Some BFT History
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Some History of Baja's Frontier Tours...

Offering Personalized Natural & Cultural History Learning Vacations began in 1962!

  Piet & Mary Dennis Winsten photo

This is Ambrosia, the intrepid 1957 Jeep FC-150 on Piet's first adventure into the Baja California Peninsula in the summer of 1962. This is pure adventure; NOT a tour. That's Bevan Jones (with the rifle), Earl de Berge (driving) and Piet Van de Mark (on the right); Mark Winheld took the Photo. Anyone know where Bevan is today? As you might imagine, BFT's learning vacations today are very different, featuring modern conveniences such as air conditioned transportation and hotels! 

Look closely and you'll see the larger-than-life human figures painted long ago on the cave wall above Piet's head. Like to see these in person? This special experience is not for everyone, as it involves a full day of bouncing slowly along Baja's storied and beautiful back roads...plus a bit of a climb to the cave. This is one of a great many in the Sierra de San Francisco in Central Baja California - and one of the easiest to reach. Still interested? Please let us know your interest.

Piet Van de Mark's passion for Baja California, Mexico’s natural beauty first bloomed on a personal odyssey in the Summer of 1962. BFT began with 4WD camping expeditions—Personalized Wilderness Travels—with Piet's founding of Baja’s Frontier Tours in Tucson in 1966. Programs gradually evolved into the enjoyable, unique learning eco-vacations—Personalized Natural and Cultural History—that Mary and Piet's guests share today in Baja and in the American Southwest and passion for Baja California, Mexico’s natural beauty first bloomed on a personal odyssey in the Summer of 1962. BFT began with 4WD camping expeditions—Personalized Wilderness Travels—with Piet's founding of Baja’s Frontier Tours in Tucson in 1966. Programs gradually evolved into the enjoyable, unique learning eco-vacations—Personalized Natural and Cultural History—that Mary and Piet's guests share today in Baja and in the American Southwest and selected spots in Mexico. 

fourteen years at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum came to an end...

How it all began...My life's passion began with one of those great gusts of winter wind that came bursting with gusto on the American great plains; it was on its way to Chicago to make a name for itself, and it split the canvas top of my '59 Austin Healey Sprite right down the middle, burning my face with the chill of icy sleet, a seasonal pain that I had grown to consider a test of manhood that must be endured. That was late afternoon of New Year's Day, 1962. Within 15 minutes, my friend Earl and I had determined to spend the coming summer in Baja California where it would not snow!

Three friends and I bought a Jeep pickup and headed into Baja in July of 1962. The peninsula of Baja California is easy to fall in love with. After the first few weeks, I realized Baja would always be a part of my life. Even more, I decided then and there to make a life wherein I could share my love for this place with other people. Thus Baja's Frontier Tours began... Piet Van de Mark

Baja's Magic Magic… Magic… Magic… Magic… Magic… Magic… Magic… Magic… Magic… Magic… Magic… Magic… Magic… Magic… Magic…Magic…Magic…Magic…Magic…Magic…

Do you love richness and diversity of the desert? Love the Sea? I'd venture to guess that no place on earth but the Baja peninsula offers a higher percentage of lush, lovely deserts that actually, physically, meet the sea. I'm talking cactus just spittin’ distance from salt water. Osprey build their massive, messy nests of driftwood and desert scrub atop tall cardon cacti by the shore and low creosote bushes on islands. Looking up to the dazzling blue sky from an endless carpet of desert flowers to see dozens of bright white pelicans soaring on the rising air above the clearing where you stand in amazement!

The people of rural Baja California are wonderful folks, rightfully proud because they have chosen to live in a land of beauty and challenge. Yet humbled by their closeness with God and nature. Abundance is here, but one needs to learn where to seek it. A special few have been here a long while now. Their fathers or grandfathers fought in the revolution and came to this place to claim their rightful homesteads back when the last few Cochimi people still survived. When the peninsula's only roads carried wagons from rough landings to inland mines and the few accessible places where one could count on finding sweet water. Historic ranchos, old mines and Spanish missions, both abandoned and occupied by the warm and pleasant people of rural Baja California, are still scattered through the wild central peninsula.

Food is wonderful here! Memorable restaurants feature diverse Mexican food, fresh seafood specialties, and even unexpected French cuisine. One used to eat at the ranchos in the days when the old dirt road was so slow that the very few travelers needed a place to eat every 20 or 30 miles. Nowadays travel is faster. Real restaurants in real towns, cities and villages get the job done now, and fewer of the ranchos serve meals to passers by.

Visitors are quickly impressed by the magnificent scale of the Baja California, then drawn to details by the enormity of the diversity— vast untrammeled wilderness, unspoiled shell-scattered beaches that seem to stretch forever; forests of unbelievable desert plants...Boojums, cardon cacti and elephant trees; the plethora of coastal bird life. And of course, one can get hooked on whale watching!

The very memorable "whooof!" of the whales’ nearby blows softly sounding in your ears will remain with you forever! Yet, this is but one of the many personal discoveries that await you in Baja.

Savor the odyssey!  

And Never stop learning!

© Piet Van de Mark ‑ Tucson, Arizona ‑ 1989/1995/2005

Picnicking above the blue Pacific overlooking the vast Bahia de Sabastián Vizcaino

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QUESTIONS & RESERVATIONS?
EMAIL: piet@bajasfrontiertours.com

Contact Piet & Mary Van de Mark by phone:

520-887-2340 (Tucson, Arizona)

Toll Free: 1-800-726-7231  

©Baja's Frontier Tours LLC, Tucson & Portal, Arizona 2003

November 14, 2012

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