Into the Baja

We left San Diego early, after a quick walk through the neighborhood that afforded views into the Pacific. 
Unlike the crossing at Naco, there were no customs agents on the US side checking our credentials and asking absurd questions.
For over a year now, US Customs has had a presence at the Naco crossing. Where are you coming from? Where are you going? Do you have more than $10,000?
Now, if I had more than $10,000, would I tell them? If I were headed to buy drugs, would I admit it? The questioning is frustrating, and if one dares to challenge the absurdity, it’s a quick trip to secondary, where three to five agents look through the car and one or two others point their guns and toss out menacing looks. They claim this is done at all border crossings,
Not true. In recent months I’ve crossed at Nogales and El Paso without any questioning, and now I’ve crossed into Tijuana with nary an agent in sight. so why do we have to subject ourselves to ridiculous questions and secondary inspections in Naco, merely to LEAVE the US? And then, of course, we have to go through it all again when when we re-enter the US.
In any event, we crossed with absolutely no incident into Tijuana. With Cinda carefully reading the instructions, and with Her Majesty in the “off” position, we immediately missed the first turn. 
Actually, we didn’t miss it! I thought I had missed a turn, but the angels were hovering right above us, and the “miss” was the right thing to do. We we on the road south to Ensenada! 
I had read that the drive was scenic, but it was more than that. We both oohed and ahhed all the way down. Glistening green cliffs dropped into the surf. Waves slid onto the shore and smacked into rocky outcroppings. Sadly, not a whale nor dolphin in sight.
We stopped in La Misión to have a light breakfast and wait to meet a friend. 
We arrived earlier than expected and had to wait, but it was worth the wait. Our wait-spot was the restaurant of Hotel La Fonda, with expansive sea views and a small chiminea cranking out the only heat. Each comfy chair held a blanket to wrap up in.
Our friend arrived. we were headed south wile he was headed up to San Diego (he lives in La Misión) to buy a sailboat. We heard about it and dreams for the future.
South, south to Ensenada. Big city! Then we came around a curve and THERE was Ensenada!  Very bigh city!  And, of course, there was a detour and we got rerouted through town. 
South, south. Steep brilliant green mountains to the west folded down into a narrow valley. Steep desert mountains to the east. Cattle and horses grazed in the valley, and fields of hay or grapes came right to the road. There were even rows of olive trees, and little roadside stands had fresh squeezed olive oil for sale. 
We then climbed out of this lush valley into a desert valley. More road work meant we had to drive off the road onto marginal dirt rutted tracks. The little RV in front of us rocked and rolled so much we briefly feared it would tip over. But we all made it.
San Quentin! A wide spot in the road. A bustle of small stores, a big store selling tractors, a few Pemex stations, and a string of fish taco stands. We drove on through to the hotel several folks had recommended, but it was full. We had planned to camp, but the evening sky was full of rain, the wind was up, and it didn’t seem like a good time to wrestle the camp gear out.
We ended up in a cheap motel – on the bay! It’s called Don Eddy’s($400P), and though it had been specifically not recommended, we found it adequate.  We even had a tiny room off the bedroom that gave a bay view. Dinner looking out over the calm waters. 
The whole drive, from slightly north of downtown San Diego to San Quentin, was about eight hours, including more than ninety minutes hanging out in La Misión. 
The night was chilly, and in the morning, dew covered the car.

Published by Emilie

I'm a retired instructor from a community college where I taught Developmental English and Reading as well as English as a Second Language. I'm also now a published author of a bilingual children's book entitled. Luisa the Green Sea Turtle - Luisa la Tortuga Verde del Mar. It's available from me, through Amazon, and is in a few (more and more each day!) bookstores.

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