BajaNomad

Border crossing

Karen Saucier - 1-8-2019 at 12:45 PM

First time writer and first time traveler to Baja! Retired couple heading to Baja in next couple of weeks. Picking up truck camper in Tucson and undecided where to cross border. Being from Maine, not crazy about lots of traffic! Looking for easiest, least stressful crossing with our rig. Initially considered Lukeville and heading to Puerto Penasco to get our feet wet but more reading has questioned if that's what we're looking for. Now looking at the (?) 2 crossings at Yuma, San Luis vs Algodones? Then heading to the San Felipe area to get acclimated then cross over to Ensenada and head further south on highway 1. Would love seasoned Baja travelers advice. Many thanks.

tobias - 1-8-2019 at 01:03 PM

If you are new to RVing , I would camp out in Joshua Tree and Anza Borrego until you get your systems in order. There is a bit of a learning curve and everyone does it a bit differently. Nice to be in range of cheap goods from amazon while you figure things out.

Bubba - 1-8-2019 at 01:19 PM

Quote: Originally posted by tobias  
If you are new to RVing , I would camp out in Joshua Tree and Anza Borrego until you get your systems in order. There is a bit of a learning curve and everyone does it a bit differently. Nice to be in range of cheap goods from amazon while you figure things out.


May want to check and make sure Joshua Tree is open.

John Harper - 1-8-2019 at 01:23 PM

Quote: Originally posted by Bubba  
Quote: Originally posted by tobias  
If you are new to RVing , I would camp out in Joshua Tree and Anza Borrego until you get your systems in order. There is a bit of a learning curve and everyone does it a bit differently. Nice to be in range of cheap goods from amazon while you figure things out.


May want to check and make sure Joshua Tree is open.


I think it's now called Joshua Trash.

John

tobias - 1-8-2019 at 01:26 PM

Just googled to see what the hell you guys are talking about.... I leave the country for five GD minutes and the whole place falls apart.

Bubba - 1-8-2019 at 02:21 PM

Quote: Originally posted by John Harper  
Quote: Originally posted by Bubba  
Quote: Originally posted by tobias  
If you are new to RVing , I would camp out in Joshua Tree and Anza Borrego until you get your systems in order. There is a bit of a learning curve and everyone does it a bit differently. Nice to be in range of cheap goods from amazon while you figure things out.


May want to check and make sure Joshua Tree is open.


I think it's now called Joshua Trash.

John


I think you may be right. Quite sad.

Karen Saucier - 1-8-2019 at 02:27 PM

Have been camping in our truck camper for 3 years, 30,000 miles, mostly in national parks, including 2 trips to Joshua tree, most recently October. Sad to see what's happening to the parks now but hopefully only temporary. Feel comfortable with US camping, just a bit unsure of what to expect in Mexico, road conditions, road stops, and reading street signs as we also don't speak Spanish. 🙁So asking advice to make it as easy a transition as possible.

Bubba - 1-8-2019 at 02:51 PM

Quote: Originally posted by Karen Saucier  
Have been camping in our truck camper for 3 years, 30,000 miles, mostly in national parks, including 2 trips to Joshua tree, most recently October. Sad to see what's happening to the parks now but hopefully only temporary. Feel comfortable with US camping, just a bit unsure of what to expect in Mexico, road conditions, road stops, and reading street signs as we also don't speak Spanish. 🙁So asking advice to make it as easy a transition as possible.


Take your time and try not to drive at night.

John Harper - 1-8-2019 at 03:17 PM

Watch for STOP signs off to the side, not like in the US. Watch for "topes", those suspension wrecking speed bumps that seemingly pop up anywhere and everywhere. Don't forget to stop and get your FMM (tourist permit/visa/card) at the border going in, if you plan on spending some time in Mexico. You can get a free one (less than 7 days) or just a 6 month version (maybe $35). Have a safe and fun trip!

John

[Edited on 1-8-2019 by John Harper]

Karen Saucier - 1-8-2019 at 03:54 PM

Yes, we're aware of the tourist cards and thanks for the tips. Which border crossing near Yuma is easiest for stopping to get the cards and for getting to Highway 5 south? Thanks

Maderita - 1-8-2019 at 04:22 PM

Not sure why you are thinking of going from San Felipe to Ensenada (Highway 3) and then south on Highway 1?
Unless you have an agenda for visiting Ensenada, that's a long way out of the way. Consider continuing south on Highway 5, which will connect to Highway 1 much further south (after a section of unpaved/unfinished pavement). Enjoy hot springs at Puertecitos and camping at Gonzaga Bay along the way, on the gulf side of the penninsula. The Pacific coast south of Ensenada is chilly in January, and best visited in summer.


