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March 2005

Wednesday 30 March It has taken a couple of days to recover from the noise and dust of Semana Santa and it is difficult to believe that we are back in Paradise. Even the spring break people seem tame and well-behaved compared to last weeks revels. Out on the beaches I spotted a couple of college students enjoying nature and probably talking about their math classes for the coming quarter.

 

Thursday March 24 Mexicali traffic is again starting to slow down as the next phase of the construction of the Lopez Mateos/Lazaro Cardenas junction gets underway. A few months ago we warned you about finding alternate routes through the city when the East-West underpass at this major intersection was being built. Now the North-South overpass construction has started and only a single lane is open for traffic to pass south to the San Felipe road.

Here you see the southbound traffic approaching Calz. Lazaro Cardenas and the massive rebar and concrete pillars are under construction on the left of the picture. (Walmart and the car dealerships would be off to the right). As this construction proceeds and the roadway is placed on top of the pillars there will be a need to completely divert the North/South traffic. We expect this work will take several months. Again, we suggest you consult our map of the alternate route that uses Calz. Justo Sierra and Benito Juarez.

The road to San Felipe is in sound condition for the Easter traffic. The many potholes have been filled though the surface is rough in places.

Sunday, March 20, 2005 - The first group of Spring Breakers have arrived. 21 buses arrived in San Felipe last night. Members of S.W.A.T. were anxiously awaiting their arrival as dark drew nearer. They are housed at the El Cortez and Costa Azul Hotels and management staff of S.W.A.T. are staying at the Las Palmas. Last night was check in at the Azul; kids were given their wrist bands and assigned rooms. Then it was off to dance the night away at the Rocodile. Today was the pool party at the El Cortez. The Net would like to thank S.W.A.T. and the Rockodile for allowing the Net to take photos. We'll post more tomorrow, as they become available. Take a look.

Tuesday 15 March. News on U.S. Border Checkpoints. The journey from San Felipe back to points in the USA is starting to take much longer. Up to a few weeks ago, you could cross at the Calexico crossing with a delay of only a few minutes. However, the new radiation detector systems that screen each vehicle for radioactive materials are now in full operation and these are contributing to very long delays in the crossing times. The five minute typical times we were seeing at Calexico East up to a few weeks ago have now ballooned to around one hour on a typical weekday afternoon and we expect to see delays of around two hours on weekends as the tourist season gets into high gear. A border agent told me that they are way understaffed to deal with the new screening procedures and there needed to be double the number of entry gates to compensate for the longer and more thorough processing time at the existing gates. Concerned persons should contact the former local Congressional Representative, Duncan Hunter,and the new Representative, Bob Filner, to urge that action be taken to speed up the entry procedures. Similar long delays are now occurring at the downtown crossing in Mexicali (Calexico West) and the new port of entry at Tecate. The Tijuana crossings are already saturated and two hour delays there are routine on weekends. We also see that whole lines of vehicles at Calexico are being sent into secondary inspection areas for checking by the drug dogs - a move we highly applaud. However, many people get very nervous over these checks and this further discourages tourist traffic to Mexico.

To the many people who always travel with guns in their vehicles, we are very sorry but you really must not come to Mexico unless you leave your guns and ammunition back in the U.S. You WILL be stopped at military checkpoints and the one north of San Felipe is one of the most thorough checkpoints that we have ever experienced. If the soldiers find your guns or ammunition you WILL go to jail for a long time.

Friday 11 March. All the potholes in the road between Mexicali and San Felipe have been filled with asphalt and that is very good news. However, the surface is uneven and quite bumpy in parts, particularly south of La Ventana (the half-way point). If you are bringing your laptop (or other) computer and you have a vehicle with a firm suspension you might want to make sure that you protect the computer from the vibration. I use a few layers of bubble wrap around mine when I travel to provide some isolation for the hard drive and the LCD display. The roads in town are still being worked on so drive slowly. Also be particularly cautious at the bridge over the estuary between the Marina Resort and Villas de las Palmas. The shoulders are giving way and if you do not stay close to the centerline you could have a major problem.

March 4, 2005. Our weather gal, Shirley and her sister Lori, have prepared a wonderful photo journal of their Oaxaca trip, sponsored by SFARP (San Felipe Association of Retired Persons). Bruce Barber, local Baja historian and author ("Of Sand and Seas", available at The Net) is their tour guide. SFARP has another tour planned for 2006. Check out our activitie's calendar for dates. Click here for a trip of a life time. Allow time for loading the photos.

Check out our new Gardening Tips from the Tomato Lady, Leslie Doyle. She has gardening tips for the month of March. Click here.

Thursday, March 3. Update on Road Conditions: Allen Russell, of Punto Bufeo and the USofA, reports the following road conditions from Punto Bufeo: "This is a good segue into a comment on the road. It's bad. Simple as that, bad. The pot holes in the broken pavement north of Puertecitos (beginning approx. km 40±) just get worse. Oddly enough the short section that was used for the SCORE San Felipe 250 was helped by the pounding of the cars and trucks. They seemed to have knocked off some of the sharp edges of the remaining asphalt. Otherwise, that section from the sign designating Ej. Matomi to Puertecitos continues to disintegrate. South of Puertecitos for about eight miles the road is maintained. I'm told that this is done by the mining company who are working a quarry. If so, many thanks to them. It's a delightful eight miles compared to the broken pavement. South of the mine to Punta Bufeo--and on to Rancho Grande--the washboard is more pronounced and there are several places going through the mountains where the rains have exposed some rather formidable rocks. It's possible that owing to the nature of our "cargo" on this trip we were more aware of the condition of the road, but contact with some of our friends who also travel the road, especially nos amigos Mexicanos who travel it frequently, the road is "muy malo"." Thank you Allen. His son-in-law, Andy Grider, was on the winning moto with Chris Blais and Quinn Cody in the recent Score-International race. "They did a heck of a job!" says a proud suegro (father-in-law).

The road between km 40 and Puertecitos is reported to very bad although south of Puertecitos is being maintained. Driving time 4.5 hours to Punta Bufeo (usually 2.5 hours)

Wednesday, March 2. We have posted news of the winners of the Tecate-Score Baja 250, along with some great photos by Dan McKay. Click here.

 

 


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