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Author: Subject: First trip to Loreto from Mexicali
Sub-Sub Tropical
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[*] posted on 3-30-2022 at 12:24 PM
First trip to Loreto from Mexicali


Hi all,

Bottom Line: How safe are Baja's highways for someone driving alone in an old Prius C with British Columbia plates? I have driving experience (very positive and enjoyable) in Sonora but it was some time ago. I know the basic rules of driving in Mexico. And I'm told that big trucks and SUVs are usually targeted for theft. Mine's...not so macho.

Detail:
My dog doesn't fly well and I want to spend January in Mexico and have an adventure. Between 2003-2009 I drove several times between Nogales and Guayamas, Sonora, and I love San Pancho in Nayarit, though I haven't driven that far. But since 2010 I've been hesitant to drive through Sonora or Sinaloa (albeit with a tough-looking dog) due to the cartels. That said, I LOVED my experiences of driving in Sonora.

Baja would be new to me, obviously beautiful, and I believe that once you're 30 miles south of the border the peninsula is pretty useless to the cartels and they're not around much. Goal is Loreto.

I know the basic rules (for newbies, at least) as taught by friends in Arizona: no driving at night, stay on the main roads - tolled if possible, get insurance, travel near other cars when possible, always watch for topes, potholes, animals.

If I follow the rules, reasonably safe? Any tips? How are the Green Angels in a pinch, and do they patrol MX-5 in addition to MX-1? I'm going to try to rope in an adventurous friend but I've wanted to this for years and may go it alone. Or just stop in Palm Springs if it's too risky. ;)

Gracias!!
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AKgringo
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[*] posted on 3-30-2022 at 01:06 PM
Welcome to the forum!


Like you, I travel with a dog, and Mexicali to Loreto is a drive I do fairly often. Since you are familiar with driving on the mainland, you are already prepared for Baja.

Over the years, my trips used to be mainland, down as far as Manzanillo or Zihuantanejo. I may still go that way again someday, but I feel safer in Baja, and there are a lot more places I still need to check out, as well as many that I need to do-over.

With a full moon, I sometimes drive at night, depending on where and when I am driving. For me, sunset is a more hazardous time for driving. Either you, or oncoming traffic is going to have a hard time seeing what is coming down the road.

If I am correct, the Green Angels had their operations severely slashed a couple of years ago, but there is a good chance that someone will stop to see if you need help. I know that I would.




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[*] posted on 3-30-2022 at 01:12 PM


just go!
just drive!

Green Angels? They are around, but don't count on them.

do NOT drive with other cars - too much stress
follow your own rhythm

make sure you get your FMM at the border validated

most of Baja does not have cell coverage

If you like it somewhere - stay!

good overnights - Catavina and San Ignacio




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Lee
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[*] posted on 3-30-2022 at 02:17 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Sub-Sub Tropical  
Hi all,

Bottom Line: How safe are Baja's highways for someone driving alone in an old Prius C with British Columbia plates?

I drove Baja with a dog for 20 years. Before that, alone. Sometimes in a Class C, other times in a Subaru, or Honda, or Toyota. ''Safe'' is a subjective word here. For some nomads, Baja is safe, in their experience, because nothing bad has ever happened to them. Others believe what they read in the media. Common question from non-travelers: isn't it dangerous in Baja? My answer usually is yes it can be dangerous. Best to pay attention. If you're gut says don't go, listen to your gut.


.... and I believe that once you're 30 miles south of the border the peninsula is pretty useless to the cartels and they're not around much. Goal is Loreto.

Don't make assumptions for the bad guys. Might not recognize these guys anyway.

If I follow the rules, reasonably safe? Any tips?

Reasonably safe, yes.

.... I've wanted to this for years and may go it alone. Or just stop in Palm Springs if it's too risky. ;)

Risky if you determine it's risky. Hgwy 5 is an example. Haven't heard of trouble happening on Hgwy 1 but it probably has. 5 is great, remote, and there are times of the day I wouldn't drive it. Just my own bias. I travel with a healthy paranoia.

Baja isn't Palm Desert but it's as much fun for me. Golf, pickle ball, swimming. That and the Colorado Rockies represent a balance.

