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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Mexico - Day 1 Part 2

Continuing the retrospective of my adventure south of the border.

I thought I had a plan for leaving Nogales: It looked really good on the map. However, I was quickly to learn that the map, the gps, and reality had only vague acquaintences with one another. This is compounded by the lack of street signs as we know them. Remember what I said? Mexico is different.

My plan was to take a shortcut from Nogales to Rt 2 and then on to Cananea for the night. Unfortunately, there were no signs saying, "This way to the shortcut to Rt 2 and Cananea." Or at least none in English.

So I took Rt 15 south to where it meets with Rt 2. A little out of the way but nothing fatal. Then I got to Km 21, the border inspection station where you get the travel papers that the Consul General in Boston told me I didn't need. 

"Your passport please. And 300 pesos." No big deal. In fact I was relieved to be getting the visa because it had made life a lot easier in my last trip to Baja Sur. 

Then there was the papers for the motorcycle. Disaster! They wouldn't accept the copy of my registration, only the original which I didn't have with me. I appealed to the "authorities" which turned out to be a very young girl with braces and ill fitting blue jacket and pants. The only word she seemed to know was "No".

What to do, what to do ... ? As I walked back to my bike the officer in charge of the parking lot wished me Buenos Tardes and pointed to the exit heading south. It seemed to be a message from above so I headed south, personal papers in hand but lacking vehicle papers. Stay tuned this topic will come up again.

On to Imuris where I picked up Rt 2 and headed east. Highway construction sites in Mexico consist of a bulldozed rough road next to the road being worked on and shifting all traffic to this temporary path. 

Since Rt 2 is the main road parallel to the Mexican/U.S. border it has a lot of trucks. They, in turn, make the temporary road even rougher. This makes them go slower which was making me crazy. The dust was so bad that I could bearly see or breathe. I would have loved to show them the AT's off-road capabilities but traffic was so dense that I never got a chance to pass anyone. And it was getting later and darker ...

One of the first things everyone with any experience in Mexico tells you is not to drive after dark. Various animals are apt to wander into your path with painful consequences. I was getting worried that I wouldn't make Cananea and find a place to stay for the night.

Finally the construction ended but now I was heading up into the mountains and the road was 2 lanes with plenty of twisties. Even though I had only gotten ~175 miles I was tired from riding though the construction. I was looking for a place to pitch the tent that would be safely away from the road.

Who could possibly notice me here?
This is what I picked in the dark. I thought it was a secluded spot far away from the road. To my amazement, the morning light showed that it was only about 100' off the pavement and totally visable to anyone passing by. This was my first introduction to Mexican camping - Pitch a tent practically anywhere you like. Nobody cares. Try not get run over.

So I crawled into my sleeping bag for my first night in Mexico, serenaded by the sound of Jake Brakes from the trucks decending the grade.

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