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Author Topic: Driving to Cabo this upcoming winter  (Read 3590 times)

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Driving to Cabo this upcoming winter
« on: April 12, 2021, 11:15:15 AM »

As long as the border is still open and I can get an FMM visa I'm going to be going. I'm going to try to take US highways most of the way and stay off of the interstate. I want to climb the Guadalupe Peak in Texas along the way as long as it isn't too cold. Will probably do the Carlsbad Caverns if they are open. The Organ Pipe Cactus place looks cool. I will be using the Sonoyta / Lukeville, AZ crossing. I'm going to be quitting my job to take this trip, so if I'm gone for 1 month or 3 it won't matter. Anybody ever drove down the TransPeninsular highway or been to the Baja Peninsula; and does anyone have any suggestions on anywhere to stop at (US or Mexico)? Sort of thinking about going to Paquime (Nvo Casas Grandes, CHIH) and Coyame, CHIH on the way back, and might do some kayaking on the Rio Grande and some hiking in the Big Bend.

On a side note I am a rural Indiana country boy. I prefer to see nature sights, mountains, caves, neat beaches, canyons, rivers, etc, over doing things in the cities.
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Re: Driving to Cabo this upcoming winter
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2021, 05:00:39 PM »

I know you said you want to stay off the Interstate system, but I-70 between Denver and the Utah border IS arguably the most scenic road in the country, and it’s certainly the most scenic road in Colorado (with the exception of Loveland Pass, but that’s only about 10 miles long). I’m not sure what US-50 and US-285 in south-central Colorado are like. US-40 between Steamboat Springs and I-70 is nice, but it’s well out of the way. I would definitely drive the Million Dollar Highway as well.
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Re: Driving to Cabo this upcoming winter
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2021, 02:05:44 PM »

I know you said you want to stay off the Interstate system, but I-70 between Denver and the Utah border IS arguably the most scenic road in the country, and it’s certainly the most scenic road in Colorado (with the exception of Loveland Pass, but that’s only about 10 miles long).

It's for sure the most scenic interstate, but I would put the Million Dollar Highway, CO91, CO5, CO139, CO141, CO92, US24 between Minturn and Leadville, and CO12 right in the mix, with a couple of those above I-70.  So, I don't think you can say it's "certainly the most scenic road in Colorado".  We have lots of them.

I’m not sure what US-50 and US-285 in south-central Colorado are like. US-40 between Steamboat Springs and I-70 is nice, but it’s well out of the way. I would definitely drive the Million Dollar Highway as well.

US50 is pretty from Cañon City to Montrose, especially through Monarch Pass, but I'd say less pretty than some of those other roads.  US285 is super pretty between from Antero Junction to Poncha Springs, but only average north of that and fairly boring south of that.  As you mentioned, Million Dollar Highway is ridiculously pretty.

Chris

I'd argue that there are several

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Re: Driving to Cabo this upcoming winter
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2021, 09:17:08 AM »

I'm going to be going in January so I'm probably going to stay away from Colorado. I went to Pagosa in December one year and it was too cold for it to be enjoyable. I went to Pagosa one other time in July and had a blast. I've actually been on a lot of the roads in the southwestern part of the state including the Million Dollar Highway.

As for the interstates I'm an OTR truck driver, so I'm mostly just sick of being on them. I take a lot of secondary roads when I have time just because they are usually more relaxing and I feel like I see more of the country that way. There's also lots of opportunities to stop along the way in a car (not so much a big truck lol).
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Re: Driving to Cabo this upcoming winter
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2022, 08:45:24 PM »

Starting to finalize my plans now. The plan is May and June. I'm going to drive across Kansas to Boise City, OK, then drive across northern NM on US 64 on the way to the Grand Canyon. Going to stop at Mexican Hat, Monument Valley, Page, Horseshoe Bend, and Marble Canyon along the way. Then I'm going to take Rte 66 through Peach Springs before heading to the Palm Springs area to get my 48th state.

