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Is Mexico Dangerous? Travel by Motorcycle

Copyright 2010 Gerald (Gary) Smith

Please let me state, the beginning of this article isn’t meant to be a political commentary it is simply to provide background to my experiences and understanding within Mexico and throughout Latin America.  The remaining section covers a recent trip I took thru Mexico's Golden Triangle and it's outcome.  I hope it is of some help to you. 

The headline “Mexico is a Dangerous Place” seems to be the implied message heard everyday from broadcast and print media groups including the motorcycle adventure books we love to read.  Sadly we are all attracted to danger.  Every best seller and block buster movie has to have an antagonist.

You might be thinking, who is Gary Smith to be writing such an article?  Well I have crossed borders hundreds of times over the years including Eastern & Western Europe, Asia, Africa and most of Latin America.  Traveling for our entire life my wife and I have over 50 countries under our belts operating one form of vehicle or other including backpacking.  We've seen about almost everything that can can cause trouble for travelers.  Besides motorcycle adventure riding and motocross I've hitchhiked across half of the U.S. sleeping under overpasses and in flophouses.  I've been held up 3 times twice with a knife in my throat and being shot at.  I've led long term contract negotiations   Many of my closest friends work for a NGOs.  They are ex-military officers who have spent their entire life surviving around the world.  One is currently working in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria at this time.  Another is overseeing flight operations within Latin America.  A depth of knowledge is at my disposal.  As a side note; I was once fortunate to gain survival knowledge from John Testrake the pilot of the TWA airplane hijacked in Lebanon so many years ago while camping with him.

When I read a post on the internet or in a book it is with a wary eye.  I cannot begin to count the number of times a airline passenger has recounted their near death experiences to me.  I noticed they were still alive.  Travelers in foreign lands always have a story to tell about how they escaped some near disaster.  Once I heard friends of mine who were visiting me in Mexico tell a family member on the phone how close they had come to death riding in a local taxi.  "Oh you should have been there, the driver was driving 60 mph through the streets and running over curbs.  We're lucky to be alive".   Well I was right there and the cab never went over 20 mph.  I'm not kidding.  My wife and I just looked at each other.  Embellishing makes for a great story and a great story is what we all want to hear.  There is nothing so wonderful as to be scared while sitting around the camp fire when someone tells a ghost story.

Yeah I have to admit I get a little ego boost when someone asks about my travels.  Some appear to be near shock but the fact is people just like me and you are doing it all over the world.  Those of us that do it are no more special than anyone else.  Some riders have related their near disaster experiences to me stressing their point with dire results should others follow in their footsteps.  Most of the time I can see the attitude or lack of cultural understanding that brought their problem on.

Even governments apply similar scare tactics.  Let’s say you want to be a politician.  If you want to win the seat you desire you have to tell the voters you’ll be saving them from something factual or not.  The best way to win is to pick upon demographics of the population that do something most do not.  In other words; If only the minority is affected by some new law prohibiting or restricting an action the majority is likely to vote for that politician. 

I hope the day never comes when some representative decides they can win by prohibiting motorcycles.

We’ve all heard of the murders in Mexico.  Though statistics aren’t available for 2009 in 2008, 8 people per 100,000 were murdered in Mexico's Capital, Ciudad Mexico. In comparison the 2009 information indicates that the Washington D.C. area murder rate was 23.8 per 100,000.  Isn't it funny that the same politicians & media personalities who warn of the dangers in Mexico are the same who are clamoring to get to D.C.?

It's my belief that under our current economic situation governments will do what they can to keep the currency within there own borders.  Point; when the flu virus of past years presented itself, Mexico was placed on the do not go list by the U.S. President.  When all was said and done the U.S. ended up with the greatest number of victims leaving Mexicans to shake their heads as to why the U.S. would seek to harm what little economy their neighbor has especially the tourist industry.  Restaurant and hotel workers were left holding the bag.  A White House executive was recently reported to have stated that it would be ashamed to waste a good disaster or something to the affect.  There is an actual name for this line of thinking coined by the world famous economist Milton Friedman...It's called "Economic Shock Therapy" or "The Shock Doctrine".

