Week 6 of our vacation 2022

Ok we are now entering into week six of our vacation but this is also just the first week of our “Baja Adventure“. And waking up to a view like this out the windshield of our coach is almost more than we could have imagined or hope for.

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022: It was an early rise for me this morning, shortly after four o’clock, now you may wonder why, but I really don’t have a reason, it was not even a call of nature thing this morning. I’m struggling with our internet hub, yesterday after crossing into Mexico it showed an error (SIM locked PIN required) so I sent off an email on my phone with my new TELCEL SIM card, last night and to my delight I received a response and I went through the procedure to reset the SIM card in the Hub. Now I’m picking up the TELCEL network here in Mexico but the speed is so bad it is almost unusable. After sitting by the fire last evening, I just decided to go to bed and deal with the problem this morning.

So, it’s shortly after four o’clock in the morning and I’m running speed tests on the internet connection, and it is still terrible, so I put together an email with the information and send it off to our service provider, and almost immediately I get a response, not something I was expecting at four o’clock on a Wednesday morning. But I worked through every task as asked, and by five o’clock I had responded to a half a dozen emails, as I understand we have to work through all of the stupid possibilities first. Then we get to the actual settings on the hub, and the last email asked me to copy and paste a dozen pages of code that, I had pulled from the hub, I have not heard back yet, so I’m thinking this could take a while.

The sunrise this morning was beautiful, and I snapped several photos, looking out over the Sea of Cortez, and I watched another day come to life. Our departure time today is near eleven o’clock, and involves one of our shortest days, as we are only moving approximately fifty miles down the road to Puertecitos and campground with some hot springs, it will be for one night only, dry camping, overlooking the bay. We have no reservations, as this is one of those places that is basically off the grid, No cellular service, Limited power, one of those places you are afraid to ask about the water, and they need to run generators in the evening to supply lights and operate what ever electrical equipment that is required.

And before eleven o’clock we are venturing further south on Mex-5, the road has narrowed considerably, and the condition of road has deteriorated, to a level that would make one think more of a “Mexican” road. We land at a little campground and we all get a ocean front view again today, the cost for dry camping here was 600 Mexican Pesos ($30.48 American or $41.57 Canadian) but as we pulled up to this view, it made the price seem like a reasonable amount for the view and free hot springs.

The tide is going out now and we are going to walk over to the hot spring this afternoon, but I just felt it was time for a dip in the Sea of Cortez, so now I have had my first official swim of our vacation, the water was lets just say refreshing, but felt wonderful at the same time. We kind of skipped lunch, a couple of adult beverages a few potato chips and we were good to go. We sat under the palapa that was in front of our coach and we were joined by a few people, as we watched the tide continue roll out, Deb & Randy were trying Paul’s paddle board and Deb fell off the board and lost her glasses in the water. Randy & Deb got their masks and snorkel gear and went back out to look for them, we suggested we would all walk out and look at low tide, so at low tide the majority of the group wondered out to the area that we thought we had seen Deb fall, and by luck we did find her glasses in about six inches of water. Luckily it is sand based so they were easy to spot and were not damaged, next we gathered up some towels and headed to the hot springs, the springs had suffered some damage from the last hurricane that hit this area just around a month ago. Workers were still working on repairing the damage this afternoon when we got there, there are a number of different little pools of varying temperature, all but one seemed too hot for this old guy and as luck would have it, it didn’t seem to be hot enough, but it was still a neat experience. The pool we were in actually gets flooded by the high tide so it is only available at low tide, there was a more pungent Sulphur odour around the hotter pools, but didn’t seem too bad at the pool I was in.  We headed back to the coaches just before dark and Miss Laurie prepared a chicken dinner as we sat and relaxed, the only people with any connectivity are those with Starlink, the generator is now running at the campground to power this little village, and most of the lights are now on.

The group is going to have a fire again tonight around seven o’clock, it is 6:30 now and it is almost dark already, this is the time of year that the shortness of the fall days really start to stand out. It was quite windy this evening so it kept people moving about to avoid the smoke, by nine o’clock we all headed back to our coaches for the night.

