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KasloKid
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[*] posted on 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....
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[*] posted on 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.




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[*] posted on 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...




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[*] posted on 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
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[*] posted on 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]
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[*] posted on 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]
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[*] posted on 1-9-2019 at 09:55 AM


Sorry for the brief hijack...posts removed.



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[*] posted on 1-9-2019 at 10:04 AM
Mexicali crossing


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.
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[*] posted on 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.
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[*] posted on 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!!!



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[*] posted on 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]
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[*] posted on 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]







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[*] posted on 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.
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[*] posted on 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.



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[*] posted on 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.
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[*] posted on 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





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[*] posted on 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.
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[*] posted on 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! :)




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[*] posted on 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.
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[*] posted on 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!




"So Much Baja, So Little Time..."

Learn about the discovery of Baja, the Missions, and people who built them: http://oldmissions.com

Over 60 Baja Bound Travel Adventure articles: https://www.bajabound.com/bajaadventures/bajatravel/

Visit Viva Baja, to help you plan your next adventure: http://VivaBaja.com

My 2018 Maps: http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=88771
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