No point lying. It was not an easy trip from Nogales down to Bucerias. It was really long – and pulling a 32 foot red box full of heavy stuff for over 5000 km is bound to come with challenges. We were pleased to cross the border with relatively few problems, but that left us with 1570 kms to go and of course, it would not be uneventful. Although we arrived at the border on Friday, we could not meet with the broker until Monday – and honestly we really needed a couple of days rest in Arizona over the weekend. We set out on Monday morning, and after spending a few hours at the border, we only made it about 4 hours to Hermosillo. The next day we went as far as Culiacan. That is not our favorite place to stop – it’s El Chapo’s town – but it was the most convenient and we found a decent place to stay with a parking lot big enough to accommodate our crazy rig. It was our plan to make it home or close to home on Wednesday – I had a plane to catch on Friday – but that was not to be. We set out on Wednesday morning, and after only going about 40 miles we heard the clunk you don’t want to hear. Another tire gone. And this time when we looked closer we saw that the axle on the trailer was completely broken. So there we were on the only stretch of highway I don’t feel that comfortable on – Culiacan to Mazatlan – with a broken axle and shredded tire. When you travel on toll roads on Mexico, you are entitled to roadside assistance when you have breakdowns and I had the number for the Green Angels in my phone. When I called them they told me they don’t look after trailers, but they gave me another number to call. That number put me through to a dispatcher in Mexico City who tried to understand where we were and who said he would send help. At that point I decided it was time to call in the heavy guns – my friends Francisco and Anita. Francisco and Anita are Mexican Americans who are living in Bucerias as they finalize the adoption of their sweet son. They have become good friends and I needed to hear the voice of a good friend. Who spoke Spanish. So Francisco set to work calling the highway patrol for us and after about 4 hours two kind men showed up with a tow truck. A small tow truck that had absolutely no possibility of towing our trailer. They knew of a welder who lived nearby, and after about 2 more hours he showed up to spot weld our axle so that we could at least drive the 2 hours to Mazatlan. We would try to find a new axle or a trailer repair shop there.
6 hours staring at this corn field thanks to this broken axle
We drove slow and made it to Mazatlan, exhausted and starving. I started to look at bus routes and plane schedules – we thought perhaps we would leave the trailer there and return for it in a couple of weeks. But when we started to look for trailer repair shops we realized our plan was impossible. We eventually found an American guy who repairs trailers but when we met him on Thursday morning he told us he had absolutely no time and there was no chance of getting a new axle for many weeks. The only thing we could do was drive home – slowly. Unfortunately, the very worst part of the trip was still ahead. From Tepic to Bucerias is only around 140 km, but it takes close to 3 hours to drive it. It is a windy, hilly mess with crazy drivers who pass on the DO NOT PASS curves and we knew our trailer was going to be a hazard.
We decided to take a detour to San Blas which is still an insane road but with less traffic. By the time we reached San Blas it was late afternoon. It is an interesting beach town and we stopped to eat some roadside sweets before tackling the final stretch.
Those last 3 hours were murder. It was dark, we were exhausted and traffic on the curvy road was insane. If my husband wasn’t already my hero, he definitely became one for me that night. I don’t know how he did it but we made it home – with 12 hours to spare before I had to head to the airport to catch my plane to Cuba.
Yes, it was difficult. It was exhausting. It was scary. But it was worth it. I think that’s how many of the best things in life come to be. Through great pain. I sometimes wonder how many times I have quit something that could have been great because I thought the pain was too much. This time we couldn’t quit – we had to see it through and I am so grateful. Grateful for a husband who just kept driving, for friends who spent the day tracking down help and checking in on us, for 2 highway patrol guys who stayed with us until we could head out, for a welder who welded the heck out of the axle so that we could make it home. Grateful for the knowledge that no matter how difficult this all is, we are exactly where we are meant to be and the craziness of the journey just makes arriving at the destination all the sweeter.