I reach the Mexican border with trepidation. Do I have the right Covid papers? Do I need a recent PCR test? Will they find the guns and drugs?
In fact you just drive through. There is a place where you have to slow down and a machine takes a photo of your truck. Suddenly you find yourself in the insane traffic and loud music of Cuidad Juarez!
No one spoke to me, asked me for my passport, asked for my car insurance etc.
I drive south on the smallest roads I can find. Mexico is very big, the views are even more amazing than the U.S.
One thing I have noticed about small Mexican towns is that they have very, very, few road signs. You drive in but driving out is a different matter and you usually end up with the crows and vultures at the town dump. Having toured the town of Buenaventura a few times I see some road signs. Hooray, but actually boo because lurking behind a big cable and stuff are traffic lights.
I start to cross but a guy is also pulling out from the right and hoots. I stop and wave apologies. There is a rap on my window and there, magically, is a policeman.
He smiles, takes my driving license and invites me to the police station that is conveniently placed by the junction.
The office is full of other criminals who greet me with grins and “Buenos tardes.”
The policeman is very young, maybe 21. He is very polite. He pulls out his cell phone and thanks to Google Translate, which incidentally has completely changed the nature of travel, he shows me the screen. “You disobeyed Red Light signal. Fine 1500 pesos.”
One thing I have learned is never argue with police, custom officers and the like. They always win.
I give him the cash, there is no receipt. I leave. The criminals grin. The whole incident took 15 minutes.
At first I am colonially miffed – such corruption, disgraceful etc. Then I reflect on getting a ticket a ticket in most countries, maybe court appearance and eventual payment of fine, maybe 3 months of hassle. I am miffed no longer. I hope the young man buys his señorita a beautiful gift.
I drive south through wonderful mountains and plains.
I camp at the Cascada de Cusarare.
This is on the edge of the Copper Canyon where the Tamahumara people live. The women wear brilliant, coats of many colors.
I camp by the river. It is ideal; gentle river and friendly horses.
I then head for Batopilas, a tiny town at the bottom of a gorge that is apparently deeper than the Grand Canyon. The road down the sheer rock face of the canyon is truly scary.
One good thing about Covid is that there are no foreign tourists anywhere, except me.
The town is beautiful.
It is Sunday morning. The church bells ring, the mass is well attended and it sounds as if a woman is leading the rite. I am too shy to stare in.
Tomorrow, I attempt the mountain road to Urique, where I went a couple of years ago. https://thequietripple.com/2019/01/14/road-to-ruin/
The road, dirt, to Urique goes right over the mountain and everyone agrees that it is ‘muy peligroso’
Oh well, I suppose I have to do it. I am constantly reminded that due to my advanced age, that I will not have the chance again.