In Mexico I'm going to enter at Tecate and drive 3 to Ensenada. Then I'm going to take 1 the rest of the way to Los Cabos. On the way back I'm going to take 5 up and take a slight detour to La Rumorosa. Then the plan is to take Hwy 2 across Sonora and into Chihuahua, take 10 to 45 down to CD Chihuahua, and then take 16 to Ojinaga and reenter the US there.
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Re: Driving to Cabo this upcoming winter
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2022, 12:05:24 PM »

I completed the trip to the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula. Here's a day by day report for the trip. It was a very fun enjoyable trip. Everything in Mexico, especially in the non-tourist areas is extremely cheap. I did the trip alone, and once again found Mexico to be a safe country to drive around in. My main rules for travel in Mexico are to stick to federal and state highways, and to drive during daylight hours. Topes (large speed bumps) and las vacas (cows) in the roadways are the two biggest things you have to watch out for, along with Alto (Stop) signs in towns that can sometimes be hidden.
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Day 1: Tecate - El Rosario de Arriba

I got my Mexican auto insurance in Tecate, CA and exchanged my currency at the same place (Baja Mex Ins). Then I crossed the border and for the first time received a green light. I drove around the block and walked back to the POE to get my FMM Visa card that cost slighly over 600 Pesos ($30 USD). Apparently paying for it in pesos is less complex than dollars, so I paid in pesos. Afterwards I headed south to Ensenada and stopped at the mirador as you first enter the city and took some good photos of the Pacific.

I recommend getting a good Garmin GPS that works in Mexico. The signs in some of these cities are non-existent. It helped me a lot and my phone's talk and text worked, but I discovered that I don't get data in Mexico with my AT&T phone. So offline maps with a GPS was great. Once I got south of Lazaro Card##as things got a lot better. Before that it was 60 km/h town after 60 km/h town. I filled up my car somewhere around Vicente Guerrero at a Pemex. At El Rosario I stopped for the night at the Hotel Sinai. No AC, but the weather was cool and the room was clean. It was only $450 ($22.50 USD).

Day 2: ""-Guerrero Negro

I stopped at the Lake Chapala restaurant and ate breakfast. Nice little restaurant out in the middle of nowhere. A military caravan pulled into the lot while I was there. I think they were walking their dogs, reorganizing, and one of the soldiers came into the restaurant to use the restroom. Later I pulled off and hiked not to far into the desert and took some photos of the large cacti which I had never seen before that day. Filled up in some small town called Jesus Villa Maria. I stopped for the night at the Motel La Espinita on the north side of GN. It was clean, had wifi, and was $500 (25 USD) for the night. One warning is that there are two dogs there and one of them was pretty friendly, but the other one didn't seem to be, so don't get too close to that one.

Day 3: ""-Mulege

For breakfast I stopped at a restaurant / hotel in San Ignacio called Beans and Rice. It was a nice little place in an oasis with big palm trees. Then I drove to Playa Santispac, rented a kayak, and swam in the water for quite a few hours. $200 to enter and $200 to rent a kayak (or 20 USD total). The water is very clear, which surprised me. I'm sure some of you are laughing, because it turns out it's like that all over the place in Baja. Filled up on the south side of Mulege at a Pemex with a large gravel lot. Stayed the night in Mulege and walked around town. The hotel was La Noria and was $500.

Day 4: ""-Los Barriles

Longest day of driving while I was in Baja. Filled up at Cd Constitucion on the north side of town at a Pemex and filled up at Los Barriles at Repsol. MAde a wrong turn in La Paz somehow, but thankfully I had my GPS that got me through town. The police checkpoints on both sides of town were unmanned. For the night I stayed at the Hotel Calafia. It had a balcony where you could see the Sea of Cortez. It was only $600 (30 USD). I walked to the beach that night and ate at a small pizza place called Chino's. I think it was the best pizza I've ever had and highly recommend it.

