Category Archives: Travel

Ensenada Crane Chaos Trip

This is an official Bajadock Ens-SD-Ens whirlwind trip report

My day began at 6AM in the fog on my way out of Ensenada up to San Diego for a Saturday shopping adventure.

One of the interesting observations was the speed of the San Ysidro border SENTRI lanes Saturday morning at approx 08:30.  Happened to have friends approx 10 minutes ahead of me in lane 3(counting right to left) of SENTRI.  I chose lane 1.  I could spot them way ahead of me and we conversed about our positions.  For whatever reason, they took approximately 10 minutes longer in their lane(maybe a 20-25 minute wait) than my spot.  I waived bye bye to them as I swiftly moved toward I-805 to my first stop in Mission Valley, San Diego.

Checked southbound traffic coming opposite way into Mexico at 9AM and it looked to be a significant(40+ minutes?) wait.

ACT II this morning was my rare visit to La Jolla.  I happened to be in a shopping center on Nobel Drive featuring Whole Foods.  I have never seen so many perfectly sculpted, manicured and tailored ladies out shopping on a Saturday morning since Tina Louise and Nanette Newman’s performance in Stepford Wives.  Perhaps it was my filter, but, where were the matching Ken dolls?

Needed coffee and wifi at this shopping center.  Tried Rubio’s(“we don’t do coffee), a juice bar(shouldn’t they provide noise cancelling headphones for the cacaphony of Ninja blenders?), a Peet’s Coffee(closed/moved) and one other shop.  For the love of godesses, how do I find coffee?  Stopped into the gigantic Whole Foods and found a bar, a deli, some other food cafeteria, lots of juice and other stuff.  “Do you have coffee brewing around here?”. The coffee was way over on the other side with a lineup of 10 people ordering their caffeine and sugary cake/doughnut/chia seed bar experiences.  My “small brew of the day” order clearly screamed that I’m not from around here.

OK, back to road conditions.  The SoCal beaches should be avoided at all cost during summer.  I was meeting a friend in funky little Ocean Beach for happy hour.  I’m a fan of O.B., except for this Saturday.  Street Fair and Chili Cook-Off had several blocks closed, parking limited and traffic in grid lock.  After one loop, found a parking spot .9 miles away from my destination. Finally reached the best fish tacos on the planet.  Enjoyed a fun conversation, fabulous grilled wahoo fish tacos and a cold beverage to soothe my traffic stress.  Great news was that my well practiced O.B. exit strategy of Narragansett to Harbor Drive to Grape Street to I-5 was without traffic.

San Ysidro/Tijuana southbound border wait was only about 10 minutes at 8PM last night.  So many try so hard to merge to the right hand lanes at the El Chaparral crossing.  I go with the flow and find it easy to navigate after the inspection stations from left to right to gain access(red dot, above photo) to Playas Tijuana and the Toll Rd/Scenic Hwy.

Approx 45 minutes south of the border, the Scenic Road merge just south of Baja Mar for approx 2 miles into 1 lane was not so easy at night.  There are some reflectors, but, please take it easy through both the choke down ramp to 1 lane and the ramp back to two lane just before the Sempra energy plant.

Same precaution needed for the K87 – K91 one lane merge ramps, both southbound and northbound through the Salsipuedes Bay stretch. At night, the lumps, bumps and turns from the height of El Mirador all the way to the ‘Nada toll booth is danger zone.


This flustercluck was Saturday’s big news in Ensenada beginning mid-morning.  This happened near the Las Rosas resort, approx 3 miles north of downtown Ensenada.  Reports are that it was cleared at 4-5PM.  But, traffic throughout the day was backed up all the way to the Ensenada toll booth for southbounders.  A similar event closed Hwy 1  in a spot just south of Coral Hotel in December 2016.  Thankful that noone was hurt and that ‘Nada traffic was easy during my 9pm passage.




