There was a little bit of paper work to do before entry into Mexico but it was all available on the Internet. Tourist visas cost 500 pesos and lasted for 6 months. Vehicle insurance was mandatory but turned out to be cheap; $120 for thirty days, $125 for 6 months. Just how good the insurance was and what it covered was debatable. Gabby and Kevin went for the 180 days. They planned to continue on to Belize and had to also complete the formalities for a TIP, Temporary Importation Permit; a $200 re-fundable deposit to discourage travelers from selling their vehicle and leaving Mexico without it. Rufus and Melissa purchased 30 days insurance but did not need the TIP as Baja California enjoyed an exemption from the bureaucracy.
There were several options for crossing the border; none promised a quick easy passage but Calexico, crossing to Mexicali, looked simplest. Kevin and Missy led the way in the Mack, westbound on Interstate 8 from Yuma after south on Highway 95, then south on Highway 7. The Leyland Daf struggled to keep-up but was only a few cars behind as they joined the end of the line-up for the border. RVs filtered right and each took a lot longer and the cars in the other lines. The vehicle examination was more of a guided tour for the Mexican customs agent, every cabinet inside and every storage box opened but not rummaged through with any thoroughness. An hour later the pair of trucks were heading south on Mex Hwy 5 heading for San Felipe and Pete’s Camp, the iconic first night halt for first-time new arrivals.
Parking just yards from the Sea of Cortez, palapas by their side the four set up camp and retire to the restaurant for a discussion about the final plans with a couple of wood-fired pizzas and some Tecate Light.
“We can dump and refill with fresh water here, there are a couple of supermarkets in town. How long can you guys stay off-grid in the Leyland Daf?”
“About seven days. Are we going to need any tools for this digging? We got a shovel.”
“ Yeah, we need a shovel each. So let’s say we leave tomorrow and expect to stay out there for a week.”
Lunch was at Cow Patty’s loncheria with an interesting conversation about shark jaws with proprietor and his customer. Random memorabilia and an old school bus were incorporated into a structure held together by the stickers of numerous Baja 1000 racing teams. Next stop was Coco’s Corner, overnight stop and confirmation of nearby fossils of interest.