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

There were more houses around the place, and I went to all of them. but they were all in ruins and deserted. There was nothing I could do but lie on the grass and try to rest.

A few hours later a man and a boy entered the house. Probably the husband and son of the lady I met. I waited for a while until I knew they were all at the table eating, then I went back to them and again asked for food, only to be refused once more by all of them.

In defense of Mexico I must say that this was the only place where I met with such poor hospitality. Most of the time I was treated as a welcome guest. Sometimes I had to pay for my food, at times, again, I had to pay an exorbitant price for it, but never at any time had I been refused like now, and when I needed it most, since I had been two days already without a bite.

I learned later that Oaxaca was the name of that ranch.

I spent the rest of the day limping around and trying to shoot a quail or a stray rabbit with my smashed-up rifle. but without any success. I tried to use my revolver, but it was still worse.

Time and again I had a strong temptation of grabbing one of the many chickens that belonged to my hostess, but then my conscience always got the best of me and I didn’t do it.

I spent the night wrapped up in my blankets in one of those empty houses. The next day it rained all day and all I had in mind was food. At one time I saw the boy leaving the house with an empty pail in his hand. I followed him and saw him go into a corral to milksome cows.

I had to use all my high pressure salesmanship to induce that boy to sell me some milk for thirty centavos. His mother wouldn’t like it, he told me, but finally I won and I had my fill of warm, sweet milk.

I spent one more night in the same place, and finally, in the morning, after a heavy storm, I decided to leave. The roads were muddy and my leg was sore. but I just couldn’t bear the thought of another day in that God-forsaken ranch.

I had about twenty or thirty miles of bad roads and steep hills, and at last I arrived at Colonia Morelos, a small settlement on the west side of the Sierra Madre Mountains.

I had succeeded in crossing the Sierra and the country ahead of me was now flat and smooth.

At Colonia Morelos I was well received. I related to the Chief of Police my experiences at Ranch Oaxaca. Knowing those people, he wasn’t surprised to hear that, but he was shocked to hear that I had been without food for three days. He swore that I had been the first motorcycle over the Pulpit Pass, had a heavy dinner prepared for me, and wished me the best of luck for the rest of my trip.

Again I was off for the open spaces. On the outskirts of the village I was stopped by a curious old man who wanted to know all about the thing I was riding. He and his family were eating and I was invited to join them. I had just finished one meal, but I had learned to take my food when I found it and not when I wanted it, so I sat down and ate again.

A few hours later I was in Agua Prieta, a small border town in Northern Mexico. After spending one month in Mexico I was finding myself once more on the United States border with a feeling that I was back at the starting point.

By Jose Porta
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