Baja 500

dan_hunt228

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I am new to off road racing and we are going to race the 500. I have some questions about what it takes to get across the border.
This is what i know:
Passport or drivers license and birth cert
Instant Mexico auto insurance
Travel cards

This is what i don't know:
Can we get across at any hour
Is the banco (for the touris cards) open at all hours
Besides the insur and registration what do we need to get our trucks and trailes across

Any and all help would be appreciated, by the way we are coming from denver.

dan hunt
 

1_1600_racer

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You should start by talking to Score- International, their phone no is 818-225-8402. Sal should be able to give you all the requirements and any pointers for easy border crossing.
 

FABRICATOR

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The border at Tijuana is open 24 hrs. Some of the others close at night. The banks (banko) are not open at all hours. You shouldn't need tourist cards for where you are going, but you can get them here at airports and some travel agents have them. It's usually very easy to enter Mexico. They have been cracking down on fuel barrels in open trucks, but they are usually OK inside trailers. Sometimes they ask to see paperwork for OHVs. Sometimes our border agents do the same on the way back. Don't sweat it, just follow the funky signs through TJ and be careful with traffic around there. Take a bunch of change and $1 bills for the toll booths. Don't waste time and money changing dollars to pesos. All the businesses in Baja Norte like our money. Observe the speed limits in towns. Don't let the 16 year old military boys with M-16s worry you. Any racing stickers are, usually, very appreciated. Act as you do here! If you go at night you will miss some nice scenery.

<font color=orange>The best ideas are the ones that look obvious to the casual observer.</font color=orange>
 

partybarge_pilot

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I agree with the above except for the money part. I get pesos out of the ATMs down there. You get a good exchange rate and you don't have to worry about the locals trying to screw you on the exchange rate. The rate screwing goes on more in town than out in the country. Just be cool and be aware of your surroundings, bad things happen to stupid people. As long as you look like you no what you are doing and you belong there, no one will hassle you. I find that not shaving for a week and dressing like a bum saves Me a lot of hassles down there.
 

TRDshaunTRD

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you are over prepared. A tourist pass is not necsisary, and neither is a birth certificate. All you really need is Mex insurance, a drivers liscence, and dollars for the tolls. The tolls are around 2.20 each and there are 3-4 tolls. Also, Ensenada has an ATM on the north end of town on the main strip if you need cash.

"Those who risk nothing are nothing."
 

Gabe Lara

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Dan,

You will not need a passport. When entering back into the U.S. they may check your license is all.
Birth certs are a good thing for aany of the youngsters. (Just in case)
Travel cards are usually required if you are going south of Ensenada or San Felipe, and have yet to be asked for one at a race. ( Or even on a weekend surf trip down there)
The authorites know that the races there bring alot of revenue for the area, so they are generally a bit more helpful. If you don't know, ASK!

The main crossing @ Mexicali and San Ysidro (San Diego) is open 24/7.
The Otay-Mesa crossing has limited hours of operation which I am not sure of, as this is a commercial crossing.

Insurance can be bought before you cross into Mex. in San Ysidro if necessary. Your best bet is to get it for all of your vehicles covered @ AAA if you are a member. Its faster and easier.

There IS an ATM at the north side of Ensenada, bu if you are going to exchange any $ to Pesos, do it before you cross. There are ATM's in San Ysidro, just before you cross, so. The majority of businesses accept dollars, so no real worries there. IF they do an exchange for you, check your change...."your mileage may vary..."

And if you are coming from Denver, you must stop in Puerto Nuevo, and have some fresh lobster @ Ortega's!
Its the last place on the right hand side, right on the main drag....Tell 'em RDC sent you!!

The toll roads take dollars, so keep some smaller bills handy. There are clean restrooms at each toll booth as well....

I think that does it.......Drive safe, and look for us in Mex! We'll be there, so if you see an RDC t-shirt, say hello!

Anything else, just PM me, and we can chat!
 

GMS739

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Just got home from Ensenada.You pay $2.35 at each toll booth. Thats only for the truck and I think it's another $2.35 for the trailer. There is 3 booths .
 

84toy

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The only cost I remember is $1.99 for two fish tacos and a beer (breakfast every morning)

Jason
 

EQuin

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I haven't been to a Baja race yet, but I'd like to go at least once in my life. It's kind of hard to make the trip, though, living so far away in Texas. When I decide to go, I'm thinking of flying to San Diego and somehow making my way down to Ensenada.