Three2tango - 1-8-2019 at 05:05 PM

Quote: Originally posted by Karen Saucier  
First time writer and first time traveler to Baja! Retired couple heading to Baja in next couple of weeks. Picking up truck camper in Tucson and undecided where to cross border. Being from Maine, not crazy about lots of traffic! Looking for easiest, least stressful crossing with our rig. Initially considered Lukeville and heading to Puerto Penasco to get our feet wet but more reading has questioned if that's what we're looking for. Now looking at the (?) 2 crossings at Yuma, San Luis vs Algodones? Then heading to the San Felipe area to get acclimated then cross over to Ensenada and head further south on highway 1. Would love seasoned Baja travelers advice. Many thanks.


Mexicali East is the most direct crossing to get to San Felipe. We have done it for the past two years in our 36ft Class A towing and Jeep and the Mexicali part really isn't that bad. We took Highway 3 from San Felipe to Ensenada last spring and it's a fairly good two lane road. Check the current road conditions on Highway 5 before taking anyone's advice that you should go that route.

sancho - 1-8-2019 at 05:12 PM

The first trip often is the best, eyes open, no expectations.
Many Mex Nationals you talk to know some English, but
having a translation of sorts is usefully. You may be familiar with
the Mex Army Hwy checkpoints they are of no concern,
just for 1st timer the sight of 18 yr. olds with auto rifles
may be a bit of a surprise. I assume you are familiar
with the peso. Many use atm' s in Mex, some will exchange
before crossing, you will lose 3% or so doing this, check with
your bank, but there
is generally a atm charge if going that route. Yes the no.
coast of Baja is cool in winter. Some of this info is self
explanatory


David K - 1-8-2019 at 05:19 PM

Highway 5 has unpaved detours and uncompleted section that total about 30 miles. It is far shorter a drive than to go back north to Ensenada if your goal is down south of Laguna Chapala,

Look at the map... see San Felipe, now go down and see Chapala. Now go way up on the Pacific side and see Ensenada...



Hwy . 5, since this map was made, is paved almost to Chapala (22 miles before it). Last October, a hurricane/ flash flood took out a few bridges and a 9-mile repaving project north of Puertecitos.

John Harper - 1-8-2019 at 05:37 PM

Quote: Originally posted by sancho  
I assume you are familiar
with the peso. Many use atm' s in Mex, some will exchange
before crossing, you will lose 3% or so doing this, check with
your bank, but there is generally a atm charge if going that route.


Yes, also make sure to let your credit card company know you are traveling to Mexico. I found using my credit card gave me a better exchange rate. The bills have always been less than the (calculated) dollar amount (in pesos) I was charged on site in Baja.

John

willardguy - 1-8-2019 at 06:15 PM

I like your plan! its January everywhere, dress accordingly :coolup: we've been chased out of gonzaga by bitter cold more than once in january to find milder conditions on the pacific side and Ensenada is a really nice town with something for everyone.
I think you'll find aside from the language its not really much different than up north anymore. enjoy!:D

Karen Saucier - 1-8-2019 at 06:58 PM

Thanks everyone! Would love to continue south on 5 and avoid Ensenada but not sure of road conditions as mentioned by some so will wait until we get to San Filepe before deciding. Comments on whether reservations are needed in most places on the Baja in January and February would be great and also how the San Luis border crossing is as to ease of driving, getting paperwork done, and crowds? Appreciate all your help, and looking forward to getting out of cold snowy Maine!

tobias - 1-8-2019 at 07:25 PM

What is your platform exactly ?
How much clearance do you have?
Most truck based campers will be just fine coming down the 5.
Its just slow going and annoying . big rigs do it all day long.
Have you driven on dirt roads much?

Karen Saucier - 1-8-2019 at 07:25 PM

Another idea we've had is crossing at Lukeville /Sonoyta since we're coming from Tucson, and driving to Puerto Penasco and then along the coast to Golfo de Santa Clara and up to route 4 and over to Route 5 and head south from there. Again looking for best road, easiest transfer. Thanks.