“We’re going to need a bigger crane”




This is my fuzzy after-DUI-checkpoint view through my rear window on Estancia, just inland from Playa Hermosa(Ens largest beach).  They move these checkpoints around and were reserved for just the major holidays.  The new Ens administration has them out for most Friday and Saturday nights.  Saturday’s checkpoint here has approx 6 vehicles and 12 dudes.  Saw two cars pulled over into a “secondary” closer inspection.  I simply offered the officers a cold six pack of Colt 45 for my easy passage.  8)

So, don’t drive at night, y’all!  Hey, I needed to get home and my eyes are good at my advanced age.  Most frightening thing was a tumbleweed that attacked me from nowhere, just after Sharkey’s bar.  10PM Saturday and Sharkey’s was still doing a decent beverage business.

Pacifico and a diy pizza at 11PM were fabulous rewards.  Slept great last night.  SALUDOS.

San Pedro Martir Video

Faros de Esperanza – Sierra San Pedro Mártir from Barranca Studio on Vimeo.

Ensenada Aeropuerto Mañana

Bajadock: we have been hearing about this airport plan for at least two years(2015 post).  With all of the infrastructure needs of Baja and lack of money, this boondoggle’s progress will be interesting to watch.  Following article certainly offers a pessimistic and mocking tone.  Mañana does not mean tomorrow.  It just means not today.

Kiko Vega continued this day with his circus on the construction of an airport for Ensenada, installed in Ojos Negros.

This day he set up a paraphernalia in this port to launch what he called the procedure to select the builder, financier and operator of the Ojos Negros airport, in which he addressed a sense of discourse to the ensenadenses, who were cold when he said that it would be done in a way Jointly with the private initiative, which immediately generated all kinds of comments, and even jokes that the state partner will be one of Kiko’s friends or Kiko himself.

The reality is that according to experts consulted in IATA (International Air Transport Association) the construction of an airport, as it should, takes about seven years, so if Kiko meets this cantaleta that brings since he began work as governor , We will hardly see him in his period unless they come out with one of his accustomed flops.

The experts consulted said that following the announcement of Kiko should prepare a master plan with long projections and construction is established by parts, before which the experts indicated that eventually to get out of step what would Vega is to stay in this stage of Launch which speaks of having a land of 700 hectares, but the movement of passengers takes time for logistics that involved especially if it speaks of international flights, which have barely managed mature airports such as Tijuana and Mexicali Kiko invited his businessmen and said that the federal government will support him, but throughout his speech never managed figures, nor gave deadlines, only that it is a society with a majority share of the State, with investment of the Private sector “, which worried given the poor handling of PPPs in Baja California, although it was defended on the grounds that its government has bu In qualification in transparency, something that in reality is very questioned.

Meanwhile SIDUE followed suit and announced that from today until June 28th, all national companies specialized in airport operation, construction and maintenance, interested in partnering with Baja California, can present their proposals Since the presentation of the same will be the 28 of July.

He explained that the Airport Project consists of a 3km runway, a runway, general service platform, hangar areas, a passenger terminal, control tower, Rescue and Fire Extinguishing Corps, fuel plant, parking lots and Depending on the volume being handled could become international airport in a period of 5 years (?).

Total that with this announcement Kiko hopes that they stop pressuring it by unfulfilled promise, but to two years of leaving the government this generates more doubts than uncertainty because it is not the first time that makes an announcement of this type.

On July 3, 2015, he said exactly the same thing that today “the airport for Ensenada, today is a reality, since it has the approval of the feasibility and the lands where it will be built are already owned by the state.” He added: “I already have the feasibility and they gave it to me in Ojos Negros, they revised El Tigre, they reviewed Santo Tomás and they revised Ojos Negros and the SCT through their measurements and others indicated that Ojos Negros fulfills all the conditions that are required for At the time Ensenada has an international airport and I already bought the land and these are in the public patrimony that is the state and the state is of us all, “said Vega de Lamadrid.

“The construction of the international airport will be open to tender in the near future yet to be defined, but once completed the work will provide employment to a significant number of people and will also motivate the economic growth of the state with tourism that will visit the Wine Route, Said two years ago. It should be recalled that the federation has cut back resources for projects after the collapses in revenues and so far has not been indicated in any budget that has allocated resources.