Thursday, November 3rd, 2022: Today will be one of our biggest days with over 300 kilometer (185 miles) it’s not bad for distrance, but as our leader Paul explains today will be the day with some butt pucker, because of the roads being so narrow and have NO shoulder, if you fall off the road here you could have a drop of anywhere from multiple inches to beyond where we don’t want to talk about it. We have a nine o’clock departure time for today, but we will have lots of breaks today, taking advantage of pull offs where available.

We will pass through two military check points today and cross the state line into Baja California Sur, we will also change from Pacific Time Zone back to Mountain Time Zone, this will be our first time zone change this year, rather unusual for us. But todays end destination is Guerrero Negro, which is on the Pacific Coast of the Baja. So as much as our direction of travel will remain south, because of the shape of the Baja we will go from the Sea of Cortez to the Pacific Ocean today before heading back more eastward toward the Sea of Cortez again tomorrow.

Well the journey today was everything that Paul had promised, and while meeting a transport truck Paul clipped mirrors and lost his drivers mirror, making the last hour of driving a little more difficult. And yes there was moments of the preverbal butt puckering but most of us survived unscathed. We drove down the coast of the Sea of Cortez this morning and then through lush desert forest, a Boojum tree forest, we seen a wandering pack of burros, as well as millions of desert flowers before catching a view of the Pacific Ocean. Our home for the night is certainly not a glamorous as the first two nights as we are parked behind a hotel/restaurant, but the rate was 350 pesos ($24.45 Canadian or $17.82 American)

There are actually hook ups here for water, sewage, and 15 amp power. We dumped our tanks but did not risk the power supply at 140 volts, and we will also pass on filling the water for a few more days. We all gathered in the restaurant for beverages and a bite to eat I had a sea bass dinner, soup, rice, vegetables, garlic toast, and a good portion of sea bass for 185 pesos ($9.42 American or $12.92 Canadian)

Friday, November 4th, 2022: Today was to be a short day, only traveling 150 kilometres (90 miles), moving from Guerrero Negro to San Ignacio, a small village located at an actual desert oasis. But getting there would prove to be an adventure all on its own, as this section of MEX-1 had suffered extensive damage during the last hurricane, so we will have some detours off of the highway. We are aiming for a ten o’clock departure and we almost made it on time, when we hit the road we did not travel far down the road when we had our first off road adventure. In fact we enjoyed a number of these little adventures as we traveled inland as many sections on MEX-1 were washed out, but other than the dust and the rough road the caravan trudged on.

Above are a few photos of the off-road adventures and below are some photos around San Ignacio, the town square and the mission from 1760.

Our stop for today was at the “Campo Rice & Beans” which is basically a hotel and restaurant with camping sites, again we selected dry camping as the facilities offered for campers were somewhere between poor to nonexistent. And you must love the truthfulness of the Mexican people, as the manager told us that she was waiting for another caravan to arrive and would have to keep the “good” sites for them. Now this could very well be a caravan operator that stops there every trip, and maybe deserves the better sites, but it’s just not something that most would say, but we made it easy for her and we all went into San Ignacio to explore the town square, the mission, and get some dinner before returning to the campground for a surprisingly quiet night just off of the edge of the highway.

Saturday, November 5th, 2022: I had some doubts about our travel today, first it is the weekend, secondly we are driving to a dry camping area at Playa Santispac on Bahia Concepcion. The drive is only 159 kilometers (99 miles) but it also includes the “Grade to Hell” and it actually has a number of similar references and I was thinking traffic could be heavy, and camping spots scarce, but none of these items were an issue and we departed at ten o’clock and were at our destination before one o’clock. The camping fee is 200 pesos per night ($13.97 Canadian or $10.18 American) no hook-ups, but we are literally nosed right up to the beach for an unbelievable view into the bay.

We grabbed a quick bit of lunch and headed to the water with our chairs where we just sat on our chairs in the water as the tide started to gently roll in. What a marvelous little piece of heaven, and we spent most of the day just sitting in the water enjoying an adult beverage or two. Miss Laurie cooked up a kilogram of blue shrimp which had been given to Lorena by the camp host in San Felipe, so we had snacks while sitting in the water, then a dinner break before campfire time. There were a few generators running during the dinner break as some of these people are not really boondocker’s they may park in the desert but they are what we refer to as “generator people” the ones that true boondockers try to avoid.

