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Sierras Baja adventure 2020
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Micahbigsur@msn.com



Joined: 27 May 2019
Posts: 414
City/Region: Big Sur
State or Province: CA
C-Dory Year: 2003
C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Sierra
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:13 pm    Post subject: Sierras Baja adventure 2020 Reply with quote

Well today was a long one, we worked our way down on interstate 5 from central California. I don't like towing through the traffic clogged multiple freeways in L A so we go around to the north of most of it by turning east towards Lancaster and the Pear blossom highway on 138
at the top of the Grapevine pass, a mix of 4 and good 2 lane that runs into interstate 15 down into San Bernardino missing most of the congestion. We are spending the night in El Centro about 15 minutes away from the Calexico east border entrance into Mexico and highway 5 south. We want to try this new wider highway down the east side next to the Sea of Cortez that follows the original dirt road route I drove down in 1970. 1 south of Tijuana along the Pacific side is narrower and has many small towns. 5 is reportedly 99.9 % complete and joins 1 about 1/3 of the way down at Lake Chapala with only a tiny bit of gravel road left.
I really like this, my third Dodge Ram diesel, my last one with the Chrysler transmission always got hot towing up long grades, this one with the optional 3500 ASIN transmission went up 2 degrees to 168 pulling up the Grapevine at 60, the also optional 900 ft. lb. Cummins is a lot stronger too.
Well we cross the border tomorrow at 7:00 so I'll let you know how smooth all Dana's paperwork gets us through!

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2003 C-dory 25 Sierra, 200, 9.9 and 2.5 Suzukis
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Micah, KJ6GUF, Dana, KJ6GXG
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thataway



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
Posts: 17483
City/Region: Pensacola
State or Province: FL
C-Dory Year: 2007
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Vessel Name: thataway
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You made good time to get to El Centro by this evening. Good luck at the Border and on down the newer road!
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Thataway
Thataway (Ex Seaweed) 2007 25 C Dory May 2018
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DayBreak



Joined: 16 Jul 2017
Posts: 225
City/Region: Monmouth, Or.
State or Province: OR
C-Dory Year: 2018
C-Dory Model: 23 Venture
Vessel Name: DayBreak
Photos: DayBreak
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What an adventure! How exciting it must be for you both to begin this journey. I am sure the weather is nice (raining and cold here in Oregon). Many on C-Brats are watching along on your travels and hope the best for you. We will watch and experience your travel on the internet as you live it in real life. Keep us posted on the good and even the bad so that we can see the journey as you take it. Many thanks.
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Micahbigsur@msn.com



Joined: 27 May 2019
Posts: 414
City/Region: Big Sur
State or Province: CA
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Vessel Name: Sierra
Photos: Sierra
PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well now we are camping next to the beach at Bahia San Luis Gonzaga. Nice enough drive, a couple of hurricane washout detours so a bit of washboard, it looks like they have almost got it repaired. Papa Fernandez is about a mile off the highway on a dirt road a few other campers are here also. This is such a beautiful bay, I haven't seen it since we drove the old dirt road back in the early 70's.
Tomorrow we are heading to Guerrero Negro where the newest part of the road goes inland and only a small bit of dirt left, probably did 2 km of dirt today on the detours
Dana's paperwork got us through the border in about 15 minutes after a quick inspection. Eating the best chili relleno ever at the little restaurant and using their satellite wi-fi.
Adios!
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journey on



Joined: 03 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, they've built a highway down the Gulf side of Baha. When did that happen? And is it paved? I took a sailboat down to Puerticitos ~1975 and it was a two lane dirt road. Launched and was told to move the boat because it would dry out where I was. Stuck the truck coming up, worked it out. Always had that road in mind when I think of going down the east side.

Also took the boat down to Los Angeles Bay, via Guerrero Negro. Followed it up by taking a travel trailer down Baja, just after they opened the road. Got hit by a "Green Angel"; the guy fixed the trailer on his own nickle because he had borrowed the truck. Went into the back way to Scammons Lagoon and came out via the salt plant. Went back to Mulege with the same boat, fixed a flat in the middle of the road, no shoulder. Worked fast.

Boy that brings back memories.

