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d.burbach 12-06-2012 08:00 AM

The 50-Mile Dead End Road...

You can never fully trust the GPS. In this case it was a blessing. Had I known I was embarking down a 50-mile dead end road I never would have had the following experience.

The year was 2009 and I was traveling south in the Yucatan of Mexico heading for Belize. My GPS showed a scenic route hugging the coastline. It was a little out of the way, but I had time and was okay with taking an extra day to get to the border. I casually cruised down the dirt road passing little vacation homes that were becoming further and further apart until I reached the last town before the bridge that connected the peninsula to the mainland. The funny thing was, I didnít see any sign of the bridge.

It was dinnertime, so I figured Iíd just find a place to eat and see what a hotel would cost in the town. Iíd cross in the morning as it was starting to get dark. Only one restaurant was open right next to a hotel, and I got some wonderful shrimp tacos. I asked the waiter where the bridge was and he said there was none. I would have to back track 50 miles to where the road split earlier. Next I asked about a hotel. It was $40, which was well above my meager budget. The server was cool though, and when I asked him if I could just sleep there on the sandy ground outside of the restaurant by the beach he said yes. He warned me that sometimes the Mexican government patrolled the beach at night so I didnít need to be alarmed. They wouldnít bother me. More prying revealed that this dead end peninsula was a main highway for Columbians to bring drugs into Mexico at night. This just excited me and I pulled out my sleeping bag and pad to sleep out under the stars. I was so thankful for the friendly people of Mexico. Nowhere in America could I have just slept on the beach like that. Sure enough, I was awoken during the night by the sound of a truck. I stayed as still as possible and held my breath as a Jeep with armed guards in its bed slowly crept past me on the sand.

Morning came and I drove my Husky down to the marina and walked straight to the docks. I found a man fiddling with his boat. It looked to be around 20 feet long, 5-6 feet wide with a 20 hp outboard. This will do I thought to myself. I explained that I had a motorcycle and would like to get to the other side. I told him that my GPS had showed a road back to the mainland, which was part of my highlighted route. What my GPS had not let me know about was the Ĺ mile of water in the way. We struck up a deal for only five dollars. It was pretty easy to roll the bike off the dock and into the boat after I took off all of the luggage. Getting the bike off the boat on the other side was more of a challenge as there was no dock, but we did it nonetheless and once again I was thankful for my motorcycle choice of a light, off-road thumper. I was also glad that my GPS had given me that route. It was much more fun than hitting the highway and a roadside hotel.

By Luke Swab, originally posted on

This is a series Luke is doing on RoadRUNNER's blog where he posts a photo and the story behind it, thought you guys might be interested!

roostar 12-06-2012 08:58 PM

Awesome story.

Aj Mick 12-06-2012 09:19 PM

I have never used GPS in my life (on land; handy to find mark and find fishing spots at seas though). I have managed without it in nigh on 50 years on two wheels, and will probably get by without it for the 20 or 30 I have left.

Good to see that you can get just as lost with GPS as without. Some of those journeys down unknown roads and tracks have turned out to be quite interesting.

Thanks for the story.

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