Ok, we planned it just right and entered Mexico early on a Sunday morning, just like I’ve read one should do to avoid the long lines and hassle associated with crossing on a busier day. We first went to register the motorcycle with customs. We find the building right away and a guy tells us that we can’t do it here today and that we will either have to wait until tomorrow or do it somewhere else. We look at each other with a big F formed on our faces. How could this be, we crossed here on a Sunday 2 years ago with our jeep and had no problems. It doesn’t matter. We can’t get it done here today. We discussed going back to the US and crossing again tomorrow. The US is less then 100 yards away but that means we will have to pass through the US customs and that could be a real hassle. They could require us to unpack all our stuff for a search and probably would. Double F. We went to the Immigration office to get our tourist card while we were still thinking what to do. The people there were very polite and told us we could clear customs for the motorcycle in La Paz where we are planning on taking a ferry to mainland Mexico. GREAT! We hop on the bike and proceed into Mexico relieved.
We’re tooling through Mexicali looking for highway 2 heading west. This is a big city of about a million people. Downtown there were people lying on the street all over the place. It looked like most of them were sleeping on the street. It’s so weird thinking the USA is just over there a stones throw away. We wondered if these people came here from all over Mexico hoping to cross the border illegally and failed and are now down and out living on the street. Yesterday was Mexico’s Independence Day, a big day of celebration, maybe these people had been out partying hard the night before and are just sleeping it off. Possibly a few but there were just too many of them.
We expected to just run into highway 2 but the road we were on suddenly had a roadblock with police directing traffic. I pulled the bike up to the roadblock and asked a police officer, in Spanish, how to get to the road to Tecate. He replied in English “Do you speak Spanish?” I said “Un poco” (A little) He replied back with a big smile “Good, I don’t speak English” We all laugh. He calls over to another officer who came walking over saying “Parle vouz Francais” Now we are all laughing. This guy spoke English well and was very helpful to us. It was still a challenge to find the highway but Heidi and I are used to this. Don’t panic and just try the roads that feel right.
The predicted highs for Mexicali were 105 degrees. I was dripping sweat on the counter while filling out my tourist form. Soon after Mexicali we started going up in elevation and the temperatures started to cool. This was a great ride, double lane freeway through rocky mountain scenery. At Tecate we turned south on highway 3 toward Ensenada.
Ensenada was a lot bigger than we expected. It was great seeing the Pacific Ocean and all the seaside scenery but getting through town took forever. There were still a lot of celebrations going on for Independence Day. This seemed to add to the slow traffic.
After Ensenada the traffic almost vanished. We were thinking of maybe camping that night along the Pacific coast on a beach somewhere but we came across all the camping spots too early in the day. We wanted to get deeper into Mexico before stopping. We stopped for gas at San Vicente. I asked the gas attendant if she knows of a good restaurant in town “Puede dicerme donde es un restaurante bien” She points to a place right next door, a quaint little Mexican restaurant. The waitress there hands us the menu, opens it up and points to the selection ands says “Only Mexican food” Like she was thinking we wanted American food or something. We thought this was weird but blow it off thinking we are not that far into Mexico and there are probably a lot of Americans coming through here during the Baja races wanting American food. Well the food was fantastic, the hot sauce was hot and I shouldn’t have tried to finish the whole thing. It was just too good.
It was late afternoon and I was getting fried. We have been on the road since 7:30 AM. We cruised through several medium size towns. I pulled over and stopped in most of them to talk with Heidi and discuss an option of spending the night here. Heidi was adamant about pressing on and hopefully finding a camping spot on a beach. We get to Colonia Vicente Guerrero where there is a tourist sign with a palm tree pointing toward the coast. We head down that road. The road was dirt, rock and bumps. It soon became apparent that the beach was a lot further then we wanted. We turn around and get back to the main road. I tell Heidi that I’m toast and need to stop now, she agrees. We pull into a nice little place, motel Sanchez. Twenty bucks for the night and we are set. Ice cold beer is right across the street and we have a beautiful little courtyard with a huge tree in the middle to enjoy it under.
I had to take off the back of the toilet and manually flush it but what do you expect for twenty bucks? At least it flushed.
Right across the street from the motel was OK Disco karaoke bar. I slept like rock and Heidi listened to bad karaoke all night. I did wake once about three AM to purge my fabulous Mexican meal but then fell right back to sleep. I guess my eyes were bigger than my stomach. At least I didn’t have food poisoning….