Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Goodbye USA, Hola Mexico

San Diego
Today, 4th of December 2012, I cycled from Pacific Beach, a laid back beach suburb of San Diego, to just south of Rosarito in Baja California, Mexico. I have had an amazing experience for the last 4 months cycling from northern Alaska to San Diego but I was looking forward to crossing the border and starting a new chapter in the adventure.
In the last week I had coordinated with two other cyclists that we would cross into Mexico together. Nick, from England and Tim from Canada will be my new cycling buddies! Before today we had not actually done any cycling together but you strike up friendships pretty fast in the land of long distance cycle touring. I bumped into Nick briefly in Smithers, British Colombia a few months ago. Nick was heading off to cycle the continental divide when I met his which is the longest off road mountain bike trail in the world stretching from Banff in Canada to the Mexican border so I was not expecting our paths to cross again. Nick actually started out in Prudhoe Bay less than a week after me and had a very close up bear experience on that early stretch along the Dalton highway needing to get a new tent upon getting to Fairbanks as a bear had ripped holes in his first tent!
Nick, Billy ad Tim about to head for the Mexican border
 I bumped into Tim when I was camping in Humboldt State Park in the Redwood forest north of San Francisco. We had kept in touch when we heard that we were both Pan American cyclists heading for Argentina.
I had been staying with Julie (of fame) since I got to Pacific Beach in San Diego so the two guys arrived up this morning and after a few photos we headed off on in the direction of the US/Mexican border.
 I think we were all pretty excited at the prospect of crossing into a new country and a new culture not to mention a new language.
After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing at the border needing to head back to get out passports stamped by immigration we exited into the streets of Tijuana.
Trying to squeeze our packed up bikes through the turnstiles was great craic.
The next hour involved some hectic urban cycling including just managing to avoid a large man hole that wasn't covered. Having been given advance warning of the joys of trying to cycle out of Tijuana by some other touring cyclists we some how managed to find the hole in the fence and after a little off-roading we were onto the toll road with little traffic and a nice broad shoulder. We had made it out of Tijuana and were heading for Rosarito.

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