We continued our way down with the intention to ride on the peninsula until Santa Rosalia and take the ferry to Hermosillo. Not much luck with that 🙁 First, when we got to the Fox Studios in Rosarito we found out that the Titanic setting has been dismantled only 5 months ago. I always wanted to see that, since I think the movie was great. Then, as we reached Ensenada, we were informed that a flood has ruined a major bridge and, as a result, there roads are closed southbound. So we had to ride back to the border, towards Mexicali.
Before reaching the border, we were somehow concerned, after reading other peoples’ stories about crossing from one country to the other. Estimates varied from 4 to 10 hours of waiting time.
Once the people in the vicinity of the checkpoint became aware of our presence, they all started rushing to us. Everybody had something to offer: some guys dealt with currency exchange, others claimed to have connections at the customs office that can help us with papers, or guard the motorcycle, find a better parking location, bring food, water, sell newspapers, candy, sun glasses, sombreros, religious artifacts etc.
As we proceeded with the formalities (without accepting help from bystanders) we learned that the process is actually simple enough and can actually take up to 1 hour. No bribes were required but we had to pay $1.50 for spraying the bike with some substance that was supposed to keep disease and germs outside of Guatemala. The officials were friendly and helpful.
While we were waiting for stamps and visas, we observers a countinuous flux of totaled cars comming from USA. The people doing this were better organised than their romanian counterparts I know about, each driver being able to bring two cars with the aid of a special towing device that was attached to the towed car’s frame after having removed the bumper cover. In addition, both cars were stuffed with used parts, household appliances, electronics, clothing etc.
As we were riding South through Mexico, I observed how the typical vehicle on the street was also evolving. If the standard car in the northern states like Baja California or Sonora was a big american built SUV or sedan showing slight damages on body, once we reached the center of the country the cars were downsized to the standard european measurements. Only here and there there was a US car, most of them bearing japanese or korean names. Plus some french, but not many, and a lot of VW, built in Mexico. I was happy to see again two of my favorite brands: Seat and Opel (although rebadged as Chevrolet and bearing a funny looking round shaped badge to fit the space of the original Opel badge).
Sadly, there was no Mercedes-Benz, Audi or BMW. I think we only saw two of each in Mexico City, but that’s it!
Also, in center and southern states there were A LOT of VW Type 1 (bug) and Type 2 T2 (bus). Taxis, private vehicle and commercial, they were everywhere.
As we started riding through Mexico, we also saw something that was to become very common: a pick-up truck with people riding in the cargo area. In the second picture, you can see the mexican variant of a school bus!
Besides that, here and there we could find some old Dacia cars, made in Romania!
Plus, plenty of vehicles with three wheels, for passengers or freight
There is also an unanswered question: everywhere people were driving with the hazard lights (blinkers) on. Buses, trucks, cars and motorcycles as well. Still I am trying to find out whether they were all signaling something and I wasn’t able to get their message… or this is more of a matter of style.
Stucked again, this time at the border between Oaxaca and Chiapas. After purchasing a new relay, I discovered the issue was actually a bad ground wire. The guy at a tire service on the side of the road took me with his 70cc motorcycle for shopping.
When we were happy that the rains were over, another meteorological issue arrised: very heavy winds from the side. For fear that we might fly, we continued with 40-50 km/h for about 30km. As we were advancing slowly, we saw James standing with his bike on the side of the road. This guy is a real hero: he rode his bicycle from Washington, planning to reach Nicaragua. We was looking to hitch to the next town or until the winds were over, as he was unable to proceed.