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November 18, 2018

San Felipe - and the Baja 1000

The new border crossing at Garita Rio Nuevo replaced the Calexico West crossing in September.  Coming from San Diego, we always use hiway 98 from I-8 east.  We now need to turn south on Cesar Chavez Boulevard and the Rio Nuevo inspection stations will be straight ahead.  If traveling south on hiway 111 a detour will direct you west on 2nd Ave to the crossing.  Both Ez-Pz.

But then let the chaos began! …  I missed this U-Turn and ended up on the route to Tijuana. Using the U-Turn it should have been simple to get back on the familiar Mexican 5 to San Felipe.  There are really no reassuring signs for Carretera San Felipe.  I suspect they will come and a better route will be established – lots of 4-way stops going this way.

I was trying to correct the error and work our way back toward familiar territory when a Mexicali officer stopped me, as I apparently missed an ALTO sign (STOP).  We had a fairly lengthy chat, with me offering to go to the station and appear before the judge and him suggesting we could save time and settle now.  I never suggested anything except going to the station, however when he came up with an $ amount I knew it was over.  Eventually he accepted $20 US and pointed us in the right direction.

However we were still lost Fran called out to another officer asking if this was the way to Pueblo San Felipe.  Her response - ‘Follow Me!’  At last back in familiar territory.  Both a good cop  -  bad cop within a few minutes of each other!

BTW – the north crossing is also at Rio Nuevo.  The main entrance from the south is not yet established, hence cars are lined up single file along the border fence and routed over.  Eventually this will all be worked out.  During our crossing north not all inspection stations were ready.  With only 4 of 6 general lanes available it was a bit of a wait.  When we crossed there were 2 SENTRI lanes, 1 Ready lane, 1 Medical lane and a motorcycle lane, with 2 of the general lanes closed.  The Calexico East port of entry might be a good choice until all the construction is complete later this year.
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At last we have our celebratory strawberry Margarita on the Malecon outside Bar Miramar.
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Sunday we went into town to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi at the Taco Factory.  There were a lot of bicycles on the Malecon.  It was only noon and the leading riders were arriving covering the 110 miles from Mexicali in less than 6 hours.  Impressive!
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The Sea Shepard was in port awaiting diesel.  We had met Cpt. Bob, Tracy and Volcy when they were in San Diego last September, see the blog HERE.  Bob and Tracy have rotated off, we met the new captain from Croatia – I do not recall his name.  But Volcy was aboard and seemed surprised and pleased to have visitors.
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At Bahia Santa Maria the winds continued the following day.  The kite board crowd loved it! as did a single sail board.  That’s Danny on the kite board, he’s good enough to be in the magazine.  Brian does both kite board and windsurfing, he says the windsurfer is much more difficult.
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In the wind there were 16 shrimp boats sitting it out just beyond the bay.  I don't think the shrimp will have much of a chance this year. The big boats all come out of Baja, just the small boats are local.
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For me?  Both Fran and I like the calm days!
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Friday the SCORE (Short Course Off Road) Baja 1000 race is a loop this year starting and ending in Ensenada.  Bahia Santa Maria is about mile post 240.  The race road is only a few kilometers away and we headed out to watch some of the excitement.

The lead trucks are being filmed from helicopter, which makes the trucks easier to spot, however as Fran points out the dust cloud is easy to spot too.
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We had front row seats to the action as they all roared by.  There were several pit stops set up around us, but none were used – dang think that would be more interesting then the race.
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The race includes motorcycles and quads in there own divisions.
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The night sky was fabulous the first night, the meteor shower and New Moon.  Black skies filled with stars including the Milky Way, with both Mars and Saturn keeping me company as I slept on the roof.
No pictures of the night sky, but the sunrise and sunset from Bahia Santa Maria are pretty special.
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Oh yes - and shrimp!  The brick of shrimp on the left is how they are sorted and packed on the shrimp boat.  Each brick weighs 2 kilos (4.4 lbs) and is frozen on the boat.  This is the freshest shrimp available.  I kept 1 brick frozen and let two thaw a bit packed in ice on the way home.  Once the brick softens a bit, it can be broken into manageable chunks and then back into the freezer.
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Even chatting with a corrupt cop was interesting and a new crossing to learn.  There were No Bad Days on this trip.

November 03, 2018

Comic-Con Museum - Balboa Park

If you can’t make it to Comic-Con, or don’t like the crowds, Comic-Con can soon be experienced every day!  It’s coming, the Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park.  The museum will occupy 68,000 square feet of the former Hall of Champions, which is now gone.
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Officially the structure is still called the Federal Building, built for the 1935 Pacific Exposition.  The pre-Colombian architecture is unique among the more traditional Prado buildings.  The building, and many in Balboa Park, were used by the Navy during World War II, then it was used for sporting events.  Back-in-the-day both Fran and I played intramural volleyball there, before the Hall of Champions was established.

To keep the Comic-Con name in the spotlight and its future home, Comic-Con hosted MASK-arade last week for Halloween.  I did not attend ($15), however this week there will be panels on comics and the take-offs and interpretations from them.   The theme is SAM (Storytelling Across Media).  And (drum-roll-please) daughter Kami will be on one of the panels!  Seating is limited at all of the panels, and pre-registration is required.

The various breakout sessions include panels on Storytelling in Animation; Audio/Music; Film; Print; Games; Virtual Reality.

Kami will be part of the Storytelling and Board Games Panel.  Where she is introduced as:
Kami Mandell designs games for witches and wizards of all ages.

Which refers to the Harry Potter games she has worked to bring to life.
Kami has brought us many of the specialty Monopoly games, including National Parks Monopoly and National Parks Trivia.  She was also on the design team of the Harry Potter games.  If you’re looking for a family Christmas gift, consider a board game from USAopoly.

The panelists include Johnathon, Bridget, Jon and (Ta-Dah!) Kami.

Both Jonathon and Kami did an excellent job of explaining the transition from a story to a board game.  In the story/film version there is a set plot that is not interactive.  However, they endeavor to design games that are interactive, that have a journey not just a winner and loser.

As for the museum itself, it plans to celebrate comics, movies, television, characters, etc. in various media.  There will be exhibitions, film screenings and other panels.  Areas will be set aside for displays by various fan groups on a rotating basis.  It views itself as not just a museum, but the Comic-Con Center.  It is anticipated the new museum will attract new visitors to the park.

There are No Bad Days in Balboa Park.  Although, this is likely the shortest day I’ve spent there, but as a proud dad – it was one of the best!