A cactus 'caught' in the powerful patrol vehicle search lights
Well this morning I was awoken at the pre-arranged time of 6am. But I don't remember it well as I must have been blotto. Now when I smelled freshly grilled bacon wafting up the stairs it beckoning me to head off downstairs in haste. I wanted to get away early before the wind picked up. It is flat calm and after delicious eggs sunny side up, hash browns etc. I went off to load the machine up only to discover two flat front tyres!
Addison told me that any locals who fancy cycling have Kevlar reinforced tyres due to the prickly goatheads that are everywhere (they are the things that peppered my ExPed downmat with holes so it seems like I will have to sort out a solution before I can hit the road.
On the positive side I cannot think of anywhere I would be delayed. Martha's place is a rare feature in the modern fast paced USA. In fact I think you could model other B & B's on this example.
You know what I mean - a place where if there is no one around in the night you help yourself to a Coke etc and ask them to add it to the bill - or maybe because they trust people?
Last night was a blast!
A friend of Addison is the local police patrol officer (Officer Smith) and when he popped in to Martha's around 7pm I just happened to be looking at a picture of the machine being propped up by a Bud Light so I asked him if technically it was illegal. I think he thought me a bit zany. He bounced back with I cannot prove where it was and the can looked like it hadn't been opened. I told him that it had in fact sprung a leak so I had to finish the repairs and drink it asap! I think he thought I was testing him on the fringes of the law but when he realised it was a joke we hit it off real well and ended up going out for a real Mexican dinner.
I then got to go out on 7pm - Midnight patrol. These exciting few hours not only involved looking carefully into the desert for signs of unusual activity (this is the main Cocaine crossing point) but also the more mundane actions of pulling over speeding motorists etc. I love the radar they have where you can be travelling towards or going away from traffic and the dashboard LED still showed the speed of the other vehicle. I had to remember that Officer Smith is not only working in an environment whereby firearms are part of peoples lives but we were only 3 miles from another extremely dangerous city - Palomas.
The first vehicle 'we' stopped turned out to be three ladies rushing to get to the bathroom and the other was for reasons I was not privy to. Suffice to say that as I was wearing my lined aviator jacket I felt that I looked like an undercover cop! Having said that, Officer Smith was wearing jeans and a jacket not dissimilar to mine.
He introduced me the the customs and immigration control officers down at the US/Mexico entry point and I got to talk about how the situation had been in the previous few days.
There had been the discovery of a mass open grave containing the bodies of 18 people. In the previous weeks they had discovered a warehouse containing over 40! Seemed like not too much had been happening by their expressions! They also said that any US nationals that are injured are brought to the border in rickity 'ambulances' as they have very few facilities on that side of the border.
I also noticed that in addition to the large numbers of Border Patrol vehicles a small number of military ones so I hope for their sakes it doesn't spill over into Columbus.
We spent over 4 hours moving around his patch looking at life in a very different way and I didn't get bored for one second. I learned heaps including how to approach a suspect vehicle and even which side to approach from. I learned this not from some TV show but for real. This is where no TV program can ever convey the reality of actually feeling the adrenaline flow in a very non routine profession.
I want to finish this blog by thanking Police Officer Smith for taking the time to show me his area of operation and allowing me to 'experience' a small glimpse into his life. We have swapped details and I expect him to show up in my patch in the not to distant future where I will try to arrange for him to have a much more laid back time!
I am waiting to see if the wind picks up as forecast and now having had 4 punctures with these tiny little goatheads just around the B & B!
I have decided to cross the border with machine into Palomar. Addison has just told me that per capita the town is THE most dangerous in the world. Ironically there is a statue of the US General John Pershing shaking hands with Pancho Villa in the square. On this side they seem more interested in Pancho Villa than Pershing!
I am leaving Addison with my room paid, my computer and all things of value in his safekeeping. I will take only the essentials and will be intrigued to see if the reaction to the machine breaks any ice and hostility that may exist.
Bye for now and love to all my family and friends.