I left Timmy's place in LA with the intention of going to Duke Hem's place, picking up some clutch plates which I had ordered and had sent there and only staying a few days... but I ended up staying for 2 weeks!!
Like Tim, Duke had contacted me through a Honda C70 forum here in the USA. I arrived at Duke's house after a very heavy drinking session the night before with a couple of Marines who were stationed in Oceanside. On the way to Oceanside I was circled by an Apache Gunship attack helicopter. Clearly they viewed me as a threat (or else they were laughing at me) so I twisted the throttle and hauled some serious ass, I must have got an extra 2 mph out her as I opened that throttle up, the little beast. Anyway details are sketchy at best from my night on the beer with the Marines, but my helmet met a sad demise after serving me well. Sorry helmet. But anyway I arrived at Dukes to a warm welcome. Duke showed me around his house in La Mesa just outside San Diego. He showed me outside into the back garden and said "here are the keys to your apartment, you can stay here as long as you like, he then opened up the fridge and he had it stocked with a six pack of beer with and some food!
Duke has 2 Parakeet Yellow Honda C70's, and one blue one bought as a doner bike, but nothing has ever went wrong with his other Honda's to require its use! In the 90's (i think) Duke and his friend took a trip to Jamaica, where they decided to rent some motorcycles- enter the Honda cub. Duke had so much fun scooting around the island on the bikes he decided he had to own one. When he got home he set about looking for one.. and then another.
On the first day we went for a spin on Duke Honda's for a burger.
Later that evening Alica, Duke's better half ;-) arrived back from work so we headed into Old Town for some Margaritas and Mexican food. Old town is a nice spot, the entire area has been designated a national park, the area mainly consist of very old adobe buildings and hacienda style houses with white washed walls and red clay roof tiles.
Over the next few days, I was helped back to health from by Alisa during the day when she was around and plied with alcohol by night. One evening we went for a couple of margaritas for happy hour in a nearby Mexican restaurant and then went back to their house and made a serious dent in a very large bottle of Tequila with Alicia insisting that she show me how to dance.
Several times I attempted to make plans to leave but that never happened there was always a good reason to stay another day or 2! Both Alicia and Duke went out of their way to show me around San Diego and I had the best time there. Alicia made the most awesome Mexican food and Duke made great Margaritas. I only touched the surface of San Diego, I wasnt not very interested in seeing everything as I had other things on my mind... Mexico for one!.. I had to make sure I had all the necessary documentation, insurances etc etc.
But whilst there I manged to sort out loads of things.
I was introduced to Aaron Leegan (a man of disputed decent). Aaron invited us to a motorcycle meet called The Spokesmen- "A drinking group with a motorcycle problem" . There were loads of great bikes there, but the one that stole all the attention was the kitted out overlanding 90. The next day I received an email from Fox News requesting an interview, one of the Spokesmen had posted my trip on a website and they got wind of it. See the piece below.
While there I also attempted to change out my clutch plates again, but I did not put the new ones in as the they thinner than the old ones (which appear to be working fine now).
I hung out with Aaron and we chatted and drank few beers. Cheers Aaron and Jenny!
Time to Leave...
Once again thanks to Duke and Alicia for a great time in San Diego..!!
After a struggle to get my bike packed up and trying to find my keys, i eventually got going around 9.30am. I was trying to get to South Bay Motorsports at 10 to see Ted a guy I met at the Spokemen motorcycle meet also. Ted had offered to sort me out with a new helmet. So I decided pay him a visit.
I picked out a helmet, some glove and some chain lube courtesy Ted and South Bay Motorsports. Thanks Guys.
I was back on the road by 11.30 and headed towards the border. After 5 months in North America I was ready to leave, the excitement had gone for me, North America has everything and is a great place to visit and I have met some really great people there, but I longed for adventure, for different cultures and different challenges.. Mexico was calling me and I was excited to be going !!!
I hit the border around noon expecting the crossing to be a nightmare, but it was easier than I thought ( albeit very drawn out), but thankfully I had some good advice before hand so I knew what to expect. Crossing the border in Mexico is very strange as YOU have to know what the procedure is. No one stops you and asks for your passport or asks how long you will stay or anything.* It is totally up to you to voluntarily stop and get your documents straight. The reason is there is a Zona Libre in effect. Americans do not need to any visas or special permissions in place to enter Mexico or bring your vehicle in provided you are staying less than 3 days and do not go past the Zona Libre which extends approximately 25 kms into Mexico. But some people venture further in without the necessary documentation, and more people simply do it unwittingly and suddenly find their tourist cards and their temporary vehicle importation documents being demanded at a police or army check point, and if you do not have it, your vehicle can be impounded or at best you will be sent back to the border to get the necessary documentation, and you will most likely get a fine. (A Canadian friend I met at the hostel in Ensenada voluntarily went to the tourist immigration office in Ensenada (100kms inside the border) to request a Tourist Card as he had not been told he required one at the border when he crossed the previous day. He was fined on the spot and then had to pay for a Tourist Card...its ludicrous).
So after a bit of tooing and froing I sorted out the Tourist Card plus the temporary importation permit for the bike. However the Immigration officer only gave me 30 days. I requested more but he decline twice, so i gave in and completed the paper work. Normally tourists are given 180 days!
I was back on the bike at 2.30pm and headed for Rosarito, I found a place to stay at a cost of 30 dollars and i was allowed to bring my bike into the room.
The next day I headed for Ensenada. I found a nice hostel with some nice people there so I decide to stay.
I went of for some drinks that night to Hussong's Cantina the oldest bar in Ensenada apparently and met a bunch of Mexican and French students there.
I love the music and food in Mexico and the people are very friendly, there is so much to see in Mexico and 30 days* just wasn't* going to be enough. After exhausting all avenues to try and extend my permits at the local immigration office in Ensenada with the help or Laurentina at the hostel. I decided I had to face the border again; export my bike, cancel my permits and do it all over again. So I headed off 100kms back to the road and tackled Tijauan again. This time with a little more confidence.
I met the lady at the office and completed the necessary paper work to export it, Then I said, gracias, hasta leugo to the lady, rode off and then met her 2 minutes later at the import window and done the whole process again! But I was delighted I had fought the Mexican system and won (kind of), plus I knew I was going to enjoy Mexico.
Whislt in Tijuana I also made in-roads with the local Policia
Several nights is a row I ended up meeting up with the students I had met in Hussongss in Ensenada andeach night I told them I was leaving the next day, but it was hard to leave.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Mi Amigo Jorge.."]
- Gracias Amigos...
Eventually I got myself together and headed off- Next Stop San Quintin
[caption id="attachment_966" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Laurentina, Phillipe and Amaya - thanks Ensenada Backpackers!!"]