I love roadtrips, especially when they’re in my 1989 VW Vanagon, the Blue Bomber. A vanagon roadtrip is always an adventure. Last month, on Instagram, I posted about my first road trip in the Blue Bomber twenty-three years ago. We had just bought the van and I drove it down the west coast and then back north. I was pregnant and traveling with my 2-½ year old daughter and our boxer dog. I had no cell phone and we broke down three times, but always found our way. My most recent journey was from Seattle to Tijuana, Mexico. I gathered my Instagram post into one giant blog so that you can read about my adventure if you missed it on Social Media.
The drive to Mexico was prompted by the need for bodywork and a new paint job on the Blue Bomber. It is old and rusting, so the metal is getting damaged. A few years back I crunched the front too (which I just hate), and all the seals are leaking, so when I drive, rainwater now drops on my head from the sunroof. I have put all sorts of money on keeping the engine running smoothly, it was time to take care of the outside.
Good bodywork on a vanagon is extremely expensive. Last summer when I was talking to the owner of Peace Vans (the one in charge of keeping my Blue Bomber bombing down the road), he suggested I check out Live The Van Life. There was one caveat; I would need to leave my van in Mexico for several months. I swallowed, I wasn’t sure that I could do that. I glanced at my van, I hated the rust and dirt and mess that it had become.
I checked out the Live The Van Life website and then a few weeks later had the opportunity to meet the owner when he was in Seattle. There was also a bonus (if you like roadtrips), I would need to get the van to Mexico and then get it home. This equated to a roadtrip to Tijuana for drop-off, and then when it was finished, a roadtrip up the Baja and home with my husband.
My trip to Tijuana was a great opportunity to see areas of the country that I’d been wanting to see, and I also made it a mini book tour, taking copies of my Memoir to give to hospitals, bookstores and other adventurers along the way. I didn’t have time to work on my novel, but I really enjoyed writing about my travels and I hope that you enjoy reading about them. (To see more pictures you can go to my Instagram @sonyagelliott)
BLUE BOMBER FLASHBACK – PART 1
Today I can’t help but think about my first road-trip in the Blue Bomber, because I am setting out on another Vanagon adventure to bring my van to Tijuana. But before I explain, let me tell you about my first trip. It took place 23 years ago after my husband and I had purchased a 1989 VW Vanagon. I instantly fell in love and decided to take it on an epic road trip. I would drive it from Seattle, Washington, down the coast to southern California, over to Palm Springs, back up through the high dessert to Spokane Washington and home to Seattle.
Everyone thought I was crazy. The trip included my dog and my 2-½ year old daughter. And NO stereo or cell phone. And I was pregnant.
Little did I know that I would be stuck in torrential downpours through Washington and part of Oregon and then brake down 3 times during the rest of the trip. Still, it didn’t matter because after that first road-trip I was hooked.
I have sort of a love/hate relationship with my Blue Bomber, but each time something goes wrong (and it inevitably does), something memorable comes of it. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but always memorable. There are engine troubles of course, but there have also been weird quirky things that happen too. Like the time I drove the coast with my two kids (eight years after my first trip) and my friend and her two kids, and the van started randomly honking. I still laugh out loud when I think about that. Or when I was in Montana and the van locked me inside, and then kept doing it until we disconnected the power locks.
When it doesn’t start, or overheats, or hiccups along, my gut aches and I want to cry, but somehow good people show up. On that first road-trip, each time we broke down, even when it was on a holiday, a kind soul came to our rescue and got us on our way. It’s those memories that live on in my mind and that first road-trip was the start of my love affair with my Blue Bomber.
BLUE BOMBER FLASHBACK – PART 2
That’s why it’s time to clean her up. She’s had a few motors, new transmission, new suspension, and well, new just about everything, except a paint job. And yes, some fixing of the frontend (sore subject). But it is past due. And through my mechanic Peace vans (who rents out Vanagons if you want to give one a try – careful, you might fall in love), I found @LiveTheVanLife in Mexico and they are going to fix up the Blue Bomber to look brand new.
