Driving from San Diego

brokenwave

Well Known Member
#1
How is the drive from San Diego going through Mexicali via the coastal highway? I have a PM to Rick aka Pinto Point about this. I going to Cholla on Monday and would like some insight from anyone who had driven that way. I am open to alternatives. I've only entered through Sonyota. So any info would be appreciated. Thx
 

Jungle Jim

Well Known Member
#2
Hey Broken.......................

Don't even think about it, unless you're doing a study on Mexican agriculture, slow moving farm equipment, drunk cowboys, muchos topes, pot holes and rip-off local policia in the twenty plus villages that you will have pass through. The new Coastal Highway begins five miles East of the City of San Luis Sonora. Crossing at Mexicali BC then working your way East through the farmlands then on to San Luis Sonora takes hours. The old road South from San Luis to El Golfo, through the farmlands takes a couple of more hours. Why not just continue East on I-8 through the Imperial Valley, 45 miles to Yuma, go right on 4th Ave and turn right on 16th street then South on Hwy 95, 22 miles straight to the border, cross, then make an immediate left, go five miles, make a right on the new toll road and make a 2 1/2 hour run at 70 mph. to PP. The toll for one vehicle is 110 pesos.

JJ

My new AKA: "Blow Hard"
 

brokenwave

Well Known Member
#3
JJ, I will check it out, I assume the Yuma crossing town is a lot smaller than Mexicali?. I will map it out when I get in front of a computer. Im sure I'll have a few more questions, thx.
 

TEG

New Member
#4
I make this drive a lot. The Mexicali route is 40 miles shorter than going through Yuma but due to the aforementioned farms roads and towns you have to drive through it takes just about the same amount of time as going through Yuma. However, you do avoid the 110 peso toll. I can also confirm that there is a section of road that is crap. Lots of stop signs and speed bumps. I've never had an issue with the policia.

The Yuma way has nice roads the whole way. I choose to go through Mexicali because my truck loves potholes and fuel so saving the 40 miles of driving (and the toll) adds up for me.

Instead of driving through AZ you should consider crossing in Andrade. You simply head south and get on the main road that follows the border all the way down to Mexico 2. Head east from there and you will pass through San Luis on your way to the new highway. There is a small toll when you enter Sonora. I find that this way is 20 minutes faster than driving through AZ.
 

brokenwave

Well Known Member
#5
It looks like, I will go through San Luis, I have pesos burning a whole in my wallet so the 110 peso toll is ok for a nicer road.
When it's cooler I will try going through Andrade and check that out.

Anyone know the condition of the Coastal highway, pot holes, sand bars, Police speed traps, etc.?

I last drove it 4 years ago to El Golfo and it was in perfect condition, when it was still unknown to most people.
Again, thanks for all the responses.
 

PintoPoint

Well Known Member
#6
I am not sure what roads some of these guys are taking. I go from Mexicali on highway 5 to highway 4 to highway 3 straight to Puerto Penasco. I have diven this road at least 40 times and its great and faster than any other way I have found. Chino California to Cholla Bay in 6-1/2 hours. The small farming communities are my favorite part. Its just over 3 hours from Mexicali to Cholla Bay. Pots holes in one town where they have an open are market. Most of the other roads are newly paved. Watch out for speed bumps in towns, not always clearly marked. Police and Federales have been nothing but kind and respectful. I have been pulled over once in one of the small towns at 4:30 because it was out of the ordinary for a california plated car to be traveling at that time. The police officer did a quick check in the back of the truck for contraband and sent me on my way. For me I would not go any other way. Another thing crossing at Mexicali is so much easier than Lukeville.

Rick
 

Jungle Jim

Well Known Member
#7
Hey all..............

Let's get some FACTS straight....

First, I-8 from San Diego to Yuma pretty much parallels the Mexican highway from Tecate BC, through Mexicali BC and on to Los Algodones BC.

US 95 from Yuma to San Luis RC parallels the Mexican road from Los Algodones to San Luis. There is no way that any miles can be saved by taking the Mexican route. What you will save is time. The I-8 speed limit although posted at 70 mph. is more like 85 mph. The US 95 speed limit is posted at 55 mph. but most vehicles do 70 mph. No matter what route you take you still have to end up in San Luis RC Sonora.

