Gravel Comes Before a Fall

Agua Prieta to Janos, Mexico 1,409 km After crossing the border at Agua Prieta I rode east then south on Federal Highway 2. Highway 2 is the western prong of a wishbone-shaped junction that connects with Ciudad Juarez in the east and then runs south to Chihuahua. It is a major trucking route and principal conduit for drug trafficking.

Road scene
La Vigorosa in northern Mexico

The two prongs of the wishbone meet Federal Highway 10 at Janos and from there go south towards Nuevas Casas Grandes and then Chihuahua. Janos, small and dusty, is a town of 2,000 inhabitants, of little note except that it is located at an important crossroads. I stayed the night there. I went to the nicest restaurant in town and spent $10 on dinner. The next morning I woke up warm in my hotel room with the heater on. When I went outside the cold struck like needles. I was told that it had snowed very early in the morning. I wore everything I owned and even took the insoles out of my boots to wear two pairs of socks. My body was warm and bundled but the wind from the fast riding stuck my double-gloved hands and numbed my fingertips to the bone. After a short time, I slowed to pull over. I came onto the gravel pull-off too fast and still breaking – an amateur move. My front tire lost traction and then my rear and the bike went over and I was thrown off. I tried to right the bike but my fingers were too numb and I was shaken by my first fall. It turns out I had stopped or ditched beside a small private school alone beside the highway. Two teenage boys saw me and almost immediately came to help. After we righted the motorcycle, the boys admired it and we commented on the cold. Soon they went back to class and, my hands now mostly thawed, I returned to the highway.

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