Roadtrip Travelogue, Part III

3.18.03
Let’s blow this taco-stand. Upon awaking, it is no longer raining (gracias Dios), which emboldens us to continue on to San Felipe.

We stop for the first time for petrol at one of the many Pemex stations in Ensenada. I opt for “premio” with the thought that if the gas is as cleanly as the streets, I had best go for the best I can find.

Then the adventure begins. The Transpeninsular 3 crosses Baja California in a roughly southeastern tact, passing between the Sierra de Juarez and the Sierra San Pedro Martir mountains before entering the deserts that line the coast of the Sea of Cortez. It is, without question, a treacherous route. Gas is not reliably available for some 200+ km, and the two-lane highway is severely degraded for most of the trip. There are far more bumps and holes than I’ve ever experienced in the States, and the ferociousness of the countryside is clearly written in the numerous abandoned vehicles that line the road. They are, in total, without tires, seats or doors, all rusted completely, some on their sides or roofs, some partially buried in loose dirt, most covered in graffiti. They are in the middle of nowhere. What kind of day was it when these cars were left behind? What were the circumstances? What happened to the passengers? What had to have conspired against them to make abandoning their car forever a better option than retrieving it? I think back and see those people, and wonder at their bravery.

We pass through numerous towns that don’t really deserve appellations, but have them anyway: Ojos Negros, Heroes de la Independencia, Valle de la Trinidad. At the junction of the 3 & 5, a military checkpoint stops all traffic to ask your destination, and check you over. Besides inducing heart palpitations, the experience is mostly harmless. The soldiers look hot, and barely able to pull-off their own importance as they swelter in the heat, quizzing vacationing retirees in RV’s, and stupid, but not dangerous, Spring-Breakers.

San Felipe – El Capitan Motel
The first hotel we tried doubled their prices for Spring Break. $90 for an admittedly beautiful beach-side room, unfortunately bombarded by Spring Break revelry and crawling with 20 something gringos partying loudly and long. We get a refund. We�d rather bring the party to them, not have it in our laps.

Down the street, a much quieter, much cheaper place is found. Clean, comfortable, and really, what more could be asked for? Here, they are so concerned with emphasizing their love for Americans and their associated catering to them, that the water inlet hose for the toilet still proudly displays the label: Made in America

It occurs to me how being in this economy skews your perception of cost. $90 a night at the first hotel was unbelievably expensive at the time. $90?! In the states, that would be nothing.

It is warm here

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