We have been unplugged for the last few days -- no TV, phone, or internet access, so I haven't added any new blog entries -- but more Mexico entries will be coming soon. For now, however, we are back in the USA!
Our final two nights in Baja California were camped on the ocean in La Salina, a resort town north of Ensenada. This area of Mexico is very Americanized and modern, although we were told a bungalow on the beach could be had for around $100,000, and the fanciest mansion -- and some were VERY fancy -- for half a million.
Our 16 rigs (two Mexico Tracks tours joined during the trip) left La Salina for the drive to Tijuana with Green Angel escorts -- a government-funded rescue squad, primarily for tourists, that patrol Mexican highways. Once we got nearer to Tijuana, several policia on motorcycles assisted us as we navigated the streets of the city (yes, they all got tips!).
As we snaked through the line at the border, beggars, food vendors, and children juggling balls walked among the cars and rigs asking for money. We were fortunately in the bus lane -- it would have added another hour or so to the crossing time if we had been in the huge line of cars waiting for entry.
Re-gaining entry into the US required three stops:
- First, a kiosk where we showed our passports, declared our purchases, and were passed on.
- Second, a food inspection station. Pork, raw potatoes, and some fruits are the most common of the prohibited items, and gloved inspectors boarded all the rigs to look through our refrigerators. We lost 4 oranges right away that I had forgotten to toss. The inspector then brought out a baggie from the freezer that contained two hamburger patties, and asked us if it was venison or elk. We told her no, but she said it looked "too dark to be beef" and confiscated it anyway (afterwards, we found another identical package of two hamburger patties which apparently passed inspection!)
- Finally, we parked in front of a small box truck and were asked to leave the vehicle. The truck, actually a portable X-Ray machine, drove beside the RV, the driver watching a screen for, we assumed, people or guns hidden within the RV.