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September 21st, 2010 - How not to travel in Mexico!

Today Mr. Murphy had another plan for us as everything that could go wrong, went wrong! We didn’t head out of San Luis Potosi until around 3 pm as the electric car apparently didn’t get fully charged as one of the circuit breakers had switched off at some point during the night so the car had to charge more during the day to make the trip to Mexico City. As we were caravanning out of the city, the support van made a left turn into an alley and indicated for the electric car and our motorcycle to do a U-turn. As I followed the electric car, I didn’t realize that there was a Federal Police sitting behind me at the stoplight. He turned on his lights and started to scream in the bullhorn in Spanish to pull me over (like I knew what the hell he was saying) and promptly started reading me the riot act! Thankfully Cynthia’s fast-talking in Spanish got me off with just an evil eye and stern warning to “Respect the signs!”

Afternoon rains came again without fail, and somehow when we stopped to put on rain gear and switch helmets so that I could wear Cynthia’s full-face helmet, we didn’t see whether or not the van and electric car passed us. We stayed by the roadside waiting a good 30 minutes and then decided to go on. By then it was dark. No sooner were we back on the road than we encountered another toll station. This is where things got interesting. When we crossed into México, I didn’t bother to bring any cash with me, and all I had was about a $100. I figured I would get money out of ATM in México but the past few days were so hectic that I completely forgot to do so. The toll was 5 dollars but all I had was $1.50 in cold hard cash. Cynthia begged for the guy to let us go through and promised we would wait by the road for the electric car and the van to come through so that they could pay for the rest of our toll. We pulled off by the roadside to wait as huge trucks careened on by. After another 30 minutes or so it was apparent that either the rest of the caravan had already gone on through or they were broken down somewhere behind us.

It was pitch black, cold, raining in sheets, and we were still about 100 miles from Mexico City.  I wasn’t relishing driving aimlessly in the dark not knowing where we were going. My plan was to find the closest hotel and stop for the night, but first we had to pay the toll if we wanted to move another inch as they were watching us like hawks. We started digging in every pocket and every box to scrape up just enough change in US pennies, nickels and dimes to pay the rest of the toll but we were still short a full dollar. I have a lucky silver dollar that I’ve had for 17 years which I take with me everywhere. With much regret, I handed it to Cynthia to pay up the man as that was our only salvation. Cynthia paid the toll and we continued on our way.  As we were running out of fuel, we stopped at the next gas station to find team hanging out there! Apparently, the electric car had run out of charge again and so for the next 4-6 hours we sat around in the gas station while the car charged up.  Thankfully they had a deli counter where they made delicious Tortas (Mexican sandwich) to order. After a full belly and a beer or two at the station, Cynthia surprised me by procuring my lucky silver dollar. Somehow she managed to get us through without giving up my silver dollar after all. That was enough to put a smile on my face for the rest of the night.

At 3 a.m. the car was charged enough to continue so we packed up once more to enter the biggest city in the Americas in a torrential rain and pitch black skies. You can see the lights of México City from miles away and the traffic starts long before reaching the city itself. Struggling to stay awake, we rode into the city at 5 a.m. as the local food vendors were preparing breakfast on the roadside. The rain stopped, the sun started to come out and we were safe at last.

There are 7 Comments

  1. September 21, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Glad you didn’t have to lose that silver-dollar!

  2. azr
    September 22, 2010 at 12:51 am

    All I keep thinking as I read along all the posts is how can you keep going on such little sleep? this one sounds like a day from Mexico. Hope the next isn’t a repeat.

  3. CaddmannQ
    September 24, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    That Cynthia is turning out to be quite a peach, Chris.

    You do realize that a real silver dollar is now worth about $32 just for the silver content (regardless of any numismatic value.)

  4. Spanky
    September 24, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    I would have to agree on the Cynthia thing… LOL

  5. seruzawa
    September 24, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Yep. Those electric cars are simply a wonderful option.

  6. sarnali2
    September 24, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Shows how bullet proof those GS Suzukis are!

  7. Chris Sorbi
    September 24, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I know. My advice to anyone going south is to learn Spanish. the sign language goes a long way but everyone is out to screw you as soon as they find out you can’t speak Spanish. they even have different menus in English with “fixed” prices. Everything in English is 3 time in price. I personally ask for menus with pictures, it’s a lot easier to point 😛

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