A Travellerspoint blog

Leaving the USA, entering Mexico

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We decided to finish the USA leg of our journey with same sadness as we enjoyed meeting family members so much. Also we enjoyed our stay at the KOA of Desert Hot Springs / Palm Springs but we wanted to cross the border before Christmas. It was again a bit stressful to prepare as we still do not have the final tag of the trailer, just a temporary tag. We did not know if this will be an issue or not.

There were two places we collected a lot of information, one was a facebook group called Talk Baja, the other was a website called mexperience.com

There are two additional documents to arrange when entering Mexico and we needed one of those, as we adjusted our plans - again.

The first is FMM which is needed to everyone who visits Mexico as a tourist. You can arrange it online beforehand. Even if you do you have to stop at the border in the customs office and get a stamp on it, so we decided to arrange it there completely. The other document is called TIP and it is basically an import permit for vehicles if you intend to leave the Baja California peninsula or the border zone. Our conclusion was to stay in Baja as the trailer is quite big for Mexico and our wallet is also getting thinner every day. We can save by not moving around so much and we and the kids also wanted to enjoy a bit more stationary life in a beach what we can do in Baja as well. Another useful info from these sources was that you need to have a cage when transporting pets in a car so we stopped at a Petco to buy a travel cage for Echo. (So far he was travelling in the bottom half of the airplane approved cage but that is too big to be in the car fully assembled. It just fits but the entrance would be blocked.)

We planned to cross the border early in the morning so we stopped at a campsite about 40 kms from the border for our last night in the USA. It was the Pio Pico campsite which is a member of the Thousand Trails network. It makes longer and many stays much affordable by a membership model so we saved it for our next USA trip as a good idea.

Although we got up early the morning crossing did not happen. We had to dump, an unexpected laundry and a visit to a bookstore to get a paper map of Baja, Mexico made us already hungry around lunchtime, so we stopped at a Taco Bell for a quick lunch and voila, at around 2pm we arrived to the border. I stopped in front of the customs and walked in the building. An officer handed out the forms to fill out, after that we paid the 4x32 USD at another window (our youngest son is under 2 so he crossed free). Then two customs officers asked for the papers of the car (not the trailer), so I showed them the insurance and the title. Then they aksed me to be open the trailer, they walked in, checked a few places (looked under the sofa, checked the bathroom and the pantry and then waved us through the border. All in all it was about 45 minutes and a very easy crossing.

Our first stop was not too far from the border, in Rosarito. This was the only place from the 3 or 4 I tried to call upfront who answered the phone. It is called "Mel's landing" and it is a small place, with 2 or 3 trailers for rent and about 2-3 additional sites to book. Right on the oceanfront, with full hookups. At first we could not even turn into its street with the long trailer because two cars were parked on the street close to the corner. The owners were talking there and they immediately jumped in their cars and moved them, smiling. So we entered the street but failed to turn into the site. Some more cars had to be moved before we were able to drive in and realised that the place is too small to turn around with the trailer. We detached and three guys helped to turn the trailer (3,5 tons) around. After the turning we re-attached and backed in slowly into the very tight site. Whoa, I deserved a beer after that.


Posted by divatmotoros 06:22 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

An interview in Hungarian language

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We were approached by the local newspaper of Százhalombatta, where my wife is from. We had a good discussion and here you can read the story in Hungarian. If you can't understand Hungarian it is still worth learning a new language just for this article!! Will not be easy though as it is amongst the top 5 of most difficult languages for English speakers to learn. Good luck!


In the meantime we have arrived to Mexico, here is one of our first picture:


Posted by divatmotoros 18:59 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Joshua Tree National Park

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From our Desert Hot Springs base it was about an hour to get to this unique park woth landscape bot seen anywhere else. The special desert conditions and rocks make it a tough land to survive but it has a surprisingly dense and various flora and fauna.
I took some random pictures and when went through it later it was hard to delete any of the pics as they all looked quite stunning.


Posted by divatmotoros 18:48 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Desert Hot Springs - KOA

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We arrived to Desert Hot Springs and the KOA here is very much to our taste. It is almost empty. It has three hot tubs and a warm swimminh pool, all heated by the thermal water from the hot spring. The playground and the minigolf is the favourite of our kids and on Friday there will be a movie night with popcorn and icecream plus a huge climbing wall will be set up for them. After being with them for the last six months 24 hours a day this sign was my favourite!


The campsite is well maintaned and the weather is quite nice, while around 16-18 celsius and sunny during the day it is quite chilly at night. The change is very sudden, as the sun comes up it is warm immediately and you can feel it when the sun goes down, it gets colder immediately.


We have also driven to a beautiful place called Joshua Tree National Park and the neighboring town of Palms Springs, which was the hideaway for many Holliwood stars including Elvis Presley and many other stars. There is a Walk of Stars in Palm Springs honoring past US Presidents and other famous people.


Posted by divatmotoros 18:37 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Quartzsite, Arizona

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After the Canyons and our small detour to Utah we headed South to Phoenix. Afterwards we are moving towards Desert Hot Springs in California to visit my wife's relatives. These are our last few stops now before leaving the USA and crossing into Mexico for the winter. In Phoenix we bought two new tires for the trailer to prepare for Mexico. We also searched for a Hungarian Reformed Church to visit a service being in the Advent and we found a Hungarian church with a very nice and kind community. On the given Sunday we visited there was a literature performance, poems selected from the Transsylvanian Helikon. It was a very spiritual Sunday morning and we spend the evening and night in the parking lot of the church.

