Category Archives: Travel

Dana Point Gray Whale


Saturday’s “transporter” thrill ride included some amazing scenery, surprising fuel efficiency and a speedy border crossing south at Tijuana.  Transported vehicle A from Reno to San Diego and vehicle B from San Diego to Ensenada.

Decided upon I-359.  Interstate 5(oh, excuse me “THEE 5” for californicators) is a horrible drive.  Ever try Bakersfield for a vacation?

Began the day just south of Reno, NV at the Bridgeport Inn.  This is a “charming”(translation = overpriced) motel with a funky bar and restaurant. Bar and restaurant were booming and all of the serving plates looked delicious, including prime rib.

It was a quiet sleep Friday night with shared bathrooms for a hallway of approx 8 guest rooms.

It was definitely basic “sheets and shower” + wifi,  my only needs for a guest room.  Had a couple of Stellas in the bar, then crashed in bed.  No a/c., no tv.  Don’t need tv and glad I was at 6,643 feet above sea level for cool climate.

As I put my stuff back into my vehicle at 6AM, I smell doughnuts.  Not a doughnut fan, but where doughnuts march, a babbling brook of coffee is usually nearby.

Love small towns and their mom/pop business establishments.

Told owner I would be interested in something, but, that I’m not a very sweet guy.  She showed me 2 trays of puffy croissants with ham and cheese.  HEAVENLY were the smells of the croissant and Blind Dog coffee as I began my trip south.

50F degrees in summertime at sunrise is a wonderful thing.

About 15 miles south of Bridgeport, I was greeted by this fun sunrise at Mono Lake.

The hills and lakes south of Reno, Yosemite and Mammoth Lakes is a fun area that I had never visited.  But, this was a pedal to metal “Transporter” day and I had little time for play.  Will return for fun in near future.

Luv seeing snow on mountains in summer.

After coming out of the pine tree paradise into the desert after Bishop, CA, had to turn my cruise control on and search for music.  The stretch from Bishop to San Bernardino is a big snooze.

Every time I am in the San Bernardino to Temecula(or versa vice) parade, where do all of these cars come from?  It is always a parking lot and I hope to not return for many years.

Great news is that the Tijuana El Chaparral border crossing south at 5PM Saturday is easy.  Only saw one vehicle pulled over for inspection.

The beach and trash were crowded at Playa La Mision. I wonder how often they haul away that huge trash dumpster on south end of beach.

Someone please tell me what is attractive about this scene at Playa La Mision?  No wonder that I am a monk.  Maybe they are all from Mexicali where it is 200F degrees.

I prefer my beaches like this one at Poco Cielo, La Mision.

Got home at 7:30PM for a 13 hour drive with only one coffee, gas, bladder stop.

My one day drive record is just over 1200 miles.  That was Parker, CO to Coeur d’Lane, ID in 2000, where I set my personal land speed record of 154mph.  Needed to verify that the 911 Targa would perform as described in the owner’s manual.

Thrilled to be home.

My “Transporter” movie crew:  Thanks to “PS” for the white whale, “R” for brief relief on electrical project, “D” for quick hidden storage solution, “R” and “R” for security team, “I” for camera work and “H” and “J” for happy hour.

Special assist goes to the entire team at Lithia Subaru Reno.  These pros know how to take care of customers.

These events occurred between 6AM and midnight Saturday.  No animals(OK, a few thousand bugs were eliminated at 75MPH) were harmed during the filming of this movie.


San Ysidro Morning Ready Lane

Having a SENTRI border pass without a sentri-fied vehicle can be a challenge.

This was the scene Friday morning, 5:15AM at San Ysidro(Tijuana) Ready Lane.  The lineup was backed up past the Nissan Dealership, but, 10 lanes available had me through in 35 minutes.  That was good, as I had to catch an airplane ride out of San Diego.

Past 2 times at SY Ready, noticed of the 2 approach lanes, the right moves more quickly.  That is subjective, but, looks like the left lane that curves harder left to spread to the 10 available booths has people hesitating and coin-flipping their perfect choice for a fast lane.

The right lane has fewer options and a less harsh left turn.

Six SENTRI, ten Ready and six regular lanes were available this Friday commute.  There have been times that the regular lanes have been less crowded than Ready.  This morning was not that way.

