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A quick breakfast at Denny’s and we were back on the road. The road to the border was quite straight forward and the volume of people crossing this Sunday morning was nice and light. The facilities in Tijuana have greatly improved since my first Bajathon in 2008 – officers now sit in comfortable brick build offices and there were smiles and relaxed chat rather than the tension between ‘customers’ and ‘service providers’ that I remember from past years. We were across in under an hour, despite being caught behind small party of Swiss  tourists who impressed by speaking fluent Spanish.

We found MEX1D with ease, much better signposted than on previous occasions. We had just paid our dues at the second Toll Plaza when we were directed off MEX1D and onto the old MEX1. We were aware that this would happen as close to La Mision with lots of Dudleya brittonii hanging from the road cutting, the Toll road had been destroyed by an earthquake. So no surprise, except why charge us for a road that is not accessible? I guess to pay for the repair works.

I thought that to reach our traditional Dudleya stop, we had to turn back a bit but realised that we had turned off too early. S2975. In fact we made three stops in very close succession, so S2975 (a), (b) and (c), with the last one back at the traditional stop. In addition to the Dudleya, Bergerocactus emoryi, Mammillaria dioica, Agave shawii and Ferocactus viridescens had their picture taken.

A Mexican, parked in front of us, came over for a chat. ‘What are you taking pictures of?’ We explaned that we are cactus & succulent plant freaks. Ah, great, I understand, we could not understand because with the beautiful Pacific Ocean bathing in sunshine and the beach below us, it all seemed a bit mad. Yep, that sums us up. Mad on cacti!

Usually we continue back on the toll road, but that was not an option this time. South of La Mision, the road took us past some dark rocks, rising some 10 m (30 ft) right along the road. They were covered in white Dudleya brittonii, but no place to pull over to take their picture or, with a huge truck on my backside, not even a chance to slow down for some on the fly pics. Never mind.

As a result of the detour we missed the Mirador that has been our second Baja stop in the past and arrived in Ensenada where we found a Calimex supermarket and an Oxxo to top up on supplies.

Angie was a little concerned when after passing through San Quintín I turned right onto a dirt track and I explained that this is where in 2008 Alain Buffel and I got stuck in wet sand, in the dark. and then failed to find the Hotel Mision Santa Maria. We found it thanks to a SatNav on later visits but my new SatNav had not a clue. Never mind, follow your instincts and sure enough after a longer while than I remembered, there was the hotel.

Follow the link http://www.misionsantamariahotelsanquintin.com/index.htm?lbl=ggl-en&gclid=CMXVxJPzwbwCFUdqfgod7yAACA to see how the other half live.

A large margarita prevented this Diary page from going out last night. Now breakfast calls, then the Catavina Boulder Fields!

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