Boris
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Hunkydory



Joined: 28 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We went down & back the dirt road to Puerticitos in 1971. Soaked in the the tidal water hot springs there on a full moon night. That was a fun & interesting experience, though I wasnít at all use to the bland desert country then & didnít care for it. My brother who had been down there not to long before, just after a heavy rain caused the desert to bloom with vistas of beautiful flowers had me expecting the same. I still prefer the green & tree growth variety of the western US mountain high country & Canada/Alaska, but Iím following this grand adventure of yours very closely & using Google Earth to follow your interesting descriptions, Micah. Thanks very much for sharing this experience & Iím looking forward to your continuing reports & photos.

Jay

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JamesTXSD



Joined: 01 Mar 2005
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City/Region: Tropical Tip of Texas
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have done Baja several times, but not since 2003. There was paved road all the way to Los Cabos, but a lot of it was narrow, no shoulders, and a drop-off at the edge of the road. Hwy 1 winds back and forth along the length of Baja, going from the Pacific side to the Sea of Cortez side along the way.

I think Warren (who used to have a TomCat and posted here) still goes down there each year with a travel trailer; around Mulege' or Loreto, if I recall correctly.

Also, Brent and Dixie used to go Cabo San Lucas regularly - not sure how long since they quit that.

Guerrero Negro is interesting. Last we were there, the gray whales came to a bay (Pacific) there, for birthing and nursing the calves. To get to that bay from land, there was one operator who had access to cross the land held by a salt mine operation, and ran small boats from there. I have never seen so many whales at one time. I have a photo of Joan reaching out of a panga boat, touching a gray whale...



No, you cannot do that in the US.

We used to enjoy traveling in Mexico, but too much potential for a problem for us to feel comfortable doing that these days. Probably much less of a risk in the Sea of Cortez, since that isn't a corridor for moving drugs and illegals.

It will be interesting to follow along on this trip, as internet for posting is available. Have fun, travel safe.[/img]
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Micahbigsur@msn.com



Joined: 27 May 2019
Posts: 414
City/Region: Big Sur
State or Province: CA
C-Dory Year: 2003
C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Sierra
Photos: Sierra
PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, after a 2 long days tow and I've got my dinner and Margarita ordered I have time and internet, as there is little cell in the remote areas of Baja.
Dana had all our paperwork for the border crossing yesterday (15-20 minutes) which has to include a 180 day visa, (FMM), boat, truck and trailer registration, and separate MEXICAN insurance for them all. They do a quick business like inspection of the boat ( they do check to see if your HIN matches) and truck, there are also army checkpoints farther south were they may give a quick inspection for guns and drugs, very friendly guys. The new road down the west side is days from being finished from San Felipe south for a few miles it is the old narrow pavement but then it widens out into the new road which is then wide single lane with a bike lane, set the cruise control at 50-60 for a lot of it, also some beautiful views of the Sea of Cortez, Bahia san Luis Gonzaga used to be a famous fly in fishing area for the likes of John Wayne now you can drive there on a great road, they do have a basic launch ramp, but the beachfront camping area's are accessed on short dirt roads. The good road continues on to highway 1 and about a third to half of the way to our destination of Puerto Escondido. Traffic has been light the last 2 days maybe 5 minutes between cars and 10 between oncoming buses and semis. 1 is still the same old road and why we didn't bring the Ranger Tug with it's 9' wide trailer down. Most of it has lanes just 9' between the lines and outside the white line it drops of very steeply for a few feet or a cliff, some sections have been upgraded to wider. Meeting a semi while towing a 8'6" trailer on 1 is not for everyone, we (Dana!) Did not feel safe driving much over 45 and slowing to 25 when a semi was oncoming, since there is little traffic you can cheat over into the other lane a lot, we do need to set up the dashcam to show behind the boat so I can see cars that want to pass, some drive this road at 70...anyway so far so good and tomorrow we should reach Loreto near our launch spot.
Will add photos into my album.
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hardee



Joined: 30 Oct 2006
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City/Region: Sequim
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Micah, Thanks for sharing this thread. It sounds like a fun trip for sure. Not sure if it is for me, single handing, but I will be following along with interest as I have considered a trip south at some point. Don't know if I would do it with the boat yet, so watching with interest.