Anyway, someone said, “who does not know Kiko to buy it” and here we see in two years.


Tramo de Muerte Repair?

Bajadock: The 2015-16 repair and repavement from Baja Country Club north through Chapultepec Hill was a big improvement.  But, the potholes and rubble from B.C.C. south though Maneadero is dangerous.  

Just spotted the pothole left over from covering up the above road slide in December 2016.  The coverup of dirt over asphalt on the incline southbound, just south of Maneadero’s Calimax is a lane to avoid.

There was a small work of patches on Tramo de Muerte this spring, but, this was a superficial repair.

Yep, I’m using Google Translater.  But, can anyone decipher whattheheck is going on in the last part of the article below my map.  Commission?  Public Works?  Councilor?  Initiative?

Regents of the XXII City Council, approved the creation of a commission to search for resources and repair the so-called “death knell”, because of the risk involved for users and the importance of roads.

The initial regidor, Orlando Toscano Montaño, emphasized that the City does not have the resources to rehabilitate and improve that stretch of the Transpeninsular highway, so it is necessary to resort to different instances for the collection of resources to address the problem.

This commission, he explained, will be in the middle where the regidores that converge with the state, ejidatarios, delegates and other authorities to seek a solution.

“We know that the State Government already has an elaborate project,” he said.
Orlando Toscano lamented that, so far this year, there have been 34 traffic accidents with a fatal victim.

Referring to part of the justifications, mentioned that in the area of ​​Maneadero, there are more than 31 thousand inhabitants, in addition to more than 650 thousand tourists in the area, only for the area of ​​La Bufadora.

He also said that in the Maneadero delegation, the agricultural area, an activity that generates some 5,000 direct jobs, is growing in an area of ​​200 hectares.

The movement of workers and trucks, he added, is permanent.

Toscano Montaño recalled that the Ministry of Communications and Transportation (SCT), ceded the referred section for what is competence maintenance and monitoring.

These conditions make it imperative to repair the artery.

Non-regulation commission
Prior to the vote, the respect Bertha Martínez Villalobos noted that the creation of the commission contravenes municipal regulations.
He also said that the commission would be carrying out actions that are the responsibility of the Public Works and Services Commission (which coordinates).
“The point of agreement has no regulatory basis,” he insisted, after reading the articles.
He also observed that, if approved despite the irregularity, the mayor has the authority to determine and appoint the councilor who should coordinate it.
However, he insisted, “the point of agreement should be dismissed.”
The point of agreement was approved in what corresponds to the creation of the commission, as well as for the councilor Orlando Toscano who coordinates it.
The mayor Cristian Vázquez recognized the initiative of Toscano, but considered that one must be more careful in what corresponds to the attributions of each commission
The governor Bertha Martínez Villalobos, abstained from voting, however, expressed her willingness to work on the newly created commission.

Continental Divide Trail

Thanks, H.

Airline Adventures

                                                                                 by staff travel editor, Crusty Curmudgeon

Recent travel in the USA has me slapped around like a rag doll in a Cuisinart food processor.  Here are my recent experiences from June flights.

At 6AM, before my caffeine fix, howtheheck am I supposed to read, leave alone execute, the instructions on peeling the correct amount and spot of the luggage tag and affix it without it looking like a jet lagged shar pei puppy? Friday morning, I simply handed the tag to the agent and asked her to do it.  She happily showed me the way, including perky instructions.  She failed miserably and it looked like hell.  “Well, I guess I need more practice”.

LOVE TSA PRE lines, except when jeweled, pocket changed and big metal belt buckled passengers ahead of me can’t get the idea that the scanning machine you walk through is designed to detect metal.  “But, it’s just water in my water bottle!”.  Remember, these are the TSA “pre-approved” smart passengers, top of their class.  …says the guy who can’t affix a luggage tag.

