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Old 12-02-2012, 02:41 PM   #526
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Originally Posted by DanielR View Post
Love the Canada humor.
Canadian Humor???
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:48 PM   #527
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Mexico beckons us southwards, promising warmth and a change-up in culture that we've been inching towards our entire trip. We've done more preparation in the last week, than we have in the last 5 months on the road, researching border crossings and paperwork. All the reading we've done says to avoid Tijuana, the congestion at the border is horrendous. Do we cross at Tecate? Go as far west as Mexicali and then cut back into the coast?

As usual, we ask the locals. Mark said we shouldn't have any traffic if we just headed directly south since we were crossing over during Thanksgiving weekend. So we threw out all of our plans and crossed at Tijuana anyway.


A quick wave of a guard's hand and suddenly we are in Mexico!

As promised, there was very little wait-time at the border, and the passport control to enter the Baja Peninsula was non-existent! We found out that we did need a visitor's permit if we wanted to enter mainland Mexico, but this could be done in many places on the Baja. We got our permits and passport stamped at the Banjercito (bank run by the Mexican Army) in Tijuana anyways, but our Temporary Vehicle Import Permit (TVIP) would have to be obtained further south if and when we decided to cross into the mainland.


Mex-1 hugs the western coastline of the Baja Peninsula south leaving Tijuana

Piercing the veil between San Diego and Tijuana, we were assaulted by the acrid smell of pollution and the haphazard sprawl of shanties lining the hills. My immediately thought was, "It's India all over again!". We weren't frat boys looking for some illicit weekend excitement, so we didn't linger in Tijuana very long. Instead we immediately got on the toll road southbound and I was relieved that the stench of Tijuana evaporated away, replaced by the beauty of the Baja coastline.


Big Mexican flag in Ensenada

Mexicans love huge flags! You can see Tijuana's Mexican flag almost from San Diego, and as we approached Ensenada (about 90 minutes south of TJ), we saw yet another over-sized flag on the beach. We rode past the large cruise ships that dock here and vomit gringo tourists out into the streets of this port town. That should have been our first clue that this really wasn't the Mexico we were looking for. On a side-note, I was trying to figure out if "gringo" was a derogatory term or not. And was I a "gringo"? Or maybe a "chingo"? :) Then I Googled the term "Chingo"... and found out it was a swear word in Spanish! It means "a shitload" (a whole lot of). I've really got to learn some Spanish before I offend any of the locals with my ill-translated gringo puns!

As we were trying to find affordable accommodations, we found out everything is expensive here because all the tourists are willing to pay US prices on their Mexican vacation. Chingo de Gringos! Not good. We paid dearly for a run-down room on the outskirts of the downtown. It was the most we've paid since leaving Canada!


First Mexican meal in Mexico! Paying gringo prices for not very chingo tacos...


Serenaded in Ensenada. Hey where's his Mariachi outfit...?!?


Blurry photo because we were ready to bolt from the surly-looking mariachi who obviously didn't want his picture taken...

The next morning after breakfast, we met another rider, Johnny, who I'm guessing owns a Ducati dealership in Chicago. He visits Baja California quite often and he told us that Ensenada was a dump and to get the hell out as soon as we could. We were originally planning to take some Spanish classes here in town, but this conversation convinced us to go elsewhere.


Hitting the road again! Mex-1 southbound out of Ensenada

El Rosario is about a 3.5 hour ride south of Ensenada. Neda read about a great place to stay the night, very cheap and nice, called the Baja Cactus Motel. We scooped up the last room, a luxury suite above the lobby!


Neda is 3Ging on our balcony

So we got Neda a SIM chip in Ensenada for her iPhone and now she's addicted to the 3G down here. We're very surprised at the telecommunications infrastructure in Baja. Seems like they've got more coverage than some parts of the US! And cheaper as well!


Framed pictures of all the Baja racers line the walls of Mama Espinosa's, many of them personally signed. And Neda is still 3Ging...

