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San Diego, Tijuana Mexico, & a Very Close Call

Updated: Apr 25, 2019

Riding down to San Diego was “hecka” fun, as they say around these here parts. Highway 78 from the Salton Sea begins as a hilly desert with some great opportunities for off-roading. There are also some amazing slot canyons i nthe area for hiking. Then the landscape turns greener and greener by the mile and finally by the time I reached Highway 79 I was up in the hills, racing through the lonely curves of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.

I always try to avoid the interstate expressways because they are not interesting, they are full of police, are considerably more dangerous due to the other drivers and they simply offer no benefits for sights and interactions compared to the alternative roads. But I had no choice then to connect to I8 which is where I had my first serious close encounter. As I was taking a split exit another motorist suddenly swerved into my lane not to miss the exit himself forcing me to hit the curb splitting the two exits head on. The mili-seconds I had were utterly useless to slow the machine down and I prepared for a fall at 50+MPH. Somehow, the bike bounced over curb and danced frighteningly from side to side as I struggled to get the top-heavy thing under control. And I did somehow manage to keep the rubber down and bring the bike to a safe stop in the middle of the exit. Turning to view the situation behind me I could see the terrified faces on the drivers of the cars who themselves, avoiding to run me over, drove off into the sloping grass to the sides of the exit. But The KLR, my loyal steed, took the beating with no apparent ill-effect which was surprising to me. I was expecting at least a pinch flat or damaged spokes or luggage all over the road; but nothing. I carried on happy to be in one piece. Suspension folks, suspension!

Finally arriving in the big city I was surprised at how cold it was, somewhere in the low sixties. This happened to me last time I was in California six years earlier when a day after graduating high school a friend and I took a month to tour the US in his big GMC van. The locals call it the “June Gloom” where the weather is cold and cloudy for most of the time, allowing for no swimming without a wetsuit; a shame considering La Jolla shores is one of the more beautiful stretches of sand on the west coast.

In SD I stayed with a good friend form Brazil, Rodrigo Duran who later showed me a good time with "Latin Nights" at the famous Blue Agave club. If you want to see Latinos getting down to all kinds of sexy tunes from all over South America, this would be the place to do it.

In the morning Rodrigo proposed a great location for lunch that I just had to go with – Mexico! And there we were, an hour later, in a completely different world, walking the streets of Tijuana, enjoying the sunshine in a country I have previously never visited. We ate chicken with a Chocolate Mole sauce at a great little restaurant near the boarder and then we headed back. The line of cars trying to enter Mexico was over two hours long considering it was fathers day and vendors line the sides of the roads offering anything from souvenirs and food to wrestling masks, all kinds of edibles, and even puppies. My memories of TJ as people call it here is of the donkeys painted with stripes to resemble Zebras that you can have a picture taken with for 50 pesos (5$ at that time, probably close to half that today!) and of the terrible sight of little children in dirty clothes walking from car to car with their tiny little hands out. How horrible a sight to witness, something definitely not new to me but having lived in areas where such things are the norm, you simply never get used to it.

“Ghandi once said; “Poverty is the worst form of violence” - it's hard to disagree with that.

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