We were out of bed at 4:30 am and left Jenny’s house by 5:00 am. We needed to meet our group at the Denny’s in Chula Vista, California by 5:30 am for breakfast. During breakfast we met everyone and talked a little about the trip. At this time there are 6 vehicles starting the trip. It is likely that 3 more will join us during our travels.
Frenchie is the group leader and he is driving a Toyota Tacoma with a shell on the back. He used to own a company that lead 4×4 tours through Baja. He said he has been to Baja over 60 times, starting when he was 8 months old. Now that he is retired, he still comes down multiple times a year, but it is more for fun, not a business. He left his wife home in New Mexico, so he is traveling alone.
Tino is from Downey, CA, but is originally from Guadalajara, MX. He had a silver Jeep with a tent on top. Jim and Gail drive a truck with a pop up camper. They have traveled the farthest to get here. They live in Ontario, Canada and drove for 5 days straight to get to California.
Kevin and Debra are the other Canadians, but the only had to drive from Calgary. They have a Chevy van that they have converted into a campervan. And finally there is Jeff and Wendy. They are from Washington, but are now living full time in a RV. They left their RV in Arizona and are driving their Jeep on this trip.
At the border
We arrived at the border around 8 am. Crossing the border was not difficult. There were only a few other cars when we arrived. They first directed us to the X-ray line. This is where you park your vehicle on a large X-ray machine and they X-ray your vehicle. Next we parked and went inside to get our visas. This is where we had a problem. We had applied and paid for our visa online before we left home. However, I left the receipt home, so in the end we had to pay $30 again to get our visas.
From the border it was a quick drive along the Mexico side to the toll road that would take us to Ensenada. Since it was a toll road, it was in pretty good shape, and almost no traffic in the morning. The area in Tijuana was very crowded and most building were not in great shape. As we got to the coast, there were a lot of nice homes, condos and hotels. It was like this all the way to Ensenada.
Once we arrived in Ensenada, we are our first stop at a grocery store for everyone to pick up what else they needed. Eva and I drove another mile and stopped in a Walmart/Home Depot plaza to get a SIM card for her phone. This will give her a Mexican cell phone number. For unlimited calls and 8 GB of data it was $330 pesos, or about $17 US.
We continued south from Ensenada along highway 1. As we traveled south, there was a lot more agriculture along the coast, and the roads got worst. There are times where the road was pretty smooth, but it was mostly rough asphalt. Also, south of Ensenada, the road was winding and narrow, with no shoulder. This made it a little scary passing semi trucks and other big vehicles.
We stopped in San Vicente for lunch at a small restaurant. We each got a beef burrito for $1.60 each. Our next stop was in El Rosario for gas and then we continued on to the El Marmor Onyx mine site for our camp. This abandon mine site was 15 KM of dirt road from the highway. It was dark by the time we arrived, so we quickly set up camp and made dinner. Once the sun went down it got pretty cold. We did stay outside for a while, but by 8 pm everyone when into their vehicle for the night. We had an early start that morning, so we were pretty tired and were in bed by 9:30 pm.
El Marmol Campsite