Motorcycling Mainland Mexico and Baja Peninsula

Motorcling Trip #4

10 days, 1,800 miles, Feb 2012

Ray & Jenny Jardine

Day 3 2012-02-08Day 3 page 3 of 10

Hermisillo to Navojoa

As we made our way through Hermosillo, a local in his pickup truck pulled alongside in the next lane over, and pointed left in a friendly, helpful manner. We still had about a half a mile to go before our left turn back onto Mex 15, but I knew what he was getting at. The regular left turn was blocked up head, and he was directing me to a detour. I gave him a big wave in appreciation. Then we turned left at the next intersection, and sure enough, that was the detour, even though it was not marked.

It is kind of mind-boggling that people are sometimes helpful to strangers, yes - even helpful to gringos. So different from the usual way people treat each other where we're from. The contrast makes you think.

Jenny writes: Today I had great fun discovering that the bridges (los puentes) have names. As we crossed a short bridge there was a sign that read "Puente El Ocelot." A few kilometers later was "Puente La Iguana." And then "Puente El Tigre." The old Mex 15 is gradually getting modernized: repaired, repaved, and widened, but despite the modernization, I think it's typically Mexican that the bridges have names like these.

A helmet camera (for both still shots and video) would be such a good thing to have on a trip like this. Picture this: up ahead off to the side of the road, is a young man on a bicycle. Slung over his shoulder is a guitar. Behind the bicycle seat is a milk crate for carrying items. Seated in the milk crate is a cute and obviously happy puppy, watching the world go by.

Getting through Ciudad Obregon was one of those grit-your-teeth and go with the flow type experiences. Buses, trucks, diesel fumes, kids darting across the street, cars merging from both right and left, traffic lights, speed bumps, rain puddles, a dead rabbit, and all the while keep an eye on the road signs and don't miss our turn to Navojoa. Amongst all this we passed a truck stacked with medium-sized livestock pens, 5 pens high and 8 deep. And in each pen was a pink, fat hog. I was going to tell Ray to "Look at that!" but there was no need to say it - you couldn't help but notice it. We realized that the hogs were most likely on their way to the slaughterhouse. At least they had a nice, open-air ride.

I am finally getting the hang of the toll booth stops. In a car you can take your hands off the wheel and get your coins ready as you approach, but not so on a moto. My technique, which is a long way from perfect, is to pull up behind the car in front of you, put the moto in neutral so you can then quickly pull off your gloves while you are stopped behind that car. The longer the car in front of you is there, the better off you are because it gives you time to flip up your helmet visor and zip down the jacket pocket that contains the small pesos bills and coins. Then duck-walk the bike up close to the person in the toll booth so you can hear how much your toll is, let them know you want to pay "por dos motos" and then with minimal fumbling, hand over the amount, take back the change and the receipt, stuff it all back in the jacket pocket, zip the pocket shut, kick the moto back into 1st, and when the toll gate swings up, move on through. Of course, you then have to pull over to the side of the road to pull your gloves back on and make sure the pocket is zipped. I'll have it wired in another couple weeks.

Back to Ray: I'm really enjoying this trip. But today was the best day ever. Good riding, not much high winds, and yes, a lot of rain, but on the moto it doesn't bother me much. And lots of friendly people, every time we stop. But mostly it's the adventure; traveling away from home and enjoying it all. It's not always easy, but if it's too easy for me I tend to lose interest. I like at least a little bit of challenge. For me, this time, it's a challenge of riding a motorcycle in a Third World country. I'm finding I like it very much.

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