Saturday, 30 July 2011

Hesperia to Ensenada (Mexico)

Thur 28th to Fri 29th July

It was with a little sadness when we said our goodbyes to Craig & Linda this morning although by the look of it Bob wasn't going anywhere.

Our first day on the road together since the trip started in early May. It was good to see Terry back in the saddle after his mishap. Now there are three old gits on the same old bikes trying to get to the bottom of South America.

Twenty miles from Craig's the unmistakeable stench of overheating brakes assailed my nostrils. At first I thought it was coming from passing lorries but soon realised it was my bike. The rear wheel was red hot and refused to revolve…….

………..fortunately after a little cooling time and a bit of adjusting and we were back on the road.

The roads were pretty uninspiring, being either freeways or going through an urban sprawl with traffic lights every few hundred yards.

First shot of Terry riding, not very exciting I know but we needed it for the record.

Our destination was El Cajon, a few miles from the Mexican border Our challenge for tomorrow.

Friday 29th

Goodbye America. That’s the end of the easy ride both in terms of culture and language. We have had a great time and met some lovely people. Now it’s time to start working the grey matter to make ourselves understood as well as understand what is going on. You can count on two hands the number of Spanish words we know between us.

We arrived at the border crossing at Tecata and passed the American side without even realising it. Good start because we had to let them know we were leaving and Terry had to show them his bike was going too. Back to the States before finally entering Mexico properly. First task was to obtain tourist permits and temporary importation of vehicle permits. Four hours later and 25 dollars each lighter we got the tourist permits but couldn’t get the vehicle ones (we have to go somewhere else for them).

The first thing that struck me was how different things were, even in the immediate border area. Poverty was more prevalent and few people spoke much English.

The Baja peninsula... Lots of barren mountainous terrain although they have started cultivating vines and a few modern wineries dot the landscape

We have been continuously warned that Mexico was dangerous and the people unfriendly. First impressions are the opposite. I saw these guys herding cattle and stopped to take a photo…………

…….. By sign language I asked if they minded. Obviously not as they came over and posed for me.

Clearly it's not all sweetness because we passed two military checkpoints within the first 20 miles, however, the soldiers, armed to the teeth, were more interested in lorries than the likes of us and we were waved through with a smile.

We stopped at a roadside stall selling fruit to practise our communication skills and buy some oranges, however, the girl who was not much older than about 16 spoke excellent English. I asked if she was still at school but she said she had left and has a two month old baby!

It was only a short ride to Ensenada, our destination for the night, and we were cooling off in the pool by about 4 o’clock. Food and beer followed!

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