Baja South (Villa Insurgentes) 

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Starting on Thursday, October 10, 2002, 11:20:18 AM

Up further into the Baja Peninsula I run into even more harsh desert and begin to get a little concerned. What if something was to happen and I was to be stranded so far from nowhere? What would I do? I pass small towns here and there out in the middle of the desert and wonder how they must live out there. How they must rely on the delivery of goods and food and water. The occasional little church can be seen here and there that assure me that there is some semblance of civiliazation.

The turkey vultures can be seen here and there standing on the tops of the cactus, just awaiting some poor creature to fall. I have never before seen so many of these birds in one place. I was told that they will often stand up on top of the cactus and spread their wings. For what reasons they couldn't tell me. Although I seen a picture once I thought that it might have been just a myth and that maybe the picture was taken while the bird was landing or taking off. Then I saw this bird and thought that it might possibly be going to spread its wings out, but it didn't. The cactus thorns here show that I do not want to fall down anywhere as I might become somebody's meal. And they all seemed to be waiting around for just such an accident.

Here was an actual bird of prey. Unlike the turkey vultures that find their prey already at their demise these birds find their own kill.

This was a small shot of the sky filled with hundreds of these scavengers, riding the winds, looking for a meal.

Past the small town of Villa Insurgentes, the road took a turn towards the east where I crossed over the mountains again. This pass was gorgeous. Although still desert and almost barren there was more vegetation and the hills and mountain took on a different and more green look.

From the top I could see the Gulf of California again and off in the distance towards Loreto.

The Baja, as I have said before, is a great ride on a motorcycle. But I would, however, state that, although its a fun ride, it is also very dangerous.

Although the temperature and harsh environment make it very hard on any vehicle there are so many more dangerous variables that you would need to take into consideration. 

The road has no shoulder whatsoever. There are often long stretches where there is no place to turn off. Some parts of the highway are very poorly maintained and have been spread with loose gravel which can often be very dangerous for the thin tires of a motorcycle, not to mention other traffic inadvertently throwing the gravel at you. Other places on the highway might have very large large pot holes and bumps where attempts at repair had left the pavement uneven and quite rough. Then other places may have been eroded away, leaving huge holes that drop off of the sides of the road and sometimes along the cliffs. Like this one below I had also seen several others that had taken away half of the lane. If I were not paying attention I could have easily dropped into one of these holes and took myself out. 

Along with all these road hazards lies other and more dangerous hazards. The other traffic can be even more dangerous than the road conditions. So often I came around a sharp turn and met a truck coming the opposite direction, half way in my lane. If I weren't on a motorcycle I may not have had enough room to dodge these huge vehicles. My friend Mario got clipped coming around one of these very turns. The other vehicle just caught the rear bumper, but it shook him up pretty good. And no, they didn't stop.

So now the worst hazard on these roads would have to be the animals. I didn't see any other life forms other than the local livestock. The free-roaming cows and occasional goats tend to stray out onto the highways and make it very dangerous to drive at night. 

My friends all told me not to drive the Baja at night. After seeing all the animals I decided that was a pretty good idea.

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