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Old 01-27-2010, 11:54 AM   #155
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Baja postmortem

After returning home, unpacking, cleaning up the “Twinky” and putting her to bed till the next trip, I felt the need to jot down some thoughts on our trip to Baja.

First, we were lucky to find such good travel-mates in Don & Claudia to make the trip with. They were loads of fun and we had many good talks over dinner and the campfire! Thanks for sharing your company on this adventure!


The positives on the trip were many……..here are a few:
  • We were able to make the entire 3000 mile trip without any major accidents.
  • We enjoyed 8 days in the sun and warm weather in Baja right on the beach!
  • The local food offerings at the several restaurants we visited were very good and the seafood was excellent. City water was safe to drink.
  • We met great folks there who were helpful in keeping us out of trouble during our stay. Thanks to Debbie and Ron for all your help! And thanks to Uwe for encouraging us to go to San Felipe rather than the west coast of Baja.
  • We were able to share our trip on Airforums and had some great comments on our adventure.
  • The locals were friendly and helpful during our stay.
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Old 01-27-2010, 11:57 AM   #156
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More thoughts on Baja!

The negatives on the trip are also worth mentioning……here are a few:
  • Border crossing at Tiajuana was nerve-racking…..thus the change in plans crossing at Mexicali (east gate) and new destination of San Felipe.
  • Mexican insurance was expensive, checking three different companies, the cheapest was $407 for TV (20K) and trailer (30K) for up to 21 days (we only stayed 8 days, but still had to pay that much).
  • Campsites in San Felipe were no bargain, paying $30 a day for full hookups on the beachfront. We could have stayed at another place about 5 miles outside of town for $15 a night with no hookups and showers were $2 extra. We were prepared for boondocking, but didn’t see the value and there seemed to be no one there to look after things if we left our rigs. No other campers were there and we didn’t feel as safe as we did among the campers at Campo San Felipe right in town and could walk to restaurants and coffee shop for wi-fi fixes.
  • The campground we stayed at was not secure……another camper had his solar panels stolen during his stay. A fellow camper, who has been coming to San Felipe for the last 15 years from the PNW was accosted by a local who lived next door for just looking at his electric meter in front of his house on a walk one day. Fishermen were constantly coming and going day and night, walking and driving through the campground. Itinerants were constantly going thru our trash bin looking for aluminum cans or whatever. We were besieged by hawkers of trinkets, and jewelry, which we kindly said “no thanks”, and they moved on. A nightclub was next door and kept us up a couple of nights. I now understand why Ron & Debbie built a beautiful house in a gated community in San Felipe.
  • While many of our photos portrayed a pristine setting on the beach, the city was filthy, trash was everywhere (the campground where we stayed did keep things pretty clean while we were there). The city needs to clean up its act if they want to be a popular travel destination. We were told that unemployment was 50% in the area and could explain why many places were shut down or out of business. We applaud Ron & Debbie, for their contributions to the local food bank in feeding the unemployed and hungry.
  • As a footnote, we did stay at three California state park CGs on the way down and would have to say they are very expensive, $33 (with the senior discount, otherwise it is $35/night) for no hookups. We’ve been spoiled by the great state parks in Oregon, Colorado and Arizona.
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Old 01-27-2010, 12:03 PM   #157
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Final thoughts!

The challenges we had on the trip were also worth mentioning……here are a few:
· We discovered a major leak in our toilet soon after taking it out of midwinter storage. This was due to improper winterizing before a cold snap in the PNW. We also discovered a roof leak (we store it in our own covered storage). We had both of these repaired in Redding before we headed further south.
· We had a flat tire in Baja, picking up some metal on a roadside stop. The Pressure Pro sensors picked this up before it went completely flat and was an easy fix in San Felipe.
· The truck engine alert light came on while in Redding, and was able to put some expensive engine cleaner with the gas to fix the problem. It still ran rough at idle, but the light did not come on again until after we returned home, so will have to have it checked at our local dealer.
· The water heater would not light after we drove through a sandstorm leaving Baja. Then it suddenly worked again for a few days, now it’s on the blink again. So will have it checked at Sutton RV.
· We seemed to hit the brunt of the storms in SoCal. We thought of going to AZ for a few days, but the storms were hitting that area also. One stretch north of San Bernardino was particularly heavy rain (could barely see the highway)……… then we managed to head north on I5 with a 40mph tailwind.
· On reaching Redding, we hit a 3 hour delay on I5 at a chain check station and opted to take hwy 299 to Arcata on the coast. From there, we took hwy 199 to Grants Pass and I5, avoiding the Siskyous.

The bottom line is we are glad we made the trip, but would not go back because it’s too far for us to travel for the cost of gas, insurance and camping. If you’re planning to stay 3-4 months, it might make more sense. We would rather go back to Dead Horse State Park, AZ and be among Airstream friends at the FCU rally (we’ve made the last three rallys). We also enjoy the AZ state park CGs and seeing different locations in the Southwest.
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Old 01-27-2010, 12:24 PM   #158
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Thanks for the final, honest, evaluation, Jim. At least you did it once for the experience.
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Old 01-29-2010, 07:29 AM   #159
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Hi all, we got home yesterday afternoon on the 28. Thanks to all for following along on our adventure. Claudia and I both got home with colds. So we will rest for a while. Winterize and clean out the trailer and all the other things once we get home.
Thanks again Don
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Old 01-30-2010, 10:47 PM   #160
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We will have to post a few more pics and give a "report" on our loooooong trip home (if you count all the days waiting for decent weather in SoCal along with a bumper rebuild...) We also had a tire come apart (not flat!) about 90 miles from home. Did a little damage to the wheel well, but I haven't got the pictures downloaded yet.

