Motorcycle Adventure in Mexico

By Barr Soltis

H-D Wide Glide
My H-D Dyna Wide Glide. Photo by Barr Soltis.

My personal take on vacations is that they should be something different from the norm. For some of you it is sailing the Caribbean aboard a ship with a population greater than most small towns in America. For others it is a European vacation. For me, at least in my younger years, I wanted adventure, like the time I vacationed in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Viet Nam.

Ten years ago, in 1998 to be exact, I was living in El Paso, Texas. It was vacation time and since my days in Sun City were numbered, I decided to take a trip on my 1997 Harley Davidson Wide Glide. Fifteen years earlier, I had vacationed at a Club Med and had a great time, so I found a resort in Guaymas/San Carlos, Mexico and hoped for a repeat performance.

In preparation for my trip, I purchased a two-piece motorcycle bag that would slip onto my sissy bar, provide me with enough room to pack for a two-week vacation and double as a backrest. I filled the main compartment with my snorkel, mask, shirts, shorts and jeans. The second and significantly smaller piece contained all that I would need for my first night stay in Nogales, as well as the required Mexico insurance policy, ownership documents for the Harley, my Club Med reservation information, my U.S. Passport and other important stuff.

The first day I rode from El Paso to Nogales, Arizona. It took me about six hours to travel the 375+ miles and even the cheesy motel that I stayed at looked good. I locked my Harley to the most secure fixture that I could find, ate dinner and went to bed. All night I had dreams and thoughts of finding a vacant spot where my Harley had been secured the night before, but waking early that morning I found that the Harley was still there and intact. This is where my adventure really begins.

I rode down to the U.S./Mexico port of entry and made it across the border and into Mexico, where I had to obtain an importation document to allow my Harley into the country. A few pesos later, I was on my way. By noon I was in Hermosillo, Mexico where I was to meet a friend of mine who I had previously worked with in Houston, Texas and Barranquilla, Colombia.

Finding a U.S. Consulate in most major foreign cities is usually pretty easy. Just ask anyone over the age of 12 and they will tell you exactly where it is. Hermosillo was no different. I met with my friend and after being treated to a very nice lunch, I was on my way. My destination was close and I was excited.

This was the final leg of my journey and I was less than two hours from the beaches and two weeks of stress-free living. Then, out of nowhere, I was overcome with a sense of dread. It was amazingly powerful and strong, something that I had never experienced before. All of a sudden, as if a guardian angel had poked me with a hot branding iron, I felt the need to look over my shoulder and check on my motorcycle bag. I did and my dread turned to panic when I saw that the small bag that contained all of my important documents was missing!

At this point all I could say is "Oh My God" and I said it repeatedly as I looked for a safe and level spot to cross the sandy and over grown esplanade. With no documents for my entry into Mexico, I had visions of incarceration and the seizure of my Harley. After finding a place to cross, I encountered more difficulties. If I was to find my bag, I had to ride in the �fast lane� at 25 MPH and try to look over extremely tall grass to view the southbound lanes for my bag. This was extremely dangerous as cars and buses passed me at high rates of speed in the right lane sounding their horns as they blew by.

It soon became obvious that my search was futile and I decided to go the resort and call my friend at the Consulate for help. I once again looked for a place to cross the road and I just as I was crossing the esplanade an old Chevy El Camino passed by sounding his horn. Back on the southbound lanes, I saw the El Camino pulling over to the side of the road. As I approached, the driver met me on the roadside, holding my little, but valuable, bag. God bless the kindness of strangers!

From then on, it did not matter if this turned out to be a good or bad Club Med experience. My vacation was just as I like them, an adventure and a story to tell for the rest of my life.

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Copyright 2008 by Barr Soltis. All rights reserved.