We’re off to Baja California!

Hi everyone!  We are back out on the road for a couple of months.

Ever since sometime in the 90’s, we dreamt about visiting Baja California. The peninsula is 1000 miles long, with remote deserts, lonely beaches, Pacific views, Sea of Cortez kayaking in crystal clear waters, whales, and more.

We planned to go around a business trip Hector had to San Diego while we lived in Miami but something came up and that trip never happened. 

So when we started fulltime RVing in 2012, I tried to add a trip to Baja California to our plans, but Hector did not want to drive our Class A motorhome down there. It turns out he was right, more on that later.

After selling Island Girl two years ago, we bought a nice Winnebago View on a Sprinter chassis from some friends of a friend. One key selling point was that it was “Baja ready” and could take the “dirty” diesel that is still sold in parts of Mexico which more modern diesel engines cannot.

In fact, this rig had already been down to Baja and to other parts of Mexico.  She is also a “skinny Winnie”, the nickname referring to this class C RV being narrower than most which would prove helpful on the narrow Baja roads.

We named her Island Time.

We went on some long and fun shakedown cruises which we did not blog about and then we planned our trip to Baja,  Now we were finally ready.

And we were off!

Our route plan was pretty simple, first an overnight boon docking stop in the Agua Caliente BLM area outside Phoenix, enjoying the always entertaining desert SW and Route 66 stuff along the way. Check out our review of the BLM area here.

And then down to Tecate, California to cross the border into Mexico.  It is a bit out of the way down a pretty windy road which makes it one of least busy crossing points. It is also a convenient place to take care of getting our tourist visas.

When you fly to Mexico your fee is included in the airfare and you fill out the little immigration paper on the plane. If you drive in, you need to go inside the immigration office at the border to fill out the FMM form and pay a small fee ($32pp).  Parking is very limited at the border crossing and doing this transaction in an RV can be complicated. So we camped on the US side, drove our car to the border and parked on the US side, walked across, got our papers in order and walked back that afternoon.   The US border agent asked how long we had been in Mexico, answer = about 6 minutes :-).

We had a fun dinner that night with friends who live in the mountains outside San Diego close to Tecate and stayed at Potrero County Park which is just a few miles from the border.  Check out our review of the park here. One last systems check and dropping off of produce with the park ranger the next morning and …

With our paperwork in order, crossing the border was pretty easy. We had one other RV in front of us, which the border patrol officer waved on. This made me think that they would stop the next one (us), and I was right. She boarded Island Time briefly, looked in a couple of cabinets and asked where we were going and where we came from. Then she poked around in the car and asked what was in our five gallon jug – water. That was it. She then waved us on.

My first experience in Mexico was some friendly construction workers waving and smiling at me.

And just like that we are back in Mexico and off on our next adventure!

Stay tuned.

Hector and Brenda

Molar City

yuma  026We first heard about Los Algodones, also referred to as Molar City, on the third month of our walkabout. Our neighbors in the Miami RV park we stayed in that first winter told us about this place in Mexico where lots of Americans went for dental work and glasses. They had had extensive dental work done for less than half what it cost in the states. Needless to say, we thought that was pretty interesting.

yuma  030yuma  015A while later we read a couple of detailed posts on the Wheeling It blog about Nina’s experience getting a crown in Los Algodones. Nina recommended a Dr. Eva Ureña.

Finding a Dentist

I was quite fortunate that my tooth acted up just before we planned to visit Yuma.   And that I’d read the post about Dr. Ureña, since I considered that  a personal recommendation, which is my preference.  And, when we met our friends in Yuma, it turned out that Tim and Becky had been getting work done at Dr. Ureña’s for several years.

Her website, just like many other dentists,  provides a U.S. telephone number,  so it was quite easy to make an appointment.

yuma  025The Town

Los Algodones is the northernmost town in Mexico. It’s located near the borders of southeastern California and southwestern Arizona and is tucked into a spot where the border has a little notch and follows the Colorado River. There are U.S. borders in all cardinal directions (due south, due north, due east and due west) of the town.  Only if you head SW do you actually stay in Mexico.map Continue reading