Life on the Summit: Hey, Spike! back on the highways of Baja |

Life on the Summit: Hey, Spike! back on the highways of Baja

Miles F. Porter IV
Special to the Daily

Hola, compas, El Pico! is back from another trip driving into the belly of the south-of-the-border beast — Mexico’s Baja California Norte and then to Cabo San Lucas in Baja Sur.

With 2,200 more miles on Rob Philippe’s Casita Pedregal Jeepster, it was again a very safe journey. Feliz viaje — a happy trip without any problemas. Hey, Spike! readers will recall we (Miss Maria and me) flew down in April to Cabo and drove the black SUV up.

Going both ways was that pinata Paperboy, who’s gone from being a little Mexican kid with big green eyes to being Cabo Robo, as he was rebranded by a Georgia Tech engineering associate provost named Jack Lohmann, who flew the kid to Mount Rushmore, then brought him back to Frisco.

Another stage in the kid’s life came when Rob turned him into a cat burglar-looking “Spike!,” and back into the Mexico-bound Jeep he went. He’s still in Cabo, awaiting another fashion-statement outfit change, which is already in the works.

The route this time was the reverse, taking a slightly different course after another crossing at Mexicali.

We journeyed up and over Mexico’s Sierra de Juarez Mountains, aka “Swiss Alps,” to a most steep and — based on numerous white memorial crosses dotting the roadsides — dangerous highway that tops out at 4,042 feet above sea level at La Rumorosa and a village aptly named “Campo Alaska.”

We got to the top, shrouded in clouds and accompanied by rainy, windy weather and the car’s outside thermometer reading 47, quite a contrast to the 80s down at the border town. You know it snows up there.

Back down the other side, we passed through the beer-producing town of Tecate and into the Valle de Guadalupe, home to Mexico’s burgeoning vineyards and gated wineries’ tasting rooms and haciendas, bringing a lushness to the rolling hills.

Next on the travelogue was a slight diversion into the Pacific port city of Ensenada (a name our Mexico package GPS lady can’t get right).

After those first two nights on the road: St. George, Utah, and Calexico, with lunch at the home of Blue Valley residents Mark Beling and Judith Pollock at Lake Havasu, it was a truck-and-bus-noise-dominated night at a motel, alongside Highway 1 in San Quintin.

On the road again the next morning, we continued on a busy two-lane through frequent road repair and improvement projects, down to the Norte-Sur dividing line at Guererro Negro, a 600-man military outpost easily spotted with its monstrous Mexican flag flying. The installation houses replacements to area military checkpoints, and the soldiers often chuckled and commented on seeing Paperboy in the back of the 4×4. We stayed at the Halfway Inn.

Along the way we saw a pre-run staging for the Open Class of the muy famosa Baja 1,000 off-road race, as it was getting ready to head eastward, toward Bahia de Los Angeles.

We continued onward, driving along the Sea of Cortez coastline through the bustling copper-mining town of Santa Rosalia, the heavily treed Mulege and onward for a lunch break at one of our favorite spots: Santispac, a quiet beachfront cove off the Bahia de Concepcion, a major whale-watching location.

Next was a night’s stop at the beautiful seaside city of Loreto, on the Sea of Cortez, where we enjoyed at another stay at the Le Misione hotel. A 40-minute run in the late afternoon shade was most welcome.

We grabbed a few more photos of Maria and Spike on the malecon before getting back on the road, driving through La Paz and Todos Santos.

With Cabo San Lucas within easy driving distance, our intrepid trio pushed southward, arriving as planned on Halloween at Rob and Val’s casa above the Land’s End resort city.

This visit to Cabo included a dinner party in the gated Pedregal above the seaside city at the Pacific-facing home of the cosmopolitan Cindy and Terry Stanford.

Spike! readers should remember Terry, an international real estate investor who was back recently to Breckenridge for a friend’s daughter’s wedding.

Joining in the evening’s festivities were: Rob and Val, Rob (“Robbie Z”) and Wendy Zolelli of San Jose, Calif., and Pedregal; Larry and Cindy Huitt of Tyler, Texas; Dick and Francine Hall of Portland, Ore., and Palmilla; and Louise and Gary Nobel, San Diego and Palmilla.

Earlier, we spotted former local insurance guy Tim Cardamon tooling around Cabo in his black Volvo R wagon, topped by a bright yellow surfboard. Later we had short chat on the beach.

Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed “Spike,” has lived in Summit since 1982. Email your social info to

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