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Author: Subject: Rough camping safety
Gulliver
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[*] posted on 11-18-2013 at 11:32 AM
Rough camping safety


My partner have been taking our class B and a small cargo trailer to Baja for ten years or so. I sailed the sea in 91-93. I raced bikes the length of the peninsula starting in 69. It's not a new place for me.

That said, the last time we were wandering about in Baja Sur, we had discouraging experiences. Hustled for a few bucks by two fat bicycle cops in Santa Rosalia. Hustled again for maybe $40 in Old Cabo by two cops in a pickup. And then had the camper broken in to at Conception while we were paddling nearby. Lost maybe a grand worth of stuff. So we have been giving it a pass for a few years hoping that things would settle down as they have before.

Now we are getting the itch again. We tend to zip along until we get to maybe the Catavina boulder fields and slow way down. How are things doing for boonie campers recently. Petty theft? Police hassles?

Is rattlesnake beach still O.K.? Has FONATUR closed the whole peninsula down?

We paddle and explore with dual sport motorcycles. Hate to leave the camper when some dirt ball might break a window looking for things.

I used to leave a sign in the window that said in Spanish, "Barbara! Be careful! The snake has gotten out!?

Any current info would be most appreciated.

Mike-Lopez Island, WA
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[*] posted on 11-18-2013 at 11:39 AM
UHHH..HUH !!


Rattle snake bch near P.E. is the same...like all places on earth...if you leave it and go out on the water,, it can be gone when you get back....What I learned to do as a Kid as a travel guy (not weekend warrior) is to find a like minded coulpe/folks and trade Watch the camp Days...
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Gulliver
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[*] posted on 11-18-2013 at 11:44 AM
So sad


So how about these teasers about troubles at Catavina and being a good idea to park where your lights can't be seen from the road? I'd rather not be woken up in the night by some drunk. Any recent hassles?

It bugs me sooo much since the vast majority of the locals are so nice.

Mike
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[*] posted on 11-18-2013 at 12:04 PM


I think it's a prudent idea to restrict your camping to spots that have other campers in close proximity. Like within shouting distance at least, and where fellow campers can see your rig.

Warnings about remote camping abound.

It's just not a good idea.

Giving up a bit of your seclusion, for some security and peace of mind, might be something to ponder.

Just south of Catavina, on the east, or left side going south is Rancho Santa Inez campground. A wiser choice than in the boonies IMO.




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bajaguy
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[*] posted on 11-18-2013 at 12:32 PM
Catavina


If it's just for one nigh and you are not looking for atmospheret, you could probably park in the lot at the Delegation/Police station just north of the La Mission hotel...........go in and ask them.



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[*] posted on 11-18-2013 at 12:36 PM


Its really a shame, but its true. We gave it up a few years back after losing stuff in 2 different spots near Mulege. And we werent gone for very long from the vehicles. South end of Conception bay? Almost a 100% chance your vehicle will be robbed if you leave it more than a very short time. It takes all the fun out beachcombing if 1/2 the group has to stand watch...



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[*] posted on 11-18-2013 at 12:42 PM


What!!!! I spent 60 of the last years getting as far away from other people in all the places I fished and camped. From the Everglades to the Four Corners to the Gigantes and Lagunas of Baja California that's always been my goal. Tell me again just what I should have feared, why I should have traveled 1/1000th of the distance to be solo so I could be sure I'd be camped on top of somebody who I would later need to save me, help me. Are all of you people from Paris or New York City? WTF?
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[*] posted on 11-18-2013 at 12:42 PM
SOuTH END IS


rEALLY,REALLY BAD...LIKE SOMEONE NEEDS TO HIDE IN A CAMPER AND CATCH THE LITTLE RATONS AND BEAT UM !!!!!:fire:
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[*] posted on 11-18-2013 at 12:52 PM


Gulliver,
When I go riding moto away from vehicle, I ALWAYS leave vehicle in a town area with some degree of security.... i. e. tell motel owner I will leave truck there (especially if I have rented a room)...may offer $$$ for "keeping an eye out"; ask Nomad from this list for safe parking.

I do not leave truck unattended in the outback....because "wherever you are in Mexico....wait 20 minutes and a local will walk by ..." and we never know the good guys from the bad at first .....

I don't live in fear, but take conservative and "sensible" precautions.

Good luck with your travels :saint: Don't let the "Lilliputians" of fear tie you down...






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Gulliver
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[*] posted on 11-18-2013 at 01:15 PM


Well, Osprey, I've seen little evidence in the 54 years since I first crossed the border that would distinguish the government of Mexico from a criminal conspiracy. Given that daily experience, I have been astonished all along that the citizens have been behaving as well as they have. It is a monument to the human spirit that, in the face of monstrous oppression and corruption, the Mexican citizens act as well as they do.

That said, I see little reason to throw myself into the volcano. I don't consume narcotics and I shun those who do. I opposed NAFTA as a clear and present danger to both U.S. and Mexican democracy. I didn't cause the problem. Mexico city has the largest concentration of billionaires in the world and the local public sector workers aren't getting paid. Revolting.

It has come down to personal preservation. I don't enjoy being cooped up in a dusty trailer park. I, too, wish to be far from other people. If I can't do it in Mexico without a big dog and a claymore mine, I will do it somewhere else.

We may still give it a shot. We are keeping our options open. But as it feels just now, we will probably be spending our savings in the Chiricahua mountains this Winter. At least there I will have some expectation that the police will not prey on me.
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[*] posted on 11-18-2013 at 02:03 PM


I used to camp at Requeson quite a bit. I had a machete to cut fire wood and work the coals. One night a guy in a van showed up and camped close to my cabana and in the morning he told me he had seen my Nevada plates and the machete and that's why he camped right on top of me. The next day he showed me his van and bragged that he was self sufficient and was headed for Cabo, then back to take the ferry to Guymas, then camp here and there in Mexico. He said he didn't speak Spanish, did not EVER stop near Mexicans, talk to them, buy anything but gas because "Mexicans looked funny at him and his girlfriend" and he was very afraid.