Without a flu virus the next best thing was the always dangerous border.  All borders are dangerous.  For nearly a year the U.S. government and media simply stated the murder rate of Mexico in general terms further destroying the livelihood of Mexicans who live away from the border.  Finally this year the government and media settled down and reported the facts of the surrounding border region.

Let’s face it, there are places in your own next of the woods you tend to avoid?  Danger is found simply where one chooses to journey in a given area.  You make the decision.  If you desire a following or want to write a book, head for the nether regions.  We’ll read about it and you’ll be popular and make some money.  Let me preface this by letting you know that since I've retired I've been producing motorcycle adventure films.  One viewer wrote me that I didn't include the problems I had.  Well I really didn't have any so to speak.  I thought it important to portray the events as they actually happened and not make things up for the sake of sales.  It is simply I and the road that are the protagonist/antagonist.  Consequently you won’t find my movies in theatres or video stores.  There is no violence and bloodshed.

I can affirm "borders are dangerous places".  Why?  Because when jobs are scarce the border is where people congregate who endeavor to find opportunities believed found in neighboring countries.  Those with courage do so.  It is seen throughout the world.  If this statement leads someone to think I'm a bleeding heart liberal they should think again.

As a side note; Have you ever wondered why so many young Mexican men try to sneak across the border?  Well I've been told that in Mexico if a young man does not go into the military it is nearly impossible to get a Mexican passport.  Hence no foreign VISA.

Let’s say that you are one of those individuals and have gotten to the border.  When you finally arrive you find the borders are packed with others desiring a better life.  You’re hungry and need shelter.  Jobs are non-existing.  It is a rare person under such extreme circumstances who will not eventually grab for anything even if illegal just to stay alive.  Try going without food or shelter for 24 hours and see how you feel.  Think about doing it for a week or more.  Enough said.

So here is the deal.  If you’re an adventure traveler you’ll need to cross the border during early morning hours.  It can take a while to get all of the paperwork done so don’t dally around, then put as many miles between you and border as reasonable to find evening shelter while it is still day light.  Don’t drive at night. Just the other evening I went to the store on a road I travel all of the time in Mazatlan.  If it wouldn’t have been for Marilyn seeing the 3 foot mound of dirt/concrete and new ditch crossing the middle of the road I would have hit it.  There were no construction signs though I'm sure laws require them.

So…You’ve made it past the border, now what?  Remember, you are a guest in this large house called a country.  Act like one and join the 99% of the world’s population that are interested in meeting new faces and enjoying a laugh.

When I speak to adventure riders many are concerned about the official roadblocks, sometimes found every 50 km in Latin American countries or being stopped by the police.  Well that’s just the way it is.  I’ve got nothing to hide and it shows when I traverse these areas.  Due to the lack of adequate wages I strive to brighten these officials day by simply offering a stick of gum or cigarette before finding out what they are concerned about. 

By the way there have been some recent carjacking at night due to false road blocks.  Just don't drive the highways at night.  Also leave the jewelry at home.  No expensive watches, rings etc.  Dress down, don't flaunt wealth.  When my ride gets dirty (and I hope it does) it stays dirty including my gear.  I don't want it shinny.  If you are driving a fancy SUV, you are especially looking for trouble south of the border.

Once on the island of Puerto Rico I met a man at a bus stop.  He was very helpful.  He said to me, "Robbers will take anything of value rings, necklaces & watches".  Then he looked at the old windup Timex I had on my wrist and stated, "Well...not your watch"!  I could have died laughing.  He was right of course.

