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Old 09-08-2015, 03:49 PM   #1
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Driving a $500,000 Motor Home In Baja - Mexico

We just returned from a week in Ensenada, Baja Mexico. Unfortunately we drove through lots of urban squalor - lots of very poor areas along the coast. We also stayed in La Jolla Campground and were surrounded with what looked like a refugee encampment of tents for this last holiday weekend. While I do NOT mean to put any one down for their camping style or affordability... We felt rather odd in our - not that expensive - motor home; a 1999 Winnebago Adventurer. While it is 16 years old, we maintain it in very good condition. No it is not the $500,000 rig I'm referring to. But the envy we witnessed and odd feelings we sensed from many in this camp got me to wondering.

Since we are in the market to upgrade, not to a $500,000 MH, but to a used (2005) remnant to its original selling price, we were uneasy with the thought of driving that level of coach into areas of... Less affluence.

A while back I asked a similar question, something like "Your comfort level driving a very expensive rig." The answers ranged dramatically - some evening getting irritated I'd asked. So, I'm address this SPECIFICALLY to those who travel to economically strapped areas like Baja Mexico ONLY!!!!!! "Are you comfortable driving your expensive motor home (or 5th wheel or travel trailer or...) into, through and around economically impoverished countries like Baja Mexico?"

I don't mean to be selfish, but I'm just not interested to receive the anger of those wanting to cast their aspersions at me or my questions.

Sorry if I've offended anyone. To those who respond, thank you for your opinion.
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Old 09-08-2015, 03:54 PM   #2
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Nice question. I'm new here and just have a small TC. I am just learning how much some rigs can cost. I am shocked. I also looked at the tread about RV garages. Seeing these pictures and then seeing homeless besides the road is a mind bender.
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Old 09-08-2015, 04:03 PM   #3
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My concern wouldn't be the economic conditions of the surrounding area but rather the beating it would take on Mexican roads.
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Old 09-08-2015, 04:14 PM   #4
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Talked to a Prevost owner this weekend. He related on a trip into Mexico some kids thought it would be fun to throw rocks at a previous bus he owned. Broke several windows, but only the outer pane. Use your own judgment!
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Old 09-08-2015, 04:20 PM   #5
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My concern wouldn't be the economic conditions of the surrounding area but rather the beating it would take on Mexican roads.
Have you been there recently??!

The main roads and highways in Mexico, especially the toll roads are kept in much better condition than the Highways and Freeways in the U.S.A. to the North.

Neighborhood streets in cities may be bad or not exist at all, (they stil have dirt and gravel streets).


As an Industrial/Mechanical/Manufacturing Engineer working for Fortune 50 companies, Early in my career I setup several maquiladoras in Tijuana, Otay, and Mexicali. Besides that, during my high school and college years contributing to the birth of the Papa's and Beer chain, Hussong cantina's restoration, and the development of the fish taco as a big deal!! I have spent a whole lot of time in the Baja peninsula.


As far as taking RVs into Mexico, it's really up to you. Keep in mind the Tijuana is a border town. The deplorable living conditions, (cardboard and plywood shacks), that you see are mostly inhabited for a very short time by people illegally crossing the border. The people that live in the city long term live in actual homes with running water, indoor plumbing, electricity, swamp coolers or air conditioning, and cable television. They purposely do not display any signs of wealth or creature comfort on the outside to avoid transient thieves and/or corrupt officials.


As far as a Narco-Traffic minion is concerned a U.S.A. citizen in a Volkswagen bus is just as good for a kidnapping or simple sidewalk extortion as a $1,000,000 Prevost owner. However, the thief may assume that the guy in the Prevost is armed to the teeth and has government connections, or else why would he put himself and family in such a precarious position just by being there.


If you enjoy RV travel into Baja, I really would suggest traveling in a convoy with other like-minded travelers, and ONLY during the daylight hours.


