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I wanted to show Angie another view of Baja by taking MEX3 from Ensenada south and east, in the direction of San Felipe, but turning north when the road hit the plains along the Sea of Cortex, where we headed north, along MEX5 towards Mexicali and the border with the US.

I’ll look up the entries for our previous visits here, to avoid duplication and allow me to concentrate here on reporting changes. One such change was how much the quality of MEX3 had improved. In 2008 the asphalt had even more potholes than the roads in wiltshire, back home. As a result, the journey was a lot faster – or the opportunities to take pictures are greater.

My favourite set along this route is at La Trinidad where we saw and photographed huge Ferocactus cylindraceus along the northern side of the road on past trips. That site seems to have disappeared, but this encouraged us to look to the other side of the road where equally spectacular. It’s good to look over your shoulder sometime.

At the military inspection point where MEX 3 carries on south and MEX5 heads north to Mexicali, the soldiers now benefit from open sided sheds to perform their inspections. Two soldiers pointed at my feet with some alarm, as if a rattle snake had wound itself around my leg. For a moment I thought that I was going to be arrested for smuggling cacti – a couple of Cylindropuntia pads had attached themselves to my boot and trouser leg. No need to point your guns at my foot – don’t shoot! I became a hero as I nonchalantly brushed the pads away with my key ring.

We reached the border without further incident, but Mexicali at rush hour brings its own challenges and delays. The main cause for the delay was the 90 minutes that we spent in the sin bin cage of the US border patrol. Our crime? Our SatNav had sent us into a Sentri Lane – a preferential fast lane for frequent crossers. I apologised as soon as my crime was pointed out but we were still made the subject of an in debt inspection, with dogs and officers crawling over the car. Nothing illegal found, although for maximum inconvenience was caused by re-arranging the content of bags around the car – there are still bits that I’m sure are in the car, but not where I had put them.

It was only a short distance from the border to El Centro and a friendly Motel 6.

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