Day 5: ""- Cd Constitucion via Los Cabos

I drove past the Tropico of Cancer which was pretty cool. I crossed it when drove to Mazatlan when I drove there 4 years ago, so this was my 2nd visit south of the tropics. Then I visited the beach at Chileno. Highly recommend it. Free parking, showers, and just a beautiful beach. I was there early in the day so it wasn't very busy. Saw some crabs on the rocks (I'd never seen crabs before in the wild). After that I picked up some souvenirs at Walmart and got some American food at Carl's Jr's. Left town and headed north towards Cd Constitucion. The south LP checkpoint was closed but the north one (or west) was open. The Guardia Nacional was curious about a lack of front license plate, but when they saw I had an Indiana plate on the back they sent me on my way without any issues. I think they might have thought I didn't have one at all. A lot of Mexican cars don't, or if they do they only have one on the back, rather than on both sides. For the night I stayed at Hotel Mumai which looked like it had been recently renovated. Very nice and had a garage for the car. $500 + $100 deposit and was easily the nicest place I stayed at the entire trip. I also filled up at the gas station down the street from the hotel.

Day 6: ""- Guerrero Negro

Drove north through Cd C. Apparently stop signs don't mean much to most drivers, but I still stopped at them (or came very close). Every intersection had a municipal policeman (on foot) so I wasn't blowing stop signs. Th truck driver behind me wasn't too happy and tooted his horn. The cops kind of gave him a WTF look. I stopped at Playa Los Cocos south of Mulege a little ways for a 1 hour swim. Normally you have to pay $150 to get in, but it was unmanned with nothing blocking the entrance, so I got in for free. Before I got to GN there was some sort of Mexican version of the DEA/FBI checkpoint blocking off traffic. They were way more serious and investigatory about searching for drugs and whatnot than the military checkpoints. After an extremely thorough search of looking through my stuff, knocking on various parts of my car, and looking under my passenger side floorboard; I was sent on my way. The good thing is that they put everything back the exact way they found it and didn't just tear through my stuff (cough cough US customs in Laredo, TX). Mexican authorities seem to be really good about this though. I ate at a restaurant in GN called Las Cazuelas as you first enter town from the big Y intersection. Good food and they had an interesting sea food type soup that I liked, that they brought out with the chips and salsa. I attempted to stay at the La Espinita again, but the guy that ran it apparently wasn't there this time, so I had to pay $20 MXN to go back into BCS and stayed at the Terra Sal which was $650 (32.50 USD) for the night.

Day 7: ""-Guadalupe Victoria
The Terra Sal had a good little restaurant on site, which was nice. Afterwards I filled up at Villa Jesus Maria again at the Pemex. I then drove on the new Mexico 5 highway to San Felipe. Such a beautiful drive and way more relaxing than 1 coming down from Tecate and Ensenada. I was going to stay the night in San Felipe, but all of the hotels were full which I wasn't prepared for. I filled up at an Arco in San Felipe. My plan was to cross back into the USA at Lukeville, so I decided to try the short cut that avoids Mexicali and SLRC. I got lucky and found a little motel just south of Guadalupe Victoria on the shortcut called Motel Del Valle. It was $500 (25 USD) for the night and they had plenty of rooms available.

Day 8: ""-Lukeville, AZ

Woke up and headed out. Not to far down the road was maybe the most southern bridge over the Colorado River before it completely disappears for irrigation. In a little town down the road I went under the Bienvenidos a Sonora sign, which was the 9th Mexican estado I've vistited. Later I took the SLRC bypass (which is free) and made first sight of the wall at the Hwy 2 intersection. I drove by the wall for about 1.5-2 hours before making it to Sonoyta. Drivers beware, because it is true that Sonoyta is a big speed trap. I knew in advance and slowed way down to the 40 km/h speed limit. The trucker behind me even backed off. Municipal Policias everywhere, but I was not bothered by them. They did have some other folks pulled over though, so make sure you follow the road laws when you drive through there. Most of Mexico seemed like they don't enforce the road laws much, but Sonoyta onviously sees it as a money maker like a lot of American towns of similar size. Filled up my car at the 76 before crossing back into the US which saved me some money. I was able to park my car before the POE and return my FMM visa with no issues. Getting past US Customs was very painless surprisingly.
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Re: Driving to Cabo this upcoming winter
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2022, 12:19:15 PM »




Volcan Tres Virgenes





Approching Sea of Cortez in Santa Rosalia, BCS



Clear waters of Playa Santispac, south of Mulege









Driving through San Bartolo, BCS







Tropico de Cancer



Made it to the southern end of Baja (Playa Chileno, located between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo).





