One thing we have learned about taking a trip like this is that you will never be totally ready. At some point you have to just say screw it and go. We spent so much time prepping, finalizing things, working on the rig, making to do lists and figuring out insurance that we finally had to just set a date to cross the border. If not we would never leave (or at least it felt that way). Staying and planning is so much easier than just pulling the trigger and going. After two relaxing weeks at my parents after our North American part of the trip (a week with Richard and Ashley there with us), we finally decided we would cross the border on Saturday with team Canada.
The strange thing was that even though I have crossed the border into Mexico many times with a vehicle, this crossing made us both nervous. This was the first time we would have to do the vehicle import paperwork, and neither of us speaks Spanish yet…..And people kept telling us we were going to get killed by drug traffickers….Good times.
The good news was that it was really easy! As we drove in the immigration officials had us pop up the top of the XP. When the guy came out, he had a huge grin on his face and gave us two thumbs up, he thought it was pretty cool inside. After the inspection, you have to do a very sharp left U turn into the SAT office to get your tourist card. Since we were in the far lane we missed the first U turn and had to park down the street. We ended up walking around some sketchy back alleys in Tijuana until we finally found the bridge over to the Aduana office. Richard and Ashley were waiting for us and they walked us through the steps they had just finished. It took a total of about ten minutes in the office and we had our tourists cards filled out. We were told they were only doing the vehicle importation at the ferry in La Paz, so we will have to deal with that later. After getting lost around a few crazy roundabouts in downtown Tijuana, we finally made it out onto Highway 1 (thank God for GPS!) and were heading south along the coast.
First stop on our way south was in Puerto Nuevo to get grilled lobster for lunch.
As we were driving down the coastal highway, we saw a long sandy beach off the side of the road that looked like it had a pretty cool campground (even though it was totally empty). We did a sharp right and pulled off. We were originally going to camp near Ensenada, but this beach (Clam Beach) was calling our name. We negotiated the price down to $10 a night (with great WIFI and hot showers) and set up camp. I love just going with the flow while traveling. Also, traveling with another couple has made Mexico so much easier. Sam and I would probably not have camped alone on this beach, but with Richard and Ashley it felt safe and we had friends to toast our first night in Mexico with!
So we survived our first few days in Mexico without getting shot or kidnapped. Mexico needs tourists right now, the beaches and campgrounds are empty, it is really sad. So far all the people we have met have been really great, the food is mind blowingly good and the beaches are beautiful. Now we just need to learn Spanish, FAST!