By the way, traffic lights in Mexico aren't like those in the U.S.  In Mexico the green light starts to flash when it is time to stop then it goes yellow for a second before it is red.  On a recent ride in Mexico I hadn't been in country 3 minutes before I went through a yellow light.  I had forgotten the flashing green warning.  I didn't get very far.  There was a policeman at the adjacent intersection.

Once on Baja California in the town of La Constitution a police officer on a 4 wheeler with little blue lights pulled me over.  He stated I had driven through 3 stop signs and where each occurrence had taken place.  Apparently a white line across the road means "stop".  As I rolled it over in my mind I realized that meant I had actually gone through 7 stop signs.  Asking him what the fine was he told me 200 pesos (approx. $18.00).  It always starts with a higher number.  I told him I only had 100 pesos ($9.00) and asked it that would do.  After a little hemming and hawing he agreed and without hesitation I told him, I’ll take it!  It’s sort of like the game show “Let’s Make a Deal”. 

I've been stopped 3 times since I began extensive touring within Latin America beginning in 2006.  In each case I was told I could go to the police station and pay the fine.  Only once was I charged wrongfully, it was for speeding.

There are two methods of handling traffic tickets in Mexico.  One is legal the other not.  Laws withstanding against the practice of paying the fine to the officer on the side of the road, it seems to be part of everyday life for many residents & non-residents within Mexico.   

I wanted to present the pros & cons of this issue so readers might have a greater knowledge, they follow;

To gain a better understanding I have asked Mexican nationals of all walks of life what they do.  Most told me straight out they paid the officer.  Only a few told me not to do it.  When I pressed a little more diligently, even they confessed to doing it.  To date my private pole indicates all agreed it is wrong but that it just seems more practical to them.  100% have paid the officer on the side of the road.  Apparently no one wants to spend time going to the police station.  A Mexican friend of mine once told me with a smile, "In Mexico laws are just suggestions".

The issue is complex and for some more than what is right or wrong according to their own culture.  Throughout the so called developing economies of the world the application of some form of bribe happens daily within all classes of people.  I've watched it take place.  In developed countries it generally happens at higher levels especially big business, politicians, lobbyist etc.  In many cases it seems to be what one is accustom to that determines right and wrong.    

I’ve been taken to task by adventure riders from developed countries for paying the officer directly and rightfully so.  To paraphrase one responder who lives in Mexico, “Corruption doesn't just end with the bribing of a police officer. It continues and continues. It is a chain of events. A lot of people simply think the officer pockets the money they don't see the political machine behind it. Cops are appointed politically, same for DA's, same for any position of public servitude in Mexico. It is all through nepotism, corruption, etc...Anybody can bribe a cop, but too few have the knowledge how to not pay…To stand up for their principles. Simply say no, you don't offer a single centavo and hold your ground. They'll either capitulate or take you in. It's not called a "Mexican Standoff" for nothing. Sure they will try to bully and BS you with all kinds of shenanigans, but if you remain firm they will capitulate and let you go with a "warning" which you will "respectfully" acknowledge because you depart allowing them to have saved face…the single most important feature in the a macho patriarchal culture in Mexico. You shake their hand and you can wash it later without embarrassing them.  That is how the dance goes.”

The legal and correct method of course, is to go to the police station and pay it.  In the past a policeman would take your drivers license and or tag until the fine was paid.  That is now illegal, but if he does you may have to wait until the end of their shift to retrieve it.  Do what you feel is right considering the circumstances.

It is important to know the going rate for traffic violations depending upon where the fine is paid.  I’ve experienced, read and heard that it can be as much as $100 USD for a speeding ticket when paid at the police station.  On the road the same infraction is $4.00-$9.00.  The officer will start with a higher amount such as 300 pesos ($27.00 USD) but will eventually take a lesser amount. 

If you choose to pay the officer directly ask him if he would be willing to pay the fine for you.  Do it before he writes out the ticket.

