That's what I'm driving now

taking pictures for trucking and RV magazines.

Friday, July 25, 2014

2014 trip to Mexico-8

Another easy day from San Quintin to the southern part of Ensenada to Villarino's Camping. We like the place because it's right on the beach and very quiet. The next day we filled up the fridge, bought some groceries and headed for the border. We wanted to see more from the Pacific so we drove north towards Tijuana and east on hwy 2 to Tecate. A really nice drive hwy 2 is divided, we were at the border around lunchtime and crossed in 20 minutes. ( after we filled up with the cheaper Mexican gas )  Back in California and to El Centro we had to get a service on the Motor home and spent the night at Wal Mart. It was only a short drive to Salton See, we wanted to see if it's getting any better. Yes it is, the campgrounds are open, nice and clean but the water level is still dropping, sad to see. We liked it so much we spent 2 nights there then we've seen the news about the ice storm in Oregon. I like to have an extra day or two for just in case, so it was time to head home. We have seen the aftermath of the storm in Oregon but the roads were cleared, still very ugly weather but no major delays. We came home safe and sound as planned and I was back in the workforce on schedule to earn a little money for our next trip.

Driving trough busy Ensenada.

A huge statue of Christ just south of Tijuana.

Hwy. 2 from Tijuana to Tecate is really nice.

At a primitive campground Salton See

The birds are back, that's a good sign but the water level is still dropping.

Beautiful white sandy beach at the State Park.

 Oasis Date Gardens at the north end of the lake.

Back on I 5 and going home.

Going north in February sucks!

Even the beer cans shrunk in the cold. Budweiser's new can!??

Friday, July 18, 2014

2014 trip to Mexico-7

After 9 days we had to leave and head home. I wanted to give us enough time so we don't have to hurry and we still wanted to spend some time in California. We said our Good By-s and got to Guerrero Negro early in the afternoon, it's only a 4-5 hr drive. We wanted to see the other options in town as well so this time it was Malarrimo RV park and Hotel. We heard about the place and it was a pleasant surprise. Nice and clean, good WiFi, friendly staff and they also have the Whale Watching Tours in the lagoon that was on National Geographic. Met a nice young couple, they were in a camper van next to us, the guy from Australia the girl from Finland, they have been exploring the US and Mexico for a year. That's what we love when on the road, you run into interesting people and their interesting stories every day. The next day we drove back to the same beach where we were on the way south in San Quintin and the next interesting traveler were waiting for us: Charlotte and Anton from Austria in a motor home they built themselves and shipped it over to Baltimore, toured the East Coast, crossed the US, drove to the bottom of the Baja and now they were headed to Canada for the Spring. Anton said: we stay here for a few days, we have over 2 months to get to Canada. Hope to see them because they are coming to Vancouver Island as well.

Hwy Mex 1 from Santa Rosalia to Guerrero Negro going north trough the desert.

A makeshift memorial of a trucker at an intersection.

Malarrimo RV Park in Guerrero Negro was a pleasant surprise.

Advertising the Whale Watching tour at the World Heritage Site.

Here is the newer version of my invention. Instead of using the water from the small tank an extended hose from the winterizing valve to the bottle outside, flip the valve and the pump delivers fresh water from the bottle. As I said: we use purified water even in the tank, so this is a lot easier way to save it.

The next day we met Charlotte and Anton in San Quintin.They are touring the North American continent in their self built motor home.

Monday, June 23, 2014

2014 trip to Mexico-6

As I said we loved the place so much we spent 9 days there. Every morning local vendors showed up with everything you could need. Produce, seafood, bread, water and of course the souvenir vendors. If you are prepared you really don't have to leave the place, the dump site is between the hwy and the campground and there are also 2 restaurants. But we wanted to see the area, had to do laundry and later on we needed propane. ( beer has to be cold right? ) Everyone told us we can get propane in Mulege but it's not that simple. There is a place that sells purified water and propane but they can fill only bottles by simply puring propane from a big tank into a smaller one. They can not fill a built in tank on the RV because it's pressurized and the place doesn't have a pump. After a few days we had to go back to Santa Rosalia for propane, the gas place is north of town exactly 95 km ( 60mi ) from our campground. You can not buy propane at a gas station like at home you have to go to the local distributor to fill up. We wanted to see Santa Rosalia again, shop at the French Bakery and take a few more pictures of the church. I parked in front of the church and when I came back from the bakery there were police cars all around us. It scared the heck out of me especially when I've seen a coffin on one of police pick ups. Well, we were in the middle of a funeral service for a fallen cop, actually it was interesting. We did some banking, shopping, and back to Mulege to do laundry and then to Santispac for a few more days.

