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Wrong Way 'Round the Bend 2011

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Well, as you may, or may not remember, I had the bright idea last year to show up at Uncle's Around the Bend Ride via Mexico.
I know what! I'll ride my Suzuki DRZ400S out to Terlingua! Yeah, that's it. I'll ride to Uncle's.... thru Mexico. Fantastic. Yeah, I'll cross at Del Rio and re-enter at Ojinaga. Heck, I won't even have to mess with papers. I'll be under the radar. I jumped out of bed and pulled some maps together to check my epiphany. Yeah, you can do that. It'll take a day or so. If I arrive in Presidio Saturday afternoon, ride to Terlingua by Saturday night, hopefully I'll be able to find a ride back to Austin, or at least part way.

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That effort was thwarted by underestimating availability of gas and time required to traverse proposed route. For this year’s effort I installed a Clarke 3.9 gal aftermarket tank on my DRZ and enlisted the help of John T., a fellow TWTexan who shares with me a fervent love affair with maps.

We decided it prudent to get vehicle papers this year (TVIP's), which seemed little trouble since there was a Mexican Consulate conveniently located in Austin with associated Banjercito vehicular importation desk. The Consulate was closed on Monday, in observance of President's day. On Tuesday at the consulate we learned that Mexico (oops) no longer issues vehicle papers (TVIP's) from their stateside consulates. Ever since Jan 3, 2011. Something about the immigration people wanted to be sure you had a tourist card before you get vehicle papers, and that is only done at the border. .....WhatEVER.

At the crack of noon Tuesday Feb 22, 2011 we headed out for Del Rio and the border. We went in John's little truck.

John has a GPS
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....On Tuesday at the consulate we learned that Mexico no longer issues vehicle papers from their stateside consulates.

Something about the immigration people wanted to be sure you had a tourist card before you get vehicle papers, and that is only done at the border.

Interesting in that online TVIP applications are still issued independent of the tourist card. Mexican law states that the TVIP (vehicle permit) is only valid during the period of the validity of the owner's tourist permit.

.....no importa aquí.....

¡adelante con tu informe!
 
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Woo Hoo!
Here we go
Yup. Heeeeeer we go.

Well, we felt so good getting on the south side of San Antonio before 5 o'clock traffic we stopped for a bite to eat. Ooops. I'd left my SPOT transmitter on the dashboard of me Caddilac car back in Austin.

Dang. It had taken me and John a couple of hours to set up a new replacement account with the SPOT group. This would be our only "communication" with friends and relations back home..... I made a quick call to my girl Friday (Lizzie) at the office and soon we were meeting the posse at exit 186 on I-35.

Lizzie and her wingman Kirsten to the rescue. SPOT device hand delivered.
Now let's see. I've got my helmet, don't I?

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Back thru San Antone, now with traffic.

Next stop. Avant Motorcycles.
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John and Sr. Sander Avant. What a great host.
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Playing with my brand new Rebel T2i camera. In the end I decided to take an older model, the Rebel XT.
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We stash the truck at Fort Clark in Brackettville. Off load in the night. Slime our tires. Load & ride. 30 miles to Del Rio. Top off with gas. Cross the bridge. Whoa. The Banjercito on the Mexican side closed at 10pm and it's 10:30. So......... back across the bridge to the Motel 6. John scores us the best rooms in the house. I am overloaded as usual. Get to sort thru my gear one last time in the motel room. John has homemade sectional maps for his tank bag with yellow highlighter marking our route. We're pumped.

Are you ready for adventure?
 

cdc

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The way this started I'm wondering if we need to request donations for bail!:rofl:
Hope it all turns out great.
 
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Next morning, Wednesday, we re-load our bikes and putt across the bridge once again, to the metropolis of Ciudad Acuña. Get a thorough inspection. Dismount and start the paper work.

We are the only people there crossing border with vehicles today, and it still takes us an hour and a half of useless procedural hoop jumping. The Banjercito is across the street from the Immigration offices, on a city street, so after getting our tourist cards we clomp over to the Banjercito office in our riding boots, only to be told we need to pay the fee for the tourist cards first. So we clomp back to the Immigration building to pay the fee and get the stamp, clomp back across the street to the Banjercito lady again, this time we don't have our photocopies, get them and the opposite corner, yellow building. Clomp over there half a block or so, its a large pharmacy and it is closed! Clomp back to the Immigration building where we started and ask if they have a copier machine that we can hire, we're told to wait, and wait we do........ And wait....... Apparently the kid I've asked about copies is an apprentice paper shuffler and has absolutely no authority to do anything but practice shuffling papers. Finally the original Immigration guy shows up and takes our documents and photostats them. I have to remind him to make copies of alllllllll the documents we're handing him. Oh, yeah, he says..... and disappears again. Finally he's back and with a hand to the side of his mouth like a whisper asks us to reimburse him for whatever we think the favor was worth. I give 'em a dollar, John gives 'em two. He likes John better.

