Motorcycling Mainland Mexico and Baja Peninsula

Motorcling Trip #4

10 days, 1,800 miles, Feb 2012

Ray & Jenny Jardine

Day 2 2012-02-07Day 2 page 2 of 10

Nogales to Hermisillo

We were up before first light, putting on all our warm riding clothes underneath our outer riding gear because the day was quite chilly. We loaded up and drove across the street to the gas station and filled up, then set off at 7:10 am.

It was only 4 miles south on Mariposa Road to the international border. We went though two checkpoints, one U.S. and one Mexican, but there was no one at either point. And then, before we knew it, we were in Mexico, headed south for Hermisillo.

Right away we found the traffic just a bit more chaotic than in the States, and the roads were not quite as good, but they were good enough. We went through a toll booth, then a Customs checkpoint where again we rolled on through without having to stop. This is easy, I was thinking. Little did I suspect what was coming next.

At the 21 kilometer checkpoint

We stopped at the 21 kilometer checkpoint to get our Tourist Card, and to pay our vehicle import fee. There were only a couple other people there, so the lines were pretty short. Fifteen minutes into the process, an official found a discrepancy in our paperwork. By and by, we were refused entry. Jenny's motorcycle registration had my name on it, rather than her's, and that was a no-go. It seems I couldn't import two vehicles, such where the intricacies of the regulations.

Waiting at the border.

So we had to drive back across the border, waiting 45 minutes in line at the border, then another 10 miles north to the Nogales, Arizona DMV. An hour there produced Jenny's document. So we backtracked our way south to the 21 kilometer checkpoint where the officials found our documents in order. An hour later we were on the road again, southbound. The time was now 1:00 pm, having wasted the entire morning.

The scenery was quite nice, with mountains surrounding the valleys and plains through which we road. The sky was overcast with thick, high cirrus, so we didn't take very many pictures because the light was not very good. The headwinds started building in strength and eventually they were strong enough that it was a chore to stay on the road at times.

At a roadside taco stand

We stopped for a mid-afternoon lunch at a roadside taco stand where we found everybody very friendly. Then an hour later we stopped for gasoline. Again, everybody was friendly.

Because of the wind and the condition of the road, and the sometimes sporadic, high-speed traffic, I think that the afternoon was about twice as hard as anything I've ridden in the States. Mainly because of an hour-long stretch of road with a drop-off on the edge of the pavement due to construction. The drop-off averaged 2-feet and sometimes much deeper. And combined with the wind trying to blow us off the road, it was an enjoyable ride but anything but relaxing.  

Jenny writes: The ride today was challenging for me, as Ray has described, but the scenery provided welcome relief. There were range after range of high mountains to the east, and lower ones to the wet. Unfortunately, the roadway offered no tourist pull-outs for taking photos. Closer at hand the valleys and hills were covered in trees - oaks, perhaps - turning green with the coming Spring.

Once we were south of the road construction, the going seemed to be easier, along with the wind diminishing somewhat. It was great fun to watch the kilometer posts count down so quickly to Hermosillo.

We pulled in to Hermisillo in the early evening and at 5:00 pm got a room at the Hotel San Carlos.

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