In seach of Frontera

Trip Start Apr 06, 2007
1
Trip End Apr 06, 2007


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Flag of United States  , Texas
Friday, April 6, 2007

I left home a little before seven in the morning on Good Friday. The plan was to cross the Columbia Bridge and get on Mexico Highway 2 and head north to Pidedras Negras, Coahuila. Heading up I-35 to loop 20 I noticed that it was 57 degrees at 7:03, four degrees colder than when I left home. I would wish I had dressed warmer before long. The new flyover at Loop 20 was opened just days before and I rode over it for the first time. I didn't really wring it out in case there was any debris still on it. Next time.

Everything was going well and I hit the Columbia Bridge at 7:25 to find cones and barricades everywhere and the bridge closed. I knew it was not a 24 hour crossing, but Friday is still a weekday for most folks and I didn't evenconsider that the bridge might not be open. I talked to a security guard and who told me that the bridge didn't open until "ocho". When I parked my bike he started telling me in Spanish that I counldn't park there where it was clearly marked visitor parking. Trying to reason with this fool was not going to work. I told him estamos en los %#@* Estados Unidos and what was with this @#%* ocho #%*@ ? No, esta Mexico, esta los %#&@ Estados Unidos!

I thought about my options and it seemed the best thing to do was wait it out. Anything else would put me in Eagle Pass a lot later. There were quite a few vehicle in line by the time they opened the bridge, late I might add. After all this is the land of manana, even when the federal government is involved. I hardly even slowed down at La Aduana, or Mexican Customs, getting a green light. Turning on to Highway 2 I saw the sign informing of bad road conditons for the next nine kilometers. This section of road icrosses the farthest away strip of land in the state of Nuevo Leon and is only 20 kilometers across so it is very neglected. The last time I traveled this road it was similar to the moon's surface, but has been repaired so I turned on the gas. Not long after crossing into the state of Coahuila, I encountered the first military checkpoint of the day. They were interested in the pack I had strapped down to the seat and I had to get off the bike and open it up for them.

Soon I was back on my way and the road was mostly flat and straight. There was little traffic so I turned it up to about 85 mph and tried to make up some of the time I had lost. Ninety four miles from home I reached the little town of Guerrero, Coahuila and pulled off at Mission San Bernardo to take a couple of photos because I didn't think at the time that I would be heading back this way. Checking the tank I could barely see any fuel so I pulled into the Pemex station and had the attendant put in four dollars of petrol. Imediately upon leaving I encountered another military checkpoint and once again opened my pack so the soldiers could see what was inside.

I hit the outskirts of Piedras Negras about 9:45 and was feeling good until I got in the line of traffic at bridge 2. It was Good Friday and there was a long line of cars with Mexican plates going across to shop. It didn't take long for the bike to get hot, so I switched it off and pushed it along whenever traffic moved. They were really checking the cars over and the passenger's IDs so it took awhile to get through. One of the immigration guys on foot checked my license numbers through his walkie-talkie while I wainted in line. Then when I got up to primary inspection, they did it again.

I only made a couple of wrong turns after finding Main St. and being three block too far west. As I turned by the courthouse I saw the bikes in front of Harry's Cafe and I pulled in beside Bill's big BMW.

Sander came out of the cafe as I was backing in and told me they thought I was laying in a bar-ditch somewhere. I told them how I would have beaten them here if the @#%& bridge had been open. We had a good breakfast of machacado con huevo and refried beans and plenty of flour tortillas. After breakfast we walked down the block to the Maverick County Corthouse that severed as the Rio County Courthouse in John Sayle's motion picture, 'Lone Star'. If you haven't seen it, you should! We stood where the memorial to Sheriff Buddy Deeds was unveiled. Not much has changed in the eleven years since the film was shot.

We then got on the bikes and rode around downtown Eagle Pas for awhile and then down to the river and parked on a boat ramp beside the river. Sander had just picked up his new Suzuki V-Strom the weekend before so it wasn't registered in his name yet. We had decided beforehand that we would stay on the safeside, but then Sander suggested that we ride back down to the Mission San Bernardo.

So we headed of to Bridge 2 and I led us across and I got a green light and proceded through customs. Sander and Bill both got red lights and had to pull into secondary inspection. Bill's customs man wasn't very interested in him, but the first thing the man said to Sander was registration. Sander told him we don't carry registation and that didn't seem to help. Neither did it when he showed him his license and insurance. He finally gave up and let him go. Bill and I were parked down the way and watching this transpire and I was sure that Sander was sweating bullets! I have never been asked for registration or even proof of insurance at the border in all of the times that I have crossed. They only ask to see your temporary importation permits when you leave the border zone, usually about 26 kilometers from the border.

After a short ride through the fringes of Piedras Negras we got on Highway 2 and headed down river. We were averaging around 80 mph and it didn't take long to reach the military checkpoint north of Guerrero were I once again had to open up my pack for the soldiers. We then pulled of the highway and parked the bikes in front of the old Mission. Mission San Bernardo is one of the sixteen Spanish Missions on the Camino Real, or Royal Road, that goes from Nachitoches, Louisiana to Saltillo, Coahuila in Mexico. It was begun in 1702.We walked around the perimeter and found an open gateway and went inside. One of the most notable parts of the mission is a domed room with the dome constructed intirely of hand cut stone blocks.

For more information on the mission go to:

http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/SS/uqs52 .html

http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/gateway/index.html

We then rode around the old village a bit and came across a funeral procession with most of the mourners following on foot. There had recently been a carnival in town there were still rides and amusments in the town square. Next we retired to a palapa on the roadside and enjoyed a soda or two before heading back to Piedras Negras.

Crossing the border went without incident other than waiting and once again switching off the bikes so they wouldn't overheat. Bill took off to make a dinner appointment and Sander and I had some killer hamburgers before going our seperate ways. It was looking like I might pass through some rain so I didn't waste any time riding home. I took US277 to Carrizo Springs and US83 to I35 and back to exit 2 and home. Total milage was 340.
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folkmusictrekke
folkmusictrekke on

Good Friday in Mexico
Great write-up; remind me to tell you about a Good Friday I had in Mexico which involved long lines, etc.

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