Anyway, I have a 9 year old daughter who lives with her Mom in Florida. I get her for visitation several times throughout the year and would like to take her to a Baja race. I've heard rumors from my Mexican friends in Texas that I would need some kind of a notarized affidavit from her Mom giving her permission to travel with me to Mexico. Is that true? When I casually brought up the subject with her Mom, she was not too pleased with the idea. If such an affidavit is required, is it used for entry into Mexico, re-entry back to the U.S., or both? I used to work for INS back when I lived in Imperial County and never heard of such a thing as requiring a notarized affidavit from the other parent when one parent was re-entering the U.S. with their child. So I'm guessing that such a requirement, if it indeed is required, would be for entry into Mexico? When I lived in Imperial County many years ago, my ex-wife and daughter and I would often shop at the Plaza Cachanilla Mall in Mexicali but never encountered any problem at the Calexico Port of Entry. Then again, it was both of us parents crossing at the time.

Any info would be greatly appreciated. Take care,


Ed Q.
 

Desert_Roller

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I personally would never take a young child to a Mexico race. My 6 year old son goes with us for testing, but not to races here in the USA. Too much can happen. If your buying the airfare for two, why not a Stateline, Laughlin or Parker race?
 

Vtr_Racing

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Hey Equin, where in Texas, I am currently there as well and have been to many races down there.
Marc
Vtr Racing

Speed Safely
 

Rory

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Ed, I've been taking my oldest daughter to the races ever since she was 7 years old. My other daughter made her first trip at 7 months old. I have never had a problem at the border with either one of them and have NEVER had to show any paperwork what-so-ever. Some people are a little nervous about bringing their kids to Mexico and I understand that but I think it is a great learning experience for them. They learn different cultures, how different the money works and my 16 year old daughter is in her 2nd year of Spainish class so she can better communicate down there. The key to remember in Mexico is, you are a vistitor in their country, treat them with respect and you will recieve it back. If you go looking for trouble, it will easily find you. I have been going to Mexico for the past 10 years and have NEVER ran into any problems (knock on wood), but I have had friends get into trouble almost every time they go down. Depends on the crowd you hang out with. My .02 worth.

Racers Only
 

poolman

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I second that Rory.The ones that get in trouble are usually asking for it.Its good to take your kids down there to Mexico.You can teach them a little about life on the other side.Teach them to appreciate what they have at home.

Pigs get Fat...Hogs get Slaughtered
 

FABRICATOR

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Well, I've found that nothing gets you through the border both ways, right through the Military check points, traffic cops and all the other sticky situations better than having a young child (or two) in baby seats. The Mexicans, along with all people from anyplace else, love kids. Some of you act like they are not human down there. What's up? If you act like a jerk there you will have trouble. Remember that our laws here often protect jerks. Look carefully in the mirror before you go. Don't act like you're in a hurry at any kind of stop, even if you are. And don't forget to remove the shades while talking to them. I've known some nice people who have had some problems there, but it nearly always relates back to misunderstandings and/or ignorance. Mexico is fabulous.

<font color=orange>The best ideas are the ones that look obvious to the casual observer.</font color=orange>
 

EQuin

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Thanks for the advice, Desert Roller. I've been to Mexico numerous times, especially Mexicali, Algodones and TJ, but I've never been to a Baja race, so I don't know what dangers there are at the races. But are you saying that something might happen at any race (whether in the U.S. or Mexico - not so much that the race occurs in Mexico) and for that reason you advise not to take a child? Or are you saying that a Baja race in Mexico may be too risky for a child? Is it that finding a safe location to watch the action is difficult? I just want my daughter and I to check out the race trucks and cars before the race, meet some of the folks and families involved in off-road racing, and, of course, watch the action. I was thinking that the fact the race took place in Mexico would be an added plus for both of us.

Take care,


Ed Q.
 

EQuin

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Hey Marc,

Glad to hear from a fellow Texan! I'm in the Dallas area. What part of Texas are you in? I know of one other person in TX who frequents this board, and that's Michael in Sherman. So there are off-road races in TX that you go to or compete in? If so, please tell me when and where they're at! Or did you mean to say that you make the trip from Texas to the Baja races?

Take care,


Ed Q.
 

EQuin

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Hey Rory,

Thanks for the reply. Good to know you've already experienced with your daughter what I want to experience with mine.

When I lived in Imperial County, my ex-wife and I used to take our daughter to the Plaza Cachanilla mall all the time in Mexicali (the only mall in the El Centro area at the time - and probably still the only mall!). She was about a year and a half old, but we never had any trouble entering Mexico or re-entering the U.S. Only thing is, we were married back then, and our daughter was always with the both of us. This time, she would be going with just me, and my Mexican friends in Texas tell me that I need some kind of affidavit from her mother giving me permission to take her out of the country. I had never heard of such a thing even though I used to work for INS. So I don't know if this is a requirement from the Mexican Immigration authorities, or a requirement from the U.S. INS, or both.

