June 2, 2012 - We crossed into Mexico this AM with not a care in the world and made it to San Felipe, on the Baja coast. We were expecting some hassles in Tijuana when crossing, but to our surprise, there was no border to speak of. We simply rode between some dilapidated buildings (surely this was not the border?) and suddenly we found ourselves on a highway of sorts. A few turns later we were on our way to Ensenada.
We were glad to be off the few surface streets in Tijuana we took, providing us with an eyelevel view of despair all around. Not since the dark days of communism have I been in a place that felt so dead and heartless. Debris and people piled up against two or three layers of high walls frosted with barbed wire that would give the old Iron Curtain a run for its money. A few days earlier, we had run into countless border patrol vehicles on the US side when we crossed from Scottsdale to Yuma and onwards to San Diego. It felt a bit like a siege or large military occupation force.
San Felipe is a typical ho-hum tourist town, now devoid of Gringos as the season is over and the heat steadily increases, burning away all but the last American dollars from the mostly empty restaurants on the boulevard.
A few sleepy locals hang around and even the odd vendor hasn't given up targeting the mostly disinterested long-term Gringo residents or the occasional tourists like ourselves.
One of the most notable events of the first day in Mexico was the incessant buzzing of high-powered all-terrain race monsters plowing through loose sand at amazing speed. Onlookers, fuel pit stops and support vehicles clogged the road around Ensenada. We were convinced we'd arrived in the middle of the Baja 1000, a notorious off-road race, but we were told this was standard weekend fare. Overhead, four or more helicopters buzzed around and two of them actually landed in a regular gas station to fill up, drawing a crowd. Now we know where all those narco dollars go.
The cost of the suspension on this car is probably more than the total cost of my bike.
Jan's bike continued to entertain with esoteric problems. Here it is taking a rest.
Our environment is an incredibly comfortable one, with all the trappings, including WiFi and a hammock.
Of course, things went far too easy on day one and some research led us to the realization that the Mexican border, at least in Tijuana, is self-serve. In other words, if you don't stop and chase around for the right stamps and paperwork, you're on your own. Luckily we got sent in the right direction and the next day we rode to the Mexicali crossing, three hours away from San Felipe, and corrected everything. No longer illegal aliens in Mexico, we're currently relaxing the throttle and will be slowing down the travel pace drastically as of now.