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June 13th, 2012 | Mexico

Hot Ride to One Hundred…!!

Today has been a very special day for me on my journey around the world…

Knowing that the border was not too far ahead, had me grinning into my helmet, but I would be entering the USA through neither of these two points…

Despite this being the Sonoran Desert, large tracts of grapevines were flourishing along the highway…. Packhouses were loading table grapes into large cartons and from there loading them into refrigerated trucks bound for the USA…

This sign had me wondering what it all meant…!! No speed traps, maybe…?? Was this the chosen route of drug smugglers…?? I’d never been on a “hassle-free” road before…!!

On the road that would lead me to the border of Agua Prieta and entry into No: 100…!!

When I crossed over into the USA from Mexico this afternoon, it marked the 100th country on my tour…!! This has been one of the many goals I set for myself when I left South Africa at the end of February, 2010…

“Day 840” has been a memorable one to say the least…!!

Hermosillo was cooking when I left town, the mercury reaching 45 Degrees Celsius…!! That’s about 113 degrees fahrenheit to those who have not yet joined the rest of the world who use Celsius to measure temperature…!!

I had long ago removed the sleeves from my riding jacket to improve the airflow, and cool me down a little, but even so, today was one of those scorchers where at times I had trouble breathing…!!

One handed into a tightish bend on the way to Cananea and the Naco border post… It took a big twitch from an ailing rear tyre to make me put the camera away…quickly…!!

I decided to give the Naco border post a try, hoping that it was geared to re-imburse the guarantee I had paid when I entered Mexico…

The road to the border town of Naco from the turnoff at Imuris, was a beauty, winding and twisting through the mountains…

Tight corners, short straights, and a surface that you had to be very careful on, considering that my rear tyre was almost down to the canvas in places…!!

Loose gravel on many of the corners also had me focusing intently… At one point I consciously slowed down, reminding myself that this was not to the day on which to “bin the bike”… There was too much at stake…!!

I sat back and rode at a pace that both the tyres and I were more comfortable with, and reminded myself that I still had more than eight hours of daylight left in which to reach Tucson…

My first attempt to cross into the USA was a no-go…!! I was not leaving Mexico without my $400.00…!!

At Naco, I was turned back from this particular border post, as they did not have the facilities to refund the $400.00 security deposit I had paid when entering Mexico from Belize… I had to ride another 55 km to the border of Agua Prieta to get reimbursed…!!

On the way there, I stopped to take a photo, and when re-mounting the Big Fella, I managed to tweak the hamstring on my right leg…!!  It felt as though someone had shoved a knife into the back of my thigh…!!

I got back off the bike and tried to do a few stretching exercises, hoping to ease the sudden stiffness and shooting pains that had me groaning out aloud… None of this helped, and I resigned myself to riding with my right leg hanging off the foot peg to ease the discomfort…

A few minutes later, after setting off again, a dove came winging across the road in front of me, a brown blur that would have hit me in the face had I not thrown an elbow up to ward it off… The bird cannoned into my arm, connecting with my Kevlar elbow pad, and exploding into a cloud of feathers…!! A very close call for me…. A final curtain call for the dove…!!

First photo on US soil… Welcome to the town of Douglas, Arizona…!!

Crossing the border into the US, took all of ten minutes, and I received a round of applause and many handshakes from the American Customs and Immigration folk, when I told them that I had just set foot in the 100th country on my World Tour…!!

It was a very emotional moment for me, and on the ride to Bisbee, an old copper mining town in the Mule Mountains, I felt a bit light-headed as I considered my achievement… I patted the Big Fella half a dozen times as we shared the moment together, just as we had so many others over the last 30 months…

Exuberance on the road to Bisbee…!!

It felt as though we were riding on a silk carpet, and this had nothing to do with surface of the AZ 80 we were on…!! We were on a natural high, the bike feeling feather-light beneath me…

After a brief stop in Bisbee, I rode on to the legendary town of Tombstone, site of the famous Gunfight at the OK Corral…

130 years later, there was not a single handgun in sight…!! Most disappointing…!!

Surely we can squeeze a few more in…!!

Poetic justice…!!

On the far side of town, I made another stop, this time at the Boot Hill cemetery, where I hobbled amongst the graves of the cowboys buried there…

Some of the epitaphs on the wooden crosses there, had me chuckling with laughter…

I snapped away merrily, until I realized the time, and then hurried back to the Big Fella, as fast as my tweaked hamstring would allow…

In the little gift shop attached to the cemetery, I met a Navajo Indian, who knew exactly where I was from by the flag on my windshield…!!

Was it the Vindaloo Curry, or just an old-fashioned arrow…??

We spent a few minutes chatting before I left to continue my ride… I would have liked to see more of Tombstone, the town who had come to represent the Wild West to me as a kid, but I had things to do and plans to make, and after six days of riding, I was not about to let those plans slip away now…!!

And you thought a paper cut was the worst thing that could happen…!!

You mean like a penalty shoot-out…??

Clearly prison was not a good place to hide…!!

 

 

Who gave them guns…??

 

More on my visit to Boot Hill will follow in due course…!!

The town ‘fessed up, at least…!!

Cherokee Hall was a busy boy… There are three markers accrediting him for killing folk…!!

I reached Tuscon in the late afternoon, riding directly into the setting sun, and pretended not to see road signs such as “No Passing Zone” and “55 mph”…

I already have a good story ready for the first “black and white” to pull me over for speeding…!! I hope I get to use it…!! And I also hope the trooper has a sense of humour…!!

