On to Mulege
It takes about 90 minutes to break camp, and we are getting more efficient at it every time we do it.
The drive to Mulege is the first time Mexico Highway 1 cuts across the peninsula. We hug the coast drifting past snow-white dunes adorned with soft green sage. Gradually, the road veers eastward into the gigantic Vizcaino Desert, a massive nature preserve. We stop for lunch and a clean, glass-fronted restaurant and one of the hombres inside tells us that the Vizcaino Desert is the home of the Desert Bighorn Sheep. Outside on the highway, we see turn-off signs pointing visitors towards sites that contain Indian petroglyphs.
Gradually, the road makes a sweeping turn towards the east, past a giant red-rock extinct Volcano of the Seven Virgins. The climb from the west is gradual but the descent going eastward is dramatic, spiraling down serpentine roads. Highway shrines and flattened guardrails tell stories of those who didn’t make it.
The views are spectacular. With views from the highway framed by golden mountain flanks, the Sea of Cortez shimmers iridescent blue. The road funnels us into Santa Rosalia. This town, once wealthy due to mining, is where we gas up. Mulege is only 30 or 40 minutes down the road.
A Palm Oasis in the Desert
Palms are everywhere, and after a couple of days in the desert, their lushness transfixes me. We check into a mostly abandoned hotel near the end of town, where the views looking over the rooftops and palm-tops are magnificent. For dinner, the proprietress points us down the road that lines the canal and down to the beach. There we have a great dinner of fresh fish tacos, rice and beans, and beer.
A Sudden Change of Plans
Back at the hotel, I borrow Mike Sullivan’s cell phone and call my friend Tony Channin, who is in Todos Santos. Tony is the founder of Channin Surfboards and a pioneer in the surfing industry. He was the first to design and build a custom shaping machine.
We need an on-the-spot surf report, and there are few guys in the world better prepared to give us accurate, unbiased information than Tony Channin.
I put Mike’s cell on speakerphone so all the guys can hear it. Tony gives us the words we’ve all been dying to hear: Todos has a south swell of 8 feet or more, great shape, clean, glassy with no wind. “If I were you guys, I would get your asses to Todos right away,” he concludes.
Nearly on the spot, we determine to head back across the peninsula. But we won’t go to Todos. We’ll take the dirt road out of Mulege, across the Mountains, past an abandoned mission, and drop into legendary Scorpion Bay.
If it works, tomorrow could be the mother of all surf trips: serious, long-distance off-roading, incredible scenery and history, ending with mind-blowing surf. Stay tuned.