February 12, 2023

Even though we went to bed last night around midnight PST, we both got great sleep. It probably had something to do with how much stuff happened yesterday, trying to cross into Baja. Zak got up early to watch the sunrise. I got up around 8 and the sun was bright, and it put me in a great, happy mood! The sun was shining, the van was clean, and we are in Mexico! How could things get any better?

Our sleeping spot for our first night in Baja


We had a slow morning and hung out at our sleeping spot for an hour and a half or two hours more before we moved on. I called my mom and stepdad, and it was nice to let them know that all was well! After that, we took Auggie and Ashe, Magnum and Kelsey’s dog, on a walk together. We haven’t introduced them yet because neither of them loves other dogs, but I think with more exposure to each other they will get to like each other more. Unfortunately, they are a little slow to warm up to each other thus far. They did do a bit of butt sniffing, and then got in a little tussle, but nothing too bad. They’re both strays so we’ll take it a day at a time.


We left around 10am, hoping to get to Papa Fernandez before the Superbowl kick off. We figured that we would find SIM Cards, groceries, and pesos as well as watch the game there. SIM sards were still sold out in all the spots we tried in San Felipe on the way out. We also realized that Papa Fernande is not a town, but rather a very large campground/ RV park with a restaurant that opens when patrons show up and Wifi for $25 MXN/ hour.

The restaurant at Papa Fernandez

At the Papa Fernandez restaurant, we all had pulled beef tacos (delicious!) and enchiladas, and Matt had a chile relleno (a fried pepper stuffed with cheese) and it looked so good! Once we were done with lunch, we had plans to move on to our next spot, about 4 hours away. However, just as we were pulling out, Matt and Chelsea’s back wheel locked up! They have been having issues with their emergency breaks for a little while now, and all four of us hit a HUGE pothole on the way over to Papa Fernandez, which we think messed things up further.


Because this has already happened to Matt and Chelsea on one of their other tires, they knew that they did have to just remove the broken E-Brake. Luckily, Tyler is also had to remove the e-brakes from Tyler and Cora’s van at some point, so he was very helpful. Between the four of us, we had enough tools to open our own garage! We worked outside the restaurant and campground for 3 hours. (Really, the boys did a lot of the work.) While we were standing there, Aurelio, the man who looks over the campground came over to watch and chat. I got to chat with him a lot and work on my Spanish skills some more!

We tried all sorts of things to remove the [dust cap]? from the wheel, which was very rusted on. After 3 hours of work, everyone was ready to throw in the towel, but then Aurelio came out with a large metal hammer (un marro grande) and a YouTube video. He basically he just told Matt to hit the dust cap and it should come right off. Lo and behold, after a few good taps, it came right off and all the broken e-brake pieces that were locking up the wheel fell right out! Aurelio saved the day right before sunset, and Matt and Chelsea’s van got a new name: El Marro Grande (the Big Hammer).

Matt with the van, sans wheel.


We are staying here tonight, and probably tomorrow night too because most everyone works full-time or close to full time except for Zak and I. This means that we are usually done with work after sunset, and therefore can’t (shouldn’t drive). Thank goodness for our friends with Starlink, Cora and Tyler and Magnum and Kelsey, because we have not been able to get our TelCel SIM Cards yet—although it doesn’t seem like there is cell service regardless! Starlink is the way to go for Wifi. We will all be able to work for now and then hopefully we will get to places with cell service eventually, but for now it is no big deal as long as we have clear sky for the Starlink Satellite.

Tonight, we also did little van tours of our respective vans! It is cool to see how everyone decorates and fits their belongings into tiny spaces creatively. We can’t wait to do a second build. We will be doing a permanent bed and a large garage in the back. Also, thanks to Starlink, we got to watch the last 5 minutes of the Superbowl, and Cora made Charcuterie! Two couples have pesos right now, but if we run out before we leave, we will make a little trip to the nearest town. Day two was a success!

Our second camping spot in Baja at Papa Fernandez


  • Tacos for 2 (6 tacos) + tip- $347.38 MXN- $18.58 USD
  • Campsite at Papa Fernandez- $150 MXN- $8.02 USD

CURRENT TOTAL: $3882.7 MXN — $207.74 USD

Missed our first post? Make sure to check out our adventures from our first day in Baja, Mexico!

3 thoughts on “Baja Day 2- BROKEN EMERGENCY BREAKS”

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