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Re: Driving to Cabo this upcoming winter
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2022, 12:29:09 PM »

Thanks for the report!

I drove around the block and walked back to the POE to get my FMM Visa card that cost slighly over 600 Pesos ($30 USD). Apparently paying for it in pesos is less complex than dollars, so I paid in pesos.

Never heard of this.  I think I always pay in dollars, never had any problems.

Before I got to GN there was some sort of Mexican version of the DEA/FBI checkpoint blocking off traffic. They were way more serious and investigatory about searching for drugs and whatnot than the military checkpoints. After an extremely thorough search of looking through my stuff, knocking on various parts of my car, and looking under my passenger side floorboard; I was sent on my way. The good thing is that they put everything back the exact way they found it and didn't just tear through my stuff (cough cough US customs in Laredo, TX).

YMMV, I think.  It depends on the officer, both sides of the border.
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Re: Driving to Cabo this upcoming winter
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2022, 12:35:17 PM »

Pics from the drive back north. Got a hotel in Cd Constitucion on the way back and got these distance markers.





Mexico Hwy 1 Shield



On north way up now along Hwy 5 near Puertecitos, Baja Norte









North of San Felipe on Hwy 5



Colorado River on BC HWY 4 (shortcut from MX 5 to Sonoyta that avoids Mexicali and SLRC). This is the last viewing of the Colorado River before it completely disappears due to irrigation.



Welcome to Sonora! (in town of Coahuila City or Cd Coahuila, BC)



123 Km's to Sonoyta on Hwy 2





The Border Wall on the Mexican side that runs along Hwy 2 much of the length between SLRC and Sonoyta



The infamous Saguaro Cactus found in northern Sonora and southern Arizona



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Re: Driving to Cabo this upcoming winter
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2022, 12:35:43 PM »

One thing I've wondered about that route:  Did you find it tiring to deal with a narrow and shoulder-less road for so many miles?
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Re: Driving to Cabo this upcoming winter
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2022, 12:48:37 PM »

One thing I've wondered about that route:  Did you find it tiring to deal with a narrow and shoulder-less road for so many miles?

No, it wasn't bad at all. I tried to keep my days between 5-7 hours of driving though so that I wasn't overdoing it, but there was enough interesting scenery and curves to keep me engaged throughout the day. The road was actually in a lot better shape than I anticipated, which I was happy about. The worst stretch of road was in Santa Rosalia, which is locally maintained rather than SCT maintained. That seemed to be the trend there, where the municipalities take control of the highway in town, while SCT maintains the rural sections.

The speed limit (in km's) mostly ranged between 70 and 80 on the rural parts, with the curvy parts being 40-60. Most towns seemed to be 60 km/h. I followed the limits most of the way down, but on the way back I drove between 80-100 km/h since they don't seem to be enforced that much. In towns I always followed the limits and stopped at the stop signs, even though most of the locals didn't do either.
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Re: Driving to Cabo this upcoming winter
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2022, 06:50:05 PM »

Very interesting report, thanks for sharing.

How necessary is the ability to converse in Spanish for the places you visited and stayed?
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Re: Driving to Cabo this upcoming winter
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2022, 11:12:28 PM »

Very interesting report, thanks for sharing.

How necessary is the ability to converse in Spanish for the places you visited and stayed?

My Spanish is still very basic. I have been working on it and I noticed a massive improvement this time compared to when I was last in Mexico four years ago. You definitely don't need to be fluent, because I am most definitely not fluent at all. Learning some basic phrases (see list below) is definitely a huge plus and makes a trip to Mexico a lot easier.

Common words and phrases I use a lot:
Donde es ----Where is?
Cuanto es? ----- How much is?
Quiero ----- I want
Voy a ----- I am going to
Magna ---- 87 octane gasoline
lleno ---- full
Tienes? ---- Do you have?
Buenos dias ---- good morning (everyone says this in the mornings)
Hola, como esta? ---- Hello, how are you doing? (very common for Mexicans to ask you this)
bueno ---- good
Soy de ---- I am from
Lo siento ---- Sorry
por favor ---- please
muchas gracias ----- thank you very much
No entiendo mucho espanol ----- I don't understand much Spanish
No hablo mucho espanol ----- I don't speak much Spanish
*Try to learn your numbers 1-1000, so that when you ask for prices on items you can understand their answer.