Almost every guide book states that it is inappropriate to cause someone to lose face.  I especially like to add police officers with a weapon to that list.  One has to realize who has the power in a given situation.  This knowledge comes from experience.  After refusing to pay the cop $35.00 USD on the side of the road in Illinois I was then charged with "Assaulting a Police Officer" even though my hands were kept behind my back the entire time.  I spent twenty four hours in a Chicago jail until I could post bail, three months of worry and $1000 USD in attorney fees to gain an understanding of this principle.

Mexico governs using Napoleonic Law (guilty until proven innocent). It's my suggestion that motorcyclists not become antagonistic or take it as a personal shack-down against gringos if they are cited.  Just because one may be riding an expensive HD or GS is not a reason to think they may be targeted due to the moto's price tag (though it could be a possible).  When I'm in Mexico I see nationals everyday touring on these and others motos all subject to the same rules of the road.  Who can tell the difference between a national or a gringo with a helmet on?  As a side note; every April, Mazatlan, Mexico is home to the largest moto rally in Latin America (Semana International de la Moto).  Gringos aren't the only ones touring. 

Generally speaking “Mexico is a Dangerous Place” is a misnomer for tourists unless they are seeking to purchase drugs or sell weapons.  I avoid drug dealers and police vehicles.  They are the ones at war.  Many a policeman has been murdered sitting in their vehicle.  I don’t want to be caught in the cross fire. 

One has to wonder about all of the money being spent to build infrastructure and new hotels in Mexico.  Is it a similar situation to when cocaine developed Miami’s infrastructure during the 1970’s?

Since 1998 I've been traveling on Russian built motorcycle manufactured by Imitz Motorworks.  They have been producing them since 1939.  It's called a Ural and the model is a 2005 Troyka.  Just like the World War 2 German BMW motorcycles it is shaft driven and has a sidecar.  The sidecar has been specifically adapted to my filming endeavors.  One of the most important things I changed is the addition of a drivable sidecar wheel.  There is a shaft that goes from the final drive to the sidecars wheel.  Other Urals are meant for off road riding and have this option but mine was produced for highway driving.  The frame is lower and has a different fork assembly.  I like the option of driving highway speeds without the sidecar attached.

I call the moto Burro because she is short and carries a big load.  Yes the motorcycle is a she.  Have you ever heard that country song about if you have a pickup truck and you want to have fun "put a girl in it"?  Well I like to have fun and Burro provides plenty of that when Marilyn is along.

I've just finished spending a good deal of time in Mexico conducting research for my recently release movie "Mexico Highways".  What follows is a actual experience I had.  I hope this dispels any concerns of harm you may have.


September; Mazatlan to Copper Canyon

I had purchased a recent road map from Mexico's nationalized gas consortium Pemex. To my amazement it showed a new road just north of Culiacán heading east to Hidalgo del Parral.  The previous year I had known there was no thru road but now there it was right before my eyes in a broad yellow colored band, snaking across the Sierra Madres.  This would give me the opportunity to approach the Copper Canyon, El Barranca del Cobre, from the south not the north as most do and I wanted to ride from the bottom of the canyon to the northern rim top.

I knew the journey would be traveling within the dangerous region of “Mexico’s Golden Triangle” where most of Mexico’s marijuana and heroin is grown.  This region is traced by drawing lines between the cities of Chihuahua, Durango and Culiacán. 

Figuring that a new road would be a quick and safe way to travel thus reducing the need to backtrack into the canyon bolstered my enthusiasm.  As Marilyn, my riding partner and wife, was spending time at home in Portland, Oregon I departed Mazatlan on my own.  The plan was to pick her up in Phoenix, Arizona before completing our circumnavigation of Mexico’s coast lines.

About 40 km north of Culiacán I turned east joining the new highway for Hidalgo del Parral.  An hour later I was dealing with heavy road construction as widening of a mountain pass was underway.  The tarmac turned into gravel then simply a single dirt road with enough width for a small vehicle.  What!  Me worry?  Not on your life because currently there were plenty of other vehicles climbing into the mountains, besides I had a new road map.  I was confident the tarmac would reappear once we all reached the other side of the mountain.  Sure enough it did…But not that day or the next.