So, I’m on my way to Mexico for the drop off and then in a few months Jason and I fly to Cabo and drive the Blue Bomber home up the Baja! Now I’m starting to sound like an advertisement but as of this year, you can rent vans in Baja, you guessed it, through Peace Vans Rentals. So there you have it, I’m headed to Mexico. My plan is not to go down the coast because I have done it so many times. So I will try to stay further east and travel through Bend and Yosemite, but with the weather changing, who knows. The Blue Bomber is not set up for the snow, and neither am I.
OREGON TRAILS AND TALES – DAY 1 & 2
I really wasn’t ready for this trip. I packed the night before. I tossed and turned all night, worrying about weather, having to send extra things home and my lack of planning. I used to always be prepared. I’ve gotten worse. Maybe I should be more chill. I suppose that’s why road-trips are good for me, because they never go as planned.
While I loaded up the van in the morning I kept thinking that I was forgetting something. (And I’m sure I did, but I haven’t found it yet). Then I gave Jason a hug and he took a video (or 3), of me taking off…to Mexico. My heart was pounding, not due to the excitement of the road, but nerves about the van, and leaving it in Mexico. What was I thinking? I took a few more breaths. Tacoma passed, then Olympia and next thing you know I was pulling into Portland.
I’ve done this road-trip a ton. My daughter went to college nearby, and I used to have a lot of Portland clients when I modeled more. I’d to stay in the NW District so I could work and then play basketball at the park in the evening. This trip I stayed in the same neighborhood, but I didn’t play basketball. I did walk the neighborhood and hit bookstores, and then went to my room and wrote. It felt good.
I ate oatmeal in the morning and I headed south to the #TrailofTenFalls. I parked in the North parking lot and pondered the CASH ONLY sign when from behind me came, “We love Schat’s Bakery.” I turned around, and a couple told me all about @schatsbakerycafeukiah . I smiled, looked down at my shirt and laughed, “It’s my cousin’s Bakery.” That’s a road trip for ya! You always meet the most interesting people, and often through uncanny connections.
I love time alone, I’m an introvert. But I also enjoy people, and nothing’s better than chatting with people when you’re on the road. The South Lot took credit cards so I drove to that parking lot and hit the trail. I set a fast pace, and would have made good time of the 7.5 miles had I not stopped to take so many pictures. How could I not, the falls were beautiful. By the time I turned the Blue Bomber toward Sisters, OR where I was planning to spend the night in my van, the sun was low in the sky. I would arrive at my campsite in the dark.
BOOKS & BANTER (Portland Flashback)
Before I start, which banned book do you think I bought? I just had to buy one, even if I will have to send it home because I won’t be able to fit it in my bag when I fly back?
I have a problem.
I bought a #bannedbook at @powellsbooks (The Things They Carried), I went to my favorite @newrenbooks, but they were closed, and then connected with Carol at @books_n_time and found Tracks, a story about a woman’s solo trek across 1700 miles of Australian outback. Now that’s adventure.
So here I am carrying three books with me (I packed one too), and I can guarantee the only books that I will finish on this road-trip are the ones I’m listening to while I drive (Thinking 101, Pimsleur German, Braiding Sweetgrass)
When I was young, I rarely picked up a book. I knew how to find the important things in school texts books, but I never read a book for fun. For me, fun was not reading. It was Legos and racecars, and later basketball and goofing around with my nerdy friends. (Yes, I was a Nerd, or maybe Geek? I can never remember the distinction.) But I didn’t read and didn’t care about books.
Now I love them. I read (unfortunately very slowly) and like to peruse books. Meander up and down bookstore aisles and search. Books tend to build up around my house a bit, but I like the look of them, so it’s not a problem.
I suppose that I picked up my love of reading when I was 22 years old and working in Greece. I missed home and found, The Incredible Journey, in English. And then another book and another and another.
