T – I couldn’t sleep. I was too excited. Mexico was so close that I could have reached out and touched it. I was so keen to be there!
I fidgeted and rolled around this morning and managed to not wake Chantelle up until 630. But then I couldn’t wait any longer. I had to get moving. The lights came on and I threw my clothes on. Chantelle grizzled and glared at me from under the blankets. Clearly she wasn’t in the mood for my energy at that moment.
C – I didnt get too much sleep either and it felt like I had just fallen asleep when Todd decided it was time to wake up! We did want to get going early, in case of any delays at the border or obtaining our vehicle permits, so I did get up as quickly as I could and get moving.
T – Eventually we were ready to go and we packed up our bikes for the last time in the States. Then we had a bite of breakfast, mmm cornflakes were on offer today, before finally we climbed on and headed for Mexico.
We zipped down the road and pulled up in a long line of cars waiting to cross over. We figured that it may take an hour or two, but a car pulled in behind us and beeped at us and the driver waved her arms at us, telling us to cut out of line and just go for it. So we did. And 2 minutes later we were pulled up on the side of the road at the entrance to the highway, in Mexico. Where the hell was the border crossing? No customs? No immigration????? We sat there wondering how we managed to get through the border without even having to stop.
We knew we at least had to get some tourist visa’s so Chantelle went off in search of the immigracion building. She returned 5 minutes later grinning. We had indeed missed it. But the extremely helpful Mexican border guards soon had us heading in the right direction and a heap of smiles and $25 later and we each had our tourist visas for the next 180 days. This seemed to easy.
C – When I left Todd with the bikes to go and see if I could find a passport control, I found a guard and said ‘buenas dias’ to which he replied something that I didn’t understand. Not one bit. Not one word. Ok, maybe I didn’t learn enough Spanish?!?!?!?!?!? After a few of these interactions, I found where we meant to stop. The whole Otay Mesa border crossing is under a lot of construction, especially on the Mexican side, hence our confusion! It took us all of five minutes to get our six month visa!
T – We wandered back to the bikes, scratching our heads and grinning at each other. Is this the easiest border crossing in the world or what? Then it was time to sort out the bikes. To ride here legally we need to temporarily import the bikes into Mexico and purchase a permit for them. So armed with some information courtesy of Rachel Lasham of wanderonahonda.com we were soon walking into the correct building in the correct part of town.
We were the only people in there and the lovely man behind the counter soon had us processed and we had our permits in hand plus a $200 deposit paid, which we get back when we leave Mexico, and we were back on our way.
C – Another easy, peasy bureaucratic process done and dusted. Is Mexico really this easy? I have never been in an immigration or government official building which had such a calm feel to it. The staff were relaxed and happy.
We returned to our now legal motorcycles and set the GPS for Ensenada, on the coast. We thought we would have a slow day, travelling less than a 100km, then camping in Ensenada to check it out.
T – I had been led to believe that we needed to ride aggressively in Mexico to ensure we could safely ride on the road here. But the drivers were courteous and allowed us to slot in and change lanes whenever we needed too. The amazing thing with Mexico that we noticed straight away today is how incredibly relaxed the whole place feels. There is no edginess to it here, even in Tijuana!
We set our GPS for the libre, or free, road and soon we were cruising down a stunning coast line towards Ensenada. There was a toll road that ran right beside us for most of the way before we eventually veered inland and crossed a small hilly section. Then it was back to the coast for more stunning scenery before we landed in Ensenada.
Talk about tourist town! There were people everywhere! This place reminds me so much of Phuket in Thailand. It had a similar energy too. So here we changed the last of our USD to Peso’s and did a little shopping, and bought a sim card, before a quick ride around and headed south a little more for a camp site. But first we had to eat. So we headed away from the tourists and found a little Taco shop on a corner. We both ordered some ‘tacos de perscado’, fish tacos. Which were freaking damn amazing by the way! So we had two each!
We have had so many people wave and say hello to us today. It has been a great transition to a new country, a new culture and a new language. People shake our hands, pull up next to us in traffic to exchange a greeting, mostly in Spanish. Just lovely. And every where there is life and smiles. I am ashamed to say that I had already formed an opinion of Mexico and especially Tijuana before I even left the US. And my thinking was wrong. So wrong. This is an amazing place already and I can not wait to see more of it!
C – Leaving Ensenada and the tourist stuff behind, we headed south along highway 1, turning out on to the headland and travelling on the BC23. As we rode, the views were quite sensational, looking back across the bay to Ensenada. We drove right to the end, before turning around to pick one of the many ‘tourist’ camps we had spied along the way.
T – Our camp tonight was out on a headland near Ensenada at a town called La Bufadora. It is costing us $4.50 for the both of us to camp in a ‘palapa’ which is a shelter covered in palm fronds. We were told to drive our bikes right inside where we had access to power and had shelter from the wind. Love it!
So we setup our.. well nothing really as we will just sleep straight on the floor, and sat down for a cup of tea and stared out at the view.
We were in Vietnam a while back and I loved how we could ride our scooters straight into our hotel rooms each night! So now Mabel will be all cosy and can sleep next to me!
Tomorrow we might head south a little more and maybe sleep on a beach.