We had a great fire on the beach and everyone sat around and told lies about their camping adventures, it’s like fishing tales about the one that got away, but this is early in our adventure and it kind of gives everyone chance to get to know each other. So maybe it is time to start introducing some of the players in this little adventure, as we only really knew one couple of the group before this adventure began.

So lets introduce the leaders of this little adventure Paul & Lorena, a cute couple that we discovered through their YouTube channel. Lorena is Mexican & Paul is Canadian and they were living in Las Vegas, when I first discovered them they were in the process of selling their home in Vegas and moving into a motorhome as an “experiment” for one year (that was all Paul could get Lorena would commit to), that was six years ago. We first met them in person in September of 2017 when they were touring our part of Canada and held a little meet-up in Niagara Falls Ontario, just a couple of months before our full time adventure started. The second time we met them was in the Quartzsite desert in January 2018 when we actually camped together for nearly a week. Then after that we seemed to always be on the opposite side of the continent every winter, but when they decided to put together a caravan to the Baja we were quick to signup, but then that whole covid thing hit and with borders being closed that plan kind of went to heck in a hand basket. So, this spring when they suggested that they were going to the Baja this fall and offered the people that had showed interest in the caravan the chance to tag along, Miss Laurie jumped on the idea, and the rest is as they say history.

Paul keeps telling us that this is not an organized event, but they have planned many little side adventures that they have already done or is on their list of want to do’s. Lorena who is obviously fluent in Spanish has arranged all the camping spots, or at least as much as they can be arranged in Mexico, they have also planned every stop down to our final destination a campground Playa Norte near Los Barriles B.C.S., where they will spend much of their winter. That is where they will cut everyone loose to get back to the border on their own the trip down is around 1000 miles (1600 kilometers) and will take us three weeks to get there, with all the side adventures that they offered to us. The group will breakup for the trek back north with some people leaving on the tenth of December for those wanting to be home for Christmas. Our departure date is undecided at this time but will most likely be latter than most, and had we not had a commitment in Arizona, we would have likely stayed till spring. Having spoken with Paul a week is plenty of time to do the return trip, and we want to spend as much time as possible in this piece of paradise, and allow more time for road repairs to be completed as a bonus.

Sunday, November 6th, 2022: I woke this morning to a beautiful sunrise streaming through the windshield, we could actually see the water from our bed, what an amazing little piece of paradise. Miss Laurie woke shortly after seven, and we made coffee and headed outside to sit in the lounge chairs to enjoy the start of a beautiful day. And then it happened the coach beside us even before eight o’clock on a Sunday morning fired up their generator with the diesel fumes blasting right at us, so much for a quiet morning with a coffee enjoying the serenity of this rugged but beautiful little spot. And we have been boondocking long enough to know that every group has one or two of those people, the ones that have to run their generators for hours on end to recharge their batteries, so how did we get so lucky to be beside the one?

The reality is that coaches that have residential refrigerators are not good boondocking units, unlike RV refrigerators that can just sip propane to operate the residential refrigerator needs 110 volt power that requires an invertor and a large battery bank. And while the batteries may supply power for a day or so they need to be recharged and that takes either a large solar array which recharges them with DC (direct current) voltage or a generator that produces AC (alternating current) that then operates a battery charger that produces DC power, and if they are lead batteries this is a long painful process and if they are Lithium it can be faster with the correct charger settings. But either way solar is simply the best for charging either type of battery, because of the charge settings on good controllers plus there is no power conversion, and of course the bonus of silence.

Today was a day to explore the Bahia Concepcion, so we put the kayaks in the water for some paddling and exploration, there were lots of birdlife all around with pelicans diving for fish continuously indicating that the fish were plentiful. Everyone spent the day in and around the water with kayaks, paddle boards, snorkeling gear, or just swimming of course followed by a beverage on the beach in the sun. There were multiple venders selling their goods either food, or products, we purchased a kilogram of fresh shrimp from a vendor.

