After a wonderful going away party hosted by Dixie’s (Tom’s wife) father and his wife (Richard and Mac) on Thursday evening, Tom and I packed up our bicycles on Friday morning, June 5th, and headed down to Nogales, AZ. My wife, Margie, was super kind and had agreed to drive down with us and ferry the car, sans Tom, Rick, and bicycles back to Montana.
Originally we were going to take 3 days to get to Nogales but decided to push the mileage and complete the trip in 2 days which gave us a day to rest, relax, and scout out the area in Nogales MX. After 1,500 miles and 24 hours on the road we arrived. Early on the second day we ran into a stiff head wind that remained with us until reaching Nogales. To give you an idea about the wind, when we started that second day the car trip computer indicated we were averaging 28 miles per gallon. By the time we had driven another 12 hours and 760 miles we were down to 23 miles per gallon. Hopefully that same wind will hang around and help propel us back north while pedaling our bicycles.
Getting here a day early turned out to be a good idea because Nogales MX required about an hour to get through the line leaving Mexico and entering the United States. The line moved so slowly that there were all sorts of people wandering up and down the rows of cars selling newspapers, bottled drinks, candy, ice cream bars, as well as accepting money to help people move from from lane to another.
Considering the amount of time it took to leave Mexico we decided it might be somewhat problematic in starting our trip from that side of the border, sooooooo, we decided to start our trip on Monday morning from the US side of the border instead of Mexico proper.
The people in Nogales MX are very friendly and between my limited Spanish and their most proficient English we were able to interact with most of them. There was Francesco, a 20 something year old man that walked down a hillside with us while chatting away. We met Carlos in a small store where we stopped to buy a soda pop; the waitress did not speak English but Carlos stepped in and did some nifty translating. And there were others that offered us a ‘Hello’ or ‘Have a nice day’ as we walked along.
The center of town sits down between hills on either side. When looking around the downtown area in every direction houses stacked one on top of another rising up behind. The area reminded me of the towns I have visited in southern Italy. Thank goodness we will not have to bike up any of those side streets up to the top.
The street graffitti artists are well represented around town. Some of it is the standard spray paint can scribbles and some of it is quite decorative and expressive in nature. I am always amazed at what someone can do with a little paint and a tremendous idea that has germinated in their mind.
Unfortunately we did not have sufficient time to prowl around all through the town, but I have no doubt that we could have spent 1-2 days wandering around having a good time seeing things and meeting people.
We have decided to pack up about 5:30 am tomorrow (Monday, June 8) and set up our bicycles in front of the boder crossing, take the obligatory pictures to record our starting out, and begin our 2015 Border to Border bicycle journey.
Take care, God bless, and may your ‘tomorrow’ be everything you hope it to be.