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July 31, 2016

The Baja Trip: Day 4 - Tijuana to San Diego

Update: I am alive and well and resting peacefully in San Diego, California, USA.

This is roughly the route I took today.

Starting Odometer: 44,028
Ending Odometer : 44,133
Miles Driven Today: 105

Cabrillo National Monument

This shows the average wait times for the border crossing at San Ysidro. Note: This is for crossing into the U.S. For crossing into Mexico, there is no wait time because they don't care. They just wave you through.

I check out of the hotel in Tijuana, and decide I'll try to get across the border before things get too insane. The GPS takes me a different route through Tijuana than the highway signs do, but I follow the GPS and go through old town Tijuana. NOw, I see signs for the border crossing.

But of course, the border is just gridlock, so I start lane splitting because, if you're not going to do it here, where are you going to?

Now, you should know that border guards are the most royal jackasses on the planet. These are not people to fuck with. These guys make small town cops, highway patrol, county deputies....all pale in comparison to border guards. These guys can keep you out of the country.

And, at least one time I came back over, I tried using the bus lane and they were so pissed they sidetracked me for secondary screening.

So, I lane split up to very near the front. Then, I get in line and don't screw around a lot.

She types in my license plate number, because I didn't stop at the right place when I was pulling up. It says "2 cars per green light", which confused me, apparently.

This is the part that concerns me. I'm not clear if there are warrants for my arrest. Who can know for sure, right? I mean...you'd have to open your mail to know for certain.

I'm working on my Spanish, trying to make sure I get my verb tense just right, and all of the objects as masculine (o) or feminine (a). Suddenly, it occurs to me, that she won't speak to me in Spanish. And for this, I'm kind of sad. I like trying to talk to people in Spanish. It's fun and challenging, in a ridiculous sort of way.

She asks where I've been. Where I'm going.

"I was in Bahia Los Angeles for the weekend. I'm going to Riverside."

It sounds fishy, even to me. Who in their right mind would drive a motorcycle from Riverside to Bahia Los Angeles for the weekend.

But she just waves me through.

I figure it took me about 30 minutes to clear the border crossing (from 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.)

Once I'm on the US side, I already have a little plan in mybrain. What I'll do is drive up the peninsula that defines San Diego Bay. I haven't been up this way in a long time. So I head up the peninsula, and the difference between the USA and Mexico is just stunning. Like, down there, it's all just failed housing projects, trash on both sides of the road, open fires of burning trash in the desert, the smell of raw sewage in the streets. Here, it's all bougainvilla, paved biking paths, condos, preserved coastlines.

The roads are paved and smooth, conspicuously lacking potholes. No one runs up to you selling cookies in the streets. No stray dogs. No stray cats.

The view of San Diego with the bridge before it is just stunning, of course. Southwest planes are taking off about every 7 minutes it seems.

Now, I'm at the Hotel del Coronado, established in 1888. Stunning hotel, of course.

I drive around pretty much all of the island that you can see. Also, they call it Coronado Island, for some reason, but it's not an island. Clearly.

I'm not real sure where to go now, so now I head to the north end of San Deigo Bay, and drive out onto that little peninsual there.

On the way, I find Ocean Beach and the pier. Also the Sunset Cliffs. I remember these places, but I wasn't clear where they were exactly.

That's where the Cabrillo National Monument is, which I'd seen before, but sort of spaced, I think.

Stunning view of San Diego Bay.

They're having the 19th Annual Robosub Challenge. Kids build robots and bring them here to compete in an oceanside pool. I'm there for some time, before someone asks who I am and tells me to move my motorcycle.

Now, up to La Jolla, but there really aren't any places to eat on the beach at La Jolla.

I decide to crash in San Diego, I'm having so much fun down here. I'll drive back to Riverside in the morning.

I rest for a bit in bed, exhausted from the drive up from Tijuana. It wasn't far, but we sat in the scorching sun for about 30 minutes, and it was so hot that I couldn't even run my motorcycle. There were a few of us, and we went so slowly that we all shut them off and just pushed the bikes forward with our feet in the unlikely event that a car was allowed to move forward in the line and enter the usa.

The Mexicans are working the sweltering crowds of cars, peddling drinks, hats, food...you name it. I bought a Diet Coke from one of them for a dollar.

But the sun took a lot out of me, so I rested for a bit. Then, close sunset, I go back to La Jolla beach. This time, I've decided that I will swim in the ocean. I swam in the Sea of Cortez yesterday, and I sort of want to swim in the Pacific today.

The Pacific is much colder at La Jolla than at Bahia de Los Angeles. Like, I wouldn't have even gotten in except that there were a bunch of kids swimming in it and I didn't want to look like a pansy.

But it was very cold. And the waves knock you over. So, I dunno. Maybe it's better for surfing, but the ocean was more comfortable in the Sea of Cortez, IMHO.

I walk up and down the beach a little, shooting photos of strangers like a psychotic stalker. Then, when I get ready to leave, I try to drive up the hill on the KTM, but I keep turning back to shoot the last palm tree or the last bush or the last flower.

I don't have my 400 mm lens with me, which is why all of my photos are landscapes, and no close-ups of flowers or birds or anything. I'll bring it out next time I get back to Colorado.

It's sort of funny getting reacquainted with a city. Like now, I'm sort of figuring out the lay of the land. So I can driving around San Diego without a GPS because now I know the roads a little better.

As I drive up the hill, I see a woman trying to take photos of her daughter. I generously stop and offer to help, because that's just the kind of person I am.

They're both ecstatic to have an actual photographer helping them to shoot photos, and she asks me if I live in the area and I'm like....ah....not really...I sort of live in Riverside...or Denver...sort of.

You live in Denver...or Riverside?

Yeah...well..sorta both....I commute from Denver to Riverside....

This is what people have a problem with. Like...sure...I commute from Denver to Riverside...and I'm in San Diego for no real reason that I could vocalize...and I was in Bahia De Los Angeles yesterday...El Rosario, San Quintin, Vicente Guerrero, Ensenada, Rosarito, Tijuana, again...no real reason....um....

And I leave them with their iPhone on the hill. At least I showed them how to force it to flash when you're shooting into a sunset. So I did that much for them.

Tomorrow, I'll get up and drive into Riverside. The goal is to get into Riverside by noon. I should sleep well tonight, as I had a pretty big weekend.


Posted by Rob Kiser on July 31, 2016 at 6:00 PM

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