Sunday, April 19, 2009

high dawn in yuma

Gary Cooper had until noon to face his devils.

We faced our at 4:30 AM in Gila Bend. That was our roll-out-of-bed time on Saturday to get an early start on our run across the border.

But we were not leaving without our free breakfast. I should have learned by now that free is fair warning that what shows up on your plate will not be getting rave reviews in Bon Appetit.

Breakfasts at the Space Age Restaurant are not the way to start your day -- no matter where you are going. But unlike the old Woody Allen joke, even though the food was bad, the oportions were large.

Having downed our breakfasts, we were off on a one-hour jaunt to the border at Lukeville. The road down is beautiful. Much of the vegetation has been preserved in either a bombing range or as part of the Organ Pipie National Monument. Had we had more time, I would have taken a series of amazing photographs. As it is, I have my memories -- and that should last about a week.

The crossing at Lukeville is simple. You drive across the border and you are on your way to the main immigration point several miles down the road.

I should note that when you cross the border, you are faced with the monstrosity of a wall (pictured above) that stretches futilely over the hills -- attempting to repeal everything Adam Smith taught us about free markets. Some people see the fence and are reminded of Robert Frost or the Berlin Wall. I see it, and think of Krusty the Clown.

We could have slept in a bit more. We arrived at the main immigration point before the opening time of 8, even though all of the emoloyees were sitting around chatting well before then.

There were a total of three people requesting vehicle permits. One was immediately turned aside because he was trying to bring a rental car across the border.

So, the two clerks had one customer each. It took each clerk a full hour to compare documents and issue the permit. They were very friendly -- but very deliberate.

The officer at the immigration table next door could have stepped right out of central casting of a 1940s movie. His English was perfect, but he had a way of administering his official stamp that left no doubt who was in charge.

We were off and running. Darrel with his FMT; me with my now-stamp FM3.

And then it happened. The dreaded red customs light.

We pulled to the inpection area. The officer opened the rear door and looked at the sleeping Professor Jiggs. Asked for the receipt for the vehicle permit. Inquired of our destinartion. And waved us on our way.

We felt like two lucky fellows.

The drive from Lukeville to Highway 15 is picture perfect desert. It reminded me of sailing. The desert floor as flat as the sea with island mountains on the horizon.

Once we joined 15, our idyll was over. The traffic was much heavier -- and noticeably faster. Where trucks had set the pace on the rural road, BMWs and Mercedes now ruled. We tooled along making good time, but setting no records.

When we arrived in Guaymas, we settled in to our room at the Motel Flamingos. It was rather Spartan, but it met our needs: plenty of cool tile for Jiggs to sleep on.

The big event of the evening, though, was the Abbreviated Bloggers Conference -- Western Edition. We had dinner with Bliss, and Brenda and Roy at El Barca -- one of Brenda and Roy's favorite Mexican restaurants. I concur with their opinion. It was a good meal. And I thank them.

But, more important, it was great to meet three people I have "talked" with for over a year. They were each exactkly as I pictured them, but I found out things about each of them that I would never have known without our little "conference."

So, you hoity-toity bloggers on the east coast, take heed. We are busy building up our reserves for improved west cloast blogs.

We were planning on stopping at Mazatlan tomorrow to see Nancy and Paul. But they will not yet have returned from Merida. I hope to see them on another trip. But we may stop there -- simply because it is a natural stopping point on our way south.

Tune in tomorrow to discover if we made it.


Frankly Ronda said...

Woooo Hooooo!!!!

I am smiling big for you. It is such a great feeling to get through that red light and be in Mexico!

See ya Monday!

Frankly Ronda said...

Oh mannnnn - Monday - this Monday - I am in the USA :(

Brenda Maas said...

We enjoyed meeting you and having a mini bloggers conference. Hope to be able to get together again sometime.
Take care and travel safely.

Anonymous said...

Excellent road post. Looking forward to more.

Larry in Mazatlan said...

So sad! When we crossed three years ago there was no fence. I'm glad we missed it.


Billie Mercer said...

You lucky man. I'd love to sit down with Brenda, Roy and 1st Mate too. Travel Safely.

Tancho said...

1 hour for a permit? They have too much time to fill, glad you are on your way!

Larry in Mazatlan said...


Ah yes, you discovered a little something about Mexican officialdom during your crossing.

1) If the script says they open at 8:00, they open at 8:00.

2) Copies of documents are checked against the originals many times, and always with a serious face. Back and forth, back and forth.

3) Stamps are a sign of authority and are used with much vigor. They are also usually signed, hence the little scribble in the middle of the stamp. In fact if somebody doesn't sign a stamp, ask him/her to just in case.

4) Nationals are leery of dogs, especially big dogs.

The traffic on route 15 may have been due in part to the end of the two week holiday. Although, it is a major north/south route.


Babs said...

