With the Dolphin getting ditched, Jacqui and I had no choice but to start pulling everything out of her. Luckily our local friend Dani was offering his shop to store the Dolphin, and his house to store our belongings until we could return to tie up all our loose ends. With Easter weekend upon us, quite a large thing in Mexico I might add, we definitely had plenty of distractions while packing up.
We told Dani we wanted to sell the Dolphin, which immediately set off a wildfire. Word spreads quick on the Island, so people began coming around interested in buying our home. Unfortunately, with a tourist permit on the windshield, we were never going to legally sell her as a running vehicle in Mexico. The best we could hope to do is sell off the engine, transmission and tires, then accept I would never be able to bring another vehicle to Mexico. In other words, the next car is going in Jacqui’s name. This is when we started getting unusual temptations.
A Mexican fellow that showed up in Tres Amigos for the Easter weekend had a particular interest in our Dolphin. He looked it over, held his chin, stared pensively, talked with his wife, and worked all the gears in his head to find a solution to purchasing our little Dolphin. Finally he pitched his offer. He knew he couldn’t legally be driving any vehicle with a tourist permit, assuming our old girl was even drivable, so he asked us to follow him back to Chihuahua. I told him that’d be impossible; the Dolphin would blow another differential before we got out of town.
He had his plan for that too. He wanted us to follow him, and when the Dolphin blew the rear end, he was going to tie us to the back of his RV, and pull us the rest of the way. When we arrived he’d pay us $1500 for her, then he “knew a guy” who would make the tourist permit go away for $280. Well, Jacqui and I had to say no thanks to that one. Driving that close to Juarez in the hope that this guy was some honest Joe, simply happy to pay us our money, clear our record, and send us on our way, wasn’t something we planned to bet upon this day. We’ve had enough bad luck without gambling our lives.
So we parked our Dolphin at Dani’s shop and asked him to hold off on any deals until we thoroughly explored legally expunging the Dolphin from my record. Surely we weren’t the first tourists to have a totaled vehicle that couldn’t be driven out of the country. After a quick trip into Mazatlan to get some bus tickets, we said goodbye’s to our local friends on the island. We had a farewell breakfast with John and Debra, the last two remaining Tres Amigos tenants, before making our way to the bus.
I have to say the Mexican busses are pretty nice. There were no more tickets left for the premium bus, but even the basic had plenty of room, played lots of Spanish dubbed movies, and had poor quality WiFi! However, a bit of advice from someone who has completed the 26.5 hour bus ride from Mazatlan to Tijuana, pack some food! There were a few snack stands and street venders around for the four or five military checkpoints, but other than that, they only made one food stop during the entire journey, and that was an hour before we arrived in Tijuana. Needless to say, Jacqui and I ferociously consumed the tacos at that stop. I think I may have stopped eating for air at least once.
Finally arriving in Tijuana, Jacqui and I did something we never expected to do when embarking on this journey; we walked across the border. After several hours of Southern California public transportation, we finally arrived at the home of Jacqui’s cousin. Here, with our greasy road-weary selves, lacking even the use of a toothbrush for over a day and a half, we had one of the best encounters with a shower and bed of this trip.
So now the hunt is on. We’ve been in the San Diego area for a few days exploring the local Westfalias. Unfortunately, nothing has worked out in our favor yet. We had our hearts set on a particularly beautiful burnt orange Westy, but after getting it inspected by the local VW specialists, found that it needed some serious engine work. This came as a surprise to us and the owner of that little Westy.
I can’t really say where we’re headed next. We’re exhausting all resources to scour Westys in the area, and are ready to fly to another state for the right rig. However, patience, my least favorite thing in the world, is what we have to exercise right now.
Stepping back into the United States after months in Mexico is quite the culture shock. Suddenly it’s strange to say good day to a random passerby. Jacqui and I can get a couple burgers and beers for $40; an amount that would have fed us six meals with drinks in Mazatlan. There are no dogs running in the streets, all the landscapes are beautifully manicured, and the buildings of the restaurants look as processed as the food they serve.
Don’t let me mislead you to thinking I’m looking negatively upon the U.S. just because I spent a few months in Mexico. It’s simply that after taking a step out and exploring the life of another place, it’s easy to imagine pulling the good traits of both countries together to build your own little utopia.