Motorcycling Trip #17: 9 days, 2,034 miles, Nov 2015.
Nov 1, 2015
We traveled at 70 mph westbound on Interstate 8. It was a bit chilly, so we wore our heavy gloves, jackets and long pants. The ride to Yuma was very pleasant, with very little traffic. We stopped for rests at Gila Bend (the eastern exit, with the dinosaurs and the tourist shop) where we bought a large donut to share and hot coffees; at Dateland; and to fill up on gas at our exit to San Luis. This was exit #7, Araby Road (Hwy 195).
Then we rode south and west to the border. The agent waved us through, and then Ray asked her "Donde esta Imigracion?" She pointed to our immediate right, where an immigration guard opened the gate for us, showed us where to park, and opened the door to the office. Meanwhile, he stood watching the small parking lot, keeping a watchful eye. He was very helpful.
After filling out the paperwork, we were directed to the Banjercito in the same building as immigration, to pay for our tourist cards. It should have been a quick process, but there were two other customers in front of us, and we waited nearly half an hour. Finally it was our turn. We tried to pay with some old Mexican currency - some really old paper money, leftover from the late 70s and early 80s kayaking Baja trips. The bank teller said it was no good, with a smile. Then he pulled out some new bills to show us: a 20, a 50, a 100, and a 500 note, and a 1000 note.
[The new currency first came out in 1993. The Bank of Mexico honors all genuine notes it issues, regardless of their date of emission, at present-day values. Retail banks won’t accept old bank notes; you need to take them to the Bank of Mexico.]
We took our Banjercito receipt back to the immigration office and the agent spent a good deal of time stamping the paperwork, stamping our passports, carefully folding the tourist permits, etc. Altogether it took about an hour, but the fellows were all quite friendly and helpful. Outside, I tried to take a picture, but the guard said no photos here. One block away, photos are ok, but not here.
We rode the motorcycles one block south, then turned right onto Highway 2, westbound. Very soon we came to a toll booth. The prices were visible: Motorcycles: 6 pesos - about 36 cents each. Jenny had some coins and paid the toll for both of us, and we sped off. This road was quite busy, and became more so the closer we got to Mexicali. Fortunately, we turned off after 30 miles. There was another toll booth at this turnoff, 11 pesos each, about 70 cents each.
At this turnoff onto Highway 5 to San Felipe, one had to go north a few blocks to make a U-turn. Today was a Sunday, and everybody was out. Besides the church-goers and the yard sales and the swap meets, there appeared to be some other kind of large function happening, we couldn't tell what it was. There were hundreds of cars, people crossing the road, and people selling some kind of gaudy, plastic flower and glittery paper wreath-like things.
Outside of the towns we rode past lots of agriculture, including cotton and sorghum. We stopped at a roadside taco stand. The convenience store next door was super busy, there were lots of people and cars and trucks coming and going. We each had 2 tacos machaca (shredded beef), which were really good, and a soda each.
The wind started piping up from the south. There was a huge plume of black smoke out to the east, looked like someone was burning tires. We kept our speed down to about 50 mph. It was really hot, and there was no shade.
We took a rest stop by the highway, where a dirt road leads east out into the delta. We could see the blue water of the Sea of Cortez. Then We took one last rest stop at a convenience store about 8 km north of San Felipe, in the shade of the building, with a nice breeze.
The gps took us to Don Jesus motel. The desk clerk was nice and offered us a room with front door parking for $59.00. But the area had a strong sewer smell. We drove by a few other motels, and finally settled on the El Cortez at the south end. this place was quiet and very nice. The rooms had views of the beautiful courtyard, and beyond, views of the beach and the sea. We asked for a room on the bottom floor, and clerk said we could park the motorcycles right outside our room. The room was simple but large.
We chose to stay at the Hotel El Cortez in San Felipe and were quite pleased with it. For one thing, they let you park your bikes right outside the room. It's just steps to the beach, and a nice walk into town.
We walked back to town, and at the north end, one block in, we found the ATM where we withdrew some pesos. then we sat down at a taco stand on the north side of the Miramar Bar, and ordered fish tacos, a garlic shrimp plate, and cervezas Pacificos. The food was excellent.
It was dark by the time we finished dinner, and walking back to the motel in the dark felt iffy. We should have taken a motorcycle 2-up (our normal practice when in town).