If you are on social media or routinely turn on your TV, you have seen the news stories of crisis at the border between Mexico and the United States with armed military on one side and a mob of angry Mexicans on the other side hell-bent on crossing the border and ruining the American economy. For a lot of folks on the border and for us, this simply wasn’t the case when we crossed in the first week of January 2019.
We crossed into Mexico at the Tecate border crossing mid-morning on a Saturday. The border area was small and only two lanes of traffic were open to incoming traffic. We were waived over, our rig was looked over and we were given permission to pass into Mexico. We parked our truck on the street near the town square and walked back to the border to complete paperwork for legal entry for the 4-months that we planned to be in Mexico.
In the immigration office was a Mexican border agent that requested our FMM (tourist visa), FMM receipt showing payment, and our passports. Then it hit me, I neglected to print the Visa. I printed the receipt and never went back to my e-mail to print the actual Visa that I needed to stay in Mexico for the rest of the Winter. I explained that I didn’t have the Visa and he instructed us to walk back into town to the nearby copy shop, print the Visa, and bring it back to be stamped. So we did. The copy shop was right where he said it would be, the shopkeep was friendly and helpful, and the border agent stamped our Visa and Passport quickly and efficiently. Easy as pie!
This would have been a perfect opportunity for the “ruthless savages” of Mexico as described on Fox News to take advantage of the gringos that aren’t familiar with the process, don’t speak much Spanish, and are clearly vulnerable. But that wasn’t what happened. Everyone was extremely helpful, gracious, and friendly.
Once we crossed into Tecate we pointed our rig West and headed for the coast, Ensenada specifically. We are housesitting at a home in the mountains of Baja Norte and we planned to meet the owners of the home in Ensenada the next day for Tacos de Pescador and instructions on the house. We explored a bit and found a sweet camping spot near the beach with excellent views of the city and the ocean.
The campsite at La Jolla Beach Camp was a little expensive, but it seemed to be the only beachside camping in Ensenada and it gave us a secure place to hunker down for the night. There were hot showers, bathrooms, and trash service.
We met with the home owners the next day, loaded up on as many groceries as we could fit in our 4Runner and drove South. Driving in Mexico is interesting as speed limits aren’t real. They are posted, but no one follows them. Most locals pull over and drive on the shoulder if you are traveling faster than they are. It takes some getting used to, but we feel like we have it down pretty well.
We arrived at a campsite near our turn off for the house and drove the 15KM road down to the beach for a beautiful sunset and great shrimp tacos. Our first few days in Baja are turning out to be okay after all.
The next morning we drove the 70KM’s to the driveway and another 6KM up the drive way to get to the house. From when we turned off on the “driveway” to when we pulled in the gate at the house it took nearly 45 minutes. The road is gnarly and super vulnerable to the weather and nature. We are definitely looking forward to more trips down this thing in a couple of weeks.
We are so excited about this stage in our adventures and we hope you will follow along as we learn as much as we can about off-grid living, remote ranch living, and Baja in general. As always, thank you for reading along on our travels and adventures. Hopefully you were entertained, enlightened, or otherwise felt like the last few minutes reading this post was a worthwhile investment of your time. If you enjoyed our content, there are a few ways that you can help promote what we do and keep us on the road a little longer:
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