Page 62: - No Return Ticket - Just a Ride Report /w Pics - From the beginning
From the beginning
On the first day it wasn’t long before I realized I needed a new truck battery. I was in a motel parking lot using wi-fi. I had to push start the truck backwards with the trailer, not easy. I didn’t want this to happen in Mexico so I stopped at the first discount store for a new battery.
I have the back of the pickup setup nice with a sleeping pad and pillows. This is a fun way to camp out while driving cross-country, and cheap. Anyway, while I started entering south Texas Heidi tells me on the phone that a hurricane is headed straight where I’m crossing into Mexico. She was right, I stop at a wi-fi signal and see that hurricane Dolly’s eye is centered right over Brownsville Texas. I could have made Brownsville today but I would have been a fool to ride into a hurricane. It looked dark and ominous to the south and I have been experiencing hard rain off and on. I get out the map and start driving down side roads looking for a rural spot to hold-up for a spell. I pull into this trailer park thinking a shower would be nice. The park is not for transients so I had to do a little sweet talking but I was allowed to stay, $10 for the night and I am set.
Hurricane Dolly has moved inland but still is not far away. I see a lot of emergency vehicles going my way.
Lines and lines of power line service vehicles are racing toward Brownsville.
I exit for food and find myself driving through flood waters:
I get back on the highway.
I’m headed for Mc Allen so I don’t need to go through Brownsville. I’m sure that place is a mess. I exit on a secondary road headed west. I find myself surrounded my flooding and stranded people.
I need to exit here and drive toward the border. I sit and wait on some dry land watching some vehicles drive through the high water and some are getting stalled. FEMA stops to check it out also.
Finally a cop tells all of us we can take a back road to get out of town. This route still included a lot of deep water washed out road crossings.
I arrive at the Mexican border post Progreso. Dolly has wiped out the power so I can’t get a vehicle permit here today. I circle around and drive back through the U.S. customs check and back through flooded roads and to the Reynosa border post, they have power. I wait in a final customs line for almost 2 hours. I’m then told I can’t get a Mexico vehicle permit for my truck until I get my motorcycle out of Mexico. I can not believe this. Everything was supposed to be so easy from here on. I drive back through the U.S. customs check point again and back through flood waters.
Near Mc Allen Texas I find a cheap hotel. I need to decide on my next course of action. I’m not sure what to do now. My first thought is to park the rig here at the hotel while I go across the border into Mexico on foot. Across the border I can find someone who will drive out and tow the motorcycle 70 miles back to the border. Once at the border I can push the bike across. Then I will have to come back across into Mexico with my truck to retrieve all our gear. It can be done. When we first broke down in this area we received an offer for help from an AdvRider.com inmate. I thought I would go on-line again and see if someone would help. I fired up my laptop and sent out the word “Help. If anyone lives near Mc Allen TX and has a vehicle with a trailer hitch and is willing to pick me and my trailer up and drive into Mexico 70 miles to pick up our disabled motorcycle, please give me a call.” I thought, ‘yeah right’, ‘No Way’. It’s a great thought but I’m preparing to be on the road on foot tomorrow morning hiking across the border into Mexico. 6 hours later when I went on-line again I had two phone numbers from advrider.com inmates. I call one, papajoe. He gives me Don’s number who lives in the area. Don said on the phone that he will be over with his truck in 20 minutes. I Can Not Believe This Is Happening. I look outside the hotel window for a reality check. Why am I so lucky? Why are people so nice?
Don is at the hotel in no time. We hook up my motorcycle trailer and are off to Mexico. Don has never cleared a vehicle into Mexico before and is excited for the adventure. What a great guy. Customs was a breeze and the lines were short. I’m driving and I get us lost in downtown Reynosa for a while. Don says “I think were heading north now” He was right. I finally put it into park at a stop light and asked a taxi driver in front of us where the road to Cuidad Victoria is. He gives me good instructions and we get back on track.
The ride into Mexico was uneventful. We find the driveway to the ranch without a problem. Emanuel’s son and grandson greet us right away near the barn and help us with the bike. We get the motorcycle loaded on in no time. The younger kid really likes the motorcycle. I said “si, bien. chicas gusta mucha hombres con moto” (Yes, for sure. Girls really like dudes with a bike) Everyone got it and we all had a good laugh.
Emanuel goes inside the house and gets a photo of his father. His father originally started this ranch. He is very proud of his father, his ranch and his family. What a fortunate place for our breakdown to happen.
This is a photo of Emanuel’s father at 102 years old. Wow!
What a pleasant family. We enjoyed a nice long talk in Spanish and were invited back to the ranch, and they meant it.
Back out on the road we look for our buried gear. The newly cut grass concerned me but the stuff was buried too well. Everything was there and dry. I told Don he didn’t have to help haul gear, but he insisted.
We are having a great time.
Don, what a savior and super nice guy. He is a heck of an adventurer himself. He and his new wife just spent months in Alaska driving and camping all over. Tomorrow they are off on another cross country road trip up north. I feel ultimately fortunate to have met Don and to have been helped by advrider, papajoe. papajoe assured me he was going to find me help and he sure did, on the first try. I can’t thank you two guys enough.
I had the hotel paid for that night but I was just too excited to get going. I have the bike, the sun is out.
I take off out through flood waters again.
The water seemed deeper then the day before. I was stopped by several roads that looked too deep to try or the police had blocked off because of flooding. I drove through a dozen areas like this then finally make enough northern progress to get out of the flooding area.
Dolly was here.
I am off. I have the bike in tow and I am happy.
I stop in Illinois to see my longtime friend, Jeff. Jeff is into sheet metal and designed the pannier bracket for the bike. He shows me the new parts he’s installing on his 70’ Mustang, Sweeeet!
I stop in Southern Wisconsin to see my oldest and best friend Bob. We talk about the motorcycle adventures we had as kids. At age 14 we use to sneak my motorcycle out of the garage at night and ride. Once we were chased by the police and ended up laying down the bike in a field of tall grass to hide. They ran a search light over us but were never discovered. I could go on and on…..
I had to stop and see my mother, cavemom. 91 years old. This is the woman who bought at a rummage sale the book ‘Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance’ and gave it to me when I was like twelve or thirteen, she knew I liked motorcycles. I love you mom.
Heidi and I reunite with nuclear force. We have both been going through so much emotion over the last week but going through it alone. It’s hard to share with others a lot of the changes we go through. ‘We can drink water from the faucet’, ‘stores have everything we could ever want and more’, ‘we speak English all day’, ‘the roads’, ‘the cities ’, ‘the people ‘, ‘ ‘.
Heidi had a nice time with her family waiting for me to pick her up. We are back together and alone on the road. We are so happy to be together but still can’t believe our situation and what we are doing. Our feelings flow up and down. We see other bikers on the road loaded with gear. Heidi talks about our next bike. She always knows how to raise my spirits.
We just completed a year ride through Central America and Mexico.
We are home, mission complete……
The Ride Continues……………………
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