I got up a 5 am and Alex and I were on the road by 6:15. It kind of sucks having to get up that early on your birthday but I guess I will always remember where I was. We crossed into Mexico at Santa Teresa and it was very quiet. An ominous sign read no importing of drugs, food or weapons of any kind. We had to produce our vehicle import permits for the Border agent and one hundred feet down the road we were stopped again at a military checkpoint. They wanted to see our papers and made us open up our panniers. Since they were carrying the machine guns we obliged them. Right away, they spotted Alex’s giant crocodile Dundee knife in his top case. Good thing he speaks fluent Spanish because I watched him dance around the fact that the knife was most certainly a weapon. Alex assured the guy that the knife was because he was afraid of animals and needed it to feel safe. A string of continued lies seemed to satisfy the soldier and we quickly packed up and got back on the road to Chihuahua.
The roads were all toll roads and so they were in excellent shape with virtually no traffic. Mexicans cannot afford toll roads as a general rule. We made good time and went through a Police roadblock. Alex went through but I swear the guy motioned for me to stop. Must have been my paranoid tendencies. A bewildered look and “no hablo espanol” kept the policeman from asking any more questions and on I continued.
The weather was extremely cold when we left. I expected going south to be warm but our first hours riding was spent in sub 40 degree weather. When we stopped to get gas we talked about the weather and I remarked to Alex that I was ok because I was feeling the warmth of Kevlar 🙂
We made our way through Chihuahua and toward Creel which is a tourist town where the train through Copper Canyon stops. As we were going through one small town, I almost missed a stop sign that was hidden on the side of the street. I braked hard and semi-stopped before continuing on. Alex, however, did not see the stop sign at all and breezed right through. As luck would have it, a motorcycle cop was about to enter the intersection that Alex just ran through. I watched as the blue lights and siren came on behind us and I pulled over. The cop went right around me and straight after Alex. Apparently, I had done enough of a stop to be considered somewhat legal. I watched as the cop got off his bike and headed up to Alex. Oh boy… here we go! I wonder how much of a bribe this is going to take. Much to my surprise, the cop immediately extended his hand out to Alex and they shook firmly. It turns out that the motorcycle brotherhood is alive and well in Mexico even when breaking the law. Alex apologized profusely and told the policeman all about our trip before the guy let us go on our way. Talk about a lucky break.
We continued on to Creel and I got to watch and learn as Alex demonstrated the art of finding a room for the night. A couple of helpful locals were more than happy to assist us as well. After dismissing our first two attempts at a hotel, Alex secured a room in an alley off an alley off an alley off a dark hole in the wall. I was a little frightened but for 20 bucks for the two of us it had a private shower, free wifi, relatively clean sheets and electricity that flickered on… and off 🙂
Tomorrow we get up early and head into Copper Canyon. Our route is mostly off road and has some serious elevation changes but is supposed to have some spectacular views! I’m looking forward to it.