I know that INS regulations concerning right of re-entry apply to non U.S. citizens (with a few exceptions, such as the one that all persons, whether U.S. citizens or not, must first be inspected prior to entry), so I doubt I can find anything on the issue in Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Only thing I can think of is that I would need to prove she is a U.S. citizen in order to re-enter, but that shouldn't be hard to do with her birth certificate and with her answering the typical U.S. citizen questions from the Customs or INS Inspector (where were you born, what's the pledge of allegiance, etc.). Our divorce decree says nothing about vacationing in foreign countries when I have her for visitation purposes, and even if it did, that would seem to be a State law issue, not a Federal one that an INS Inspector would question me on. But who knows?

I've never seen this affidavit my Mexican friends spoke of. I may have to visit the local Mexican Consulate and talk to an Immigration lawyer before I make any plans. I was hoping that any single parents on this forum could tell me that there is no requirement for an affidavit signed by the other parent in order to effect entry into Mexican or re-entry into the U.S. Like I said, my ex-wife did not seem too pleased with the idea when I last mentioned it to her, so I doubt she would sign such an affidavit giving me permission to take our daughter to Mexico.

And yes, I agree it's a great learning experience for a child to visit Mexico. My family is originally from the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and I used to live there til we moved to the U.S. mainland when I was 10 years old. Mexican culture is quite different from Puerto Rican culture, despite the shared language. So I'd like my daughter to not only have the cool experience of watching an off-road race, but to also learn from the gratifying experience of visiting another country with its own cultures and customs.

Take care,


Ed Q.
 

jeff

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I'm not a parent so I can't say a Baja race is or isn't the place for kids. If I had a kid I'd take it to Mexico without worrying anymore than if I took the kid to a mall - I'd guess the MALL is more dangerous than Mexico. The only person that can make that decision is you. I also think most American families are a bunch of wussies - I mean heck, some people from the mid-west think people living in Los Angeles are NUTS for living in "gang territory." In some cultures the kids are out killing food for the village by the age of 10. Taking a kid to a Baja race depends on your own perspective of what is dangerous. I'd rather go race in the deserts of Mexico with my kid than tie it to the back of some farm animal and watch it get drug through the dirt for the enjoyment of some RODEO whackadoos. If you want trouble in Mexico there is plenty of it to be found. If you want trouble in Texas I'm sure it's found the same way as anywhere else. I started going to Baja races when I was around 12-13 against the wishes of both my parents. Each time I go to a race in Mexico my mom tells me to be careful... and I've been less than careful more than once and I'm still here. But I ALWAYS treat the Mexicans with respect. There is no faster way to get thrown in "la joula" than to disprespect a Mexican, regardless of who they are or what they do.

Regarding the spectating... safe spectating depends on the spectator. If you have common sense there is no reason to worry... if you don't have common sense let me give you a piece or two of advice. Don't try to touch the buggies or trucks as they fly by... If you are getting roosted on as the vehicles race by you are too close. f you are on the right side of the course at the end of a left hand turn you are in the wrong spot. If your kid doesn't appreciate what can happen if he/she runs away GET THE THING A LEASH! In fact, a leash is probably a really good idea at contigency too - it's easy to get lost in the maze of people. Another thing... make sure you DON'T DRINK THE WATER OR EAT THE ICE. You might know that Mexico water can have adverse effects on the Gringo digestive system but your kid might easily forget. Don't drink any water you didn't see come out of a sealed container and don't eat any ice unless you are 100% sure it's from safe/treated water. Common sense, common sense COMMON SENSE!

Mexico is awesome. It's a great place for family and something I bet you and your daughter will remember forever.
 

EQuin

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Hmm. I had heard rumors about the water wreaking havoc on some Gringo digestive systems. Wouldn't want my daughter to get an upset stomach and ruin her vacation. As Jack Nicholson once said in The Shining, "Words of wisdom, Lloyd. Words of wisdom."

Take care,


Ed Q.
 

JCA

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I too have been taking my kids to races both state side and in Mexico since they were 6 mos old. I think your friends are talking about getting something in writting to protect your a$$. You might need to check with your laywer to see what the restrictions on your visitations are. If you take your kid out of the states or even out of the state with out her permission you might find yourself in Federal Court. I do not know what your arrangements are.

As far a safe spectating. In Mexico it is easy to get sucked into the excitement and end up too close to the action also you might find yourself watching on the outside of a turn and justifying it to yourself because "there is no room to watch anywhere else". That is bull cause it is not worth the posibilty of getting hurt or killed to watch a race. Just make yourself keep safety your first priority and follow the good advice above (from other posts). I do take everyones Birth Certificates with us eversince 9-11 but have never been asked for anything weather my wife is with us or not.

Last but not least I couldn't agree with FABRICATOR more. A lot of people think that the laws/safety gets lax just cause you drove across a border. This is not true. You should act like you are still in the states. My kids always are in their car seats and and if anything I try to be more aware of my surroundings (too many others thinking there are no laws).

J.C. Andrews
Andrews Racing
www.andrewsracing.com
 
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