The Hotel Baja California

Alex looking very hot and frustrated after 6 hours of dealing with immigration paperwork. (Photo: Nathaniel Chaney)

Alex looking very hot and frustrated after 6 hours of dealing with immigration paperwork. (Photo: Nathaniel Chaney)

We woke up early on Wednesday, got everything packed away on our now dry bikes and took off for the south on Mexico Hwy-1. In looking at our now worn AAA map the distance to La Paz was 280 miles.  It was going to be a long day, but we were rested from our time in Loreto and the first half of the ride was through beautiful mountain passes fresh from the soaking the day before. We made our way to Ciudad Constitución without any issues, stopped for lunch and then continued on to La Paz.

Entering La Paz off Mexico Hwy-1

Entering La Paz off Mexico Hwy-1 (Photo: Nathaniel Chaney)

The ride went quick, but we were both sore by the time we cruised into La Paz and up the driveway of the Baja Backpackers hostel (which we didn’t know at the time, would be our home for the next week).  There was parking in the back for the bikes, and we figured we had it made to head out the next day on the ferry to Mazatlán, nothing could be further from the truth.

The next several days is a blur of bureaucracy that I will try to keep brief as even I am bored thinking about it.  Upon arrival in La Paz we were informed that we were going to need our FMM cards just to be able to leave for Mazatlán (our time as undocumented travelers was coming to an end).  Stories abound of people who were in similar situations that just went to the airport here in La Paz and got someone to stamp their passport.  We did not have such luck (neither did another traveler we ran into, but more on him later).

We spent all day Thursday at the immigration office, first in the morning to start and then again, and again, and again as we filled out forms wrong, didn’t have the correct information and genuinely just fell through the red tape one stumble at a time.  It became clear at 1:00pm on Thursday, that we were not going to make the ferry that day (and with what we know now – that never was a possibility).

Friday brought more issues than relief, but in waves of good and bad news.  By noon on Friday we had our FMM cards (go to this google doc for a in-depth guide on how to get an FMM card in La Paz).  We went on our merry way to the ferry building in Pichilingue, got our tickets for the ferry in ten minutes and thought we were on our way.

It was only an hour later or so that we found out that we still needed to get our importation documents for the motorcycles. We ran out of the hostel and back to Pichilingue for the second time to see if we could get the importation documents.  The bank was closed for the day when we arrived and thus ended to effort for that day.

Saturday we made it out for our third trip to Pichilingue to try and get our importation documents (though our friend Matt told us that we were going to need the original title or registration).  I have the original registration for my bike (and clearly remember my dad asking if I thought I needed the title and me saying no), but Alex doesn’t have either original, just copies.  We were turned away from the bank because of the lack of documentation for Alex.

What this means is that we had to push back our tickets with the ferry and come up with a new plan.  This post is already getting long, so to make it short, if Alex can’t get someone back home to find her registration, then she is going to have to fly back to Tijuana and take a bus to San Diego so she can get a copy of her registration at a AAA/DMV office.

All said and done, we have moved our tickets to Thursday and that is the day that no matter what happens (with-in reason) we will be on he ferry.  We don’t blame the system, it was a complete lack of planning that brought us here, but we are happy that it is happening not to far from home.  All of the other border crossings might be a breeze compared to this, but at least at the end of this we should have all the documentation we should need in the future.

This too shall pass.

5 Comments on “The Hotel Baja California

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