Welcome to America


Santiago Bay, South Baja, Mexico

Santiago Bay, South Baja, Mexico

Santiago Bay, South Baja, Mexico

Santiago Bay, South Baja, Mexico

Santiago Bay, South Baja, Mexico

Santiago Bay, South Baja, Mexico

John: Imagine. A day and a half ago, that’s sixteen hours, we were camping on Santiago Bay.

Shelley: Nursing your foot.

Stingray sting

Stingray sting

John: God that hurt. Who knew one little sting ray could cause so much pain? It was like child birth.

How to nurse a sting ray sting: beer, advil and place your foot in the hottest water possible.

How to nurse a sting ray sting: beer, advil and place your foot in the hottest water possible.

Shelley: Really?

John and Shelley: Oh! Ha! Ha! Ha!

John: But because Mexican Notaries couldn’t legally witness our signatures in order to sell the duplex, here we are in Tijuana, the busiest border crossing in the world.

Shelley: Crazy. We turn left in 25 metres?

John: (Rolls down window) I’ll check. Sir. Excuse me. Hola. Are you going to San Diego?

Gentleman in the lane next to us: Yes.

John: Do we turn left here?

Gentleman: Yes.

John: Thanks.

Two men start washing the Smith’s windshield.

Shelley: No thank you.

They continue.

Shelley: Please stop. We’re good.

They ignore Shelley.

John: No! No! We don’t want our window’s cleaned.

Shelley and John: Stop!

They don’t.

Shelley: Oh no. The light’s green. I can’t see.

Shelley turns on the wipers. The windshield cleaners grab the wipers and keep on cleaning. Shelley drives.

Cleaners: Hey! Hey! You need to pay us! Where’s our money? Hey! Why you!

Shelley: Pay them. Throw some money out the window.

John: Here. Drive!

Shelley: I am. I am. Which lane?

John: Ah. Ah.

Shelley: Which lane?

John: I’m not sure.

Shelley: I’m going left.

John: No. Right.

Shelley: Right? But that guy you talked to went left. Are you sure?

John: I don’t know.

Honk. Honk. Honk!

Shelley: Right or left? Quick. I’ve stopped in the middle of the road. People are honking.

John: Right.

Shelley: Done.

Shelley and John: Noooo! We took the wrong lane. F@#K!!!

Shelley: OK. OK. This is not a big deal. No one died. Ha! Ha! We’ll circle back.

Man standing on the meridian: Amigos! You went the wrong way.

Shelley: We know. We’ll circle back.

Man jumps into the bed of the truck: I’ll show you where to go.

Shelley: What the?

John: Get off my truck!

Man: But amigo you are going the wrong way. I will help you. Sticks his hand out for money.


Shelley and John and Man: F@#KKK!!!!

Man jumps off. Shelley drives on.

Man on bicycle sticks his hand out for money: You are going the wrong way. I will help you.

Man in taxi: Follow me. I will help you to the border, then you pay me.

Everyone else: You’re going the wrong way. We can help you!

Shelley: We’re OK.

John: There! A sign for San Diego!

Shelley: I see it.

Shelley jerks the wheel to the left. The fifth wheel lurches on and off the sidewalk. People scramble.

John: That sign says “Sentri Solo.” What does that mean?

Shelley: Ahhhh… solo means only. Sentri. Sentri? Like a sentinal, a guard. Maybe it means, “Only Guards.” Whatever. We’re here.

Shelley and John’s truck is swarmed by men selling blankets, soccer shirts, Shriners, etc. etc…

Man selling blanket: Amigos. You are in the wrong area. Sentri Solo is not for you. Blanket?

Shelley: What?

John: Ignore him.

Man selling soccer shirts: It’s true. You need to be in that line.

Shriner: Si. I will help you.

John: There’s a man in uniform. Sir. Sir. Excuse me.

Man in Uniform: Yes.

John: Can we stay in this line?

Man in Uniform: Yes, but you will pay five thousand.

John: Five thousand? As in American Dollars?

Man in Uniform: Yes. That is the fine you will pay for being in the wrong line.

John: For making an honest mistake.

Man in Uniform: For being in the Sentri Solo line.

John: I don’t have five thousand dollars.

Man in an uniform shrugs his shoulders.

John: What can we do?

Man in Uniform, men selling blankets, soccer shirts, Shriners, etc. etc…: Cross those five lanes of traffic, move the orange cones out of the way, squeeze through those concrete barriers and line up in lane five.

John: OK.

