The Baja 700
The day began at 6:30 am at El Cajon in California. We rolled out of bed and enjoyed our complimentary breakfast at the Quality Inn, which by the way is near impossible to find without a GPS. We found our new friends at breakfast and told them we would see them at the tecate border, since we were already packed. These new friends Gene and Ken are from White Rock BC. They were parked next to us in the hotel parking lot, and had a “No Bad Days sticker” on their car. We had the hotel call their room and we met up, just to chat about the trip down the Baja. Turns out they own in San Jose and have been coming here for over 20 years. They are in their mid 70’s and are a wealth of knowledge, and a lot of fun.
Sure enough, they arrived at the Tecate border around the same time as we did. If you are going through Tecate, this is what we did. Just before the border you park your car. Either for free on the street or for $5 us in the parking lot. Then you walk in to mexico to get your tourist card. Cost is $25.50 us and the banco is right next to the border office. it is open from 8a – 4p if you already have your tourist card the tecate border is open 6a – 11p.
After we purchased our tourist card, we had to walk back through US immigration to get the car. I went alone. The US border guys were watching some kind of video on their tv where somebody got run over by a car or something. They swiped my passport while watching the tv laughing at whatever was happening, then said I got flagged and had to go to the other area for inspection. The guy in there said I got flagged because I just passed through another US border 3 days ago. But he couldn’t find a designation to put me through the border as. So he called me an “Other” Apparently he said the US/Canada border put me down as a B2…whatever that means, but that wasn’t right to him, so now I am an Other. I walked up to my car parked in front of the duty free shop, and drove in to mexico, where roc was waiting by the immigration office. He hopped the fence climbed in the car and we were off. I guess it’s random who gets pulled over, because the gate just lifted for us, no guard at all, no passport, but the car behind us got a big BUZZ and had to pull over for inspection.
We waited down the street for our new friends and we drove together down the baja. Highway 3 – the wine route! The plan was to stay at El Rosario at Baja Cactus, but we got there so early, that we decided to have lunch there and continue on to Catavina. I have a of of pics which I will post to Facebook.
What a crazy drive. we were motoring trying to keep up with our new friends. They just got back from Italy and drove like crazy. But they have been coming to San Jose for 20 years, so they know a thing or 2 about driving the Baja. After Lunch at Mama’s in El Rosario we hit the road again. Mama, by the way is 107 years old. She has one last daughter still alive who runs the restaurant, right along the highway. We bought a poster of the Baja there in their cute gift shop.
Along the road, our friends got ahead of us. They had the best luck passing big trucks. We seemed to get stuck behind them. At one point we got stuck behind a police truck towing a broken down suv with a rope. They were going so slow, we were about to pull our hair out, until they flagged us ahead to pass, on a blind corner, but we did it anyway!!
Catavina was a crazy drive past El Rosario, but we made it. We saw stray dogs and cows along the highway. Plus strange boulders and cactus but it was worth it. This hotel in Catavina is Great. It’s really cool. I took many pics which will end up on FB. The room rate was $92, but we got a locals discount thanks to our friends. There is a fantastic trail out back where we went for a hike and took some more pics. Then came back for some Margs. 60 pesos each by the way. Our friends met us for a drink before dinner in the bar, then we went for dinner. It was OK. Then back to our room to blog. The only internet in this hotel is at the front desk in the reception area, but apparently doesn’t work at night, so I will wait until morning to post this.
The Baja is so Beautiful. What a great Adventure. I am so happy that we drove down and I got to experience this area. I wish I took more time to actually be a tourist, instead of just driving by. But hey, who knows what the future will hold. For now, it’s a race to get to Cabo to get unpacked and begin our Winter stay.
So the plan for Tuesday is to get to Loreto. Fingers Crossed!