Bajazly - 1-8-2019 at 10:32 PM

If it were me, I would skip PP and make the easy drive to Calexico on the US freeway. I've done the Algodones drive to Mexicali a few times and unless you like seeing skinny roads and farm land, skip it. Either crossing into Mexicali will get you on MX 5 just watching the signs to San Felipe. I've never been to Rocky Point, Puerto Penasco, so I don't want to knock it but from what I've heard, it's a one trick pony and not really worth the time. Can't say I won't go here one day but for what you are doing, I'd skip it. I did the drive to Cocos Corner in November for a day trip out of San Felipe and while there were a bunch of detours, it was kind of interesting to see the storm damage to the road looking in from the side. Keep your eyes open for road damage as it is not all marked well but daylight driving will be fine. Gonzaga Bay would be a good place to camp in the palapas, that was my first camping experience in Baja but now the road is in, it's a little more crowded there. From there it's an easy day to Bahia de Las Angeles where you could spend several days if the wind cooperates. From there if you were adventurous you could leave there going south out of town and go thru El Arco to Hwy 1 just south of Guerro Negro. That route generally doesn't require 4wd but it can get a bit sandy. It's a little over 100 miles on the dirt but that drive is one of my favorites in Baja. One of the last big stretches that is unpaved. Just south of where you hit 1 is the town of Visciano, a goofy but nice little town. At that point you are in the middle of whale sight seeing country and just about the right time of year. Get ahold of Shari here and she can hook you up with the whales.

Go and have fun and a great adventure. Don't worry much about reservation either, the holidays are over and the next big deal down there is Easter.

KasloKid - 1-8-2019 at 10:35 PM

I've read the road from Puerto Penasco to Golfo de Santa Clara is chocked full of potholes.
The road from Lukeville to San Luis Colorado is a good road (Mex-2)
I would think that just as you cross into Mexico, there would be an INM (Immigration office) where you can get your FMM cards (commonly known as a tourist card or visitor's visa). Ask for the 180 day one.
Note: my experience being that if I get an FMM in the state of Sonora, they demand that your return the FMM to an INM office when you exit Mexico. If you get your FMM in the state of Baja, then it seems that you're not required to turn it in when exiting.

Once you get to San Luis, stay on the same road (Mex-2) and before you know it, you'll be through town and on the toll road to Mexicali/Tijuana (same road).

Take the turn-off to San Felipe (crosses over Mex 2) then a few miles later, take the turn-off again to San Felipe. You'll want to turn south, but you have to go north towards Mexicali a few hundred feet, then make a U-turn to travel south to San Felipe. You'll see lots of tracks where others routinely make the U-turn.

If you decide to cross at San Luis, it's really easy. I'd suggest parking on the USA side and walk across to get your FMM's. The office is immediately on your right as you go through the checkpoint.. it touches the USA border. Get your paperwork in order, walk over a block to the east (look for the sign) and cross back into the USA. Drive across and keep to the far right lane. Turn right at the first intersection ( a couple of hundred feet) and you're now on the toll road, Mex 2D.
Same rule applies with returning your FMM as you're still in the state of Sonora.

You could cross at Mexicali west crossing, but the new road apparently gets a bit confusing to find your way to Mex 5 and onto San Felipe. If you do cross there, the INM office is on your immediate left as you enter Mexico. Parking available there too.

Being a first time visitor driving to Mexico, it's prudent of me to mention that guns and/or ammunition in your vehicle or on your person is a HUGE no no. Hunting knives are also considered a weapon, so leave it/them at home. When you get stopped at army checkpoints, they will search your vehicle and luggage for weapons and drugs.

My first time driving to Mexico was an eye opener... I soon learned that I had nothing to fear except fear itself. Having said that, it's wise not to drive after dark as potholes, cows on the road and topes (speed bumps) are tough to see. There's nothing more exciting than coming around a corner and seeing a cow in your lane, during daylight hours!!

Enjoy the sights and sounds of Mexico, and get to understand the people of Mexico... they are kind and generous....

David K - 1-9-2019 at 12:15 AM

Great idea, but I can't help but chuckle at the idea that the federal paperwork (FMM) has different rules in different states. A state doesn't control a federal law. What if she gets them in Sonora but returns to the U.S. from Baja California?

I like the idea of doing what the officer who issues them says to me. At Mexicali West, Tecate, and Tijuana the last word was the 180-day ones can be tossed when you are done with your trip or when they expire but the 7-day free one is to be returned (as that proves you didn't overstay the free period).

When questioned on do you really need to return the 7-Day one, the officer said well, you should... but they won't know different if you throw it away, too!

Now, returning them wouldn't be so big a deal if there was a drive up kiosk or a can, to drop them off from the border traffic line, going north. It is nearly impossible to get near the INM office (which is at the southbound lanes) reasonably, then drive way back out to where the end of the northbound line is. Just finding your way in Tijuana or Mexicali is daunting. Tecate isn't so bad and I returned my free 7-Day one at Tecate the one time I used that FMM. I detailed how to, here on Nomad, using satellite images.

Bubba - 1-9-2019 at 05:03 AM

Quote: Originally posted by John Harper  
Quote: Originally posted by Bubba  
Quote: Originally posted by tobias  
If you are new to RVing , I would camp out in Joshua Tree and Anza Borrego until you get your systems in order. There is a bit of a learning curve and everyone does it a bit differently. Nice to be in range of cheap goods from amazon while you figure things out.


