Hola de México

Trip Start Jul 15, 2008
Trip End Sep 15, 2008

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Flag of Mexico  ,
Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What an interesting day !!!
After a great breakfast, I was on my way by 8:30 am. Thanks so much to Anita and Dennis for such great hospitality.
My first task was to buy motorcycle insurance for Mexico, and that went very well as it was clearly marked on the US side. Within minutes I had the insurance I needed.
Then off to find the San Ysidro post office using the GPS directions. It turns out that the GPS information is wrong, so thanks to gentleman riding a golf cart, he pointed me in the right direction, and eventually I found it. So now I have photographic evidence that I have been at three of the four corners of the USA, Maine, Washington and California.
Then it was off to the border crossing and it went very quickly. There is no stopping at a gate or inspection station so I continued and ended up on a highway number 2 heading east towards Tecate. It was sensory overload as the signs are all in Spanish, they are blasting their information in all shapes and sizes, the smells are strong, and there is garbage everywhere. I wanted to get a visitors card, a temporary permit for my motorcycle and some Mexican pesos so I did a U turn and ended up in line to go back to the USA with no way out. As I approached the border crossing a US border crossing employee said that since I was on a motorcycle and in California, I could split lanes and encouraged me to ride between the rows of cars. So I was able to jump ahead of at least twenty cars and it as all legal. When I got to the border crossing the customs guy laughed at my predicament and wished me good luck as he waved me on.
So here I am, back in the USA and re-entering Mexico, but much smarter than I was one hour earlier. As soon as I crossed the border I went to the" secondary inspection" area and they told me to go to the first office on the right. That office told me to go to the first exit, keep to the right, and pass the McDonalds, then turn left to the "Temporary Importation of Cars" building. I actually found it. I went to the "Immigration Office" who completed the Tourist Card for me after seeing my passport who sent me to the cashier, who completed a form for the temporary importation of the motorcycle, paid for the tourist card and "importation certificate "then back to the Immigration guy who stamped it then back to the cashier, who then sent me to the copier guy who made copied of my passport, ownership paperwork and the importation certificate, then back to the cashier who did something else, then said "I was finished and could go !" I have read about these things happening at border crossings, and now I have experienced it in real life. This was a good exercise for me as I usually become very agitated and grumpy when going through something like this, but I was "cool as a cucumber". Everyone was very helpful, but I was in no position to start asking "why this and why that . . ."
Now I needed some pesos and I found an exchange service and the US dollar is worth just a fraction over ten pesos so it is easy to figure out the price of things as all you have to do is divide by ten.
The nest test was to buy gasoline. Pemex, the government owned oil company, are the only stations. Every station has full service, and there are always a group of guys ready to help. All I needed to do was to be sure I bought 87 Octane lead free. Gas is $.70 per litre.
I then got on the road and found that the highway number 2 was reasonably good, but the trucks, loads on the trucks, and cars are jumping all over the place as they leave or enter the highway. There are STOP signs on the highway, and lots of small food stands. I stopped at a taco stand and had a beef taco, cup of consommé soup and a coke in a glass bottle all for three dollars.
As I continued east there were signs for highway two being "libre" or a toll road. I decided to try the toll road and it was fantastic. Smooth, fast, no traffic and not too expensive. It was a challenge at each toll booth because you have no idea how much the toll is until you are right at the toll booth, so I kept ready cash in my tank bag, then stuffed the change into my pocket.
Between Tecate and Mexicali the road climbs a very high mountain range that is nothing but rocks with thirty Km per hour corners, both on the way up as well as on the way down. There were at least twenty homemade monuments along this section marking where loved ones had lost their lives on this very challenging road. After at least one hour the road levels out into a desert and far off to the north there appears to be a salt flat.
I then came to San Luis and found a clean inexpensive room at the California Motel and it has very fast internet service.
All in all it was very successful day as I was able to cross a border, get all the paperwork done, buy gas, feed myself and find a place to sleep.
Distance travelled: 350 Km
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miriamth on

Holà Hombre!
Hi John! Reading your reports is always a cheerful experience. I'm pleased to learn that bureaucratic procedures are not a typical Italian feature only...
I'm back from France and back to work unfortunately. I saw plenty of wonderful and perfectly kept roads going across magnificent landscapes which would be perfect for you to ride...
Go on enjoying your trip and updating your blog, of course!

croussette on

Brushing up on my spanish
¿Cómo está usted mi amigo? Parece una reserva de agua pero no estoy seguro. Tenga una cerveza a nuestra salud y conduzca con seguridad.

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