Day 42, San Diego to the Mexican Border

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Today would be our last day of  riding . . . sort of like the Tour de France, where the last day is a celebratory ride into Paris, today we would ride from San Diego to the border and back to San Diego . . .

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We’d head south along the east side of San Diego Bay to the border and take the west side of the bay back to the hostel . . . lots to see!!!

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. . . as we rolled along the bay through downtown San Diego, I saw what in my mind might be the epitome of a ‘penthouse’. Wonder if it has a lawn?????

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. . . lots of working vessels in the San Diego harbor . . .

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. . . soon we were at the Maritime Floating museum . . . home of the now decommissioned USS Midway aircraft carrier, circa WWII.

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. . . adjacent the Midway,  is a statue celebrating the famous photograph taken in Times Square after the war . . .

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. . . both of the individuals depicted in the photo, through time, had been identified and the sailor just died a few years ago . . .

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. . . of course we had to take of our many group photos!!!!!

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. . . other ships still floating that you could tour included ancient sailing vessels . . .

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. . . from several nations . . .

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. . . a US submarine . . .

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. . . and a ‘Ruskey’ sub that either didn’t weather its capture too well or is  victim of time and weather, or both!!!!

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. . . soon we ere riding along the Naval Base. Helicopters from the Navy and Coast Guard, as well as Navy jets, were taking off and landing all day . . . the helicopters were especially busy conducting frogman exercises in the harbor. Hugh told us the story of when he kayaked at night with a group of his buddies who called themselves the ‘Night Herons. One time, returning to shore in the dark after an ocean paddle, they were suddenly surrounded by US Navy Seals, in the water,  conducting a practice beach landing, dragging their waterproof duffel bags to shore . . . FUN!!!!!

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A Navy hospital ship in dock for some work . . .

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. . . I guess there are other ways to heal, or hide what ails you, too!!!

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. . . a LARGE salt water evaporation operation along the coast. Next time you buy sea salt flakes, check the label to see if they come from San Diego!!!

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. . . along the way there was this nice mural of a time past when it was a lot easier to cross the border between the US and Mexico . . .

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. . . we couldn’t figure out what this hand sanitizer message was all about until we notice the ‘nature’ of the area we were now riding through and figured some of the locals who use the bathrooms may try to consume it for the alcohol in the product?????

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. . .  or if you preferred something else, you could have it delivered!!!!

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. . . we rode through the countryside on the way to Imperial Beach and passed this metal works shop . . .

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. . . where there was a wide variety of their work on display . . . all colors and sizes available!!!

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. . . lots of great murals along the way, including this one that actually had pieces of a mirror embedded in the blade of the knife.

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. . . soon we could see the hills of Tijuana in the distance and needed to get to ‘Friendship Park’, the end of our ride . . .

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. . . mmmmmmmmm the directions needed a little tweaking. Best kept secret along the border.

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We finally got on the correct road. The monument is actually one of California’s State Parks systems but it quickly became obvious it was probably last on the list for financial support and improvements.

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. . . the roads definitely need some work. There was a $7.00 charge to drive a vehicle into the park, so the few that were visiting decided to walk to the end . . . Tijuana homes across the border.

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. . .  it was not a pretty sight. I felt like I was in prison!!!!

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. . .  and could be if you broke rule number one of the Friendship Park entrance . . .

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. . . local Border Patrol gendarmes on the 2019 version of ‘horseback’ . . .

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I was the first to arrive at the gate that is only open two days a week (not today) to cross over and ‘make Friends’ with locals from Mexico . . . and there was no Border Patrol vehicle there when I arrived.

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. . . within 15 minutes most of the rest had arrived, as well as the Border Patrol SUV that sat at the gate for our entire visit!!!

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. . . the end of our ride and the end of the fence . . . seems like a strong swimmer could just swim around the end of the fence, but I’m sure Homeland Security has that covered with some type of sensors . . . maybe trained sharks!!!

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. . . Rule #1, Don’t pass anything through the fence to someone on the other side . . . and NO Photos to be taken, although we snapped away . . .

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. . . ‘official’ end of a several thousand mile trip that began on September 20th . . .

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. . . lots of development on the Mexican side of the fence, including this bull fighting arena. NO DEVELOPMENT on the US side. Just sand and scrub grass. I’m sure that’s by design.

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. . . a couple of shots . . .

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. .  to mark the occasion . . . and we were on our way back to civilization . . .

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. . . including the Coronado Hotel.  An all wooden ‘Grand Dame’ of a hotel that reminded me of The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, MI.

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. . .  lots of great flowers growing . . .

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. . . a HUGE lobby area, of course . . .

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. . . many ballrooms and meeting areas . . .

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. . . and the rows and rows of shops had skipped Halloween and Thanksgiving and were now celebrating Christmas!!!!!!!

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. . . but they had a GREAT beach . . . rooms started at $300/night . . .

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. . . as we headed to the end of the Coronado peninsula, and to our pedestrian/bike ferry, we road along the broad boulevards of the area many retired sea captains and naval officers retire to. VERY genteel and expensive . . . .

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. . . we were a half hour early for the ferry . . . so why not have some ice cream!!!!!

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Soon we boarded the ferry for the 15 minute ride back to the downtown area . . .

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. . . where Tom, Liz and I broke off from the group and rode to Moment’s Bike Shop where we would drop our bikes for shipping home.  As with most of these trips, since ACA does not include group lodging for the last night of the tour, the groups usually scatter. Gina flew home tonight, Pam’s husband Barry had arrived by car to drive her home, Jenny was leaving at 4:30am, I was flying out the following morning and Denise was heading east on the AMTRAK in two days.

There is more to that story considering I was flying into Chicago, where emJay would pick me up, and they were having the same snow storm that was dumping 5-8 inches of the white stuff on MSN. Eight minutes before were to depart the plane got pushed back two hours because of gate and snow issues in Chicago . . . more to come!!

ps . . .  a week later, Connie arrived home via UPS

. . . mmm, that shifter should not be sticking out of the box!!!

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