Day 2. Sunday Mar 9, 2008. Mexico, otra vez
295 miles Devine, Texas to San Buenaventura, Coahuila
I left Devine at 8:30 am, headed south on I-35 10 miles to Moore, where I take a right off the Interstate and head for Eagle Pass. No lodging available in Moore, so I congratulate myself for the wise choice of stopping in Devine.
Flat empty road across south Texas scrub. Ahhhh, On the road again. Me and my bike and the kaleidoscopic carousel of faces, vistas and observations. Cloudy cold wintery looking day at first, gives way to clear skies.
53 miles to Batesville. Yoni´s (Mexican) Restaurant in Batesville. I'm the only white guy in the joint. The place is packed with Hispanics. I'm directed to the only free table which is in a side room next to stacks of soft drink cases. Many folks are chowing on bowls of menudo. The waitress writes my order on the palm of her hand.
63 more boring miles to Eagle Pass. Auto Zone stop for motorcycle maintenance. Top-off engine oil (low), primary drive case oil holding well. Brake fluid, tire pressure, good. Various bolts and nuts checked for tightness. This poor ole bike has seen it all. On past trips it has lost brake levers, foot pegs, gear shift levers, rear views, all. Even the transmission in 2005. But she´s looking good today.
The reduced traffic at the Eagle Pass crossing to Piedras Negras is a mixed bag. I can find no open Casa de Cambios on the US side. Its Sunday and the two available are closed. (I'm spoiled by Laredo's multiple choice of outfits open 24/7.) And then I almost lost the bike in a slick oil patch on the International Bridge.
And get this, you obtain your vehicle papers 50 miles inland, into Mexico, south of the border. This seemed so strange I found it hard to believe at first, and needlessly waisted time asking other people and chasing wild geese. But sure enough, at the 2nd check point, the inland check point, they processed my papers in record time, 10 minutes max. I was the only soul there. The Mexican Immigration official even filled out my Tourist Card for me. When is the last time you saw that? When he asks where I´m going I answer, "Puerto Vallarta". Seemed as good an answer as any.
Car permits granted 50 miles inland. No long lines here.
The Green Hornet gets right with Mexico
I am finally, really in Mexico. Strip coal mining near Allende and Santa Rosita. Man-made mountains of coal. Man-made mesas of eroding earth. And the landscape changes, now this is different. I make it to San Buenaventura for the night, which is not mentioned in the Lonely Planet tome, Mexico
. San Buenaventura is 170 miles from the Rio Grande, technically north of Monterrey and Brownsville, due south of Midland, Texas and Sheffield, near Monclova which I am proud to report, I avoided altogether. The Monclova bypass took me across the wide open boonies thru some pretty rough, poor towns. One had a plaza that looked like the Sahara desert with sidewalks. No plant life whatsoever. I mean, what´s the point?
I arrive in San Buenaventura just after dark Sunday night and the plaza is popping. Police direct traffic.
Watch my bike, please, I ask in sign language?
Thumbs up, the cop replies.
Hotel Gran Plaza ($30) is the only hotel immediately obvious.
The manager goes out of his way to be nice, giving me extra towels and offering to help me put the bike in my room. (An offer I declined. I love my bike, but... Guess I´m not a real biker.)