I woke up early hoping to get into Mexico quickly enough to make some good distance south of the border. It was a beautiful, clear yellow sunrise as I broke down camp and packed up. Hopefully this will be my last sunrise in the USA for quite a while (I was wrong about that by a long shot). Since I was out in the middle of nowhere, I downed a double-shot canned coffee drink (I have a stash for just such occasions; they are made by an evil corporation [which I continue to support even though I should know better] which will remain unnamed) and was on my way.
First thing in the morning.
The dirt road I so carefully negotiated the night before was a different beast in the morning. To call it a beast at all would be a grave exaggeration. It was a nice groomed dirt road that I was able to cruise down on the way back out to the paved road. The “National Forest” here is beautiful in its own way, but I definitely prefer to have some trees in my forest. I'm not unfamiliar with deserts, and all ecosystems have their merits I guess. I can appreciate it for what it is and see the beauty in it even if it's not my favorite...
I quickly made my way down Rt. 83, then Rt. 82 to Nogales. There I stopped to quickly peruse the internet, put my phone on hold, update my facebook so my mom wouldn't worry (that's something that doesn't go away with age, no matter how old I get and how many times I leave the country) and have some breakfast. On my way to the border crossing I ran into a guy on a KLR heading into Mexico as well, but not very deep. He still had to exchange money (something I didn't do) so we didn't ride together, although I ran into him later. I decided to take the Mariposa entrance and avoid central Nogales in Mexico on the advice of other inmates who have done this before me.
Crossing into Mexico was a breeze (so far). I came upon some soldiers who asked me a couple of cursory questions and that was it. It went something like this:
Them: Where are you going in Mexico?
Them: Where are you from?
Them: Go ahead.
I made my way across the border with nothing to hamper me but a few tall, round speed bumps. There is very little question that you're on the other side of the border if you trust your olfactory senses. Mexico just smells different. It smells a little like other Central American countries, but not much. And it smells nothing like Southeast Asian countries or Morocco or Russia... All these places have their own smell and all are different. Some are more pleasant than others...
Continuing down the highway I started to get the feel for reading the signs (I don't speak Spanish really, but a lot of it is “familiar”) and managing traffic. There wasn't much traffic so it was a good place to ease into it. But already you could see that the concept of “lanes” was lost on the local population. With little trouble I made it the 20Km or so to the immigration and vehicle permit buildings. That's when the trouble began.
Things started off well enough. The guy on the KLR I met earlier pulled up and he was able to breaifly walk me through the procedure (I familiarized myself with in via the net, but it was nice to have someone there to point with their finger). I filled out the entry card and was sent to the bank to pay. That's where the trouble ended. Apparently not only did I not bring my original title with me (as a security precaution. I did bring copies) but I also did not bring the original registration. In fact... I brought no registration at all, but the little paper that comes with your plate stickers (completely useless). The people at the counter are pretty familiar with what US paperwork looks like and had no trouble seeing that I was unprepared for the crossing. So after unsuccessfully trying to get in anyway (you gotta try...) I was turned back.
I booked it back to Nogales USA, feeling foolish as I explained to the US border agent (a cute girl [woman if you prefer]) why I was coming back in: “Uh... I'm an idiot... I didn't bring the right paperwork...” She was nice enough about it. Just a brief smile and eye roll. Then I tried to find a solution to my problem. First I called Oregon DMV to see about getting a title sent to me. The short answer (it wasn't short when I talked to them) was NO. Then I called Arizona DMV to try and re-register my hike there so I could have a title. Again the brief answer was NO. My last resort which put me where I am today was to mail my storage key (3-day air, I'm too cheap for overnight) to my friend in Portland who would ransack my storage unit for the title and send it back to me asap.
Phoenix. Perhaps the biggest glory hole ever?
Plan successful. I should be leaving Phoenix, hopefully, on the 22nd of December to continue this briefly stalled, but soon to be once again amazing, adventure.