Pan-American Trails part 3

The story of a long solo travel tour through Mexico to Central America

By Jose Porta, Photography by Jose Porta

The intrepid motorcycle adventurer has taken a loop route through Mexico which brought him back to the Coast near the United States line. Undaunted by hardships including weather and road conditions beyond description he now heads south on an uncharted route toward his Central America objective. Begin here to read this thrilling yarn of motorcycle meanderings.

I passed Jimenez and towards evening I went through the worst sandstorm I ever was subjected to. It started as a mild wind which rose gradually into a maddening fury of flying sand and gravel. All the sands of Mexico seemed to have been turned loose against me, using me for a target. Every grain a piercing needle, it felt as if a hundred giants were throwing sand at me with a hundred shovels.

With my face covered by my shirt I didn’t know which way to turn. Breathing was difficult and riding was impossible. Kneeling besides my prone motorcycle I waited.

The fury of the sand was merciless. Fed by an ever increasing wind it rose to greater heights. Enhanced by its success on earth it arose to conquer the skies. Then the gods protested. A deafening roar and the masters of the skies, the clouds, emptied their content on that rebellious sand, stifling its fight and forcing it back to the earth.

It was all over and the sandstorm ended as fast as it started giving vent to a steady rain that lasted until late at night.

It was a couple of days later that a dusty rider and a dustier motorcycle arrived in Chihuahua, the capital of the state by the same name in Northern Mexico. By this time the rainy season had started and it was raining practically every day. Still I preferred to have rain in the deserts than in the swamps of the Central American countries, although I was now inconvenienced by the countless number of rivers that I had to cross all along the way.

With renewed hope I pushed ahead. There were people at the house but they told me that farther on there was another ranch. Seeing that I wasn’t welcome I went my way. On and on I kept struggling. A few more spills, more mud, sweat dripping from my forehead. The sun was setting somewhere beyond those prairies and nothing in sight, nothing but rain.

North of Chihuahua the country became more and more barren and desolate. The road could have been described as good if it hadn’t been for the miles and miles of mud that I had to go through.

Whenever I had a chance I would leave the road and ride through the deserts where at least the ground was dry. During the day I passed a couple of ranches, El Sauz and Rancho Providencia and at night I stopped at Casas Grandes.

From then on the fun started. I found myself in real-to-goodness God’s open country. Again the roads were almost invisible and I never knew whether I was on the right tracks or not. All I cared for was about roaming around in those endless deserts.

I would see a snake, a rattlesnake! With my motorcycle I would go after it, but it crawled away and disappeared. Then another one! With better luck I went over it with both wheels trying to squash it on the ground, but the reptile just sank in the soft sand and whizzed away unhurt. Finding this new sport to my liking I kept on looking for more snakes. They were plentiful and I had the time of my life.

By Jose Porta
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