Pan-American Trails part 5

Unworried by time, Jose Porta enjoys to the utmost a great adventure

By Jose Porta, Photography by Jose Porta

Working against great odds of weather and rough country he pushes on with Central America as his objective

Mexico City would be my next stop, but I had no idea of how or when I would get there. There is a road that connects these two cities and during the dry season it is possible for a good driver to make the trip in three days, although the going is very rough and inconvenient. But now I was in the midst of the rainy season and this road had been closed to all traffic. Who-ever wanted to go to Mexico City had to take the train.

It was raining when I left Guadalajara and with my motor all covered up and well protected from the water I ventured over the great Mexican Plateau. I would occasionally meet a rough and steep hill but most of the road was level, which made it harder for me on account of the pools of water and mud that I had to cross.

I rode twenty-five miles out of town on a good hard surfaced road, which suddenly came to an end, giving place to a soft bed of mud and slime. It was the beginning of hell! Once again, as on the Pacific Coast, I had to use my wits against the work of man and against the demolishing powers of the elements.

I said I had to fight against the work of man because when the road between Guadalajara and Mexico City is closed it is realty closed in the full sense of the word. I met more than one place where the road was dammed so that the water could be collected and used to irrigate the adjoining fields. Such dams would transform the road into canals miles in length, which made it impossible for me to proceed. I had to take to the hills and follow narrow, steep and uneven burro paths which would eventually lead me to where I wanted to go. It was slow and arduous traveling. I had to walk first to find my way, then I had to drive through with the motorcycle, under a drizzling, maddening rain that would never stop. I was falling and sliding, riding in low every inch of the way, wondering how far I could get and then again wondering how I ever got that far.

I finally gave up hope and left the valley altogether and took to the mountains. The water had settled on the plateau and the only dry land was to be found on the sides of the hills. I tackled those hills with all the power of my battered but ever faithful motorcycle. I drove incessantly until I was stopped by a stone wall, six feet high and built of stones piled one on top of the other.

I knew I was entering private property but that wasn’t the time for me to be too particular. I set to work and one by one I removed all the stones until I made a gap wide enough for the motorcycle to go through. After I reached the opposite side I repaired the damage and rebuilt the wall. The whole process took me over one hour.

I was now in a cornfield with the plants way above my head. I drove through the furrows for miles upon miles until finally I met another and similar wall. That was beginning to get on my nerves. Still I had learned by that time to take things as they came and I wasn’t surprised any more when, after a while, I met a third wall, then a fourth.

I was losing a lot of time building and rebuilding those walls, yet I was not in a hurry and I didn’t care as to where night would find me. The only advantage about this part of the country was that it was very thickly populated and I never lacked food or shelter.

By Jose Porta
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