CBP guards have been very chatty with me.  Today’s guy asked where I lived.  The he asked me about the South Dakota license plate story.  He was kind and my time anxiety was eased due to speed of today’s Ready Lane.  Chatted with him for a minute and hauled to the airport for my first coffee of the day.

Doc, what’s the dif between those different lanes?  Let your fingers hit the keyboard, boys and girls.  I charge big bucks for my border expertise consulting.

Ready Lane routing in bright lime green on map:

Hwy 1 to 6 Lanes in Maneadero

Bajadock: Seems like there is an article about discussion/planning/resourcing every other month about making the 5 kilometer stretch from Chapultepec to Maneadero look like a real highway.  Above is the scene from 2 years ago when half of that  5K was repaved.  Apparently, these projects require money!

The expansion of the so-called “death stretch” would cost an estimated 200 million pesos and while these resources will be obtained, rehabilitation, signaling and improvement of the road from Chapultepec to Maneadero will be carried out.

Orlando Toscano Montaño, regidor and president of the commission responsible for the care of that stretch of road, reported the previous after holding a meeting with municipal officials and the federal deputy Wenceslao Martinez Santos.

He explained that the municipal government already has the executive project of the work and an investment of 200 million pesos is estimated, but this does not include the adequacy of a Cespe aqueduct that would be affected by this expansion.

Regarding the aqueduct would cost 20 million pesos that would have to be applied by the State Public Services Commission of Ensenada, said Toscano Montaño.

Seek resources
He said that also the federal deputy Eloisa Talavera Hernandez and the local deputies Rocío López Gorosave and Alejandro Arregui Ibarra, have joined the work to get the resources that are required to convert that stretch of road into a boulevard with six lanes.

However, acknowledged the councilman, this is a very strong investment that the municipal government can not apply for what will have to look for federal and state resources, work involving the mayor Marco Antonio Novelo Osuna, as federal lawmakers As state.

Toscano concluded that as long as this resource is obtained, there is the disposition of the municipal president to carry out the work of repair of the stretch, improvement of signage and lighting and also seek to strengthen the presence of police and traffic agents for prevention Of accidents.



San Ysidro Regular Lanes

It has been over 4 years since my last regular lane border crossing at San Ysidro.  Those lanes offer much more character than the SENTRI lanes.

Friday 11AM-ish crossing north was just over 1 hour.

I was fortunate to receive 3 offers of blankets from vendors at the stores on this 85F degree day.


4pm-ish traffic southbound at TJ was backed up approx 2 miles.  Cops were on 805 pulling over scofflaws for driving on the shoulder.

This is the canopy structure that is being dismantled during September 23-25 San Ysidro Border Closure.  Anyone know what the heck its purpose was?

30 minutes SY wait on a Friday southbound was not too painful.

But, GEEZO, Ensenada traffic on weekends has been brutal.  Had a mile long backup for a short cycle light in El Sauzal.

FYI, Carretera La Bufadora on weekends is a great place to see how well your car’s a/c is performing.  The westbound stop sign at Sharkey’s had a 1/4 mile trail of cars.


San Ysidro Closure September


Bajadock, Whee doggies, this will be thrilling!  By my clock,  57 hours from 3AM on Saturday, September 23 is NOON on Monday, September 25.  This means Otay and Tecate crossings southbound will take forever those 3 days.

“gentler curve”…what a smooth talkin sales dood!  Print some big billboards for “gentler curve” for Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings. Three lanes feeding Tijuana? Luv guvmint.  

Driving from San Diego to Ensenada now adds an obstacle course at San Ydiro and a roller coaster ride at Salsipuedes.

Maybe this is the Border Wall Soft Opening?  “Plans to hold a festival”.  Ummm, could you backup to the slide on the details of that festival? 


Monday, July 17, 2017…Hearing from Anthony Kleppe of General Services Administration at the San Ysidro Port of Entry Traffic Impacts and Planning Forum.

San Ysidro Port Of Entry southbound vehicle lanes will be closed between September 23rd to 25th, 2017.


Attention border crossers: For 57 hours in September, all cars will be barred from entering Tijuana through San Ysidro.

