"Watch out TJ!!!" I yelled into the intercom. "That man hole cover was open!!" Making our way south on MX 85, we carved our way through the Mexican border town of Nuevo Laredo. The roads were in pretty terrible shape, with potholes big enough to lose a small child in and now exposed manhole covers offering an express ride to the depths of the Mexican underworld. "Thanks man," TJ replied. "That would've been bad!" On our first day outside the US, we had a good dose of adventure and excitement.
The day started as it had for the past two days: rainy. San Antonio, which had had amazing weather just before our arrival had been overcome with torrential rain. That as well as other contributing factors had stalled our original departure into Mexico by a day. While we were upset by the delay, it did give us time to take care of a few chores like waterproofing our panniers (which look waterproof, but as we found out DEFINITELY are not) and charging our various tech gadgets. We couldn't delay any longer though and when the alarms went off at 5:45 am, we were quick to get underway.
The rain persisted nearly until we reached the border. Early on during the ride, Hans admitted to me that he has some electrical gremlins that I didn't know about. Apparently, when he goes through a rain storm, he likes to light up all of his turn signals in a twinkling, Christmas tree fashion. While I thought this was festive, considering the season, I resorted to hand signals and tried not to worry about what related issues might be in store in the future.
At the border we passed through relatively painlessly. Some guards with machine guns asked us where we were from and where we were going, glanced at our bikes, shrugged their shoulders and waved us through. Past all the checkpoints at the border, we now had to get our temporary vehicle import permits which would allow us to drive through the country. The signage was difficult to follow and at one point I would've turned the wrong way down a one way street without sharp correction from TJ. Regardless, we eventually arrived at the office for or temporary import permits. It took two painful hours to get our documents processed and in doing so, we learned a valuable lesson: you should never try to cross a border in Latin America at lunchtime.
Anxious to get back on two wheels, we hit the road. Once we escaped the road hazards of Nuevo Laredo, the countryside opened up. Beautiful Joshua trees sprung up off the desert floor and mountains grew in the distance. It was so good to be back in the desert again. I'd missed it so much and had forgotten how beautiful it was.
Just as the light was getting soft, we arrived at the climbers hangout of La Posada at El Potrero Chico. Being a rock climber myself, it made me really regret only having one night to spend in this beautiful valley. The rock formations look like castle battlements with only subtle weaknesses that I'd love to discover. If only I had my rock shoes...
The sun has long left Nuevo León now and all the stars have come out for the night. Full from my first true Mexican meal and fatigued from the road, it's time for me to say goodnight. Catch up with us tomorrow as we continue on The Way South!