One and a half hours later and seeing less and less vehicles upon the road I came to a village.  There was Y intersection and next to it stood a small restaurant operated out of a home.  As no road sign indicated the direction to take I asked the owner which way would take me to Hidalgo del Parral.  Looking back on the scene I seem to remember a look of puzzlement upon her face before she pronounced I should take the road to the left.

One half mile later the road that was had turned into nothing but a trail.  Stopping to consider my options a small pickup truck with passengers in the back bounced up beside me.  Again I asked for directions and everyone agreed I was headed the correct way.  I trust local knowledge but I have also learned that in many parts of the world people do not want to discourage you.  I have to say that in the time I have spent in Mexico I have learned that Mexicans are nothing if not optimistic.  This made me think of the map designers who produced my beautiful new road on their piece of paper.  Was this just being optimistic?  I was going to find out.

The pickup moved on and I followed.  When they stopped to purchase cold drinks from a house next to the trail I stopped as well reaffirming the direction.  There were plenty of smiles and the nodding up and down of heads.  Departing I was able to keep up with them by following the dust left in my face.  Eventually even that was gone and I suspected they had vanished onto one of the adjacent trails leading into the valleys to who knows where.

Nearing sundown I rolled into the village of Soyutita.  I found a group of men standing outside of a store (tienda) that was also a home.  I needed information, fuel, food and a place to set up camp for the evening.  Everyone was surprised to see me.  Though cautious they seemed glad to help this stranger who had arrived into their world.  I had to order the exact amount of fuel I needed from the 55 gallon barrel behind the tienda.  Once it was pumped it was mine.  I had to estimate my purchase (per liter) any over estimate was simply a bonus for the owners.  I purchased a can of sardines from the store as there were no restaurants in town.  When it came to directions they all insisted it was as far back to the paved highway in the direction I had come as it was if I traveled forward.

There was one more thing left to find, a place to sleep.  A young man agreed to take me to a place I could find shelter.  Before leaving another fellow looked at me and in what must have been dialogue from a movie he had seen, in English he stated, “Good luck buddy”!  They all smiled.  I’m sure I heard a little chuckling as well.

My local guide aboard we headed for what I hoped was a good camp site.  This required crossing a river about 60 yards wide.  The water was about 1 foot deep and required a 7 foot climb up the slippery bank on the other side.  The river was strewn with round river rock and larger boulders.

Burro has a shaft from the final drive unit to the sidecar wheel providing two wheeled positive traction.  Even with the sidecar’s wheel engaged at one point we were both in the water pushing Burro over some of the larger rocks to slippery to grip.  Keeping the engine revved up I hoped to avoid water ingestion.  Climbing the rivers bank Burro slung mud from behind.

We arrived at what must have been the local Mayors house.  Introductions behind us I was offered a bed on the front porch including linen.  Burro was parked in his garage (no roof) and I fell fast asleep.

When the roosters started crowing and the donkeys began to bray, I boiled a cup of coffee on a one burner Coleman camp stove I travel with.  The Coleman is great because I never have to search for fuel.  I simply drain some out of the moto’s fuel tank.  It can be a hassle looking for fuel if you have one of those butane or fancy camping stoves.  Since lead has been taken out of gasoline it’s not a problem besides my brain has already been damaged beyond anything the lead could do.

Before daybreak I saddled up Burro and with sunrise barely a hope we were back on the trail.

An hour into our day, next to the trail, laid two withered cows.  Sun bleached bones and skin were all that was left.   If this didn't mean I was in the hinter-land, I don't know what did.  Visions of crawling across a desert played within my mind.  However it looked like a good filming opportunity so I set up the camera.  Finishing the shoot a hombre on a 4 wheeler came out of the brush, stopping next to me to pee.  I guessed he was marking his territory.  Zipped up we greeted each other and immediately he offered beer and mota (marijuana).  Generally it’s impolite to turn down an offer of sustenance but there was no way I was going to get into this.  I explained I had epilepsy and could not partake.  He seemed to accept it but remained suspicious to my reply. 

