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Vegas

Posted on December 20, 2014 by No Comments

It’s funny how quickly we forget. Being back in the U.S. means that I have to pump my own gasoline and I’m forced to watch TV commercials while I do it. And, airplanes overhead – lots of them. I haven’t seen an airplane in 3 months.

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I was just a little surprised that there were so many hills on the way out of California towards Nevada. I recall someone telling me it was completely flat. It’s not. At least there was a dedicated slow lane most of the way. That was us.

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It’s all empty desert until you get to the Nevada state line. There, built right up against the state line are plenty of casinos for the folks that just can’t wait to get their gamble on.

We kept rolling to Vegas. If you’ve been reading a while, you can probably guess that we’re not really the “Vegas baby!” types. Still, we came for the spectacle.

Besides, it’s on the way.

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Filed Under: California, Nevada

TJ Crossing

Posted on December 19, 2014 by 2 Comments

It didn’t occurred to me that I’ve never driven across the border from Mexico into the U.S. until I started getting close. Tijuana was our first try.

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We got lost. Driving around Tijuana wasn’t so bad, but following the signs to the border was a joke. I think we missed every on-ramp and circled 4 or 5 times. We even got in the wrong line and had to start over. Amateurs.

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When we finally got in the correct line, it was backed up about 90 minutes. This gave the vendors plenty of time to come around and offer us blankets and sombreros and everything else under the sun. We blew our last few coins on tiny sodas and a hospital donation can.

When we made it to the border station, we handed over our tourist permits and passports. They handed back the permits and the American border agent asked if we had a good time. A guy holding a German Shepherd asked if we caught any good waves. They handed back the passports and that was that. Back in the USA.

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Minor issue – we never technically checked out of Mexico. We still have our permits and we didn’t get stamped out. We didn’t even see how we were supposed to. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if that comes back to haunt us later. Amateurs.

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Filed Under: Baja, California

Back to Ensenada

Posted on December 18, 2014 by 2 Comments

We booked it all the way back to Ensenada in one long day. Every hour I pulled over to monitor the oil leak. Still leaking. I can’t fix it either, since you need a special tool to get the oil filler off and all my attempts at fashioning a tool on the fly haven’t worked.

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There’s not much on this stretch of road other some farming towns and few turnoffs for the coast. You’re excused if you skip this part of Baja Norte entirely.

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We stopped to meet a friend in Ensenada and Bode made a new one. Next up – morning border jump!

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Filed Under: Baja

San Ignacio Oasis

Posted on December 17, 2014 by 1 Comment

Just a little bit of apprehension driving today on the same stretch of pavement where we had our little accident. Narrow lanes, big trucks, and not much in the way of a shoulder.

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We pulled into San Ignacio to find exactly what you might have found 100 years ago. Nothing seems to change here. Big church. Town square. River. Silence.

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If you want to go somewhere quiet – really quiet – this might be a good choice. Other than a few collectivos that stop on their way to somewhere else, there’s not much else going on. The passengers jump out and look at the church, take some photos, buy a soda and then leave. The shops on the square probably only need to be open for a few minutes per day.

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Filed Under: Baja

Santa Rosalia

Posted on December 16, 2014 by No Comments

The last time we were here, we just had our windshield smashed in. This time was a little more relaxed.

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There really isn’t much going on here, but it’s a good place to stop and load up on groceries and internet and such. No windshields.

We’ve been through here several times now, and have managed to go to the french bakery every single time.

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This is an old mining town and is a pretty interesting place. One thing it has that you won’t see anywhere else in Baja (besides the french influence and an iron Eiffel church) is wooden buildings.

Back in the late 1800’s, many of the mining towns would load up their boats and send them to San Francisco. This place mined copper. Then, the boats would return with redwood and fir so they wouldn’t come back empty. Victorian-style wooden architecture in Baja is a pretty uncommon sight. This place should have been declared a Pueblo Magico long before Loreto, but nobody asked me to be on the committee.

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There’s also a ferry to the mainland from here that would save us several hundred miles of driving… but we deferred and decided to drive back up Baja. It’s pretty spendy.

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Filed Under: Baja

Bahía Concepción Beaches

Posted on December 11, 2014 by No Comments

We finally got moving off of El Requesón, but not before we were visited by the tchotchke truck.  When in season, there are lots of these guys that drive around and provide servies to campers. Some are useful: the fish guy, the bread guy, the water guy, the fruit guy. We just got the tourist junk guy.

Somehow, Bode ended up with a fruit hammock for the bus and a woven Baja hoodie, (a.k.a. drug rug).

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There are plenty more beaches along this bay and you can camp on just about any them. I’m amazed that these aren’t all packed with resort hotels, but that’s fine with me.

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Filed Under: Baja

The Endorsement: Cyclops Apollo

Posted on December 10, 2014 by 1 Comment

Our buddy Bob left us with a nifty gift: The Cyclops Apollo.

We don’t really have any fancy glamping gear, so this is a nice little upgrade from our cheapo headlamps. It’s an excellent compact flashlight in a sturdy aluminum sleeve. The beauty is that the lens mount slides up and it turns into a lantern.

If you’ve got a camper on your Christmas list and don’t know what to get them… you’re welcome.

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Filed Under: Baja

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