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Published: March 25th 2009
March 23, Monday
Packed up and picked up the new bike key at the dealer. Local riders all say this particular dealer overprices everything, many will not even step foot in the doors, they ride up to Austin instead. Sad for the dealer and the club. We stopped in at the Mexican Consulate in San Antonio, but they did not issue the appropriate paperwork there, so we continued on towards the border. Spent the night in Uvalde, TX... at the Quality Inn, which used to be a Holiday Inn according to Sheila, my GPS. Speaking of Sheila, I spent several hours downloading new maps for her. Hopefully the info in Mexico will be helpful.
March 24, Tuesday
Continued on to Eagle Pass TX, and crossed the border on bridge number 2, at the advice of an agent at the Mexican Consulate in town, who also could not issue the paperwork. We are told that we must get it about 30 km into Mexico at the immigration border. No trouble riding through, just had to pay a toll for the bridge. Sheila's mapping of Mexico leaves MUCH to be desired. I intend to send a flaming email to Garmin
at my unhappiness with not only the lack of roads showing up on the GPS, but also at how far off they are from actual presence. Much of the time, the GPS indicated I was as much as 1 km off to one side or the other of the mapped road, when I was definitely ON the road itself. Also, it shows twists and turns that are not there, as well as not showing the ones that are there. Very badly done, very disappointing, though it does increase the excitement of figuring out the "just how the heck do we go", and the "just where the heck are we" factors. Mi espanol is getting better by necessity. I'm real glad we bought a small phrase book/dictionary, and what a mess trying to get French and German out of my head while trying to keep Spanish in, not to insinuate that I can parlez or sprechen anway.
Stopped at imagracion, about 60 km into Mexico and got los permissos, about $15 USD for the tourist permit and $30 something for the vehicle permit. The cute thing was that I was told to go get four items copied, the agent sent
me to another window, they copied the items, then charged me .50 for each copy. Then to another window, then return to the original one. Everyone was very pleasant, When I asked the first agent ?Hablo ustead ingles? He replied, " No, I don't speak English" but smiled at the same time. Jokesters in every country I guess. With no trouble whatsoever, we were soon on the way. We continued along a major highway until we found a "shortcut" to Cuatro Cienegas, southwest of Sabinas. This took us through several very small towns, each with it's zona centro - town square, or town plaza, all with tiny streets and buildings immediately along the street with just enough room for a sidewalk. Ice cream stop in San Buenaventura and then soon arrival in 4 Cienegas. Our plan was to camp at Pozo Becerra, and after getting directions from a prison guard ( I think ) we rode out of town to the balenerio - the hot spring at Pozo Becerra. A rather grumpy gentleman there told us "No servicio" which we took to mean, along with all the locked gates, that they were not open, so we returned to town and
got a room in Hotel Plaza. This hotel is beautiful. A wonderful courtyard with a small pool, the room has a high ceiling with a fan, the beds are perfect, shower is large, and cost was about $45 USD con desayuna ( with breakfast). They let me park Bear in the grass of the interior courtyard right outside my door which was the icing on the cake. No worries about security. Later that evening I met Roberto, Charles and Roxanne, three folks from Saltillo who were hired by the Feds to reconstruct the facades of all the buildings surrounding the plaza. They are almost done, and the plaza is gorgeous. It looks like Walt Disney may have gotten his ideas from here. The church (iglesias) and Govt building are on the west side of the plaza, and shops all around, from groceries to clothing to shoes to souvenirs. My three new amigos and I had a great time conversing beside the pool about everything from energy and matter to spiritual truths to universal hologram theory, all by the use of my phrase book, some Spanish and much help from Roxanne, who speaks some school English.
At this point, all
the alarmists are sounding like Henny Penny - Sky is falling prophets, both Deb and I feel very secure about our safety, and Roberto and Charles both indicated the troubles are greatly exaggerated by the media north of the border. We intend to remain clear of the major cities, but as neither of us are big city people anyway, there’s no loss for us.
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