I usually have little drama vs TSA.  My only problem is forgetting the corkscrew in my backpack.  Backpack always has my essentials of laptop, phone, laptop accessories, car key(+1 extra), tequila, assortment of condoms.  I have lost at least SIX corkscrews at TSA junction.  My 99 cent corkscrew made it due to stowing in my checked bag this trip.

While I sleep at my window seat, why do my fellow passengers feel the need to put snacks in the seatback ahead of me?  “These gourmet crackers and pretzels are must treats for your taste buds and we did not want you to miss them.”  This happened on 3 of 4 flights on last trip.  I must ooze “lonely bachelor that can’t cook” look.  How about some Publisher’s Clearinghouse forms next flight?

Which do you prefer, crying kid or kicking kid?  Crying kid is too young to control.  Though my reading or sleeping peace has a hard time with the infant testing his operatic skills, the kicking kid obviously has shitty parents.  Had a kicker this trip.  I raised out of my seat, turned around and said, “Hi, I’m enjoying your child’s percussion skills on my back.  Any way to take off his shoes to lighten the body blows I am receiving for the next 5 hours?”.  Law enforcement met me at destination, tazed, cuffed and dragged me away.

Which do you prefer, chatty pilot/crew or unintelligible pilot/crew?  “Once again, thank you…” for the 8th time before we take off means that we are going to be hearing a lot from this team today.  “Once again, sit back, relax…”.  Where is the mute button?  And how do I mute and darken the must see video screen in front of me?

More video fun, why do airports need to connect me to “news”?  If you catch my trend, I’m not big on getting random audio and video barking at me while traveling.  Heck, even gas stations pelt me with news or advertising while I pump gasoline.  Intercontinental at Houston airport likes their CNN televsions in gate wait.  Maybe they could mute the tv?  Bring back the hare krishnas!

Loved the United Airline CEO mea culpa in their May magazine after the April passenger pummeling at ORD.  “We will do better.”.

Airport construction is at an all time high.  The quarters weren’t nearly cramped enough before, so add construction and walled areas of development to limit seating areas for gate wait. “Hi, I just got off a tube squeezed next to random strangers with odd habits for 3 hours.  Can I sit on your lap and have you tell me your life story, while waiting for next flight?”  I found a gaggle of wheelchairs in a corner and pulled one out for my lounge “safe space” this trip.

Airport food?  Hmmm.  How many different ways can you throw 500 calories of starch at a traveler for $12 USD?  I usually fly with an apple and almonds, but forgot my snack kit on this trip.  This little spot near gate E2 at IAH was a reasonable deal for a turkey, veg, avocado wrap for $11USD.  Most of the time, I avoid airport culinary delights.  This wrap was fresh and would do it again.  $11?  Yeah, but, I was hungry.

San Diego airport, my home runway, used to be a small airport.  It is still not ORD, IAH, LAX, but, the remodel has turned SAN into another shopping mall, disguised as an airport.

Google flights is my favorite tool(x-Southwest)

Didjaever reserve a flight with 7:30 as a takeoff time and not catch the “PM” tag?  I have never served in the military, but use military time(19:30) on my watch and in many other ways.  It works for me.  But, in a late night haste, caught a great deal for my return flight from MCO to SAN.  Tried checking in 24 hours before and caught a “your checkin attempt failed because it is more than 24 hours before your flight” error message.  WTF?  Realized I mistakenly reserved a night flight.  Had enough time, airline miles and a small fee to get a different morning flight to escape Mickey Mouse land as needed.  My good fortune increased as I was able to get my treasured window seats, not available on my previously goofed flight.

Last time I flubbed pm vs. am was in 2006, on my flight attempt to view, and hopefully, buy my lot in Ensenada.  That too was an inexpensive and lucky fix.  Bought my lot 2 days later.

Punta Banda International Airport photo courtesy of I.R.E.

Did I mention how thrilled I am to be home in my monastery?  Safe and easy travels wished to y’all.

New Tijuana Border Car Wash

Sunday noonish vehicle accident on westbound Av Internacional in Tijuana caused a geyser of water to slow vehicles on the big hill leading toward Playas de Tijuana.  Nice to see that water pressure in this area is excellent.