Lasting from Sept. 23 at 3 a.m. until noon on Sept. 25, the closure is part of a plan by the U.S. General Services Administration to realign a portion of Interstate 5. The operation launches the third and final phase of the $741 million expansion of the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

The closure will affect tens of thousands of drivers, students, commuters, shoppers and others who regularly travel between San Ysidro and Tijuana, passing through the busiest border crossing in the Western Hemisphere.

Authorities are comparing the operation to Carmageddon, when a large swath of the busy Los Angeles I-405 Freeway was shut down for a weekend in 2011 for a highway expansion project.

In this case, the partial closure of I-5 at San Ysidro will cause all vehicle traffic crossing into Mexico during that period to be rerouted to Otay Mesa, where Mexico has only five inspection lanes.

“If you have to cross that weekend, plan on delays,” said Anthony Kleppe, a senior asset manager with the GSA.

At a forum hosted Monday by the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce and the South County Economic Development Council, Kleppe announced key dates for the massive project, which entails re-building the southernmost stretch of I-5 as it leads into Tijuana’s El Chaparral Port of Entry.

The project is scheduled for completion in June 2019, Kleppe told a crowd of several dozen residents, business owners, and government officials from both sides of the border.

The aim is to double the number of southbound lanes that feed into El Chaparral from five to ten. It will also involve adding eight more northbound inspection lanes at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, bringing the total to 33. In addition, plans call for southbound vehicle inspection booths to be operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspectors, and a secondary inspection area.

During the construction period, the northbound flow of vehicular traffic will not be affected, Kleppe said. Nor will the pedestrian crossings in both directions.

Bajadock: whattheheck was this thing?  There are all sorts of electronic boxes throughout the canopy.  Did they have a function?  Brain wave scanner?  

The 57-hour closure of the southbound vehicle lanes is necessary for the safe removal of a large steel and canvas canopy that currently covers a portion of the southbound car lanes, according to GSA. During that time, workers will also remove concrete crash barriers, and install infrastructure and temporary paving and striping.

“We start with a bang,” Kleppe said.

Following the closure, southbound lanes will be reduced from five to three for a two-month period. After that the plan calls for adding a fourth lane before Thanksgiving, and softening the current sharp 110-degree turn toward El Chaparral to 90 degrees. “It has a better curve, even though there are fewer lanes,” Kleppe said. GSA expects that as a result of the gentler curve, the flow of traffic will not change significantly from what it is today, despite the reduction in lanes.

Monday’s presentation was seen as the launching of an effort to get out the word about the closure and lane reductions. “As the message continues to go out, people are going to be able to plan their trips better,” said Efrain Ibarra, assistant director of the South County Economic Development Council.

“We hope to turn this into a positive,” said Jason Wells, executive director of the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce, where the fear is that a drop in traffic could mean loss of business.

Plans to hold a festival during the closure and promote pedestrian crossings “can make this an economic boost for us down here,” Wells said.


Scenic Roller Coaster Ride


Bajadock: The two sections of the Scenic Road that narrowed to one lane in each direction are asking for trouble. My return from San Diego this week had me thinking how difficult it would be to get emergency vehicles in to this area if an accident occurred.  Free Road might be the answer.  Any bets on when the Scenic Road will return to 4 lanes?  2020?


photo por

A truck, suffered an accident Sunday night on the Scenic Highway at the height of the area currently under repair in the lane from North to South.

Although there were no injuries in the rollovers, the return of hundreds of people for the weekend, caused a long line of vehicles that were waiting to continue their way.

San Diego Hotel Rates Explode

San Diego has always been proud of its hotels.  As a popular tourist destination with the best climate in the planet, you will have a challenging time finding a hotel deal.

San Diego summer, from end of May through Labor Day, first week of September, raises hotel prices to exciting levels.

BTW, Comic Con(Comedy Convention mid July) moves San Diego Hotel summer prices into nose bleed stratosphere. And I thought all of those Trekkies, Star Wars groupies and the rest of this sub culture could only afford to live in mom’s basement.

Yes, I can up my sheet thread count and four star budget for the right guest.  BTW, four stars means difficult parking, plenty of staff seeking tips, $20 glass of wine in the hotel bar and the always stimulating USA Today delivered to your door.

