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April 09, 2016

San Felipe BC–Beach House Repairs

A quick trip to Baja to button up the Beach House at Campo Bahia Santa Maria for the summer.  Los Arcos (the arches) are the signature landmark that welcomes the visitor to town.   But I’ve always liked El Faro (the lighthouse) as viewed from the Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
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Campo Bahia Santa Maria is 31km south of town on the Puertocitos Road south of town.  Look for the sign and we are the last casa at the north on the beach.  The one with the leaking roof …
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It was sunset by the time I was settled in.  And another nice night it was.  The view from my cot on the deck under the stars, with a sunset over the mountains and a sunrise over the Sea of Cortez.
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The project for this trip was the roof.  With the heat (expansion) cold ( contraction) the sheet roofing is simply torn off by the wind or constantly leaking,  The rubber roof of the RV had me thinking that might be a solution.  So with new plywood and few gallons of primer and Henry’s #687 it begins…
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Ready to see what the summer heat has to offer.
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Now with the necessary chores completed, there’s a couple days left to summerize the house and have a little fun as a tourist.

So here's a bit of tourist info:
How to get here?  The obvious route is via Mexicali West Border Crossing on CA-111 in Calexico.  However picking up your FMM (aka tourist card) is a bit more difficult here than at Mexicali East.  It's even easier in Tecate, but that’s a bit out of the way, unless coming in from San Diego.  It’s possible to fill out and pay for the FMM online.  If your stay is 7 says or less there is not a charge but the form is still required and must be stamped to be valid.

There are no services after Mexicali for ~150km on the road to San Felipe.  However, there is a restroom ~50P at La Ventana (the window), the halfway point.  On weekends there may also be a checkpoint here and a valid FMM would be required.
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For the first time I brought my Verizon cell phone!  My previous phone was CDMA only and GSM coverage is all that San Felipe offers, so I never brought it.  For my testing I was able to receive calls on Telnor, MoviStar and Telcell.  I could do limited data reception on each, but only send email and place a call on Telcell.  Good coverage on each in town.

There are a number of vendors along the Malecon, here I could have had ceviche and saltines … could have …
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Or a chevie tostada at Taco del Mar and enjoy their free Wi-Fi and decent Margarita.  But Bar Miramar has the best strawberry Margarita, get one to-go for dessert.  34 Cevechie tostadaIMG_1517 (640x479)

And take the hike up to the Virgin of Guadalupe and enjoy the views.
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San Felipe was a destination town for a number of decades.  The tourists would show up for a long weekend, buying souvenirs, eating out, bar hopping and camping on the beach.  The lone Pemex station would often run out of gas on a busy weekend.
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The large expat communist has changed the flavor of the little fishing village I came to love, and I am not sure San Felipe knows what it will be when it grows up. 

The world’s largest cactus is the cardon and the largest of the cardon are here in San Felipe at the Valle of the Gigantes.  It’s now USD $10 to visit! ouch!  This was once a cattle ranch and free to visit, now a tourist attraction.  Was it the cow pies that made these cactus grow?  The world’s largest cactus was taken from here for the 1992 Seville Expo.

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Well, for $10 there is a new restroom and trail markings!
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And the cactus, which were just coming into bloom.  No ‘crested’ cactus were seen but many with the beautiful pale yellow flowers.  As the cardon are the big brothers of the saguaro, I really hoped to find some with crests.
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Although the road is fine, if you pull off the main trail into the soft sand ….IMG_1593 (640x480)IMG_1580 (640x479)
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There is a need to return before high tide.  The new moon always generates a nice +tide, which will flood the road into the campo.
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But the birds love it!
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Larry has an Osprey nesting on his water tank, I wonder how long it will take to clear the poop out of his water supply … As the back bay fills though it makes for easy hunting to feed the 3 chicks.
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The Fiddler Crabs are fun to watch as the back bay fills.  The males have the one large claw on either the left or right hand.  If the claw is lost a new one will grow on the other side. 
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I enjoy all my visits to San Felipe and will continue to watch the town as it redefines itself.
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Border wait times are not as accurate as they could be.  Calexico West is typically close to 3 hours! Although the east crossing is an hour shorter it is also an hour out of the way.  But rather than sit through the wait I took the toll road (~USD$10) for the 100km to Tecate.  It is a beautiful drive climbing 1200m in 5 km – steep with lots of switchbacks!

But today I'm the only one crossing ...Two lanes open and I have my pick! PRICELESS! and to boot I scored a Monte Xanic Merlot. Nice day in the rain.
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