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10 March 2014

Baja Bound, Part 33. From California USA to Cortes Island BC, Canada


Go to Part 1 Here


December 3rd 2013 From Ventura, CA to Cambria, CA to Cortes Island, BC Canada.


Last night we went for dinner at the Aloha Restaurant by the sea. It was very good, we ate too much. This morning we are taking it easy. We go for a stroll through Ventura. Ventura has a long history, it was officially San Buenaventure before 1891 or Shisholop in the native Chumash, meaning "in the mud". Good fertile soil to grow vegetables.


Ventura has a long history

After lunch we drove north on #1 Hwy passed Santa Barbara, Gaviota, Santa Maria, Guadalupe, Pismo Beach and Moro Bay all the way to Cambria. That was a wonderful drive along beaches, through mountains, over farm land and back along the beaches.


Around Gaviota



Drive through the coastal mountains

In Cambria we stayed on the beach, close to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. 
Next morning we went for a short walk to the beach, It was minus 2 degrees Celcius. Brrrr cold after all the warm weather on the Baja.



Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Saying good bye to the California coast

It was time to leave the California coast. On Hwy 46 we drove over the coastal mountains, and close to Paso Robles through their wine region.



East of Cambria, CA

Hwy. 46 Drive through the Coastal  Mountains with Views back to the Pacific

Over Shandon to Hwy. 41, through the desert to the Interstate 5 close to Kettleman City. That stretch of the drive was true desert. Nothing grows, unless there is water. And water is the very scarce commodity here.



On Hwy. 41
Water is a Necessity

No Water - No Jobs - No Food
On the Interstate 5, full of semi trucks 

Once on I-5 North the drive was easy, but not as interesting. Still, we drove along many fruit and nut tree plantations. Some were ripped out, NO water! Further along we passed a huge cattle feed lot.


Cattle Feed Lot

 Somewhere passed Sacramento all the way in Corning, CA we found a motel. We went for Mexican Food for supper. It was so cold, we needed some warm memories.


Along the Interstate 5

On the 5th of December, now in our winter jackets, we drove toward the Shasta Trinity National Forests. The village of Mt. Shasta had some snow. They also have a wonderful Bakery Cafe where we bought freshly brewed organic coffee and a huge almond croissant.



Driving toward Mt. Shasta

On the high plateau there was heavy frost. Then passed Yreka, the valley opened up again with nice tended to farms toward the Oregon State border.



Past Mt. Sashta

Close to the Oregon State Border

The further north we came, the colder it got, and before Salem there was a snow advisory flashing on the side of the road. So we took another Best Western motel, this time the Millcreek one.


Everybody crawls along on the icy roads

Next morning we drove very gingerly through Portland. It took us more that 3 hours. There was just a little snow, but it was very icy. Cars were stalled, and in the ditches. Finally around Woodland along the Columbia River the roads were better.


Winter Conditions near Portland, OR

Because of the slow going through Portland, we arrived in the Seattle area during evening traffic. Slow driving here too, but no snow or ice. We were tired and stayed over night in Marysville, WA. We checked in at the Best Western Tulalip Inn.



Evening Traffic close to Seattle
Seattle, Washington
Marysville was another small town with mostly fast food places, so we decided to go and eat in the Casino across the street. The food was good, the server did not know how to open our wine bottle with a cork. Anders helped her. Then we went gambling. The $ 20.00 each, was gone in about 3.5 minutes. But it is an education in character studies in a casino. Everybody is there to win, few do.



Back in Canada

Next morning we drove in beautiful sunshine to the Canadian border. This time, we had even a longer list of all the things we bought in Mexico and in the USA. Again it took us almost an hours' wait to finally talk to the border agent. Even though we were a " little" much over our limit, the agent only wanted to know if we had weapons or drugs, and where we had stayed in San José del Cabo. He said welcome back, and we were on our way.


Driving into Vancouver, Canada

All smiles we drove into Vancouver December 7th 2013. There we stayed a couple of nights to see Amber and her parents. We also phoned all our kids and relatives that we are back in the country.


Calling Everybody - We are back!

Then in Victoria we stayed a few days at Lisa and Mark's place with Sarah and Ryan. We visited Linda and Mathew as well. We also needed haircuts and some grooming after all this time. Last, but not least -  Christmas shopping, including tons of food was on the list.


Back on Cortes Island

By the 12th of December 2013  we were finally back home on Cortes Island, after our two months Baja trip traveling all the way to San José del Cabo on the Sea of Cortez in Mexico, and back to Cortes Island here in Canada, 12,000 km in total.


Back Home!

We loved our trip, and we will reminisce for a long time about all the wonderful experiences we had.

If you would like to see more pictures of the last part of our trip, please click here

Click on any of the links below to go to other parts of this wonderful trip.

1.       2.      3.      4.      5.      6.     7.      8.      9.      10.

11.    12.    13.    14.    15.    16.    17.    18.    19.    20.

21.    22.    23.    24.    25.    26.    27.    28.    29.    30.

31.    32.    33.




Baja Bound, Part 32. Back in the USA


Encinitas, CA to Ventura, CA


Yesterday, December 1st 2013 we drove from the Mexican border town of Tecate to Encinitas just north of San Diego on Hwy. 5. We stayed at the local EconoLodge Moonlight Beach.



