I got there early enough that I was able to ride back and forth a couple of times to get an idea of what the town was like. It had one hotel next to a PeMex station so I got a room for the night for 300 pesos (US$25). It was neat and clean with plenty of hot water so I was happy.
After a shower I ventured out to get something to eat. This sign had attracted my attention previously so I went there. Another open air restaurant with an grill. I asked for a hamgurguesa which is a baby step toward ordering native food. That went fine until the girl asked me what I wanted on it. She could have mentioned arsenic for all I understood.
I motioned that she should follow me over to the sign which was a few feet away and we played Point and Speak. Lechuga = lettuce, onion = cebolla, tomato and tomate are pretty close, but queso had me stumped until she pointed to the cheese. We both smiled and laughed and I learned new words. Plus, it was a great hamburger!
The next morning I got on the road and headed into Hermosillo. Quite by chance I came upon the Honda dealer. I found that I needed some oil and after some references to my phrase book I got a liter of oil (aceite) and borrowed a funnel (embudo). Life is good!
Trying to find Hwy 20 to the east was a challenge but with the maps and gps I was getting there. Then the dreaded Policia roadblock appeared up ahead. Remember when I mentioned that I didn't get the vehicle papers for the bike? Now was the time to care about such trivial details.
However, not to worry. Whatever or whoever they were looking for, I wasn't it. They questioned me about what I was doing and where I was going. They asked if I was "Americano" which seemed kind of obvious considering the American flag patch on my jacket but I merely replied "Si". They poked at my bags and then waved me ahead. Bullet dodged.
Hwy 20 wasn't much to speak of. Two lanes through farm and ranch country. I came to the turnoff for Soyopa and took the cross road to Mex 16. This was a very new road and I was thinking that I would be able to make some good time. Which I did until I got to Soyopa. There the road just ended.
I rode through the village a couple of times thinking the road might continue on the other side but no luck. This presented a problem since I would lose a day if I had to backtrack to Hermosillo.
The map showed a finished highway all the way through but the gps showed only a path that continued on. However, the path did appear to go all the way to Mex 16 so I decided to give it a try. I had nothing to lose and could always turn back if it got too difficult.
Some places were worse than others but it was pleasant and I stopped here and there to take pictures.
The cattle guards were challenging since they were just wide enough apart to trap the front tire and send me over the handle bars. The trick was to swing wide and cross it at a 45 degree angle.
Don't panic! was my first thought. Even though it was 20 miles back to the village I wasn't hurt and had plenty of food and water. A moment of reflection suggested that maybe the engine had overheated. It was hot and I had been trolling along enjoying the day and left the engine running each time I had stopped to take a picture. Maybe letting it cool off would restore its motive powers.
So I sat down and waited. Now, like I said, I was 20 miles from Soyopa in (you guessed it) the middle of nowhere. So along comes this family out for a stroll. A 20-something mother with an infant and a 6ish child plus her mother and father. They asked me questions which I didn't understand and I responded in ways they thought were hilarious. The older woman seemed to think that leaning closer and speaking louder would make me understand but it didn't. It only made the rest of them laugh louder.
Finally I decided that the 30 minutes were up and put on my gear in the hope that the bike would start and I could be on my way. It coughed to life and, with a wave to my new amigos, I headed on down the road. My best guess is that I was a victim of good old fashioned carburetor vapor lock.
Getting to Mex 16 was one of the happiest moments of the trip. From that time on I turned off the engine whenever I stopped for a picture or nature call.
Mex 16 may be the main east-west highway in northern Mexico but it is far from the boring super highway I had feared. It turned out to be a joy to ride most of the time and very scenic. It was getting late because of the time I had lost so I began the hunt for a camping spot. More about that tomorrow.
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