Enjoy, and stay safe. Sounds like you have done your homework well.

Harvey
SleepyC Moon

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localboy



Joined: 30 Sep 2006
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City/Region: Lake Stevens via Honolulu
State or Province: WA
C-Dory Year: 2007
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Vessel Name: 'Au Kai (Ocean Traveler)
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I googled Puerto Escondido and it shows it way down on the mainland of Mexico. Question
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Micahbigsur@msn.com



Joined: 27 May 2019
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City/Region: Big Sur
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This Puerto Escondido is just south of Loreto it is really just a marina complex. With a boatyard and travel lift.
We made it down safe and sound in 3 days drive yesterday the road was a few inches wider and that was less stressful with oncoming semis, the second day had maybe 100 miles of pavement that was about 9' so I had to slow to 25 with oncoming trucks and busses, over 45 did not feel safe to Dana.
I am not used to semi-tropical weather, no more cold and rain, clear blue skys.
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Micahbigsur@msn.com



Joined: 27 May 2019
Posts: 414
City/Region: Big Sur
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C-Dory Year: 2003
C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Sierra
Photos: Sierra
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry I had to cut my post short I was waiting for the launch tractor which is included in the 15$ launch fee. We just rode over in the boat, he backed us in and away we went to our slip, now we have a couple of days here to load up the dinghy and whatever else is in the boat before heading south down the sea to La Paz where we have a slip reserved. We will stay down in that area, back and forth to Espiritu Santu and the other national park islands, watching Mardi-Gras and hanging out with friends at Club Cruiseros one of the c-brats, Alain already has a slip there at Marina La Paz, looking forward to meeting him. Also great food in La Paz. In late March we will head slowly back up this way, lots of great anchorages and little fishing villages.

Adios amigos!
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localboy



Joined: 30 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know where La Paz is, so yeah, that makes more sense.

Hmmm...this is intriguing to me. God knows, I love the sun. But the logistics of fuel, water, ice, etc etc etc...in a foreign country. And I no speak da Spanish...and the drive sounds stressful and risky.

I will be following along on your adventure, for sure. Thanks for sharing... Cool
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Micahbigsur@msn.com



Joined: 27 May 2019
Posts: 414
City/Region: Big Sur
State or Province: CA
C-Dory Year: 2003
C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Sierra
Photos: Sierra
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This marina at Escondido is now privately owned and run, the federal marina was very cheap and had 5 employees so almost everything was run down and needed maintenance or hadn't worked for months. Now it is very high end 25 employees, security gate, maintenance guys dock guys always there to tie you up and plug in your power cord. The office people probably speak better English than I do. I am not used to having people at my neck and call, the cost is a lot more than the last time we were here but not too expensive. Our truck will be parked for months with 24-7 gated security, I have a little solar maintainer for it. It is so pleasant here, I could get used to being treated like a rich guy.....not

Local boy, in Baja a suprising number of service people speak English, they have Costco, Autozone, Sam's club, basically everything you are used to, La Paz is a city not a little town. Even the smallest fishing villages have a small store, "tienda" with very basic supplies and Mexicans are always ready to help, amazingly friendly considering the political situation. The road is good, just narrow in some places, they are upgrading it every year a bit at a time. If you are a confident, careful driver you won't have trouble, there are a lot of our size boats trailed down every year, I follow "Baja road conditions, part of the Talk Baja group on Facebook and I haven't seen any serious problems come up. I imagine a trip up the Pacific Northwest inside passage might actually be harder in some ways, and you guys do that all the time. I am way less experienced with trailerable boats than most of you.
My trailer held up well on the little bit of dirt on the storm damage bypasses. The new Kodiak oil bath hubs (photo in my album) held up well and ran way cooler than my old messy grease through ones.

Adios compadres!
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DayBreak



Joined: 16 Jul 2017
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City/Region: Monmouth, Or.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Micah, I am enjoying the reports of your tour so far. As I follow along, I am reminded of my past experience of driving down to Loreto back in 1988 with friends to enjoy the Baja experience where you are now. We drove down with 3 (4 x 4) vehicles and visited remote areas and fishing villages. Maybe, the experience you are having now can replicated next year as a C-Brats group travel event. Just thinking. Enjoy and be safe. Gary.
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