“All you touch and all you see, is all your life will ever be.” —Pink Floyd (Dark Side of the Moon)
Our year 2022, is not yet over since it’s still October, and the day of the dead is close, but, not here yet. Our 2022 is forever marked by more than just a few bizarre events, like extreme heat, drought, climate change, 100 year floods, the end of Covid, plus the continued Ukraine/Russian war. Now I’m left wondering how many miles have I’ve actually scrolled down on google maps with just one finger.
Earlier today I crossed the border at Tecate as I left Southern California misty skies for some actual sunshine in Baja. I’m now in beautiful coastal Ensenada. The Micky Mouse cruise ship just sounded its departure horn. The tune sounds like “ when you wish upon a star”.
I rode Mexico Route 3 down the Guadalupe wine valley road. It’s not very impressive this time of year. It’s roughly 160 km to Ensenada on the wine road; for the first 40 or 50 km the road climbs; then it’s all downhill with another 40/50 km before you start to see anything resembling plantations of grape-bearing vines, aka vineyards.
I saw guys just off the road selling anything from pottery to honey before the wine tasting signs start to appear. The winery’s are deceiving because there’s not great vineyard signage entry ways like what you see in the US.
The two lane littered single yellow line wine highway is not a well maintained road. The wine museum should be your first reference point if you plan on visiting. From there it’s either high end lodging at some vineyards or well concealed ranchos on dirt roads just far enough away from the highway as to miss them.
The hostess at Casa Asturias (my lodging for the night) recommended La Guerrense Carreta, for seafood. On account of the Mickey Mouse cruise ship I headed away from that touristy area and ate my seafood at Mariscos Plaza Azul. The waiter was already outside flagging me down as I rode into a private parking spot.
Once inside I was the only customer with three waiters hovering about me. The margarita was made extra strong to keep me from leaving. The fried whole fish I ordered resembled a large barracuda. It spilled off the plate and was smothered in garlic. I ordered it that way and had no problems devouring it.
Speaking Spanish helps tremendously; don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t. I catch little things by talking to people. Things like the immigration visa stamper having to work on Sunday, on account of personnel shortages while the Banjercito female employee could certainly use a manicure. The service window is just tall enough so that all you see are her hands. A guy waiting in line behind me drove down from Ontario, Canada to visit his 45’ sailboat that he hasn’t visited in over a year on account of Covid.
Mariscos Plaza Azul restaurant reminds me of the old television sitcom show Taxi where Louis De Palma, plays a taxi dispatcher. He yells out instructions while sitting high up on a perch to the cab drivers; just like this guy is now doing to his all male waiter staff.
Cheers was a spin-off from Taxi and sixty three years ago in October 1959, The Twilight Zone premiered. It’s creator Rod Sterling said that a writer’s role is to menace the public’s conscience. He also said that “We must focus on issues of our time.”
Another birthday has now come and gone and this ride is my present to me. The original Spaniard wine valley flows near here but, tomorrow I ride back to Tecate on that same road to meet up with the rest of the riders.
Tecate is just another border town closer to Tijuana than one might think. The area has grown so much that there’s literally no space between the two towns. The Tecate beer plant is owned by Germany. Tecate is also just a hodgepodge of everything from dusty iron to rust gates to chipped and broken half finished sidewalks, cracked pavement, weedy lots, junk heaps and lots and lots of cultural experiences and street food. I know that there’s places of ill repute around but, surprisingly they are never in your face like a cannabis or porn shop in any small town USA. Nighttime we’re all about the food and drinks and great conversations after a full days ride.
I am sharing literally nothing with you today as our ride has yet to start. I would love to share with you that today I woke up with a bone in my teeth, and a song in my heart and rapidly sped off but, I didn’t. I took my time enjoying the ride.
The farthest parts of Mexico are still totally unknown to most of us, except for Yoda Roberto and Luis from Mexico City. These are their lands.
“…….there are those who are not here anymore, those who didn´t arrive, those who never made it, those who left, those who are not visible, what was and what wasn’t, what could be and its fantasies.
It´s as if all were alive and dead. Such is reality, the everything.”
– José Javier Villareal, Tijuana poet.