OREGON – NIGHT 2 & DAY 3
So the planning…well, there was snow on the pass, but fortunately not on the road as I don’t have snow tires on the van. Mount Washington was stunning (iPhone 8 photo doesn’t do it justice). When I got to the campground it was pitch black. I ate leftover pasta salad for dinner. And then froze all night. Still, it’s all part of the journey. Right? And it would make my warm bed in Bend that much better…
In the morning I packed up the emergency blanket (that I put in the van years ago but had never used until now), snagged coffee, an egg burrito, and mouth-watering sourdough toast with honey at @thekitchentablesisters and hit the road. I rolled down the window and breathed in the fresh crisp air, looking forward to another day in the dirt. Next stop Smith Rock.
The reviews said to hike Misery Trail counterclockwise. It’s an easier ascent, they said. Going up is the easy part, I thought. I hate a steep descent. So I went clockwise. Well, the trail was also steep going down that way and with no steps, so “they” were right. Had I remembered my hiking poles, that yes, I brought but were in the van, it might have helped. But all that didn’t matter because I loved every minute.
I sat up top for a long time just taking it all in. I chatted with a woman walking a coffee-colored dachshund. It was the dog’s 16th birthday and together they had hiked 16 miles. The pup was lucky, she got carried down. I thought of Bruno. Our 85-pound boxer put in a lot of trail miles. I never carried him, but I did push him up a few steep rocky mountainsides.
I skidded down the backside of Smith Rock to the river. The trail then wrapped around the base of the mountain where rock climbers had arrived in droves. Little colored dots covered the steep rock faces. “On Belay!” rang out. I found a flat horizontal rock, set my butt down, and watched. I talked with a young couple; it was the woman’s first time climbing outside. I thought of my daughter. She recently started rock climbing. There was community here; I liked the thought of that. Still, in general, I like to keep my feet on the ground.
Next stop, Bend…
BEND – PART 1
I spent 2 nights in Bend. I haven’t slept that good in a long while. My Airbnb was everything that I could ask for. Cute (it’s even in the listing name – Cute Studio, Walk to River, Restaurants, Quiet), warm, clean, has a comfortable bed, did I mention CLEAN? There was a desk, a fire pit, and it was close to the river, breweries and restaurants. And yes, also in the name, it’s QUITE. So perfect.
When I first got to Bend, I walked through the Old Mill District, which is really all new stores (I was expecting it to be more…OLD). But it was sunny and warm along the river and I walked passed the shopping area that had new brand-name stores until I came to a slew of breweries. I looked down a dirt road away from the bustle, and saw a place that looked more my vibe. There was a taco truck out front and an open patio with more trucks, picnic tables and a stage.
I pushed open the front door and in the back there were motorcycles in a workshop area. First I asked about the brewery name, Spoken Moto. (Answer: some guys got together that loved motorcycles, beer, coffee and hanging out). Sounds good. I ordered a dark beer and found a spot outside. Then I got the best chicken and rice that I have ever had in my entire lifetime. No joke. I can’t even tell you what was on it, but I devoured it, and the beer.
The sun was low in the sky, dogs milled around under tables and I thought, I wish Jason were here. That’s the thing about traveling alone, even if you love it, there are still times that you wish you could share the journey with the ones you love.
BEND – DAY 2
On my second day in Bend, I found another bookstore…and bought another book. I have a problem. However, the book, Making “Me Time”, just seemed too appropriate to pass up. And the first chapter hit the spot, because although this trip is a HUGE “Me Time”, I haven’t been good about taking time away just for me over the past few years, so I figured I could use some pointers.
Now, more about Bend. If you’ve been here you can imagine me taking a round-a-bout way to the bookstore, because, there are literally, thousands of round-a-bouts around the area. I suppose it allowed me to see a lot of the neighborhoods and in doing so, helped me find a place for lunch. But I also felt like I was going in circles.
I read the first chapter of my new book at Chow, and then fueled with eggs, chicken sausage, cornmeal-crusted tomatoes and toast; I was ready for the rest of the day. Next, I popped downtown, walked around for a bit, snagged coffee at Looney Been (beautiful view by the river…and the cookies. OMG). Then as I strolled along the river, Jason was in my head, “I would rent a bike. You could see so much more on a bike.” So I walked up a Bird E-Bike and scanned. No go. Wasn’t working. So I Googled bike rentals and walked 5 blocks to Sunnyside Sports and got a sweet ride. A much better ride. A Trek mountain bike.