Video above is from an eastbound vehicle.

Fire Season Begins

Bajadock: Have been through the stretch of hwy 94 and Otay Lakes Road dozens of times.  Good news is that it is not highly populated, if they can prevent fire from spreading to Dulzura.  Fire location is very close to the CBP checkpoint on 94.  Hwy 94 closure from Honey Springs Road over to 188(Tecate border crossing) will be painful for locals.  Fire season is upon us, so be careful out there.


A wildfire burning south of Jamul had scorched more than 1,000 acres by Saturday night and was threatening Dulzura.

Residents in Dulzura were alerted to the possible need to evacuate their homes, and some did. The Viejas casino parking lot on Interstate 8 at Willows Road was designated as a temporary evacuation point, where Red Cross volunteers offered food and water.

The Red Cross later set up an overnight shelter at Otay Ranch High School, at 1250 Olympic Pkwy in Chula Vista.

Authorities sealed off several backcountry roads and evacuated a campground as wind-swept flames roared through rolling, grassy hills at a “dangerous rate,” Cal Fire said within an hour of the fire’s start.

Residents with animals in the path of the fire should leave early and take pets with them, advised Dan DeSousa, director of the county Department of Animal Services. If help is needed to evacuate animals, owners can call the agency’s 24-hour emergency line at (619) 236-2341.

Dulzura residents who left their homes were not allowed back in until about 10 p.m., when fire officials deemed it safe enough for them to be on the road with a sheriff’s deputy escort.

The blaze, called the Gate fire, broke out south of Otay Lakes Road and west of state Route 94, near a Border Patrol checkpoint, about 11:20 a.m.

Investigators were trying to determine the cause of the fire. It started on a dirt road off SR-94 leading to a Bureau of Land Management recreational area commonly used for target shooting, Cal Fire Capt. Isaac Sanchez said. He said the dirt road is behind a local landmark pink gate, which was chosen for the fire’s name.

SR-94 was shut down between Honey Springs Road and state Route 188, and Otay Lakes Road was closed between Wueste Road and SR-94. Residents were not being allowed through. Motorists are advised to avoid the area.

Winds pushed the blaze west toward Pio Pico RV Resort and Campground, which was evacuated early on as a precaution. Campers were directed to the Eastlake Walmart parking lot in Chula Vista.

County animal control officers rescued one dog from the campground because no owner was there, DeSousa said. They were returning later in the day to rescue a dog heard inside a trailer. An animal control officer also went to the Walmart to see if campground evacuees there needed anything.

The San Diego Humane Society also sent a response team to the Otay Ranch High evacuation center with food and supplies for pets.

Late Saturday night, Cal Fire sent out a notice that Pio Pico would remain closed because of fire damage to certain park infrastructure.

The fire pushed north close to the edge of Otay Lakes Road as fire crews worked to make sure flames did not jump the road.

A late-afternoon shift in the breezes then sent flames southeast, toward the community of Dulzura, Sanchez said. He said mostly grass with some sparse brush was burning, and air tankers did a good job laying down a barrier of fire retardant to slow the fire’s spread.

The San Diego County emergency website noted that at 6:30 p.m., the following emergency message was sent to 77 contacts by the Sheriff’s Department: “There is a fire in the area of Dulzura. The wind is blowing to the East and there is a concern that the fire may spread to your area. You are being advised to be ready to evacuate if notified to do so. You may evacuate now if you choose to do so. The evacuation route is Highway 94 East to Buckman Springs North to Interstate 8 West. Take interstate 8 West to East Willows Road. Exit East Willows Road and turn right(north). Continue West on East Willows Road to the Viejas Casino. The Red Cross will have a temporary evacuation center located in the casino parking lot. This a fire warning only, not an evacuation order.”

Updates on the site are available at

A Chula Vista police officer who was directing traffic near Otay Lakes and Wueste was struck by a vehicle about 2:30 p.m., suffering serious but not life-threatening injuries, police said. The officer, who has been on the force 2½ years, was taken to a hospital.

