We are currently doing an exciting and adventurous RV trip through Baja California, Mexico, led by a travel group called Baja Winters. There is far too much going on to cover it all in one post, so we are publishing a series of informative posts about this trip. We hope they will be useful to anyone considering doing a trip with Baja Winters, or to anyone who might like to go RVing in Baja California, Mexico. We also want to share how much fun we are having!
When I have a strong Wi-Fi connection, I will be inserting a video here, so watch this space! The videos are fun and really capture the experience more than any words can do.
On day 3 we drove from El Pabellón RV Park to Rancho Santa Inez Campground in Cataviña, a distance of 113 miles. As we had a weak CB radio and sometimes got left behind a little (being one of the biggest rigs), Wagon Master John politely asked us to travel at the end of the caravan, just in front of Jerry the tail gunner. This was fine by us, as it took a lot of pressure off us, and also meant that we could always hear important directions, as Jerry repeats them all. As in, “Roger that, oncoming 18-wheeler.”
Heading East from the Pacific Ocean
On this day as we headed south, we enjoyed our last glimpse of the Pacific Ocean. Then we headed east and over the mountains, through another uneventful military inspection, and then on to our first seriously steep downhill grade. We were happy that we had taken towing lessons, so that Maggie is very skilled at using the truck gears to slow our descent.
We stopped in the town of El Rosario to fuel up, and followed the instructions of our tour guides: get out of the vehicle, check that the fuel pump is zeroed out, and be ready with a calculator in case the meter is not working. All gas and diesel in Baja California is exactly the same price (government-controlled). In this case, the precautions were unnecessary. The attendant spoke good English and had a little chuckle at my precautions. We filled our tank, noticing that the price of gas was much the same as the USA, and of course, much cheaper than Canada. We also filled our jerry can, just in case.
Getting nine rigs through the gas station went smoothly, with John, Becky, and Jerry all directing.
After this, we drove 100 miles, experiencing some of the worst roads of the trip so far, in terms of potholes. This part is apparently called the Badlands of Baja. Gas stations are non-existent for a very long time, which is why we had all fueled up.
Desert Scenery in Central Baja
This was also when we began to really enjoy the scenery, which is basically rugged desert, with jagged mountains, and cacti of all kinds as far as the eye can see. The lush, cultivated vegetation of the northern Baja winelands had transformed completely into something that reminded me of the cowboy movies I watched as a child.
The pueblo of Cataviña is very primitive, with no electricity, gas, or diesel. Just past the town, the road had been ripped up (presumably for repairs), and we endured a tough mile or so over a rutted dirt road that was, unbelievably, part of the highway.
Rancho Santa Inez Campground in Cataviña
Just past the town, we turned onto a dirt road on the left, where the sign read “Rancho Santo Inez.” As always, Wagon Master Becky reminded us NOT to use our left turn signals. In this case it was especially important, because behind the caravan was a driver who was very anxious to overtake our caravan. If we had used our left turn signal, he might have taken this as an invitation to overtake – which would have been catastrophic as we were in fact all turning left on a narrow (and at this point dirt) highway.
This road was long, and by far the roughest dirt road access to an RV camp we have ever driven along. We inched along at about 3 miles per hour, worried about damage to our Denali fifth wheel.
Apart from the truly horrible road, Rancho Santa Inez Campground was a very pleasant experience. We again had easy pull-through parking, but no hook-ups of any kind. There were two toilets that had seats and could be flushed. But honestly, that road was so horrible that I would not voluntarily stay at that campground again. Unfortunately, there are so few campgrounds in Baja that you don’t really have a choice.
This campground is set in a working mountain ranch, complete with some cattle and horses (which terrified our dogs, Billy and Ripley).
At sunset we had our nightly meeting, at which Wagon Master John briefed us on what to expect the next day.
The campground has a small restaurant that offers a kind of bunk-house dinner consisting of basic Mexican food – tacos, enchiladas, rice and beans. You take your own plates and utensils with you. We enjoyed the experience and the company. There is also a cave-painting tour available nearby, but we did not have time for that on this visit.
That evening, we conserved our battery by listening to podcasts by candlelight. Since then, we have discovered that our solar setup is very robust, so that was really unnecessary. But it was fun! We were early to bed, prepared for an early start the next morning.
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