Thursday, January 5, 2017

Hola From Mexico!

Hola! We made it into Mexico!

We had a hot breakfast at Barrett Junction Cafe. All you can eat-- bacon, sausage, eggs, French toast, fruit... Nicholas gave us pointers for crossing the border, and various other announcements, including where tonight's camping was going to be for those who wanted.

We were all packed up before breakfast, so afterward, we were on the road quickly. We had 7 miles of pavement to the border. It was mostly climbing. We pulled up to the border, Brent, Harry, and I at about 10:00ish. We had to go inside to fill out a form, then take it to the cashier to pay for the tourist permit ($24.50), then return to the original guy to get our passports stamped.
Then we just walked through the gate to Mexico. Funny thing, there was a revolving gate. Harry took his bike through it, but it was very tight. I just waited until I heard buzzing, and pushed open a big gate. Brent and I wheeled our bikes through the gate, easy peasy. Welcome to Tecate, Mexico!

Our first order of business was to get pesos. I got $150 worth (3100 and some pesos). We asked for small bills--200 and under. Some of the shops in small towns can't break a large bill. After that, we went to an ATM to make sure our cards worked. They did. Then it was off to the mercado to get food for the next two days. That was interesting as we are not cooking. Totally different shopping. Since I already had quite a bit of food, I only got 2 oranges (naranja), 2 avocados, some tortillas, and a small can of refined beans. In US dollars, I paid $4.44. Cheap!

Then it was time to sample some of Tecate's tacos. We stopped at one of the many taquerias and had a taco de harina carne asada (beef on a corn tortilla). It also had a dollop of guacamole. It was delicious! Cost? The taco and a Coke--about $2.00.

We were to meet up with everyone in the Plaza for a welcome by the head of tourism in Baja California, Hector. They gave us each a bottle of water, and a reusuable shopping bag. Many didn't take the bag because they didn't have room. I had room. We took a group photo at the multicolored Tecate sign.

Then we came to the most important part of the day. Going to the Panaderia! There was an exceptionally good one just down the road. I got a pastry, a donut, and another pastry thing. It cost me all of less than a couple bucks (28.50 pesos--100 pesos is about $5.00). I ate one there, then strapped the rest on my bike.

By then, Brent, Harry, and I had picked up a fourth, Pat. He's about the same age as we are. We decided to head on to the camping place. On the way, we stopped at one of the few bike shops in Tecate, Dos Chinos. They asked to take a photo with the owner. I asked if they had any stickers of their shop. He didn't, but another guy says he's got one for me. He got it out of his car. Said the guy gave it to him last week. Awesome!

Back to riding, we headed out of Tecate. Tecate sits in a bowl. It was quite the climb to get out. Some of the streets were very steep. I mean...very steep! I made it up all of them, but it was a lung and thigh buster for sure! We even had a section of singletrack. Somehow, we missed a turn, and ended up I a guy's driveway. We were trying to tell him where we were going, but none of us could remember the full name of the campground. We knew it was on the highway, so he just opened his gate and let us out onto the highway.

We didn't have much more to go, but it was mostly up. Pat was ahead of us when we got to the
campground. I had remembered part of the name, so I knew we were here. The place is calledAlbergas Tenamos. It doesn't appear to actually be open for the season, but we are able to stay here. It's supposed to cost 100 pesos, but we don't know who to pay. It has several pools (but no water in them). Seems like a cool place if it was warm.

Speaking of the weather, it's been relatively cold. I think it was up to about 63 today. It cools off quite a bit in the evening. I'm still carrying the jacket that I took at the last minute.

It was a great day in Tecate. It is definitely a different world here. Lots of poverty, and lots of trash laying around. Also, lots of loose dogs. None chased us, but there were lots of dogs, even along the highway. Of course, they are all skinny, with their ribs showing.

Tomorrow we head out for two days before the next town. We'll have to carry two days of water. Supposedly, the water is drinkable. It's well water. We're gonna chance it. If not, well...I've got Imodium.

And, finally, since this is the last night the bulk of the group will be together, I feel a word is needed about the make up of the 90+ group of us. First of all, I am the oldest woman here. There was supposed to be a gal who is 62, but she cancelled at the last minute. I would say the bulk of the gals (if not all of them) are in their 20s. They say hi to me, but that's about it. The age range of guys varies more. There are, of course, the boys in their 20s, but there are those in their 30s too. There's a pretty good sized group of those in their 50s and early 60s. Those are the ones I'm hanging out with...Brent (of course I'm hanging out with Brent), Harry, Pat, Herb, and Jan. We are of similar age and ability (sort of). So, as much as I'm excited there are 20+ women riding, I'm going to hang with the guys...the older, more mature guys.

Adding photos is proving to be a major hassle. I will try to put up a post of photos when I have better wifi.

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