The next morning we headed West on the Interstate 10 and about halfway to Desert Hot Springs we just pulled over to a small dirtroad. There were many other RVs spread out in the distance on this BLM area which means free camping. The landscape and the colors were beautiful. It was.still surprisingly quiet as this are receives around one million RVers between January-March each year!


Posted by divatmotoros 05:11 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Lone Rock Beach, Utah

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Well, it is unfortunately an overstatrment to call this place a beach. Noeadays the water levels are extremely low in this area, Page Lake Lowell which we visited in the past days are at 24% of its maximum capacity. This low level already endangers the operations of the Dam and I have red some worriing articles about the situation here and here.

The Lone Rock and the sandy-rocky ex-beach is a mighty landscape and we did a nice hike from the parking lot to as close as the rock as possible.


Echo enjoyed running around in the sand and the kids played well too.

Posted by divatmotoros 07:48 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Page Lake Powell Campground, Arizona

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After leaving Las Vegas (not the famous movie...) and the Grand Canyon we continued to explore further canyons in Arizona. We drove to Page Lake Powell Campground and it was a busy and long day. Having our girls "nameday" (a Hungarian tradition celebrating holders of a given firstname on a given day of the calendar) she wanted to eat pizza in a restaurant. We also needed to do shopping for food and the usual refuelling sonwe had a very long lunchbreak at Flagstaff, Arizona. Hence we arrived quite late and in the dark to the campsite. Before parking into our site we stopped at the office tp find out where to park and we all needed a quick break which we managed in the trailer. After figuring out where to pull in I started and after about 150m we took a right turn, when my son shouted: "Daddy, the stairs, the stairs!!" Oh, shit, I forgot to close the stairs before starting to pull into our site! As the radio was quite loud in the car we did not hear the noise dragging the stairs must have made. We clearly let other canpers know that we have arrived!

I quickly stopped, checked the stairs and it was not ripped off but slighlty bent towards the back of the trailer. The two pins fixing the lenght of the legs gone missing. Afterwards I found both of the pins with the help of a flashlight and I was able to bend the stairs back to its original position. After a good night sleep we checked the surroundings which is quite surreal. Red sand and red rocks everywhere with some dry flora. The big waves of rock looks almost like flowing lava.


In this campground you can also rent old coaches and they have air conditiong and coffee machines as well, despite their 1850 look. After lunch we visited two unique locations nearby. The first stop was the Glen Canyon Dam which is quite similar to the Hoover Dam
Capacity wise this provides 1,3MWatts while the Hoover plant is around 2MWatts.


After the dam we got to the Horseshoe Bend which is about ten minutes from there. From the parking spot it was an easy 20 minutes walk to the river and the view was breathtaking. Even in December it was quite busy so I guess in the summer it must be really full of people.


Posted by divatmotoros 05:25 Archived in USA Tagged arizona page horseshoe_bend Comments (0)

The Grand Canyon

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One of the natural wonders of the World. You can not imagine how small you feel when you see the 10 miles wide, 1 mile deep Canyon. A relative young, 6 million years old geological structure carved by the Colorado River is one of the most visited sight of the USA. We were grateful coming in December as it was much less crowded than during summertime. We could also drive along the Hermit Road which is only accessible by tour buses except December to March.

We visited the South Rim and the Grand Canyon Village, the kids got their activity books to become junior rangers upon completition (just like in the Denali National Park) and they watched a 20 minutes movie in English about the Canyon at the visitor center. The Canyon is visible from space and the pictures by a phone will not tell you the story.


Posted by divatmotoros 19:54 Archived in USA Tagged grand_canyon Comments (0)

Las Vegas to Seligman, Arizona, Route 66

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We had to check the weather forecast to remain above freezing at nights when selecting our next stops. We obviously wanted to visit the Grand Canyon but tenperatures at night dropped below zero Celsius at the National Park. So I was looking for nearby locations with less elevation tonfind a safe harbour for the nights. We picked Seligman in Arizona which was close enough but just above freezing in the coming days.

Enroute from Las Vegas we stopped for lunch in the middle of the desert.


Then we arrived to our stop which was on the famous mither road Route 66. Another childhood dream of mine to drive or ride on this route connecting the West Coast with Chicago. "Get your kicks on Route 66" from the Rolling Stones was in my favourites since my teenage years and later we discussed this route with motorbiking friends many times.


Posted by divatmotoros 09:34 Archived in USA Tagged desert arizona route66 motherroad Comments (0)

The Hoover Dam

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Fast backward to 1910. Gambling was illegal in Nevada, even flipping a coin to decide the price of a drink was forbidden. The town of Las Vegas had a booming economy as the railroad hub connecting Utah mines to California through Nevada.

Fast forward to 1931. Alcohol is prohibited in the US, the Great Depression tore apart the world in 1928 and earlier railroad bankrupcy left Vegas in a very challenging position financially. Up and down, like a roller coaster. The construction of a huge dam on the Colorado River boosted Vegas' population from 5,000 to 25,000. Gambling become legal and Maffia mobs and local business owners started to develop casinos and theaters for the contruction workers.

The Hoover Dam (then clalled Boulder Dam) provided the initial demand and later on cheap electricity to create Las Vegas as we know now. An engineering marvel, the largest of the world at the time of completiton.


Posted by divatmotoros 20:12 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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