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

Therefore, before you judge me, my friends, you must realize that at times when I reached a town I had lost from ten to fifteen pounds of my weight and during my three or four days’ stop in that town I had to put on all the weight I could before I started out again.

And that’s what I did when I reached Mazatlan where I stopped for one week.

And we were put on the stage there, motorcycle and all. It was at the suggestion of the owner of one of the local theaters that I decided to make a public appearance. I had the motorcycle lifted to the stage behind the curtains and as an added attraction when the curtains went up I drove in circles for a few seconds, making a terrific bedlam, then I stopped the motor and made a short speech. I cannot have said much but considering the applause I got I almost thought I was good. Seeing the ground ripe I stepped off the stage and went through the aisles passing my cards around. When I was through I had two pockets full of silver and as far as I was concerned the night had been a success.

I finally left Mazatlan and headed south once more. And here the real work started and I had to fight for every step of the way and struggle for every inch of ground that I covered.

It had started to rain while I was still in Mazatlan and I had been advised not to go any further since the rainy season had begun and it would rain practically every day for three or four months, turning all roads into pools of water and swamps. All automobile traffic had been stopped, since no machine could go through that mud, and I realized that I had a hard task ahead of me, still I had to go on. I was out for punishment and I expected to get plenty of it.

If it was hard to. tour Mexico during the dry season what would it be then during the rainy season? I was about to find out.

When I left Mazatlan it was raining and it rained every day ever after, a drizzling, steady rain that never stopped, a rain that soaked me through and through. From then on everything was wet, my clothes and my underclothes and my spare clothes on my luggage carrier. And there was mud all over me and all the time. And I kept sliding and falling down and getting up. The cylinders were covered with mud and the motor would balk and stop and I would continually fall face down in a foot of mud. I had mud in my eyes and I couldn’t scrape it off with my muddy hands and a muddier handkerchief. There was nothing dry anywhere. I had to stop until my eyes would dry out and I could see a little. There was mud and mud everywhere, not only for a mile, not for ten or a hundred but for a thousand miles. And I had two months of it, two months of the hardest and toughest riding I ever was subjected to.

I could not always follow the road, in fact most of the time I had to make my own roads. With a long Mexican machete I had to cut my way through the jungle. Usually I had to leave the motor behind, wade in the mud to see how deep it was, then find or make a shallow way and ride through with my motor. I went through many a place I never thought I would get out of.

By Jose Porta
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