quaint little fishing village. Next stop, Punta San Fernando.
The goal for day 4 was to find some WAVES! We reckoned it would be best to head North from Punta Abreojos towards Punta San Fernando, Punta Baja and Punta San Antonio. Given the tide and swell conditions, we figured this point would be our best chance to find some decent waves. We trekked the majority of the day north, passing a checkpoint and crossing back over the Baja Sur state line. We stopped in the small town of Vizcaino for a quick shop at a local Mercado, then some amazing Mariscos tacos and ceviche. We found a little place that had amazing food and wi-fi so a couple of us could catch up on some quick work related items and touch base with the wives. After filling our bellies, we continued to head north on highway 1, back through the stretch of dessert, cactus and sparse landscape that we had just traversed days earlier. All in all, we traveled about 6 hours or so until we reached the turnoff for the dirt road that would lead us west towards the water and hopefully amazing surf. After a full day of pavement crushing, it was great to finally hit the dirt and have some fun in the Tacos. We cruised south down a fairly maintained dirt road, paralleling some small mountains, mixed in with a sand dune or two here and there. The road kept us baring south for quite some time before finally turning west towards the water. The excitement, the thrill of the unknown crept over us as we approached the ocean off in the distance. As we crest the final hill, our mecca was revealed; a nice long stretch of beautiful ripe for camping. As we traversed the 4×4 road, we headed through a small fishing village and then stumbled on an amazing campsite up on a bluff looking down on what seemed to be a solid breaking wave. After some contemplating and discussion, we decided to take our chances on the bluff, directly in the wind given the beach access right out of camp and how awesome of a view it was. We quickly set up camp and the guys rushed to get their wetsuits on and boards ready for a-quick evening surf before the sunset. I used the time to get camp a little more dialed in, as well as prepping for dinner for once the guys were done. I also decided it was a great time to shoot some pics of the guys surfing, as well as of the rigs in our new epic camp location. After the sunset and the guys got out of the water, we cooked up some sausage and prawn pasta, with lots of garlic, bell pepper and some other spices. The cervezas were flowing while grubbing and reflecting on the day’s adventures. We were beyond thankful for having the opportunity to be in such an amazing place, with awesome company. We truly felt blessed to be able to experience what others only dream about!
Day 5 was an early one as we had high hopes of some serious waves right out in front of our camp. Unfortunately, the ocean had other plans for us, which was pretty much par for the course on this trip for us. There was a little swell and the guys caught a few decent waves, but nothing to write home about that’s for sure. I spent the morning trying to get some good shots of them as they surfed hard trying to catch any wave that would remotely cooperate. After their morning surf, the boys were hungry as could be, so we made some lunch and just kicked it at camp watching the waves and hoping for a positive change; no dice though. We had a pretty chill day for the most part, just watching waves, snacking and some light drinking. Towards the evening, the waves picked up a bit and the guys hit the surf for one last shot for the day. It was a quick one as they were having difficulty finding anything worth riding. After the surf session, we turned our focus to our other love of the trip, FOOD! We cooked up a feast of chicken burritos with onion, garlic, peppers, salsa, and of course HEAPS of guacamole. Although the waves sucked, there was definitely no shortage of food on this trip. In fact, we ate like kings! As we climbed into our rooftop tents, wind howling and bellies full, we were happy as the little clams littered all over the beach in front of our camp.
Baja, Mexico – Day 6
Another day was upon us as we conducted our normal surf check; again, nada. The guys went out anyways just to get wet before we headed north. The trip was quickly coming to and end and our last night was approaching. Rather than head out to the highway, we elected to follow the off-road trails north along the coast back towards California. We knew we had a long road ahead, so figured it would be best to try and make it as far back towards the US as possible. Along the way, we ran into some of our most technical driving areas of the trip. It was nothing crazy, but still allowed us to throw the Tacos in 4×4 low a couple times and have some fun. Seth zigged when he should have zagged and at one point, ended up in a hole on the trail. It definitely could have been a big bummer of a situation, but luckily the Tacos have serious 4×4 skills and he was able to pull out of it fairly easily. We continued along the coast checking surf spot after surf spot hoping for some waves. We didn’t have an actual plan on where to stay for our last night, so we figured it would be best to just keep searching for waves and a good place to camp, until we found something we liked. This proved to be a harder task than one might think, as we were used to amazing campsites and were becoming quite picky. After lots of checking and searching, we decided it might be best to charge it back to where we stopped to surf the first day on the way down called Playa Rancho El Socorrito. We figured there might be some decent waves and we knew it had an epic campground that we didn’t get to stay at previously. After several hours of driving, we pulled into our final destination and last camping site of the trip. The waves were mediocre at best, but after the long drive the guys were frothing to get out and catch some waves. While they surfed, I set up camp (as usual) and started working on dinner prep. We’d saved the best for last, Steak Tacos. We grilled the steak and put together some kitchen sink guacamole with avocado (obviously), garlic, onion, cilantro, lime, salsa Fresca and a plethora of spices; boy was it good! We used all the remaining avocadoes and thus had more than we actually needed. Luckily, one of the sons of the owners was down by the beach watching the guys surf next to camp and ended up helping us eat some it. I quickly made friends with him, as his English was decent enough to communicate. He was a younger boy; maybe 17 or 18 I would guess, who was so eager to communicate, learn and trade stories. As we talked, he informed us about the ranch, his family and how it all came to be, as well as some epic stories of things that had happened on the ranch. It was very interesting to hear his stories and was a pleasant addition to the night, especially since we had very little communication with anyone beside ourselves for most of the trip. The entire trip we had been searching for Lena (firewood); who knew how hard it would be to score some wood down south?! We had struck out hard the entire trip, but this boy came through for us on our last night. He had some old wood at his house on the ranch that he ended up bringing down to us later, which made for a perfect last night to our long journey. The boy and his cousin joined us for some chips and guacamole and a couple beers. Shhhhhh, don’t tell his mom! We ate, drank and sat by the fire, warm, happy and content on our last night in paradise (to us). The unfortunate reality of our trip coming to an end was setting in, back to real life soon.
Baja, Mexico – Day 7
Our final day was upon us. We woke fairly early to the hustle and bustle of rock hunters driving down on the beach to work, as well as ranch dogs running around and getting their morning walks in. Again the waves sucked, but the guys surfed anyways. I started packing up camp, a little bummed that the trip was coming to an end, yet content with the experiences, sites we had seen and the friendships we had re-kindled. We still had a 5+hour drive ahead of us, so we packed up camp quickly and bailed; after all, we were pretty pro at packing and unpacking camp after doing it so many times. As we traveled North towards the border, we reminisced of the weeks events. What a journey, an experience like no other. We didn’t end up making it back to the border until about 5pm, which had all of us quite worried that there would be a huge line; Friday at 5pm, we figured we were pretty screwed! As we looped around on the overpass and crested the hill down to the border, we realized that somehow we had escaped the long lines; there was literally nobody in line somehow. In fact, this was probably the shortest border wait of my life personally. What a great ending to an awesome trip! We made it back across quickly with no issues and charged it back to the house. Lots of unloading, cleaning and organizing ensued. Although a lot of work, this trip was one for the record books. 4×4 trails, surfing, beachfront camping, tasty food and mucho cervezas with great friends was just what we all needed. Some rest, relaxation and exploration filled our hearts with joy and will provide all of us with everlasting memories and stories for our little ones. If you ever have the chance to take a trip like this we highly recommend it! Until next time, remember to always #findyourfreedom!