I toured around town, up and down the river, through local neighborhoods and then grabbed my van and drove back near Old Mill District and got dinner and a beer at Crux Fermentation Project, just as the skies darkened to violet and pink.
Bend DONE. Next stop…?
I’ve been wanting to see Yosemite. That’s why I headed east on this road-trip, but the weather was looking sketchy, so I hoped to get south of Sacramento, find a place to crash in my van, and get to Yosemite early, so I could get a least one day in before the snow hit. The van isn’t ready for snow.
So I drove, and drove, and drove.
I had lunch in Mt. Shasta, got on the freeway, got the speed up to 60mph and the van started making a weird load humming sound. Like something was vibrating. I thought, here we go, then pulled off the freeway. I sat there for a minute, put the van into reverse, backed up, and then sat for a few seconds. Then I put it into drive and pulled back onto the freeway and just like that, the noise stopped.
If you have an older car you know the feeling. Old cars have things that show up, like the random honking I wrote about earlier. The van has other little things, like I have to hold the gas nozzle at an angle. I think there is something with the metal valve going into the tank (the gas attendants in Oregon don’t like this). When opening the back hatch, I have to leave the key vertical before I take it out or I can get locked out, and though it’s not the van, but my phone charger won’t stay plugged in correctly and in and of itself nearly caused me to wreck a zillion times.
But I guess that’s what make old cars fun. Right?
When I passed Sacramento, it was dark. I got gas and struggled to Google a place to stay before I got on the road. Somehow, I got the very last spot in a side-of-the-road RV place outside of Stockton, that I’m pretty sure the security guard wasn’t supposed to let me have, as most nicer places won’t let you sleep in a van. But I was lucky. (I also met two beautiful boxer dogs early in the morning – bonus)
Then with nearly 450 miles under my belt, I woke at the crack of dawn and hit the road. Yosemite here I come!
YOSEMITE – PART 1
I got up early and hit the road. My phone said just under 3 hours. I was almost there! I drove for several miles and then my directions recalculated a new route. WTF? There were cars coming towards me on highway 120. I pulled over. Is there a fire? An accident? Should I reroute? I went to the Yosemite site. 120 was clear. I wished I had my old-fashioned paper map with me.
I kept going on Highway 120. The only thing that hampered the drive were 2 super high and winding passes. Not again! First, the blue bomber twisted and turned up to 5000 feet. I imagined coming down the road when it was covered in snow and felt nauseous. Then up we went to over 6000 feet. Oh man. I passed a sign, No Park Entrance Without Chains. My chains were in our shed in Seattle. Please don’t tell me I’m going to come all this way and be turned away? I was silent the rest of the way. I imagined what I’d say. I’m not a great liar.
It took forever to get to the park entrance and not just because of the long winding road. When I pulled up to the window my heart was pounding. “That’ll be $35,” the young ranger gave me a giant smile. “Just put this on your dash.” I set the paper on my dash and she waved as I pulled away.
I waved back and then rolled up my window. I made it in. Now I just had to make sure that I made it out.
After several more bends in the road, I started to descend into Yosemite Valley, and just as I did, light broke through the clouds just enough to light up the granite face of El Capitan. My heart was pounding once again, but for a very different reason.
I pulled the van over and walked into an open field and stared. First thought in my head, my dad would love this.
YOSEMITE – PART 2
The feeling of ah, lasted until I reached Curry Village and waited behind just one person for almost half an hour to ask about check-in. I wanted to get climbing into those mountains, and I needed food immediately. Soon I would be hangry.
I got my tent number but would need to wait to get in, so I drove to Yosemite Village, planning to eat and go to the information desk to find out about the weather and hikes. It must have been a mile walk from the parking lot to get food. I scarfed down a turkey sandwich and started to the visitor center. I coyote crossed my path. I stopped in my tracks and thought about trying to get a picture, but just watched it skitter across the paved path and by a group of people.
