We made the long run from Guerrero Negro to El Rosario, across Baja’s famous “gas gap”. That’s a 197 mile stretch between gas stations. There is one opportunity to buy gas partway across but I wouldn’t want to plan on it. It’s some guys selling gas out of jerry jugs in the back of their pickups. I can only imagine the premium you’d have to pay for that stuff. We were all gassed up so we didn’t have to worry. We’d be squeaking to make it on just the stock Toyota tank, though. It’ll generally take us in the neighborhood of 200 miles but I’m sweating it by the time we reach the next station. Fortunately, we also have a 30 gallon auxiliary tank so we’re sitting pretty.
We met a couple who were tent-camping at the RV park in El Rosario. Jason and Emily, from Oregon, are surfing their way down the Pacific Coast. They started at Cape Flattery on Washington’s upper left corner, and are surfing their way down to Tierra Del Fuego at the bottom tip of South America. They have a blog, although I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet. Looking forward to perusing it when I get some time and a decent wifi connection at the same time.
Since the next day’s push was going to be all the way to Ensenada or maybe further, we decided to get a relatively early start. To facilitate this, we had breakfast in the Hotel’s restaurant rather than making a mess in our galley that we then had to take the time to clean up. Lulu had a vegetarian omelet and I had huevos rancheros, my main go-to Mexican breakfast. It was all good. One weird thing was that both our breakfasts were served with a small green salad. Guess there’s really no reason not to but it still seems kind of weird. The walls are covered with thousands of business cards and dozens of photos. There’s one photo of David Letterman that is signed with a note about how much he loves this place. Seemed pretty weird. I couldn’t imagine what would bring David Letterman to El Rosario. Upon closer inspection, we found a business card next to the photo. Turns out that it’s “the world’s foremost David Letterman look-alike”. He does look an awful lot like ol’ Dave.
We passed another military checkpoint on this road. Flipper underwent a very thorough interior inspection. Every cupboard, drawer, bag, backpack, nook and cranny was opened and searched. They were very polite and respectful and returned everything back to where it was. They even remembered to hook the hook and eye on the cupboards after searching them. Funny thing though, they never opened the outside compartments. The propane locker and the fridge mechanism locker were always left alone. Nor did they look under the hood. One guy made a half-assed attempt at looking under the rig but he didn’t really try very hard. Understand, I’m not complaining. It just seems funny considering that they were knocking on walls and the ceiling inside, looking for hidden storage. They’re mainly looking for drugs in the northbound vehicles and guns in the southbound although, I’m sure they’d be happy to get whatever they found. We really don’t mind these checkpoints that much. Gives us a chance to stretch our legs and practice our Spanish. However, I’d be screaming like a banshee if they pulled this crap in the States. Hypocritical, I suppose, but that’s just the way it is. Later, we went through another checkpoint. This time, the search was much more cursory. Guess they figured that, since we’d already been through 5 inspections since leaving La Paz, they’d let us slide.
We weren’t really sure how far we planned to drive today. We thought maybe we’d stay at the place with the castle in Maneadero. But we also thought we might like to make it a little further. We were hoping to get to the border crossing fairly early in the day, hoping the lines might be shorter. We had some hellacious slowdowns due to road construction. It didn’t usually stop traffic altogether but we got shunted off on very bumpy (1st and 2nd gear) makeshift roads paralleling the main road. Happened over and over again. Partway into the trip, Lulu was perusing the camping guide as well as the map and suggested we might want to cross the border at Tecate instead of Tijuana. Figured that maybe the lines would be shorter. Well, no way to find out unless we just give it a try so we reprogrammed Dora and headed towards Tecate. After turning off the road from Ensenada, there was an RV camp about 20 some miles up the road. This one is run by the adjacent school for the deaf and all proceeds go to the school. There is no fixed rate, just pay what you think is right. There was supposed to be water, sewer, electricity, bathrooms, showers and cell service. The first problem was finding the darn place. The guide said that it was very obvious, especially coming from the south (like we were). We did see a sign with a trailer on it and Dora did tell us we’d reached our destination, but for the life of us, we didn’t see any RV park and certainly didn’t see any road or driveway. We went on past the supposed turn-off, did a U-turn, and went back. This time we turned off where we thought they were sending us but that just put us on a gravel road paralleling the highway for aways before petering out at a washed out ditch. Back out onto the highway and back again. This time, we pulled off the road across from where the driveway was supposed to be. Then, we could see an empty RV park down below. And, yeah, I suppose that might be a driveway. We gave it a shot and actually found the place. It was completely deserted. The electricity was on but the water was not. We did find the waste disposal hook-up but the bathrooms and showers were locked up tight. But that was okay. We had 16 gallons of water on board and, especially with the sanitary hookup, we could use the onboard toilet, etc. The electricity was nice to have as I could charge the computer up. And with the cell service, I’d be able to use my banda ancha to get internet service. Only, the thing was, I wasn’t getting any cell service. At least not any Telcel service. Well, 2 services out of the 6 advertised is better than nothing.
As the evening progressed, two more motorhomes came in. We had a nice night. Quiet except for the trucks on the highway. It got pretty cold after the sun went down so we fired up the furnace. This time I let it go until the thermostat shut it off and then left it alone. Sure enough, after awhile the thermostat started it back up and it actually fired, in spite of the fact that I couldn’t actually see the pilot light through the little peep hole. Worked just like it was supposed to. Decided to go for broke and light off the water heater so Lulu’d have hot water for dishes. And that worked, too. That means the everything in Flipper works except the tank level indicators and, I’m told by many RV owners that those things never work or, at least, never work for very long, even on new rigs. And, since I can look at the side of the plastic water tank and see how full it is, and look down the hole in the toilet to see how full the holding tank is, I guess we really don’t need the fancy-pants electronic indicators.
Tomorrow: back in the USA
PS: no photos because I’m writing this as a text document that I’ll paste into WordPress when we get a decent wifi connection…or any wifi connection for that matter.