We had three perfect days in Baja California with Tiberio and Suzanna Esparza a few weeks ago. Four-wheeling in “side by sides” through the mountains and deserts of Baja, including a trip through the Parque Nacional Constitution de 1857, we had a rough and tumble time and ended our first day at the famous Mike’s Sky Rancho, an icon of off-road racing. We had the place to ourselves but enjoyed all the physical reminders — stickers plastered everywhere and t-shirts hanging from the ceiling — of the Baja racers for whom this place has been a haven for many years. The second day, Tiberio’s vehicle broke down in La Independencia and the four of us piled into our (actually also Tiberio’s) Razor and rode back to La Rumorosa, where Tiberio had left his truck and trailer. Since the rear passenger seats had been removed from the Razor to provide cargo space, Suzanna and I sat in the back on our duffel bags, resting against our backpacks. Our plan was to take the trailer back to La Independencia and fetch Tiberio’s broken Arctic Cat and get back to the Esparzas’ home in Holtville, California late that night. But as we drove through the Valle de Guadalupe, Baja’s wine country, the enchanting Encuentro Guadalupe presented itself just after sunset and lured us in. We ended up staying in their luxurious Eco-Pods that night and enjoyed their amazing food and wine for dinner and breakfast. The next day we reluctantly left the wine country and returned to La Independencia to load up the side by side. We returned to the United States through Mexicali and were entertained during our long wait at the border by vendors of food, drink and souvenirs, and even some young men climbing over the border fence. Not that they intended for anyone to see them.
Tiberio and Suzanna were amazing hosts and have a wonderful talent for turning lemons into lemonade. Thank you, Tiberio and Suzanna, you bring joy and light to the world!
Day One Gallery
Bill is already having a good time piloting the Razor
Bill, Tiberio and Suzanna at our first pit stop
Early morning reflections at Laguna Hanson
“Adventure in the Trees”
We drove in the echelon position at times to stay out of Tiberio’s dust
We stopped here for a break in the Parque Nacional Constitution 1857. The female proprietor of this shop cooked us some wonderful burritos, with homemade tortillas
This cat’s unusual eyes caught our attention
Old Tecate advertising sign
Several types of succulent plants growing in the desert
Bill and Suzanna visit on a break
The cat again, showing off
Day One Gallery (continued)
Tiberio and Suzanna lead the way through a herd of sheep on a dusty road outside of La Rumorosa. That’s Suzanna’s signature pink Yeti cooler.
A great view of Tiberio’s Arctic Cat looking east toward the Sea of Cortez
Our vehicles on a desert wash
A challenging road in the mountains
Mike’s Sky Rancho and Beyond
Windows at Mike’s Sky Rancho are covered with stickers left by off-road enthusiasts
Our vehicles parked at the front of Mike’s Sky Rancho. We were the only guests.
The dining room at Mike’s Sky Rancho
Mature poplars frame the moon at Mike’s Sky Rancho
The pool area at Mike’s Sky Rancho
Breakfast at Mike’s Sky Rancho
Bill chatting with one of a group of riders on vintage BMWs. We encountered the at a gas station north of Mike’s Sky Rancho.
Bill and Tiberio add oil to the Arctic Cat in hopes of getting it started.
Our vehicles parked at the store where we got ice cream at La Independencia
“Detour,” La Independencia
Pablo Esparza, Tiberio’s father, at his home in La Rumorosa
Encuentro Guadalupe Gallery
Eco-Pods at Encuentro Guadalupe
Suzanna enjoying coffee
Suzanna’s view of the Valle de Guadalupe
Bill, Suzanna and Tiberio at breakfast
The lodge at Encuentro Guadalupe
Suzanna and Tiberio chat with the property manager, Oscar
Suzanna steers while Tiberio, Bill and some local men push the Arctic Cat back to the trailer
Reuben, the proprietor of a shop near the Sea of Cortez
As a follower of Christ, my purpose is to follow the commands Jesus said were the most important, To love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and To love your neighbor as yourself.
As an Oklahoma-based writer, photographer and lover of the outdoors, my purpose is to celebrate God's creation. Join me for imagery and adventure as I explore the world with camera and notebook.
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