Oh that photo of the fence is HORRIBLE - thankfully the residents of Texas are fighting it tooth and toenail. I hope they succeed.
BUT the photo of the "gang" was great and ended the blog on a happy note.
Glad you're ALMOST to Melaque.

Mike Nickell and Cynthia Johnson said...

Everyone looks GREAT! We're glad to see you made it across without any problems. Keep on truckin'...

Anonymous said...

Steve, your blog is finally living up to its name and we sitting here are thoroughly enjoying it!

Only one thing - it will be a new location but for sure not the same life.


GlorV1 said...

Glad to hear that everything is going well. How fun that you met up with your fellow blogger's and enjoyed some time with them. Keep on Trucking! Drive safely and a warm hello to Mr. Jiggs. It's rather vast and open out that way, and beautiful.

Jonna said...

Hoity Toity is one thing we really aren't down here, we missed having you Brenda & Roy and 1st Mate and the Captain here but hope we'll all be in one spot for one of these.

Nice that you are taking this road trip with your brother and enjoying the drive. Welcome to México! It's good you are finally here and the adventure has begun.

1st Mate said...

What a treat to sit down for delicious comida Mexicana with the Brothers Cotton and hear about your excellent adventures. Sorry I was late, but I always get lost in Guaymas, just ask Brenda. It seems Murphy's Law ruled yesterday, but we survived and prevailed.

Be safe, amigos. Even if the landlady is waiting for you, take it easy and enjoy this historic expedition.

Anonymous said...

Who you callin' hoity-toity?

Kim G
Boston, Ma

Anonymous said...


glad your trip is going so smoothly. i am having problems with Windows-don't know when i'll get it fixed, so if i don't write for a while, you'll know why. using a friend's computer right now. take care and i hope the rest of your trip goes well.

God bless,

Anonymous said...

That wall indeed sets new heights of ugliness at all levels. Maybe President O. can give his own wall speech. 'Tear down this wall Who?

José del Pueblo

Larry in Mazatlan said...

We're getting a little concerned here. It's 8:30, dark and getting pretty late for you to still be on the road. Hope you're watching out for the pot holes south of Culiacan.

Jeez, I sound like a fussy old man!


BoBo's Mom said...

Congrats for making it through the border!! Hope Jiggs is enjoying this adventure as much as you are.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,

I've been following your journey south - sounds like a breeze, so far.

I hope you continue getting all that exercise with Mr. Jiggs - you were looking mighty svelte at your neighborhood despedida. I can't believe how fast you lost those pounds. It took me over six months to do the same. But, I'm so happy now with my hard-earned size eight. Be sure to send us a peek at your new beachboy physique!

Que viajen con mucho cuidado,

Alee' Robbins, Salem

CancunCanuck said...

Bienvendia a Mejico! Glad you got across alright and met some fine people (I'm jealous!). But hmmm, hoity toity, eh? We'll see about that Mr. Left Coast. ;-)

Islagringo said...

Glad to return home to discover you have truly headed for your new one. But to be honest, I knew even before returning home. The buzz at the east coast conference was that Steve was finally on his way and had crossed the border. Even in the midst of our fun, we take time to check up on you!

Hollito said...

As always, it was interesting to read about your road trip until now. I´m curious how it will go on. Wishing you a good time down south! :-)

Steve Cotton said...

AMM -- Thanks. We will get together before you leave.

Brenda -- I hope to get back up your way on my travels. Stop by Melaque if you are down our way.

Francisco -- It is a fun trip. More to come.

Larry -- The fence is a distressing symbol and a silly reality. Sorry we missed you in Mazatlan. We came in late and left early.

Billy -- We had a great "conference."

Constantino -- Exactly what I thought. Parkinson's Law in practice.

Larry -- Good ponts. It helps to explain the official fog.

Babs -- The meeting certainly outweighed that silly fence.

Cynthia and Mike -- I passed on your greetings to the group. Your advice on matters Mexican has turned out to be very helpful -- especially, speed limits.

Rick -- Look for a new title -- SOON.

Gloria -- I have enjoyed everything.

Jonna -- Thanks. I hope you know my tongue was firmly embedded in my cheek.

1st Mate -- Thanks. It was great meeting the three of you. Darrel and I had a great time that evening.

Kim -- Hey, Boston Boy. Certainly not you.

Teresa -- You always know where to find me.

José -- A nice dream -- to tear down our own walls. But politics will prevail. The nativists and Teamsters will have their way.

Larry -- See today's post. Sorry we missed you.

BoBo's Mom -- Jiggs is hanging in there.

Alee' -- I fear the pounds have crept back on. But we are almost at our destination -- and I can get serious again.

CancunCanuck -- Touché.

Islandgringo -- Thanks, Wayne. Proud to be a member of The Community.

Hollito -- Great to hear from you again. Thanks. More to come.