There will be no fire tonight as this evening was designated as a movie night we are going to watch “The Millers”, so everyone gathered their chairs around the projector with their favorite snack and beverage. We had not seen the movie and it was quite entertaining and with it being dark before seven o’clock it did not make for a late evening, good for the senior citizens of the group like myself who was back in our coach

Monday, November 7th, 2022: And we have to struggle through another day on the beach, the majority of the group is heading into the nearby village to explore the area, tour the mission, pick up some supplies, and have lunch/dinner. We have decided to just stay at camp and watch the water as the tide comes and goes, in simpler terms just enjoy this beautiful spot in peace and quiet.

It was a wonderful day, we watched a pod of dolphins hunting in the bay, and while a fair distance off the beach Miss Laurie was able to snap a couple of photos of the dolphins just the same. The group returned from town and the generators fired up again, I’m sorry you can not consider yourself a boondocker if your coach has a residential refrigerator and you do not have enough solar to power it. We had a lovely fire on the beach, and we listened to the generators till after ten o’clock

Tuesday, November 8th, 2022: I was up at 4:00 this morning, as there is a total eclipse of the moon this morning so I thought it would be worth a bad photo or two from my iPhone just to document the event.

Today is a travel day, we are leaving our little piece of paradise and heading to Loreto a reasonably short journey of 113 kilometers (70 miles) this part of our adventure will take us south along the Bahia Concepcion before venturing inland just to bring us back to the sea of Cortez and into Loreto. We have a campground booked here for two nights with full hook-ups, awe no generators! Our departure time is ten o’clock and while it will be difficult to leave, we have more adventures to explore.

We passed through another military check point again today, in fact we will travel through five of them in total before reaching our final destination. And while some may find them intimidating they are looking only for drugs and guns. They may ask to board the coach and inspect but we have found they do not show any interest in tourists and usually just wave us through, the main question is where are you travelling from and where are you going. And I’m thinking a few of these style check points back home could solve a few issues, but would not be as effective because here there really is only one main highway to patrol in the Baja

Our journey today rolled along smoothly, there was only a couple small spots of road construction or repair, the highway MEX-1, twisted and turned through the mountains along Bahia Concepcion, offering up great views and a few photo opportunities along the way, and around two hours into the trip, Paul radios back that the Sea of Cortez has just came into view as well as the village of Loreto our destination for the day. Next is the snaking from the highway to our campsite on the shore of the sea, not as rustic or beautiful as last nights site, but we are just steps from the shore and this camp ground has a pool with a view of the Sea of Cortez. It is a warm day 85°F (30°C) and feels warmer because we no longer have that breeze off of the water. It is obvious that the RV park is not their top priority here which is fine, and the generators running have been replaced by barking dogs and crowing roosters, a good day to take advantage of the power supply and run one of our air conditioners.

We ventured to the downtown square of Loreto at five o’clock this afternoon, for a walk through the town square, before our dinner reservation at a restaurant downtown. The town square has just been redone and is beautiful, with the traffic being removed from a number of blocks to allow pedestrian traffic to enjoy the small shops. There was band setting up in the actual city square, and when we returned after dinner it was full of people and music and it was actually an orchestra playing and many of the seats were full, after walking to the water front we ventured back to our vehicles and headed back to the campground and our cooled off coach. Mister Sam was in the windshield looking for his dinner upon our arrival, we settled into our coach for an evening of closed windows with the air conditioner on, enjoying the cool and keeping the outside noise to a minimum.

Of course the credit for all of the good photos in this blog goes to Miss Laurie and her eye for seeing the artistic factor in virtually every shot, the crappy ones are created by my iPhone and myself … lol

Bring on week two of the Baja

Blog 457

Day 1862

Week 5 of our vacation 2022

Wednesday, October 26th 2022: It was another early morning waking up for me at Peggy Sue’s Diner in Yermo CA, it is going to be another warm cloudless day as we head further east today, our destination today is Needles CA, and we will get there by travelling east on I-40. We are hoping to depart around the ten o’clock area, and should have us arrive shortly after lunch, we are hoping to stay at another Elks Lodge, with full hook ups, before boondocking for nearly a week. But breakfast this morning will be at Peggy Sue’s as a thank you for a spot to stay. There was some road noise from I-15 but nothing that was a concern, the garbage around the lot was vary saddening but seems to be common in this area of California.

