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Old 06-03-2010, 12:22 PM   #1
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Trip Report: Spring Break in Baja.

I've been reading trip reports on here for some time. I really enjoy reading and seeing other peoples escapades. Thought it was high time I posted one of my own. I see why many don't do it though, much more work than I anticipated.

Hope you enjoy.

My mother spends most of the winter down in Los Barriles Baja. I try to travel with her in Mexico when possible. This year my brother, nephews, and their friend came along for a spring break trip.

Final loading for the trip south. 5 "grownups" in one sportsmobile. Should be interesting.

First night was spent near Yuma in the dunes. I'm always amazed how well airing down works. Here I started to dig in. Air down to 25psi and all 13000 pounds just drives right out.

We had enough day light left to goof off in the dunes. We played some touch football, flew some 2 string kites, and the boys launched off the dunes.

We don't need no stinking forty foot land yacht. Here we are watching a movie that first night. Yep, a little bit crowded, but was a lot of fun. No we didn't all try to sleep in the smb. The boys had tent cots they set up each night.

We crossed at Mexicali. This was a new one for me. Being from AZ it made sense. We wanted to see what the East side of the peninsula was all about. Crossing was easy, although larger than I thought we got through Mexicali quickly. This is hwy 5 on the way to San Felipe.

Camping just past San Felipe. I always try to camp far from others and where it's free. We wanted to go farther this day, but stopped early to try and get our tourist visas the next day in San Felipe.

Had a nice campfire this night. Had a lot of fun playing with cameras and exposures. At one point we were all dancing around the fire in circles like Indians for a good shot.

Onto the dirt road and South. Not much out here which is great. The road had also just been paved and was relatively smooth.

Our first view of the ocean. One point of the trip was to explore the beaches more on the way down. Seems like every time we got even a little bit of access there were houses.

Looking for Scatter. Had to drop in and say hi. Wow he really lives out there. We did find him and got some good advice on camping south. Only stayed for an hour or so though because it was getting late.

More dirt road after Scatter's house. The dirt was about 60 miles total and an average speed of 10mph.

We camped again in the middle of nowhere. That's what I love about the sportsmobile. The ability to explore a sand wash or rough road to find solo camping. Brother and I slept great, but apparently there was a cold breeze all night coming down the canyon which kept the boys awake most of the evening.

The next day we visited Coco's corner. It's a somewhat famous place in Baja. We stopped in and had a soda/beer.

Here is a good example of bathrooms in rural Baja. Believe it or not some of us were very happy to have a facility like this to use.

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Old 06-03-2010, 01:14 PM   #2
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Re: Trip Report: Spring Break in Baja. Part II

Airing up after the bumpiness. I ran my tires at 25psi and kept it under 40. No issues and a much better ride. I have 33" BFG's.

Back onto hwy 1. We popped out on the main highway just South of Catavina. This is a significant savings in both miles and safety. The dirt is the new way to go for me. I'd much rather be doing 10mph on a barely traveled road than going 60mph in the crowded and sometimes crazy areas near the border.

Next night was spent on the beach at Santispac. Nice place, kind of crowded though. We were planning on being here a few days. I was going to find Deminimis who was supposed to be near by. Unfortunately I got outvoted the next morning. It seems the boys were tired of traveling and setting up cots and wanted to bee line it to Los Barriles.

A picture of the cast of characters in the morning sun.

We made it to La Paz. We had not planned to stop in La Paz, but had to because we still needed tourist visas. Although many attempts were made to get the visas on the way down it just wasn't in the cards. It took more than 6 hours to get the visas done in La Paz. Dealing with the Mexican bureaucracy is not fun.

Aaaah morning in Los Barriles. We arrived late the previous night. Drove the hour from La Paz to Los Barriles in the dark. A no no in Mexico to drive at night, but we took it slow and it worked out fine.

One of my favorite pictures from the trip. Nothing like some of the shots I've seem on this forum, some of you guys can really shoot photos.

This is home for the next week or so. It's a small retirement community where Mom lives. Beautiful place, very safe and friendly.

