Route: Sweetwater Summit Campground, Bonita CA to Potrero, CA via Tecate Mexico
Route Miles- 35 mi
Total Trip Miles- 60
The morning was a pretty slow start, intentionally, so that I could check over all my gear and get things situated. Per the advice of a fellow traveler, another woman going solo northbound (she’s about a week a head of me), I added some whimsy to the back of my bike. I particularly like the last minute addition of a flag purchased at the airport back home. So far, it’s generated lots of questions and comments 🙂
Hot holy hills, batman. I went from about 400 ft above sea level this morning to 2382. And there were definitely some ups and then back downs. That will be a mantra for the trip I think, what goes down must come up again. Yesterday, my helpful friend at REI said that this ride might be a bit hairy due to the commuter traffic between Tecate and San Diego. His assessment was correct. Aside from the fact that the roads so far have very little shoulder, they also include water control curbs which limit the space even more. But I was feeling pretty good overall. I took my sweet precious time and worked it up those hills. And I even enjoyed my first big descent, until I looked across the valley and saw the hill I’d have to ride up again. Yikes. So I found some shade, ate some lunch and took a nap. This will become a necessary habit, I’m sure. I should note here that whilst I was napping, border patrol was raiding a camper trailer a couple hundred yards below me. Nothing dangerous for me, and no people were captured as far as I could tell from my snoozing. But border patrol is EVERYWHERE. So there. A pretty thorough effort is being made to prevent illegal immigration.
I did make it to Mexico, and felt a little illegal myself, as I was able to just walk across the border. Through a gate. All the Mexican border agents were focused on the cars entering and paid little to no attention to pedestrians. Huh. Expecting this to be like the crossings up north where there’s a wall between the checkpoints for Canada and America, I nodded my head. “Been to Mexico,” I thought, “Now back to the good ole’ US of A.” I crossed the street to get to the US entry. Uhhhh…. no US entry point visible… Huh…. After some confusing directions from google and a whole lot of looking like a silly out-of-place tourist, I did find the way back to the city on a hill.
And that was that. Mostly. I found a convenience store in the much smaller American Tecate (the Mexican side was huge and had lots of awesome music and smells of evening dinner), got an Ice Cream sandwich, and biked back up the road to Potrero. (Tecate is out of the way) It was interesting to notice an immediate decline in traffic in the new direction. I guess people (legally! trust me, there’s several check points) commute from Tecate to San Diego for work every day, and back again. I was now going opposite the commuter traffic. Nice. Potrero took another huge climb, but I made it. Day 2 on the books.