Okay, the documents (original title and registration) have arrived and I'm ready to give this border crossing into Mexico one more try. I leave from Phoenix early in the morning. The plan is to just head down there the fastest way possible, cross and make it to Hermosillo in the same day. It's not many miles (about 350), but there is the wait at immigration that (I imagine) will take a bit of time.
It was an uneventful ride to Nogales down the I-10 then I-19. An aside: I installed some “ride-on” in my tires and removed all the weights from the wheels (since I mounted new tires, those weights could be doing more harm than good) before I left Phoenix. I think there may be a difference, but I'm not really sure. At least if the tires did need balancing, this should do the trick and just maybe save me from having to patch a tire on the side of the road. I'm going to hope it doesn't come to that.
Who is this?
In Nogales I changed some money and filled the tank with gas. As I was gassing up I saw a cluster of KLRs hanging out by an Arby's. They did not look geared up for a trip south and I didn't wait around for the owners. Then I hit the border. No lallygagging this time around. I drove through just after 11am and was not even stopped for a conversation. I guess 11am on a Saturday is when it's just gringos passing through because everybody used their lanes and followed the road signs. Not a whole lot of speeding and I even saw a blinker or two. Go figure... A quick jaunt 20Km down Rt. 15 got me to the immigration station.
The line was LONG. As I was familiar with the order of tasks, I knew just what to do. Luckily the agents know exactly what they are doing so it didn't take long to process the people in front of me and then me as well. The line to El Banko was even LONGER. It stretched around the corner... After a couple of hours I got to the front of the line and was quickly processed. No issues. Just have to get my passport stamped (first Mexico stamp for me) and affix the sticker to the bike and I'm done... Complete success! This is how it should have gone down the first time. I did buy a couple of tamales in the parking lot before taking off to celebrate (and eat some lunch).
Ready to leave the immigration station.
Once done with all the paperwork, I continued down the highway with a sense of pure joy in my heart and a big grin on my face. There's just something about crossing an international border that gets me stoked on life. It's not “objectively” any different really; just a political boundary, but it makes a huge impact somehow. I got as far as the first toll booth when I realized that I should be looking for the “free” Rt. 15. Well, I'm still looking for it. I've looked at maps, driven around, checked Garmin and nothing. If there is a Rt. 15 without toll booths it is lost to me (perhaps there is one further south?). I did go around the next two tolls, but it required navigating some dirt roads through a little village and riding across a construction zone. If anyone knows, where is this seemingly mythical toll-less Rt. 15?
The way around the toll. Is this the "free 15"?
The sun was close to setting by the time I reached Hermosillo. I rode around the city for a bit trying unsuccessfully to find a cheap motel. I eventually backtracked to the north end of town and got a room at Hotel Faraon. It was a pretty decent place with a tiny room but an enclosed parking area so the bike was safe. When I first arrived the place was deserted, but by evening it was so packed full of cars that my bike was trapped where I parked it by my room. After settling in a bit I went out and got some street tacos from a little cart just up the road. The tacos were amazing! This is the life... except I have a splitting headache from what I believe to be extreme dehydration.
Those kitties helped me fall asleep...
Note to self: drink water every time you stop.