17.06.2009 – 19.06.2009
Day One: Penetration
The border crossing was a little touchy yesterday. Evidently the immigration clerks have become a good deal more thorough than they’ve been in the past. This time the girl checked all my previous passport stamps and asked why I hadn’t turned in any of my visas. I told her Ihad, and she asked which border crossings. I mentioned a few but I think she could tell I was making it up. She was pretty and I smiled as much as I could trying to look innocent.
She went off to make a call and then came back to stamp my passport. She told me this would be the last time I could enter if I didn’t turn in my papers upon reentry. Whew!
An older fella was having problems with an expired FM3 form, but he was granted mercy as well. He told me he’d one down to visit a gal for a few weeks in Aguascalientes & loved it so much he decided to stay. That was 3 years ago. He didn’t get that this wasn’t my first Mexican rodeo & tried to give me advice on where the best stops were along the highway & where I could find a Church’s Chicken place just like in the states. I didn’t tell him that I was heading for the desert for peyote since he also spoke of drug cartels & those hippies smokin all that grass & even worse! I thanked him for the advice & said maybe I’d run into him at Church’s Chicken some time.
Also slipped by with a 5 yr old expired vehicle permit. I was nervous I’d get nabbed at the immigration checkpoint because last time there was a heavy military presence who asked for my permit but luckily didn’t notice it was expired almost 5 years ago & for a different bike… a Kawasaki KLR650 that died on me & had to be sacrificed in parts. Long unpleasant story I won’t bore you with, but that bike is STILL giving me grief.
Again, lucked out! No military or police. Just a guy in a booth who couldn’t even be bothered to get up. He just lazily waved me on through. Yes! I’d penetrated the rough Mexican crust & could now be free to swan dive into the gooey technicolor good stuff… The REAL Mexico.
Everything else went smooth as retried beans. Didn’t see any military or police at all until the toll road from Monterrey to Saltillo. A large military convoy of at least 200 Mexican soldiers with heavy artillery! But as they were going the opposite direction as me, I was’t going to be troubled by it. The rest of the ride went well until I’d passed through the mountain pass South of Saltillo when the wind got suddenly chilly & I saw those storm clouds ahead.
There was a beautiful rainbow in the distance backed by some very dark clouds. I was certainly going to get wet but maybe I’d just catch the edge of the storm & miss the worst of it.
Pulled over to get a couple snaps of the bike, eat an apple, drink some water, “water a cactus or two” & try to get a fix on the
speed of that storm.
Back on the road & focussed on the rainbow instead of the ominous clouds. Cranked up some Leonard Cohen & pushed forward.
A medium size bread truck blasted by me at what had to be close to 130mph. I was doing close to 90mph & he passed me like I was standing still! I figured I’d see him pulled over by federales soon enough & brushed off the fact he’d nearly swiped me. The storm was ahead & I could see wet pavement in the distance.
I noticed to my right there was a semi truck perpendicular to the highway leaning over & several people climbing up to the cab that looked like it’d been swiped hard & crushed. Several more yards there was an SUV & that speeding bread truck rolled over. And a few more yards down a certainly freshly dead horse. There were other loose horses & cattle roaming freely which isn’t unusual in Mexico.
All of this scene backed by the rainbow I could now see touching the ground just behind them & still backed by foreboding clouds mixed with streaks of late afternoon sun rays. All the while listening to Leonard Cohen’s “The Future”. So surreal, horrifying & yet oddly sublime. I could see flashing emergency lights approaching & there was still that storm to deal with, so I pushed deeper. The storm was racing faster than I was, so I was spared & only had to endure the tail end of the rain for about 15mins or so. More refreshing than nuisance. Soon, the pavement was dry again & the sun was setting to my right.
I made Matehula with the last soft blue twilight, found a cheap room & hot shower, & set out to get my dry mane shaved off to not quite a military buzz. Found a little grub & called the first day overall a smashing success!
It’s now the following morning & my body aches from hard use, but in a good way… in the way a body ought to ache when used properly. Heading out to the desert soon & will be cut off for a bit. Will give Señor Mescalito all of your best & hope to report back soon enough with fresh Wirikuta desert tales & photos.