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Zimpel: Miller's Landing, Baja

 
(1) Sent: Sunday, April 11, 2004 5:21 PM
Subject: RE: Miller's Landing, Baja

Thank you for your interest in the Cortez Coronicles. If I have the right pictures in mind, they were taken in 1972. We, too, have been to Baja several times since then, although I don't believe we ever made a point of going back to Miller's Landing again. Of course, even in 1972 it had long been abandoned, a loading point for onyx from the El Marmolito mine inland a few miles.

Today's maps usually list the El Tomatal fishing camp and Miller's Landing as the same place, but according to our bible, the Lower California Guidebood, Peter Gerhard and Howard E. GulickB, they are two distinct places approximately a mile apart. The primary name used today is El Tomatal.

When the paved highway was put in sometime after 1972 the main road from Rosarito south to San Angel was abandoned in favor of a route that ran a few miles closer to the coast. Although the paved route roughly follows previously existing more primitive roads, it is difficult to merge modern maps with the Gerhard and Gulick maps and come up with an exact route and mileage. If the highway was paved when you went through in 1976 your information will be more up-to-date than mine, but here goes:

Follow the main (paved) highway south from Rosarito for approximately 12.9 miles. Turn right .3 mile to the beach and Miller's Landing. There used to be a turnoff to El Tomatal .8 mile earlier, as well as another .3 miles before that, so one of these may be the surviving route. If the pavement doesn't exactly follow the existing unimproved road, all of the original roads may be obscured and you'll have to fly blindly on the basis of mileage alone. (Also, in 1967 the road forked 11.8 miles out of Rosarito (we stayed right), but since you're following pavement that shouldn't be a problem anymore.) Remember that modern routes may vary in mileage from the 1967 routes of Gerhard and Gulick, so you're flying by the seat of your pants any way you cut it; but keeping your eyes open and following your nose has always worked for me. I've found that the old roads don't go away, they just get masked by the new ones; if you keep your eyes open you shouldn't have much difficulty.

There was no settlement at Miller's Landing in 1972. We drove past there on the highway in 1997, but we were coming from San Louis Gonzaga Bay and were anxious to get to Guerrero Negro for gas so we didn't stop. We'd be interested in knowing if the playa is lined with summer homes yet, and if there is still camping allowed. Although there were onyx fragments at Miller's Landing, you should check out El Marmolito if you're still interested in rocks, as there were still a few tons of mined high-grade onyx sitting abandoned at the mine in 1972. It's likely to still be rich in rock fragments.

If you can find a copy of the Gerhard and Gulick book anywhere, it is still a primary reference for us even though many of the routes have changed. In many cases you have to be cognizant of the old routes in order to find the connections to the new ones, and the book is a golden treasure to any desert rat or baja beach bum -- almost as valuable as life itself.

Best of luck! Let us know how it goes, and thank you again for contacting us.

L. Fox

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(2) From: Karl Zimpel
Sent: Sunday, April 11, 2004 2:35 PM
Subject: Re: Miller's Landing, Baja

Hi -- Thanks for the reply about Millers Landing. I've "met" the nicest people by surfing the net seeking answers to my weird questions and it looks like I've met another. Thanks very much and have a wonderful Easter.

Karl

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