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April 30, 2016

Tijuana – the Crossing, the River, the Estuary, IB Festival

Occasionally I’ve been asked to shuttle our sister-in-law from the San Diego Airport to the Pedestrian Crossing at Tijuana.  But the crossing has moved – Who knew?  …  not me!
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Still exit I-5 S at Exit #1A, but instead of going straight to the drop-off point.  Now crossover the freeway and wiggle around behind the McDonald's to the new drop-off in the culede-sac.  It’s very much unnoticed until you are there.  Return to I-5 N by going straight through the light on Rail Court.

Neither of us have done any investigation of the Tijuana River Park and it’s trails.  On the way back we decided to stop and give it a look. 

With over 20 miles of trails I expected more than one restroom, and it’s not near where I parked.  But a short loop out to a wildlife blind overlooking one of the ponds and a return on the boardwalk was an easy level walk.  Even the snails were out in force to enjoy this cool gray morning.
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We’ll come back with the bikes and explore the Tijuana River Park again.  But for now, it’s back to the freeway and over to the Tijuana Estuary, with it’s grand Visitor Center and nice clean restrooms.
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But alas it is Girl Scout day!  The few trails are amassed with lots of young girls whose voices have not changed yet.  Their display booths are set up at the view points along the trail, as that is the widest spot.  But the trails are still blocked.   At least there’s no line at the men's room Smile
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But once past the congestion and the exhibits at the Visitor Center the trails open up over the estuary and salt marshes.
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But there’s not a bird to be seen!  Over 340 species and all are in hiding!  Yes the anxious young gals are charging delightedly along trails, wanting to be the first to sight/scare any wildlife out there, not even a gecko was safe.

But fortunately as a ‘local’ I do know how to get to, and where to park, on the other side!  We’re now off to walk the beach along the west side.  There’s really no trails here, simply walk down the beach … all the way to Tijuana if the tide is low (and it is!) or turn back at the mouth of the Tijuana River.
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This is a great beach to explore.  Although never quite empty, it is never crowded.
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And this is where the birds have gone for the day!  Don’t blame them a bit!
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The tide is indeed low, with the Tijuana River not quite reaching the sea, but still it’s a good place to start back.
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The beach is easier to walk on than the uneven berm, but the berm provides different views as we return to our parking spot.

The restaurant on the end of the Imperial Beach Pier is the Tin Fish, our next destination.  I’m parked right next to this pile of rocks, a total primo spot.  Should we walk or drive?

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Today Imperial Beach is holding their 1st annual Festival del Mar, a celebration of the sea.  And since the “C” is missing from the Imperial Beach sign, they do need some other “C” to celebrate.

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Rosarita Beach, BC has provided live entertainment for the event in the form of dancers, musicians and a really good ‘spray can’ artist.   The sand sculptures are local talent.
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And FOOD!
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But with regrets we turn down the street food.  And continue on to the Tin Fish at the end of the pier.  Why? Because the the location went up to bid last year and just reopened last week.   The new owner Mike is from Fairbanks, AK and we leave for there in June.  And they have the #1 rated crab cake in San Diego …
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The fish and chips I’d give two thumbs up, the hot sauce – too much vinegar, the crab cake had great flavor, just too mushy in the middle.  Dropping a frozen crab cake into the fryer is inviting a mushy middle.  Next year - street food!
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