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Old 01-01-2013, 04:15 PM   #11
wanderc2c
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Joined: Dec 2009
Oddometer: 24
The Bessty group crosses over

The Beasty group departs on time, crossing the border impeded with all we deemed essential for two weeks in Mexico. The US border guards warn us of the dangers of traveling in Mexico.

We are greeted in Matomoros with an immense road construction project. Warnings to stay close and together was the mantra to get us through the bustling, dirty city. What a contrast to the modern town of Brownsville we just left. Getting through Matomoros, it appears, will be easier in the future with the large new road as you cross over into Mexico. There are bicycles everywhere around the construction site, the transportation of choice for the workers. Everyone is dressed in florescent yellow. It’s a huge project. Craig and his GPS lead us flawlessly out of town and towards Mante.


Betty says she feels like a drug runner. We are all strangers to carrying so many bills for the Mexcian cash society. Past experience tells us even $100 pescos can present challenges to make change for some days, so that is the largest we carry. One of them is worth about $12 on this trip. It’s an odd sensation to have them. We aren’t even carrying that much. We’ve scheduled bank stops later in the trip. If we could only take them home and have them magically become American $100’s….


We travel what I call “the road of death” or hwy 180 and hwy 101. If there are signs that tell you how to ride these roads, I can’t read them. But it doesn’t take long to figure it out. There is a lane and an half. The right side of the road has a dashed line, and then no fog line on the right edge of the road, so it looks like a shoulder. But if you watch long enough, you pick up the pattern from the locals. If you are a car, you are supposed to straddle that dashed line, and passing is allowed on the left side of the lane, and only ˝ of the passing car needs to enter the oncoming lane. So, if a motorcycle stays to the left of the dashed line, the idea still works. Better yet, hang inside the dashed line and you’re safe. If you constantly stay in the left side of the lane, the oncoming traffic isn’t very happy with you. Later, we find out that in Mexico, to make a left turn, you are supposed to pull all the way over on these roads an let others pass, then turn left. Crazy!





I bring along my old I-phone 3G. It’s worn out and slow. I have paid At&T $4.99 so I can make calls for $.59 minute, $10 so I can send 50 texts, and $30 so I can send up to 120mb from Mexico. At&T had great coverage in this area. Betty’s Verizon I-phone worked with wifi, and made a great camera, but that was it. We are able to use wifi at most of our motels. I’ve been designated the reporter for our local dual sport group, and send back pics daily to make them jealous at home. My text plan helps us connect with Arturo from Chihuahua. Plans changed for him and he was not able to join us L Susan and Bob’s new I-phones with texting were not cooperating as they were supposed to in Mexico. It would have been useful in the days ahead. Phone calls home to our parents aged 87-94 bring stress relief.

Our first gas stop is at the Pemex. So is every other gas stop we make. Curious as to where Charlie and his 5 followers are, we check his spot on my I-phone. The tiny screen makes it a challenge to see. Craig deciphers where we are in relation to the Spotwalla. It appears they are less than 5 minutes behind us! We rush to the road to flag them down. And we make 10. A crazy, large group considering Charlie couldn’t get anyone to go with him last year. Mexico is dangerous you know.








Lunch in Nuevo Padilla at El Parador intertwines the group, Bob and Sue are strangers to all but Charlie. Betty and Peter are strangers to all but Linda, Charlie and Craig. Charlie, well sometimes he is just strange. In a good way. What does that menu say? What is the server trying to ask us? My college Spanish attempts to return to my memory, but it isn’t easy. Pollo, Pescar, cervasa¸bano….Paul and Charlie carry us through lunch with translations of Spanish. Then a trip to the bano (really, I tried to get my keyboard to do that funny little line above the n, bear with me) We return to this restaurant on our way out of Mexico the food was so good!






Delicious fish soup




Ah, Mexico. Don’t flush the toilet paper. Toilet seats are a luxury. Powdered laundry soap for hand soap. Never hot water. The ladies room even has a handle to flush with. The guys, a rope with a piece of wood.





The message stays constant between countries.



We head towards Mante as a group. Curves. This is what we have come for. Betty warms this one up for me.





Arriving at the JJ in Mante, the driveway under the portico is marble. Now this might be a luxury statement except for the fact that it is covered in a fine dust and is so slippery we slide down the hill with our brakes on. Outriggers anyone?





WWCP Charlie heads inside to barter for the nights lodging. Less expensive rooms equals more steps we learn quickly. I knew I should have packed lighter.

Can you pick out the stranger among us the next morning in secured parking? Enjoy this shot. It will be a rare picture of Paul on this trip. He isn’t the stranger in this photo. Stay tuned to learn why photos of Paul will be scarce.





Tonight its delicious street vendor food, and exhaust from the drive through beverage store. Tomorrow mountain roads and unexpected change in plans.





Linda


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