Ensenada to San Diego
We decided to rent a car from Hertz to make a road trip to the U.S. of A. to visit the kids and Katie our dog. Little did we know what we were in for at the border. I have sailed past the border a few times now but this was the first time by land. Once we were thoroughly turned around in Tijuana we asked directions and found the on ramp to the border and the Sentri lane. Debbie is fluent in Spanish and did not know what this meant but we were fully educated very soon. There was no exit from this lane even if we wanted to. The line moved relatively fast and soon we where talking to the C.B.P (California Border Patrol). We where promptly chastised for being in the wrong lane and sent directly to the full search line. The Officer who greeted us lacked any sense of humor and promptly threatened us with a $5,000.00 fine for getting in the wrong lane. The Sentri lane is for people who cross the border daily and have been subjected to background checks and have a special I.D. Well, we did are best with the yes sir’s and no sir’s and cooperated with the search. Let’s just say The Mexican border patrol was much nicer even when they searched us. The house was in good shape on our return and was sporting a new billiards table in the front room. Katie was healthy and we received good reports from the neighbors although the gardener seemed to be on strike
The return trip turned into an epic affair which I will try to relate to you now. We made it all the way to the grapevine with only two close calls of cars trying to side swipe us. The second one sent me on to the rumble strip but otherwise we faired well or so I thought. We arrived at rush hour. I know, great planning right. Another motorist honked and pointed to the rear tire. I found the nearest exit and began a dialect with Siri for the nearest gas station. A word to the wise, DON’T listen to her. She is bat shit crazy! She wants to see that tire go flat. Once we pulled in to the station I tried to air up the tire but it was beyond hope as a loud hiss began. So what do you do at 5pm In L.A. with a Mexican rental car with a flat? Hertz of Mexico, although of the same name and sign as U.S., is an entirely different company. OK how about plan C. across the street was Ortega’s tire shop. You know the type where you can find second hand tires with no questions asked. Yes I did the unthinkable. When the tire was removed and it was noted that the tire had a previous patch on the sidewall I pleaded with the guy to just re-patch it. He said it wasn’t safe and proceeded to try and find a replacement. When he came up empty, he went for it .To his credit he succeeded. We found a Best Western and called it night not wishing to attempt a border crossing at night. Clearing into Mexico went well. The border patrol were very courteous and they just wanted a look at are folding bikes that were in the back seat. The trip from the border to Ensenada was no less trying. There was a major bike ride from Rosarito to Ensenada with thousands of riders. The main road was closed and we where diverted to secondary roads that where very congested. When we finally arrived at the marina the finish line kept us from actually being able to enter the Marina.
We looked forward to returning stateside and found our weather window. We proceeded to clear out of the country. Cruise Port Marina is by far the best marina in Mexico. Not the most modern or the newest, but their staff are the most helpful. A special shout out to Enrique who helped us with the paper work and secured our zarpe. I must also give a heart felt thanks to locals Gary and Spike who lent me a fuel polisher rig that allowed me to empty the port tank and clean out some algae and unplug my fuel line. We set sail at 5am and were greeted by a pod of over 50 porpoises at day light. We made good time and arrived at the police dock in San Diego before night fall. The following morning customs cleared us in at the dock and where very nice and efficient. Back in the U.S.A.!