The day following our first attempt, on November 25th, was a good day. Getting the jitters out of the way, lead to major improvement on November 26th. We each slept well and woke up at 5:30am to take on the border crossing by 7am. Planning ahead, we wrote down on a note card our intention of passing through Mexico and our necessity for permiso temporal del vehiculo. A day smarter, we made our way past yesterday’s mistake and found the correct road to the immigration offices where we could apply for the permits. There were no problems and in about 30 minutes of paperwork we became 100% legal nomads for one month in Mexico.
We’ve got it easy in this new world of technology. Without Google maps and translate, it would be near impossible for Seth and I to navigate our way around this new world. However, our transition went smoothly as we rode the quota (toll) roads all the way to Matehuala, led by our device. We chose to go with the quota roads because we were nervous of the dangers we had been warned of. From our experience, there existed no such danger. At every corner and car window we were greeted with smiling faces and waves.
Approximately 60 miles into Mexico, the Sierra Madre’ Mountains appeared. We ran on flat ground for 1,850 miles from Des Moines, Iowa to just before Monterrey, Mexico. Our XR650L’s also noticed the altitude change. As the day progressed and we climbed higher, the air thinned, choking our bikes. We stopped multiple times to check our steads, adjusting so they could breathe. Yet, they still ran thin and we needed smaller jets to limit the fuel entering the combustion chamber. This would prove to be a major error in our planning as jets for this size bike are not available in Mexico.
Regardless of the poor tuning, we made it to Matehuala. Early the next morning we began looking to correct some of the problems we’ve were having with the bikes and met a man named Caesar. Caesar brought us to a small repair shop where we had a new tire mounted and Seths’s kickstand shortened. In the meantime, Caesar invited us back to his home where he fed us a traditional Mexican breakfast with his family. They were all so nice and hospitable. We stayed three nights in Matehuala spending one day looking for parts and the second traveling to an old silver mining town called Real De Catorce.
With no luck finding jets we spent the following days heading south and look in some larger cities. One night was spent in San Luis Potosi and another in Queretaro. Finding out these parts are not available in Mexico we ordered them from the United States for delivery in Cordoba at orphanage we are planning on visiting. As result of the situation, we tuned the bikes to run as good as possible with the large jets and decided to check out Mexico City while we waited for the parts to ship to Cordoba.