Tomorrow I ride into Phoenix, where I will visit a BMW workshop to see about new shoes for the Big Fella (we have been having a few hairy moments on his current set…!!) as well as a proper service…

After a long and very hot day, we finally came to rest at the Travel Inn on the Benson Highway outside Tucson… No comments on the state of the rear tyre are necessary, thank you…!!

Tomorrow night, I will board a flight to spend a few days with Patricia, before beginning the long ride to Alaska… We have plans concerning a special event in September, to finalise…!! And that’s all I have to say about that…!!

To the many friends I have made in Mexico over the past month, I must say a very big and special “Muchos Gracias”…

To Roberto Martinez of Playa del Carmen and his fellow riders of the “Venados” of Huajuapan and Oaxaca; the “Monosos” of Morelia and Guadalajara; the “Moto Club Mazatlan”; the “Baja Bikers” of Los Mochis; and the “Juaria” of Hermosillo; your stories will appear here soon…!! It has been a very special time for me…

And thanks for all the “Ta-killya” and Cerveza’s… My liver should be fine again in a month or two…!!

“Hasta la vista, Muchachos…!! I’ll be back…!!”

G.B.

Tuscon, Arizona.

24 comments to Hot Ride to One Hundred…!!

  • Mark Behr

    Congratulations on an awesome milestone. I have enjoyed every part of your ride and look forward to a great deal more. Enjoy time with Patricia – look forward to hearing more about your plans.

  • Will van Niekerk

    Congrats Ronnie! Awesome progress and a great achievement. Keep it calm on the last stretch to Phoenix before getting some new rubber!! Its so hot out that way that the last bits of tyre might just melt from the casing while parked for fuel. All the best.

  • Krista Haynes

    Welcome to the US of A!!! See you soon hopefully 🙂
    I’m around, but heading to San Francisco June 22-24th – hope that doesn’t mess up our chance to reconnect…

  • Steve Castle

    Ronnie! Here is another blast from your past – fitting as you hit your 100th country. A fantastic journey and a great pleasure to read about it. This from me in Zambia. We go back a looooooong way mate – all the way to John Orr in Witbank then Colin Mann – such a path you’ve travelled. Enjoy the time man, hope to connect sometime when you have the bandwidth. All the best, Steve.

  • Ronnie, Congratulations on your big milestone. You deserve a break for that. The best is perhaps yet to come. Wow September…! Hummm – love your back tyre!!
    Murray oz

  • Mary Pacini

    It was great meeting you, Ronnie! Give Patti a big hug from me and I will see you when you get back to town! 🙂

  • Gonzalo

    Muy bien Ronnie! Descansa que te lo mereces. Un abrazo.

  • Charmz

    Congrats Bro….what an achievement and all “Pat Malone”. We are so proud of you, to think that you have done this all on your own, sorry, with Big Fella. Give him a hug from all of us for getting you around the world safely. To think that there were no back-up vehicles following you in case you had a problem….you had to sort them out all by yourself. Back home we feel the 840 days away from you. We wish you happy days in the USA and please get BF shoes sorted.
    All our love,
    Dad, Mom and Charmz
    xxx

  • Gracias Gonzalo …. Tenga cuidado de mi amigo …! R.

  • Hiya Mary…!! Thanks for all the assistance in Phoenix… Hug given…!! R.

  • Steve…!! Loooooooong time, Buddy…!! Don’t forget Germiston High as well…!! See you in Zambia some day…!! R.

  • Mark…!! Thanks for the wishes my friend…!! It’s been great having you along for the ride and of course, seeing you again on my ride through Oz…!! Take care and give ALL your girls a big hug from me…!! R.

  • Hey Sis…!! Thanks for the wishes…!! Although there were no “back-up vehicles” there were always hundreds of good friends that I could call upon to assist me if needed, so I never felt really alone…!! New tyres are being fitted as I write…!! Love to all back home… R.

  • lawrence Lasarow

    Hi Ronnie, glad to hear that you with Patricia for some RR and you finally learned how to spell Ta-killya correctly now that you have left Mexico. What a trip! I am Back here in Malibu for a few, let me know if you passing through this way. Not sure how long I will be here but you welcome to stay..

  • Telita Trower

    Congratulations cuz. We are so proud of you! What an achievement. You must feel elated about finally achieving your goal. Ten weeks left and then further happiness. You deserve it all and I wish you the best now and always. xxxx Telita PS: Enjoy your much earned rest – no doubt Patricia will take good care of you and sort your liver out!

  • Paula

    Congratulations to you both, what a wonderful journey that has carried you through 100 countries in 840 days. Wishing that the winds of good fortune continue with you through the remainder of your journey…!!!

  • Hey Cuz…!! Hope all well in Townsville… Thanks for the wishes, hard to believe that it’s almost all over, bar the aching joints…!! R.

  • Luis Simoes

    Howzit Bud, may lekker roads & weather be ahead of you, rgds luis

  • Hey, hey…!! Long time, Luis…!! How’s in hanging, Bro’…?? Glad to have you aboard for the “Big Finish”…!! R.

  • Thanks Paula…!! We’ll hook up in Durbs in a few months…!! R.

  • Luis Simoes

    Howzit bud, watching Bullrun Rally on tellie, troopers that side don’t take kindly to speedsters so ease on that throttle. We’ll do the ‘doooonuts” when you back in SA.
    Esta la vista , L

  • Debbie

    Congrats Ronnie!! Enjoy the rest of the adventures!

  • Thanks Debbie… The adventures continue apace…!! R.

  • Vince

    I’m a bit behind in my readings… but a very big congratulations!!! Hope to meet up with you in a couple of weeks!

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