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November 18, 2018

San Felipe - and the Baja 1000

The new border crossing at Garita Rio Nuevo replaced the Calexico West crossing in September.  Coming from San Diego, we always use hiway 98 from I-8 east.  We now need to turn south on Cesar Chavez Boulevard and the Rio Nuevo inspection stations will be straight ahead.  If traveling south on hiway 111 a detour will direct you west on 2nd Ave to the crossing.  Both Ez-Pz.

But then let the chaos began! …  I missed this U-Turn and ended up on the route to Tijuana. Using the U-Turn it should have been simple to get back on the familiar Mexican 5 to San Felipe.  There are really no reassuring signs for Carretera San Felipe.  I suspect they will come and a better route will be established – lots of 4-way stops going this way.

I was trying to correct the error and work our way back toward familiar territory when a Mexicali officer stopped me, as I apparently missed an ALTO sign (STOP).  We had a fairly lengthy chat, with me offering to go to the station and appear before the judge and him suggesting we could save time and settle now.  I never suggested anything except going to the station, however when he came up with an $ amount I knew it was over.  Eventually he accepted $20 US and pointed us in the right direction.

However we were still lost Fran called out to another officer asking if this was the way to Pueblo San Felipe.  Her response - ‘Follow Me!’  At last back in familiar territory.  Both a good cop  -  bad cop within a few minutes of each other!

BTW – the north crossing is also at Rio Nuevo.  The main entrance from the south is not yet established, hence cars are lined up single file along the border fence and routed over.  Eventually this will all be worked out.  During our crossing north not all inspection stations were ready.  With only 4 of 6 general lanes available it was a bit of a wait.  When we crossed there were 2 SENTRI lanes, 1 Ready lane, 1 Medical lane and a motorcycle lane, with 2 of the general lanes closed.  The Calexico East port of entry might be a good choice until all the construction is complete later this year.
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At last we have our celebratory strawberry Margarita on the Malecon outside Bar Miramar.
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Sunday we went into town to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi at the Taco Factory.  There were a lot of bicycles on the Malecon.  It was only noon and the leading riders were arriving covering the 110 miles from Mexicali in less than 6 hours.  Impressive!
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The Sea Shepard was in port awaiting diesel.  We had met Cpt. Bob, Tracy and Volcy when they were in San Diego last September, see the blog HERE.  Bob and Tracy have rotated off, we met the new captain from Croatia – I do not recall his name.  But Volcy was aboard and seemed surprised and pleased to have visitors.
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At Bahia Santa Maria the winds continued the following day.  The kite board crowd loved it! as did a single sail board.  That’s Danny on the kite board, he’s good enough to be in the magazine.  Brian does both kite board and windsurfing, he says the windsurfer is much more difficult.
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In the wind there were 16 shrimp boats sitting it out just beyond the bay.  I don't think the shrimp will have much of a chance this year. The big boats all come out of Baja, just the small boats are local.
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For me?  Both Fran and I like the calm days!
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Friday the SCORE (Short Course Off Road) Baja 1000 race is a loop this year starting and ending in Ensenada.  Bahia Santa Maria is about mile post 240.  The race road is only a few kilometers away and we headed out to watch some of the excitement.

The lead trucks are being filmed from helicopter, which makes the trucks easier to spot, however as Fran points out the dust cloud is easy to spot too.
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We had front row seats to the action as they all roared by.  There were several pit stops set up around us, but none were used – dang think that would be more interesting then the race.
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The race includes motorcycles and quads in there own divisions.
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The night sky was fabulous the first night, the meteor shower and New Moon.  Black skies filled with stars including the Milky Way, with both Mars and Saturn keeping me company as I slept on the roof.
No pictures of the night sky, but the sunrise and sunset from Bahia Santa Maria are pretty special.
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Oh yes - and shrimp!  The brick of shrimp on the left is how they are sorted and packed on the shrimp boat.  Each brick weighs 2 kilos (4.4 lbs) and is frozen on the boat.  This is the freshest shrimp available.  I kept 1 brick frozen and let two thaw a bit packed in ice on the way home.  Once the brick softens a bit, it can be broken into manageable chunks and then back into the freezer.
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Even chatting with a corrupt cop was interesting and a new crossing to learn.  There were No Bad Days on this trip.


  1. Sounds like an interesting crossing, dealing with the cops. The race would have been fun to see. Nothing quite like fresh shrimp from the sea of cortez.

  2. Those shrimp look worthy of the trip all by themselves...

  3. Blogger is not allowing me to followup individual comments with individual replies! Arg!
    The new crossing will be a nice change once the San Felipe Highway thru town is completed. Of course that will be on 'Mexican time' ;)

    John you may recall the shrimp from your visit to Puerto Penasco, same shrimp. They are awesome. We go every year at the beginning of the season and stockup for the year.

  4. As if road construction isn't bad enough, do it in Mexico. I experienced my first roundabouts (perifericos) in MX and am still confused by them. I actually rode on part of that "race track" and don't imagine it's in any better condition than 13 years ago. Sorry you got caught in the bribe.

  5. You are so right Gaelyn, driving in the urban areas of Mexico is often a white knuckle task. When/if their section of the new highway is finished this will be a welcome route around downtown.
    The race road is in the worst condition ever! Hurricane Surgio (the 8th - a new record) lingered off the coast. The rain and run-off has things pretty torn up.


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