From Above ….

One of the few luxuries of the short flight from Loreto to the States is to view the peninsula from great heights. The rugged expanse of the Baja terrain comes more clearly into focus, with shadows defining its craggy rock faces, narrow canyons, wide arroyos and spiny mountain ranges.

From above, except for the seasonal covering of green, the landscape appears barren – treeless – rough – yet stunning with its angular surfaces met on both sides of its narrow length by water.  On the west coast, the Pacific Ocean.  On the east, the Sea of Cortez. The seas moderate the temperature on the fringe coasts, while in the summer, the central spine steams under the summer sun, and in the winter, chills down to an occasional frost.

In the short expanse of 700 miles, the landscape encompasses arid scrub desert, dry lakes, creeks fed by waterfalls, inactive volcanoes and the piles left behind by their liquid lava activity… visible by highway travel, but from the air, more a palette of smooth surfaces vs jagged edges.

Since I travel both by auto and by plane, I love the opportunity to merge the images in my mind. To track Mex 1 far below from the air and to ponder places where I have camped and kayaked, creates a mind map of the terrain with personal overlays.

This broad and unpopulated expanse of landscape opens my mind and heart and clears the heavy weight of city responsibilities. I am so lucky to call this rugged this country my second home.

Only in Mexico

Only in Mexico could the transport of a huge tank that utilizes the entire width of Mex 1 – the solitary two-lane highway that spans the peninsula – take place in the full light of day. No matter that traffic backs up for hours over the spiny mountain climb through the central deserts of Baja. No. Just a couple of guys riding on the very back (no seat belts or other security measures) waving traffic to ‘back off.’

At special spots on ridges with a small pullout, the caravan (three huge trucks all tied together – imagine a Burlington-Santa Fe train – pulling this enormous tank) would simply stop. Rather than the rigs pulling over, the dudes on the back jump down and begin to direct north and south bound traffic around the road covering vehicles.

In between the stops, the traffic sooooo slow (around 8 MPH) let travelers kind of hang out, chat while ‘parked’ in the middle of the road.

In the States, it would require mountainous piles of permits, special hours of travel, police escorts with sirens and flashing lights, a special traffic co-ordinator, and specified rest stops.

It’s scenes like this that really bring travel Mexico to my heart. All that’s required is patience and a good sense of humor – along with a dollap of curiosity.

The tank? Probably bound for Santa Rosalia and the newly re-established copper mines.