I do carry a Spanish - English dictionary in my car so that I can look up words and phrases that I don't know. At the very least take one of those with you if you ever go. Typically I take it with me into restaurants so that I can make sure that I actually order the food that I want. When Mexican people figure out that you're not from there, and see that you are at least making an attempt, they definitely try their best to work with you.
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Re: Driving to Cabo this upcoming winter
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2022, 07:28:56 AM »

Muchas cervezas frias, por favor.
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Re: Driving to Cabo this upcoming winter
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2022, 10:07:56 AM »

Donde es ----Where is?

"Es" is the permanent form of "is".  For location and other temporal situations (but paradoxically not for actually telling time), you should use "está" instead.

¿Dónde está la gasolinera? — Where is the gas station?

Muchas cervezas frias, por favor.

My high school Spanish teacher's daughter was once at a seaside resort restaurant in Nayarit.  She was about ten years old.  Wanting to try out her Spanish, she asked the waiter for a napkin.  Except she got her vocabulary mixed up and said cerveza instead of servilleta.  Her parents, not paying close attention, didn't realize it at the time.  Because they weren't reacting negatively to their daughter's request, the waiter assumed they were OK with their ten-year-old having a beer, so he proceeded to bring her one.
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Re: Driving to Cabo this upcoming winter
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2022, 11:26:56 PM »

Donde es ----Where is?

"Es" is the permanent form of "is".  For location and other temporal situations (but paradoxically not for actually telling time), you should use "está" instead.

¿Dónde está la gasolinera? — Where is the gas station?

Muchas cervezas frias, por favor.

My high school Spanish teacher's daughter was once at a seaside resort restaurant in Nayarit.  She was about ten years old.  Wanting to try out her Spanish, she asked the waiter for a napkin.  Except she got her vocabulary mixed up and said cerveza instead of servilleta.  Her parents, not paying close attention, didn't realize it at the time.  Because they weren't reacting negatively to their daughter's request, the waiter assumed they were OK with their ten-year-old having a beer, so he proceeded to bring her one.

I'll have to remember to use esta in the future. As soon as I open my big mouth though everyone knows I'm not a fluent Spanish speaker.  :-D I think they appreciate that I at least try my best though.

That beer story is pretty funny.
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Re: Driving to Cabo this upcoming winter
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2022, 01:29:43 AM »

¿Dónde está la gasolinera? — Where is the gas station?

I feel like it ought to be gasolinería. But oh well. Since when are languages logical.

For that matter, I wish we called them gasolineries in English.

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Re: Driving to Cabo this upcoming winter
« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2022, 11:58:39 AM »


¿Dónde está la gasolinera? — Where is the gas station?

I feel like it ought to be gasolinería. But oh well. Since when are languages logical.

That's because the word describes a gas station as being where gas station is dispensed, not as a store where gasoline is sold.  You don't go into a gas station and buy a box of gasoline.  Rather, it is dispensed from pumps.

The suffix -era is used for locations where something is found or where something is produced or dispensed.
The suffix -ería is used for stores that sell something.

Examples:

cafetera = coffee maker, because it's the thing in your house that produces/dispenses coffee
cafetería = café, because it's a store that sells coffee

lonchera = lunchbox, because that's where your sandwich is found
lonchería = sandwich shop, because it's a store that sells sandwiches

lechera = milk pitcher, because it dispenses your milk
lechería = dairy, because it's a place that sells milk
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Male pronouns, please.

Quote from: Philip K. Dick
If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use them.

mrsman

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Re: Driving to Cabo this upcoming winter
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2022, 01:41:42 PM »

¿Dónde está la gasolinera? — Where is the gas station?

I feel like it ought to be gasolinería. But oh well. Since when are languages logical.

For that matter, I wish we called them gasolineries in English.

WHen one comes to study languages, you come to realize that many are far more logical than English.  English is just more familiar to us, as native speakers.
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