May want to check and make sure Joshua Tree is open.


I think it's now called Joshua Trash.

John


Just saw this.

https://www.vcstar.com/story/news/2019/01/08/joshua-tree-nat...

John Harper - 1-9-2019 at 08:25 AM

Quote: Originally posted by Bubba  
Quote: Originally posted by John Harper  
Quote: Originally posted by Bubba  
Quote: Originally posted by tobias  
If you are new to RVing , I would camp out in Joshua Tree and Anza Borrego until you get your systems in order. There is a bit of a learning curve and everyone does it a bit differently. Nice to be in range of cheap goods from amazon while you figure things out.


May want to check and make sure Joshua Tree is open.


I think it's now called Joshua Trash.

John


Just saw this.

https://www.vcstar.com/story/news/2019/01/08/joshua-tree-nat...


As an avid backcountry hiker/backpacker, this kind of behavior makes me very sad. How can people treat the natural beauty here in the US with such little regard. Another reason to despise Trump and his base.

John

Hook - 1-9-2019 at 09:10 AM

Need more details on your rig. But assuming that it is not an overloaded 3/4 ton with 2 feet of overhang off the back, the Mexicali to San Felipe to Gonzaga to Chapala is a much better introduction to Mexico than anything involving the Pacific corridor from Ensenada to El Rosario. Just go slow on the dirt sections. You will still be time ahead of taking the Pacific route because of all the traffic on it.

The Pacific corridor is often cool and gray during the day in January, until you get to below El Rosario. The Gonzaga route is almost always sunny in January, unless a front from the Pacific is passing through. Overnight lows on the Gonzaga route can be colder, if you are not right on the ocean, but still generally above 40 F. And most nights above 50 F. There are short-lived exceptions, of course. Days are almost always warmer on the Gonzaga route; isn't warmth part of the attraction in visiting Mexico in January from Maine? It's a very rare day when the high doesnt reach 60 F, and most are in the 70s, with humidity levels below 40%. The Pacific side can have days on end that never reach 70 degrees with humidity above 60-70%, making it feel much cooler. And then there's the spotty sun.

The whole Lukeville to San Luis to Baja Norte route skirts a section of the border that there is significant illegal activity going on. It's fine during the day, but if a breakdown causes you to have to overnight in that area, it is not where you want to be.

[Edited on 1-9-2019 by Hook]

John Harper - 1-9-2019 at 09:17 AM

Quote: Originally posted by Pacifico  
So, it's all conservatives treating the parks with little regard? You are a special kind of stupid, aren't you?


I did not state that conservatives are trashing the parks, but allowing them to go unprotected is all on the Republican Party and their leader.

Who is it that pronounced "he" would be proud to own the shutdown?

No need to resort to personal insults. I assume you are an adult? Behave like one. When you get personal, you lose all credibility (and look like an ass). But, you should know that by now.

John


[Edited on 1-9-2019 by John Harper]

Pacifico - 1-9-2019 at 09:55 AM

Sorry for the brief hijack...posts removed.

Mexicali crossing

Karen Saucier - 1-9-2019 at 10:04 AM

Thanks for great info. 100miles on dirt may be more than we can handle. 40 in Escalante, Utah nearly did us in at 5mph last spring, but will see. Mexicali seems so big, wouldn't Yuma/San Luis be a bit easier for newbies? Thanks.

daveB - 1-9-2019 at 10:07 AM

Puerto Penasco is an just hour south of Lukeville, quite safe and a imparts a good feeling about what Mexico is like. You can drive west from there on a fine roadway through the Altar Desert, with some views of the Sea of Cortes, and make your way to Hwy 5 to San Felipe or, if you wanted, the turnoff before SF that will take you to Hwy 1, and south through Baja. With the political situation in your country (many govm't workersI off the job) I would relish the thought of being in Mexico where, whatever is happening there, is just the usual. You also have the opportunity to head for the Mainland (what we always enjoyed) for stops like San Carlos, Kino Bay, Mazatlan, or farther south where the Pacific waters are warm in winter. Our favourite was the Melaque area, about 240 Kms south of Puerto Vallarta.

KasloKid - 1-9-2019 at 10:16 AM

Quote: Originally posted by David K  
Great idea, but I can't help but chuckle at the idea that the federal paperwork (FMM) has different rules in different states. A state doesn't control a federal law. What if she gets them in Sonora but returns to the U.S. from Baja California?

I like the idea of doing what the officer who issues them says to me. At Mexicali West, Tecate, and Tijuana the last word was the 180-day ones can be tossed when you are done with your trip or when they expire but the 7-day free one is to be returned (as that proves you didn't overstay the free period).

