Specifically designed for Snowbirds and travelers who want to drive down the Baja Peninsula, this book is an invaluable resource both in planning your trip and in safely navigating once you get there. From arranging finances to stocking the RV, from obtaining maps and permits to taking the family dog, it's all covered here. And once you arrive, it takes you across the border and gives you roads, road signs, distances and campgrounds. It even has a simple dictionary to help you buy food and supplies along the way as well as an overview of the history and culture of the area. With easy-to-read print and useful charts this should be in every RV, vehicle and backpack!
October. The days are growing short. The leaves on the trees start to turn gold. The mornings are suddenly cool and crisp and formations of migrating birds fly overhead, heading south to warmer lands. As the days grow darker and colder the first snow starts to fall and we too start to think of moving south. It is a pattern to that is so common and so familiar that we have given it a name: the Snowbird syndrome. While we are working, we are limited to a couple of weeks a year but once we retire many of us get the urge to take off to that sunny southern land of sandy beaches and blue seas for a longer period of time. Perhaps we could drive down. Maybe we could even take the RV. That way we could camp and relax, sip cold cervesas or icy margaritas on the beach till winter is over. Spend lazy days exploring or biking or swimming. Try surf fishing. Go boating. Rent a kayak. Ride an ATV up a sandy arroyo to a lush waterfall. Go scuba diving. Ride a horse along the beach. Go parasailing. Learn Spanish. It sounds wonderful but could we really do it? Is it safe to drive there? Are the roads OK? What if the car breaks down? How do we buy food? Can we take the dog? What if we get sick? Can we drink the water? Questions, questions, questions – and this book is designed to give you the answers you need to make your dream a reality. Mexico is marvelous and the state of Baja is within easy reach of anyone with an RV – or even simply a car. Join the thousands of Canadians and Americans who drive down every year and spend a few weeks or a few months enjoying the beaches, the surfing, the fishing, the whale-watching and the exploring to be had "down Mexico way". You may even find yourself thinking about making Mexico a semi-permanent (or even a permanent) home. Is this possible? Of course it is. Is it feasible? Again, the answer is "Yes". Is it easy? Well, the answer to that is also "Yes" but first you need to do your homework. . . . . . . . . * * * * * * * Plan your itinerary so that you don't have to drive for long hours, at least in the early stages, and never drive at night. There are good reasons for this and you will hear them time and time again. One of them relates to cows! Baja cows are not like those amiable animals back home that are well-fed and well-housed and well-fenced. They are the wide-horned, wild-eyed relatives of bull-fighting cows. They spend their days foraging for food in a land where food is scarce and fences few and they do not have a lot of flesh on their bones. By day, they are warmed by the sun. By night, the desert air cools down and they start to feel chilly. The blacktop holds the heat of the sun so guess where those smart cows choose to curl up? Imagine cresting a hill only to find a small herd of sleeping black cattle blocking the night-black road. It is not a pleasant thought and it is considerably less pleasant in reality. * * * * Chicken is the most commonly available meat in Baja. In the grocery stores, it will appear to have a more yellow colour than you are used to. This is because it is fed exclusively with corn. Once you have tasted it, you won't want to go back to our pale poultry! If you are buying beef, make sure it says "Sonora" or "Sonoran" on the label. The local beef is from those skinny cows you see along the highway and you will need a machete to cut it! * * * *
Rachel McMillen is a free-lance writer who has been "Driving Baja" for over 12 years. She is a nomad, a sailor and an adventurer who was born in England, raised in Australia and now divides her time between Canada and Mexico – when she is not traveling someplace else!