October 21, 2001 Douglas, AZ to Sahuaripa, Sonora, Mexico

Grab a cup of coffee as this will be a long post. Lots to comment on and talk about….

After a long break in our travel plans we finally were able to ride down into Mexico. We had a variety of emotions as we reached the border. Excitement, and some apprehension of heading into Mexico with all the news reports (even though we know that all travel in a foreign country requires focus on safety). Every time we tell people we are riding south through Mexico, they tell us how dangerous it is…. Has happened for months. Now we are riding in. I am calm, and know that we will take it one moment at a time. Sam is concerned about the possibility of being pulled over by the police and asked for bribes…. just strikes him as so very corrupt.

But we have had a great ride into Mexico. This will be a bit of a long post as I talk about the process of crossing the border, and our experiences. But we have had a great first day!

Mileage: 220 Miles

Weather: Sunny and warm started at 70 degrees and reached 95 degrees.

We chose to cross into Mexico in Douglas, AZ. It is a smaller border town and we had read and talked with others that said the less traveled borders seem to be better to cross over.

We were up early, like in any big travel experience. You are excited, brain racing about all the new information that you need, the language change ( Just a quick note on Spanish. I have been listening to some Spanish tapes, but will not be anywhere near fluent on entering Mexico. That is the one thing I wish I had done more studying. That said, I know that I can get all the basics, Gasolina, place to stay, Food, Cerveza, etc. We will use phase books, iphone dictionary, Smiles and do our best to engage in the Mexican culture and language)

We stopped at McD’s for a cup of coffee right before the border crossing. We met this local from Douglas and his wife, and child. You might note that he is “packing” and we had a long discussion about the border area for rancher and the fact that it is sort of like the “wild west” as far as protection goes. He comments that the Police would be more like Historians if he and his family had a safety emergency on their ranch 15 miles out of town. Really nice to meet them!

We were using up all our US change to buy breakfast and coffee.

Sam was making sure it was all sorted out correctly.

We were up early and planned to get to the border crossing at about 8AM. That way we could just take our time and get through the paperwork….

Here we go!

Sam leading the way through the border .

We reached the border gate, it opened and Sam made it through, but I was a bit slow and it came down just behind my Windscreen But since Sam did not get any photos…… It did not happen

We open a few bags for the customs guy, and then take our first right and into the Visa and Immigration parking lot. Then park our bikes and head in to get ourselves and our “motos” processed. Not sure Sam is really thrill about the process we are about to embark on….. (only 20 more to go)

We walk up to the building and are looking at the signs above the two different doors…. they looked the same to us, until later when it clearly says Entrada or Salida. immersion Spanish for us!

We have all our paperwork, Passports, Titles, Registrations, Insurance Documentation etc. Buen Dias, Senior!

Start at the Tourist Visa Counter. Really Nice Senior there to help us fill out the paperwork.

got to have the right identification

In line we talked with the some border agents, they had seen some Motorcycle riders heading to South America about a week before…. They showed us there card. Yup we have read there thread on ADV rider. They all wanted to know where we were riding to.

Finished with the initial paperwork, walk to second counter for copies. One US dollar Please. Now head to the Vehicle Import Counter… But read the sign first.

and no weapons allowed (been asked this many times….No not bringing anything but a smile and interest in seeing the best other countries have to share!!)

OK, now that I know to import my Motorcycle I need to put down a deposit of $400 for my bike (less for older models). Sam getting through the Vehicle immigration process. Cost $262 Pesos or about $20 US.

After Vehicle immigration paperwork is finished… back to the Tourist Visa counter, hand in some paperwork get a stamp….and Muchos Gracias!! We have cleared Customs!! Sam is happy!

Out to the bike with all the correct paperwork. Double checked that all the names, numbers etc were correct to avaoid problems on the exit of Mexico.

Sams got his …keeping it handy for future stops by the Federale’s or customs.

Heading out of town and riding south with Smiles on our faces. Finally riding through Mexico

About 15-20 miles out of town we had to stop at the Aduana (customs). They needed to check VIN and paperwork. Sam had to take his gear off to get to his VIN under his seat. Mine is right on the steering head, easy to see

The process was smooth. Customs officer was really nice. No english.

We experiences our first Topes (speed bumps. The metal ones were large smooth metal bumps. Note the nice space for the moto

These Topes are big and you have to go slow….

