In the hot late evening I start to approach Guaymas, before arrived in the town center the road from south go through the bridge of small gulf. Alongside the bridge are small roofed stalks selling raw see food. I stopped on one of the stalk with aim of getting something to eat but seen lively creature cooked only by lemon I decide that my persisting hungry can wait for tacos or something normal.
My character of not thinking of what I miss it always surprise me, this was quite oblivious when I first see Howard, it felt like someone who having in the battle and luck made it alive. Though I couldn’t shake tears of joy but my heart bust with internal happiness, latter thinking of this situation I realize even after all the time I spent away I have never being able to construct ultimate solitude.
Howard brought aluminum road bike and the time I meet him he was already loaded with rear panniers. We cycle 20km out of the town to Sun Carlos where we found good camping ground near the ocean though we’ll not have time to enjoy the water as we had much to talk, seating up tents, find food and get ready for next day. Though it was already long stretch without rest day having a companion I felt energize. Just as luck the cycling days were relatively less challenge, we had lots of tail winds, not as hot as I expected or as it was in previous section and we had these offers of dinner, lunch and 4 stars accommodation come from middle of nowhere. First day took as all the way to Harmosllo 30km, this was more that we anticipate. In the evening when we were doing fun ride just searching for camping sport before the city I got text from the driver I had lunch with in the road side 2 weeks ago. He was in Harmosillo and he want to meet for drink, I told him I don’t think I’ll make it to the city as I want to camp out of the crowded area, he call after few minutes with the news that there is a reach man in town who admire cyclist he is happy to offer us, dinner in his restaurant and accommodation in the nice motel. We ride in the city caught in the big storm with strong head wind; we were given pretty much formal receiving with the manager of large filling station. The manager happy to prove to his efficiency and English to his colleagues, he suffer us around and handle us to the restaurant manager. The fancy restaurant at least for touring cyclist rank, we were provided those long list menu, I don’t real prefer these menu cause always I’m hungry, lease to read, not very cleaver to make choices probably due to where I come from. So I make the waiter talk and narrow down the list, here Howard help me, while Howard had one pleat I had to pleat of chicken cooked together with half cooked tomatoes, onions, cheese, etc, etc. After dinner my friend was waiting outside, he invite us to the next door where there is lively bar with laud Mexican music, the beers were too big especial after dinner and soft drinks. Outside there is pick up waiting for us and it is already 10pm so we excuse ourselves unable to finish the beers, what a west!!! Load our bike in the buck just to find out we were to be driven to the next block in this superb motel. Had shower after 5 days, sleep in comfortable bed, I slept like a log not event turn to other side till Howard awake me and say it time to go, I could probably sleep for another 12hours.
We show up in the filling station in the morning to express our gratitude but there is no one in particular to receive them, the manager is already off duty, I called him but because of his behave of refusing to speak Spanish I couldn’t understand everything he said, I understand that he is living alongside the way to Nogales. We had out breakfast of tacos and nest café just few km before we meet the manager who was waiting us to breakfast in his house. We change the offer to 4 large sandwiches each to take with us. While we were waiting for sandwich we had long chart with Francisco the manager, now he is informal. He is quite a character, he has 12 children, and we were luck to meet 6 of them who are still you. I was worrying that he wanted to offer me one as he insists we should exchange emails, same incidence happen in Sudan 2009.
Sun caught us before we made much of the distance, leaving the city was gentle climb almost invisible but you will definitely feel it. With sandwich which were already half cooked with the sun means no cooking in the afternoon so we had long nap while the sun was on it middy day peak, we resume pedaling at 4pm enjoying the cool weather before dark we found a nice camping sport of open woodland/shrub with Saguaro, the giant cactus which make picturesque scenery of Arizona/Sonora desert. Howard lectures me about his native ecology as we seat around camp fire under full moon night which swallow the stars.
Now Mexico coming to the end, English can be heard here and there but pronouncing name Howard still is a challenge. Also security is increasing plenty of military vehicle pass by full equipped which give impression of Darfur if not Afghan, it had for me to believe all this is just for drugs. The fun thing is how this military check point appear to be passive to me unlikely Brazil and Colombia where I given was intensively search here in Mexico often the military guys end up having conversation with me some asked to be photographed with me. In Magdalena village the last night in Mexico before end up camping in someone’s back yard another military vehicle passed us with two civilian vehicle full of well parked drugs which I couldn’t tell if were marijuana or cocaine.
Nogales peach bit high the last day cycling in Mexico start with good climb, 12am we were entering the boarded town of Nogales. We had branch of Mexican food as fare well, Howard get tequila bottles for gift back home.
1 000km boarder wall…what a joke!
