Burnt out in: Magdalena, Sonora
From the border: 81 kms
I only had 3 hours of sleep. The lack of sleep did not phase me because I have been so pumped with adrenaline. Our Couchsurfing host, Ed, drove Jin, a couple who needed a ride to the bus station, and I, to Nogales, Mexico. Jin and I were anxious with excitement and nerves in the car. After dropping off the couple, we drove to the S 15 highway. I looked at the vehicles and semi trucks coming down two lanes- no shoulder. As nervous as I was, I rejected fear and thought of all the blessings and love that I only had to protect me. We set off on the highway, and the vehicles begin to back up around us.
It was less than 3 minutes into the ride when an explosion of realization cause me to say “OH MY ********** I AM RIDING IN MEXICO”
During the ride, Jin cycled in the front, and I behind. After 15 minutes of riding, the traffic moved at a comfortable speed and enough room for a car to pass us every every 3-5 seconds. Further away from the border, the road grew scenic through the mountainous country. There were few headwinds, steep climbs, and sharp curves. There was little shoulder throughout the ride.
There were scattered small town, only two were as big as 3miles or so. The first town was Imuris. Asada smoke filled the road, pedestrians were walking in all directions and a few atv’s were zooming by. The feel of Mexico is so noticeably different. It’s more common to see the allowance of folks scraping by to sell goods at the highway. There is a relaxed feel here, and even the dogs display it as they lazily lay around (But a few still tried to chase us). In Imuris, I spoke with a kind man who was shocked to her the length of our bike tour, bessing us for good travels. I walked over to a group of musicians taking an afternoon break. I asked one of the gentlemen if I could hold his accordion. I got them to laugh at my weak attempt to play the chorus of ‘Ring of Fire’. since Imuris, I began to see how hard it is to be in a country and not able to speak the language. I can speak elementary greetings, but I get lost when they try to speak with me as if I can understand fluently.
Between Imuris and Magdalena was a short 17 km, yet a daunting ride because there were many road curves. I had the fiercest warrior mentality to take me to the destination with no fail. I saw sign indicate PELIGROSO with curved lines.. this was not the most reassuring notice.
We arrived at Magdalena close to 4:30 pm. The beginning of entry was a narrow 2 lane where divers did not hesitate to pass traffic by crossing the lane. Luckily, the traffic was moderate and much slower compared to the highway. After the Magdalena outskirts we began to see the features of the charming town. Homes were colorful, there were statues and fountains in the yards. We rode down our second and last rode of the day- 5 de Mayo, that led us through a cute colorful downtown to the gorgeous (main) historic church. One block ahead was our rest stop, the Hotel de Cuerto. A couchsurfing host no longer lived in Magdalena, but was nice enough to let us stay at his mothers hotel. How sweet (Thanks Carlos!)
It has been a long day. I am still in disbelief that I rode through Northern Mexico. The ride was a success. The thought of not being in my home country for the first time is a shock. It’s a challenge to try to speak to people. The culture shock and the reality setting in is making me very emotional. I am sad that I am moving far away from my friends and family. I think how time will move on, and that makes me sad to know that I wont see all of them. I even miss the people that I met in Arizona. I am even missing and wishing to connect with people who I may have had animosity or difficulty with, a nearly dangerous and daring ride leaves me valuing all that I have ever had. In the restaurant I see couples and friends laugh with each other, and it makes me miss so many loved ones. I wish I could share this experience with you all.
We leave tomorrow. Next is Benjamin Hill.