Man in Uniform, men selling blankets, soccer shirts, Shriners, etc. etc…:  But I don’t think you’ll make it.

John: I don’t have five thousand dollars.

And one lane, two lanes, three lanes, four lanes, five lanes, orange barriers moved out of the way, fourty-two foot truck and fifth wheel maneuvered through concrete barriers later…

Kiosk #5 US Custom’s Officer: Welcome to America. How was Mexico?

Olive Avenue Resort, Oceanside, California, full hook up, $35 American per night

Olive Avenue Resort, Oceanside, California, full hook up, $35 American per night

Shelley and John, volunteer reporters who the editor of “The Comox Valley Echo” knows nothing about, signing off from Oceanside California.

31 thoughts on “Welcome to America

  1. I will never cross the border from California into Mexico in a vehicle again, Shelley. Rental car, south from San Diego, decided in one mile of very bad road that I hated it, took three hours lined up in bumper-to-bumper traffic to cross back over, experiencing all of which you wrote about people wanting money for cleaning the windshield, selling trinkets, enchiladas anything and everything … But the sight that freaked me out the most was the women carrying their 10-year-year-old kids in the front harnesses that top out on our side with 10-pound infants. Yikes!


      • Yep. Border crossings further east had no one approaching us, just leaning against buildings and giving us long looks. Last year when we crossed over, when we told the border guard that we were from Canada, he said, “Close enough. Welcome back.”


      • Even now, going back and forth in Niagara Falls as my dear wife Karen and I do periodically visiting that wonderful city from Syracuse, it’s long car lines and stress, Shelley. The world climate has just changed things forever, I fear. And fear is the operative word.


  2. When we were on a cruse to the Grand Cayman we went swimming with the stingrays. We were told that while walking to drag or feet. That way when you came up on a stingray you would bump him or her and they would move. But if you stepped on one he would be just like dog he would bight you are run. The stingray would either sting you or swim a way. We were also told that the males had the stinger and were a lot smaller that the females.


  3. I feel bad for his foot, at least he knows the male combination, alcohol and medicine! I wish I could be back in Mexico, which was a fantastic trip awhile back. I would love to see the sunset on the Santiago Bay, South Baja. I have been on a bay but not sure of its name, isn’t that terrible? Beautiful photos and fun, as always on my visit here.


    • A full timer down the beach suggested the medicine combo and to put his foot in the hottest water he could stand. I felt so bad for him. Were you on the Baja or the mainland? We are planning to drive through the mainland next year. Here we go again.


  4. Never cross in TJ! Thought I taught you better! Hahaha! OMG, a stingray injury? Good thing others his foot, could’ve been much worse😜! I can’t wait to hear more stories, I can only imagine!


    • Cheers to that! We knew better, but we had to have the papers signed by the 25th. Lesson learned though, next time we will head east. As for the sting. Holy mother of God! He was in agony.


  5. Poor John…but worse than childbirth??? How would he know? 😉

    That sunset pic is amazeballs!

    Tijuana, yuck. Don’t let it ruin the wonderful two months of memories of Baja. Love your posts!


    • Ha! Ha! As if. The sunset was crazy. John says reminds him of the blood coming out of his foot. Nah Chalk Tijuana down to no choice. Wish we had taken our camera out but in the heat of the moment… As always thanks for reading. Can’t wait to read about your adventure and your thoughts on the A class. My dad and mom are now on the road with us. They have just installed a towing bar for a car. So far all good.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 🙂 First the trip on the bikes in Texas in April, then the Class A for a week in May. Looking forward to testing out the lifestyle. And I am so happy your parents are travelign with you now…that always makes for entertaining posts!


  6. Hope the foot wasn’t hurt too badly! Aaand the first few photographs were treat to look at! Thanks for taking us on this trip and back with you…Now let’s see when does Shelley leaves on another adventure! 😉


    • He did all that and still got nailed. I was behind him with my stingray stick walking slowly dragging it through the sand. Three hours of pain for the poor guy. We knew better than to go through Tijuana but we were pressed for time to get papers signed. Never again through that crossing.


    • Ha! Ha! That was the scariest hour of the entire two month trip. San Diego is so tame after that! Of course you could do it. You moved to Norway!! Huge Cajone move. That sunset was crazy!


  7. Hi Shelley! ~ I love your post… The first pics are beautiful particularly that one with the pink & purple sky…
    So mexican beer might help if you have to nurse a sting ray… Oh I need to keep that in mind.. I will buy a few ones and add them to my medical kit 😛 … Great post!… All the very best to you! Aquileana 😀


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