Back in the USA

For supper we walked down the road to a local Pizza Place. The food tasted heavenly familiar.


Ah, Pizza...

 This morning we went for a walk to the beach in Encinitas. But the tide was in, the sandy cliffs were 100 feet tall, so we walked instead through the little town. It had a good feeling, sort of like Oak Bay in Victoria. The house prices were similar. Lots on the beach were $2.2 million. Homes not on the beach, but close to it, no views, around $ 4 Million.


Beach in Encinitas CA

After breakfast we drove slowly north along Hwy.1 along the Gold coast. Well, what a culture shock after the Baja, Mexico.



California Hwy.1 Coastal Drive



Spanish Coat of Armes for the Californias

What an inversion of history. California was the poor and neglected backwaters of the Spanish and Mexican rulers from 1769 to 1848. The Catholic Church established 21 Missions along the Camino Real from San Diego to Sonoma, each about a day's ride apart. But food shortage, sickness, and unhappy native worker/slaves forced the closure of quite a few of the Missions and Forts.


21 Missions were established along this path

Today this whole area along the southern Californian coast smells of money. All cars are incredible newish and expensive. Bentley and Maserati give each other competition. We stopped in Laguna Beach for a little walk about. Nice stores, the pre-holiday sales were on. We had a yummy lunch at a Scandinavian Deli. Oh yes, on the streets we were asked 4 times for change, and some totally stoned young man could not walk anymore. We must be back among the affluent.


Fancy cars everywhere

We continued our drive all along the California coast, passed Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Long Beach and Redondo Beach. Not all areas were super fancy. There were some "regular" neighbourhoods. But compared to the Baja it was mind boggling. It took us for ever to drive passed Los Angeles.




Amazing right offshore along the fancy beaches there were oil drill platforms. Even in the Port of Los Angeles there are working oil drills pumping along.



Offshore Oil Rigs

Oil Pump right in Los Angeles

Eventually passed Santa Monica and Malibu the drive was more relaxed. Just off # 1 Hwy along the Santa Monica Mountains one could camp right at the beach. What a change from the wall to wall concrete further south.


Drive on the coast along the Santa Monica Mountains

Once past the national Park from around Oxnard to Ventura miles and miles of flowers, berries, and vegetables are grown. The millions of people in California today should not have a food shortage.


Large Farms around Oxnard and Ventura, CA

We stayed in Ventura, CA for the night.

For more pictures, please go to our Web Album

Click on any of the links below to go to other parts of this wonderful trip.

1.       2.      3.      4.      5.      6.     7.      8.      9.      10.

11.    12.    13.    14.    15.    16.    17.    18.    19.    20.

21.    22.    23.    24.    25.    26.    27.    28.    29.    30.

31.    32.    33.

Baja Bound, Part 31. Catavina to the US Border


Catavina to Ensenada


We had a good night sleep at the Mision Catavina. Last night we ate at their restaurant and the food was good.


At the Mision Catavina Hotel

After breakfast we went for a walk through the rocks and cacti south of the hotel. I guess it was saying good bye to the cacti and desert.




Morning Walk in Catavina

This stretch of the Transpeninsula Hwy # 1 from Catavina to Ensenada is slow going. The road is very narrow, and through many small towns the drive was very sluggish. Also, at one of the Military checks, we had to wait in line for about 40 minutes.



Catavina to Ensenada

Moving Day in El Rosario

Small Town Life

Workers' Buses

We arrived at Estero Beach in Ensenada about 3pm. We were tired, but happy to be back in our nice hotel on the beach.





Estero Beach Resort, Ensenada

Anders went into town to have the truck washed. He said that he had an interesting conversation with a man who commutes between California, USA and Mexico.


Ensenada to the USA


Next morning, December 1st 2013 we went for another walk along the beach. The air was fresh and much cooler than down south.



Morning Walk on Estero Beach

Today we will leave Mexico and drive into the States.

Driving out of Ensenada there was very little traffic, it was Sunday morning. We turned onto the # 3 Hwy direction Tecate. The Valle Guadalupe and all its vineyards and wineries look very nice. For us it was too early to do some wine tasting, but the locals enjoyed the sunshine, food and wine at some of the wineries.


Leaving Ensenada


Driving through Valle Guadalupe

In Tecate we filled up Diesel on top of the hill. We ate our sandwiches, and gave all citrus juice to the WC attendant. We wanted to make sure not to have illegal fruits or food with us for the border control.


Arriving in Tecate

 It is a little complicated, but we finally found the line-up to go across the border. We waited just under two hours to finally see the border control agent. We were prepared with a list of things we bought in Mexico, but the agent just looked at our passports, asked where we were going, and said: Have a good Day!


At the Border in Tecate Leaving Mexico

Anders and I gave each other a high-five: we were back on familiar territory.

For more pictures, please click here

Click on any of the links below to go to other parts of this wonderful trip.

1.       2.      3.      4.      5.      6.     7.      8.      9.      10.

11.    12.    13.    14.    15.    16.    17.    18.    19.    20.

21.    22.    23.    24.    25.    26.    27.    28.    29.    30.

31.    32.    33.