In my many visits to Loreto, I have not yet taken the trip to Misión de San Javier. So it was decided that a group of three of us would drive out to the Misión for a visit and lunch. What started out as a simple site-seeing trip turned into quite the adventure.
The road to San Javier is a windy mountain road that is approximately 20 miles from the town of Loreto. Most of the road is paved, though there were some areas under construction on the day of my visit. We were about half way when a taxi driver on the side of the road flagged us down.
As the taxi driver was taking a family to the Misión, his taxi has broken down. Standing next to his taxi was a family of five from Monterrey, Mexico and he was hoping we would be kind enough to drive them the rest of the way to the Misión. Thankfully I was driving an SUV and so the five hitchhikers jumped in and filled up the back of my truck (see below).
Before we had gotten started, they mentioned that another son had run ahead (on a very hot day) and asked that we stop to pick him up as well. Just around the next corner we found him and there were now a total of nine passengers in my SUV.
Along the way, the father offered to buy our lunch for saving them from a long, hot walk. We accepted and continued the drive. It was another 15 minutes or so and we arrived at the Misión. As we were walking around and getting to know each other, we discovered that the food options in the remote location were very limited. Our new friends said that if we could wait a bit longer, they would buy our lunch at a restaurant in the town of Loreto.
For those interested in the history of the Misión, it is included below in both Spanish and English. Given the adventure of the day, the history sometimes gets overlooked.
It is a beautiful old stone church. While it does not take a long time to explore the church and the grounds, the drive is worth your time. Plus it is a beautiful drive through the mountains.
Once we had finished the tour, we all piled back in my SUV for the return trip to the town of Loreto. A running joke on the entire time in the Baja was the bridges over dry washes. So as we approached some water running across the road, I was asked to make a big splash. The photo at left was the windshield immediately after the splash. Whew, good thing there were no other cars on the road as I was temporarily blinded.
I was asked to pick a restaurant with good food and air conditioning. The first part was no problem, but very few restaurants have air conditioning. We decided we would go to Domingo’s for lunch even though we would have to rely on fans for keeping us cool. Below is our gang of nine soon after we sat down.
We had an amazing feast of seafood and some ice cold beer to wash it down. During that time, we got to know more about each other and what had brought us to Loreto. After our meal was finished, our new friends asked for another favor. They wondered if we could drive them just a bit farther to the marina. We’d come this far, one more mile wouldn’t hurt. So we all got back in the SUV for one more drive. Once there, we said our goodbyes and our new friends took a dinghy out to their yacht. I put out my thumb hoping that maybe I could hitchhike with them!