2014-01-06 to 2015-02-22 My “Snowbird” trip to San Felipe,MX (on Baja Peninsula)

2015-01-28_MXSanFelipe-RubensCampground
2015-01-28_MXSanFelipe-RubensCampground

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On January, 6 2015, I drove to Quartzsite, AZ. It takes several days of driving and I arrived with a gathering of other ‘van people’ who were eating a chili supper.  I was glad to see several people who I had met last year and enjoy the meal. The start of the RTR(Rubber Tramp Rendevous) was posted on the website, CheapRVLiving as January 6. So, I was several days late and the group had already gathered for the chili supper. The length of the rally was until January 20 – two weeks. The BLM(Bureau of Land Management) issues a free parking permit for the desert which is good for two weeks. Since I posted pictures of the RTR last January and my wordpress space is limited, I will not post pictures of the gathering for this year.
An attendee, CB, suggested that – after the RTR ended, a group caravan to Mexico. At a meeting, someone suggested going to San Felipe on the Baja Peninsula. It was about 180 miles, a 4 hour drive, and many Americans and Canadians stayed-for-the-winter there. We began researching the requirements for travel in Mexico and decided to gather and leave from Yuma on January 23. I decided to join the group on the trip. Before leaving the US, I needed insurance and I called my US company. They did not provide insurance in Mexico. Another traveler suggested a company and stated that they had gotten insurance by going to the library and signing-up on a website. I decided to follow-their-suggestion and went to the Yuma library to use the computer and printer. Their process for use and access was very good and I was able to get what I needed in a few minutes. On the trip, as usual, I took many pictures. I have to apologize for the pictures not being perfect, but I wanted the reader to know that many of them were taken as I drove and the view through the windshield is apparent. The reason for posting a non-perfect picture is that I wanted others to know what I saw – what the houses, road, signs, etc. looked like. Even if the pictures are not ‘professional quality’, they show the essence of the view.

There were 5 of us in the group in the beginning, and 4 of us as a group decided to return on January 31. We decided to return to the US through the entry at Mexicali. (Note: The last person returned a week later. About Mexicali Return: The wait in line was 2.5 hours – which is typical. We didn’t realize that, or at least I didn’t realize the issue with long wait time when we decided to return that way. What I was thinking when we looked at the map included that I thought that the roads were better and the shortest mileage return to the USA was through Mexicali.)

When we first arrived in San Felipe, the Baja race was the next day and we couldn’t find a campground that had empty spots to park. We stayed in the parking area of a sports arena. After the race, the campground on the ocean front was available, so we moved. We were able to walk from the campground to downtown. Several of us enjoyed going to the local restaurants for lunch and wi-fi. The weather was beautiful and we had a great time.
After returning to the USA from San Felipe, I went to Los Algodones and had my teeth cleaned. Then I drove to Ehrenberg,AZ through Blythe,CA and stayed there until February 22. We had many people who attended the RTR to stay in Ehrenberg. I stayed in the same place last year after the RTR. This is also BLM and free parking, but the government does not require registration and is not as attentive to the 2-week stay rule. I did not include any pictures from Ehrenberg since I posted many from this location last year.
I really like the southwest Arizona desert area for the winter. Last year, the temperature required us to wear jackets most of the time. It gets cold at night and in the morning in Quartzsite, several times I used my propane heater to get warm. This year, the temperature was a little warmer and we would be chilly at night. During the mid-afternoon, we would wear short-sleeved shirts. The blue sky and sunshine was WONDERFUL! The black sky at night allowed us to see many stars and the lights of Blythe on the horizon. There were many colorful sunsets. However, I must note that sometimes the desert can get windy.
I camped with the group who had moved from the Quartzsite RTR and I knew many people. Most of the time, we would eat meals on-our-own. However, Lesa, would often cook and invite others to her camp for her latest pot-of-stew. One day, she asked a friend who was going to a local grocery store to bring her back some ‘bones’. She used the bones to make the most delicious French-onion-soup that I’ve ever had. She uses cast iron pots and wood to cook and she has been doing it for a long time. She knows exactly how much wood to use for cooking her soups and/or bread. I need to take more lessons from her.

Notes: Many thanks to CB for suggesting and organizing the trip to San Felipe.

(1) If you have a cellphone and plan to travel away from the U.S.A., be sure to remember to turn the cellphone “OFF” at the border, -or- turn smartphones to “Airplane Mode” (i.e., do not search for cell service) at the  border.

(2)When we crossed the border into Mexico, we stopped at their “Tourist Center” and obtained a visa. We showed the agent our passport and driver’s license and paid $24 U.S.$-cash-only (and no-change-available) for the visa. Note: This visa was handed to the border control gate guard at re-entry. He checked something on a computer with it.

(3) The day before crossing the Mexican border, I called my U.S.A. vehicle insurance company. They did not offer insurance for Mexico, so I went to the library in Yuma to use the internet and buy insurance from a Mexican company using a charge card and printing out the policy. (A co-traveller had suggested the company name that I used and had visited the library in order to get a print-out. I followed the lead.) My insurance cost was about $14/day.

— GALLERY OF PICTURES —

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