Baja Mexico trip Winter 2015 Part 1 Crossing the border

We meet at the Casa De Cambio

IMG_6314After days of rushing around preparing, packing, buying tires, & making repairs, we got 2 hours of sleep & left for Baja Mexico at 6am Dec 19, 2015. Brian’s cat got out & was lost for a couple of hours so we (Dave & Louise) waited for them to catch up while we had breakfast south of San Diego & tried our best to follow some very incorrect directions to the Tecate border crossing to meet Brian & Annie. (“Take 94 to end, then….”) which wasted 90 minutes & 30 miles & put Brian & Annie waiting ahead of us. Finally met up with Dan, Brian, & Annie at a Tecate CA gas station & Casa de Cambio where we exchanged our American dollars for Mexican Pesos (exchange less than $1000 or it’s slightly more complicated). Got our papers stamped at border.

We did our tourist card visa paperwork in advance via the nice people at Discover Baja travel club, but it would have been just as easy to skip the service fees & do it ourselves in person because the payment cashier is now right next door to the visa agent. And we had to wait for a friend to do it all on the spot anyway. In the past you’d have to walk several blocks into Mexico to a bank to pay the fees, then walk back with the receipt to get your visa papers stamped. But with the cashier next door, it is pretty easy now. Remember to get your tourist visa taken care of here & now at the border, because you will need it, and there will not be another place to get it done.

Correct sequence to cross the Mexican Border into Mexico:

[] Park on USA side before crossing. If you are pulling a trailer, park a block early or where ever you can easily pull out of.
[] Take paperwork, ID, any money required to Agent (still on USA side, walking).
[] Walk next door to cashier to pay for visa & get receipt.
[] Bring receipt back to agent, get entry stamp.
[] Snap a photo of your completed paperwork, just in case.
[] Drive car across the border & through Mexican inspection area.

We did this part all wrong due to lack of sleep & some communication issues in the group. We drove across the border first, then had to find a place to park on some Mexican border town side street, walk back to the USA side of the border, deal with Visa, paperwork & payment, then walk back across the border again (3rd crossing today), continue walking to where we left the car & trailer, before hitting the road south. All wrong. It worked, but it’s not the easy way. Luckily this border wasn’t very busy or those 3 border crossings could have taken far longer.

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Aimed for San Felipe, but given our morning “issues” we camped short of there at gravel pit/ moonscape just off the  highway. Passed around the Fireball whisky. End of Day 1.

1st night camp was like old Star Trek scenery
1st night camp was like old Star Trek scenery

Day 2 Breakfast in San Felipe

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More road travel. And a military check point. I’m told that our USA taxes fund these checkpoints, they are for our safety.
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