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Old 03-14-2016, 07:32 PM   #81
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Oh boy, that last photo sealed it for us! We've been anchored in the water there in our sailboat, and now we will be the ones looking at the sailboat. It's almost too long to wait.
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Old 03-15-2016, 12:11 AM   #82
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Hi Ron,
I sure have enjoyed your reports ... thank you! I have driven down to Baja Norte / Baha Sur border and a little beyond to Scammonds to see the whales so your pictures bring back good memories.


Please post more stories and pictures!


Tom
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Old 04-10-2016, 05:18 PM   #83
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Ron, got a few questions I am fuzzy about. What happened that caused your food and border crossing woes?
  • Where do you get your passport Visa for Mexico, at home or on the border?
  • What fees must be paid at the border crossing?
  • Greenbacks OK or best exchanged for Mexican currency?
  • Where did you arrange/get Mexican vehicular insurance?
  • Documents that absolutely must be in your possession?
  • Restrictions on bringing in/out food, pets?
  • Phone service, WiFi, available or spotty?
  • Credit cards: think using them is risky?
  • Favorite spot still Coyote Bay/Beach?
  • Is bringing a shovel, tow rope, spare jack, two mountedspares, prudent?
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Old 04-10-2016, 05:31 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by MyronL View Post
Ron, got a few questions I am fuzzy about. What happened that caused your food and border crossing woes?
  • Where do you get your passport Visa for Mexico, at home or on the border?
  • What fees must be paid at the border crossing?
  • Greenbacks OK or best exchanged for Mexican currency?
  • Where did you arrange/get Mexican vehicular insurance?
  • Documents that absolutely must be in your possession?
  • Restrictions on bringing in/out food, pets?
  • Phone service, WiFi, available or spotty?
  • Credit cards: think using them is risky?
  • Favorite spot still Coyote Bay/Beach?
  • Is bringing a shovel, tow rope, spare jack, two mountedspares, prudent?
Hi Ron, I'm also interested in these questions if you don't mind. Or you could e-mail me jheckpup@gmail.com. Thank you.
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Old 04-10-2016, 06:45 PM   #85
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Originally Posted by MyronL View Post
Ron, got a few questions I am fuzzy about. What happened that caused your food and border crossing woes?
  • Where do you get your passport Visa for Mexico, at home or on the border?

    We left the trailer in a municipal park near Tecate. Drove down, found a parking spot on the US side and walked across the border to the first building. We paid about $30 CDN. for our visas. We crossed fairly early the next morning and were well clear of the border area before we stopped for the night.
  • What fees must be paid at the border crossing?


    Just the visa fee.
  • Greenbacks OK or best exchanged for Mexican currency?

    The greenback is pretty universal but we've always found that using the local currency gets the best price sometimes. As in, sure, I'll take the greenbacks but if you do the math you'll pay less in pesos.

    Also, while all the gas stations are Pemex, some prefer cash, that's pesos.
  • Where did you arrange/get Mexican vehicular insurance?

    Online. Went though Vagabundos del Mar and also got discounts for a couple of campgrounds.
  • Documents that absolutely must be in your possession?

    Just the usual, passport and vehicle registration
  • Restrictions on bringing in/out food, pets?


    In; nope just asked if we had drugs or guns -revolver? Nope I said, we're Canadians.
  • Phone service, WiFi, available or spotty?

    We got the US and Mexico extension on our home phone cell. Worked well. There are lots of no service areas out in the boonies, but no different than many other out of the way areas. Wi-fi was available in some food stops and the laundry in Mulege had good free service.
  • Credit cards: think using them is risky?

    We used credit cards without any issues.
  • Favorite spot still Coyote Bay/Beach?

    Coyote Beach, yup, it's hard to beat.
  • Is bringing a shovel, tow rope, spare jack, two mountedspares, prudent?
Folding shovel for sure if you're going to be very near beach sand. Tow rope can be handy to have anyway. I have my truck jack and a small hydraulic jack in case I can't drag one wheel up onto a block. I'm thinking tire monitors would be a substitute for a second spare. The disaster I showed previously was caused by the person not realizing he had a blown tire.


OK, I have a couple of further items to wrap up the Baja thread in addition to your questions so I hope I don't cover too much info in one response and put you to sleep.


