Oddly, I lived in Texas for 8 years and never ventured south of the border. We’ve been in Mexico for not quite 24 hours. Here are my initial thoughts:
- The people are friendly. We’ve received lots of smiles, waves, thumbs up, friendly honks, and a few “Viaje Bien!”.
- The interior of northern Baja looks a lot like west Texas.
- The avocados are cheap and more delicious than the ones we get in the USA (I think they send us the rejects), as are the olives which are found at the many roadside stands.
- Mexicans can juice anything. All varieties of fruit juices can be found here. Today’s treat: pomegranate juice.
- I’m still thinking in English, miles and dollars. I will save myself a lot of mental gymnastics if I can hurry up and think in Spanish, kilometers and pesos.
- The roads and drivers are better than we anticipated.
We’ve been on Route 3 since Tecate, where there is either a huge 5 foot shoulder or none at all. Drivers pass wide when there is no shoulder and no oncoming traffic. We pull over in the case of simultaneous bi-directional traffic (when two cars from either direction pass us at the same time). There isn’t enough room on the road for two cars and a bike and we’re not sure if either car will yield and we’re not ready to find out.
I probably shouldn’t call the maneuver “pulling over”. That implies an element of control or grace. It’s more like grabbing the brakes hard, falling off the 6-8 inch thick layer of pavement that is raised up like a platform, and hoping the front left pannier doesn’t catch on the way down. We do this as an added precaution until we have a better feel for drivers in Mexico. With all that said, the drivers at least seem better than those in Arizona, which is where the bar is set for Worst Drivers Ever.