Jay (brian1789) wrote,


After getting back a week ago from field tests, early last Wednesday we packed up our minivan (with 140K miles on it) with all six of us and our luggage and headed south to Ensenada, Mexico (about 70 miles south of the US border in Baja). We had five days... patgreene had wanted beaches, James had wanted Mexican food, Kevin wanted new cultural angles, cyan_blue wanted to see more than just a few hours in Tijuana.

We drove the 575 miles down in one day, then found a local taqueria open late. The next morning... I had a couple of Thursday telecons to cover and Pat had to get a resume and letter out, so we hung around the hotel in the morning, then on the beach in the afternoon, with an added stop at a local (non-touristy) marketplace. Friday was spent initially visiting a museum in (weirdly) a beach resort (Estero Beach) where one could get up next to 2000-year-old Toltec pottery and carvings. No glass, no barriers... I was a bit nervous about the boys bumping something. Then going to a marine geyser (La Bufadora) with 50-70m high spouting every minute or so. With an attached tourist gauntlet than would have made parts of Jamaica or India proud, even if the hawkers were *slightly* less aggressive near siesta-time. But then we had an excellent dinner, back in town, and stumbled into a local grape-harvest festival covering the streets outside the Sant Tomas winery.

Saturday... nice brunch, wine tasting involving James and David (legal in Mexico) which was new to them, up Mexico 3 to Tecate and thence to the border. Which on a Saturday afternoon was hot, took 2.5 hours, and was filled with creeping cars with lane-splitting vendors of souvenirs, sodas and churros.

Then... the San Diego car curse (the past 4 times we have passed through SD County, something has gone wrong on the car) again. We stopped for fuel and to change money in San Ysidro, and the minivan trunk door broke... handle fell off in my hand, and the latch was closed... with the door open, so I couldn't just re-close it. No mechanics were available at 5pm on a Saturday, so finally I used a ratchet-pulley-block and some blue nylon rope to rig it up, pulling the hatch closed by tying it tightly to the rear row of seats inside. It was awkward loading and unloading from inside over the seats, and I sprained my back slightly from the unleveraged twisting, but it worked well enough to get us home by 9pm last night.

On the home stretch... yesterday we left Santa Clarita and went to look at old locomotives at Travel Town in LA's Griffith Park (David's want-to-see on the trip), joining up with a sweetie and her kids there. Then driving home with a stop in Santa Nella for pea soup...

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