a day of 2 halves
14th May – San Diego Ocean Beach to the 58 kilometre peg on the Tijuana to Ensenada road
view photos that belong wit this set here
We woke in Maggie’s garden in San Diego, determined to get going fairly early for the first time. We picked lemons off the tree to squeeze in to our water. Chris, the cyclist that had taken us to his mum Maggie’s house the night before had emailed us a route to follow to get out of the city, it was so straight forward, not sure what we’d have done without that, again we are riding in the slip stream of people’s kindness. We stopped to check the direction, and then popped up a cyclist, he insisted on cycling us to the ferry port which crossed the bay to take us to Corando. We cycled together for around 15 mins and he told us about his bike tours across Canada and America, before he gave us his spare tickets for the ferry, so kind. I got a good feeling about San Diego, it’s people definitely were good to us, and would like to go back some day. We seem to be making a habit of eating our breakfast in supermarket car parks, which is perfect opportunity for people to come over and ask us where we’re going, we have to answer loads of questions, on one or 2 occasions we decided to lie to avoid the questions by lying about our destination. Mainly because people liked to tell us we shoudlnt be crossing the border, it wasn’t safe they said, but they couldn’t really give us examples of why.
We got the 20 minute commuter ferry across the bay, and once in Coranado another cyclist who had been on the ferry with us gave us directions to get to the border- keep going along the bay, and when you see the Mexican flag in the distance you know you’re there. And so we had these amazing flat cycle paths taking us along this wetland with barb wires and military bases on either side. Men on carbon bikes and lycra were racing along these flat fast paths. The last town is Chula Vista, we weaved our way through the streets, and another cyclist passed us, Marko, he was from Tijuana and was heading back over the border, and he planned on escorting us over border and then drawing a map for us to help us negotiate our way out of TJ.
TJ is what people call Tijuana, the Mexican border town. Leah and her friends have some wild stories about this place, before the border crossing became more serious- of wild weekends with teenage boyfriends, and Leah told me that when her and her sisters were naughty her dad would drive them over the border and threaten to leave them there – worlds away from growing up in Peterborough.
We cycled past the entrance to the border where the cars go, many blogs said it was best to go that way. We instead went the pedestrian way, up a concrete ramp and through the metal turn styles, we struggled through with our bikes and then had to park our bikes in this sort of customs place where we filled out some forms to get our passport stamped. We were told we had to pay a $30 tourist pass into the bank at some point over the next few days.
Marko had changed his mind from making us a map to guiding us out of the city, to cycling with us to our destination. Amazing, otherwise we would have been stuck in TJ for hours, getting sweaty and stressed and ultimately falling out with each other. The road out was hectic, loud, sweaty, and uphill. Sweat dripped out of every pour as we hauled up the hill, putting all our concentration in to staying on the narrow hard shoulder, the mirror on my bike was so useful. This was scary but thrilling, and I felt so alive. The climb seemed to last for ages and we stopped several times at petrol stations for ice lollies and ice water, it’s amazing how much you need to drink. We stayed on the free road rather than taking the toll road as it stayed closer to the coast and Marko said the hard shoulder was wider there. The route became quiet and we had space to enjoy the road and take our time. Baja is beautiful, I wanted to stop at every turn to take photos, of road side food stands, of cactus gardens, of the hills and the sunsets, I kept checking in with myself, to take photos with my mind to remember everything I was seeing. I kept screaming to Leah that this may be the best day of my life, or one of them anyway. We stopped at Rosarito for quesidillas, a taste sensation, and a place that Marko recommended.
It seemed so easy to ride as the route was so beautiful and I felt so happy. We arrived at our destination. A warm showers host. Warm showers is an organisation where people offer their home or garden or whatever to passing cyclists. We were lucky enough to find Iain, an English guy who’d set up a hostel here in Baja, who offered his garden to us, with use of his wifi, showers etc. Amazing. We were so tired we asked if we could sleep in the basement instead of in the garden, to save putting our tent up.
We stayed up drinking beers and chatting to Iain and his daughter Molly, they seem to have been to so many places and lived about 5 lives, I dont think I was making much sense by that point, tired and my face beetroot red.
Today (Weds 15th May) we plan on going a short ride to the city of Ensenada, famous for it’s wine. Here we will stock up and make plans for our route, as the road heads in land and it becomes more deserted, we need supplies and water for a few days at least. Now, I need to go, we have to go swimming in the sea, before eating tacos for breakfast before cycling to Ensenada.
I’ve taken the SPOT tracker off this blog, for safety reasons, we obviously dont want people to know exactly where we are, but if you’d like the URL address of the spot tracker then email or message me.
- California Dreaming
- these places in between, these people in between