The CrowsWing Teardrop Finally Lands in Baja!

jim65wagon

Well-known member
Let me preface this story with a little backstory: 12 years ago my wife and I built a little teardrop trailer. From 2012 to 2020 it took us on many east coast adventures. The main goal for the build was to spend one year traveling the country with it. In 2020 after years of planning we reached that goal and took off on a grand adventure. I had a blog, but that took more maintenance that I was willing to put into it, so that venue is now defunct. I do have all those writings saved to a hard drive so if I ever feel the need to bore you with 13 months worth of travel I will. Halfway through our one year Elizabeth started a Youtube channel to keep our families apprised of our travels. Anyhoozels, after our year of travel we decided to keep going, becoming full time nomads of a fashion and we've gone on many travels usually for three months at a time before we stop and work for 3 or 4 months. Our little home built teardrop has traveled over 50,000 miles and if you are really bored you can read the build thread titled The CrowsWing (<=clinky the linky, it's an EP thread so it's a safe link)

That's neither here nor there, but while we were working in the summer of 2023 we were in the decision phase of where to go once we finished up with work. We decided to finally go to Baja California. Now, neither of us has been out of the country excepting for a few uncamping trips to Canadia.

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Parking Lot in White Sands National Monument

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The Dune Life Nature Trail

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Designated Dispersed Campsite Mojave National Preserve

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In November we finally finished working and picked the teardrop out of storage. We had made plans to visit our daughter near San Francisco for Thanksgiving so we took a circuitous route from Texas, spending some time at White Sands and then in the Mojave National Preserve before winding up in the Bay area. At our daughter's house we finalized our plans to visit Baja acquiring all the necessary documents and insurance. Insurance came from an online search and produced the widely used company Baja Bound. We made multiple copies of our newly acquired insurance and also our Drivers Licenses, Passports, and Registration Forms for both the truck and the trailer. We hid the copies in various locations in the truck as well as having copies available to hand any inspectors that might ask for them. We also researched what kind of questions they might ask at the Immigration Office (INM). These would include: Full Name. DOB, Nationality, Country of Birth, Country of Residence, Address, Reason for Visit, and Length of Planned Stay. Our research found that we were not to cross the border with guns, knives, fruits, vegetables, meats, alcohol or gasoline in containers. I don't like not having a spare gas can but I emptied the 5 gallons we always carry into the truck. I just planned on refilling it on our first gas stop in Mexico. We spent two weeks there having fun with family and getting prepared for another adventure.

Finally, on December 5th we made our escape south, stopping for a night outside of California City on some BLM land not far from the interstate. From there we drove on down to Calexico and made ready to cross the border on the 7th. We stayed in Baja a grand total of 38 days, so this will be a long story, it will be posted in installments, and I'll understand if all you do is look at the pictures, they are worth a thousands words of my typing afterall (maybe two thousand, my typing is not very good) Enough chat, here is how our first trip to Baja unfolded for two gringos who speak maybe three phrases of Spanish between the both of us.....
2.jpgAlong the Interstate Campsite


Wednesday December 6 2023
We arrived in Calexico California in the afternoon. After a bit of searching we found a decent campsite on some BLM land outside of town. The site we found wasn't the best of campsites we've lived in over the years, we had lots of neighbors in the vicinity and normally we try to avoid people. We were only staying the one night though and this put us within just a few minutes of the Calexico East border crossing. The area was pleasantly deserty, warm and dry. We ate our last steak with a side of good ol' Blue Box Mac-N-Cheese for dinner. We planned to not cross the border with any meat, fruits, veggies or wine in the hopes that the border agents would let us slide through without too many questions. The stars were bright in the night sky when we finally settled into the teardrop for the night, nearby a pack coyotes sang us to sleep.

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BLM land not far from Calexico

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There was a canal nearby, we hiked alongside it looking for a "better" campsite
 
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jim65wagon

Well-known member
CROSSING THE BORDER

Thursday December 7 2023

After our usual breakfast of coffee we packed up our meager camp, meaning we cleaned our cups, coffee pot and put our camp chairs in the basement. (If you haven't followed us before, yes our teardrop has a basement for storage) With a very brief stop at the nearby LTVA (Long Term Vehicle Area) campground to borrow their dumpster (You don't really want the border agent asking about your garbage do you?) we headed down route 7 south to the border.

We followed the signage, staying in the right hand lane and soon enough we were crossing the border. Outside the INM office we met our first Mexican Border Agent. In broken english he asked for our truck and trailer registration (we provided a copy of those documents) and he compared them to our gear. Satisfied with that he asked me to open a few doors for him. Upon opening the rear passenger door of the truck he saw our built in toolbox and opened that up. He shifted some things around a bit then moved on to our hiking poles and camera tripod. As he did this he said
“Drugs? Pistolas? Cigarillos?”
I replied with a quick “No, none, no”
Then he checked the bedroom door of the CrowsWing, reaching in to open the cupboard nearest while grabbing at some clothes stored inside. He pointed to the other doors inside and asked if it was all clothing. I said yes and he seemed satisfied and waved us forward.


