We knew it was going to be a giant enterprise once we determined to hire a automobile and drive the complete size of the Baja peninsula — a 20-hour journey with a number of stretches of nothing however mountains and desert. What we didn’t anticipate was the arrival of Kay, a Class 1 hurricane that bashed its approach up the Pacific coast of Baja, bringing 75 mph winds and torrential rain.
Fortuitously, we had already made it as much as Ensenada earlier than the worst of the storm hit. At our northerly perch, as we watched the storm batter each the Pacific and Sea of Cortez coasts, issues remained comparatively calm. We braced ourselves for winds and flooding, however when morning got here on Sept. 9, all we noticed was a whole lot of fog and a little bit of rain. The remainder of the peninsula, nevertheless, didn’t fare as effectively. With a flight out of Los Cabos on Sept. 16, and a rental automobile that might solely be returned to a boutique company in San Jose del Cabo, the remainder of our roadtrip itinerary was wanting tenuous, at greatest.
Ensenada, Baja California, with fog on the horizon. Picture Credit score: Meagan Drillinger
For many journey advisors, the largest space of concern could be Los Cabos, which was the primary cease in Hurricane Kay’s path. Surging waves and lashing rain struck the dual resort vacation spot, however based on the Los Cabos Tourism Board, cleanup had already begun and never a lot injury had been finished. Los Cabos Airport remained open and, as of Sept. 8, flight connectivity was gearing as much as resume.
However journey advisors who promote different elements of Baja California Sur and Baja California, and who’ve data of the area, ought to know that every one will not be OK in the remainder of the peninsula. With restricted sources, a sparse inhabitants and no official supply of freeway updates, I joined a Fb group referred to as Discuss Baja Street Situations to be able to get real-time updates from others who reside down the peninsula or had gotten caught making an analogous journey. That proved to be a godsend.
Members posted movies and images in actual time, in addition to anecdotes from their very own private drives. For a time, the transpeninsular freeway connecting Los Cabos and La Paz was closed, although that seems to be open now. La Paz noticed heavy rain and winds, however injury was additionally minimal. The identical is true of Loreto, although main crossings, like bridges close to Santa Rosalia, Catavina and San Bruno proceed to be flooded or, in some instances, fully washed out. Cities like Mulege and Bahia de Los Angeles are inundated. We had been simply visiting these cities lower than one week in the past, and within the blink of an eye fixed they’re struggling to rebuild.
A screenshot of a Fb street updates message group. Picture Credit score: Meagan Drillinger
There have been reviews of strains 50-cars deep for gas at gasoline stations. Anybody who has pushed the Baja peninsula earlier than is aware of there are huge stretches of nothing however freeway, and gasoline stations are few and much between, working the danger of those gas stops working out of provide.
As we sit up in Ensenada, we’re grateful to be secure and comparatively dry. However it can certainly be a number of days earlier than we will safely get south of Loreto and proceed again to Los Cabos. For individuals who reside in Baja, this expertise has tremendously disrupted lives and, for a lot of, modified them eternally. For these of us passing via, it has been a reminder to remain affected person and do not forget that in the case of Mom Nature, a lot of it’s out of our management.
Driving the Baja peninsula was a dream of mine, and I’m so glad I did it. Nonetheless, subsequent time, I might most likely solely do it in a single path, and I might do it in a camper van in order that we might not have to attend so lengthy between drives to search out locations to sleep. I additionally want that we had used a journey advisor. We most likely wouldn’t be in such a state of uncertainty dashing to return a rental automobile if we had!