I kept walking. The ranger suggested 2 hikes. I was going to go back near my tent at curry village and do the Vernal Falls hike today, but first I wanted to check out the lodge. This is where my plans went awry, but in the end probably for the better. The lodge was much further away than I thought (and it wasn’t a cool giant log cabin lodge or anything), but it was closer to the hike I had planned for the next day, so I headed straight up the Yosemite Falls trail.
The trail was steep, but I was smiling with every step. I met a woman from the east coast who had rented a car in Seattle and done almost the same trip that I had done (but she had a month). Her friends thought she was crazy. I could relate. We shared stories and then I went up ahead. I stopped a couple of miles up the trail, sat down, and breathed.
When it was time to hit the trail, I shook my head and smiled. Once again, no poles. They were sitting in my van. Hopefully, this wouldn’t be like the time our family drove from Seattle to the Grand Canyon, with 4 bikes dragging us down the whole way, and we never rode them. I would use the hiking poles on the Vernal Falls hike whether I needed them or not.
YOSEMITE – PART 3
By the time I reached the base of the Yosemite Falls Trail, I had decided to rent a bike and tour the valley. Then I would shuttle to the base of El Capitan, and shuttle to my van for dinner and bed.
It was fun to take a spin through the valley. And I loved that it wasn’t crowded. After my ride, I hopped on the shuttle to the base of El Capitan. I stared and also squinted to see if I could pick out climbers. Then I got drawn to the mountain, and I followed a trail into the woods.
I hiked for maybe a mile. There were climbers once I got the giant rock. One was dressed in red and wore little horns. It was Halloween. I talked to a couple who were hoping to climb El Capitan Sunday if the weather cooperated. They were checking their route and having a beer. I meandered along the wall. I tried to look up, but too much gave me vertigo.
I came down with caution. No poles, again, and the light was fading. When I was nearing the road, I glanced back and the mountain shone pink. I took a photo and then didn’t move for a long while. Finally, I hustled to watch the sunset across the valley. It could only have been better with a glass of wine and Jason.
YOSEMITE – PART 4
I sauntered back to the shuttle stop and chatted briefly with a French climber who had done El Capitan. He was packing up and talking with another group of climbers. I kept moving toward the stop. The pink sky was turning dark purple. I paced. I checked my phone. Cars pulled away. There was a bite in the air. In an instant it was pitch black. My headlamp was in my van. I remembered the fellow at the front desk saying I didn’t have to worry about bears until night. I checked the shuttle schedule. More cars left. The Frenchman packed his equipment into a white Camaro, then crawled inside.
I looked around. I imagine myself walking home in the middle of the dark road, my cell phone light shining but battery about dead. I jogged up to the Camaro window. I couldn’t see in. I knocked and waved. “I’m so sorry, but is there any chance you could give me a ride?” He got out, pulled up his seat, shoved the piles of ropes to the side and I folded myself into the back seat, apologizing the entire time.
I never saw the driver, only his hands. They were black and blue and held a tiny cigarette and the steering wheel. Both spoke very little English, yet we had a conversation as the darkness sped by. They dropped me safely in the parking lot next to my van. There was one other car in the lot. “Thanks so much!” I said for the millionth time as they sped away.
Time for bed. This time I was prepared.
YOSEMITE – PART 5
I slept great, got in another beautiful hike (I used my damn hiking poles even though I didn’t really need them) and packed up to head to the coast before the snow hit. The sun was out, but the temperature had dropped and the wind was picking up. I stopped one last time to eat my lunch with a view and then said goodbye to Yosemite.
I left by highway 140. It was more like I had expected on my drive in. Of course, I was heading downhill, but it wasn’t nearly as steep or curvy. As I drove I kept trying to figure out how to get my parents to visit, but Yosemite isn’t close to anywhere. It took me 56 years to find my way.
The blue bomber, bombed along. Snowplows passed in the other direction. I rolled down my windows and took in the crisp air and the last bit of granite that lined the road on the way out. I was looking at another four or five hours on the road and I was looking forward to it.
