Run For The Border; Crawl Through The Border; Happy St. Paddy’s Day!
As I write this, we are safely back in the U.S. and glad to be here! We entered Mexico through Tijuana originally, but our Wagon master had said that we couldn’t return through U.S. Customs that way because there was a zig-zag road leading to Customs, so that no-one can try and crash through, and the big rigs in our caravan would not be able to negotiate the turns. Therefore, we were going to bypass Tijuana and take Highway 3 over to Tecate, where they were making 4 commercial traffic lanes available to us at U.S. Customs to expedite the process.
The drive itself was quite pretty, passing through a wine-producing region. Just before descending into Tecate, however, there was a short stretch of road at the top of a hill that was under repair. It may be the worst piece of road anyone here has ever seen, so rough in fact that we literally crawled through it at 1 mile per hour to avoid serious damage. It was quite a sight to watch the tall rigs in front of us swaying back and forth like old schooners in a rough sea. We all made it safely, but were in for one last surprise when we arrived at the commercial border crossing and were subjected to a search at yet another Mexican military checkpoint, less than a hundred feet from the U.S. Customs checkpoint, which had one (1) lane instead of the four we had been promised. There were in fact only 2 lanes available in any case. The rig search here went much faster, but by the time we were cleared to go through, the whole process had lasted an hour.
As we drove away, we felt quite a weight lift from our shoulders. Although, as I think I said earlier, we don’t regret having made this journey, it has been far more mentally and physically stressful than we had expected, and it was quite a relief to return to a more familiar world. The footnote to this is that at our last RV park yesterday in Ensenada, we ran into another caravan of mostly big rigs who were also going to be crossing the border today. Many of them are in the same campground as our group here in Chula Vista. Turns out they left Ensenada after us, yet arrived here before us. How could this be, you ask? As it happens, they went through Tijuana, had no trouble negotiating the approach road, and were through the border in 20 minutes.
Was this a case of being told what we wanted to hear, or did the Wagon masters not have correct information about the actual conditions in Tijuana? Who knows?
We went with our neighbours to an In n Out Burger place (a new experience for us), and thoroughly enjoyed every bite. At 5:30, those of us who returned to this campground (several rigs turned east to go to their next destinations) went to a wind-up light dinner gathering. There is a farewell continental breakfast tomorrow morning, then we go our separate ways. For us, that means heading for Anaheim for two nights at the Marriott hotel near the gates of Disneyland, where we will take in as much as we can on Thursday and Friday.