Saturday, August 25, 2012

Kayaking, SD and the Mexican border

8/18 Day 38 - We woke up and Julie drove us down to the beach not very far from where the kayak place was. Was said goodbye and headed over there. Luckily we were able to grab a spot on their 10am tour. (But they made us pay $40 more even though we had a GroupOn. Bad start. -E) We had to wait a little bit, but we went to Starbucks and got a snack so we didn't mind. When we got back we got our life jackets our helmets. We met up with the other people on the tour and the guide. Since there was an odd number of people and a lot of people she asked if Ethan would be the guest guide and if I would go in a double with her or someone else. Definitely not the ideal situation, but I felt bad so I said yes. I got paired with a Philippino woman who was really funny and Ethan got to wear a special life jacket and no helmet.

We kayaked out to these cliffs and learned about how they were eroding and how all the houses on them would be gone in 50yrs. (Dr. Seuss had a house there and supposedly the fish that he had in all of his stories was the California state fish that is plentiful in this area. -E) We learned a little about the animals that live in the ocean and around there as well as a short history lesson on the area. We also got kayak into one of the caves, however it was very brief because we had a lot of people. After that we went back to shore.

All in all we didn't feel that the kayak tour was worth our money, but we enjoyed it. We would have much rather rented some and did our own tour, but whatever. After that we hopped on a bus back to Julie's, packed our stuff and headed for downtown to our hotel.

We went through Mission Bay, which was really cool and pretty. It's a pretty large bay where people paddle board, kayak, waterski, wakeboard, tube and sail. It's very protected from the ocean so the water is really calm. It wasn't too far to the hotel and the ride was flat. We had to deal with traffic and no bike lane, but it wasn't too bad.

We finally made it to the hotel in downtown. When we went to check in the guy behind the counter couldn't find the reservation. We tried every name we could think of (we were pretty sure he was just a moron and was typing something wrong, but we humored him anyway). I had just spoken with a lady who received our package of clothes like an hour or so before and she confirmed that our reservation was under my name. So I knew he was just dumb. (He looked at us like yeah right can two scrubs on bicycles afford to stay here. Screw you, dude. -E) After a while another lady came up and typed it in and found it right away.

We took all our stuff off our bikes and headed out for the Mexican border. Our original plan was to take a ferry across the bay to Coronado and then head south to Imperial Beach. Julie told us there was a train that takes you back from the border and that sounded much better than biking back. When we got to the ferry the next one didn't leave for 45 minutes so we decided to scrap it.

Eventually we ended up on this road completely dedicated to car sales. Every block had a few dealerships on it. It was called the Mile of Cars. It was strange. After a while I got tired of all the traffic so Ethan found a different route. We were pretty close to the border at this point. After a while the less busy road turned into a totally carless road. I got nervous because we were so close to Mexico and it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. Anyway, we passed a bunch of horse ranches and then turned back toward the main road. We could see Mexico as well as the giant fence that keeps people out. It was weird. When we started to get closer to the border crossing we noticed a helicopter hovering very close to the ground and were surprised by a 4-wheeler that came out of nowhere and crossed the road in front of us - we presumed they were border patrol. Very Weird.

We eventually ended up at this really nice outlet mall that had all sorts of your average stores. We thought about going to look for flip flops - I lost mine a few days ago- but decided against it. We passed some duty free stores and then came up to the giant gate that separates Mexico and the US. A ton of people were going back into Mexico with all sorts of stuff. We stopped in sight of the "Mexico" sign over the vehicle crossing and snapped a pic. It was very anticlimactic. Oh well! We were done!! Hoooooorayyyy!

We got back on our bikes and headed for the pedestrian overpass to the train station. From behind us I heard someone say my name. Instinctively I turned around and there was the couple we had stayed at Doheny with. Small world. They crossed the border and had a celebratory beer/tequila shots and were also taking the train (or trolley as they call it in SD) back into downtown. We crossed the pedestrian bridge with them to get to train, which you weren't supposed to ride your bike over. The two of them and I walked, while Ethan decided it wasn't a big deal and rode. Well turns out they really don't want you to ride across it because when we got down on the other side two security officers were there waiting. They gave Ethan a hard time about it and threatened to make him go all the way back and walk his bike back over. It was super unnecessary and annoying, but Ethan told him he only biked because it was easier. (And there were like two other people on the overpass so big deal. They were the kind of cops you could tell were bullied in high school. -E) The officer let him go for being honest. After our brush with the "law" we got our tickets and put our bikes on board. It took a solid 35 minutes to get back into town but it was way better than riding back.

We showered and then went out for a celebratory burger and Ethan had a beer. We got a tub of ice cream for desert and went back to the hotel. (I put the tub in the ice container and filled it with ice to keep it cold. Brilliant! -E) We enjoyed our mint chocolate chip ice cream while we relaxed and thought about how awesome we are. 1863.58 miles of biking over 38 days (36 biking days). It felt incredible and very surreal. We thought back on the last month. All the people we met, friends we made, places we stayed, things we saw, & wildlife we encountered added up to one of the most epic adventures ever.

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