When questioned on do you really need to return the 7-Day one, the officer said well, you should... but they won't know different if you throw it away, too!

Now, returning them wouldn't be so big a deal if there was a drive up kiosk or a can, to drop them off from the border traffic line, going north. It is nearly impossible to get near the INM office (which is at the southbound lanes) reasonably, then drive way back out to where the end of the northbound line is. Just finding your way in Tijuana or Mexicali is daunting. Tecate isn't so bad and I returned my free 7-Day one at Tecate the one time I used that FMM. I detailed how to, here on Nomad, using satellite images.


Well, as the old expression goes, "It's Mexico", Expect the unexpected is what my expectations are whilst there.
It seems that Baja dances to the beat of a different drum than mainland Mexico.

If she returns to the USA via Baja, you're right... no official wants any FMM turned in. Herein lies a potential situation in the future... if she applies for another FMM in mainland Mexico by automobile travel, it's very possible that the issuing officer will spot her last FMM "Entrada" stamp in her passport without the corresponding "Salida" stamp below it. Whether that's an immigration rule infraction or not, I don't know. It could be a potential dilemma with ensuing drama.

Every time I get a new FMM at San Luis Colorado, the officer goes through every page in my passport..... whether he's looking for missing stamps or just taking note of the other stamps from Europe, I don't know.

The FMM topic is a debate that will go on forever it seems, but at the end of the day, it's up to each individual to decide what they're comfortable with in this regard.

BTW, thanks for your efforts in map making.... you're filling a huge gap for decent map availability in Baja!!!




John Harper - 1-9-2019 at 10:32 AM

Quote: Originally posted by KasloKid  
BTW, thanks for your efforts in map making.... you're filling a huge gap for decent map availability in Baja!!!


Yes, David K, thank you so much for caring enough to help others. I believe most the forum appreciate your efforts as well. I certainly do. But, I've always loved maps and such information. Adds greatly to the exploration and enjoyment of new areas.

John

[Edited on 1-9-2019 by John Harper]

JoeJustJoe - 1-9-2019 at 10:52 AM

Quote: Originally posted by David K  
Great idea, but I can't help but chuckle at the idea that the federal paperwork (FMM) has different rules in different states. A state doesn't control a federal law. What if she gets them in Sonora but returns to the U.S. from Baja California?

I like the idea of doing what the officer who issues them says to me. At Mexicali West, Tecate, and Tijuana the last word was the 180-day ones can be tossed when you are done with your trip or when they expire but the 7-day free one is to be returned (as that proves you didn't overstay the free period).

When questioned on do you really need to return the 7-Day one, the officer said well, you should... but they won't know different if you throw it away, too!

Now, returning them wouldn't be so big a deal if there was a drive up kiosk or a can, to drop them off from the border traffic line, going north. It is nearly impossible to get near the INM office (which is at the southbound lanes) reasonably, then drive way back out to where the end of the northbound line is. Just finding your way in Tijuana or Mexicali is daunting. Tecate isn't so bad and I returned my free 7-Day one at Tecate the one time I used that FMM. I detailed how to, here on Nomad, using satellite images.


Yup, it says right in the back of the FMM if says, " During your stay in Mexico, you must retain this immigration form and surrender it upon leaving the country."

But we also hear since 2015 you no longer have to turn in your FMM at San Ysidro, if entering and exiting Mexico by pedestrian or car.

Of course, I never seen anything officially saying this, but it's pretty much clear Mexico handles coming into Mexico by air, like US Customs where you present your passport, get a FMM, and they have a procedures where everybody gets checked and upon exiting, you surrender your FMM.

However, there is no procedure to turn in your FMM of traveling by car, and exiting Mexico in San Ysidro. If fact if you ask any Mexico official, most will tell you, you don't have to turn in your FMM, and a few will tell you, that you don't even need a FMM if you're taking a day trip over the border. Sixty percent of the time, the Mexican officials, hand me back my passport and say have a nice day.

Now I can see how some of you may request a FMM anyway, and stop and get a FMM if traveling by car, even though about 90% of people traveling my car don't stop. ( even David k. admits the 90% figure)

I bet less than 1% of travelers, to Mexico, via walking or car, upon exiting Mexico, bother to stop and surrender their FMM. In fact, I bet most people have no idea, where they would turn into their FMM, even if they wanted to.

There is no way in the world, if traveling into Tijuana, via walking, I'm going to tell the cab driver, "Oh drop me off so I could turn in my FMM, before taking me to the border, or take two cabs to do this.

I do this all the time, and probably the next month of so, I will fly to a destination like Cancun, and the fact I didn't turn in my FMM never comes up.

I want to know who else besides David K, and KasloKid, turn in their FMM, if traveling my foot or car into Mexico and back?

