September, 2007 (Tecate - Ensenada)
. . .
The condition of the road surface was mixed. The 15 miles
closest to Ensenada was in fair to poor condition, with a number
of potholes present. To the north of that section the highway is
being repaved, with the reconstruction proceeding in the
direction of Ensenada. Further to the north, the last 10-15 miles into
Tecate had fair surface quality. The number of heavily-loaded
trucks on this road has certainly not diminished - be prepared
to exercise caution when passing!
On this particular trip we stopped at the LA Cetto tasting room.
For comparison, in 2006 we stopped at the Domecq winery. Other
than differences in the wines, the approach to customers is
different. There was a charge for tasting at Domecq, while the
tasting at LA Cetto continues to be at no charge.
December, 2002 (Tecate - Ensenada)
. . .
The condition of the road surface continues to be very good, with
the only exception being a few miles outside Ensenada. There was
construction going on at two locations: just north of Francisco
Zarco there is new pavement going down, and at the underpass
where Route 3 meets the Tijuana toll road there is heavy constuction with
a dirt bypass.
On an earlier trip we'd searched for the Monte Xanic winery near
the town of Francisco Zarco and failed to find this highly
recommended place. On this trip we went with more specific
directions and easily found this lovely winery.
Heading from Ensenada to Tecate, you take the main left-hand
turn just after crossing the long bridge. This takes you into
Francisco Zarco on a paved street. After perhaps a mile, and
several topes, the pavement ends at a stop sign. Continue to
follow the dirt road leading straight ahead - after 1/4 mile or
so the road splits with the desired route leading gently to the
right and then back to the left - a long, gentle "S" curve. The
entrance to the Monte Xanic winery is a short distance beyond
the curve, and is well marked.
A guard opened the large gate for us and pointed to a large,
white building on a nearby hill. We slowly drove through the
vineyards and parked just outside the building. Inside we were
directed through the great racks of barrels to the "tasting room"
- a large raised platform at the back of the building. There we
were greeted by José Ochoa Calderón, the Assistant
Winemaker (Asistente de Enologo).
Marilyn is the wine fancier and she did most of the sampling of a
variety of whites. As I've gotten older, my stomach complains
more often about any acid in wine, and so my "tasting" consisted
of some light sipping. However, I'm delighted to report no
complaints at all stomach wise. Marilyn and I both rated the wines
a notch above the LA Cetto wines we've sampled down the road.
With pleasure we purchased our limit of two bottles for import
into the U.S. without paying a customs fee.
You can also find directions to the winery on their website at:
February, 2002 (Tecate - Ensenada)
. . .
The condition of Route 3 was quite good. The signs announcing
pending repairs in 1999 were accurate - during the 2 1/2 years
since I last took this route the paving project had taken place.
There were two construction areas just south of Tecate, with
guide vehicles leading groups through the work zones.
February, 2002 (Ensenada - San Felipe)
. . .
It had been almost 20 years since I'd been on this section of
Route 3, and it was most pleasant to be reminded of what a
lovely ride it is. The route ascends to a high plateau across
the Baja peninsula, passing though several agricultural valleys
before descending to the Gulf of California, where it meets
Route 5 between Mexicali and San Felipe.
The road condition was generally good, with some rough sections
appearing east of Ojos Negros. There are three topes to be
encountered in Heroes de la Independencia.
This particular trip followed an exceptionally cold snap in the
Californias (snow fell in Riverside just over a day before we
traveled this road), and there were small patches of snow along
much of the highway at the higher elevations. The outside
temperatures were in the high 30's and low 40's.
September, 1999 (Tecate - Ensenada)
. . .
I would characterize the road condition on Route 3 as
fair. There were numerous sections of moderate
potholes, and little indication of pending repairs - although
there was a sign at the Ensenada end announcing grand things to
come for the highway.
I'd not been on the road for well over ten years, and I was
quickly reminded of how this road is a major truck route to Ensenada.
The truck traffic is very heavy, and caution should be exercised
in the winding sections through the mountains.
Another old-time memory was that the road is popular with
bicyclers, and there were several on the road the day we were driving
north. In one instance, a truck swerved across the center line
to avoid a bicycler rather than slow down. This forced me over to
the side of the road momentarily, and was a bit scary.
At one point near the Guadalupe Valley there was an accident.
The highway police were present, but no effort was being made to
rescue anyone from the overturned car. Apparently fatal to
I think the highlight of our trip along Route 3 was a winery
stop. We spent a couple of hours at the L. A. Cetto winery in
the Guadalupe Valley. They have a very nice tasting room and
outdoor seating. Our tour of the facilities occurred during the
harvesting season, and allowed us to taste both the fresh grapes
and the juice being squeezed from them. The entrance road to L.
A. Cetto is just across from the larger Domecq winery.