For most of its 1,060-mile distance, Baja’s main artery, Mexico Highway 1, is a narrow, two-lane road with few turnouts. It courses through blistering deserts and murderous grades. In years past, it gained an infamous reputation for unrepaired potholes, washouts and crumbling shoulders. Yet, little of this was evident during our visit. The road was in better condition than most American highways.
This is not unusual, said group members Larry and Janet Lammon of Acton, California. The jovial, gregarious couple, both in their 50s, seemed to enjoy every moment of their Baja adventure.
“We come down here as often as we can,” Larry Lammon said while towing the couple’s twin-outboard-powered Robalo R245, the smallest boat in the group. He has been visiting Baja since the mid-1980s. “Not only do we feel safe, but the main highway has never been in better shape than it is today,” he said.
We found gasoline and diesel readily available at the Pemex stations along the highway at relatively inexpensive prices (about $2.90 per gallon for gas or diesel) — thanks to the Mexican government’s fuel subsidies.
As we descended the mountainous backbone of Baja, the panoramic Gulf of California and its numerous isles came into view, reminders of why boaters have always been drawn to this body of water, known more romantically as the Sea of Cortez.
We were also reminded of one downside of Baja in fall — the likelihood of high winds. The gulf was festooned with whitecaps.
Members of our caravan were using walkie-talkie radios to communicate, and the conversations focused on where to spend the evening. It was at this moment we sensed the challenge of keeping the group together.