Birds love the very clear water too...

She was fishing 10 feet from our motor home.

A visitor from Kelowna BC and his lovely dog. The bike is a Russian Ural.

They sell propane at the local distributor only and it's usually far out of town.

The French Bakery in the same building since 1901.

Some goodies from the bakery.

We ended up in the middle of a funeral service for a cop.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

2014 trip to Mexico-5

Last night we had a great seafood dinner with a couple from California. They were on the way home and answered all of our questions. We left Mario's around 10 am, we knew we have only about 4 hours of driving to Mulege. The road is much better but before Santa Rosalia it has such a steep slope it would be probably illegal everywhere north of the border. We stopped in Santa Rosalia to see the church designed by Eiffel when the city was a French mining town. Just a few minutes from the church is the French bakery, another must see, it's been there since 1901, Another 45 minutes to Mulege, filled up the tanks and off to Santispac. For many Canadians and Americans it is as far as they go, because it's beautiful and at Bahaia Concepcion there are 12 beaches. Early in the afternoon we are parked 10 feet from the beach between 2 restaurants, the temperature is 26 C and the water is so unbelievably clear. Since we have only one month we are going to stay here as long as we can and head north in February, I have to be back to work on the 17th. At 8 $/night it is Paradise on Earth and we enjoy every minute here. There are so many Canadians here somebody suggested we should pull up our flag and declare the place Canadian Territory.

The long and very steep slope going down to Santa Rosalia, aka the Grade to Hell. A few more minutes and you can see the Sea of Cortez.

The church in Santa Rosalia designed by Gustav Eiffel, the same man who built the Eiffel Tower.

45 minutes later we are in Mulege, it is going to be the nearest place where we can shop, get gas and food.

10 feet from the crystal clear water, as I said: Paradise on Earth.

A panoramic of Bahaia Santispac.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

2014 trip to Mexico-4

For the next day we wanted ( and did ) drive all the way to Guerrero Negro but I would not recommend it. It's just 412 km of driving but you have to drive like a trucker to do it in one day. There is so much to see, so much to do and we left San Quentin late anyway. Next time we will split it up for 2 days, there are many places to stop for the night. Use the Church's Bible to find those places. Mike and Terri Church wrote many travel guides about Mexico and you should have one in your Rv for sure. During the day we did some grocery shopping, filled up the tanks and arrived in Guerrero Negro just before it was getting dark. After entering Baja California Sur it's only a few hundred yards to Mario's Tours RV Park and we spent the night there. It's far enough from the hwy and a full hook up place is $ 20/night.

Entering Baja California Sur. You have to pay 20 pesos ( $ 1.60 ) for a disinfection spray and just like at the California border you have to declare all your fruit and veggies. If you are not lucky you have to throw it in the garbage.
A few hundred yards south of the border is Mario's Tours and RV Park. The huge RV Park is behind the restaurant.  After set up we had a nice seafood dinner in the restaurant, it was good but definitely "gringo priced" for almost $ 50 for the 2 of us.
They are offering whale watching tours out in the lagoon. Lately the whale watching became very famous here because the whales are coming so close some of the visitors  could touch them. Even National Geographic had a story about it last year.
Have you heard about the Mexican stray dogs? There are many of them in Mexico, all starving and in a very bad shape. Everybody is going to tell you: if you want to adopt a very good an loyal guard dog chose a Mexican! We had some expired yogurt in the fridge and my wife gave it to the 2 dogs they showed up the next minute after we arrived at the RV Park. We had 2 dogs all nigh guarding the motor home and they've been hanging around 'till we left the park.

