Nogales, Mexico – 12 April, 2006
We stop at the Nogales, Arizona visitor center to get information about entering Nogales, Mexico. I push the button to restart the engine and the motorcycle is dead. The tools and battery are under the seat and it takes a 10mm wrench to remove the seat. They don't include kick-starters on these things anymore. I push-start the bike and the engine fires easily.
We drive to the border and park and walk over the border though a turnstile. There in no line and no official greeters going in. However, there is a line of people extending ten blocks waiting in the hot Mexican sun to cross back to the US. We suspect we've made a mistake.
People come here for prescription drugs and inexpensive medical and dental work. The lady at the visitor center tells us her aunt had all her teeth pulled and a complete set of replacement implants done for $2,000. That would probably run $30,000 across the border. The streets are packed with small shops offering belts, jewelry, boots, motorcycle saddlebags and other objects. Every shopkeeper implores us to enter.
Agents hand out cards for surgical face lifts. I need one, but we're on a schedule.
I buy a hand-crafted belt adorned with hand-painted panthers, sunrises, eagles and rattlesnakes and we order chicken tacos for lunch. Mrs Phred worries about getting bird flu from the chicken. I tell her not to worry because bird flu is eliminated if the flesh is well cooked. She shows me that it's pink. I eat all three of mine and one of hers.
We wait in line an hour to re-cross the border and Mrs Phred wonders about bird flu symptoms and says her legs feel weak and she has shortness of breath. A Mexican lady with four children in tow touches Mrs Phred's bicep and admires her muscle tone. One man gets pulled out of line for additional processing in a back room, but they average about three seconds for interviewing each person crossing on foot.
Back in the US, I push-start the cycle again and we drive to our campsite. Back at the Lake Patagonia State Park camp, I put a voltmeter on the battery and it tests right at 12.4 volts. I tighten the connections on the battery and the engine starts right up. I put the little tool kit back in the handlebar saddlebags instead of under the seat.