As I was locking the camper doors I asked him (in very bad spanish)
“Efe Eme Eme?”
He understood my question and pointed to the building I was already parked beside. I looked at him dumbly and said
“Can I just park here and walk in?”
He understood and said that I could not. He pointed to a very small parking lot just around the corner and said something that I took to mean
“You can park over there”
Beth and I looked at the lot as we turned the corner to get there. With all the spaces full and some people double parked there was no way we were getting a trailer in there and getting it back out. Across the narrow drive from the lot entrance was a building under construction. I pulled the trailer alongside it's chain link fence (leaving a wide enough road open for people to came and go without interference) and parked right there. We grabbed our paperwork and walked over to the INM building.

A security guard looked us over quickly and said “Hola” as we walked up to the door. We entered the building and a lady behind a nearby counter called out to us “Hola, Buenas Dias” Making our way over she asked (in English) what she could help us with and we replied that we were needing an FMM for each of us. If you don't know at this point an FMM (Forma Migratoria Multiple) is similar (but not quite) to a visa and allows foreign visitors to travel Mexico for up to 180 days. The very nice lady took our passports and drivers licenses and filled out the forms for us, only pausing to ask how long we wished to stay (we replied with 180 days as we were not sure how long we wanted to stay or if we'd even like Baja!) . The forms were completed and she asked us if we wanted to pay by Tarjeta (Si!). I handed her the credit card, she swiped it, I signed the receipt and she signed and stamped our FMMs, handing them the passports and the licenses back to us. With a “Have a Nice Day!” we were officially in Mexico!

I pulled the trailer back out onto the checkpoint road and then out onto our first road in Mexicali. No sooner than we had turned out onto the road and both our phones lost any Verizon signal they had. Good signal one second, no signal the next. I guess that answered our question as to whether we needed to buy new sim cards or not. I tried to turn left but traffic was a bear! We elected to go right and do a U-turn. It seems as though most people visiting turn right onto the Calz. Abelardo L Rodriquez. We picked left because that would take us to the WalMart for supplies. (We were starting slow and going with something we know) Along the way we stopped at an OXXO store (the Mexican equivalent to a 7-11, some have gas pumps some are just convenient stores, all have very small parking lots making trailer life difficult). We tried to tell the clerk we needed Telcel cards with data packets but our poor pronunciation of Spanish led to confusion. A nice gentleman in line asked if we needed help (in English!) and proceeded to rattle off the words we were trying to say. The clerk immediately responded to his query and produced one TelCel card. We purchased the card along with 4GB of data. He apologized for only having one card available (our translator relayed this message). We gave him an “It's OK, no problem” and said our Gracias to both the clerk and the helpful translator. Out in the parking lot I plugged the card into my phone and upon restart was delightfully rewarded with cell signal to go along with my Mexican phone number. Most of my apps worked as normal, and with that it was on to the grocery store.

The Walmart had a much smaller than we were used to parking lot (this became the theme for town visits) but we managed to find a spot to park the truck and trailer and off we went. We picked up our veggies, meats, cheeses, wines and a good tequila (no rum, sad face). On our way out the door we stopped at the ATM and got some cash in pesos. As we walked, sitting on the sidewalk was an old man. He was very badly playing a violin and looking up at everyone that passed by. Beth dropped a 50 pesos bill into his violin case. Now, this bill had been given to us by Beth's mom on our last visit to Pennsylvania. She had this and a few other bills from their visit to Mexico about 30 years ago. Now that 50 peso bill was back in Mexico. The old violinist picked up the bill, looked at it and gave Beth the weirdest look. It wasn't a look of gratitude but of puzzlement. We walked away and began discussing the possibility that the money we received was not the current correct currency. We loaded our pantry in the teardrop and headed south, briefly stopping at a Pemex gas station to fill the truck. Beth went in a purchased a TelCel card for her phone, while I figured out my Ultra-gauge OBDII information center (I use it to monitor engine and transmission temperatures, distance to empty, and corrected speed) could be reconfigured for kilometers per hour and kilometers to empty. This would make our journey all the easier!

After this busy morning it was a 2 and a half hour drive down to San Felipe for our first official campsite in Baja. The drive itself was uneventful, until we pulled off MX 5 and took our first dirt road to the beach. We picked our first campsite off of the iOverlander app, it was just north of San Felipe by about 15 minutes. Since I had downloaded the Google maps for all of Baja I just let it guide us in. Well, let's just say that while the map accurately picked a road that should've gotten us to our destination, the cards were stacked against us, so to speak. The very easy dirt road off Highway 5 headed straight to the ocean, a very good start indeed! At the bottom of the bluff the road split. One way heading to the ocean the other to our chosen place to camp. We turned on a little sandy two track and after about 100 yards came upon what we initially percieved as a tank trap across the road. Trap indeed. It was a ditch about 3 feet wide and 3 feet deep! No way over, or around. Mind you, we were only another 50 yards to our pin. There were a few other campers in sight, they certainly didn't cross here! My first thought was just to turn around, but Beth was worried about the softness of the surrounding sand so I carefully backed the trailer back up the road turning it so we were once again heading to the ocean. This end of the road ended also, at a big turn around and beach access of really deep sugary sand. Once again we turned around and headed back to MX 5. We bounced back onto the pavement and drove south once more to the next road down, Back onto sand and driving toward the ocean once again. On the top of the bluff were a gaggle of FWC's on an assortment of trucks. We passed them by and drove down the bluff closer to the ocean.

