Crossing in Mexicali turned out being a mistake. We should have figured out there was no way we could cross the border and get to a “safe place” to camp in one day. Unless we’d crossed at 6:00 am or something… And even then…
So, on our first night back into Mexico, we end up having to choose which one of the most important rules we had set for ourselves we are going to break:
Never sleep close to the border.
Never sleep where we feel uncomfortable.
Never drive at night.
I probably would have driven at night if there would have been a good place to stop at within “reasonable” range. But there was nothing we could see as safe within at least 5 or 6 hours so…
We keep looking and looking for a good spot until the sun goes down but the Sonoran desert doesn’t offer a whole lot of hiding places. And then we find an entryway we could take and a small hill/big pile of rocks we could partially hide behind. There is a building/house under construction here so this is probably private land… We are on highway 2, between San Luis Rio Colorado and Sonoyta, a stones’ throw from the border… But it’s getting dark and this is the best we’ve seen so far.
It’ll have to do for tonight. We set up the alarm for 5:00am hoping to leave before the owner and/or construction workers return.
Never sleep close to the border: Check.
Never sleep where you feel uncomfortable: Check.
We stop for coffee in Sonoyta and I notice one of the rear tire looks low.
M: “Baaah, the truck’s heavy and we’re parked on an uneven surface…”
In Caborca, we stop again and I notice it really looks low.
Sorry, it doesn’t look low. It is low.
M: “Shit, we have a flat! I’ll try re-inflating it and see if we can make it to Bahia Kino.”
We motor on to Hermosillo and follow a “by-pass” we learn from in the Mike and Terri Church “guide to Mexican camping” (great book, by the way). This by-pass takes us over some small hills on a rather twisty, narrow road. Passing a truck, I can actually feel the rear end of No4 swaying left to right…
That tire must be getting very low…
I stop for fuel and air at the first Pemex in Hermosillo (as they advertise having diesel on a huge sign) but find it odd to see all kinds of spider webs and heavy dust, almost sand, on the pump nozzle. As I’m thinking to myself I do not want any of that shit in my fuel tank, the attendant comes up to me and announces:
Pemex guy: “Lo siento, no diesel ahora”
Of course not.
M: “Tienne aire?”
P.G.: “Si, si aire!”
But the puncture seems to be getting bigger and the tube just doesn’t hold air anymore. I have no other choice but to put on the spare tire. The attendant, wasting no time, gets busy removing the wheel while I work with the jack.
Just minutes and a small tip later, we are back on the road. Still low on fuel…
As I’m shifting in fourth gear, I hear the siren of the cop behind me.
We are being pulled over.
The super friendly police officer shakes our hand (in my case, he has to lean deep inside the truck to do so…) and welcomes us to Hermosillo. In the same sentence, he asks for my papers and continues saying we were speeding and that he will have to take us to the police station where we will be fined $100 US.
Both of us together: “No no no, there’s no way!”
Officer in semi-English: “Si senor! I got you on radar.”
M: “How fast was I going?”
Officer, hesitating: “Uhmmmm more or less 70.”
Both of us in unison: “It’s impossible! This car is slooooow. We can’t have been doing 70, no way!”
I fake getting out of the car: “Show me the radar! I want to see what it says!”
Officer: “No, no stay in the car, we are going to the station.”
M: “I’m not going anywhere until I see your radar! There was another car passing us (which is true!), you must have caught him on your radar!”
Officer, now in full Spanish: “OK, OK, I’ll give you a break for this time but slow down!”
With this, he jumps back in his pick-up truck and disappears.
I think we just avoided our first bribe.
Guess he didn’t notice neither of us had our seatbelt on…
The next Pemex has diesel but it takes 20 minutes before they can finally figure out how to run our credit card. At least it worked.
All of this happened and we’re not done with our first full day on mainland Mexico yet.
Did I mention the Adventure had begun?
100 kms later, we are in Bahia Kino were we find a nice little campground on the beach. Islandia it is called. Martha, the manager and most all who camp there (mostly Gringos) are wonderful people. Philippe, a French born US ex-pat now living semi-full time in Mexico, invites to join the group and have a drink on the beach. We are pretty much instantly integrated to the family.
As for Philippe, he keeps treating us to some home made breads, baguettes and more. Good bread is hard to come by in Mexico but home made bread is a rarity. Much enjoyed.
We like it here so much, our planned one night stop soon turns into a 5 day, 4 night stay…
I eventually have to convince myself to take the time to fix the flat I had on the way here… It just can’t be all fun, all the time…
Here, with the usual help of Minnie, I use the highlift jack to break the bead.
Turns out I had incorrectly installed the new tube I put in before we left Arizona. I had left the tube protector semi-folded and, by rubbing against the tube, it eventually punctured through it. My fault.
No worries as I will be rewarded for my efforts with home made pâtés and bread and a divine fish soup that Michelle and Philippe kindly invited us to share.
Early next morning, we say goodbye to our all our new found friends and soon find ourselves on the road again.
To be continued…