This should soon be my place. If all goes according to plan I'll be living here this winter. Time to scale waaaaaaay down and retire early.

One of the main reasons for being in Baja is kitesurfing. I discovered Baja many years ago with windsurfing and haven't been able to stay away since.

I'm not very good yet, but definitely see the fun potential. I'm hoping that the kitesurfing will be a life changing experience for me much like windsurfing was in the past.

Another sunrise shot from Mothers front porch.

We had great family time down there in Baja. Played a lot of card games in the evenings. This is what it looks like under the card table.

Some friends went out to catch some humboldt squid for bait. My brother was fascinated.

There was another 4x4 van in town. This guy uses his van to launch his boat on the beach. Didn't work out so well this day. He got stuck in the sand but was quickly winched out. Isn't the aluminum steer head cool?

Vacation coming to an and. Time to head back. There really is some beautiful scenery on Mex 1.

Military checkpoint. There are many of these on the main road and even a couple on the dirt. The soldiers are looking for drugs and guns. They are always very polite and efficient. They checked me thoroughly a few times on the way out since I was in the van solo. It was just my Mom and Brother and myself in two cars for the way home.

Back on the dirt road. Had one minor problem this time. The tire rack support broke loose. Not a big deal, I was able to tie it down for the remainder of the trip. It's a design flaw that's already been repaired. I also learned it's ok to air down the trailer too. The trip over beat some trailer contents up pretty good. I had 18psi in the trailer tires for the home trip, much better.

Camped on this rock beach on the way out. We had to drive down a fairly rough road to get to the bottom. Mom said "are you sure my van can get back out of there"? Oh Mom you worry too much, you will drive back up that easy as pie.

OOps!! Toyota Siennas don't 4wheel very well. Sorry Mom. No harm done, just winched it out with the Manfort.

So we finished the dirt road. Airing up near the highway and look who comes along. It's Mr and Mrs Scatter. There aren't many Sportsmobiles out there, but we sure do notice each other and try to stop.

Trips over. Had to wait in line for a few hours in Mexicali. Next time I'll try crossing at the truck border. After the crossing, only 6 hours to home.

Hope you enjoyed it, Tom.
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Old 06-03-2010, 02:08 PM   #3
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Re: Trip Report: Spring Break in Baja.

Great trip report Panion! Good pics and it looks like you had a great time with all the family members.

But you had to mention retiring early. I have a framed letter at home from our retirement/investment adviser from 2006 which says "If all goes as planned and you continue to save and invest at the present rate, you should be able to retire early by January 1st, 2010". I read it every day before I go back to work.
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Old 06-03-2010, 05:29 PM   #4
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Re: Trip Report: Spring Break in Baja.

Hey Tom,
Great trip report! I am sitting here at work enjoying your adventure. Sounds like you guys had a great time.

Thanks for sharing!

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Old 06-03-2010, 06:34 PM   #5
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Re: Trip Report: Spring Break in Baja.

Super trip report Tom!! Was great seeing you down there and was sure surprised to see you airing up on the way out. Hope the retirement thing works out.
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Old 06-04-2010, 12:48 AM   #6
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Re: Trip Report: Spring Break in Baja.

Great trip report...
I am looking forward to taking a double amputee participant down there next weekend.
How was Coco doing?
Oh and great pics by the way.
Go out and play in the dirt!
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Old 06-04-2010, 09:01 AM   #7
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Trip Report: Spring Break in Baja.

Coco wasn't there. Had some other character looking after the place.
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Old 06-06-2010, 10:43 AM   #8
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Re: Trip Report: Spring Break in Baja.

I'd like to show this photo to all my friends who talk about trying to bicycle through Baja. I'm always amazed people do it!


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Old 06-06-2010, 11:45 AM   #9
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Re: Trip Report: Spring Break in Baja.

Great report and pics, thanks
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Old 06-07-2010, 01:07 AM   #10
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Re: Trip Report: Spring Break in Baja.

Awesome trip report!! Thanks for taking the time to write this up! Makes me want to get out even more!
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