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At the end of the road there was a large Class C RV, and a big Unimogy type truck (no, I don't know what type of truck it actually is, this style of camper is not my forte). They were on a large hard pack area where the road become beach. We didn't want to crowd them or be crowded by them. When you live in a teardrop you need to be picky about campsite decisions. One of those decisions is inevitably “Where will we sit for privacy?” We call it the fishbowl effect. With the teardrop, if you're not in bed, you're outside. If you're outside everyone nearby can watch and see what you're doing. No privacy like a larger trailer, Class C, van or Unimog can achieve. A veritable fishbowl. We briefly parked and walked the sandy track we would've been on if not for the ditch. We passed one Tacoma with a four wheel camper on it. That was the only vehicle on this section of beach road. We chose a spot that would conveniently put two dunes and bushes between us. We pulled the truck and trailer in, using 4WD on one sandy section of the road. As I pulled wide around the dunes, I straightened the trailer, then began to back it up just a little.
 
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jim65wagon

Well-known member
The back tires of the truck decided to dig in. I tried to stop them but they insisted. I tried to go forward and they just dug in more. I checked my dash, I was still in 4hi, the front wheels were turning a bit but not digging in like the backs. They literally just sank in the sand. The trailer tires were still on the surface. That's when it dawned on me. When we picked up the teardrop in Texas, I had been towing our E-Pro 19FD work camper. I put 55 psi of air in the tires for that trailer.....I was still at 55 on the back and 45 on the front. I promptly got out our set of Staun tire deflators and began deflating 6 tires to 20psi. Beth got the shovel and started digging the sand into ramps instead of holes. Once both of those processes were done I flipped the dial on the Tacoma to 4lo. Trucky truck easily climbed right out of the holes and the teardrop dutifully followed. We moved forward floating on the sand much better now and parked the teardrop next to another dune and shrubbery set. We were planning on spending a few days here so we unhitched the truck and parked it near the kitchen side of the camper. We each set up the awnings on the sides of the camper, more for shading the interior than for rain protection the next few days were predicted to be sunny and warm.

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After that near incident we sat in our camp chairs just enjoying the fact that we weren't moving or in traffic and we were right where we wanted to be for the next couple of days. I checked my cell and internet data on my phone, I had service so I started the process of contacting friends and family giving them my new Mexican phone number. I called my mother in Indiana, she hung up on me three times before I finally convinced her through texts and messenger that I was, indeed, her son and not some mexican scammer impersonating myself. I found it amusing because we'd just talked on Thanksgiving about us going to Mexico. We had a good laugh about it and I applauded her for hanging up on the unknown number.

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With the short winter days the sun would be setting soon, so we walked out to the beach to touch the Gulf of California for the first time. The tide was out and, let me tell you, when the tide goes out at San Felipe it goes out! From the beach we walked another three quarters of a mile on a spit of sand just to get to the sea. Along the way we found nearly a bazillion sand dollars! ( I swear it was a bazillion, but I lost count after five) We stood in the edge of the water and enjoyed the coolness of it washing over our feet. We walked back to camp and Beth fixed some fajitas for dinner, while that was cooking one of the local beach dogs came by and mooched a bit of food from Beth. We ended our first day in Baja sipping on our good tequila. It was a good day!

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Sunrise
 

jim65wagon

Well-known member
Friday December 8th 2023
We took a slow day. After all we'd just spent four days traveling to get here from San Fransisco. That's enough driving in my book. We like to take our time getting somewhere and enjoying just being somewhere. To some it's all about the journey, but to us the destination is just as important as the road traveled. It was time to slow the pace. We walked the beach up and down enjoying the sand in our toes. Our neighbor in the FWC packed up and left, leaving us alone on this stretch of road. So we spent the day just relaxing, reading on our kindles, watching a few videos, Beth even worked on a video for our channel. At suppertime, Mooch showed up once again, we found out he likes taco meat but he doesn't like lettuce in his taco salad.....
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Exploring the abandoned house on the beach

Saturday December 9th 2023
We woke up to the beginnings of sunshine in our trailer. That's not totally true. What actually woke us up was a gust of wind rattled the awning on Beth's side of the teardrop very loudly. We both jumped out of bed and quickly took the awnings down. They're actually very sturdy and they'll take some pretty extreme winds, but it's the rattling noise created by the bimini hardware that forces us to action. It's all good though, it's just life in a teardrop.