I know David K, likes to make maps, so I would like to see a map where it's functional and easy to turn in your FMM on the way out of Mexico.

KasloKid's arugments, seems to say, expect the worse from Mexico, and so always jump through hoops for nothing, because you never know when there is a rainy day coming.

Nobody but nobody is turning their FMM when exiting Mexico by foot or car at San Ysidro, yet we have self appointed ambassadors to Mexico, claiming you have to.

You know what I always say, " it's your call," do your own research.

What I also mainly do, is do the opposite off what I read here, because so much of the information you read here is wrong.





[Edited on 1-9-2019 by JoeJustJoe]

Marc - 1-9-2019 at 11:01 AM

Quote: Originally posted by Karen Saucier  
Another idea we've had is crossing at Lukeville /Sonoyta since we're coming from Tucson, and driving to Puerto Penasco and then along the coast to Golfo de Santa Clara and up to route 4 and over to Route 5 and head south from there. Again looking for best road, easiest transfer. Thanks.


I have been crossing at Lukeville for years both ways since my travel buddy lives in Ajo. Lukeville is an easy sleepy little crossing with no traffic . Penasco is a short drive and will be cold and windy this time of the year. If you decide to not include Penasco Hwy 2 is VERY fast to Baja.

David K - 1-9-2019 at 11:28 AM

Joe, did you not read my posts about this? We only returned the free 7 day fmm, the one time we got them... as instructed to when we got them. The pay 180 day fmm is kept and tossed when they expire, ever since the officials instructed us to do such.

Hook - 1-9-2019 at 11:31 AM

Quote: Originally posted by Karen Saucier  
Thanks for great info. 100miles on dirt may be more than we can handle. 40 in Escalante, Utah nearly did us in at 5mph last spring, but will see. Mexicali seems so big, wouldn't Yuma/San Luis be a bit easier for newbies? Thanks.


Where did this 100 miles of dirt come from? If it is the post by DavidK, 30 miles is the total. That 22 miles later on is included in the 30 mile total.

Trust me, you can do more than 5 mph on that stretch, based on what others have written about it recently. The 5 mph stretches are just the detours around the wash outs.

Plus, the Gonzaga route is so much more scenic than the route from Ensenada to El Rosario. After Ensenada, the highway travels away from the coast into agricultural plains and some low mountains that usually cause traffic delays. Think being stuck behind a slow moving vehicle on a two lane road with limited passing opportunities. The ocean is rarely visible, as well.

I live in San Carlos Sonora and have for over 10 years. I just dont see the attraction to Puerto Penasco. It's an ugly town, IMO.

Three2tango - 1-9-2019 at 11:36 AM

Quote: Originally posted by Karen Saucier  
Thanks for great info. 100miles on dirt may be more than we can handle. 40 in Escalante, Utah nearly did us in at 5mph last spring, but will see. Mexicali seems so big, wouldn't Yuma/San Luis be a bit easier for newbies? Thanks.


If you do opt for Highway 5 it won't be 100 miles of dirt road, sounds more like 30 or so with the detours? This Facebook group has some updates - https://www.facebook.com/groups/BajaRoads/

Pick up a copy of The Camping Baja guide for good descriptions of the border crossings. https://amzn.to/2FmgQFK


chippy - 1-9-2019 at 11:45 AM

Kaslo Kid nailed it. If you´re not going to Puerto Peñasco then San Luis is by far the easiest coming from Zona.

David K - 1-9-2019 at 11:50 AM

Quote: Originally posted by John Harper  
Quote: Originally posted by KasloKid  
BTW, thanks for your efforts in map making.... you're filling a huge gap for decent map availability in Baja!!!


Yes, David K, thank you so much for caring enough to help others. I believe most the forum appreciate your efforts as well. I certainly do. But, I've always loved maps and such information. Adds greatly to the exploration and enjoyment of new areas.

John

[Edited on 1-9-2019 by John Harper]


Thank you for saying so. You all are very welcome. I am happy to share with all of you Nomads who make this a (mostly) fun forum to be a part of! :)

KasloKid - 1-9-2019 at 11:59 AM

Let's all pay attention to what Joe preaches/teaches simply because only he knows the outright facts, and the rest of our opinions and input are just plain wrong and ill-informed.
He puts a disclaimer near the end of his rant: You know what I always say, " it's your call," do your own research.
But goes on to say: What I also mainly do, is do the opposite off what I read here, because so much of the information you read here is wrong.

And I put at the end of my post: The FMM topic is a debate that will go on forever it seems, but at the end of the day, it's up to each individual to decide what they're comfortable with in this regard.

Mine and other comments made here are opinions and comments made based on personal thoughts and experience. Anyone who wants to read these inputs is part of doing their due diligence and research.

