The team converged in McAllen on Friday evening with the goal of getting all our border crossing paperwork done. Doing so would enable us to get up Saturday morning and make a beeline for the mountains. However, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men. For a few reasons we didn’t get everything done Friday evening, meaning we would be delayed an hour or two getting money exchanged and border crossing paperwork completed on Saturday morning.
Luckily the Anzalduas Bridge (our preferred crossing site) was not busy at all and in short order we were all legal to ride into Mexico’s interior.
The planned route had us zipping 200 miles down the freeway from Reynosa to Ciudad Victoria. West of that the fun would finally start on the old highway crossing the mountains toward Tula. Our plan also included riding dirt south from Juamave on a great little dirt road Milton and I had discovered 5 years earlier. However, due to the delays earlier in the day, we ran out of time and opted out of the dirt portion of today’s ride.
As you know, it has been raining in Texas for 4 weeks. One concern we had was how much rain we would encounter during this trip. We were all prepared to ride in the rain but too much rain turns dirt into mud – and nobody wants to ride in the mud on loaded down bikes, for obvious reasons. Additionally, rain causes tributaries, creeks, and rivers to swell, potentially preventing us from crossing and either delaying our ride or causing us to come up with time consuming bypasses. And, sure enough, a short distance out of Reynosa we encountered the first rain of the trip.
A quick stop on the side of the road to don our rain gear and we were back on our way.
The rain didn’t last long and a short time later we were once again back in the sun and speeding toward Victoria.
At every stop along the way people were very curious about the 6 old guys on motorcycles. We were asked a lot of friendly questions about where we were from and where we were going. Milton and Bob are the best Spanish speakers in the bunch and were able to engage in extended conversations with the locals. The rest of us sorta shrugged our shoulders and did the best we could with our limited Spanish.
In the past few years in Austin we have seen an explosion of food trucks and trailers. They are very popular and if you visit Austin today you will see them all over town. Mexico doesn’t have food trucks (or if they do they are in the big towns where I don’t ride). Instead, they have roadside eateries. Taco stands. Pollo stands. Gordita stands. You get the idea. They are everywhere and generally provide some pretty good food at a reasonable price.
Charly’s isn’t a place any of us have eaten at before. It just happened to be across the street from a Pemex gas station that we stopped at. After refueling the bikes somebody spotted Charly’s place and since it was 2pm in the afternoon and we had not had any lunch we made a group decision that we would pay Charly a visit.
If you are ever in the area, I recommend riding (the old) Highway 101 south out of Victoria versus taking (the new) Highway 126. 101 winds through the mountains while 126 bypasses them as much as possible. Most of the traffic and all of the big trucks take the new highway because it’s much faster, leaving hwy 101 empty for folks like us. The twists are fun and the scenery is great – you’ll be glad you took this road.
Many hours later we finally arrived in the town of Tula. With a little bit of searching we located the Hotel Mollinedo near the town square. It was a nice place, typically of the type of hotels we sought out during this trip.
They had a courtyard that was big enough for us to secure the bikes overnight.
Once the bikes were unloaded and we were all cleaned up, it was time for a night on the town. After all, we like to PARTY! (And by party, I mean take naps.)
Our night on the town consisted of finding a place to eat, sightseeing, eating ice cream, visiting with the locals, and taking pictures. Not necessarily in that order.
The boring, straight pavement stuff was now out of the way. The first new dirt of the trip was scheduled for the first thing tomorrow morning and we were ready.