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Bahia de los Angeles, Bahia 200 Race

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Our bus in front of the bay at Playa La Gringa in Bahia de Los Angeles
We woke up on Playa Gringa and were welcomed with a calm blue bay stretching north, south, and east of us.  We had a few neighbors in RVs and campers spread along the coast. 
The seaweed and lichen formed a nice ring around the bay where the tide went out, green from the recent tide, and another brown ring from the previous day’s tide.

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Green and brown lichen formed rings around the bay from the tides
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We had regular seagull visitors
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Breakfast time at the beach.
In 1539 Hernán Cortés sent Francisco de Ulloa to chart the Baja Peninsula. (It was on this same expedition that San Felipe was discovered by Europeans.) It was more than 100 years that the Spanish again took interest in the area as they sought to extract precious metals.

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Every cactus limb perched upon
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Our campsite on the bay at Playa la Gringa

Most of Playa La Gringa is privately owned and fenced off, but in the middle is the natural preserve which is free to camp on, has a few out-house toilets, trash bins, and fire rings. During the warmer months of the year the bay fills with whale sharks and local fisherman take visitors out on their boats to get a better view. Snorkeling with the whale sharks is also an option for those who prefer a more hands on approach.
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Oscar taking photos out the window
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A low flying pelican
Bahía de los Ángeles has a great little museum, “Museo de Naturaleza y Cultura” which has a varied collection of artifacts ranging from mining equipment and historical native artifacts to examples of local marine life. Of the 600 species of shells in the Sea of Cortés, the museum’s collection contains about 500. 

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Museum collection of sea shells
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Volunteer museum staff
The town hosts a local version of the much larger Baja 1000. The Baja 200 is held every year and race enthusiasts from all over converge on this small town. Once again we were incredibly fortunate to be exactly the right place at the right time and we just happened to be there the exact same weekend that the race was going to be run. 

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Ambiguous sign post with far off destinations
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Oscar taking the other photo
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Baja 200 race contrestant finishing a lap
Friday night was the time that all of the vehicles that planned on running the race had to check in and have an official safety inspection. Out of curiosity we spoke with one of the race coordinators about the requirements to participate using our jeep.  We needed a $100 entrance fee, a safety suit, a helmet, and a all four-wheel vehicles must have a rearward facing amber colored light which must be connected to the ignition and remain on during the race.  Not a lot more requirements, and everything we needed was for sale.
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Spectators walking across the street between cars
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A race official getting showered in sand from a passing car
But alas, we decided not to trash the jeep in an off-road race, and the next day when we saw the cars and the course, were pretty happy we didn’t.  We chatted with the Bahia 200 project manager, and she reminded us that if we come back north through Mexico, they’ll be running the race every year, and we can be ready for it then.
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A Baja 200 race contestant
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View of the moon from Playa la Gringa
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View of the sky from Playa la Gringa
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Having fun drawing with a long exposure and a red light. Just checking in with the family.
We spent most our nights in Bahia de Los Angeles enjoying the night views from Playa la Gringa.

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