It is with mixed emotions that we sit and write this update.
Baja has been an amazing high for us, we have experienced grey whales up close and snorkelled with whale sharks in Concepcion bay. We have enjoyed the Mexican laid back way of life but all good things must come to an end.
Kevs mum’s health has not been good for a long time, we hoped we would have enough time to complete our journey however in our last communication with home it was obvious that this was not the case. Her health has deteriorated to the extent where we now need to go home and help look after her.
We made the tough decision to end our journey here in the Baja and given how close to the USA we were decided to return to Los Angeles to ship our bike home from there.
In a cruel twist inadvertently of our own doing we are now stuck in Tijuana on the Mexican border unable to cross to the USA.
We rode from San Diego the day before our visa was to expire (21st March) towards the Mexican border, the sign on the freeway saying last exit before border, just after this we slowed to negotiate the extremely awkward speed humps little knowing this was our border crossing. We expected to find a USA exit and Mexican entry station as is usually the case. Just be on the safe side Karen got off the bike and went back to the nearest office to hand our I94s in, (Our I94 forms were our USA entry/exit cards) “non” said the Mexican border official “across bridge” pointing forward. Heartened there was as another office across the bridge we resumed following the signs but we suddenly found ourselves spat out into Tijuana City without even stopping. We still had our US I94 cards (entry/exit cards) which we knew we had to hand in. We rode around the one way system and headed back to the border towards the USA again.
That way was chaos with huge lines waiting, rescue came in the way of a local biker who came over to look at our bike, his English was good so we explained our predicament and he led us a back way through the traffic to almost the start of the border queue and explained Karen would have to walk the rest past the queues to reach the border and speak to a guard. Karen walked as far as she could up to the fences and handed the I94s to the border official who spoke a little English and seemed to understand they needed to be returned to USA immigration, mission complete Kev turned back towards Ensenada once more and we thought we were sorted.
It wasn’t until Loreto when we met some friendly locals that we found an immigration office and obtained a Mexican tourist card stamped 7th April. We never even saw the Mexican Immigration Office at the Tijuana border.
After the conversation with Kev’s mum and having made the decision to return home we left Loreto and completed the 1000 odd miles back to Tijuana and the border. It was with a sixth sense Karen suggested to check first that our forms were received by the appropriate authorities. A few online sites later revealed the worst we were classed as over stayers in the USA, they thought we were still there.
We have been forced to stay in a hotel here as there is no campsite and we need internet facilities to find a solution, our paper trail in Mexico only begins on the 7th April some 17 days after we left the USA.
If we approach the border to cross without first clearing our record we will be denied entry, to clear our exit requires forms sent to Kentucky with proof which we have done but it may take weeks.
We could fly home tomorrow but not with our bike, to get our bike back to the UK it must cross the American border on a truck. We are still not sure if they will let us do that without us (the vehicle owner) being present. The only other option is to ship from Ensenada which we are looking into.
To add to our woes our UK debit card don’t work in ATM’s here. In the whole of the Baja we have only been able to withdraw money once at the airport in Loreto. In the past one option was to withdraw cash from the ATM on the credit card but that too has got the “unable to process” response every time we have tried it in Tijuana. Our cash reserves which got us down the Baja and back are now also used up. Mexico has been the hardest place to get money from an ATM we have ever encountered.
On the plus side we can pay for the hotel with our credit card and breakfast is included so we eat a big breakfast and skip lunch. The Hotel has also kindly let us have 1000 pesos cash back on the credit card so that will keep us fed for a few days.
Someone said it is not an adventure until things don’t go according to plan, we have made few plans on this trip but even this is testing us to the full.
It is a frustrating time as we are caught between a rock and a hard place but as our Kiwi friends would say build a bridge and get over it.
The next international container port in Mexico is over 3000km away on the mainland and there we would have the language barrier to contend with also.
At this stage we are still trying to work through it and get us and our bike home. We will keep you updated when we can.
This might be the end of our journey but remember you still have eight months to go while we catch up with the blogs.