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creeping devil's cactus

"The Devil's Road" Main Expedition, Day 33

April 2nd (Puerto San Carlos to Mission San Luis Gonzaga)

In May of last year, JT, Greg and I had the pleasure of meeting and spending the day with Julio Solis of the Waterkeeper Alliance (the Bay Keeper at San Carlos). We had a wonderful day and he gave us a great interview. His interview can be seen in our Isla Magdelena episode on our website. We wanted to check in with him to say hello and see what, if any, changes have happened since we last saw him.

The drive to the bay is not that exciting. It is a straight and well paved road. We did see a few clumps of the Creeping Devil's cactus here and there. Julio, unfortunately, was not around. Disappointed, we drove around town to see if there was anything to film that we had missed last May.

We are officially part of the "biker community." Now, we have been embraced, acknowledged, and other bikers actually wave to us. In San Carlos we drove by a restaurant with 8 or so motorcycles parked out front. It looked like the perfect opportunity to sit and meet some of our fellow riders and eat some good food. We were acknowledged by a biker gang from Ciudad Constitucion called Reyes del Camino. These guys were well decorated with leather vests and biker paraphernalia, but didn't give us much thought and kept to themselves.

As they were leaving, one of the younger members nodded at us his and quietly asked where we were from. His English was good, so I took the opportunity to "break the ice." As it turns out, these guys were tame and very interested in our project. We gave out stickers, which immediately most found a place on their bike to proudly display it. I gave a bandana to the leader and with honor he tied it around his neck. The bikes were a rag-tag display of Yamaha, Suzuki, Harley Davidson, and several unknown brands, even a dirt bike. In Mexico, anything goes! You can’t help but admire it.

Looking at the map and our planned route, we were still several days ahead of schedule and had nothing else to film in the area, so we decided for a side trip to see the Mission San Luis Gonzaga. The twenty-mile dirt and gravel road was not too bad. There were a few thin sandy spots, but they didn't give us any trouble. This mission sits in a shallow arroyo with a stream running through the bottom. Palm trees line the stream banks and as usual, the cows, horses, mules, and donkeys ruled the town. They run freely and leave their "calling cards" everywhere.

San Luis Gonzaga is another small community centered around the mission, it's water, and the livestock that can be raised. It was quiet with many buildings in ruin and we walked around taking pictures uninterrupted. That took all of about 45 minutes and we looked at each other as though we were both asking, "What now?" Since Nelson and Goldman did not come through here, we took the drive to get "B" roll shots and visit a place we had never been. That night we camped in the desert a few miles out of town.

Day 8 (Continued)

May 22, 2016 (Day 8)

On the road to San Carlos, we came across yet another dead cow that had a dozen turkey vultures and a half dozen caracaras picking at the carcass. We found a spot to turn around so we could slowly creep up on them to film so as not to spook the birds. A little care was needed to get the camera in place, not scare the birds and get a good shot. We may have succeeded.

The best find along the stretch of road was a photogenic patch of creeping devil’s cactus. They look like caterpillars that very slowly creep along the ground. The back end dies while the front end keeps growing. The main stalk then sends out fine rootlets into the ground to sustain itself.

The creeping devil's cactus. 

Arriving in the small fishing village of Puerto San Carlos was a little bit of a shock. The weather was cold; the wind was still problematic. We drove around town to get a “lay of the land,” scope out the launch ramp, find a camp spot, and try to find Julio Solis, the director and manager of the Waterkeeper Alliance. One of Greg’s contacts, and the Bay Keeper, Solis keeps poaching for sea turtles in check and helps educate the watermen of the area about conservation.

For more information on the Waterkeeper Alliance, visit

We camped in a nice spot next to the mangroves and back waters of the slough in Puerto San Carlos. We had a great dinner of chicken tacos with fresh veggies. We all slept fitful.