Overlanding Baja - Week 1
December 19, 2021
Finally! We are back on the road after a few weeks of resting and prepping at home in Utah. Our destination for the winter is the state of Baja California in Mexico! We are planning to spend roughly 2 months there before heading back home for the rest of the ski season.
We started our trip in Los Angeles, CA where we met with family before making our way south. We stopped at Basil’s Garage near San Diego, CA to replace our tires before hitting the peninsula. We decided to get smaller (35″) tires for the truck for two reasons. The first is to reduce our gas consumption. Secondly, oversize tires are harder to find south of the border.
We crossed the border in Tecate and were immediately greeted by friendly Mexicans. In fact, even the border agents were very nice to us and wished us a wonderful adventure in the peninsula.
Our first stop in Mexico was just south of Tecate. We made arrangement with Noel from BICHI to stop at his winery and buy some bottles of wine. To our knowledge, they are one of the only natural wine makers in Mexico.
Unfortunately, we waited and walked around the winery for a long time but no one showed up…
Our next stop was Rancho La Bellota. We heard about the ranch on iOverlander and it sounded like the perfect spot to spend our first few nights after crossing the border. Raúl, the owner, has been welcoming overlanders from all over the world for years. Camping at the ranch is free: you are only asked to give a donation to Alberto, the caretaker.
“Bad roads bring good people,” says Raúl! The road to the ranch is steep and rough. Without high clearance, going there would be quite challenging.
We were warmly welcomed by Alberto and the 6 dogs that live on the ranch. Raúl was busy in town getting his booster shot and arrived a little later that day.
Raúl is an overlander himself and has been building his own rigs for years. He showed us is latest creation. Entirely custom built and based on an old suburban that he has been owning for decades. It looks like a Troopy!
After organizing horseback riding tours for years, Raul is now planning to built 4 truck campers and start organizing self-contained overlanding tours of the peninsula.
Funny story: Raúl has been looking all over the internet for inspirations to build the rigs for touring Baja and the video we filmed a couple months ago in France, featuring the Globe Camper, was his main source of inspiration. What a small world!
Raúl has been kind enough to store a few rigs that European overlanders had to leave in Mexico because of Covid. I walked around this huge Iveco truck owned by a German couple, which has been stored in a corner of the ranch.
The next day, Kuan went on a ride with Gael, Raúl’s wrangler.
Raúl’s generosity was incredible. He literally spent all his time at the ranch with us, talking about anything and everything like we had known each other for years. He even took us for lunch in the nearby village and at night, poured his best tequila into our glasses.
You can tell Raúl is not doing that for his own good, but to showcase true Mexican hospitality to anyone that is wiling to stop at his ranch.
After leaving La Bellota, we were unsure of what was next for us. But knowing that Kuan had to have reliable internet on Saturday, we decided to book a room in a hotel for two nights in the valley de Guadalupe. After a quick search, we found a great bed & breakfast called Casa Mayoral that was dog friendly and only 20 minutes down the road. Perfecto!
For lunch, we headed to Artio, a restaurant located in a local winery. The food was awesome and it was probably the most expensive meal we will have in Baja!
Today, we will head as far south as we can since we want to spend the majority of our trip in Baja California Sur where the temperature is warmer.
We shall see where we’ll end up for Christmas next week and hopefully we will be able to spend the holidays in t-shirts.