Technology House Santa Fe Calimax – What it’s like to drive through Baja California I drove from DC to La Ventana: 3,400 miles and about 60 hours of driving
- 1. Technology House Santa Fe Calimax
- 2. Del Mar Inn Playas De Tijuana, Tijuana
The first surprise driving through Baja was how good the highway was – at least, Rt. 5, heading south to Mexicali. My second surprise: Google’s driving times are not accurate.
Technology House Santa Fe Calimax
Last year, I skipped this trip. I flew straight to Cabo san Lucas and rented a car at La Ventana, a winter surf resort on the Sea of Cortez. It was a great journey – but flawed. This year, I wanted to do everything differently. Rent an apartment. Bring it on friends. Long wait. Get a car.
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And as for the car, in the end, I decided to drive my intrepid Honda Fit from my home outside of Washington, D.C. Based on the map, it’s about 3,400 miles and about 60 hours of driving.
There’s something about travel that’s great – the solitude, the simplicity, the opportunity to break away from time to time, to “slow travel” across the country. I can also fill my car with all the equipment I need: kites, boards, and bars for surfing, as well as ropes, climbing shoes, and various climbing equipment. Ultimately, I wanted to stay in New Mexico to spend Christmas and New Years with my family in Santa Fe. That will be about two weeks before going to Mexico.
I built a mattress in the Honda that I can sleep comfortably in whenever I’m tired – blankets, pillows, bed sheets, etc. It extended over the reclined passenger seat from the glove compartment to the rear hatch, about 80 inches. Again, the goal is simplicity. I can drive as long or as short a day as I want and pull over for a proper nap whenever I feel tired.
I picked out some sleepovers near the Mexican border from iOverlander, a companion app that lists paid, free and “wild” places to park your car or RV overnight. The best articles are reviews, and often someone has checked with the local authority or store manager to confirm that it’s safe to sleep there.
Del Mar Inn Playas De Tijuana, Tijuana
Santa Fe’s plan was to spend the night near Yuma, Arizona. By 10 p.m., I reached my destination for the evening: Cracker Barrel.
Most know that many Walmarts have a policy of allowing vehicles to stay overnight in the parking lot, but it seems that Cracker Barrels may be more reliable. Their overnight policy is company-wide (it’s in a Walmart store), and Cracker Barrels can be found everywhere on the South Side. Plus, its smaller footprint means quieter nights, less bathed in bright overhead lights.
When I got in, there were over a dozen cars of all sizes and shapes parked. Two trucks and trailers, including a Prius that looks like it’s been turned into a sleeper – all the windows have windshield wipers. I wasn’t the only one who slept badly that night.
I woke up at 5 in the morning—six hours of good sleep. Two weeks ago in Nashville, on the way to New Mexico, it dipped to 18 degrees and I was struggling to stay warm; in Yuma, it was a nice 49 overnight. Starbucks is the nearest open coffee shop. I got a latte and a chocolate croissant and headed to the border.
Rv Living At El Dorado Ranch, San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico
At 5:40 in the morning I went up to the gate and a sad guard asked me where I was going.
, I replied. He kindly replied that the area didn’t open until 6 o’clock. I went back, filled with air, and used the bathroom at Jack in the Box connected to the station. By 6:05, I was back and crossed without passport control.
As the sun rose, I walked through the city, and I saw going to the other side, to the American border, an endless line of cars and trucks, waiting to cross. The line goes back and forth through the city streets, block after block after block. Whoever they were, they spent hours in line.
I wanted to cross in Mexicali because it’s a big city, because crossings further east involve toll roads, and I don’t have a ticket to get it. I figured the Mexicali crossing would be quick, and I’d probably find a bank soon enough to raise money for the trip.
Rick Salpietra, Esq. Ccal
I read half a dozen posts about driving in Baja, and they all said it was tiring: the lack of gas stations, the quality of the gas stations (some say they dilute the air with water?), air quality. roads, military checkpoints, etc. One of the posters said to carry extra gasoline in a container in the car, just in case.
It is recommended not to drive at night – except by malicious, unsuspecting thieves. The blank verses. This, at least, I can confirm. Last year in La Ventana, the main road was packed with animals at all hours of the day and night, and they would cross at random times when you least expect it. It wasn’t a road hazard that I thought was dangerous in the dark.
That’s why I wanted to start early. The sun’s rays rise in the east at 6:15, and I want to go south to the south before the moon sets in the evening, around 6, 6:30. I had a full tank of gas and didn’t care to find an ATM there, so I plowed into the mountains.
Route 5 runs for 250 miles (400 km) from Mexicali to Chapala, ending at Rt 1, known as the
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As the name suggests, the Transpeninsular is more than 1,000 miles from Tijuana all the way south to Cabo San Lucas. Federal Highway, Rt. 1 was completed in 1973 and has become the standard route for Westerners heading south.
Federal Highway Rt. 5 from Mexicali, on the other hand, was only completed in 2020 – and Google is still very confused.
Sometime over the next few hours, Google thought I was driving straight through the open desert, with the highway several hundred meters to my left. That’s probably the lowest estimate. It’s not a windy dirt road in parts, but a long, straight, fast road. As I drove south, the minutes ticked off my arrival time, and what Google thought would be six hours turned out to be almost four hours for me.
To my right is the Sierra de Juárez, over 6,000 meters above sea level, and above that is the Sierra de San Pedro Mártir.
Food For Less Zona Centro, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
To my left, a great flat expanse of sand and gravel. At first, I thought I was looking at crystal clear water, like the glass you see in the morning, and I was surprised at how calm the Sea of Cortez was at this hour. But when the sun shone a little I saw no water but the old seabed where the water was.
San Felipe is the first town of any size that you will come to during the Rt. 5 eventually hit the sea. I drove for an hour and a half without seeing a structure of any kind and very few cars going in the opposite direction. Of course there were no gas stations for the long stretches up and down the Baja Strait, so I decided to be generous with the Honda 9 gallon tank. If it drops below half, I fill it up at the first station I see.
Every station in Baja is attended by staff who fill your tank for you, a la New Jersey or Oregon, only in Mexico I was really glad someone did it for me (in New Jersey, I cursed to social entrepreneurs who dispose of waste.to pump my own gas). Next, I stopped at Calimax, a large mall on the main square in San Felipe where the air hostess told me I could find an ATM. There were four people at the entrance: two working, two broken.
Flushed with pesos, I got back in the car and headed south. I posted the information about the risk and the method
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, the podcast hosted by Alex Honold and Fitz Cahall. No phone reception between cities—only things saved on my phone, which I thanked myself for downloading the entire Baja peninsula into Google Maps the night before. the Cracker Barrel (Not one of the half-dozen advertisements. for this drive was marked).
After San Felipe, the road meanders along the coast. This extension, along with a similar one on the next day, should come down as part of the
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