The Baja California of Yesteryear

This book of the Baja of yesteryear takes you down the old pre-pavement peninsular road of the 60’s and early 70’s describing the road and recounting the conditions that we faced, while expanding on our Baja adventures as we went These adventures reach back over fifty years in the Baja that we all love.

Later chapters describe other areas and humorous events and alas Que Lastimas! Where appropriate I have related those conditions to the conditions of today, made suggestions and pointed out interesting things to do as well as explaining some interesting geologic features. There are 270 photographs, some taken over 50 years ago in 1963 and nearly all taken in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

It started with the geology field trips and classes of San Diego State College in the very early 60’s and continued with many personal adventures alone and with other groups in Baja. Yes! Much of this happened to me, however, I have added a few stories from others of our group. To the best of my memory it is a true accounting, although a few of the tales might have been embellished as they were told and retold around the campfires and in the bars of Baja.

Adventure Points — Prior to the paving of the highway in the 70’s there were a number of points on the trip down the peninsula that only the experienced or the adventurous and intrepid tourist would pass. Of those people who deigned to even enter Baja few ever drove south of Tijuana and fewer yet got below Ensenada and the blowhole at Punta Banda. The end of the paved road north of San Quintin represented the edge of civilization to most of the rest. (It was!) If by some chance they got to El Rosario, Mama Espinosa would advise all but the well equipped to turn back. As a result of this culling, we could often travel all day on the main Baja “Highway” and meet no one but the occasional trucker or local. This was the last frontier.

There is some rhyme and reason to the sequence of events in this book, however, the adventures and Que Lastimas! are inter-twined. Recounting the memories of what happened in one year often leads to a related memory and another event in time and space. In short, like the author William Faulkner, I frequently digress! Of course these accounts and stories are not all of the tales of yesteryear. Many more have come to mind as I write this book. As Gary Peterson (my Master’s Thesis Chairman) said “You have to cut it off somewhere.”