Baja isn't for everyone. For those who know it, it's mystical. At least for me.





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Sub-Sub Tropical
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[*] posted on 3-30-2022 at 02:51 PM


Thanks all. Fantastic advice, much appreciated!
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AKgringo
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[*] posted on 3-30-2022 at 03:09 PM
Tips....


Make sure you carry a tool to remove cactus spins from your dog. If you need a veterinarian, Baja is a good place to find one.

Spend some time checking out Mulege as you pass through that stretch. I always enjoy some of the "Old Mexico" ambience of the town center.




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[*] posted on 3-30-2022 at 10:57 PM


I've got a comb! :cool:
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[*] posted on 4-1-2022 at 06:38 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Sub-Sub Tropical  
Hi all,

Bottom Line: How safe are Baja's highways for someone driving alone in an old Prius C with British Columbia plates? I have driving experience (very positive and enjoyable) in Sonora but it was some time ago. I know the basic rules of driving in Mexico. And I'm told that big trucks and SUVs are usually targeted for theft. Mine's...not so macho.

Detail:
My dog doesn't fly well and I want to spend January in Mexico and have an adventure. Between 2003-2009 I drove several times between Nogales and Guayamas, Sonora, and I love San Pancho in Nayarit, though I haven't driven that far. But since 2010 I've been hesitant to drive through Sonora or Sinaloa (albeit with a tough-looking dog) due to the cartels. That said, I LOVED my experiences of driving in Sonora.

Baja would be new to me, obviously beautiful, and I believe that once you're 30 miles south of the border the peninsula is pretty useless to the cartels and they're not around much. Goal is Loreto.

I know the basic rules (for newbies, at least) as taught by friends in Arizona: no driving at night, stay on the main roads - tolled if possible, get insurance, travel near other cars when possible, always watch for topes, potholes, animals.

If I follow the rules, reasonably safe? Any tips? How are the Green Angels in a pinch, and do they patrol MX-5 in addition to MX-1? I'm going to try to rope in an adventurous friend but I've wanted to this for years and may go it alone. Or just stop in Palm Springs if it's too risky. ;)

Gracias!!


Welcome. I am a BC boy like you.

First time driving through Mexicali can make you nervous.



0C2EA1C6-A7E7-48B6-9F9F-8139C3064904.png - 260kB

This is the route I take through Mexicali. It keeps you on the main roads. We cross on Sunday mornings at 7:30. It is like a ghost town then. Less cops and less traffic.

Have a good time!
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[*] posted on 4-2-2022 at 09:07 PM


We drive it all the time. The road is safe during the day. Watch out for Rocks on the road, livestock and trucks. Make sure you carry a spare tire. Cell service is nonexistent between San Felipe and the 28th parallel. There are a couple of restaurants that have internet and good food. Carry US dollars or Pesos credit cards don't always work. Carry water. Gas up in San Felipe there is a station in Gonzaga Bay but they do run out. The next real gas is in Jose y Maria about 140Km south of the 1/5 junction. San Ignacio is a good place to stay. A couple of BCers run a B&B there. They have yurts and dogs are welcome. South of there it’s more civilized. Loreto is nice, lots of places to camp on the beach. Lots of Canadians too!

Be sure and buy a visa where you cross the border about $35US cash!! At Mexicali West it’s the door on the left side after you cross into Mexico before customs. You need a passport valid for at least 6 months after your date of entry. You need to go there even if you buy a visa on line.
Guns, ammunition and recreational substances are a bad idea! Mexican insurance from Baja Bound is a good idea.

Have fun, You’ll love the place! We do!
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Lee
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[*] posted on 4-2-2022 at 09:20 PM


If you cross at Mexicali, use the East crossing. Check google/Apple Maps. Bypasses town completely.

Few minutes out of the way and I don't like driving through town.

RFClark states this about Hgwy 5: The road is safe during the day.

Conjecture, not fact.

I didn't understand the details of the recent story about a carjacking on the road, but no one disputed the story. Don't think bad things don't happen on 5. Be aware and cautious on that road.




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[*] posted on 4-26-2022 at 09:31 PM


welcome to Bajanomad SST!

