I woke up pretty nervous about crossing into Mexico, too much "who ha" on my mind, maybe a shot of tequila will help?….this is it!
We gassed up then followed the signage that directed us to the Mexican boarder. Kev and I both pulled up approaching the United States Boarder officials. "Do you have anything to declare, are you carrying any weapons, or more than $10K in cash?", the agent asked. "No", we responded. "Where are you coming from?", he asked. "Alaska" I replied. "Where are you heading to?" was the next question, "Argentina", I replied. "On the bikes all the way?", he says smiling. "That is the plan", I replied. "Have a great trip!" We both responded with a "Thank you and Merry Christmas!" We were not free yet, and still had to clear the Mexican side. As we approached the Mexican boom gates and officials, you could see the dramatically different, dusty, foreign township within reach. Kev pulled up at the boom gate and got a red light, so he needed to proceed to the secondary check point. The boom gate just about chopped me in half, and an official ran over to help keep it up while I joined Kev. Kev was asked to open up his back box which he complied with. The official peered in and felt satisfied and directed us to where we needed to do our paperwork. The borders have these nasty $6 hamburger bun sized yellow metal bumps on the road. The 2 rows of metal buns were almost touching each other, so there was no chance to maneuver your tires between them. Already uptight from impending border tension the metal buns just added to my nerves. Just don't drop the bike, I said to myself! Kev and I, proceed with upmost caution, obeying every traffic rule we know, riding around to the rear of the building where we park, enter the rear of the building and fill out the necessary paperwork. The parking lot was somewhat monitored. We felt it was safe enough to leave the bikes unattended and complete our paperwork together. We needed to post a $400 US bond per bike that would be returned to us when we exit the country. We then obtained our $22 visitors visa, both documents are good for 6 months. I said "that was pretty painless" as we returned to the bikes. A friendly parking attendant showed us where to place our Mexican registration stickers on our windscreen, then offered to clean our windscreens for $1. We obliged, thankful that everything was still on the bikes the way we left them!
Wouldn't you know it..We managed to get lost for about 45 min in the border town of Agua Prieta which is the town immediately after crossing the Douglas border. We needed to connect with highway 17. We managed to hit 3 dead ended roads in our search, Navi, our navigation system had stopped talking to us, and I guess we had to try and figure out how to get over to the pink road! I spotted a group of guys standing by a motor scooter on the side of the road and gently placed the idea into Kev's head that maybe they could probably help us? "I think I will ask these guys by the bike for directions?", Kev said! "Ahh great idea", I replied….wink wink! Kev approached them with our paper map and soon they were deep in animated conversation which ended up with road drawings in the dirt. Kev looked across at me with a smile, a shrug and "I haven't the foggiest" expression. An intrigued neighbor came over to help with his broken english, then it all made sense when his son intervened…"I think I've got it, follow me!", Kev boasted! A few clicks later we have turned onto Highway 17…Phew! We both exhale a sigh of relief. About 100 kms down the road we hit a Federal Check point. All business and dressed in army fatigues with AR-47's over their shoulders, they asked us for our paperwork, checked it against the motorcycles identification numbers, asked where we were going and then sent us on our way.
Riding against the foothills of the Sierra Madre was spectacular. We obeyed the speed limit, comfortable and tentative. As the kilometers clicked by I could feel my mind free up to simply soak in the moment and the magical area surrounding us. As you neared a town the speed limit was reduced dramatically, so much so that it was almost difficult to adhere to it with our heavy bikes. The towns all have topas, or speed bumps, they vary in height and width. You do need to almost come to a stop to ride safely over them. Depending on the size of the town will depend on the number of topas….some towns have made their own, these are a little rough and harder to see.
We pulled off the road onto the dirt and stopped at a small Mum & Pop food shack for lunch. We had arrived in a town called Nacozari de Garcia. "Lunch?" Kev and I queried. "Si, Tortas?" the brightly clothed señora replied with a friendly smile. She directed us to a concrete landing next to the kitchen and her daughter quickly carried out a white plastic square table and a couple of red plastic chairs for us to sit on. The señora ran through the items on the torta, Kev and I looked at each with a blank expression, then smiled back at her and replied "Si!" I don't really know what a torta is, but I think that we are getting tomato, onion, avocado and some type of meat on it…..and it also comes with frijol, kidney beans! All sounds good to me, I am pretty hungry! "CokA?", we were asked, "Si, dos!" we replied. The señora's daughter then ran out of the kitchen with two empty coke bottles, and returned soon after with two full ones. The señora opened them, asked if we wanted ice, to which we replied "No", and set them down on the table alongside two hand made terra cotta mugs. Kev and I drank out of the bottle, our first day in it is probably safer this way. The lunch was served on rustic, oval, hand made terra-cotta plates. In the middle of the plate sat a large round sweet dough, soft bun sandwich that did have, tomato, onion, avocado, a meat mixture and what looked like a slice of lunch meat of some kind on it. The sandwich was accompanied by a portion of warm refried beans with a large block of crumbly cold cheese in the middle of it. The meal was absolutely delicious and we ate it all!
Back on the road with a warm wave and smile send off we head towards our destination for the evening, a town called Moctezuma. We find a simple clean room at the Hotel Abril for the night that cost us $30 US. We securely situate the bikes in front of our room, change out of our gear, lock up and walk into the town square in search of dinner. After enjoying an authentic home cooked Mexican meal of Chili Relleno and Fajitas we visit the local TelCel store, a Mexican mobile phone shop. We had seen this store in the square before dinner and wondered if they could help us with a calling plan? We had really forgot one thing….we don't speak Spanish very well at all…this could be interesting! The hombre, man, who ran the shop spoke very little english, but between his assistants broken english, and our gringo spanish we were able to purchase something that ran on Kev's phone. I'm not sure how many minutes we have or how long they will last…but it cost us $150 pesos, around $11 US! What we do have, is time to learn! This has been an awesome day!