That’s until the wind started picking up. The van gets pushed side to side easily. It’s not really that aerodynamic. I grabbed the steering wheel a little tighter. Rain clouds rolled in and let go. I turned on my wipers and listened to the rattling hum that returned (off and on) with the wind. Still, I couldn’t imagine much else that I would rather be doing.
Next stop…Pismo Beach.
WRITING ON THE ROAD
Up to the last minute I wavered on whether or not to bring my computer. I hoped that I would have time to read and write a bit, but I also knew that time would be eaten up by driving, touristing, hiking and oh yeah, more driving (which fortunately, I love). In the end, I tossed my dinosaur laptop into my bag, knowing that I would cart the extra weight EVERYWHERE that I went, including the trails.
That’s how I roll. I have a rule. DO NOT leave your computer in a car unattended. And when you’re on the road, home is your car (or in my case van). When I had a place in Bend for 2 nights it was different, I had a nice desk and a place to stay (and leave my computer). But a majority of the time, I was traveling. So I didn’t write a lot, however, if I could have attached a cord to my brain and just downloaded everything that was going on up there, I wrote a ton.
The fun part now, is trying to draw that all out in bits and pieces when I have time. I didn’t expect to finish a novel on this trip (and I didn’t), but I am having fun writing about my travels, grabbing a moment in the van or at a table at a coffee shop, jotting down my adventures and then finding WIFI so that I can load them to my phone. Adding writing to my posts has slowed the process of bringing them to you, but hopefully, the stories and thoughts add some depth to the photos.
Thanks for joining me on my adventure!
PISMO BEACH AND BEYOND
I arrived at Pismo Beach in the dark. Of course. It seems that I wouldn’t have it any other way. I booked spot 57 while I was on the road and as I drove the Blue Bomber up and down the small camping avenues, there was no number 57. I drove around again. I’m sure the folks in their RV’s were laughing or about to call the police. I tried not to rev the engine in frustration but zipped to the front again and looked around. Did I mention it was dark, very, very dark?
I got out of the van and looked closer at the usual check-in area. Ah, there it was, a map. And there was number 57, down the road that read, beach, nothing about camping spots. I whipped the van around, drove down another dark road and then squinted into each drive. This area was pretty empty. There were a few tents set up and then I found my spot next to an RV and a puffed-up Ram truck.
I should go find a different spot, I told myself. But even though it was dark, it was only 7:30, what if people came back from dinner or showed up from a long day on the road. I didn’t want to deal with that. I pulled in for a few minutes and searched my phone for food nearby, and then left my new camp spot to get dinner. The local Mexican place I saw on the way in was much better than I expected. I ordered squash tacos and roasted vegetables. Went back and ate dinner in the van.
Next, I pulled my bed out and read a chapter in my book and I was ready for bed. When I woke, the drizzle was gone and the sun was coming up over the dune. I tossed on my clothes and made my way to the beach. What a perfect way to start the day. After a long stroll through the sand, I made my way back to my van and then promptly moved it.
The guy with the big truck had tied dog poop bags around his dog pen. These bags had poop in them and as the sun came up, let’s just say, it was time to move. I found a spot across the way, made my bed, packed my gear, and then drove to a nearby coffee shop for breakfast and coffee and a bit of time on my computer before I left to L.A.
LOS ANGELOS, CA
The drive to LA was familiar. I made a few new turns along the way to make it fun and then when I arrived in Venice, I got a parking spot on Venice Boulevard right in front of my friend’s house. Her place is familiar, I stayed with her for a few weeks when I was writing my memoir, and so I feel at home there.
There is nothing better than catching up with an old friend (I don’t mean that she’d old, unless you consider 56 old because she is my age). We have been friends since middle school. But even though we are great friends, just like with most of my friends, we don’t talk very often. But when we get together it’s like we have never been apart.
My two days in L.A. were filled with talks and dog walks. It would have been perfect had I not had a few travel, rental and other life issues that I was dealing with. I spent too many hours on the phone and on my computer (not writing). But in the end, all was good. Especially when my friend and I sat down with a glass of boxed wine and talked the night away.
