It would be a pretty full day to get back to my folks house in Jamul. So we woke up early but due to the time change, between Baja Norte and Baja Sur, what we thought was 6am turned out to be 5am.
It was really really cold and the central Baja hills were socked in with fog. I had removed the windshield wipers on the land cruiser (they're generally useless), lost my gloves and didn't have a heavy jacket. On Highway 1, I was quickly soaking wet and blind. Eventually, I got behind the Lexus and just followed their tail lights. We came out of the fog and headed towards the coast and breakfast at Mama Espinosa's.
Mama Espinosa wasn't there. At 105 she isn't at the restaurant much anymore. I was amazed she was even still around at all. I remember her being an old grandmotherly figure when I was 7. I guess she would've been 66 then so it makes sense.
But her daughter was there. She remembered the zebra striped car and my parents. We had a great conversation (and breakfast). We reminisced about the early races. It was the first time I got really choked up on the trip.
Mama Espinosa's has been a main stay of the races since the start and it was too bad that the corse NORRA didn't go by it. Maybe next year.
After breakfast we continued north. I hadn't realized how far south Ensenada had sprawled. We spent a good chunk of the morning in traffic. Past Ensenada we headed east to avoid Tijuana and cross the boarder in Tecate.
|The last military check point - Mary has a really good story about this one.|
The 3 freeway from Ensenada to Tecate is Baja's wine country. It's a beautiful winding road with vineyards and small towns. Some of the towns were settled by Russians in the early 1900s which gives them a really different aesthetic.
|In line at the boarder.|
We reached Tecate and got lost trying to find the boarder crossing. Now days you have to go to the eastern edge of town and crawl along the fence. Mary was in the Land Cruiser and I was with Arwen and the kids. Mary went through with no problem but we got searched. More like "searched." They glanced at a couple bags but didn't quiz us about the weird over sized tire or boxes of tools. In the end it didn't take long and we were on our way.
The Cafe has definitely seen better days. Everything's working against a place like this. Between the economy, xenophobia and the drug wars Gringos aren't going to Baja. The tightened boarders (both legally and illegally) are keeping Mexican from coming north. There are way more fast food places along the 94. I've also noticed that these types of cafes have been hurting because of the speed, comfort and efficiency of modern cars - you just don't need to stop as much. But if you asked the only other custom - an old cranky guy - it's all Obama's fault.
Anyway, the food was good and the people friendly. We had fried fish and hush puppies and headed home.
Mom was surprised to see us. No one really seemed to know when we were coming back. Even with email they were expecting us a day earlier or later. It was good to be back
and I think Greta missed us.