Highway 5 is a very remote drive but it is so smooth with no traffic.

Since you are headed south for the 1st time, I recommend a stop in Bahia Asuncion - s small village on the Pacific. Look Shari up! From there, go to our village, La Bocana. We are not there but it is a lovely village with a huge supermarket, a lagoon (take the panga trip into it), a very nice restaurant with amazing margaritas!!! and we have a small hotel where you have access to a full kitchen, livingroom and most importantly, your dog is welcome. Reservations made with Les (husband) at bajabocana@gmail.com and the neighbor Nacho can let you in and help you with anything you need.

Have a wonderful trip and be sure to keep us in the loop with how it goes.





Come visit La Bocana


https://sites.google.com/view/bajabocanahotel/home

And always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away.
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[*] posted on 10-13-2022 at 07:10 AM


Here are some notes from a similar trip you might find useful.

http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=97514

It’s a great dirve you will be fine.

In January the days are short and you should not drive in the dark so think about where you will stop on the way.

I would definitely have a real good look over for your Prius before departing, and carry a full size spare, extra water, tools, emergency kit.

There are some very remote stretches of road.

I expect due to the recent hurricane that the roads will have more potholes and be rougher.

Good luck!



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[*] posted on 10-13-2022 at 08:11 AM


Guys, this is a post from March 30, and the OP has never responded since that one day. It would be nice to hear how the trip went or if there even was a trip.



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[*] posted on 10-13-2022 at 08:25 AM


Travel in Baja Warning
It is all about your about your spare tire
Many tire failures are the result of a sidewall cut from rocks etc.
In Baja because modern tires are not readily available they will have to order them from Mexicali or other border city and the delivery time will be many days.
1) Some new cars do not have a spare and give you an air pump instead.
If your auto has this feature do NOT go to Baja with that auto.
Ask your dealer if a proper spare is possible.
2) Some new cars have a temporary spare. This auto is high risk for driving in Baja. Replacements generally not available.
Ask your auto dealer if the temporary spare can be replaced with a normal tire.
3) Some new cars come with weird rim sizes, like 20" or larger.
This auto is high risk for driving in Baja. Replacements generally not available.
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Lee
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[*] posted on 10-13-2022 at 09:10 AM


OP was a newbie and is long gone.

Another newbie resurrected this thread.

Pay attention or write for yourselves.

What?




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David K
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[*] posted on 10-13-2022 at 09:30 AM


Quote: Originally posted by PaulW  
Travel in Baja Warning
It is all about your about your spare tire
Many tire failures are the result of a sidewall cut from rocks etc.
In Baja because modern tires are not readily available they will have to order them from Mexicali or other border city and the delivery time will be many days.
1) Some new cars do not have a spare and give you an air pump instead.
If your auto has this feature do NOT go to Baja with that auto.
Ask your dealer if a proper spare is possible.
2) Some new cars have a temporary spare. This auto is high risk for driving in Baja. Replacements generally not available.
Ask your auto dealer if the temporary spare can be replaced with a normal tire.
3) Some new cars come with weird rim sizes, like 20" or larger.
This auto is high risk for driving in Baja. Replacements generally not available.


Very true... and why I am so happy the three 4x4 Toyota Tacomas I owned (2000-2010) use 16" wheels and come with a full-size spare! I have rarely used it, opting instead to plug the hole with the plug kit and reinflate with my fast, electric tire pump (when the hole can be plugged, of course).




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

See the NEW www.VivaBaja.com for maps, travel articles, links, trip photos, and more!
Baja Missions and History On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bajamissions/
Camping, off-roading, Viva Baja discussion: https://www.facebook.com/groups/vivabaja


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[*] posted on 10-13-2022 at 07:51 PM


Darn I saw this

Quote:
My dog doesn't fly well and I want to spend January in Mexico and have an adventure


Figured the trip was a bit closer to happening.

And I double posted. Ayyyy.

And for tires.

We pulled into Vizcaino and are sitting in the parking lot and the bmw in our caravan had what looks like a rivet in the wheel.

No spare in that vehicle.

So we made to La Bocana and I though there was no chance of getting a new tire in that size, but the local garage had one in two days.





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