What an unforgettable adventure. I could go longer, yet at the same time, I was feeling ready to be back home with Jason.
It was a long night. I couldn’t sleep. I was stressed about leaving the Blue Bomber in Mexico. What if I never got her back? What was I thinking? I tossed and turned and then finally crawled out of bed, took a shower and packed up my bags. I finalized our car insurance for Mexico, packed a box to send home (which included the hiking poles that I used just ONE time), loaded up the van, said goodbye and hit the road.
It was just a couple of hours to Tijuana. My plan was to cross the border just before 1 pm so that I could walk back across the border and check in to my place in San Diego at 3:00pm. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wasn’t worried about Tijuana like everyone else seemed to be.
All the cars and trucks in front of me went past the patrol and into Mexico; I drove up to the border crossing and got waved over. I pulled into a parking spot and was surrounded by men. My heart beat louder. One of the men waved at me through my passenger window. I leaned across and rolled down the window. He pointed back at the driver’s side. I cranked the window back up and sat back into my seat and then rolled down my window. Yes?
The man spoke. I don’t speak Spanish. He pointed to the back. Open. I got out and opened the back hatch. Men walked around peering in the van. They lifted the pads in the back and found another hatch. The engine. They searched the engine. I smiled. They closed up the back and sent me on my way.
It was five blocks to the transport place. They were friendly. I handed over my keys. I had a backpack and a suitcase so they drove me back to the border. I jumped out of the car and waved goodbye. I took two steps and then ran after the car, they stopped, jumped out and grabbed my suitcase out of the back. We both laughed.
Then I stood in line for 1-1/2 hours to get back into the USA. A couple of people around me said they had never had to wait so long. It was a Friday, so I’m not sure what is the norm, but we all got some live rap and music while we waited in line. Then I stood very quiet at the booth and after a long skeptical look by the attendant, and a comment about me being a world traveler, I was let back in.
Now I just had to get back to San Diego…
SAN DIEGO, CA
I had checked the Uber while in line. 400? What the heck? I texted Jason and the kids. Crazy, Uber really rips you off on a Friday night coming from the border. I was pretty sure I was going to take the bus into San Diego anyway, but that solidified my decision. I purchased my $8 Rapid Ride bus pass and waited with one other person.
My daughter texted back. I’m pretty sure that is Pesos mom. I looked at the screen shot that I had sent them. Yep, MX$, she’s right, Pesos. I checked the Uber again just for fun. The bus saved me over $30 USD, so I was happy with my decision. The bus was clean and nearly empty, still I wore my facemask for good measure, and I was downtown in no time. I found my way to the IH Hostel and was pleasantly surprised.
It reminded me of when Jason and I stayed in Hostels when we backpacked around Europe when we were young. The place was clean and I had my own room, so it would do the trick. It wasn’t cheap, but the best price I could find. I should have thought about showing up in San Diego on the weekend.
I was in the Gas Lamp district. The streets were shut down and music was playing so after a margarita and some tacos, my worries about the Blue Bomber had subsided. Besides, there was nothing that I could do now but wait. I was even starting to get excited again to have it restored to its original Blue Star beauty.
I walked to the water, called Jason and watched the sun go down. When I got back to my room, I set my computer on my lap and started to revisit what had happened over the last several days. The Blue Bomber once again took me on an amazing adventure; I was already looking forward to the next one with Jason driving up the Baja Peninsula!
SEATTLE TO MEXICO ROADTRIP – 2022
Blue Bomber, thanks for another amazing adventure! @livethevanlife can’t wait to see her all shined up and beautiful again!!! Thank you!
Seattle, WA – Portland, OR (Hotel)
Portland – Sisters, OR (Van)
Sisters, OR – Bend, OR (Air bnb – 2 days)
Bend, OR – French Camp, CA (Van)
French Camp, CA – Yosemite, CA (Camp Curry Tent)
Yosemite, CA – Pismo Beach, CA (Van)
Pismo Beach, CA – Venice Beach, CA (Friend – 2 days)
Venice Beach, CA – Mexico / San Diego (Hostel)