The next morning I had to test my new invention. We have small tanks so we fill them up with purified water. Instead of holding the 5 gallon bottle I put it on the ladder, insert a hose and water simply flows down in to the tank. It has been further improved but I tell you later about it. ( The 2 dogs are still around the next day !!! )

Cactus grows really big here! Taken in the desert between San Quintin and Guerrero Negro. Only one more day to the Sea of Cortez and we are there!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

2014 trip to Mexico-3

Next day our goal was to make it down to San Quintin because it has miles and miles of sandy beaches and we heard and read nothing but good about it. But to get there we had to drive about 200 km first trough the Santo Tomás Valley and then the desert begins that's famous for a type of cactus that grows only here in the whole world. ( it's called cirio or boojum tree ) It is very tall, looks like an upside down carrot and does not look like cactus at first sight. It was a very easy day, pulled over many times to take pictures, have a bite, we even stopped to by a phone again. The major carrier in Mexico is Telcel with stores in every little village. They have the same "pay as you go" deal as we had in the states for 199 pesos (16.5US) and it includes 300 minutes local airtime. Long distance and international is different of course but for 200 extra pesos we could use it every other day to call home and did not have to worry about minutes. The girl in the store did not speak English, our Spanish isn't good enough but to do business she got creative: called a friend who translated and we had a working phone in 10 minutes. After we left Mexico we gave it to an Australian couple who were just headed there. We arrived in San Quentin at El Pebellon RV Park around 4 pm just in time to enjoy the sunset on the beach with people from Campbell River, Michigan and and even a couple from San Felipe.

Hwy. Mex 1 trough the desert
We have a phone for Mexico now.
A huge whale skeleton at the entrance of the El Pebellon RV Park in San Quintin.

Made it there just in time for the sunset.

January 25. and walking on the beach. I can live with that!

The upside down carrot is called cirio and grows only here in the whole World.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

2014 trip to Mexico-2

A big improvement on this trip that we have communication for a good price. We bought a Verizon cellphone at Walmart for 19.99, the price includes 10 $ worth of airtime. The clerk activated it in 10 minutes and we were ready. It's a "pay as you go", you can recharge it in every Walmart or Verizon store. For Internet we still had to find WiFi, I did not want to invest in anything when we are on the road for a month only.  January 24th we crossed the border around 11 am, quick inspection but everything OK and we were on the road in 5 minutes. We choose Hwy Mex 3 to Ensenada to stay away from the Tijuana area. We drove trough wine country and it shows. This part of the Baja is rich, lot of big wineries, I heard that even from the southern part of the Baja they haul the grapes up here because the wine industry is very strong here. In a bit over 2 hrs we made it to Ensenada, big busy city but no problem with the traffic, the GPS is a big help to find our first Mexican Walmart. Stocking up the fridge, also needed some good bread, beer and we checked out the whole store. We also figured out how to buy rolls, pastries, everything bulk in the bakery. You grab a big tray from the clerk, put everything on it and he will bag it for you. Walmart is cheaper than in the US but not much, we are still too close to the border. After shopping we are headed to our camping for the first night: Villarino's RV Park. 20 bucks/night with full hook up, nice and quiet and right on the beach. The park has a glass wall like a fence on the beach with lights on the top, looks good at night. Still good reception of US TV channels via air.

Made it to Ensenada early in the afternoon.
Our first experience with a Mexican Walmart.

Nice sandy beach at Villarino's RV Park.

The entrance to the park. It's a bit SW of Ensenada in La Bufadora.

The new Pemex station a few miles before Villarino's is like a botanical garden, it was nice and warm and full of flowers. Also a good place to get some purified water.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

2014 trip to Mexico

We have been to Mexico before but only on a short trip. I have been planning it for a long time to go further south on the Baja and now I could take enough time off to go for a month. Left on the 18th of January on an unusually warm day. Did not hurry at all, made it down south to California, even more sun, taking more pictures. Since I also work for a trucking magazine we stopped at many Truck Stops just for taking pictures. Spent a few nights at Truck Stops, Walmarts, also one night at Dana Pt. State Park in California because it cost us over 3 hours to drive trough LA and it was late & dark when we got to the coast.

Left home on a nice and sunny day on the 18th of January.

That's going to be home for a month.

The first shock after we entered California: I have seen Shasta Lake many times before but never so low. Hundreds of houseboats in drydock.

Spent a few nights at Truck Stops just for taking pictures and use the RV facilities.
Have you seen a church with truck parking?  Probably not that's why a Truck Stop provides a Chapel for the Big Rig drivers. (Flying J Bakersfield,  California)
In Castaic just north of LA we always stop for a very good taco.

Dana Pt. State Park California. At 33 $/night we wont be regulars there but it's a night place.

Not bad for January 23.

Last campsite ( Potrero Park) in California before we cross the Mexican border. It's only 6 miles from the border so you can go the day before you cross, get your paperwork done, ( tourist card, insurance,) and the next morning it's a smooth sailing into Mexico.
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