So breakfast at Peggy Sue’s as, OK, I ordered “The Blob”, which consisted of buttermilk biscuits, scrambled eggs, hash brown potatoes, and sausage, smothered in breakfast gravy. And no I was not able to finish it, but it did fill my craving for some biscuits and gravy. And we now have settled into the coach again after breakfast, I have published a couple of blogs and decided to get started on this weeks blog, this could be a bit of a strange week as we should be settled in the Yuma area soon, and by the sounds of it there is no real plan or schedule in place before this caravan comes together, it sounds as it could possibly be like herding cats.

So let’s start off with a little recap of what we have been up to, we have been on the road since September the 28th, we have driven over 2000 miles (3200 kilometers), this should be our last night in California, we are expecting to be in Yuma on October the 28th exactly one month since our journey started. The rest of October will be spent in the Yuma area, as we meet up with the rest of the Mexico caravan group, and allow us time to do the final preparations for Mexico. The weather has been astonishing for the season and time of year, and has provided us with remarkable views and memories that will last us a lifetime, the Elks Lodges have been a godsend allowing us safe places to stay, in areas that would be very expensive and difficult to stay at. The coach is running well, and in the last few days our mileage has increased from 7.5 mpg to 7.7 mpg, an unexpected surprise but a very nice surprise. I will continue to write our blog while we travel in Mexico but publishing may be an issue as we will not have a data plan there, so I will be relying on campground internet and our friends.

The journey today was eastbound on I-40, and was uneventful, and I was able to keep the cruise on for most of it. And we made it to the Elks Lodge in Needles CA, just before one o’clock, this will be our last full hookup stop before Mexico, so with 50 amp connection it is a great spot for some laundry, and a final opportunity to enjoy some of the perks of full hookups. Miss Laurie made pizza in the Ninja for dinner, and we spent the evening just watching the television, we have a view of the mountain ranges surrounding us as we have dropped down to the Colorado River valley, and I’m thinking I can now officially switch over to just shorts for the next couple months.

I just snapped the photo of the coach, looking back into the sunshine, but it is actually an amazing untouched photo of the blue skies, our spot has oleanders planted on either side, another clean well maintained Elks Lodge RV park.

Thursday, October 27th, 2022: And we woke to a blustery day, high winds are very common along the Colorado River valley and this morning there are wind warnings on both Lake Havasu and Lake Mojave, and along with the wind in the desert comes the dust, that is one thing you have to accept if spending much time in the desert. Our departure from Needles will be around 11:00, as we are only going south to the Quartzsite area today, fried eggs and toast for breakfast, and after adding some water to the fresh water tank and we are on the road.

Today we are heading south on US-95 from Needles, then east on California 62 to the Arizona state line at Parker, where the highway turns into Arizona 95, and then south to Quartzsite, where we will top off the onboard propane tank. And as crazy at it sounds we again pick up US-95, as we move south toward Yuma, but in actual fact we have decided to stay a few nights at the BLM land at the Roadrunner location it is 14 day free dispersed camping area, it will be quiet at this time of year and I can position Thunder to get the best solar harvest. Now I know that you might be wondering why not go to Yuma, well there are a lot of reasons, and we will move on to Yuma shortly, but we know this area, and it is a beautiful area, sunsets and sunrises are epic, the mountain views are stunning. The closest 14 day BLM land to Yuma is at the VFH but is on a major rail line and trains run past all night long, it seems pointless to spend $40 for the LTVA land at either Imperial Dam or Pilot Knob which are the actual closest spots. So we are settled in here for a day or two, I have been watching the chat page for this Baja adventure, and I think I’m better of a few miles away, don’t want to start annoying people already.