I think Joe takes a 24 hour sour pill every morning that sours his outlook and disposition for the rest of the day.

David K - 1-9-2019 at 12:00 PM

Quote: Originally posted by Karen Saucier  
Thanks for great info. 100miles on dirt may be more than we can handle. 40 in Escalante, Utah nearly did us in at 5mph last spring, but will see. Mexicali seems so big, wouldn't Yuma/San Luis be a bit easier for newbies? Thanks.


Just to back up the other replies, the unpaved part of the drive is about 30 miles not 100. San Felipe to Hwy. 1 is a total of 130 miles with 30 of them both detours and unfinished highway. Look at the map I posted, if your heart is set on seeing San Felipe then do you really want to drive to Ensenada if your goal is south of Chapala? Do what makes you comfortable and don't drive on a schedule in Mexico... everything will take longer but you will have so much fun. Come back in May-Nov when it isn't cold!

Karen Saucier - 1-9-2019 at 12:13 PM

Hello again, so I'm not sure how or if possible to reply to an individual on this site, but the 100 miles of dirt road was in regard to another persons post in a suggestion to drive a route lower down the baja from Bahia de Los Angeles to el arco and back to route 1! We may try the "upper" section from Puertecitos south to route 1 if as many drive it as I've read here and seeing as how it's only 23 miles.I have no real interest in Ensenada, just thought I had to go that way, more interested in heading south!!! The FMM card sure gets a lot of discussion and I too was worried if I don't turn it in at end would we have problems or fines to pay at re-entry at a later date. But the hassle of finding an office while heading north is well noted. Still looking for opinions on Mexicali crossing vs, San Luis. Not only ease of crossing but how about getting onto route 5 south from either? A good description was written by Kaslo Kid and thank you, leaning that way.

Bajazly - 1-9-2019 at 12:16 PM

Quote: Originally posted by Three2tango  
Quote: Originally posted by Karen Saucier  
Thanks for great info. 100miles on dirt may be more than we can handle. 40 in Escalante, Utah nearly did us in at 5mph last spring, but will see. Mexicali seems so big, wouldn't Yuma/San Luis be a bit easier for newbies? Thanks.


If you do opt for Highway 5 it won't be 100 miles of dirt road, sounds more like 30 or so with the detours? This Facebook group has some updates - https://www.facebook.com/groups/BajaRoads/

Pick up a copy of The Camping Baja guide for good descriptions of the border crossings. https://amzn.to/2FmgQFK




The 100 miles of dirt was going south out of Bahia de Los Angeles thru El Arco in my description of a route above.

Bubba - 1-9-2019 at 12:34 PM

Quote: Originally posted by John Harper  
Quote: Originally posted by Bubba  
Quote: Originally posted by John Harper  
Quote: Originally posted by Bubba  
Quote: Originally posted by tobias  
If you are new to RVing , I would camp out in Joshua Tree and Anza Borrego until you get your systems in order. There is a bit of a learning curve and everyone does it a bit differently. Nice to be in range of cheap goods from amazon while you figure things out.


May want to check and make sure Joshua Tree is open.


I think it's now called Joshua Trash.

John


Just saw this.

https://www.vcstar.com/story/news/2019/01/08/joshua-tree-nat...


As an avid backcountry hiker/backpacker, this kind of behavior makes me very sad. How can people treat the natural beauty here in the US with such little regard. Another reason to despise Trump and his base.

John


As an avid outdoors man myself, I feel your pain. Very sad situation.

Alm - 1-9-2019 at 12:36 PM

Quote: Originally posted by Karen Saucier  
... heading to the San Felipe area to get acclimated then cross over to Ensenada and head further south on highway 1.

Why would anybody want to go to Ensenada through San Felipe, is beyond me. Or why would anybody be interested in the actual city of Ensenada at all ;)...

You'll be getting from SF back to Hwy 1 via unfinished Hwy 5. Slow, doable, not comfortable. Absolutely no driving in night time, - anywhere, especially this stretch.

Road conditions on Hwy 1 to the South of Hwy 5 junction can be bad - many potholes, don't know if they fixed it, but at least it's a paved road. Hwy 5 is not. And you'll get some potholes on Hwy 1 to the North of Hwy 5 junction, when backtracking to Ensenada.

No, reservations are not needed in most places in Baja. In some places staying in a cheap hotel will be quieter, more comfortable, safer (minor theft) and even cheaper than on RV camp. Ensenada is one such place. $25-30 hotels, however, like using bait and switch trick when you're suddenly charged $50 because it's a weekend.

There is no free land. You may camp on the beach that looks like "wilderness" and the owner will come to collect. Though I would not camp in such a place if you don't see other campers around.

