February 4, 2014 – Well the last few days of our January 2014 28 Day Tour have been full of fun and adventure as promised, even for the WagonMasters. After crossing yesterday back into the US we spent most of the day getting a resolution to our leaf spring issue on our Pacific Coachworks TANGO travel trailer. Let me start at the beginning of this story. On Day 27 as we left Bahia de Los Angeles and neared the Onyx Cafe we felt a bang. We pulled into our designated stop a few minutes later and realised that we had broken a rear leaf spring on the trailer, oh shit I said. Luckily Luis (Luis & Lisa live here) and his buddy, Antonio were out back and in no time had me pull around back and they welded it up, not the best fix but it got us to the Baja Fiesta Restaurant in Vicente Guerrero. As we pulled into the parking lot we heard another bang, yes the weld had broken but we were closer to our final destination and were finished for the day. Caesar a friend of Cecilia’s (restaurant owner) was called on, where he removed the broken spring in search for a replacement, remember this is Saturday at 4:30 pm. The next day he shows up with a new spring, the wrong size, but he gets it in place which allows us to continue our journey to the Valley of Guadalupe the next day.
Once back in the states we hit the RV Supply Store who has 2 sizes of leaf springs in stock, both as they turn out are the wrong size (to long). Interesting they claimed these were the only two (2) sizes although they later said there was one more that was longer. We had each of these wrong leaf springs installed by a local tire, brake shock guy down the street, who as it turned out knew little about springs. Lisa turned to the internet and found North County Spring located in Escondido and off we headed at 3:30 pm, they closed at 5:30 pm. Tony Elkins is the owner and instantly saw the problem, these springs had been undersized from day 1, particularly given the Baja use and mileage we put on this every season. He suggested upgrading all 4 leafs and incorporating the existing springs into the new heavy duty supports. He had four guys working on our trailer asap, the job was complete in 1 hr and 15 minutes, simply remarkable. North County Spring was amazing and I would recommend them to anyone who needs some spring work done. A big thank you to Tony and his crew, they actually care about what they are doing and are experts.
Back to the tour. After leaving Mulege we headed for Guerrero Negro and Mario’s RV Park. It had cooled considerably and we had short Happy Hour before heading into the restaurant for WiFi. Many went and gathered up shells as keep sakes and gifts for others. The next day LA Bay was our destination and to our surprise Mike & Kelly from Kansas were already set up and waiting for us! They had hosted the Mid-America RV Show for us in Kansas City and we knew they were on Baja, however we had expected to see them in Cabo San Lucas. Mike & Kelly had been on our January 2013 tour and this was their first return to Baja. We arrived without incident under sunny skies and a warming sun, unfortunately a little windy which remained throughout our stay. The gang enjoyed the excursions into town, our breakfast at the new beachfront eatery and a Happy Hour that included our friends Antonio & Bety and Tony & Ursula. We also saw Funky Wayne (Santa), Al Perrett and John & Patty from Alberta at the old campground. We left after 2 sleeps on Saturday as the local Baja 200 was getting underway, lots of noise, dust and excitement in town, every hotel room was taken.
We arrived a little late at our next destination, Baja Fiesta Restaurant because of the repairs however everyone had a great dinner, got caught up on Wifi and had hot showers. Cecilia and her sons always provide us with great service, a friendly atmosphere and good food, who can ask for more. At dinner Carl presented Lisa & I with a thank you card, a short speech on behalf of everyone and a little something extra which was heartfelt and truly appreciated by us. Betty also chimed in with a few kind words, for us this reinforces why we have taken on this passion for Baja and the work we put into it. After breakfast on Day 28 we headed out for Sordo Mudo, and our last night in Mexico. The wine tour and tasting at LA Cetto was terrific as always, Gilberto was our guide, he always does a superb job, folks purchased a few bottles of wine before we left. We had one last Happy Hour, Ruben from the school showed up and talked about the school and the work they do. Both Carl & John have now expressed some interest in helping out and are considering the role of Campground Hosts in the future. This would be fantastic and just what this RV Park needs to reclaim its former glory. Our final morning in Mexico was very wet but the sun did appear as we lined up at the border, which really did not take that long. John & Carol and Harry & Sue have followed us to the Oak Creek RV Resort. We will spend some time with them later in the afternoon today after we resupply for the next tour.
Our January 2014 group were truly exceptional; the tour was effortless for Lisa & I, as everyone was up for the fun and adventure every day. Thanks you!
Did you know?
Tecate is a small city in Baja California, Mexico and the municipal seat of Tecate Municipality (population of about 100,000). For us this has been our preferred crossing into Baja Mexico for many years, only 10 km (6 miles) from Potrero County Park. It is located on the border with Tecate, California, United States in the San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan area, less than 2 hours east off Hwy 94. There is a small port of entry between the sister cities that serves as a calmer alternative to the bustling port of Tijuana. Although the city is only 64 kilometres (40 mi) from San Diego, the road to the border crossing traverses mountainous terrain, reducing the viability of Tecate as an alternative to the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
Tecate is best known outside of metropolitan San Diego–Tijuana for Tecate beer and being the home of author Daniel Reveles. Tecate beer is one of the most popular beers in Mexico and California and is typically drank pouring lime and salt on top of a can of the product. We were actually in Tecate a few years ago to take the tour of the plant but it was closed, we have heard it is a great tour, easy walking distance from the border entrance.
Tecate was founded on October 12, 1892, located in a valley and surrounded by several hills and mountains, the most prominent and famous of them is the “Cuchuma” mountain, also referred to as the “holy mountain”. The Cuchuma is rich in greenery, wildflowers and birds. Tecatenses as well as tourists are often seen enjoying hikes and bike rides along its many trails. Tecate can be very hot and dry during the summer and cold and windy during the winter, it was not warm when we crossed yesterday back into the US.
Farmers and ranchers arrived in Tecate for the first time in the late 19th century. Soon after, they discovered its plentiful natural resources and decided to settle. Its abundant water and fertile soil made Tecate the perfect site for a productive farm market. Olives, grapes and grain became Tecate’s staple crops. The industrial sector was developed simultaneously with the creation of coffee processing plants and breweries. Well known for its traditional infrastructure and looks, Tecate remains true to its origins with its main plaza located in the center of the city and its city hall and historic church within walking distance.
Tecate’s altitude of approximately 1,775 feet (541 m) above sea level and its proximity to the ocean contribute to the temperate climate. It rains enough in the area for a thick ground cover of shrubs to grow; the change from maritime to desert climates is at a higher altitude a couple hours’ drive further east. Although often boulder-strewn, much of the land to the east of the city is taken up with ejidos, or cooperative farms. Tecate is also the name of a small river that courses through the city, and of a hamlet on the Alta California (US side) of the border, affectionately known as “Tecatito” (population around 100).
Tecate is on a spur of Mexican Federal Highway 2 that connects Tijuana with Mexicali via the central Sierra mountains. It is on the older, two-lane, east-west road which is toll-free. For some time until the recent collapse of Toll 1, we traveled Toll 2 from Tecate to Corridor 2000 as part of our route south on our tours. A train from Campo, California, called the Tecate Ticket, travels to Tecate on a monthly basis (currently suspended due to a tunnel fire along the route). The train is run by the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum.
PS. Happy Birthday to our oldest daughter Kirsty, we love you!