Wrap-up details.
1. The local couple that go down every year decided to get a storage place for their trailer and leave it there. Makes driving down and back much easier and cheaper, don't have to take their honking big truck etc. They found an individual bay in a steel building with an on-site caretaker for $500 US for the year. Seems like a good way to go for anyone planning multiple trips.

2. Mexican liability insurance is required. In addition our own insurance and BCAA coverage is void in Mexico. Basic liability is cheap but we always like to have good coverage so we went with equivalent coverage that we have at home. It was about $10 day. Policies under 30 days are relatively expensive. We got 25 days coverage. 6 months was about $10 more but we didn't need it. Got home and found that ICBC will give a refund of your BC premium if your provide proof of purchasing insurance in another jurisdiction. The catch, it has to be a policy for over 30 days. Oh well, lesson learned.

The border problem; horrible and too long to describe in detail. Now I know what it would feel like to get caught at the border with a dirty bomb and captive underage children. We arrived at the border late in the day. We'd expected to cross the next morning. We had an egg and an apple with us that we'd expected to consume. The path to the border crossing is a maze and many have gotten lost etc. By the time you find it you're trapped by a steel fence and have no choice but to proceed across the border. We immediately asked where we could dispose of the egg and apple. The rest got ugly. In the past, arriving by boat and at crossings like Alaska we've been permitted to dispose of items that had now not been permitted. We asked to dispose of the items, they didn't "find" them. At any rate claims were made that we'd looked at the wrong list; that there are at least 3 lists, one for the Mexican border, one for the Canadian border and one for arriving by boat. The whole experience was the worst of any border crossing I've ever had. My wife was so mad she said she's never crossing into the US again. But the call of Baja is strong and her anger will hopefully fade in time.

That's it, I should change the title to "All you ever wanted to know about Baja"

Ron
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Old 04-10-2016, 07:21 PM   #86
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So Ron, crossing the border with an egg and an apple nobody could find was a problem for the Americans, not the Mexicans? (Typical.)
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Old 04-10-2016, 07:38 PM   #87
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So Ron, crossing the border with an egg and an apple nobody could find was a problem for the Americans, not the Mexicans? (Typical.)
I love visiting the US, and have many great friends there, but very often when going through customs, have felt like they viewed me as guilty first, and I needed to prove my innocence. I won't get into detail here, but many years ago when the kids were real small, we had a very horrible experience crossing the border with our tent trailer. Even the customs guys at the airport seem really cold. Maybe because we are Canadian, it always seems coming back is a breeze, and they often seem to want to be helpful.
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Old 04-10-2016, 08:18 PM   #88
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Hi Ron, Sorry for the border issues. I have been very lucky in most of my crossings. I think this is great fodder for campfire stories and I hope you will be coming to Osoyoos so we can share.


I have a wonderful story about a Canadian Customs Agent and a 24 YO self on his first trip in his sailboat. Proof that even border guards can have a big heart. You'll be proud - er.


Your stories have not put me to sleep .... I'd like to pry more out of you!


Thanks for your reports.


Tom
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Old 04-10-2016, 09:40 PM   #89
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The border crossing blues are a common thing nowadays it seems. I have Global Entry, Nexus, etc, which helps somewhat, but it'd sure be nice if the US border officials were as courteous and professional as their Canadian counterparts.


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Old 04-10-2016, 09:40 PM   #90
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I love visiting the US, and have many great friends there, but very often when going through customs, have felt like they viewed me as guilty first, and I needed to prove my innocence. I won't get into detail here, but many years ago when the kids were real small, we had a very horrible experience crossing the border with our tent trailer. Even the customs guys at the airport seem really cold. Maybe because we are Canadian, it always seems coming back is a breeze, and they often seem to want to be helpful.
Coming home should always be a breeze. I had a rough time once getting into Canada. I took a ferry into Victoria, BC with a rental car, framepack, and a pile of receipts. I was the first off the ferry and the last through customs. This young officer had it out for me, and thought I was up to no good. I was a government employee at the time on a extended vacation with several government issued IDs. It really makes you think what are the things that set them off?

At The Sumas crossing both sides were very interested, in a nice way, and wanted to know what trailer I was buying when I mentioned ETI.
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