Nogales.. again

Jan 4th :

I am in hunting camp just outside Nogales, Arizona. I found this spot with the help of a gal from a bike shop 15 miles away. I didn’t want to stay at the Motel 6. It’s too depressing. The whole town is depressing actually.IMG_0173
This is perhaps not camping perfection, but it is pretty nice deal for being so close to the border.. I imagine it being my last camping for awhile.

I’ve got my hammock slung up in a tree and I’m set up 75 yards from hunting camp. Two of the groups are hunting and the other family here to fish in the lake a mile or so away. It is stocked with trout.
Ron, (here to fish) decked out in his best RealTree and open-carry .45 said so.

I asked him about bears
“They’re all up in them hills back there. I’ve been coming here for thirty years and never saw one.”IMG_0191

The campground has no less than one bear-proof trash bin for each of the campers here right now.

We’re in a perfect acoustic bowl.
All conversations, coughs.. belches are clearly audible. I can hear each beer can pop.

Other than that, it’s silent.. One coyote earlier but he’s finished now… He probably saw Ron.

In planning to cross the border in the morning. I feel like I forgot something.. Well, I kind of did. I left my leatherman at Oatman and the small point and shoot camera I bought for the trip is MIA too.

I’m a little nervous and can’t talk to my ESAG because I’m out of cell range but it’s better than the Motel 6, and even with next door recounting their near miss hunting day, I can think clearly in my little blue and green people cocoon. …
Until I hear a bear.  It sounds far off…. I stop breathing.
The hunters have all gone to bed. It is silent except for the noise. I am frozen.
I wait.. It is grumbling… Growling…  Very… Oh Hell. It’s my damn stomach. I’m starving because I ate at three and I don’t want to get up in the cold and cook. I can hear the hunters snoring. I’m sure that was contributing to my audio-hallucination.
I’ll get up in the morning and eat something.


Hot Damn!

I’ve posted the details of my movement across country at It’s been three weeks, almost a month now since I left Maryland in a flurry of snow and ice. My ESAG (Exotic Species Almost Girlfriend) and I are working out the horrible four month absence we are facing right now. We havent assigned a title to our relationship yet, so this is what is sufficing for the present.

I was hoping to be crossing the Border around the 21st of December, But there has been a bit of a disagreement from KLaRa.

I made it to San Diego and planned to cross at Tijuana (TJ) and take the Baja Peninsula to La Paz and ferry to the mainland from there, but there werent any tickets until the 26th..

In a flash of brilliance, I decided to ride back through California on I-8, I-10 and cross in Arizona… Maybe Nogales. Had I gone in at TJ and rode the same distance, it would have been slower and more dangerous. A great deal of the ride would be very close to the border.

As I rode the interstate, I kept smelling antifreeze, and finally, parked, with the bike running, looked at my waterpump.. which was spitting bright green liquid from a tiny hole in the bottom. Both exasperated and glad to have discovered the problem on this side of the border, I decided to fix the bike here. I can still overnight the part to Phoenix and be able to fix it on Christmas eve.

I ordered the part while camping at Oatman but wanted to be nearby when the part arrived.

IMG_6524So I shook the Facebook tree.. and an old paragliding acquaintence fell out! I was invited for the holiday at her mothers house in Phoenix. It was a lovely time and Mahi Tacos on Taco Tuesday is my new favorite Christmas Eve dinner!

The part didn’t show up until the 26th. Late. I was hoping it would be a bit early so I could have it finished by dark. At 4:30 I was nearly in tears with frustration and delays. I asked the shop if they could do the work and they said yes. Three hours later, new clutch installed and water seal repaired, I rolled out on my almost-new bike.

I stayed at a motel 6. The next morning I rose, did a few errands and I rode three hours to Nogales. I would cross the border at first light.

In Nogales, I wanted to look at my rear brakes that were feeling a little soft. What I saw was shocking.

They were covered with fresh oil. So were the back of my bags from the tires kicking it up. So was the entire underside of the bike from the waterpump back. The shop had damaged the oil seal when they removed the mechanical seal next to it. I’d lost half a quart of oil between here and Phoenix. The bike only takes two and a half. I would have to repair this before leaving.

After overnighting a whole new set of parts to a dealership in Tucson, I booked a room with a local girl from a house-sharing app.

For half as much as a Motel 6, I have a private room and bath, use of a large kitchen, washer/dreyer and super fast internet. My host is younger than me, is clearly in incredible shape and very bubbly. We talk for a couple hours… I made an inaccurate first assessment based immediately on an east coast-ish Valley Girl lilt that colors her dialogue. What she says is well thought out and describes some good breeding.

She’s bright.. was a middle school teacher for a while, she runs marathons, and loves to do cross-country bicycle trips. She’s shrewd with her money and creative about making it.

She’s a stripper.

She’s danced in other countries.. Australia, Spain and all over the US. She loves to travel and says it’s easy to fill pockets with travel cash after a night or two at the club.

Her house is a comfortable and bright, tiled one story with a Xeriscaped front yard. Its a great place for me to land… She’s got an extra bike to lend out and I take advantage of the wheels to roll around the city’s bike paths and coffee shops. Its a nice way to see Tucson.

Her very attractive hairdesser friend came by early Tuesday and gave us both haircuts.. I was thrilled to not have to find one in town and she was great company..  I found a message on my phone from Kawasaki after she left. The part was not in fact, overnighted. It will arrive on Thursday.

I’m depressed as hell until Janice comes out of the shower to tell me something in just a towel… this.. only a few minutes after she dashed back in the house wearing a micro-running outfit. It’s a day-saver. Can’t lie. Maybe she’s just trying to cheer me up. Either way, it is delightful.

I stayed two more nights in Tucson at another place I rustled up on the internet.. photo 3Finally, my bike parts came in and I put the oil and mechanical seals back in the water pump.        I was able to complete the work myself at the Davis Monthan AFB.. they are usually militant (no pun) about getting people out on time but there was an older fellow who stayed open so I could finish the work that evening.1487247_10202235564843345_1597459065_n

In the morning, I ran a few errands and left for the border… It is January 3rd.