After breakfast coffee we drove into San Felipe looking for a TelCel card for Beth's phone. The first OXXO we stopped at didn't have any, as we were leaving a very boisterous man came running past yelling
“Tamales! Tamales! You want Tamales?”
and he dashed on past and around the corner of the building. We'd just had a breakfast burrito each so food was not on the menu right that moment. We decided to leave and continue our search. The next place we stopped had a card available so we purchased it and went on our way.


The next priority for the day was filling up our fiberglass propane tank. While in San Fransisco we were able to get our two aluminum tanks on the trailer recertified and filled. The tech said there wasn't going to be anyone around who would recertify the fiberglass tank and recommended devalving it and disposal. Which, we had started to do. It was already empty. But then the thought occurred to us that Mexico might have some looser restrictions on propane so we might as well take the tank and try to get it filled. Worst case, we'd just have to dispose of it. As it turned out, the dude running the propane place just took the tank out of my hands, filled it and said
“One hundred and fifty pesos”
I handed him the cash and walked away with my full tank!


After that trying morning we took a nice afternoon nap. We woke to the sound of a truck. Looking out we saw a Tundra with an off road square drop camper in tow, parked on the other side of the ditch, of course. We watched as a man jumped the ditch and began walking over. We greeted him and the first thing he said was:
“Google maps led me down this road. How did you get there?”
I explained that he had to go back up to 5 and come down to the next dirt road. He thanked me and and jumped back across the ditch. After a bit we could see him coming down the road. He pulled in where the FWC had been and started setting up his camp.

I looked back over toward the ditch and noticed that now, there was a good sized Class C turning toward the ditch. I started walking over and by the time I got there it was to the edge. A nice French couple asked the same question our new neighbor asked. I explained to them how to get around and they backed their rig up and disappeared over the bluff, eventually showing up on the right road and parking on the hard pack with the other Rvs.
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Just a random teardrop photo...

We sat out on the beach in the sunshine for a bit but the winds were high enough we felt like we were just getting sandblasted, so we went back to camp and sat in the lee of the trailer. Wouldn't you know it after a few minutes we could hear the sounds of an engine. I looked around the trailer and there was a big Stewart and Stevens parked at the ditch. I started to walk over thinking that this was going to start getting old, and maybe I should scour the beach for stuff to make a sign. With that thought and no more than just a few steps the S&S turned around and headed back. I never saw that rig again.

Our new neighbor invited us over to his propane campfire in his clamshell popup shelter. We accepted and discovered that his name was Jim, he's from BC and he's on his first year of full-time travel. He tows an Off Grid Trailer. We enjoyed the warmth of the fire, a few drinks and some interesting conversation sharing our tales of full-time travel and some of our experiences from the three years we've enjoyed this style of life.

We bid Jim our goodnights and thanked him for his hospitality. We stepped out into the dark and the wind. Too much wind for cooking dinner in our kitchen, so we grabbed cheeses, crackers, pepperoni and an apple. Inside the cozy warm and wind free cabin of the teardrop we had the first of several impromptu charcuterie dinners in Mexico. The winds were strong and rocking the trailer as we made plans to continue south in the morning.
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another San Felipe sunrise
 

jim65wagon

Well-known member
iOVERLANDER FINDS US FISHERMAN'S COVE

Sunday December 10th 2023

We woke up with the sunshine in our faces. Still a little windy but not nearly as much as the last night. Beth was able to use the stove outside and made our coffee. We sat in the sunshine and enjoyed the morning. We packed up our meager camp and invited Jim over for a tour of the CrowsWing.


We said our goodbyes and headed into San Felipe, we needed to fill the trailer's water tank. We found an Agua Express. Their water hose was on the opposite side as our fill (is driver's side utilities for campers standard in the rest of the world?) so I pulled through and used the dirt lot behind their business to spin the trailer around, then pulled up to the hose. Which, of course, had some funky end that I've never seen before. There was no way it was going to connect to our US spec garden hose fill port. Beth and I dug out our 3 foot garden hose and our funnel. With the hose attached to the fill port on one end and to the funnel on the other I held the funnel high as the attendant ran water into the funnel. 10 minutes or so (to add 20 gallons) and we had a full 40 gallons in our tank. Then we had him fill up our 12 gallons worth of drinking water jugs. We were charged 50 pesos for the water, in the meantime, Beth gave 50 pesos to an old man that watched all of this. He was nice and fun to talk to, talking about his families in Atlanta, Houston, and San Diego. His spiel was that he was trying to save enough to get his card to cross the border to get to his family. Maybe that's true and maybe it's not, doesn't matter to me. He was funny and friendly.