After pulling on to Roadrunner BLM land shortly after one o’clock, we settled in to have some lunch, we opened most of the windows to enjoy the gentle breeze and 75°F (24°C) of nothing but sunshine, everyone just seemed to go ahhh, as if we realized that we will enjoy a few very quiet days. I snapped some photos this afternoon of the views around us, there is a group a few hundred yards away, but the afternoon has been great. And of course I’m hoping Mother Nature will put on a show this evening. Dinner tonight was some precooked burgers, as it was quick and easy, a perfect end to the day.

Well the sunset show was as beautiful as a clear sky sunset can be, and just after the sunset we had some man made light show. We have no idea what we were seeing but it was quite a show, as usual photos just do not do it justice. And we now know that it was actually a SpaceX rocket that was launched last evening that gave us the light show, Thanks Chief Twit!

Friday, October 28th, 2022: And it was a very dark, very quiet peaceful night, I’m up at 5:30 but that seems to be pretty standard by now, and by six o’clock I can see the outline of the mountains through the windshield and a couple of small lamps from La Paz valley, Mister Sam is sitting on the dash and seem quite intrigued by something, but I can’t tell what. I love dawn, I always have, it is the prettiest part of the day, and it’s not just the view of the sun rising, it’s more about how the morning light colours everything around us, and here in the desert it’s all about how it paints the mountains with light. Yea I think we have made it back to our happy place.

Breakfast this morning was eggs and toast, we have to use up the eggs before crossing the border into Mexico, there are a number of items that we can not cross the border with so our menu for the next few days will be all about conforming to our upcoming border crossing. Now as the sun climbs in the sky so does the numbers on our solar panels, we had pulled our battery bank to the 65% level before the start of the replenish, I’m hoping not to have to tilt panels and still get back to 100%, it is 10:20 and we have climbed back to 70%.

Well we did not get to 100% but we did have a solar harvest of 291 amp/hours which for not having to getting on the roof to clean panels or tilting any panels seemed more than satisfactory to me, we have more than enough power with out any generator time, and we do not really change our life style much whether on or off grid, we don’t reduce our television time, it may change Laurie’s cooking method but really a not a lot of adjustments.

Miss Laurie thought I should pause of “Maple WiFi” hub while we are in Mexico, something I was not planning on doing, but I agreed to so I sent an email to ask for the pause while travelling in Mexico. We then watched our regular television before turning in for the evening. after a very peaceful day and a couple of adult beverages.

Saturday October 29th, 2022: It is another early morning, along with another beautiful sunrise, we had originally planned to move on to Yuma today. As I do every morning I checked my email, and was surprised to see a responce from “Maple WiFi” already, so I opened the email and to my surprise I was told pausing was no issue but that the hub should work fine in the Mexican Baja area. This was an unexpected but pleasant surprise so now we should have coverage, or at least as good as the cellular coverage as we move through. I’m going to have to up date my review of “Maple WiFi” as I’m learning so much more about their system as we use it. And we have decided just to stay here for another day, Roadrunner for the win!

There has not been a lot to report today, we have just sat around to enjoy another day of sunshine, Mister Sam has gotten some outdoor time, in between his naps, Miss Laurie has gotten some sunshine in the antigravity chair, and I have been listening to an audio book to pass the time, I actually never picked up the Blog for almost two days, I can only imagine catching up, I need to get back into my routine or Tuesday will be ugly.

Miss Laurie entered the coach, and pulled out her iPad to catch up on the group chat, and check Facebook, a few moments later she said the group that were parked in front of us here at Roadrunner, had just posted that they were a group of full timers and were enjoying a beautiful desert day in Quartzsite. That would normally not be anything special, but the post indicated that they were Canadian, so we decided to walk over to introduce ourselves and have a little chat. It turned out that they were from all across Canada and varied from 16 months to 27 years of full timing, and as a bonus they were all heading to Mexico over the next few weeks, some have been doing this trek for over a dozen years. So we sat and had a beverage with them before heading back to the coach.

Again today we never got to 100% but we pulled in another 284 amp/hours which got us back to within the ninety percentile area on the battery bank, again for not being tilted or cleaned recently I’m very pleased. It was another evening of catching up on the news and then television before heading to bed shortly after nine o’clock, not a real exciting day, but a great day to just prepare for the craziness which I’m sure is on the way.

