Bahia de los Angeles to Santa Gertrudis Mission
The day started off as a huge honor for us as a film crew. We had the pleasure of sitting down for breakfast and an interview with author Graham Mackintosh. He was in town and was excited to meet us and generous with his time. Graham is the author of four adventure books about Baja. His first, and most famous, is about his experience as he walked the entire perimeter of the Baja peninsula: Into a Desert Place. Truly an honor to meet him and talk Baja. During our trips over the years we recount his stories, having been to many of the places he visited during his trek.
With a nearly 200-mile day ahead of us, we drove out of town and headed into the hills.
The road to Santa Gertrudis starts with a "straight as an arrow" gravel road from Highway 1 to El Arco (22 miles). It took every bit of concentration that JT and I had to keep the bikes upright and moving. The recent winter rains had created numerous "canyon" type wash-outs that would have swallowed one of us whole without issue.
The Mission Santa Gertrudis is one of the least visited missions in all of Baja. For good reason! It is a long, dusty, washboarded, and rutted drive to get to this mini oasis. Water rises to the surface and flows down the canyon a short distance before disappearing into the sand several hundred yards down the arroyo. Fan palms dominate this spot and at first glance appeared to be paradise as far as a camping spot was concerned. A closer inspection revealed that the local population of cows had taken over.
We arrived at "magic hour" as JT likes to put it. For filming purposes, it is the hour leading up to sunset. A quick film shoot about and in the mission was the order and we set off to find a camp spot. We were directed to a spot just downstream and headed out of the mission compound with a tag-a-long, self-imposed, and honorary member of the film crew: a dog named Leroy, a pit-bull terrier with a great disposition that just wanted to hang with us for a while. Leroy had a purpose! His job was to wake up every hour or so and bark at, bother, or just annoy what ever animal or sound was in the arroyo. Thanks, Leroy!