Alpine, California, United States
December 07
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JANUARY 30, 2013 9:41AM

Road Trip to the Mexican Border at Tecate

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   Woo,  it started out to be just a little drive to Campo.  We stopped at Lake Moreno and saw the cabins there where I had such a wild weekend once.  The lake and little town are at 4,000 feet high about sixty miles from San Diego.  There was a cold, brisk wind blowing and only two boats out fishing in this resevoir.


 The train museum at Campo was interesting.  Some day I am going to have to go in there.   We saw the Border Patrol cars all lined up in this town.  There were lots of boarded up buildings.  Looked like Campo had seen better days.  

     So many Border Patrol Vans passed us on the winding road.  I pulled over to let them go by me.  I wouldn't want to tangle with any of them.  We imagined illegal aliens hiking over the hills all around Campo.   I wanted to see the actual border at Tecate, fifteen miles down the road.





     tecate border

We pulled up in the dusty little place and looked out over the hills in Mexico that were covered with little houses.  There wasn't much activity in the street but we didn't stay long enough to find out more.  There were lots of signs warning of the illegality of taking guns across the border. I'm sure there is lots going on in that place and we got an unsafe feeling.  Plus we were hungry and that cafe cart looked dangerous.

      Back on the winding roads through the green hills we went and it felt good to get away from the border.  It is always in your thoughts tho and I imagine the people with land around there are inundated with trouble.  Maybe not.  In one little town we saw lots of people milling around with backpacks.  We were suspiciously looking at them and then realized it was some high school letting out and all the kids were just heading home.

     Finally we found the Barrett Restaurant.   046




    We walked into the place and ordered fish and chips.  They say it is a jumping place on the weekends.  A nice old couple said it had been twenty years since they were there.   We sat on the porch and marveled at the history that place has seen since 1917.  We could see the Mexican Hills down the valley.  The land seemed beyond borders to me but the idea of borders is always with me in this area.

       There was a check point before we got out of the hills.  They let the truck in front of us go right by but the fellow approached us and I rolled down my window.  He asked me if he had seen this truck before coming through there.  

   "No, no," I said quickly but hopefully not too quickly.  "We've never been here before.  Can you give us some directions?"  

    We zoomed off well directed and very happy to not be pulled over even further into the little compound.  It was small and yet a very powerful place.  

  There were power lines strung all over the back country.  They are big and opressive but the wave of the future around here along with wind farms.  People are saying they should save the back country and invest in solar panels on all the roofs in San Diego.  Makes better sense to me.



   I got to thinking of all the borders I have been through.   I remember the Afghanistan - Iran border in the seventies with lots of uniforms and small buildings.   I was searched naked in Bangor, Maine at a border stoppage when they looked at my passport coming back from two years as a hippie round the world.   I was also searched naked on the Canadian border coming back into the States after a rock concert in Canada in the sixties.  

     I was under arrest at a border check in Dharmsala, India.  My passport didnt have the correct stamp and they were going to put us in jail but my friend talked us out of there because he said I had jaundice hepatitis and he took me to court in an ambulance.   So borders have been interesting to me.  The Tecate border was just as intense as any of them.   I was glad not to be going thru those big gates over into the crowded streets of the Mexican side.  The American side didn't seem much safer.


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I used to travel the borderlands and visit Mexico quite often. I never go there now. I know a lot of it is media hype and the timidity of age, but beyond that, there are too many ugly hassles. Gone are the days when you could buy five dollars of Mexican car insurance and away you went. Much of my favorite desert is being destroyed by coyotes and cartels and is now off limits.

I love Mexico. But I will probably never go back.
Yes, my mother and her friends used to go over the border for lunch. It was a little chain link fence and a guard. I used to go there too for fun in Tijuana. Now the border at the SanDiego facility is so big and intimidating I get disgusted every time I go over. Lots of people go over there for dental help. I pay the extra and stay here but I know that is irrational. Anyway. I am proud I went down and saw the Tecate entrance. I wish it was a different feeling there. Too much security and not enough wisdom.
Interesting post. I liked your comment, "Too much security and not enough wisdom." That has broader application than just border crossings.
So many different kinds of borders and most of them lacking wisdom.
I went through that border once.. Mexico just floored me how poor it was and i cried a lot there seeing the poverty.
I have always dressed differently and I was bothered on the border many times but as I told them" its not me with the fishnet holes you have to worry about- its mom and pop doing the smuggling:)
We crossed at Tecate too, on a bus to and from Rancho La Puerta. I remember on the way back the line of cars waiting to clear into the US seemed endless, but they let our bus right by all of them.
My border crossings were limited to back and forth trips between Michigan and Canada. I remember the border guards taking my dad's Ham radio microphone once, saying he'd get it back when we came back through. Pretty benign next to your experiences! Some borders are barely there and others will trip you up. I enjoyed reading this. Excellent post.