#41 of 52 Taco Challenge- Mission Basilica/Crack Taco

Ride/Drive Description: This taco run takes you to the first California mission established in the area. Your start point to here can be any California freeway, then head south. The mission exit isn’t far from the Avocado Highway (Highway 15) exit.

This ride and mission tour visit is a great way to continue exploring the real Southern California and even upper Baja, Mexico. My Baja wine country and taco tour ride will be one of the final ten taco rides I do.

After your mission tour, stop at nearby Crack Tacos and enjoy either a fresh squeezed fruit drink or an adult refreshment, also available with your tacos.

From here plan your next stop. I chose to head east towards Yuma, Arizona on this visit but, you can visit nearby San Diego or Coronado Island.

Another adventure (just a mere 23 miles away is to park and walk across the border to Tijuana, Mexico for more authentic tacos, or if you have the time and required documents you can even ride to tour the nearby Camino Real wine country.

El Camino Real translates to “The Royal Road” or “The King’s Highway”.

In Spain, El Camino Real is any road paid for by the king. And of course taxes would later be paid on it.

In Baja California, El Camino Real was the connecting road between the Spanish missions. Jesuit padres engineered the road and Spanish soldiers built the first sections on the peninsula. Later the native Indians did most of the work.

The network of roads radiated out from the first mission at Loreto, towards the southern part of Baja. The Jesuits established California’s first 17 missions and the Camino Real was a line of communication between them.

The Camino Real built during the Jesuit period (1697-1768) was so well engineered that most of it can still be seen today.

Anthony Bourdain referred to this Baja area as, A Little Tuscany. Baja’s wine country is comprised of over 150 wineries over several valleys: Valle de Guadalupe, San Antonio de las Minas, Ojos Negros, Santo Tomás, San Vicente, La Grulla, Tanamá, Las Palmas y San Valentin. The place is literally unexplored. Mexican wines are recognized internationally and attribute to 90% of the country’s wine production.

My original inspiration to visit the California missions came from a book written by Ron Briery, “California mission walk”, The Hikers Guide to California’s 21 Spanish Missions Along El Camino Real”. The book is for anyone interested in walking to all of California missions, on what is left of the original El Camino Real – all 800 miles of it.

One day I plan on riding to all 21 missions. Mission San Diego de Alcalá (San Diego) which I explored today is the first of the twenty one Spanish missions built by the Jesuits.

As I ride my motorcycle today, I began to wonder what it must’ve felt like on horseback, in the early days of travel, on the El Camino Real. To give you an idea of the changing history of the area:

1769-1821 Spanish period

1821-1848 Mexico period

1848- present USA period

The 21 California missions, below are listed in the order that they were founded in case you are also interested in continuing your mission exploration tour all the way north to Sonoma, California.

1. (1769) Mission San Diego de Alcalá (San Diego)

2. (1770) Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo (Carmel, California)

3. (1771) Mission San Antonio de Padua (?

4. (1771) Mission San Gabriel (?

5. (1772) Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

6. (1776) Mission San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores)

7. (1776) Mission San Juan Capistrano

8. (1777) Mission Santa Clara de Asís

9. (1782) Mission San Buenaventura

10. (1786) Mission Santa Barbara

11. (1787) Mission La Purísima Concepción

12. (1791) Mission Santa Cruz

13. (1791) Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad

14. (1797) Mission San José

15. (1797) Mission San Juan Bautista

16. (1797) Mission San Miguel Arcángel

17. (1797) Mission San Fernando Rey de España

18. (1798) Mission San Luis Rey de Francia

19. (1804) Mission Santa Inés

20. (1817) Mission San Rafael Arcángel

21. (1823) Mission San Francisco Solano (the last mission)

Taco Reviewed: Crack Tacos, 4242 Camino Del Rio N ste 28, San Diego, CA 92108

One star is considered poor; two stars is good, three stars is very good, four stars is great, five stars is excellent!

1. Scenic Historic Location – 5 stars; nearby the entire area is historic with an outstanding Mediterranean climate.

2. Value – 5 stars; Fresh homemade tortillas with a twist and simply awesome tomatillo sauce.

Value for your money.

3. Food Flavor and Texture – 5 stars, uniqueness of the food and ingredients

4. Food Presentation – 4 stars- picture is worth a thousand words here.

5. Service, Setting and Cleanliness – 5 stars;.

Cleanliness is also considered a strong factor as we are in a Covid year.

We’re talking about Southern California where we ride year round however, there are a few things you need to know. Today during this taco visit I was a little cold even while wearing full motorcycle protection outfit. The Mediterranean weather in the area held at around 62 degrees.


Traffic is usually heavy on the freeways during morning and evening commutes. That’s why I left home at 0930. Weekday morning rush hour is roughly from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. The evening rush hours are around 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and later.

Before you go start out well prepared and bring an appetite. Tailor any of the rides to fit you or combine more than one to fit your ride schedule.

Like life itself, there is no guarantee as to the adventure waiting for you at the end of the road.

Keep riding and making memories.