Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Baja 3. - Hola Mexico

Up early this morning, we cleaned up our act, loaded our gear and headed for the BMW dealer.  We were there before the service manager had arrived but it wasn't long before he showed up and got our maintenance underway. 

Waiting for our bikes to be serviced gave us an opportunity to shop for a couple of essential items.  After about 2 hours our bikes are ready for adventure!  

The temperature had changed from about 70 degrees in the early morning to the mid 80's by the time we left and into the 90's in places.    

It felt good to hit the road.  Riverside is close to Los Angeles and due north of Tijuana.  We decided to point our bikes toward Tecate instead of heading straight south. The intent was to then take an interesting looking road from there to Ensenada for our first night in Mexico. 

The GPS was up to its usual hijinks and we soon found ourselves in Otay, just slightly east of Tijuana.  That was fine as there is a Sentri office there so we stopped to see if we could get our bikes approved for the southern equivalent to NEXUS.  The line was surprisingly short but the answer was "no such luck", just the same.   Oh well, across the line anyway which meant we could now tackle our next task of getting Tourist and Vehicle permits for traveling on the mainland. 

The United States employs hundreds of people to perform a single task.  Mexico employs a single person to perform a single task. They work very effectively at performing that task. It may not make much sense, but they perform that task and do not deviate!  

We were unable to get our required permits at the border crossing.  We found this out after finally finding an acceptable parking place and visiting all of the people performing their single task.  We did learn that we had to proceed into town to the Immigration Office.  

The Immigration facility is comprised of several people within government and non-government spaces.  We first inquired at what later turned out to be a immigration fee collecting bank, about how to go about this process.  We were told that we had to go and see the government immigration official next door and fill out a form to get a piece of paper that we could take back to them to pay the fee.  

Only after that, could we repeat the process and get a permit for our vehicles.  

Before the entire process was complete, we had to visit the copy shop next door in the other direction to have copies made of most, but not all of the paper.  Seriously, this is the actual procedure!  Ah, for the good old days of carbon paper, although that would put someone out of work…

Permits in hand, we see a taco stand across the street.  Since we had neglected to eat thus far, a quick bite is in order. 

Rather than proceed to Tecate as we had originally planned, the now late hour suggests our time would be more wisely used heading directly to Ensenada.  Off we go!

We have traveled the toll highway several times and are familiar with the ocean views from that route between Tijuana and Ensenada. This time we decide to travel the through-town road.  A nice way to go if you're not in a hurry.  Lots a stunning ocean view or ocean front property and casa's.  

The through-town road finally heads away from the coast to go around a sizeable hill and finally into Ensenada.  As we head away from the coast, we stop to chat about our route and decide the best views would be from the toll "1-D" highway.  We turn around and pass through some interesting markers/barricades and signage (written in a foreign language) to access the 1-D. 

I have found that the lessons are best learned the hard way.  Peter and I had a quick lesson in Spanish today.  It turns out that the sign, and the people trying to tell us something, we're saying that the toll road was washed out.   After we had turned around on the coastal through-town road to travel the the toll road, we had to turn on that too and head back to the previous road.  No problem since the only appointment we had was with a cerveza!

Off to San Felipe tomorrow. 

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