For the next couple of days, we frequented Mama Espinosa's, a well-known seafood restaurant beside the motel. El Rosario is one of the first check-points in the famous Baja 1000, which runs the 1000 off-road miles from Ensenada to La Paz at the southern tip of the peninsula. While motorcycle racers complete the course in a little over 12 hours in riding time, we're taking a much more sedate, and less sandy route towards La Paz.

We stayed for a couple of nights in El Rosario, taking advantage of the motel's internet to Skype into Sidestand Up, an Internet radio talk show that we had been invited to participate in. It was a really fun experience! Before our segment we got to hang out in the chat-room and talk to some of the followers of our blog. It got a bit stressful when our Skype session dropped us from the call though, as I frantically tried to get us reconnected and Neda gave a play-by-play in the chat room. :)


Posing with the cactus trees

The next morning, we continued our own Baja 1000 southwards. Mex-1 is very nicely maintained, great pavement and the sections that weave through the mountains of the peninsula are very twisty, which gives us a bit of entertainment. Unfortunately, we can't apex properly through the left-handers because the road is so narrow and has no shoulders. This means that on-coming trucks and 18-wheelers consistently run over the yellow line into our lane for fear of running off the narrow road. And the faster they drive, the more they encroach on our side of the road! We run a pretty tight curb line through all the blind curves up and down the mountainside.


Hiking around the crazy cacti

There are tons of cacti here. And all sorts. Tall, skinny ones, short and fat ones. All different shapes and sizes. Thousands of them line the landscape on either side of the road and I imagine they are spectators on race day, watching Neda and I zoom through the curves of our Baja 10000. Speaking of which, we found out that we just missed the real race by a couple of weeks, that would have been amazing to watch!


Not sure what would have happened if she actually caught hold of it. 'Cause my topcase is already fulll...
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:04 AM   #528
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Enjoying the RR! Thanks for taking us along. Small world you running into Johnny. Nice guy and runs my favorite shop in Chicago.
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:16 AM   #529
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There is a book of good hotels in Mexico / central america available via ADV.

With an ADV username of "Sjoerd Bakker" there is some info on his book link is here. http://www.advrider.com/forums/showp...9&postcount=93

It is also located as a sticky Hotels in Mexico and Central America under Trips Planning Americas http://www.advrider.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=57

It sounds like a small operation and may be a little late for you, but if you hear of anyone with it on your travels, it comes well recommended.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:14 AM   #530
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Bienvenidos a México- Welcome to Mexico

Enjoy the warm weather, the warm people and some hot spices. Enjoy Bahia de Los Angeles before the develoers get their condos going.

We will be interested in your take on La Paz. Keep the reports and photos coming.
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:59 AM   #531
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If you guys want to test your dirt skills a little go down to San Francisquito. Its not too hard and is a very nice place to spend the night. There may not be any fuel/food/water down there but probably the fishing camp and cabanas will be open.
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:02 PM   #532
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I'd suggest Cabo Pulmo and go snorkling.
It's the northern most coral reef for this part of the world and an awesome place to spend a few day.

https://www.google.com/search?q=cabo...w=1280&bih=656

...best of luck getting your TVIP (vehicle import) in La Paz at the ferry. Plan on standing around alot and waiting. Bring a good book to read and hopefully the process will go faster for you than it does for most.
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:09 PM   #533
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Wow! What a great report. I just "found" your report this morning and read it all. Thanks for all of your efforts doing this report as I know it's not easy. By the way, I envy your photo skills!

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Old 12-03-2012, 01:18 PM   #534
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Enjoying your excellent RR. While the photography has added a great deal to this thread...you might want to use discretion when taking photos of people in Mexico.
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:56 PM   #535
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TVIP info

...Ben here from Gros Morne. Been following the trip, seems like you guys are having an amazing time! I'm currently in Nicaragua on the Pacific coast in a little slice of paradise called Bahia Madjuagal. Just rented a Yumbo 200 dirt bike and Ill be heading across the country to the Caribbean on a new dirt road that was supposed to have been built earlier this year (RR to follow...)

