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Old 01-20-2009, 11:58 AM   #1
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Advice for lone female baja traveller

Hi,

me and my 2000 diesel 4x4 smb are heading to Baja for a surf trip in a few weeks, and i just wanted to get some advice from other seasoned baja travellers.

A little background on myself, I have been to baja several times but never solo. I guess a slight concern would be personal safety, though really only slight, i will have my dog with me, and have never felt threatened in previous baja trips. Being a lone female, though, might be a different situation, i'm not sure.

Mostly i'm more worried about any vehicle issues that could come up while i'm on some gnarly 4x4 track down to some of my favorite surf spots. I'm having the SMB serviced now and addressing all known issues, but I realize baja dirt road travelling is likely to introduce new problems.

I guess any advice on tools, extras, parts?, anything related to being prepared for a solo baja trip with a SMB would be appreciated. Oh my van does have a high lift jack, and winch.

Thanks a bunch!

Lisa
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:29 PM   #2
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Re: Advice for lone female baja traveller

Get everything lubed up before you go and carry a grease gun (experience dictates this one). Spare parts (perhaps your still working parts that you already replaced) that "I" would recommend you carry are:
-Fan belt (expensive, but good luck finding one in the middle of nowhere).
-Hoses or couplers for the different sizes and hose clamps. For couplers, head on down to Home Depot and get schedule 40 couplers. Damn, wish I could remember the i/s size for heater hoses (5/8 perhaps). Might have to get a little creative. Definately some extra heater hose (its cheap at your local Napa and if you don't use it on the vehicle, you could use it for a beer bong).
-If you rig is getting long in the tooth, perhaps a new fuel pump to carry in your box-o-parts and tools (when they go, you don't).
-Paper air filters (really, if you have the reusable/oilable kind, leave them at home as you'll need to clean then and regrease them at least once if you follow anyone like Scatter for any distance -Paper, just replace if they are too far gone to clean).
-If you have an Amsoil system, then I'd rec an extra set of both filters (and wrenches) because if you damage one, it would be very hard to find a replacement filter down there). If a stock system, I'd carry one of those.
Tools, etc.
-Headlamp/flashlights/batt-operated lantern
-Lots of batts
-Scatter's phone number in case you need help
-a portable Craftsman tool kit from Sears (one in the $100 on-sale range is good for most roadside repairs).
-New fuel filter(s) -I carried two for my diesel just in case
-3# maul (multiple uses)
-VISE GRIPS!!!
-Duct tape and several bags of long zip ties! I use zip ties like they are going out of style.
-Camp shovel (again, mulitiple uses)
-Scatter's e-mail and phone number.
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:44 PM   #3
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Re: Advice for lone female baja traveller

Also:

Air for your tires and a tire guage that actually goes up to 65-80 pounds.
Tire plug kit

If getting fancy, deflators like Scatter has.

Deflating and inflating are or should be a regular routine when in Baja. The difference in ride (and ease on your tires), plus added traction is remarkable when on some of those rocky "roads" or sandy areas. I'd highly recommend you set yourself up so deflating and inflating is not a giant hassle. Deflate for the rocky roads/sand and inflate back up for any asphalte driving (you'll kill your tires in short order if you leave them low on pavement). 25 pounds of pressure when off-road was the sweet spot for my tires.
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:48 PM   #4
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Re: Advice for lone female baja traveller

Great advice, thanks! Exactely the kind of info i'm looking for. Much appreciated!!

Lisa
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:49 PM   #5
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Re: Advice for lone female baja traveller

My girlfriend and I drove around Baja for six weeks last year with no problems. One thing I did learn is that if you have a dog that at least acts mean or protective, like growles when a stranger walks up to the car, this helps out a lot. I take a lot of tools with me, even when I am driving around the state, just in case. And if you are into camping and exploring cool places in the Baja I would recommend this book by Mike and Terrie Church:

http://www.amazon.com/Travelers-Guide-C ... 18&sr=1-11

We also picked up the Moon Handbook and Lonely Planet books which are helpful. But the Moon RV and camping book is worthless. Deminimis offers some good advice on parts. He has traveled there a bunch. Have fun...

Also, not to highjack this post, but I was wondering which compressor you used Deminimis?
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:59 PM   #6
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Re: Advice for lone female baja traveller

I think the Lonely Planet book might have Scatter's phone number in it.

Just don't leak oil on his driveway like I did.
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Old 01-20-2009, 04:11 PM   #7
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Re: Advice for lone female baja traveller

Lisa - if you have 16" wheels, finding spare tires should not be much of a problem. 17" could be a bit more difficult...just a warning. Like others have said, a dog will definitely help, but I wouldn't consider it an end all for security either. How far south are you planning on going? I wouldn't stay in any remote places north of Ensenada right now, it just isn't safe on the Pacific side. Actually, I wouldn't stay anywhere at all north of Ensenada on the Pacific side.

How long are you going for? The water temps between Ensenada and Guerro Negro are going to be cold, usually anywhere from the same to 3-4 degrees colder than the San Diego area. Other things I can think of that haven't already been mentioned are: Surfer's Guide to Baja; plenty of spare fuel for your stove if it is not hooked up to a propane tank; if diesel, bring an additive like Stanodyne; locking fuel cap; good first aid kit; surfboard ding repair kit; extra rope (great for making a clothesline to dry your wetsuit); rags for cleaning up the dog/van; spare key.

I've always found the people in Baja to be incredibly friendly and willing to help. It sounds like a great trip, I'm jealous.
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Old 01-20-2009, 04:36 PM   #8
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Re: Advice for lone female baja traveller

Thanks again everyone, the more beta, the better, at this point. I did just order the surfer's guide to baja - luckily i have pretty good notes in my baja almanac from previous surf trips which will help as well.

I'm not planning on stopping before Ensanada if i can help it. Plan on crossing thru tecate, avoiding the TJ madness, cruising further south. Not sure how far south i'll get as i have only about a month to be in Baja, (i know, rough, right?) Actually i will have two dogs with me which i feel help a bit for security.

Thanks again, definitely anyone with more input please continue to post!

Lisa
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Old 01-20-2009, 06:03 PM   #9
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Re: Advice for lone female baja traveller

You mentioned having a Hi Lift and a winch. If you haven't used both, practice BEFORE you go. Learning how to use them in a stuck situation is very stressful. A Pul Pall would be useful to if you're truly going solo. Personally I don't like to be a solo vehicle in the middle of nowhere.

Also look into a Spot system. More for you friends and relatives piece of mind, but you can send a VERY basic satellite signal (I'm OK, or Send Help) to give your status.


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Old 01-20-2009, 06:42 PM   #10
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Re: Advice for lone female baja traveller

Lisa, if you plan on going to Guerro Negro and south, you will need to purchase a FMT card (basically a tourist visa). They do check for it.
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