Over 25% of Mexico's citizens are Caucasian of Spanish, Basque, German, Italian, French, Belgian, decent and they still run the country, and control all the wealth. They are wealthy beyond your wildest dreams, (unless of course, you are stinking rich too)! But they blend in, or will purposely look like American tourists, and you won't know you have encountered them, especially if you are acting like a presumptuous "ugly American". So stay safe!
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Old 09-08-2015, 04:28 PM   #6
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Have you been there recently??!

The main roads and highways in Mexico, especially the toll roads are kept in much better condition than the Highways and Freeways in the U.S.A. to the North.

Neighborhood streets in cities may be bad or not exist at all, (they stil have dirt and gravel streets.
Last year- Travelled Mx 15 from Nogales to Tepic and then 200 to Puerto Vallarta. The roads are horrible (even the toll roads, which are ridiculously expensive) . No topes in the US. Returning to the US was a pleasure. And then you have the issues of Mexican drivers who's only interest is being ahead of YOU.

Won't do it anymore. Just not worth the wear & tear and
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Old 09-08-2015, 06:11 PM   #7
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I would take the title with you so you have some barter for your life. Has nothing to do with Baja but with Mexico. I wouldn't set foot in that 3rd world country for no amount of money.
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Old 09-08-2015, 06:18 PM   #8
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Ditto
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Old 09-08-2015, 06:31 PM   #9
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The answer for me is a definite NO. I base that on two experiences. About ten years ago I had to travel on San Diego on business. I went to visit some neighbors from when I had lived there in the 80s. I mentioned I was going to go into Tijuana to get some leather things. The husband whose family was from Mexico advised against it. I mentioned that I had gone there several times when I lived there before and he informed me that it was very different. One thing was the local government liked to arrest american citizens for any reason and then you stayed in jail until someone paid your ransom or fines however you want to describe it. These fines were sometimes upwards of 50 thousand dollars. I was not even going to be driving an expensive motor home just a rented toyota.

The other experience was in El Paso. I went there on a buisness trip. While I was there some of the people I dealt with were originally from Mexico. I mentioned wanting to go into mexico to purchase some things that was easier to get there than in the US such as penecillin, ampicillan drugs that I had stocked up on when i came back from the Middle EAst but had finally run out of. The people I did buisnes with advised me not to go into mexico one guy said when he was a kid his dad took him back to mexico to get cheap haircuts and visit family. He said it had been 15 years since he did that, it just was not safe.

When two different people in two different parts of the country that were of Mexican descent seriously advise me not to travel there I probably will not go. It is not like I have not traveled. I used to work for a Navy defense contractor and I have traveled all over the world by myself sometimes carrying expensive equipment. One of the things you learn is when the locals tell you it is not safe it is not safe.
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Old 09-09-2015, 06:14 AM   #10
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Mexico has been corrupt from the get go, it's part of life south of the border. And it's nothing new. My parents who traveled pulling a trailer, were robbed at gun point in 1961 just south of Ensenada. As far as I know that was the last time they ever traveled into Mexico. It really soured my mother toward Mexicans to the point she would go to a store manager and complain as to why they were playing Mexican music over the stores speaker system, and this was in a Penny's in Chula Vista in the early 70's. She warned me then that we ALL better learn Spanish because it wouldn't be long before we would be inundated with Mexicans. Turns out she was right.
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Old 09-09-2015, 06:29 AM   #11
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The only $5000,000 vehicle I'd take down there would be an Earthroamer .
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Old 09-09-2015, 01:03 PM   #12
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Been down to Ensenada and Rosarita Beach once (back in the 1980s). Had a good lobster dinner in Rosarita Beach (2 tails for $5.00).

That satisfied my curiosity. Haven't been back, nor plan to go back.
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Old 09-09-2015, 02:00 PM   #13
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You wouldn't catch me in that country in a beat up 70s pickup. Our country is beautiful, why go anywhere else.
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Old 09-09-2015, 04:38 PM   #14
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You wouldn't catch me in that country in a beat up 70s pickup. Our country is beautiful, why go anywhere else.
This!
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