Sunday, October 30th, 2022: I rolled out of bed just before five this morning, we need an early start today, but we didn’t need to start this early. This is an exciting day, we are moving to Yuma today, I’m topping off the fuel tank of Thunder in preparation for our Mexico adventure. We are planning on some dry camping at a casino parking lot in Winterhaven CA, yea we will be back in California before our meeting at Los Algodones at 11:00. Our stay at Roadrunner BLM land was been a needed break, maybe even more than we realized, and has taken silence to a whole new level, but we can’t put off the inevitable any longer.

We we pulling out of Roadrunner at 7:45, and are heading south on US-95 to Yuma a trek of just over an hour. I planning on a fuel stop in Yuma at another “Open Roads” station, this one is only around 50¢/gallon savings, but will make for our first fuel at under $5.00/gallon! And another 50 gallons of diesel later and we jumped on I-8 westbound approximately ten miles more to the casino parking lot. It will be noisy but this is also the meeting point for the caravan on Tuesday morning. The last time we stayed here it was free, now it is $10 per night, and there is nothing provided other than possibly some security.

Well so far, today has rolled out pretty much as planned, and by 10:15 we are parked in the casino lot and the toad is unhooked to make the short drive to Los Algodones and our first meeting of “The Group”, there will be seven couples in total taking on this adventure. And other that the organizers we do not know any of them other than by name, so today we were able to start to put faces and personalities with the names. We meet in at the parking lot to Los Algedones, and we walked across the border into Mexico, as simply as you would walk down any street, the only difference is that you are directed through a large turning steel gate, there is a similar gate on out exit along with US border control. Once in Los Algedones anyone with the proper dates on their FMM was able to get them stamped, the rest of us will have to wait until the crossing on November 1st. The next item was some people needed Mexican Pesos so they went to an ATM just over the border. Next was lunch and Margaritas in a open air restaurant, and a chance to sit and talk, and actually meet some of the people for the first time.

The above photo was our first real documentation that “The Group” even existed, and it was an opportunity to get a feel of what the next couple of months will be like. Paul & Lorena (the organizers) the first couple on the right side of the table, took the opportunity to brief us on what we can expect as we trek through Mexico. they spoke of tipping, and set some expectations, they spoke of manners, and a number of common sense items, there was talk around fueling seven RV’s, highway passing procedures, the use of walkie talkies to communicate from the front to the rear of the caravan, as on the highway we could be spread out over a couple of miles. I think the experience was a positive one, and the blending of fourteen personalities will take some time.

There will be lots of time to introduce the players as time moves on, and after we have had a chance to spend some time with them, but for now we have only had quick introductions, and after Paul & Lorena there are three Canadian couples and three American couples. We looked at getting sim cards for our phones but this did not seem like the place to accomplish that task, so we will look at that in San Filipe on November 1st. Miss Laurie picked up a bottle of 100 Amoxicillin tablets in a drug store for $10, we had purchases a bottle five years ago while in Algedones, this little border town is known for Dental, Glasses, and Prescription Drugs. And is popular with Americans and Canadians for inexpensive dental work, eye glasses, and a place where you can purchase prescription drugs over the counter, for cheap.

We reentered the United States, said our good byes, and headed back to the coach at the casino, to just mellow out for the rest of the day, some dinner, the news, 60 minuets, a couple of YouTube videos and it was off to bed by 9:30.

Monday, October 31st, 2022: And today will be a busy day for us, we need supplies so a Walmart run will be required, I has to clean the toad, it is carrying over 2000 miles of road grim, I also need to top off the fuel in the toad, and I was able to get regular gasoline for under $4/gallon, well it was $3.999 a gallon, so barely under the $4 mark. We left for Yuma shortly after ten and made it back to the coach shortly after after noon. It is warm today, 85°F (30°C), there is a breeze and the humidity is only 12% so a warm dry day. Rig wise we are as ready to go as possible, after all we just had a 2000 mile warm up, I will connect the toad tomorrow morning as we wait for the other five rigs to roll in, the last time I heard was nine o’clock, and will plan accordingly.