The entire event makes me wonder what he had been attending to off in the bush.  Don’t forget, this is Mexico’s “Golden Triangle”.

Pointing his finger down the trail he insisted I should proceed and he would follow.  I don’t like having anyone behind me especially when I am walking down a street.  Here in the mountains of who knew where I wouldn’t accept it either.  I finally persuaded him to leave first, I would follow.  Well that lasted for about 5 minutes before he found away to get behind me.  I was forced to keep one eye on the mirror and one on the trail.  Not a good situation.

Eventually we both rolled into a small village.  We stopped at a tienda serving as the local grocery store and gasoline station.  Asking for a restaurant a local fellow told me he could take me where I could eat.  I followed, crossing streams and climbing steep trails with deep ruts carved into it due to the summer’s rain.  From this point on these crevices would dog my progress throughout following days.

As it turned out breakfast was located at his house.  Periodically his attention was interrupted as he gave orders over a two-way radio held by his side.  I suspected he was in charge of a large ranch or farm of some variety within area.

We milked his cow; he showed me his garden and introduced me to his family.  The wife made scrambled eggs with jalapeño peppers on the side and we drank the freshly available milk infused with chocolate.

After breakfast I tried to pay but was declined.  Waving good-bye I returned to my journey.

Forty minutes later I was crossing multiple streams and climbing the steep terrain.  While avoiding a boulder protruding the trail’s surface the front wheel of Burro feel into a deep rut immediately steering the moto into a ditch beside the trails wall.  Hitting a large exposed rock the crash bar and valve cover with its single bolt were sheared off of the frame and engine and severed the valve cover gasket.

Though Burro has an empty weight of 335 Kg (739 lbs) her traveling weight is normally around 700Kg (1543 lbs) which includes my camera gear and spare parts.  I knew there was no way to get out of that ditch unless I kept the engine running so I did.  This would also require engaging the sidecar’s drive wheel.  I worked like hell to get out. Oil was flying everywhere.  It worked and I parked at a wide area nearby. A complete inspection revealed the valve cover bolt was broken off even with the head’s casting leaving an enormous problem

Taking stock of the situation I smoked a cigarette and considered my options.  About 10 minutes later some locals walked by and told me there was a mechanic farther down the trail.  Thankfully I was on the downside of the current mountain's pass so I coasted right into the front yard of the first house I saw.  Five minutes later twenty people from this little pueblo had arrived to help and view the strange gringo and moto.

No tools were available to extract the broken stud; however one fellow knew his stuff.  He began by taking a piece of poster paper, folding it in half and laid it upon the valve cover’s sealing side.  With a small wrench in hand he began to tap upon the poster paper as it lay in place.  Little by little the paper began to split along the valve covers face.  Within fifteen minutes a new gasket had been formed. 

Another guy found some heat resistant silicon required to complete the new gasket’s seal.  Normally I carry gasket sealer but somehow I had left that part of my breakdown gear in Mazatlan.

One problem remained; how to attach the cover due to the broken stud?  There appeared no way to hold the valve cover in place.  Not to fear, another option was available and it was pure genius.  The gasket maker found some heavy wire.  Across the head and around the intake and exhaust manifolds he wrapped the wire.  Proceeding perpendicular he threaded the wire thru a hole between the head and engine casing bringing the opposite ends of the wire together outside of the valve cover twisting it tightly with a pair of pliers.  The addition of oil into the crankcase completed the project.  Now looking like something out of a Mad Max movie, it made me proud.  Would you believe it?  I drove it all the way to Phoenix, AZ like that.

Earlier I had stated that Mexicans are nothing if not “optimistic”.  Let’s add to that list “self-sufficient” as well.

