“Travel. It’s all about collecting moments.” —Anonymous
The air in Hermosillo at around lunchtime when we first rode into the city smelled to me of a cross between the stench of day old kill and a well lived industrial city. Perhaps it was me I was now smelling?. Today I promise to do laundry. Welcome to Hermosillo. Days earlier we rode the Sonoran desert, and before that the coastal city of Puerto Penasco.
Last night we stayed at the La Siesta Inn in Hermosillo where Sonora beef was plentiful and the specialty of the house was tomahawk steak. Today is our third day of motorcycle travel as a group and I am beginning to see subtle small changes in the other riders, the climate, the smells and the scenery. Some people would easily miss my astute observations.
Our routines are becoming just that. Routines. The day we arrive there’s motorcycle maintenance to be done. Todd always sprays his chain; Dal goes over his tires, Yoda Luis starts to detail his BMW 850, provided no one else is around to do it for him.
We each greet the morning day, first with coffee followed by a large Mexican breakfast. Prior to breakfast there’s packing and then we are ready to ride.
Today I started out riding with Paul until he encounters a farm truck that captivated him. I made quick work of the outgoing city traffic and left Paul on his KTM 890 behind. I know I know. Not a selfless thing to do.
I soon spot up ahead David, Larry, Ray and Lee. I ride with them a bit before I start day dreaming.
Before long I caught myself yawning. No. Not from lack of sleep but, from lack of speed. I then speed off from that group. David must’ve felt the same way. Soon I tell him to take the lead and we began riding mile after miles of country straight roads. My David Shield only held so long.
Todd and Paul soon caught up and now we were four but, not for long. Todd took the lead, I overtook David and Paul and chased after Todd. The twisties began and all was right in our motorcycle riding lives again.
Soon Todd became my Todd shield. Todd the shield I would say to myself as we flew across roads that probably shouldn’t be ridden this fast. A shield protects you against most any creature that decides to jump across the road, possibly giving you a millisecond or two of braking time.
I declared our speeds at either a quarter, half, three quarters or full Joey. That’s right. A guy who is not even on this ride but, rode Copper Canyon with me last year. I had no problem staying with Todd until his speed went past the three quarter Joey mark. That’s my safe limit.
The roads dictated the Joey speeds. Picture a road with no brush clearing maintenance done to it, in perhaps decades. The desert bushes and trees have literally consumed the road, making it just wide enough for maybe two side by side Volkswagens. And then add to that road twisties and curves with the occasional missing road pieces that create potholes and then mini landslides with large rocks still on the road. This is what we were dodging at anywhere between half, three quarters or full Joey speeds.
We all knew the dangers, but the adventure of riding in Sonora far outweighed the risks. We literally raced through the wilds of Sonora highway 16 towards Sahuaripa. If you don’t think that this is far more fun than sitting behind a desk at work watching a computer monitor then I don’t now have words for you.
My shield Todd is one of those guys that no matter the motorcycle rides it like he stole it. Earlier in the day another rider made the off hand comment that he didn’t want to push his bike so hard. Fortunately for me I come from the racing jet ski world where we ride WOT (wide open throttle) on the ocean blue. I also don’t have words for that one guy.