Five air tankers and three helicopters made numerous water and retardant drops on fire all afternoon. Fire crews from several agencies were helping on the ground.

Smoke from the blaze could be seen from many parts of the county.

Temperatures reached 91 degrees by 1 p.m. in the area with 10 percent relative humidity, according to the National Weather Service. Winds were light but gusting to 21 mph. The forecast was for slightly cooler temperatures on Sunday, with a high of 86, but just as breezy as Saturday.

In a separate area at the other end of the county, a blaze that broke out Friday afternoon on the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base had burned an estimated 500 acres as of Saturday afternoon. It was 75 percent contained and not threatening any structures, base officials tweeted. The fire started in a northeast section of the base, off De Luz Road.


Fire officials have been warning San Diego County residents for months that this summer could be an especially bad season for wildfires, after heavy winter rains encouraged thick growth of tall grasses and brush. Residents near canyons and in rural settings are encouraged to trim vegetation back to 100 feet from homes and take other fire-safety precautions.

Staff writer Gary Robbins contributed to this report.

Ensenada Interactive Map

Our team of cartographers began plotting popular restaurants, taco stands, wineries and other spots in the Ensenada and Valle de Guadalupe area about 5 years ago on the Ensenada Interactive Map.  Click the map above or click here to access it.

The map is constantly updated with new discoveries and is always available on the left side of this website.

No, Hernán Cortés, we can’t possibly map every churro, chicharron and chocolateria location.  The good news is that the map also shows google maps locations that our team has not yet found.  The new Carl’s Jr near the flag in downtown Ensenada is an example.  Blame me, as I’m not a fan of U.S. fast fooderias.

As of May 2017, over 520 locations have been plotted on the map.

When first opening the map, the view can be quite a mess, as Ensenada Centro is dense with business locations.  Zooming in(hit the legend button to remove legend and unhide zoom: lower right) will focus on a more specific area of the city or wine valley.  Click and hold the map to move around.  Hit the legend button again and choose vino, hotel, cafe/Wifi, etc. to search.

The locations plotted by our team, when clicked, will open an info bubble that includes an underlined link to that business website or Facebook page.

Youbetcha, we gladly accept requests to plot on the map.  We will only focus on Ensenada and Valle de Guadalupe with the area from La Mision as a northern boundary and Santo Tomas as southern boundary.

Thanks for any suggestions, criticism and commentary on our Ensenada Interactive Map.


Valle de Guadalupe area of map showing winery locations plotted.

Alternate Route Weekly Update

Bajadock: In our weekly post during year four of disussion on an alternative route to circumvent another potential landslide collapse of the Ensenada Scenic Highway(28 Dec 2013 disaster), the Ensenada Chamber of Commerce, CANACINTRA, provides their opinion.  The shorter emergency route(orange route above) is favored over the alternative route(amber route above) because of cost and time involved.

Facing the risk that the Tijuana-Ensenada Scenic Highway will collapse again, it is necessary to build the so-called emergency road, a six-kilometer stretch that would connect the Scenic Highway with the Free Tijuana-Ensenada highway, said Canacintra leader Jorge Cortés Ríos.

He affirmed that although the Federal Government has announced the construction of an alternative highway that would go from Bajamar to El Sauzal, it is a work that would have a cost of two thousand million pesos and that it is not even known when it would end.

We do not oppose the construction of an alternative highway, but building the so-called emergency road would cost a maximum of 240 million pesos and could be done in a few months, emphasized the president of the Ensenada delegation of the National Chamber of Industry The transformation.

SCT skepticism
He added that there is skepticism towards the Ministry of Communications and Transportation, because it has decades in the construction of Ensenada Libramiento and suddenly announces that it would build a new highway of 24 kilometers in a couple of years.
He pointed out that the so-called emergency roadway would allow vehicle traffic to be resolved in the event of a collapse in the fault zone of the Tijuana-Ensenada scenic highway and is a practical and very economical measure compared to what will cost the alternate highway.

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