Friday, December 17, 2010

Locked and Loaded...

It's always the same before any Baja trip, the night before is brutal! Always seems like there's a million little things that need to be done before you can kick back with your well earned beer and finally start to relax.

Hows that packing job? Two big stand up boards on top, two smaller ones down beneath the sleeping/cargo platform I built. What you can't see are the two other surfboards that I've got down there as well as a boogie board. My truck swallows up gear.
Here's the Ramble Machine locked and loaded: four stand up boards (10'6, 10'10, 9'1, 8'6), two surfboards (6'4, 6'6), four paddles, 15 bottles of wine, a bottle of Corralejo, a liter of vodka, dogfood, surfwax, four digital cameras, batteries, cables, two computers, two gallons of water, 8 soft boiled eggs- man, there's more stuff in there than I can even remember. It always amazes me how much stuff you think you really need. Wouldn't it be a cool experiment to just load your boards, one change of clothes and a cooler (one thing you don't skimp on is cooler treats) and just shove off? 

I'm so beat right now that all I can think about is a hot shower and some shut eye to prime me for the six hours I've got tomorrow. Tomorrow's an easy day. We take it easy on the first day because there's always the little hassle of getting your tourist visa stamped and paid for at the border and there can be traffic through Ensenada- so we plan it so that we end up spending the night at a cool hotel in San Quintin called the Old Mill. The place is a classic- the owner reaches into a cooler outside the door and gives you an icy Pacifico when you register. The rooms are big and clean and the place is dog friendly. 

This is the border crossing on the Mexico side. You need to pull into the inspection area, get out and walk over to the immigration office. Be sure to bring a pen and your passport and some money because you're going to pay for a 180 day tourist visa. The area where you park can be a total circus- I'd hate to pull in here with a rig any larger than the truck I'm driving. If it's busy, the customs agents (Mexican customs that is) put up cones blocking off the exit from the area- why? Who knows why. They just do things in Mexico sometimes for no apparent reason. My friend, Senor Kim, swears they do it because they love to see us gringos get pissed off. Be patient- go to your happy place, you're in Mexico now.

This is the Immigration office at the Tijuana/San Ysidro border crossing. Here's how it's done: First walk into this office and fill out the form. Second, walk out of the office and all the way back to where you came from- there's a bank window right there. Pay your fee (something like twenty bucks I think). Take your receipt all the way back to this office again and get your visa stamped. Hmmmm, seems like they could have cut out a big step there, right? Not the way it works in Mexico.
Here's the check in ritual at the Old Mill in San Quintin. Walk on in, pay the bill and reach your hand into the cooler for an icy cold beer. First one is on the house. The place is right out of the 50's, it's right on the water in San Quintin and it's safe and secure. There's an excellent restaurant, El Jardin, right down the road. Hot showers, dog friendly, safe and secure- what more could you want?
I'll grab some more shots of the Old Mill tomorrow. Check back for an update on our progress down the peninsula.


Anonymous said...

Used to keep two "Baja Boxes" loaded in my garage for quick trips. Just put them in the truck along with surf stuff and left. Picked up food along the way.
Spiders Brother

John Ashley said...

When am I gonna see you down there next?