But, “sheets and shower” is my mantra about a room for the night.  1. Clean 2. Wifi  3. Functioning bathroom(hot water and some kind of water pressure).  Oh, and if coffee is somewhere on the property or within a few blocks, that addiction is heavenly.

Ocean Beach Hotel, the poster child for a $100 room, is at $330/night this week.  And the noise at night from the surrounding bars is no extra charge.  Igetit, it’s at the beach.  But, gadzooks, that is a lot to pay for Motel 6 level accomodations.

Kona Kai Resort, an ok place on Shelter Island, also tops $300/night.  I have stayed there in past for less than a hun.  BTW, The Vessel restaurant at this spot is on my list for a water(+boats) view with better-than-bar-food in San Diego.

Hotwire is one hotel search engine I often use.  They give you the hotel star rating and neighborhood, but, not the name. On slow weeks, Hotwire listing is how some hotels gain extra revenue.  I have never been disappointed in Hotwire.

AirBnB is another way to find a room on a budget.  This can be hit/miss, but, reviews are posted on each room listing.

For $80, AirBnB glamping goes native in this deluxe teepee in the charming city of El Cajon.

Your $122 give you this value in Hillcrest on AirBnB.

From SDUT on San Diego hotel rates:

Good luck meeting your San Diego hotel needs.  Summer still has six weeks remaining.

Maneadero Hwy 1 Repair Funded?

Bajadock: News articles have been discussing funding for the repair of “Tramo de Muerte” stretch from Chapultepec to Maneadero past few weeks.  Here is hoping that discussion and planning move toward action.  Every time I’m driving in this area, my senses are on high alert for sudden lane changers, sudden entry/exit and other craziness. Careful out there.

With the approval of the Expenditure Budget of the State for the current year, it was possible that additional resources received by the Sidu, are intended for maintenance of roads and highways of Ensenada, and the so – called “Section of Death” will be priority , said deputy Alejandro Arregui Ibarra.

The legislator, he said that since the State Congress, the head of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Urban State Development (Sidu), Manuel Guevara Morales was asked for the application of the appeal is resolved understood the problem of road section between former ejido Chapultepec- Maneadero.

the first baseman lamented that the poor conditions of the “tranche of Death” have been factor so that only between 2013 and 2017, have registered 192 accidents with a balance of 27 deaths and 111 injured.

Material damage claims, he said, were estimated at around 3.4 million.

Arregui Ibarra emphasized the social and economic implications, since the products of the south zone have to travel the route every day, risking life and work of thousands of people.

“Those who live in rural areas, about 150 thousand people rightly are desperate, it is not guaranteed that the underlying problem is resolved, the road section is the only access they have to the urban area of Ensenada , ” he added. At the same time, he acknowledged the work done by the City of Ensenada with the installation of the special commission for the revision of this road stretch and the call to action.

in addition, to provide legal certainty regarding competition of the highway, conservation, reconstruction and expansion required, Alejandro Arregui called upon the signing of an agreement which has as its purpose the improvement of roads.

That is, an agreement between mayor Marco Antonio Novelo Osuna and director of the Secretariat Communications and Transport, in Baja California, Alfonso Pesqueira Padrés to carry out an agreement.

Toll Road Increase

Roads and Federal Bridges (Capufe) reported an increase in rates for the country’s road network of 3.9%, from the first minute of this July 6.

Through a statement, Capufe said that only the rate of the Mexico-Acapulco brokerage will maintain a discount of 25%.

The announcement is in full holiday season.

Last May, Animal Politic presented data from the Public Account 2015, on the conditions of the federal highway network of the Ministry of Communication and Transport (SCT).

It was pointed out that, due to lack of maintenance and supervision, 21.5% of the roads free of quota and 7% of payment have poor infrastructure in the country.

The “Poor” physical state of the highways increased from 1.0% to 7.2%, from 2009 to 2015.

Read: Quotas increase, but not quality; 21% of freeways and 7% of roads are deficient

Meanwhile, in the same period, the toll charged on the road network increased from 1.9 to 2.2 pesos per kilometer for roads, which represented an average annual growth rate of 2.5%.

With information from Notimex

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