Bring a couple of 5-gallon water jars and manual pump that you screw on top. You can refill it in grocery stores and standalone places where it says "Garafones".

Truck camper is not my cap of tea, but with any RV you should expect many deficiencies straight from the lot. Not to mention user's errors and unfamiliar equipment. You might want to reconsider your itinerary completely - crossing in Mexicali or Otay, taking a good quality toll highway to Ensenada, and staying on some camp with hookups in Ensenada-Rosarito area.

Three2tango - 1-9-2019 at 12:44 PM

Quote: Originally posted by Karen Saucier  
Hello again, so I'm not sure how or if possible to reply to an individual on this site, but the 100 miles of dirt road was in regard to another persons post in a suggestion to drive a route lower down the baja from Bahia de Los Angeles to el arco and back to route 1! We may try the "upper" section from Puertecitos south to route 1 if as many drive it as I've read here and seeing as how it's only 23 miles.I have no real interest in Ensenada, just thought I had to go that way, more interested in heading south!!! The FMM card sure gets a lot of discussion and I too was worried if I don't turn it in at end would we have problems or fines to pay at re-entry at a later date. But the hassle of finding an office while heading north is well noted. Still looking for opinions on Mexicali crossing vs, San Luis. Not only ease of crossing but how about getting onto route 5 south from either? A good description was written by Kaslo Kid and thank you, leaning that way.


OK understand the 100 miles part.

The connection to Highway 5 is pretty easy from Mexicali East. We are 56 feet in length towing our Jeep. Here's a good description of the reverse direction http://www.discoverbaja.com/go/driving-directions/mexicali-e...

DaliDali - 1-9-2019 at 12:45 PM

Quote: Originally posted by Karen Saucier  
Still looking for opinions on Mexicali crossing vs, San Luis. Not only ease of crossing but how about getting onto route 5 south from either? A good description was written by Kaslo Kid and thank you, leaning that way.



West bound I-8.
Get off at Araby Road, on the eastern edge of Yuma.
Go to the left (south)
Araby Road turns into state highway 195.
Stay on 195....about 30 minutes drive.
Follow the signs to the border crossing at San Luis Rio Colorado.

Once passed the border gate, make the FIRST right turn. That puts you right on MX 2 westbound.
Stay on MX 2D west bound.
Take the offramp to MX 5 northbound. Approx 45 miles from the border crossing at San Luis.
Do a U turn at the first available left turn slot.
There is no off ramp to southbound MX 5.
Now you will be on MX 5 S/B towards San Felipe.

Let Google map it for you......






Alm - 1-9-2019 at 01:06 PM

Might as well backtrack from San Felipe to Mexicali the same way you came. You will not miss anything by not traveling through unfinished Hwy 5 South of San Felipe, and you will not miss much by not traveling North through Ensenada.

KasloKid - 1-9-2019 at 01:50 PM

Karen Saucier, check your U2U, top right of the page, next to log out.

John Harper - 1-9-2019 at 04:37 PM

Karen,

If you've never been to Mexico or Baja, you may not be aware of this. A lot of restrooms have a trash can for toilet paper. No toilet paper in the toilet. Most septic systems will want to avoid a buildup of tp, so the organic matter can decompose. Also, they use smaller pipes a lot of places that won't carry the "load" of American systems. Just a "heads" up in case you did not know.:cool:

John

JoeJustJoe - 1-12-2019 at 10:48 AM

Quote: Originally posted by John Harper  
Quote: Originally posted by Pacifico  
So, it's all conservatives treating the parks with little regard? You are a special kind of stupid, aren't you?


I did not state that conservatives are trashing the parks, but allowing them to go unprotected is all on the Republican Party and their leader.

Who is it that pronounced "he" would be proud to own the shutdown?

No need to resort to personal insults. I assume you are an adult? Behave like one. When you get personal, you lose all credibility (and look like an ass). But, you should know that by now.

John


[Edited on 1-9-2019 by John Harper]


Sadly, the Gov opened parts of Joshua Tree, but they are not policing. Now some of the people coming to Joshua Tree, are cutting down the trees.

The off-roaders, are getting the blame.

We should ask Mr Bill, what's going on over at Joshua Tree, because it's in his backyard seeing he lives in Yucca Valley.


https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2019/01/11/us/j...

People are PIGS

MrBillM - 1-12-2019 at 07:02 PM

IF they're not policed, they are quick to prove it. Their graffiti, filth and destruction should be subject to Summary Capital Punishment.

When I first read that they were going to leave the park open without ranger patrols, we knew exactly what would result. And, it did.

KasloKid - 1-12-2019 at 09:22 PM

Not cool guys, to highjack a thread....