We pulled out of San Felipe heading south on MX 5, we decided once again to use iOverlander to help us find a campsite. This being our first trip to Baja we were more concerned with learning the ins and outs of traveling in a different country than in exploring. We found a pin listed as Fisherman's Cove.
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We pulled off 5 onto a steep, downhill, loose rocky track. I put the truck in 4lo and we idled down the hill and to a spot where the road came to a “T”. Beth got out and walked up the left scouting out the pins location. There was a group of fishermen in front of the cove where the actual campsite was located. We walked along the beach to the southside, which had also been tagged on iO. This spot was a nice flat rocky hill slightly higher than the beach with a nice view of the beach, some islands, and away from the noise of fishermen.


We 4lo'd back up the hill and drove down MX 5 the few hundred yards to the next entrance road. It's angle felt wrong to access heading south so I passed it by and found a turn around to gain better access by heading north. A storm had chewed away the edge of the road so there was a bit of a ledge and an off camber drop but trucky did just fine with the camper following along. We pulled up to the campsite and got faced into the wind. Leveled and unhitched we had a home with a gorgeous ocean view with no other campers in sight!
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After a nice nap we walked the beach, to the north we passed by a large spinal column from some dead sea creature and found a freshly dead dolphin washed on shore. Luckily he was far enough away we couldn't smell him. To our south was a sandy beach in a private alcove. The fishermen left towards the end of the day and we enjoyed our private ocean view.

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Monday December 11th 2023
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We enjoyed our coffee in bed this morning. After dressing for the day we drove to the road entrance. It's not as steep as the north entrance but we decided to do some road repairs to make climbing the ledge to the pavement easier. We spent a few hours stacking rocks and eventually built a nice smooth (well smoother) entry point. We would easily climb out of this when it was time to leave!


As with most campsites, after one day of living in this one, the flies found us. We discovered long ago that the flies generally take one to three days to find a camp, then they'll swarm en masse. We began carrying a fly trap with us. This one is the captivator from Tractor Supply Company and uses an egg white based powder mixed in water to trap the flies. Set away from camp and it's highly effective keeping the little buggers away from you and your foods. The bees also found our slight leak in our shower hose, so we filled a shallow tin can with water added a rock and set it a little away from camp. The bees do appreciate that.


We walked down to our sandy cove and did some sunbathing. We came back to camp a little while later and noticed that our flytrap and our garbage bag was missing. Then we noticed a bit of fresh coyote scat by our fire ring. Duh! We should've guessed and thought ahead. We found the flytrap, refilled it and built a cairn of rocks around it. I circled camp and found the garbage, picking it all up and putting it in our spare tire mounted trash container. Up the beach we saw a huge flock of buzzards near the dolphin but all were just watching it. Through the binoculars we could see a lone coyote chewing on the dolphin's flipper. He finished his gnawing and headed back toward us, he walked up within about fifteen yards and we chased him off. Beth pointed out that he must've been injured at some point and didn't heal quite right as he moved his legs in a strange gait.
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We walked the beach collecting firewood, and while I built a fire, Beth cooked some Asian Pork to go over a bed of shredded lettuce. We enjoyed dinner by our first campfire in what felt like forever! Some fried apples over yogurt for desert and our day was finished.
 
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jim65wagon

Well-known member
Tuesday December 12th 202320.jpg
We began our day with the usual breakfast of coffee sitting beside our Campfire In A Can, enjoying the ocean breezes. (Is it okay to call the Gulf of California an ocean?). Afterward we cleaned our very dirty solar panels and then took a walk around the point to the next beach over and hiked a wash up to the road, There was a campsite on that beach and it used to be accessible by vehicle but the road to it is definitely lost to the wash now.
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We sunbathed in our private cove and watched a pod of dolphins playing in the water. It was a great day for wildlife viewing. We watched the vultures and the coyote feeding on the dolphin, along with some birds we couldn't identify but their call sounded like kittens mewing.

A couple of crows flew over, checking out our campsite. We have a special affinity to Corvids, so I tossed them some peanuts and they happily squawked while they cracked them open and feasted.

I cleaned our camera from all the dust and sand it's accumulated the last few weeks. Beth started sorted photos and videos on her computer while I sat up our two extra solar panels. During the summer the two panels on the roof of the teardrop manage all of our power needs. We have found over the last three years of full-time travel that in these winter months, with the sun so low during it's transit across the sky, that we need the extra two panels to keep up with the extra power needs of charging computers, lights, the camera and the drone.*note: we're not actually using the drone while in Mexico. We read that visitors to Mexico are not allowed to fly, so the drone stayed locked in it's case for this trip.

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We had a small issue with our wine bottle.....

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That evening, after supper we sat around our wonderful beach campfire eating cookies and drinking tequila, while planning out our next move.
 

jim65wagon

Well-known member
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES - A BETTER BEACH THAN LA GRINGA?

Wednesday December 13th 2023

We were up with the sun and got everything packed up and locked down. As we were packing we were greeted with the sounds of two coyotes. They were obviously arguing to each other from across the beach. Apparently one had taken offense to the other chewing on it's dolphin. They howled and barked at each other for several minutes but neither approached the other. Eventually, they both marked their territory they were currently standing on and walked away in opposite directions.