At San Luis you have two choices to get to El Golfo and on to PP. You can take the romantic route through the farms, dead dogs and speed bumps and barely get up to 30 mph., or you can take the new toll road that is in perfect condition, look at a lot of sand, creosote bush, lizards and ground squirrels at 95 mph.

I have never seen any law enforcement on the new road other than an occasional Green Angel truck. Both roads meet at the Checkpoint Charlie at the railroad Estacion El Doctor. From there to PP you will be on the not-so-new Coastal Highway.

That road is dangerous! Shifting sands from the miles of dunes can cover the pavement in a matter of hours when the wind blows, which it does a lot! Don't even think you can just plow through it, your 8000 pound truck is not a dune buggy. The big rigs use this road heavily. One small pothole can turn into a foot deep six foot wide axle breaker in a matter of hours. The edges of the road wash out and peel off into fifty foot drops when it rains. The only warning you might get is a few small rocks or an old tire lying next to the drop off. Coming home last December I had both springs on the third axle of my boat trailer break due to that road.

The pot holes are rarely repaired and when they are they use stuff looks like that driveway filler they sell at the Home Depot. Occasionally some good hearted soul might take a can of yellow spray paint and mark a circle around the potholes but you can't see them until you're right on top of them.

All said, this newer route gets me to PP in two and a half to three hours compared to the six and a half to seven hour trip through Gila Bend, Ajo and so on. The Californians are just beginning to pick up on getting to PP via this route as well.

JJ
 

TEG

New Member
#8
If you cross in Mexicali or Tecate you do not need to nor should you drive through San Luis Rio Colorado. This route takes you south on Mexico 5 towards San Felipe. About a quarter of the way to Felipe you take Mexico 4 due east through the farming communities of Ejido Durango and Luis B Sanchez or something like that. Then you pick up Mexico 3 where you eventually pass the new toll road a mile north of El Doctor military checkpoint.

As I wrote earlier, this way is 40 miles shorter than going through San Luis. I have driven all the various combinations more than a dozen times each and I track miles and time. Even though it is 40 miles shorter it works out about the same time wise as going through San Luis.
 

PintoPoint

Well Known Member
#9
If you cross in Mexicali or Tecate you do not need to nor should you drive through San Luis Rio Colorado. This route takes you south on Mexico 5 towards San Felipe. About a quarter of the way to Felipe you take Mexico 4 due east through the farming communities of Ejido Durango and Luis B Sanchez or something like that. Then you pick up Mexico 3 where you eventually pass the new toll road a mile north of El Doctor military checkpoint.

As I wrote earlier, this way is 40 miles shorter than going through San Luis. I have driven all the various combinations more than a dozen times each and I track miles and time. Even though it is 40 miles shorter it works out about the same time wise as going through San Luis.
Its always been a better route for me but I travel around the same time of day. Going south I cross at around 3:00PM almost no traffic. Traveling north a leave at around 5:00AM and almost not traffic.
 

brokenwave

Well Known Member
#10
On Monday I drove from Oceanside to RP, I crossed at Yuma/San Luis, I must say it was the fastest crossing into Mexico I've experienced in awhile.
I crossed at 1:30PM there were 2 lanes open, they were checking 1 out of every 6 cars.
After getting the green light I went 1 block and turned left on the 1st major street and proceeded 5 miles to the east, driving through San Luis was a breeze.
Took the Santa Clara/El Golfo highway and drove south 65-70mph is fine on that road, after awhile I found the toll road entry, it' now costs 110 pesos.
Drove to the check point at El Doctor they looked through my small cooler and said adios. I drove to the entrance to El Golfo went in
a few blocks and turned around because it looked much the same as when we went there 4 years earlier. Highway 3 is still is pretty good shape but I ran
into the 6-12" deep fingers of sand taking up 1/2 the southbound lane at KM marker 48-52. Glad all the responders mentioned the sand, the signs don't do it justice.
A really nice easy drive and very scenic, too bad the wind was blowing 15mph and it was pretty hazy on the water otherwise the views would have been even better.
Including gas and a quick snack in Yuma total was 6 hours and 380 miles from Oceanside to Cholla Bay.
There are 4 construction zones on US highway 8 that slowed me down about 15 minutes.

Again thanks for all the advice.
 
Top