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Archive for February 17, 2008

Sunday, 17 February 2008 – San Felipe to Yuma, AZ, USA

I have already expressed my disappointment with San Felipe in yesterday’s Diary.  Fortunately, Sunday morning was a very civilised affair, being woken by sunshine and the gentle sounds of Mexican music from the streets below. We took a stroll to the Malecón (remember yesterday’s Spanish lessons?)  had breakfast in view of the Sea of Cortez and bought ourselves some souvenirs. As one of the store owners said: ‘ We have everything that you’ve never needed or will never want, at 10% off our best prices!’ He was right!!

I had hoped that things would get better after we had retraced our tracks to the junction of MEX5 (The San Felipe to Mexicali road) and MEX3 (the Ensenada to MEX5 road). I had hoped that (a) there would be accommodation close to and north of the junction and (b) there would be lots of interesting cacti on the way to Mexicali.

We drove the full 194 km from San Felipe to Mexicali and made 4 stops and saw no cacti apart from a couple of grotty looking Lophocereus schottii, Cylindropuntia felipensis and C. munzi. I’ll need to replan the end of the March trip so that we can at least see the fantastic Feros around Valle de Trinidad, about halfway along MEX3. Alain believes there is a hotel in the village.

Our car was only able (and very well too) to glide on tarmac, and we had just about done all the tarmac that Baja had to offer.

So, at around 14:00 we started queuing for the border crossing to the USA between the towns of Mexicali and Calexico (Get it?). Alain had never been in the USA, apart from some 12 hours after arriving on 1 February and thought it would be good to spend some time in San Diego. By the time that we finally entered the USA, it was 16:45 with all the hold up caused by US immigration. We witnessed a few guys climb across the fence to the USA – no doubt they are  already back in Mexico. It was no option for us – the car would be too heavy to lift over the 4 meter high fence!

During our wait, we had plenty of opportunity to revise our schedule, as almost a week in San Diego was quite a lot, especially as I have to spend 2 weeks in the area before Cliff & Ian arrive. So instead, after crossing the border, we turned right on California 8 and arrived in Yuma, Arizona at around 7 p.m. Arizona time which is 1 hour ahead of California and Baja. We soon found a Motel 6 but were disappointed to find that unlike the one in San Diego, this one has no wifii connection, just a cable to modem link for which we did not bring cables.

Alain’s disappointment was doubled when he discovered that all the junk food places around the motel serve junk food (surprise surprise) but do not have a license to serve beer or wine. Outrage springs to mind.

Tomorrow we plan to drive the 245 miles to Tucson where on Tuesday we hope to visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (Anton & Christiaan may remember visiting this in 1997) and if time permits, a visit to one of the nurseries – Dan Bach or Miles to Go.

Wednesday we’ll drive from Tucson in the direction of San Diego and we’ll see when we get there, in any case, Alain leaves at 7:45 a.m. on Saturday 23rd. We’ve bought overview maps of Arizona & California but have no cactus data of what we might see on the way. Never mind, the final destination in Tucson is enough.