Hitched up we headed up to the road. Beth got out as we neared the top and walked out onto MX5 to watch for traffic while I pulled trailer up the bank and onto the road. With the all clear signal from Beth I pulled up the hill in 4hi, our rock stacking paid off and the truck and trailer easily bounced up the ledge and onto the pavement. We made our way down MX5, the MX1 and finally headed east on MX12 toward Bahia de Los Angeles.

Once we made it to town we stopped at the local Pemex station. I got out to pump gas (some stations in Baja have attendants that pump the gas for you, this one did not), Beth went in to buy some snackage. A lady came literally running over from a truck with a Four Wheel Camper on it. Beth came out of the store at this time and intercepted her. She asked if our trailer was home built and Beth explained that, Yes it is, we did it in our garage and how long it took us. We talked to her and her husband for a while, it seems they are interested in getting a teardrop to travel in. We, of course, encouraged them. They asked where we were going, with us replying that we just got into town and we were getting ready to go find a beach. They were waiting to meet some friends with a Class C RV so they could all head south to Guerrero Negro. They gave us the recommendation of Playa La Gringa for a beach campsite. They seemed like they wanted to talk longer, but we both had different places to be, Beth handed them a Flight of the CrowsWing sticker and we went our separate ways.

We decided to check out the beach to the south of town before trying for La Gringa. We followed the iOverlander pin, one of the users commenting on turning at “the large boulder toward the beach” We found the boulder they dexribed and turned off the dirt road and into a sandy wash. The wash split, with tire tracks going both directions. We went left which kept us in the wash. It ended at the water, but we didn't like the fact that we were in the wash. It seemed like tempting the rain gods, luckily the wash was wide enough at this point I could just do one large turn around without needing to back up at all.

We drove back up the wash to the “Y” and pulled up out of the wash onto a little sandy track winding through some brush and small trees. This track led us to a large beach area, we parked next to the ruins of what looked to be some kind of factory and took a walk along the track that followed the beach. With lots of obvious camping spots to choose from, we picked one next to the water (but away from the obviously well used sandy beach – figuring the locals would want to use the beach over the weekend)
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Beth dug a little hole in the sand one one side to level the teardrop and we set up camp, by putting the side awnings up , setting out our little table and our camp chairs. With that major chore done, we changed into shorts ( the day had gotten quite warm!) and took a little afternoon nap. While we were napping the winds from the north kicked up, and a few locals showed up on the beach. One of the girls tried snorkeling but the whitecaps in the water didn't make it fun and the water must've been cold, she didn't stay in long and as soon as she got out of the water they were gone.
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Our Gaia app showed a hiking trail ringing the mountainside by the beach, so we climbed up along the factory ruins up to the trail and followed around. We were trying to get a view of the next beach over to pre-scout it for a campsite potential, just in case this beach got too much wind. We were hoping that the mountain would provide a wind break on that side.
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We could see the beach, but not a decent place to camp. We made a plan to drive over and check it out the next day, run up to La Gringa and check it out, then stop in at the local grocery (La Isla) for some groceries. 6 days and we're out of wine! The inhumanity of it all!
 
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jim65wagon

Well-known member
Thursday December 14 2023
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The sun came over the mountain from across the bay spilling into our windows and into our eyeholes. After our morning routine we locked up the teardrop and hopped in the truck. As we headed down the dirt road to the next beach we talked about just how rough the road was. Even aired down it was an uncomfortable ride, not even corrugations, just a flat road with rocks sticking out all over it. There was no sane speed that smoothed it out. We did have one local pass by us going to town, he was running about 40 mph and his truck was just bouncing uncontrollably all over the road. We decided that if we found a campsite that it would have to be one perfect campsite to endure trailering down this road. It was not a perfect campsite. The wind was still windy, so we bounced our way back to town and on up to Playa La Gringa.


We toodled around La Gringa's many twisting roads that led to some pretty amazing campsites. Some were quite secluded, the ones that weren't taken already were all exposed to the winds, more so than our beach camp to the south. The main beach at La Gringa was full of Class C Rvs, Vanlifers, and Unimogs (or similar, I know they're all different rigs but anything military-ish on huge tires and my brain just says Unimog). Busy place, and us being the introverts that we are decided that the beach we were already camped on was the more private (and less windy) of our choices. We picked up our groceries on our way through town and headed back to camp.

At “our beach” we noticed we had a neighbor. One lone American looking guy with his little pupper had parked on the main beach with his little Subaru Forester. We put away our groceries and sat in our camp chairs watching the birds feeding in the waters.

