Our time in Long Beach was definitely a success. We accomplished nearly everything on the long list we had developed during leg 1 of the road trip. While the obvious need for driving that stretch was to physically get from Montana to the border, we also used the drive down as a way to test the camper set up, and see what needed to be done to make the Baja box Baja-worthy. We had added the rack on the top of the box to accommodate the Thule box for storing our gear since the kayaks took up all available space on the roof of the Subaru.
We needed to solve the problem of the swinging back door that we had discovered on the dirt road outside of Lava Beds, and the plain white box was in serious need of a paint job. We decided to go with chalkboard paint to give the trailer a simple black and white design that would be endlessly customizable and fun. I’m happy with how it turned out.
Storage was another necessity, but we solved that in Astoria by cutting up a shoe organizer and attaching various pieces of it to the walls to create tons of vertical storage space. Lighting was another need, which we created by way of Velcro-on led lights.
We left Long Beach a little later than expected, but sporting a funky new paint job on the Baja Box, and with all our affairs in order. Our first stop on the way down was San Diego, to visit my Aunt and Uncle. They showed us an excellent time, taking us out on the town, relaxing by their pool, and gave us a perfect location to launch from for crossing the dreaded Tijuana border. We stopped first in downtown San Diego at the Conepesca to get our fishing licenses. Finding the place proved to be the most difficult part of the process, but once we were set, we pointed the car south and were quickly at the crossing. While we were nervous due to having the trailer and all our gear on board, it was quick and easy, and away we went.
J – Our plan was to pick up food and gas in Ensenada, but we ended up getting a little confused on how to get through the city. We stopped for gas and I chatted with the attendant in English and a little Spanish and he got us back on track, only to get derailed by a funeral procession re-routing traffic! Eventually we were back on Mex 1 and stopped at, of all places, a Wal-Mart, for a few more groceries since we didn’t know how strict the border folks would be. Across the street was Home Depot, haha. We got back on the road and continued south. The countryside was nice, the road was narrow, and the other drivers were nuts! In a particularly curvy section I heard the sound of a flat tire and sure enough it was the trailer! I pulled off on the nonexistent shoulder and we jumped into action changing it out… while dodging trucks that passed at crazy speeds! (At least they all waved) At that point we couldn’t wait to get to our first night’s destination.
L – Our destination for the first night was Campo Quatro Casas, a surf camp a couple hours south of Ensenada. It had been recommended to us by one of Jon’s co-workers as a chill place to stop over. We made the turn a little too soon in the town of Colonet, and passed through a very modest neighborhood, where we stuck out like sore thumbs with our set-up. We called the hostel owner and he got us back on track. We finally rolled in to a great little campsite on the cliffs and set up shop. We cooked our first meal in Mexico and enjoyed the accompanying gorgeous sunset. The tension of crossing the international border, getting a flat, and finding our way to camp finally melted away as we settled in for the night to the sound of crashing waves.