Well it’s February now and we’re still in La Paz. But the good news is we’re getting ready to head south soon. Last week Rob finished up at WaMu and flew into San Diego where our new vacuum panels for our refrigeration were waiting for us. I flew up and met him and we rented a car in Tijuana to drive across the border and down to La Paz. We have worried for months about how to get the new vacuum panels here without the customs folks wanting to “open” and inspect them. We had asked everyone we know for advice and finally had come up with what we thought was the best plan.
We had been told that the border crossing at Tecate, about 25 miles east of Tijuana, was the “easiest” to cross. We had also been told that if you use the “something to declare” line and go in and pay duty on a couple of cases of wine they won’t bother searching the car to see what else you had with you. Knowing that neither of those ideas were going to work 100% of the time, but believing they constituted a plan, we set off for Tecate with 2 cases of wine and our vacuum panels in the back seat of the Mexican rental car.
As we approached the Tecate border crossing we discovered there was no “somthing to declare” lane. Only two lanes saying “nothing to declare” and the always present in Mexico pass or stop green-light/red-light. With no other choice we drove through and got the green light. OK good, but we also needed to get Visas. So we pulled into the inpsection lane where the customs officers were chatting and rolled down the window to ask about Visas. There we were with 2 cases of wine and us knowing we had intended to pay duty but no way to do it, and they couldn’t have cared less. After getting instructions from the officers we parked the car, got our visas, and were on our way!
We spent the next two and a half days driving down the beautiful Baja peninsula. The drive was both spectucular and terrifying at the same time. The speed limit is 50 mph but everyone, including the semis, go at least 70. For much of the highway they built the road exactly the width of the white lines, with not an inch of shoulder on either side. Where they had actually put in guard rails they were usually destroyed at the mid point of the curve. The Mexicans use topos (speed bumps) liberally to slow down traffic, and they are present at the outskirts of every little town along the way. Between the cows wandering in the roads and not knowing which vados were full of water from the rains, there was never a dull moment along the way.
But we’re home now safe and sound and ready to get on our way. Leslie was down for a visit the week before Rob got here and we had some most excellent sister time together. This weekend is our birthday weekend and Rob’s celebrating his big 50. Tomorrow we haul out and put a new bottom on the boat, then provision and head for the Gold Coast. Mike & Nita from Seattle are coming down to join us for a week there, then we’ll jet for Huatulco at the southern end of Mexico and wait for a weather window to cross the Gulf of Tehuantepec into Central America (more on that later).
Today on Yohelah we’re celebrating Rob’s birthday and trying to find somewhere to store two cases of wine…..