Rolled out on Hwy 17 heading south. These guys were clearing the roadside grasses with machete’s. at 90 + degrees

Wahooo..riding through our first day in Mexico. Some traffic, but was a good ride. Not much speed above 60 MPH

This was a mining town, as you can see by the town entry point. We were just getting rolling and did not stop.

Oh, it was on the sign….

We stopped for fuel in Mochtezuma. We paid $2.92 per gallon at the pump, but could only get 87 octaine (but of course not ethanol!!). We took a break, had a drink and Arturo came into the store after having seem my Oregon plate, and stopped to talk to us. Very nice guy. He and his wife had just had a vacation in Vancouver, BC. We asked about the roads, and hotels. We decided to stick to our rules Ride no more than 300 miles, Stop riding by 3PM, and no more than 3 adult beverages. My AAA map showed a road “hwy 12” going down to Sahuaripa. He told us not to ride at night and to enjoy a Cerveza after 2PM He also said it was a good road through the mountains (put Sam at ease as we were going to ride to Hermosillo, then Copper Canyon adding some miles). He also said there were decent hotels.

Out of Mochtezuma we road, not exactly sure where the road was. GPS was no help as it did not know there was a road there. The signage was terrible, but we had our maps and stoped to talk to a roadside crew, they confirmed that Sahuaripa was down this road about 80 Km’s. But the road was marked SON 117.

I am still breaking in the new engine and varying my speeds and revs carefully to break it in correctly. Sam was the Yoyo….

As I said, the GPS just did not know what to do…..

As we road up through the mountains we had the roads to ourselves and were really enjoying it even in the 95 degree temps. We stopped and Sam had to play “Road Kill”. We did not see too many cars on this road but it was a fun ride What you miss in our pictures is the smell of the actual “road Kill” or the dead animals along the side of the road…wheww.

Nice Geology, Blue skies and nice white clouds. Great place to ride!!

Across a big bridge and we knew were close to town.

we wandered through town, talked with a few locals who like the “super cool bikes” and pointed us to some Hotels. This was nicest of all of them. So first night, lets try this. It is $450 Pesos or about $36.00 for room with two beds, internet, Air conditioning, parking right outside the room next to the restaurante. The front desk gal did not speak english, but I was able to get a room, tell her it was our first night in Mexico. All is well. Smiles all around!!

And food right nearby!!

Parked our bikes… in the courtyard… Not the local kids checking out the bikes ….

The Pemex is just next door. Mexican National Gas stations.

The street the hotel is on….

We walked a couple blocks to the Hardware store, but they did not have a one into three wall plug that I needed. Sam engaged with some locals and took pictures, but they were just having fun with him.

Different architecture….

New facade …covering up old window. Just like this.

Just thought I would throw in a couple room pictures. Especially the tile shower, as I Ride the World the contrast in the bathrooms should be fun to share.

Kids still enjoying the bikes. tried to have some dialog but did not go too far.

As we were wandering back the street to the hotel, I noticed a dog sniffing around the hotel. And it stuck me that he had the biggest Balls I had ever seem on a dog. Might not be interesting to anyone else… but wow.

After we had relaxed, walked a bit around the local streets, it was time for dinner!

Sam brings his laptop with Google translate so we can figure out the menu, ask the how to pronounce the town name and the food.

Cheers we are on our way again!!

Settled on Cerviza’s $20 peso’s or about $1.50 US

I had the grilled Beef and refried beans and salad, and Sam had the chicken grilled with Fries and Salsa.

Dinner and drinks was about $9.50 each. Dinner and our 3 beer limit

just a final note to this very long post. We have been working on our budget and figure $40 a day will do it. today breaks down to $ exactly $40 each for Room, Gas, food and beverage. Not including the $20 visa fee. We are starting off very well!

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3 Responses to October 21, 2001 Douglas, AZ to Sahuaripa, Sonora, Mexico

  1. John White says:

    Good Morning Mark and Sam

    Have enjoyed reading the Begining of your adventure.
    I am very envious.
    What kind of bike is Sam riding.
    I’ll send the pictures of the coffee gang today.
    It’s looking I’ll be able to get away about the middle of Nov to pick up the 1300 and go fora ride withKirk.

    As far as your log, I love the details a lot, that makes it very personal and interesting.

    Have great ride today
    John

  2. Jan says:

    hey Mark, loved this “long post”.what an adventure you are on. I’m proud of you and will be following – The bathroom shots ought to be an education; apparently we’ll get an education on animal anatomy too, what a deal! And all this for just staying tuned. see ya tomorrow!! be safe, you are in my prayers

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