Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Goodbye, USA. Hello Befuddlement! - 12 November 2017

12 November 2017 – The alarm goes off right at 3:00 a.m. and I say God, do I really want to get up? I know the earlier I leave the easier the drive to Tijuana, Mexico will be. Also getting thru the border will be simpler because of smaller crowds. So off I go. I get dressed and eat breakfast. My brother asked, why I’m leaving so early and I tell him to get ahead of traffic and get to the border before lines of vehicles and crowds amass. I get my bike all loaded up except for the tires. I start putting my tires on and nothing seems to look right. I finally settle with the front tire on the bottom and rear tire on top. I tape them together so they're easier to manage. I bungee them to the top of my box and I’m good to go. The only thing I haven’t completed is writing anything for my blog. Larry and I had a photo session before I left. Initially it started out in the dark but before I rolled out his gate it was daylight, sometime around 6:30 a.m. He took a video of me as I was leaving and a couple of pictures for myself. I switched the S/D Card in my GPS to the Mexican GPS Maps. Blanche immediately started dragging me over hill and dale again. Fortunately, I knew the way to Hwy 57 and eventually Blanche agreed with me even though she rebelled. As I drove thru cities you can see them come alive and as the cities woke up the cars on the interstates increased.  It’s about 130 miles from my brother’s home to Tijuana, Mexico. I believed I arrived around 10:30 a.m. at Customs and Immigration, Tijuana, Mexico.  I made one stop in a rest area to take a break. I never really traveled very fast somewhere between 55mph / 89kph – 65mph / 104kph. I don’t like to run my engine over 5000 Rpm’s. I think it saves wear and tear on the engine and I need this engine to hold up for another 20,000 mi. / 32,258 km.

Well, here we go, I just ran out of road right into Tijuana, Mexico Custom and Immigration. The Customs Officer asks me where I’m going and I tell him Cabo San Lucas, the tip of the Baja Peninsula. He tells me the best bars to check out. He asks me why I have spare tires, then looks at my tires on the motorcycle and says your tires are in good shape. I’m sure he then realized I will be traveling much farther. He also tells me I don’t need my passport stamped if I stay on the Baja Peninsula. I tell him I will be taking the ferry from La Paz, BC to Mazatlán, Mexico. He said, that I need to get my passport stamped if I'm travelling to Mazatlán, Mexico. I said ok, where do I go? He pointed to the building. 

I drove over by the building and parked my motorcycle. I pulled out all my paper work and headed inside. I walk past the x-ray machine and the lady points me forward so I keep walking. I get to this area where people are filling out paperwork. A guy hollers at me to fill out this piece of paper, top and bottom, and points to a wall with a shelf to write on. I fill out the paper and take it to the lady at the desk behind me. She stamps or does something with it and gives it back and tells me to go over to another woman behind the glass. I hand the paperwork to her and she looks at it. I get charged $27 for something. I show my permit sticker for my motorcycle and Insurance paperwork that I took care of before I left home. She takes it and looks at it. She checks her computer and says nothing. Then gives everything back to me. She says to go back and see the lady I just came from. OK... So I head back to her. She staples the papers together and points to the same lady behind the glass I was just at. I’m confused so stop at another window. They look at my paperwork and point to the other lady behind the glass. So I go see her and she says she is finished and I can go. I now am thoroughly confused and am feeling like a shooting gallery target, walking back and forth and back and forth. I take a chance and start walking out and walk by the x-ray lady again thinking she may like to see what in my shopping bag. Nope, she waved me on by. I continued out the building and back to my motorcycle. I got to my motorcycle and it dawned on me that I better check and see if my passport was stamped. I went thru every page before I found the stamp. I breathed a sigh of relief. When I leave Mexico I’ll for sure will know whether my paperwork was done correctly.

As I was standing by my motorcycle figuring out which end was up, a large tour bus pulled up in front of. Apparently I parked in the wrong spot. No worries, nobody cares. At least the bus driver didn’t get off the bus and start hollering at me. As I was putting my stuff back several people saw the stickers on the sides of my saddlebags. They started asking question and it wasn’t long before I had an audience. I told them about my trip around the world. Some people stood in pure amazement. Some said "Man, that must have taken planning". Others said their tour bus trip into the Mexican Vineyards is a pretty wimpy trip compared to what I was doing. Some of the Chinese wanted to ask questions but couldn't speak enough English to ask questions. I felt bad for them. I know the feeling.  I have got to start remembering to try to use Google Translate. All of the above probably went on for 30 minutes. As we were talking, people were in real close and I thought for a second that I’m so distracted somebody could be stealing my helmet or coat and I wouldn’t even know it. So, I grabbed my helmet and coat and laid them on my seat in full sight. Precautions... So anyway, the bus left so I finished putting on my coat and helmet on. I took some pictures but didn’t get any good ones of the border in to Mexico. You roll up on the border and next thing you know you’re over it. You can’t back up and re-do it. I’ve got to think better in the future. So I saddled up my trusty steed and started south to Cabo San Lucas.

I left the border heading South toward Ensenada, BC on Hwy 1. It’s a four-lane toll road (18 Pesos /about $1 for motorcycles) till you enter Ensenada. I saw some very beautiful home along this stretch of the highway. The countryside looks mostly desert. I guess there are some agricultural areas where they grow vegetables. I’m unsure of the area. I don’t know my exact location but I’m South of San Vicente and before the city of Colonet. I’m in the town or village of Ejido 27 de Enero, Baja California. I’m presently staying in the Hotel Sonora. I have found the staff to be helpful and very courteous and the price is right. At $15 per night, it’s not the brightest or the prettiest but it’s just right for me.

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