Still hugging my kleenex box and drinking orange juice.
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Old 01-31-2010, 01:44 PM   #161
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Jim & Cheryl

Thanks for the evaluation of your trip. Molly and I were in Arizona for the month of Jan. and followed you guys on the forum with interest.

Arizona was fun and the old MH ran 3,747 miles without even a hickup, no border crossings and no extra insurance---good trip. Maybe next year we can do a mini ralley in AZ.

May want to check to see which AZ. state parks remain open though. Nine out of twenty seven are on the AZ. closure hit list. Picacho Peak and others are closing.

See ya Bob and Molly
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Old 01-31-2010, 02:02 PM   #162
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RE; ARIZONA STATE PARK CLOSURES

Jim, I had it wrong, only nine state parks in AZ. will remain OPEN,---Dead Horse is one that will remain open---all others are on the block!

Bob and Molly
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Old 01-31-2010, 03:36 PM   #163
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Jim and Cheryl,
Enjoyed reading your trip evaluation.....it sounds amazing, in so many ways. There's always going to be adventures, when you're in an 'Air~'....isn't that what we all have joked about
Loren and I are glad to see you will be joining all of us at Ft. Stevens. We look forward to seing you and listening to your 'tales'.
Carolyn
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Old 01-31-2010, 03:42 PM   #164
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Don and Claudia...
You guys are such great troopers....'Airs', to be sure! Can't wait to hear more.
Loren and I hope you both will start feeling better real soon and will want to head north for the rally. Rest up....lots o' liquids, and all that. Think of all the stories you have to tell!!
Carolyn
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Old 01-31-2010, 05:32 PM   #165
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jordandvm View Post
The negatives on the trip are also worth mentioning……here are a few:
  • Mexican insurance was expensive, checking three different companies, the cheapest was $407 for TV (20K) and trailer (30K) for up to 21 days (we only stayed 8 days, but still had to pay that much).
  • Campsites in San Felipe were no bargain, paying $30 a day for full hookups on the beachfront. We could have stayed at another place about 5 miles outside of town for $15 a night with no hookups and showers were $2 extra. We were prepared for boondocking, but didn’t see the value and there seemed to be no one there to look after things if we left our rigs. No other campers were there and we didn’t feel as safe as we did among the campers at Campo San Felipe right in town and could walk to restaurants and coffee shop for wi-fi fixes.
  • While many of our photos portrayed a pristine setting on the beach, the city was filthy, trash was everywhere (the campground where we stayed did keep things pretty clean while we were there). The city needs to clean up its act if they want to be a popular travel destination. We were told that unemployment was 50% in the area and could explain why many places were shut down or out of business. We applaud Ron & Debbie, for their contributions to the local food bank in feeding the unemployed and hungry.
I would never have guessed insurance would be this high.

The fee sounds about right for beachfront to me, but not if the setting was compromised by all of these negatives.

Keeping trash/litter off the roadside is a major undertaking in any culture. Had it not been for some of the Public Service Commercials broadcast during my childhood I probably would have more tolerance for litterbugs. Fortunately the message stuck and was passed along to the next generations.

Carol
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Old 01-31-2010, 05:35 PM   #166
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Originally Posted by CaddyGrn View Post
We will have to post a few more pics and give a "report" on our loooooong trip home (if you count all the days waiting for decent weather in SoCal along with a bumper rebuild...) We also had a tire come apart (not flat!) about 90 miles from home. Did a little damage to the wheel well, but I haven't got the pictures downloaded yet.

Still hugging my kleenex box and drinking orange juice.
Looking forward to seeing more photos once you two are well.

Thanks for the trip: it was fun.
Carol
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Old 01-31-2010, 10:49 PM   #167
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Insurance ~ while Jim & Cheryl have a much newer trailer and tow vehicle... we found insurance coverage options miserable for our vintage trailer and vintage tow vehicle. While we have full coverage here in the states.... I couldn't find anyone willing to cover other than liability in Mexico. Risky business. Costco had a link to an insurance company and even though the online option said it wouldn't cover a vehicle over 15 years old it did print out and allowed me to buy it online....I rather think it was a glitch, but when I tried to do the same for the trailer, no joy. Only was able to obtain liability for the trailer via the truck. Our truck: 1968, our trailer: 1963. Our total cost for the liability for 2 weeks was something around $130. Most policies clearly state that anything over 2 or 3 weeks is the same price as 6 months. So with that in mind, Jim's suggestion of going for a longer period is a smart one.

No one sells Mexican insurance within the US border that I could find actually... if they did they represented some company south. I called our regular carrier and they recommended a company (the name escapes me...) but they wouldn't touch vintage. This is an issue that needs to be addressed in advance of going by a bit of time! Lots of folks are advised to wait until the border crossing (once you cross customs there are a line of offices, rooms, etc. that have huge signs to buy insurance here!) I wouldn't advise this... unless you are a seasoned Mexico traveler and have a usable Spanish vocabulary. However, since my Spanish is limited to ordering beer.... that wasn't an option for us!
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