I've thought of him as I have read the forum here with 1000s of posts about what campers haul down here for protection --- every known kind of legal and illegal spray, flare gun, stunning and or killing things they say they wouldn't bring except for their fear of personal injury or death. How fearful are those people who go to that extent and are STILL bound to put themselves at risk down here?

I'm too old to sleep on the ground anymore and probably that's best because it sounds like I might easily be killed by accident, Bear Sprayed in the dark, on the beach as I got up to whiz. Maybe those accidents are happening all over but the police reports fail to show clearly "causa muerto, spray para oso". Not too much info on bear attacks and repelentes in the Mexican police training manual I suppose.
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[*] posted on 11-18-2013 at 02:42 PM


I need to throw in my two centavos:

My first 30 years of traveling in Baja, were done much like boondocking. Tent camping, camp in my Westphalia, stop to surf wherever there was a surf break, off-road bike, on-road bike, dual-sport, Jeeps, RVs, fifth wheels, cars (Subaru, DK). I would like to think I have driven every dirt road that heads east or west from Mexico one, but I may have missed some here and there. Essentially, if there was a bay somewhere as well as a point break, I was there. Most of the times I camped alone.
I have yet to encounter a break-in while camping.
However, our room was broken into one time on the second floor at the hotel Castillo Del Mar, in Rosarito beach. They stole my boom box, about 300 CDs in an album, and three bottles of Tequila. Never been back there since. The desk clerk was even a jerk about it.




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[*] posted on 11-18-2013 at 02:47 PM


Bear spray? where did that come from?



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[*] posted on 11-18-2013 at 02:53 PM


They sell it on E BAY.

It is highly recommended when boondocking in Alaska.




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[*] posted on 11-18-2013 at 03:51 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by chuckie
Bear spray? where did that come from?


Saw some over at the local Walmart this summer - pepper spray?
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[*] posted on 11-18-2013 at 05:02 PM


Never let your vehicle out of your sight when remote camping unless you have someone you trust watching it. It has been like this for a long time down here and will likely never change. If you want to go hiking or paddling and there is no one around to watch your rig, find a rancho and give the dueño a few pesos to keep an eye on it. As for getting shaken down by police, just refuse to play that game, and demand to be given an infraction and go to the police station to settle. 99 times out of 100 you will be let go with a warning to not commit the imaginary offense again because he will not want you to be explaining to his boss how he had just tried to extort you.

[Edited on 11-19-2013 by monoloco]




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[*] posted on 11-18-2013 at 05:02 PM


I'm not sure if your chances of being robbed is greater now than it was 30-40 years ago. They probably are. But there was plenty of theft going on back then. I had Nikon cameras stolen at both La Paz and Loreto in the early 1980's.

I would never think of camping along hwy 1 anymore. I have fond memories of car camping on the large arroyo just south of El Rosario and getting up to photograph at early light. I wouldn't even think of it these days.

Having said that we camp in the boonies every chance we get. That's the quintessential baja experience. Once that's gone baja isn't worth visiting to my way of thinking. I think it's still pretty safe off the beaten track but it only takes one bad experience to change your mind. Also, you're more vulnerable as you grow older.
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[*] posted on 11-18-2013 at 07:53 PM


I had a place for 15 years at Canta Mar. We put up bars on the windows and doors and never had a problem . I am at a place in BCS and still have no problems. Don't have any problems in my neighborhood in East County, San Diego, though have plenty of weapons.

Not sure about people with problems. Do notice that most americans drive over the speed limit in Tecate. I crawl thru small towns, just because it is their place and not mine. I am not a local and don't care what they do. They probably know somebody.

Have been in Baja for over 50 years and still think that reasonable care will put me out of harm's way.

Juanito

[Edited on 11-19-2013 by JohnMcfrog]
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[*] posted on 11-18-2013 at 07:59 PM


We often camp miles away from anybody, don't much worry when we leave camp. We figure we are so far away from folks that the thieves won't bother. Also, it's just stuff.

When we are around others we work with everybody else to keep a eye out. After the first day you know you is who is who in camp. People in trailers?RVs seem to spend a lot of time in them and don't get to know to neighbors as well.

The worse it gets the better the story.
It's getting harder to spell adventure with a capitol "A"

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[*] posted on 11-18-2013 at 08:47 PM


"Also, it's just stuff."

To replace that stuff took six weeks off of our vacation time in dollars and a year to sort out the loss of my computer, even with fairly good backups. And the feeling when we found our home all torn apart has never completely left us. It was our safe place. We now travel with our cat. What if some ratons were to dump him out or kill him?

Maybe younger people can wander with nothing but a back pack and live immersed in another culture but I need a place to retreat. I need to relax fairly regularly in familiar surroundings. With a constant feeling that my personal space might be violated at any time, I cannot relax. The sunsets lead to noises in the night. And when my space is violated in an unlawful way, I don't know who to turn to. When robbed at Bahia Conception should I have gone to Santa Rosalia to file a report with the same turds who just shook me down? A great loss and no one to turn to.

I don't need adventures. I have lived a life of adventures. I need peace and beauty.

The happiness is gone. The boojums will have to live on without me. Being a crime victim is not for me. The barbarians have won.

I'm sorry this is so sad. I came to your wonderful forum to inquire and with hope that I would become enthusiastic for a return to old haunts. What has happened has been to remind me to follow my heart.
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