The sounds of motorcycles caught our attention and we watched as two dual sport bikes pulled up to the Subaru. The three men chatted for a bit, then the two bikers walked over to our site. We chatted, they had just come from Guerrero Negro, having camped with the guy in the Subaru (his name is Bubba and his doggo is Oatmeal). They said he was an ok sorta guy. They had ridden up just for the day coming up the dirt road from the south that we had deemed not worthy of our time this trip. We asked them how the road was farther outside of town and they laughed. One of them said it was rough, and the other added
“Your truck might make it but you won't be happy about it”
They took their leave, and we sat around the CFIAC with our pizza and wine, deciding that when it was time to head south that we would take the easy way out and run back west on 12 and down to Guerrero Negro on MX1.
 

jim65wagon

Well-known member
Friday December 15th 2023
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We unloaded our kayaks from the truck, tossing in our fishing poles and tackle boxes. Beth and I carried our gear over to the sandy beach. That seemed like a better launch point than the rocky beach nearer to the trailer. Luckily our kayaks are lightweight and easy to carry. Soon we were out on the water. Goal achieved! I've always wanted to paddle on the Gulf of California and it felt so fine! We broke out our fishing gear and started at least trying to catch supper. I was using a Red Devil lure I've had for years but got zero bites. The winds picked up and white caps started forming on the water so we packed it in and paddled back to the beach.
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Later in the day the wind had calmed down a bit, so we grabbed the snorkel gear and got into the water. It was quite cold at first, but we quickly got used to it. We swam around the rocks out from our campsite and watched an amazing array of fishes, corals, sponges, urchins and a few stingrays. After an hour or so we each caught a chill so we called it quits, dried off and took a short nap. After that Beth edited some videos while I repaired a leak in our shower hose

We invited Bubba and Oatmeal over after dinner to share our campfire. We had a nice conversation about nearly everything under the sun. It turned out he was actually a very nice guy with a colorful background that included being a tattoo artist that lives in a teepee in Colorado. A very fun way to end the day!
 

jim65wagon

Well-known member
Saturday December 16th 2023
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I decided to knock out a few projects that I'd been wanting to get done. I added some cut resistant cable protectors to the winch cables that route through the radiator support behind the grill. I had them wrapped in pool noodle foam as a stop gap measure when we installed the winch – a stop gap that lasted about 5 years before the foam deteriorated enough to be a concern. Then I installed an ON/OFF switch to the winch inline at the battery. Again, something I wanted to do from the beginning and just never did. It took a little while of fiddling but I got the switch mounted in an easy to access location under the hood.

In the afternoon we decided to launch the kayaks once again. Out on the water Beth hooked onto something big and it broke her line immediately. We haven't been able to fish for a few years so our line was old and brittle. We really should've replaced it before this trip! I hooked a decent sized Trigger fish and managed to get him in the boat. It took quite an effort to get him on the stringer, then I had to use pliers to get the hook out of his jaw. They are tough! I wound up bending one of the hooks on my Red Devil, but I got him off the hook and on the stringer. By the time I got that done the wind had picked up once again, throwing the boats around in the white-capped waves. It felt like we were back on the tidal Potomac River of Virginia paddling in the winter with our friends. The waves got huge, but our boats were stable (and we've had lots of practice in waters like this), we made it to shore only getting a little wet as we exited our boats.
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It was time to clean our catch of the day. It was at this point that we discovered that we did not have a filet knife! I was sure we did and we looked all through every drawer and door in the truck and trailer. Nada. Nothing. No dice. Beth used a meat knife and fileted out enough meat for four sandwiches. We kept the guts for bait to fish with since we were both short on lures. We only managed to catch a few small fish from shore. Our lines kept getting tangled in the rocks and I had to keep wading out to untangle them.
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We had cheeseburgers for dinner before the sun went down, which is pretty early on this beach. The sun dips behind the mountain about 3:28 PM. Freaking winter, man.
 
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jim65wagon

Well-known member
Sunday December 17th 2023
Happy Birthday to me! The sounds of laughing gulls, ducks and crows rumbled us out of sleep. We sat out by the campfire, drinking our coffee and watching the sun break over the mountain across the bay. Beth went fishing off the shore and I grabbed my birthday breakfast of a peanut butter sandwich with the last cup of coffee.
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The water was calm this morning so we once again launched the kayaks. The breeze was coming from the southeast this morning so we paddled down to the end of the bay and let it push us up toward the beach while we floated along and fished the rocky bottom. We each caught a few small fish once again, then we paddled back down to start over. The winds picked up to a more violent level, so we packed it up and made our way to shore once again. It seemed like each day would start calm and the winds would whip the water into white-caps by afternoon.
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I decided I wanted to do a little hike for my birthday so we put our boots on and hiked up the wash, across the road and all the way up to the base of the mountains behind our beach. Lots of birds were out singing and we saw some pretty unique looking trees (Elephant Tree is their common name) they looks like elephant trunks growing up out of the ground. We'd seen these once before at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and they always make me smile.
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Hiking done, Beth fried up our trigger fish for sandwiches for our lunch. Bubba came over and showed us his gopro footage of the puffer fish he swam with and the halibut he missed trying to spearfish. Watching the fish made us decide to try, once again. We launched and, once again, the winds soon picked up and kicked the water to a froth. We gave up and carried the boats back to camp.
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For birthday dinner, Beth whipped up some home made Roti to go with our Chicken Korma over rice. We had so much food that we invited Bubba and Oatmeal over to share. Oatmeal enjoyed a bowl of plain chicken and rice while the rest of us devoured the curry. It's one of my favorite meals and the addition of the fresh roti made it top notch!
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Oatmeal the Adventure Dog