As there are so many trails heading various directions through the mountains I was hoping to find a way to insure I was going in the proper direction.  Before departing one of the locals told me to follow the power poles.  Who needs signs when you have information like that?   It would work.

During the next hour I became stuck twice in the trail’s deep crevasses due to the frame bottoming out.  Fortunately I carry a small jack with me for situations like this.  A moto with 2 wheels might have been able to steer around the ruts, but the sidecar addition definitely required a greater width of area to avoid.

The second time I became stuck was due to a climb up the steepest grade I have ever encountered.  The height of this mountain was nearly 9000 feet.  It was like climbing out of a Florida rock pit that I'd done many times before in my youth.  But that was with a moto-cross bike.

Selecting first gear I began the process of navigating the multiple switchbacks.  Burro’s engine soon began to lug eventually stalling.  I realized that any attempt to summit would require a different approach.  I backed down to a relatively flattened area.  As I did so Burro’s drive wheel fell into a deep rut bottoming out the moto.  Even with the sidecar’s drive engaged there was no way out.

A shovel was now required.  I unloaded gear out of the trunk to retrieve the fold up military version I carry.  The ground was like concrete but I chipped away it until the footing was deep enough to get the jack under.

An hour later Burro was freed.  I loaded up and undertook a dangerous wild run with the throttle wide open.  Twenty-five yards later the engine stalled once more under the load.  Backing down for the second time I carefully avoided the ruts with success.

Third times the charm but this time it would not simply be throttle wide open but I would hold the clutch lever partially out, slipping it.

Burro and I were making progress this time.  Bucking and jumping around boulders protruding the trails surface, over large rocks and ruts the moto twisted back and forth coming precariously close to the adjacent cliff.  Halfway up the smell of the burning clutch plate filled my nostrils.  With no choice but to continue I did.  The front wheel leapt to the sky, twice the windscreen slammed into the bridge of my nose.  If I wanted to get to the top, stopping was not an option I had to continue.  Reverting to my long lost moto cross experiences were helpful but this time I was riding with a hack, quite a different proposition.

Finally reaching the summit I let Burro cool down as I rested.  Departing I found one more similar grade to conquer.  At its top while taking another break I notice important equipment was missing. In my haste to be underway I had strapped my bag with passport, title, computer passwords, birth certificate and all of my camping gear to the sidecars luggage rack.  Now, only the straps remained. There was no choice but to return the way I come.

I dared to attempt the descent of this second grade searching the trail and its cliff’s edge but I found nothing.  Staring down the original ascent I surrendered to good sense.  I would go no farther.  Due to exhaustion, walking was out of the question.  I would return to my journey and deal with the missing documents later.

Later that day a small store in some unnamed village sold me gas in soda bottles.  By nightfall I had reach a small town with a hotel.  Out contact with my wife for two days, my cell phone finally indicated bars and I placed a call.

It would be another day before I knew what was needed to cross back into the U.S. but Marilyn would solve the problem.  Explaining the situation to a supervisor at the Nogales, AZ border crossing she had secured my return home.  I would spend this night on the mountain’s trails and half of the next morning riding before arriving upon a paved road.

Now it was on to finish my Copper Canyon trip though I had my doubts it could compare to the danger this adventure had provided.  A danger I had created.  Is Mexico dangerous?  You can decide for yourself.  To me it is more of a travel adventure amongst wonderful people.

Current films include:  Mexico Highways, Central American, Colombia Ecuador, Peru Chile Argentina, Alaska Prudhoe Bay Highway, Alaska to Labrador Highway  & Newfoundland to Florida Highway.

 Movie Description "Mexico Highways" Movie Description "Central America" Movie Description "Colombia Ecuador" Movie Description "Peru Chile Argentina" Movie Description "Alaska Prudhoe Bay Highway" Movie Description "Alaska to Labrador Highway" Movie Description "Newfoundland to Florida Highway"


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