We knew it was going to be a giant endeavor after we determined to hire a automotive and drive your complete size of the Baja peninsula — a 20-hour journey with plenty of stretches of nothing however mountains and desert. What we didn’t anticipate was the arrival of Kay, a Class 1 hurricane that bashed its means up the Pacific coast of Baja, bringing 75 mph winds and torrential rain.
Happily, we had already made it as much as Ensenada earlier than the worst of the storm hit. At our northerly perch, as we watched the storm batter each the Pacific and Sea of Cortez coasts, issues remained comparatively calm. We braced ourselves for winds and flooding, however when morning got here on Sept. 9, all we noticed was lots of fog and a little bit of rain. The remainder of the peninsula, nonetheless, didn’t fare as properly. With a flight out of Los Cabos on Sept. 16, and a rental automotive that might solely be returned to a boutique company in San Jose del Cabo, the remainder of our roadtrip itinerary was wanting tenuous, at finest.
Ensenada, Baja California, with fog on the horizon. Photograph Credit score: Meagan Drillinger
For many journey advisors, the most important space of concern could be Los Cabos, which was the primary cease in Hurricane Kay’s path. Surging waves and lashing rain struck the dual resort vacation spot, however based on the Los Cabos Tourism Board, cleanup had already begun and never a lot injury had been accomplished. Los Cabos Airport remained open and, as of Sept. 8, flight connectivity was gearing as much as resume.
However journey advisors who promote different elements of Baja California Sur and Baja California, and who’ve information of the area, ought to know that every one is just not OK in the remainder of the peninsula. With restricted assets, a sparse inhabitants and no official supply of freeway updates, I joined a Fb group referred to as Speak Baja Street Circumstances as a way to get real-time updates from others who stay down the peninsula or had gotten caught making an identical journey. That proved to be a godsend.
Members posted movies and images in actual time, in addition to anecdotes from their very own private drives. For a time, the transpeninsular freeway connecting Los Cabos and La Paz was closed, although that seems to be open now. La Paz noticed heavy rain and winds, however injury was additionally minimal. The identical is true of Loreto, although main crossings, like bridges close to Santa Rosalia, Catavina and San Bruno proceed to be flooded or, in some circumstances, utterly washed out. Cities like Mulege and Bahia de Los Angeles are inundated. We have been simply visiting these cities lower than one week in the past, and within the blink of a watch they’re struggling to rebuild.
A screenshot of a Fb highway updates message group. Photograph Credit score: Meagan Drillinger
There have been reviews of traces 50-cars deep for gasoline at gasoline stations. Anybody who has pushed the Baja peninsula earlier than is aware of there are huge stretches of nothing however freeway, and gasoline stations are few and much between, working the chance of those gasoline stops working out of provide.
As we sit up in Ensenada, we’re grateful to be protected and comparatively dry. However it’ll absolutely be a number of days earlier than we are able to safely get south of Loreto and proceed again to Los Cabos. For many who stay in Baja, this expertise has drastically disrupted lives and, for a lot of, modified them ceaselessly. For these of us passing by way of, it has been a reminder to remain affected person and keep in mind that on the subject of Mom Nature, a lot of it’s out of our management.
Driving the Baja peninsula was a dream of mine, and I’m so glad I did it. Nevertheless, subsequent time, I’d most likely solely do it in a single path, and I might do it in a camper van in order that we might not have to attend so lengthy between drives to search out locations to sleep. I additionally want that we had used a journey advisor. We most likely wouldn’t be in such a state of uncertainty speeding to return a rental automotive if we had!