So this is the time when many people will be getting those butterflies in the stomach about travel, and for five of the seven couples Mexico will be a new experience, I occasionally get that feeling when we are going to move for the first time in a while, a little worry, a little excitement, lot’s of anticipation of the unknown. But this is what makes travelling so wonderful, and crossing borders has been part of what we do so we have no fear, answer the question truthfully, and if the find something you shouldn’t have, they will take it, you should have researched the rules! And remember the rules do change, as things like the bird flu happen so you have to check before crossing, just do your homework.

Tuesday, November 1st, 2022: Welcome to “Crazy Day”, today is the day that the cat herding starts, this morning at 9:30 the other five rigs will roll into the parking lot here at the casino. And the time of departure is set for 10:00

This is the kind of detail the Paul & Lorena have put together for us, with maps, distances, to hopefully provide enough information to allow everyone to plan accordingly, how it works out still remains to be seen, wish us luck.

Nov. 1, 2022

Day 1: Yuma, AZ to San Felipe, Baja California (286km)

This will be your first experience in a Baja Mexico town. 

Don’t judge the rest of Baja based on San Felipe! Just saying! Lol

San Felipe does have a great grocery store and this will be an opportunity to stock up on fresh veggies and fruit. 

1. yuma to san felipe

It’s before nine o’clock and the first of the group has arrived, obviously not much excitement there, at this point, I’m still drinking coffee, I’m not hooked up yet, I guess I need to get my butt in gear. By 9:30 everyone, well no that’s true, the first five have rolled into the parking lot to join us, so now we are a group of six. We will pick up the seventh at the border, then as a group we will cross into Mexico, and get our FMM’s stamped and clear Mexican customs.

We pulled out of the casino parking lot at ten o’clock, jumped onto I-8 and headed west and made our way to California highway 7 and headed south to Mexicali our crossing point. This part of the drive was uneventful, we all had a chance to test out the two way radios (walkie-talkie), as this will be our way of communicating as we roll down the road. We pick up our seventh just north of the border and we proceed to cross as a group, we all pull into an inspection lane where we are processed by Mexican immigration and border control, many regular questions and we are free to continue.

Now imagine six motor coaches most towing toads, and one truck camper, working our way through Mexicali through stop signs, traffic lights, and even a roundabout or two and trying to stay close to connected, well it worked out surprisingly well as we kept heading for MEX-5 our highway south toward San Felipe. We we doing a “slow roll” as the leader waited for the tail coach to catch up to the caravan.

Now southward on MEX-5, as we roll through the country side, the highway was as good as most highways in the States, traffic was light and only two small construction areas. As we pulled into San Felipe the traffic picked up and the streets narrowed, every intersection was a four way stop, and we weaved our way through the town just playing follow the leader. Our first stop was for fuel, the basic rule of thumb, one fuels up, we all fuel up. The basic infer structure is ok but one never knows that it will be ok at the next stop, so everyone topped off their tanks.

Once you get past the initial numbers on the pump, the actual numbers are not as alarming as they appear. Our Canadian family will recognize the 89 litres, for our American family that is 23.5 gallons 2086 Mexican pesos is equal to is $144 Canadian or $105 American. Leading to an actual fuel price of $162/liter Canadian or $4.46/gallon American. Next we are on to our campground for the evening, the campground in reality offered nothing, just dry camping for 500 Mexican pesos for the night ($25.40 American or $34.65 Canadian) but this was the view from our windshield!

Our next task was to pick up some groceries, just the basics that we could not bring across the border, fresh peppers, onions, eggs, and a pineapple, from there we found a cellular shop where I purchased a new SIM for my phone, unlimited call and text with 4gb of data for 350 Mexican pesos ($24.25 Canadian or $17.78 American) for a month. We all regrouped back at camp before walking down the beach to the “boardwalk” an area of downtown San Felipe filled with restaurants and bars, where we found a spot for a cold beverage and a bite to eat. Then we wondered back to the campground where we lite a fire and mellowed out for the evening before turning in for the night near ten o’clock. Day One in the books!

Adventure here we come!

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Day 1855