Leaving Nogales dawn town we pedal along the metal wall which make the physical boarder between Mexico and United States. This is my first experience in my entire travel I have never seen anything like that, for my first observation the wall didn’t appear to be anything to keep anyone who want to cross to the other side, it relatively short for someone to put ladder and jump to the other side. To be honest I don’t see it stopping anyone who is adaptable as Latinas American from crossing it to other side. Later I will confirm my suspicious to a news paper remark which claim the malt billion dollar wall from Texas to California is to stop American teenagers and junks from going to Mexico for having good time, ‘No more tequila sexo marijuana!’
I had heard lot of stories regarding entering US the harassment, searching and threats. As I queue to the relatively busy boarder cross, majority being Mexican and US citizen coming back from Mexico I was in the passive moment; expecting northing much neither less, not sure if I was threaten by procedures and what looks like super professionals and equipped workers. In this very queue is where I start to grasp my first American experience of openness and not having even small mercy. A coupe come in and jump the queue and stand in front of me after a while the giant gentle man who was before me and who remark that bike isn’t a transport in Arizona for the time being refereeing the deadly hot weather, he turn to the couple and give it to them quite plainly ‘Don’t you see that there is a person before you?’ The couple were real embraced so to save the situation I told them it not a problem they can stay but the giant gentleman back the fire to me with his typical accent, I didn’t had more confidence of prolong the argument as the crowed stair at me.
I thought the queue was for exit Mexico then enter US but that was proven wrong as the first guard I pass spoke to me in English with accent which I think I have heard it from the movies, from the cycling jersey he could tell that Chile to Kili means cycling from Chile and ask if Kili was Kilimanjaro, he is the first person to have a proper guess. Next guard/immigration worker with different accent he was quite straight forward but the question luck strong emphasize ‘What is your purpose of visiting US?’ ‘Tourism, cycling, I have a project of cycling around the world’. I was worry that my answers were random just as the question apparently that make the end of official interrogation and what follow was more than friend talk. The other one who was to search for food product and what not he end up talking barely pay much attention to the searching. I’m start to be surprised with this way of communication, this folks they will dominate conversation say what they want or feel pay less attention to you as they are hiding something and just like that they may end up the conversation this kept on happen occasional.
Nogales US was total different atmosphere from the other side though Spanish is still spoken and Mexican origin can be seen, the place is less crowed, everyone seem to mind his business guess even if they don’t have one. First complication come to which road to cycle in , first person took about 5 minutes to describe direction and which road to take though it turn to be wrong but due to his explanation you are likely to doughty his knowledge. Unlikely other country where people are un aware of law which make it seem like they were made for books here everyone will tell you what is illegal and what not which narrow everything to the bottom. After cycling, pushing, crossing we finally find the proper road, what a welcome!
American culture and traditions…
As to confirm that I was in US though my brain haven’t change is when we stop for a drink, for what I was told is relatively small gas station shop there were 6 different kind of coffee, 7 fridge of soft drinks, saying that I wasn’t sandwich isn’t enough there would be about 5 question goes together to make sure that you will get your sandwich. While for me I’m straggling to adopt this kind of culture, it seems like folks here like this way of living. I would stand beside my hosts and listen to long list of what yes and what no just to have simple food.
Size it another American fun show for instance coffee mage medium and large has slight different, the rest of measurement are all large unlikely most part of the world the distance here isn’t measured by kilometer it is milers which on the bike make me loose the enthusiasm. Litter turn to gallon, kilogram turn to pound, in began I thought it only that but now I realize most of the vehicles and houses are quite large to the comparison of who use them.
If Argentina pets were 5cm close to the human here it is 2cm; restriction to what you can do to one’s pets it maximum, the behave of the pets are almost of spoiled child, some dogs carry their own backpack not sure what they carry in but also where they go for a walk or hike? Arizona being my first state this seem it just only begin.
Sub goal…$30 000 till the end of first leg
Now in Tucson enjoy the home stay, review the progress of project, it seem like the end of the first leg will have lot of effect on the continuation. In that regard I lunch sub goal of raising $30 000 begin here in Arizona till the end of summer which will be the end of the first leg as I’m heading up north. This will give chance to 3 students to start their studies which will be my great satisfaction as un achieve of the main goal. This is also the great motive and pushing power behind cycling 150km under devil hot day. The first week goes with good began for the presentation at REI in Tucson, 3 more to come before resuming the cycling toward west with first stop at Phoenix then San Diego before carry on to Los Angles. US make a good target for my fund raise lots of friends suggest to fly to Eat coast for few events this also will be another reason for visa issues. But with narrow budget I’m searching for the support to get me across the country and bring me back to my cycling route. The failure to achieve the sub goal might mean the postpone of the project which is the hardest pill to swallow.