So far, we love cycletouring in Mexico. Folks are overwhelmingly friendly, the road has been good, the scenery has been stunning, and everything is so cheap! Ok, so we are only on day three now, but these are our first impressions. With any luck, they will hold for the next three months.
We crossed into Mexico at the small town of Tecate. On the US side, there is no town to speak of, but there is a lively little town on the Mexican side. We were a bit confused at the crossing, but once the guards heard about our trip and how long we would spend in Mexico we were quickly ushered into the tourist office to get our visas. The official there instructed us to fill out forms, pay the fee, and return the paperwork for our visa. Before we knew it, we were proud owners of 180 day tourist visas for Mexico.
Also, the guard who helped us was watching Miley Cyrus videos from years ago when she still worked for Disney. It was hilarious.
In Tecate, we found a reasonable hotel room with Wifi and air conditioning for $26. It was so exciting for us: our first hotel of the trip, and in Mexico no less! From there, we explored on foot and found the famous bread store: El Mejor Pan de Tecate (The best bread of Tecate). Inside, there were rows of delicious pastries for about $1 each. So yummy!
We had real Mexican food (no yellow cheese) for dinner, and were quickly back at the room by dark. We were very tired!
The next day was our first day of real Mexican roads. For the most part, there was a wide shoulder. When it disappeared the cars and trucks were courteous, and often gave us a thumbs-up or slowed down to yell encouragements out the window. We were surprised at how enthusiastically we were welcomed. We had heard this road was bad from other touring blogs, but it was nothing like we expected. Perhaps the road has been improved in the last year.
We even met two more touring cyclists! Tyler and Antony found us sitting in the shade of a convenience store, and they recognized us from our blog. They too have come from the far north, so there was much to talk about. We agreed to meet them in our destination town to camp together.
As I said before, the scenery was great. It was stark and dry, but beautiful. The temperature was hot (93) but not too uncomfortable. We ate tacos in town, bought water, and camped for free with our new friends. After an extravagant day of meals out, we tallied our total expense: $18US. Lucky us!
It was a quiet night for us, but I woke up many many times to check on the bikes and everything else. It is always like this my first night in a new situation. Camping in Mexico certainly qualifies as such! In the morning we watched a beautiful sunrise and had breakfast with our new friends before setting out for the city of Ensenada. The riding was easy – mostly downhill – and we are now taking care of internet things before heading south again. We hope to meet up with them for camping again tonight in the town of Santo Tomas. We really liked spending time with them!