Im actually writing because I noticed you didn't get a tourist card or TVIP yet. I did this in late 2010 and rode down the Sea of Cortez side, avoiding the various checkpoints and figuring i would take care of it in La Paz. Come to find out they had changed some things and I paid a hefty fine (seems to be more the further south you go into Baja). I cant remember if it was more related to the tourist card or the TVIP, but here is a link to the thread I posted about it which includes a lot of advice, comments, and the eventual outcome ( about $100 more than I would have paid at the US border). I guess I would recommend taking care of the paperwork as soon as you can...

Also, a link to the blog I kept with pictures of the trip if you care to take a look.

Ride safe, I'll be following you guys. Hope we can meet up somewhere in South America. :-)

http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=641918

http://ridingbacktocentralamerica.bl...-and-real.html
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:39 PM   #536
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlestonADV View Post
Enjoying your excellent RR. While the photography has added a great deal to this thread...you might want to use discretion when taking photos of people in Mexico.
Charleston is correct. Always ask - just hold up the camera and say "Fotos OK?" Most people love to have their picture taken. If people are in a parade, it is usually a different case and OK to shoot away.

Saludos!
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:22 PM   #537
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a report from Ben (nov 27th) about that same issue/problem/resolution
http://www.houseofmotorrad.blogspot.com/
...they we're about to fly back to Tijuana (to get paperwork) and got lucky.

i have friends from Sayulita who weren't so lucky and were told ride back to the border (from La Paz) and get your paperwork & they did because they had no other choice. there are no set rules on anything south of the border and you are at the whim of the last person you talk to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brecchi View Post
...Ben here from Gros Morne. Been following the trip, seems like you guys are having an amazing time! I'm currently in Nicaragua on the Pacific coast in a little slice of paradise called Bahia Madjuagal. Just rented a Yumbo 200 dirt bike and Ill be heading across the country to the Caribbean on a new dirt road that was supposed to have been built earlier this year (RR to follow...)

Im actually writing because I noticed you didn't get a tourist card or TVIP yet. I did this in late 2010 and rode down the Sea of Cortez side, avoiding the various checkpoints and figuring i would take care of it in La Paz. Come to find out they had changed some things and I paid a hefty fine (seems to be more the further south you go into Baja). I cant remember if it was more related to the tourist card or the TVIP, but here is a link to the thread I posted about it which includes a lot of advice, comments, and the eventual outcome ( about $100 more than I would have paid at the US border). I guess I would recommend taking care of the paperwork as soon as you can...

Also, a link to the blog I kept with pictures of the trip if you care to take a look.

Ride safe, I'll be following you guys. Hope we can meet up somewhere in South America. :-)

http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=641918

http://ridingbacktocentralamerica.bl...-and-real.html
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:50 PM   #538
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Originally Posted by eakins View Post
a report from Ben (nov 27th) about that same issue/problem/resolution
http://www.houseofmotorrad.blogspot.com/
...they we're about to fly back to Tijuana (to get paperwork) and got lucky.

i have friends from Sayulita who weren't so lucky and were told ride back to the border (from La Paz) and get your paperwork & they did because they had no other choice. there are no set rules on anything south of the border and you are at the whim of the last person you talk to.
Hey guys - yeah Eakins, looks like your friends caught a break at the airport. I tried the airport as well, but no dice. I exhausted all my options with a local friend helping me out in both Cabo and La Paz, but I pretty much had to swallow the fines in order to take the ferry. I think it was just the tourist visa that was the problem - needed it past the 20 mile free-zone. I'm pretty sure the TVIP was the regular price, which I needed for the mainland. Another thing that sucked was that they pre-dated the permits for the day I crossed the border. I had been trying to stretch out my time in Mexico for as long as I could which is why I skipped the permits at the border in the first place (and there was nobody there at Tecate.) So I should have just taken care of it at the US border, since the outcome was the same, except I paid an extra $100 and change...
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:15 PM   #539
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If you read the post by Gene, it sounds like Gene and Neda got their passports stamped and got their visas in TJ, So no problems in La Paz getting a TVIP
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:40 PM   #540
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My bad - feeling stupid - carry on......
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