Riding the United States/Mexico border fence line.
Today I rode into Douglas, Arizona, mid- afternoon, a cool breeze in our face a warm sun on our right shoulders following the U.S./Mexico border fence from Palominas a 3 day ride. Horses needed water and the first building complex I came to is The Empresa Cojunita Subasta – livestock pens. Not one animal anywhere, very clean, no smell. Julio, the manager came out as I stepped down from my saddle. After I watered the horses we talked for a bit and Julio has been kind enough to furnish hay, water and pens for the night. Cattle are coming in from Mexico tomorrow. They will be purchased and shipped thru out the United States. Julio has been in the cattle business his whole life, he runs a very tidy stockyard here I must say.
It really has been quite the ride and I have been out less than two weeks.
I have a much different opinion about the border, about the wall, about the complicated mess that has evolved and the men and women whose job it is to secure the Mexico/U.S. Border. The country I have ridden, from Sonoita to Douglas is spectacular. It may be some of the most superb sweeping vista’s I have ever seen. The San Predro River Valley, Montezuma Pass, the San Rafael Valley and Patagonia Mountains are like nothing I have ever ridden through. I thought Eastern Montana or Saskatchewan were expansive but this has a quality all its own. Desert grasses and shrubs grow at low elevations. Forest of oak, pinyon pine and alligator juniper dominate most of the landscape. And then off in that elusive horizon jagged mountains outline the sky. And right smack thru this scene is a long black fence/wall slicing like some one had taken a big magic marker to the land.
A well maintained dirt road runs along the U.S. side with white and green pickup trucks patrolling back and forth in their designated sections. I have seen helicopters, a blimp with surveillance equipment, towers every so many miles with surveillance equipment and dozens of border patrols, BP’s as they call one another.
The neigh-sayers said, “You’ll get shot riding down there.” Even I felt apprehensive after all I have heard about the Mexico border from the far reaches of our Montana border. And one must exercise caution it is a dangerous place at times and there are ruthless men running drugs etc. But with in all this I have found most of the people quite calm about the whole situation. The border patrols have been helpful, friendly and generous with time and questions I have. It’s not at all like our northern border. These mostly young men and women have given me a far better understanding of the situation than I once had and with it I think an appreciation that something does need to be done. It’s far more complicated than simply building a wall. Some are for it some say its not going to help until Mexico steps up and the economy is better, (as one on looker said,”when you get $10.00 a day in Mexico and $10.00 and hour in the U.S. , hell I’d risk it to.) and they no longer need or want to mass exodus. Until we Americans no longer need or want the drugs coming across the border the situation is not going to change as one patrol officer pointed out. These “BP”are men and women with families of their own working a very difficult, complicated situation down here as State Park Ranger Steve Mazur pointed out when he stopped in his truck for a chat. When I stopped at the Coronado National Memorial Visitor Center for information regarding road travel. Christopher Bentley the center’s manager also pointed out that it was safe to travel here that he hoped people would not stay away out of fear.
So I say thank you to all of these men and women I have met over the course of this ride who serve our country in one way or another, I say thank you.
As for me, I am loving the sunny, warm I hesitate to say “winter days” down here in Arizona and New Mexico but it is winter! I may never winter in Montana again!
Spirit and Liska are now back to work as we travel a 400 mile jaunt from Sonoita to Edgewood, New Mexico to see my sister. Rosie and Bella dog, her truck and trailer are back in Tennessee taking care of business. We, Spirit, Liska and I will meet up with her again at my sisters for more “Travels with Rosie.”
Photos from the last few days
Ok I think that’s it for now. I don’t think it’s to late to say, Happy New Year is it? Wishing you all the best.