I spend a lot of time in baja, it's fine. I don't do drugs and stay away from those that do. After you get past Ensenada most of Baja is safe. I tell people "if you are not comfortable going to Mexico you should stay home". I don't go places in L A cause I don't think I am safe. There are many perfect beaches on both coasts, I would start camping with others to begin with and you getting to understand how it all works. I have not overlanded Mexico for about 10 years. If you are remote camping and see boats coming in at night, DO NOT check them out. Go! you'll have a great time.
I do the taxi bag drag from cancun to Playa Del Carmen, then hop on the ferry to Cozumel for a week. Last year my seat on the ferry exploded. The year before that, a guy who was working as a uniformed officer the day before, tried selling me drugs. We just missed the flare up of gang activity that happened a week later.
And the locals insist that I keep to the city. Going to Tulum? Hire a private tour to keep you safe(er). The schools and churches are built by the cartels, their little way to appease the public. You might find a guide that'll point them out. On our day off, no tours, we hiked the south side of Playa. Saw the little parks and such. Was relatively safe there.
Went to the Dom instead this year. Aside from moronic customs agents, and useless taxi drivers, on the way in, the Dominican republic was safer.
Leave the truck at home and fly in, to somewhere safe. Or somewhere a single taxi cab ride away from being safe. There isn't any place in the mex that's nicer than Cozumel anyways.
If you're ok with the danger of driving through, so be it. Just don't let anyone fool you, and tell you that it's safe. If I wasn't a single guy, I wouldn't go on these types of vacations. No way would I bring kids.