You got it by now.... Clomp back to the Banjercito building where I chide the lady for sending me to the closed pharmacy for copies.
"Oh, you get them at the Casa de Cambio next door to the pharmacy."

Well of course. How silly of me. We always get our copies at the Casa de Cambios.
You know, I speak a little Spanish and I heard yellow building at the corner. Do ya think she could'a said go to the Casa de Cambio?

Ahhhhh. Just dialing into Mexican Time. That's all.

Ayyyy... John, Stuck in Customs
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So off we go! The first 25 miles is new pavement. WooHoo. We be in Mexico!
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25 miles to Santa Eulalia. Last chance for gas.
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Santa Eulalia. Bought the last of our supplies here. Bottled water, an avacado and a few apples.
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Annnnndd....... topped off with gas here.
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This is the same place I bought gas last year. Different guy but same house.
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So far, so good.
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This guy warned us that Ojinaga was a looooooong way away. I don't think these people get very far form home. I wondered if he had been any distance down the road at all.

From last year
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The woman in the store warned that we were headed into territory of the mojados, or "wetbacks". I asked about the narcos, she didn't think we'd see any of that.
 
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We leave the asphalt at Santa Eulalia, and multiple roads lead from cattle guard to cattle guard. Just follow the power lines to Progresso.
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Hacienda San Miguel, an abandoned cattle ranch. How do you grow cows in terrain like this?
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John, beginning a long series of rearrangements. He eventually lost his only warm shirt and half a gallon of gasoline.
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Surveying my campsite of the previous year. Yup, that's the same dead yucca plant that I slept next to last year.
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No more power lines. It turned pretty warm and I was glad to take a break here.
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Hi John. Near Chupadero del Caballo.
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Hey John. Whaddaya doin'?
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Brunio, mostly abandoned.
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At this point my old digital Rebel camera began to suffer nerve damage. 1st, the auto-focus stopped functioning. Ok, manual focus. Such a pain but just set it at a high f/stop to get a greater margin of error and move on. Later the photo review function quit. Next to go was the ability to change ISO settings. OK, its permanently set at ISO 400. I can work with that. Finally the whole menu screen played dead and there was no functionality at all.

Annnnnnnndd........:( So, I had to resort to my iPhone for the rest of the trip. :eek2:

The Rebel XT (EOS 350D) released in 2005
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We saw our first vehicle of the day, a huge dust plume moving at a high rate of speed coming from the north.
Dang they're moving fast.

The road led thru some brush and soon enough I came up on a red pickup truck with any number of guys hanging
around, the pickup was parked square in the middle of the road and they had it jacked up like they were changing a tire.
Serves 'em right, I'm thinking, for going so fast.

Without a second's thought I took a wide detour around them thru the desert. I kept my eyes forward. Didn't want
to see anything, minding my own business.

At this point the road west leads into Cañon Colorado.
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Once in the canyon I stopped to marvel at the change in scenery. John comes up.
"Hey, those guys were yelling at you back there. Didn't you hear them?"
No, I didn't hear nothing, and didn't see nothing either.
"Well, Here they come! I can hear a truck coming!"

We took off as fast as we could on the gnarly road of rocks. We were gassin' it and I was so close to John's tail that
I couldn't see the rocks for the dust.
We're gonna crash like this, I'm thinking.

In my rear view I'm surprised to see another pickup truck, charging down the road behind me. Gaining on us. Dang!
We fly faster. But to no avail. This pickup is hauling the bacon and now he's right on my ***.

Ok, time to pull over and act dumb.
 
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Into the canyon
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Back at the border, the US border guards were saying, "Wow, you guys are brave. We don't go into Mexico."
Has there been trouble around here, I ask?
"Not as much as in some places. Not as much as over in Juarez"
Has there been any trouble around here?
"Nooo...... But you guys are on bikes. You can outrun 'em."
(I'm thinking that's not a very attractive option.) Oh, yeah. How's that?
"If they pull you over, just pretend you're going to stop. Then at the last moment take off real fast. Your bikes will outrun them." The border guards are laughing as they say this.
(Not amused, I'm thinking that's a good way to get a bullet in the back of the head.)

Yet here we are, running.
Yeah. Time to pull over and act dumb.
 

JT

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:popcorn:

























:nana:
my favorite smiley
 
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Great report!:clap: Not that I would ever do it but I always wondered why you couldn't just make a bee line from Del Rio to BB?
 
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