Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Day 35 - Upland CA

Day 35 at my cousin Mike’s place in Upland CA, the same place I was fortunate to stay 8 years ago when I did my 49 state tour and I’m sure happy to be back in the states. Things feel back to normal with my phone back on so I can connect with the world and it almost cost me, as a US citizen $5000 to get back into the states; more on that later. 

I and a great time staying with Rolando and family last night and Rolando and Santiago were going to take me to the border that I knew it’d be a fun and faster trip than on my way down now that I know how to ride the Mexican roads, thanks to Rolando so we got a fairly early start. At least early for me since it’ll only be about a 4 hour trip here. We did make great time to and the road seemed so different to me than when I road down almost 30 days ago on my first trip deep into Mexico, ok, at least Baja California Mexico. On my way down the first day I maybe hit 70 mph a couple of times but today with the speed demon in front of me, there were times we were actually hitting 80 and it seemed so much like much of Highway 1 that I’ve already been riding that it wasn’t very different for me. There were some curvy windy mountain roads that I’m wondering why I don’t remember them as well as some of the other roads in BC, but I guess since it’s been as long as it has since I’ve ridden this road and for as slow as I road it the first time, the road didn’t seem that curvy to me the first time.

I knew one of the things I was really looking forward to today was just getting back to the states and being reconnected that with a quicker trip to the border, that’s just what the doctored ordered that I should make Upland by lunch time. Well, you guessed it, that’s where my plans eventually went south back into Mexico, not me riding, but my time was blown away because of my border crossing.

Rolando eventually pulled over where he couldn’t go any further since him and Santiago didn’t have visa’s to get into the states that based on the signs he told me if I head straight the opposite way than him I should get to the border crossing and he reminded me that since I’m on a motorcycle I should just be able to work my way to the front of the line. We said our goodbyes and I was on my way just as an officer was approaching Rolando which I’m thinking he might’ve had some explaining to do, but I didn’t look back and continued on my way to the border. Well, I must’ve taken the wrong turn because I seemed to be going the opposite way than the rest of the traffic that just as one of the Mexican officials were closing a couple of lanes for them to move ahead before letting more cars through I asked where I could get thru on my motorcycle where he pointed to another lane that said Solo and told me to take that. 

I thought I followed the instructions pretty good especially since they were in English, but I must’ve still been in my Spanish verse that I ended up by the bus terminal somehow and didn’t see any lane for Solo any more, to my fortune or at least I thought a taxi driver honked me down and asked where I was going to where I replied the US border that to help me, he said follow me which I did and pointed me to the Solo lane that I’m sure to get across quick now, especially since the only thing in front of me was a bus. Well, once again I don’t know if I missed a sign or turn again, but the Mexican border patrol asked why I was in the bus lane where my response was I thought it was the Solo lane but I guess not the kind of Solo lane for guys like me on a motorcycle. According to their directions I had to go between the cars as far to the left as I could that I started doing just that closer to the front of the line that this should be easy and I’ll be ahead of all the cars like Rolando told me to do. Oh, and the other thing was they instructed me to shutoff my camera that instead of it shutting off I think I finally turned it on to capture my crossing that it was a good thing I finally noticed and shut if off since there were plenty of signs for not picture of video taking while crossing.

So, now what happened is I didn’t continue heading left because when I saw a motorcycle in one of the lanes I was crossing I figured this must be the spot for me that I pulled behind the car in that lane so I could make a quick trip through which was the case because I was up to the border patrol in no time. The guy asked me where my card was after I gave him my passport and drivers license and I had no idea what he was talking about until he told me I was in the Sentra lane and I need a card to cross or pay a $5000 fine for using the lane. He asked if it was my first time in Mexico which I responded yes that he said we’ll wave it this time, but I would have to go through the secondary check after he put a sticker on my bike to explain to them why I used the lane that I did. Well, this is where they make you wait. Even though there were a number of officers and a lot of vehicles sitting there waiting I finally found a spot where I was to the front of the line that I figured this would go quick but I was mistaken. I think they like making people wait that I took off my jacket and helmet and must of waited a good half hour until a couple of officers approached me, one taking my sticker and the other I started talking to saying I guess I didn’t pick the right place to cross where he said the lane I was in requires a special pass for those that have already had background checks done and cross the border quite a bit that yes, using one of these lanes could result in a $5000 penalty. He said they have the same as the Canadian border, but I can say I’ve never had much of a problem crossing back into the states from Canada than I am with this. The first is finding the right road and the second apparently is finding the right lane. He told me here I need to go as far left as I can where the normal traffic is and it would’ve of made for a quiver crossing. Thankfully the officer with my sticker told me the same and fortunately sent me on my way with a warning to not use one of these lanes again, otherwise I will pay the fine.

Finally, I’m back in the states, yeehaa and on my way to the first exit in San Ysidor to see about selling a guy the gas I bought for my trip through Mexico since I got that gas there and hadn’t used it for my entire trip. The same guy wasn’t there that instead I finally turned on my phone made a call to my cousin and said according to my GPS or iPhone in this case I’m about 2 hours away so can come straight to his place using my guide now that I can finally use my phone for another purpose while in the states. It was a pretty quick trip there, because remember in California you can white line it which means cutting between slow vehicles on the white line, but maybe not at the speed I was going that I didn’t try it at all and didn’t need to. I usually had a least 4 lanes, sometimes up to 6 and even others with no less than 3 that it didn’t take me long to get here that what a relief back in the states and safely at a familiar place that I can finally relax.

Mike must’ve read my mind or maybe my last blog where I said I could really go for a good pizza when I’m back in the states that he mentioned a place with a good pizza buffet we could go to if I was hungry after taking a shower and some relaxation which was just what I needed. I got my bike quickly unpacked showered and enjoyed some catch up with Mike since it’s been quite awhile since my last visit. I got in some phone calls I hadn’t made, like my dad who was happy to hear I was back, but thought it was earlier than I had planned. Maybe a little, but after 2 weeks in Cabo and dusty Mexico, I was ready to come home. Ok off to buy a bulb for a burnt out taillight that I had and onward for pizza that it was great finally being able to have salad again and not worrying about they water they may have used to rinse the lettuce. That and so much more such as wiping my ass and not worrying about dropping something in the toilet which you get the picture the conveniences of living in the states that you soon learn to miss when yo’ve been away for awhile.

I did tell Mike that I had some stitches to get taken out that what luck but his wife Jane is a doctor. No, not specializing in stitches or anything like that but when she gets home from work later she can take them out for me which was just the case. Ok, now I’m relaxed, the stitches that I brought back from Mexico out that now I have to work on my plan for getting home, which I’ve already found out means no riding my bike home. You’ll have to wait for that story later because now that I’ve gone on as long as I have with my border crossing its time to do some relaxing. Stay tuned!

Upland CA pics


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