Sunday, November 14, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010 – Balmorhena, TX – El Paso – Bisbee, AZ – Tuscon, AZ: 520 miles, 13.5 hours.

Woke up in the tent later than I expected at 9am. That means I slept well. An hour and change later and I'm packed up and ready to go. I definitely take some pleasure in sleeping under the stars for the first time this trip and not springing for a room somewhere. Self-sufficiency and all of that. Damn its cold, leaving in November has its drawbacks, even as far south in the continental U.S. as you can travel. I stop to put on the electric liner, but no need to plug it in yet. I see a McDonalds and stop in. Let me explain. All McDonalds have free wifi now. That’s the great thing. The shitty thing is that you have to go into, and buy something from, a fucking Mcdonalds. So I start off my day with a grilled chicken sandwich. Never again. Log in and take care of some logistical stuff pertaining to the trip, blah, blah, blah. The goal is to make it to Bisbee, AZ tonight to meet up with a couple of other riders who are doing a weekend dirtbike trip from Phoenix. Hit the road and Im in El Paso, Mexico within sight. Into New Mexico after 811 miles total travelling through TX. Yep, it’s a big ass place, like they say. Take the southernmost road across NM for 2 or 3 hours with Mexico a mile or two to my left. The views are impressive, the mesas and mountains growing in size and vastness all around, expanding on what started in West Texas. Only pass through 2 or 3 towns the whole time. Columbus. Hachita. Animas. They all look frozen in time from the 50’s, right down to the gas pumps. Of which there are very few. Hit Arizona, and the roads improve immediately. New Mexico is a pretty poor state I think. Its starting to get dark. And cold. Time to plug in that electric windbreaker. I set it on medium so I don’t run my battery down like I did the first day of the trip. (I had to find out how much the alternator could put out somehow, right?) Stop to leave a message with Rick, one of the riders im supposed to meet in Bisbee an hour and a half away. I look around for a few minutes. Even at night, the scenery is impressive. The silhouettes of the mountains, stars, emptiness, remote beauty. Make it into Bisbee and ask a couple of motorcycle dudes where I can park my ass and get on the computer again. Bisbee is definitely touristed – out, but in a charming and scenic way, not too cheesy and overrun with people like Ive heard Tombstone (up the road 30 miles) is. I go to the artisanal coffee shop, attached to the artisanal ice cream and fudge shop and order up and do my thing, and try to coordinate for the rest of the evening and the next day or two. Still haven’t heard from Rick so now I have to decide whether to camp again or go to a hostel. There’s a nice one in Tuscon a couple of hours away, and its getting cold as hell. The fact that I haven’t had a shower in 36 hours and that Tuscon is due the way I'm headed seals the deal. Before that I get in touch with my friend John in Phoenix and after some phone tag we decide to meet up tomorrow. I postpone my plans to head to San Diego by a day to do this and off I go to Tucson. I need gas and I almost never turn back around (to where there was a gas station) and head forward instead. On a VERY deserted highway still a mile or 2 away from the Mexican border. No gas station and Im starting to think about the serious border/drug wars going on right here, right now. This would be an EXTREMELY bad place to run out of gas and just be sitting there by myself with all of my shit. I already ran out of gas once (had to see how much the tank could hold, right?) So I see a sign for Tombstone and I figure I have just enough gas to make it there. After being extremely gentle on the throttle, I make it there. Tombstone, (of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and OK Corral) fame has been turned into the lamest tourist attraction you can imagine (from what I hear, its nighttime now) right down to the recreation of the OK Corral shootout 3 times a day. I don’t see a gas station but I do see a cowboy walking. Not a modern cowboy, one from the 1800’s. Obviously leaving his job doing something catering to the people who visit. I ask the cowboy if there is gas, and he says im a few blocks away from a Shell. Surreal. Gas up and make conversation with 2 stoners buying Cheez-Itz. A couple miles down the road, border patrol checkpoint. They break out the dogs for the stoners who are in front of me and search the trunk. I lift up my helmet visor and they just wave me through. I guess I have a trustworthy face, :-). An hour and a half later I'm at the hostel. People here are awesome, the place is very small and comfortable. And they have a double – headed shower blasting sweet sweet hot water. Clean up and sit down to catch up on this blog now. Short 2 hour ride tomorrow to Tempe to hang with my friend John, who I met a couple of years ago when we both happened to be travelling by motorcycle in Guatemala.

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