Today was a long day. I am writing from the Christina Ana Hotel in Nacozari de Garcia. My initial plan was to cross the border at Agua Prieta. Someone had told me that I should cross at Naco instead is it is a quaint border. I rolled up along with a Border Services van returning some dozen men back to Mexico. While I was invited to sit in the office, I was at the end of the line. While eager and anxious to get through, I understood that these men and boys were probably quite hungry and thirsty having been busted for their thirst for a better life. I did feel a little out of place with my “fancy” new riding suite.
While on the slow side, my “tourist visa” was completed after a trip to the Casa de Cambrio to exchange some pesos, and then to the office to pay for the “visa” and then back to the office to get my rubber stamp. I guess this was good practice for some of the other borders. After all of this, I was instructed to head to Agua Prieta to get my vehicle permit. What?!? So off I went.
Having left one border town to return to another — not my original plan — I point my GPS to Douglas, AZ which led me to the border services. I parked my bike and visited a counter asking for my vehicle permit. Unbeknownst to me, I was getting a second personal permit. I was instructed to go to another counter and was informed that I had just paid for the personal permit. Not a great scene. I informed them of the error and explained the situation. In a polite way, I was told off that Naco was a place for walk in traffic and Border Patrol returns and to not do that again.
In the end it worked out but it sucked a lot of my time up. I started a little late do to my seemingly endless packing choir and having to find a place to let me change my oil. Then I went to this marvelous town called Bisby. I hadn’t planned on staying that long but it was enchanting. Built around a copper mine, Bisby, the old town at least, is built within a canyon and was a fusion between “old west” and artsy. While the main roads mostly run through the trough of the canyon, all sorts of steep paved side roads reveal various scatterings of dwelling and other building. Essentially the said buildings at the bottom of the canyon had bridge driveways as instead of a ditch there was some sort of aqua-duct running at the base of the canyon — surely to manage occasion flood waters. It was loads of fun traversing some of these side roads. They are fit for first gear only. Other than that, there is also a rather large open pit mine that you can see from the road. That was quite fascinating in its own right.
Moving on the the story, I left Agua Prieta, having got a little lost and finding myself in barrios, and glad I was on a dual sport bike as some of the dirt roads were pretty hairy. Finally having found the appropriate highway I started to beeline south. The object was to put some distance between myself and the bordertowns. I was warned by a fellow KLRer I met in Bisby who has spent some time in Mexico that I should watch my speed so that I don’t give the Federales something to ticket me for. I was certainly trying. That said, the speed limit was sometimes 80 — but often 60 or even 40 (errr KM/HR). Then there was the paving crew. And the slow horse truck. On and on. I was watching the sun closely. It is consider *not smart* to be riding or driving in these parts after dark. Northern Mexico, in general as it has been explained to me, is not safe in general. With each town, I was hoping to find and hotel/motel setup. What I did see was a little scary. The sun was going down. I finally arrived in Nacozari — not particularly a tourist town (at all) and manage to jumble enough Espanol together to find a motel. I was a little nervous at first until I found that it was a full size motel with semi-private rear parking. The room I was given was at the very end in a inside corner and fronted by a staircase. I wasn’t super happy with the idea of leaving my bike a couple doors away so with a little oomph, I got it up several stairs onto the door level “side walk”. My neighbours several doors over must love me — it was as if I was litterly going to drive into one of the rooms. With some maneuvering I got the bike up and soundly planted right in front of my door. I was —> <– that close to bringing it in the room but it struck me as being in a good place.
Dinner was OK. And satisfying. The Motel has what I think would be considered a pretty nice restaurant attached to it. I ordered Enchiladas Esuiza (swiss cheese cream sauce enchiladas) and was comped a tortilla and frijole. I was pretty much flying solo in the restaurant with the exception of some children associate with the proprietor until some additional guests showed up. Several Federales showed up and one stayed to eat. They were pretty heavily armed and the one ate his soup with his M16 placed on the table as if it was part of his place setting. I’m not sure what to make of it. Was I in a hot zone? Or just a restaurant that was frequented by cops?
I have to say that my nerves are a little rattled at this point. It was a lot to take in today. Oh, plus on I was pretty much getting tale-gated by a car on the way in to my final destination. I don’t think the driver was being overly aggressive or an ass — it was that we were in a no passing zone and I was roughly doing the speed limit. The area is a moderate mountain rang with a lot of twists and turns. Sometimes riding this stuff is a blast — a lot of riders live for the twists and turns. That said, when someone is riding your ass, and you are tired and just itching to put your head down, the twisty stuff isn’t as much fun — it takes extra concentration and keener judgment due to all of the blind corners and sharp turns. Boy was I happy to get a room. It ain’t pretty — although it would seem that that was its original intention. So…we still have good toilets but down to cold showers.
I aim to head towards Copper Canyon Valley as my next step. So long for now.