After dark another vehicle pulled onto the beach and parked. A person got out with an ultrabright headlamp on and walked down to the beach. Then he came over to our campfire. He'd shut his light off at the beach and walked over in the dark. From the dark, just out of campfire light range he says:
“Are you my friends?”
Then he walks into the light and says:
“I'm looking for my friends, they picked me up hitchhiking in a bus”
I turned and looked at the teardrop, thinking, if you can see the teardrop, then you know it's not the bus that picked you up, and therefore, you should know that we are not the friends you are looking for. It seemed an odd way to start a conversation.
He said he'd been hitchhiking and this couple in a bus stopped to pick him up. They stopped because they'd picked up a french hitchhiker (who had apparently been hitchhiking his way around the world) who told them they should stop because this guy looked French.
“I'm not french” he said
He continued speaking awkwardly about his encounter for a bit before saying goodbye and heading back to his car. The three of us couldn't grasp why, if he has a car, was he hitchhiking? We swapped stories with Bubba and Oatmeal for a while longer, finding out that he has a YouTube Channel also. His is called:

Bubba Loves Oatmeal Adventure Team.

We gave him one of our Flight of the CrowsWing stickers and bid the two goodnight. I ended my adventure birthday with cookies and tequila while watching “The Flight of the Living Dead”
Good Birthday!
 
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jim65wagon

Well-known member
Monday December 18th 2023
The sun was buried behind a bank of stormy looking clouds this morning. It didn't break free until nearly 11:00 AM We tried fishing from shore but our lines kept getting snagged on the rocks and I kept wading out to untangle them just to keep us from losing the few rigs we had. We really need to find a sporting goods store, fresh line and new lures are definitely on order!
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Beth made some breakfast burritos for lunch. While we sat under our shade tree a small pickup (a 2wd ford ranger) drove out onto the beach. It promptly got stuck. We watched as the driver and one other person got out. I was ready to go out and help them but the driver just started digging sand out from under the tires. The other guy was on the phone ( I didn't have cell service, how come he gets cell service!) and just leaned against the truck bed. Driver gets back in, dude on the phone just straightens up off the truck and the driver rocks the truck back a couple of feet then rolls forward. He got a little farther than before but he was stuck once more. He gets out and starts digging once more, phone dude just steps two feet over to the truck and leans on it once again. Driver gets back in, dude stands up straight, driver rocks the truck. This time he makes it to the firmer sand on the beach. He's obviously done this many times before. He gets out and two more adults and a small child climb out. They had four adults and a child in an 80s 2 door Ford Ranger!

I sat in the shade and quietly read a book on my Kindle while Beth decided to take a nap. Not long into my book and the sounds of engines could be heard coming toward the beach. Two Humvee troop carriers pull up next to the water, both are chock full of military guys with automatic rifles. All the guys climbed down out of the trucks and just milled around the beach talking to each other. A few talked to the Ranger Driver for quite a while. They were too far away to hear any conversation so I kept “reading” and even though I had a camera and a set of binoculars right next to me I resisted the urge to pick either up and spy on them. That idea just seems like it would've invited them over. After about half an hour all the military guys jumped into the HumVees and left. The Ranger people ran around on the beach chasing the kid for a bit then they left too.
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Beth woke up and we sat and watched a huge gathering of assorted birds dive bomb the water in a feeding frenzy. There were so many birds I couldn't imagine they could miss each other and actually catch any fish. It was quite the frenzied frenzy! It was pretty cool to see!
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We called it a day and loaded the kayaks back onto the truck and put away our fishing gear. While we were at that task, Bubba came over and with his stove and said he had a propane leak and wondered if we knew where he could get it fixed. Beth told him that I could probably do it. He looked kinda shocked but handed me his stove. I took it apart where he said it was leaking, which was just a simple brass union joining the stove to the regulator. I wrapped some teflon tape around, screwed it back together and pressure tested it. No leak. All fixed. Bubba was happy and thanked us, he and Oatmeal left to fix their dinner.

We ate leftover Korma for dinner and as we sat by the Campfire In A Can enjoying some chocolate and Tequila, Beth noticed a propane smell. It was coming from the CFIAC. Dang it now! We took it apart. The regulator was leaking at one of its fittings. I got my tape back out and wrapped it around the threads. We got it screwed back together and no more leaks! Yay! Fixed for now!

Tomorrow we head for Guerrero Negro, we need to top off the propane for the fire, and get gas, food, fishing line and fishing lures.....oh and a new campsite! We'll need one of those too.
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