Ready for Mexico

Arizona Desert Cactus

Campfires are officially brilliant and they’ve worked themselves nicely into my daily routine.

Get up, pack up camp, ride, eat, ride, find a sneaky location, set up camp and then build a little fire.

A Perfect day.

Handy Hint: As a consequence of my recent fire-building escepades, I’ve hit upon an efficient means of discerning whether or not wooden twigs contain thorns. Simply grasp a twig firmly with either hand, and if you let out a swear word then it probably contains thorns. Easy.

I’m nearing the end of Arizona now and tonight I’m camped by a dirt road about 10 miles from the border with Mexico, north east of Nogales. Arizona has been great fun, and the landscape has been much more diverse than I thought it would be. They have those classic cactus plants in the desert (that I thought only existed in 1950s cartoons), but you can ride just 10 miles and find yourself among rolling green hills and fields (ranches). It’s an interesting place.

The cowboy town of Tombstone can now be ticked off my list. That was an odd place. The archetypal wild west town is famous for the O.K. Coral gunfight, and they do a jolly good bacon and eggs for breakfast. More than half the folk there were dressed in period costume too, with the remaining dressed in all-American tee-shirts and baseball caps – an odd juxterposition for sure. It also sounds like I missed a huge party last night (Saturday night), as some other breakfast munchers were complaining of a late night and sore heads. Hey ho.

It’s probably for the best that I didn’t get there until Sunday morning 🙂

If you ever want to feel like a dirty old man (dirty as in unwashed), head on down to Tucson Arizona. Blimey – a student town if ever there was. Full of young, shiny clean people with their whole lives ahead of them I felt overwhelmingly like an old boy who’s just spent a week living in the desert without shaving. It looked like a fun place to hang out though, with cool bars and a fun atmosphere – perhaps a town to visit again properly someday. Maybe I can fit in by pretending to be a visiting professor – now where did I put my tweed jacket?

On a more reflective note, spending hours every day riding has meant that I’ve spent a lot more time with my brain than I usually do, and recently I’ve found myself thinking of home – friends, family and my life there in general. Not to the point of getting myself down, but as much as I’m enjoying being on-the-road I’m looking forward to being home again too. The fact that it rained today (the first time since picking up the bike in Canada) only served to resolve the thoughts of the home that I hold dear (it rains a lot in England).

Rats. My fire has just gone out – just a minute…

There we go. Much better.

When people ask me if I’m doing this travelling by myself, I always answer ‘yes’, but it feels like a lie to do so. The number of people that have been so kind and helpful, both in preparing for the trip and on-the-road, has been inspiring, and I’m sure it’ll be one of the greatest things I take away from this adventure. Appreciating the karma of it all, I stopped to help a guy today who was lying in the road fiddling with a part of his Harley next to a puddle of oil. His oil filter had become warped at the seal and we couldn’t get it to sit right at all. A quick trip to the next town to get a new filter and some oil and all was well for his onward journey. Bloody lucky though – I doubt I’d have been able to find a Harley Davidson oil filter in the UK on a Sunday morning!

I didn’t suggest to him that his next bike should be a Yamaha – that would’ve been too cheeky 🙂

Tomorrow is Mexico preparation day, with a view to crossing the border on Tuesday I think. The bike is purring like a kiiten but I’ll treat her to an oil change to be sure, and then it’s time for burritos and tequila!

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