I read a bunch of RRs that say "don't ride in Mexico at night!"
Now, that makes total sense to me. There are cows and horses and holes in the road and, according to the American media and most of the guys at my work, lots of bad guys.
So on Friday a few of my silly friends and I left work slightly early and braved the drive south in the torrential southern California drizzle. Four of us headed south on different freeways at roughly 10 mph. Looking at the GPS on my phone, all routes south were red. We had agreed to meet at the border at 6pm. I think we were all finally there by 9. We packed up our little bit of luggage, a bit of extra gas, made sure my mountain bike lights were ready, and three of us rode across the border into the darkness, leaving the light rain behind on the California side.
I own a GPS and have it mounted on my bike, but I really only use it as a map. I have been too lazy to figure out how to use it properly and I seem to have a fairly good sense of direction. I have ridden the dirt roads across the border a few times before (in day light), so felt quite confident as I lead our small group into the dark hills and missed the first important left turn. I knew I had missed the turn but figured I could find another road heading in the right direction. Wrong! I couldn't see any landmarks and got a little lost.
What I did find though, was a group of soldiers with guns and flashlights who leaped out of the bushes for a quick "inspection". They were very cool and told us that we were gringos estupido. I said we were lost, and they asked why I didn't use my GPS. Funny guys. They were quite interested in the fact that my head light didn't work, and my borrowed bicycle lights impressed them a lot. Ten minutes after the first inspection, we flushed out a second group of soldiers. They asked us how many in our party. We said three, and the nice soldier pointed out that there were only two of us. We laughed and explained that we had to go back to look for our amigo.
We found Traveltoad a ways back fiddling with his bike in the dark.
He has an amazing light - a Baja Designs Squadron. It is an unbelievably good light. Only problem was TT's wiring! I thought that I was going to have to share my bicycle lights, but then we found the offending connection and fixed it with a bit of duct tape.
Once it was all back together we agreed to head back to the highway and give up on the whole ride-at-night-on-dirt-roads bit. Then I found the missing turn and we all raced off deeper into the mountains. I did invest a bit of energy in thinking about cows and fences. We had an awesome ride through the low clouds and the only thing I hit was a suicidal rabbit. Got to the place we were headed a little later than expected and settled down for a quick sleep.