Early starts make for easier boarder crossings. This is an anthem sung in almost every roadtrip travel blog across the world wide web. Exiting the USA at Nogales, a non eventful situation, you then come to the Mexican side. This too is easy, for the most part, and you can click here if you want our account of it.
Not having much on the radar for northern Mexico bar the Copper Canyon, and with the northern states not having much to offer us other than a lot of stories of drug lords, murders and insecurity, we moved away from the border as fast as Speedy Gonzales, passing through many small towns with numerous ‘topes’ or speed bumps. Get used to this if you’re heading this way as they are everywhere. At times these are unmarked or signed with a pedestrian crossing sign. Beware, these have been the down fall of many a tourist and locals car alike, as made obvious by the vast amount of Vulcanizadora’s (tyre repair’s) dotted along the road.
The wheel of cheese tossed down the hill at the world famous annual cheese rolling competition in Gloucester reaches a top speed of 70mph. This also seems to be the standard speed for everybody in Mexico, even in a 20mph zone. Another thing you should get used to if driving here in Mexico.
The first logical post-border stop was Hermosillo and we arrived as the sun was starting to set. More transit town than anything else, and without out an option of camping anywhere (all previous ones have since shut down), we were forced to stay in the City Express for the night, with their secured parking, ok WiFi and a simple continental breakfast included. Feeling that the MXP 788 (USD $55) price tag was a little rich, we used the old favourite booking.com to find a cheaper place, which happened to be the IBIS Hotel, which had great WiFi and a better hot buffet breakfast.
Hitting up the hot buffet breakfast complete with nachos and trip stew, yum, it was time to watch the most important match in the English Premier League season. The Manchester Derby (Matt’s most important day anyway). Watching ‘The best team in all the land and all the world’ Manchester City beat Manchester United 1-0, it was time to get out into the streets of Mexico.
Riding the bikes into the old town, we discovered that Hermosillo has a nice little plaza, surrounded by the lovely Catedral de Hermosillo, a tourist information booth and some striking white government buildings. A nice place for lunch with the locals is in the Municipal Mercado, which has a plethora of cheap food stalls, just choose a busy one and you can’t go wrong. Sitting down to the first tacos of the trip, we grinned gleefully at the torrent of taco juices trickling down our forearms. How we’ve missed that sensation!
The next day being ‘Dia del Los Muetros’ (Day of the Dead), we took the long bike ride out to the towns cemetery, to view the traditional way of paying respects to the deceased. We’d been hoping for a bit more of a lively celebration, part of the reason we’d aimed to be across the border for this date, but it seems in northern Mexico it’s a very traditional affair. People spend the time cleaning and decorating family graves, whilst remember the dead and honouring the fact that everybody will one day come to pass. It’s a bit more somber than we’d expected, with candy and lollipops left on small childrens graves, but the colour in the graveyards and the families coming together to remember is a little uplifting at the same time.
On the way home we stopped at an old school looking bar, La Barra Hidalgo. Ordering a large beer each we were a little surprised to be served a stein, but hey ho, we finished them all the same, whilst enjoying a bit of Mexican reality TV in the form of ‘Acapulco Shore‘. Riding home in the dark we managed to find the hotel and felt that Hermosillo on the whole was a pretty safe town (although the huge amount of cop cars roaming around had something to do with our sense of security!). Turning in we got a good nights sleep before the long drive east to the Copper Canyon.
You can check out more Mexico photos on our Flickr page.