We rolled into La Paz, where we would catch our ferry to the main land, at dusk. Exactly what we had been telling ourselves we didn't want to do. James and I have a tendency to get real frazzled every time we enter a busy place after being outback for a while and we weren't looking forward to dealing with La Paz with out the sun.
Cruising through town we searched for a place with good food, internet, and outdoor seating so we could make plans for the boat the next day and keep an eye on our bikes. A few minutes into sitting down and getting into the final ferry info, James started looking stressed.
When we crossed the border into Mexico, there was no stopping, no nothin. We were sure that we could handle all the moto stuff in La Paz, and our pal Tim said we didn't need to worry about anything at the border. So we just blazed through and into our dirt filled fun day.
Turns out you have to get a tourist card at the border if you are going on the ferry. A tourist card that you used to be able get in La Paz for a small fee but are no longer able to. A tourist card that you have to get in Tijauna. After scrambling to confirm this foul news James and I confronted the sickening reality that we had to go back to the border, a thousand miles behind us, and get the card.
The next 48 hours are a blur that we have both been trying to forget ever since, but they sum up like this...
Go to the airport at 11pm and rent a car. They agree to store the bikes in their locked up lot till we return. Drive as fast as our economy rental car will go down a shitty speed bump filled half under construction highway, splitting shifts, till we arrive in Tijuana 20 hours later. Run around TJ trying to find an office no one ever enters from the mexican side. Get said card. Turn around and drive back to La Paz as fast as possible. No pictures were taken and as much as we realize some fault there, we don't feel bad.
After dropping off the car we made our way straight to the ferry. If we didn't get on board the one that day it wouldn't be till later in the week till we could cross. Turns out, traveling by motorcycle and being a couple of dirty dudes has some advantages. Like being able to squeeze your moto onto a sold out fairy and not caring if you have a seat for the 18 hour ride. We were stoked. As we watched many 4 wheel travelers get turned away we had tickets and were going to be seeing the mainland in a day.
Once ticketed we couldn't leave the ferry grounds, so we sat and waited. The baking sun was making sure to remind us of how filthy and disgusting we were. The last few days of riding into La Paz were hot and dusty and we both passed up a shower one night along the way expecting to be just as dirty with in the first 10 minutes of riding the next day. That, compounded with a 48 hour rally race to TJ and back in the same clothes we had been riding in for the last few days had us feeling the kind of ripe neither of us had experienced in ages.
When we finally got to board the ferry we found only one tiny single person restroom that was about 2.5 ft by 5 ft, lacking ventilation, available to all the main deck passengers. The ventilation becomes key when all the used toilet paper goes into the open waste can next to the toilet rather than being flushed.
At least the door locked, because I was so uncomfortably gross that I didn't care what kind of line build up out side, I was going to give my self a serious bird bath in that sink. I got in there before the poop paper built up and stripped down. I went to work lathering and washing everything I could get into that sink all the way down to my toes. Dried up and threw on some kinda fresh clothes and felt amazing. James followed suite and afterwards we both agreed that there was to be no more passing on showers.
They were playing movies non stop in the main room and I couldn't have been happier to sit down and let my fried brain relax on some block buster action. James even watched one or two, which almost never happens.
After a few movies the exhaustion finally caught up with me and another harsh reality smacked me in the face. I had left all my sleeping gear on my bike that was now locked up in the vehicle area that was inaccessible till we arrived in Mazatlan! At this point James had set up camp on the upper deck, rolling out his poncho and preparing to pass out. I stayed up for a couple more movies deep into the night and when I knew I would pass out instantly I curled up on the grimy carpet floor in the corner and slept.
I awoke hours later to James laughing at me when he came down to check in. The sun was about to start coming up and I went up stairs to enjoy it. I had heard rumors of escort dolphins that would bring the boat in, but they never materialized. Pleasantly though, and in true Baja fashion the sunrise is just as beautiful wether you're looking to the east or the west.
. With the new day upon us we were still many hours from our destination and James got back to sleeping as long as possible. It was pretty awesome how no one was bothered by this sleeping pile in the middle of the top deck.
We cruised into Mazatlan in the afternoon and got off into a Mexico that was very different from the Baja variety we had left behind. Completed buildings and a functioning city were all around us and we set off in search of a hostel and a little comfort for the next couple days.