As we prepared to leave Los Barriles northbound we started asking THE question that was a concern for all of us who wintered south of the border; Return to the United States on Mexico1 – that narrow hell of potholes the size of VW Bugs, speeding truck drivers, and winding miles, or take on the as of yet still unfinished Mexico 5 where 22 miles can take hours?
Our trip south three months prior was our 5th time going up and down Baja in the last couple of years. Although driving Mexico 1 has never been something we relish, this time around we were pulling our Lance trailer and our timing also happened to coincide with the Baja 1000. The first was no worry. Our house on wheels is only 21′ plus hitch and tracks perfectly behind the truck. No problem.
Having to deal with the bat-shit crazy Baja 1000 support drivers was another matter altogether. Much of the 1000 miles or so of Mexico 1 that makes up Baja is just fine. Yes, it’s narrow, frequented by cows and goats, and the idea of a shoulder is just a dream but the road itself is fine. However, the 361 or so kilometers between El Rosario and Guerrero Negro has been a potholed piece of crap on each of our trips and last fall proved to be by far the worst we’d experienced.
Heading north we were mentally bracing for a couple of extremely slow driving days but then started to consider the other option; breaking off onto unfinished Mexico 5.
We had actually taken Mexico 5 on our first trip down Baja 2 1/2 years ago. At that point, we were still in our Adventurer truck camper and the washboard gravel wasn’t much of a concern. With a trailer, we felt the route deserved more consideration. We read online forums, we spoke to fellow travelers who were heading south, and finally, we just decided to go for it. After all, we knew the hell awaiting us on Mexico 1, why not make it an adventure by choosing a different route?
The verdict? We’d do it again. Yep, it is sloooow. There has been progress, a fair amount actually in Mexico road terms, since we last passed this way. The distance unpaved is down to around 20 miles and took us just over three hours. And yet. It wasn’t a bad drive, especially when the days drive culminated in an evening on stunning Gonzaga Bay.
And hey, that is just another part of the next big adventure right?!