Saturday, December 26, 2015

Tecate: Visas and Borders

Apologies for the road report delay- sometimes WiFi is hard to find when you get yourself off the beaten path. So here’s a quick rundown of what’s happened since we last escaped Tijuana.

The next morning we woke up early, said goodbye and good luck to a friend riding a moto to the tip then we hatched a plan to hit the Tecate border station for our Tourist Cards.

The Tourist Cards are important to us, they give us a legal tourist status, for six months, in all of Baja. We’re in a foreign country we might as well play by the rules. Plus, since the girls are flying home, I didn’t want them walking up to the airline ticket counter and then having to explain why they were in Mexico illegally, better to deal with the hassle now instead of kicking the can down the road. So off to Tecate we went. 

This is why you don't drive at night- the white jug is all the warning you'll get. On the road to Laguna Chapalla after leaving Tecate.
Getting the tourist cards in Tecate ended up being simple to do. Since we got there early in the morning, there was little to no traffic and we were able to find a nice parking spot for CON KSO near the Mexican border station. We asked the guard how to get to the Immigration office and he said we should just walk through the turnstyle and the building is right there. Well, I think we actually may have walked across the border back into the United States because once you walk through the revolving gate, you’re heading north, I could see the United States, it would have been easy to just keep walking (maybe “they” were watching us with some pre-Snowden secret surveillance). We hopped a small fence and walked across the road, hopped another small fence and walked back into the Mexican checkpoint where the Immigration office was easy to find.  It was empty except for the friendly official who had a desk for us to sit at, pens for us to use (that’s a first) and was able to take our fee instead of sending us to a bank to pay which saves a lot of time and hassle. In a couple more minutes we were back in the truck heading off towards Mexicali. Another problem solved.

Safe and sound, day 3 on the road at Punta Conejo. Surf was small so it was all about arts and crafts, camp projects and shell collecting.
Getting into Tecate early gave me a chance to get the lay of the land since I didn’t have to worry about traffic buzzing all around me. It’s really a simple layout and I’ve got a much better feel for how to get around. In addition, seeing how much easier and stress free it is to cross at the tiny Tecate border station with it’s easy to find Immigration building confirmed in my mind that we’ll be using that crossing point for both entering and exiting Baja. Again, a little bit of a hassle ended up delivering another useful set of data points.

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