The Last Of The US Before Mexico

After touring around Arizona with Bridget, we began heading south towards the Mexican border. We'd spent the last few days in Sedona and hitchhiked easily to Prescott where we'd just been dropped off, walking the last little bit to the home of a friend of a friend we hadn't yet met.

We waited up in their backyard until Dennis came home, then much warmer sitting around his counter sipping Guinness and getting to know each other. Soon his wife Kim came home and we all mobilized out to a brew pub in town for beers and burgers.

We spent another day in town, Bridget and I explored of the square and then went for a hike to get a better view of things. Coming back from the hike we hitched short ride from a bouldering girl back to town, walking around a bit more and settling into the brew pub.

A couple locals offered us beers and chatted us up on Baja, they were as excited as we were for the upcoming trip. Dennis eventually came and picked us up, a quick stop back at the house, then the four of were back out in town to a beer bar with good live music to enjoy the night.

The next afternoon we got moving, only Mexico was on our mind now. As we walked up the hill alongside the road it seemed that Bridget was tired or upset, in some kind of mood not conducive to catching a ride. It bled over to me and I stopped thumbing, now just walking. We reached a big pull out and paused, she went and sat down in the shade. I walked around checking the place out, eventually looping back around to check on her emotional state. She was sensing some kind of change that would come with Mexico, I let her say her piece, ready to keep moving.

At last she was at rest, our thumbs back to the road until a car stopped and let us pile in. I crammed into the open air trunk as we cruised eating strawberries until coming to a junction and parted ways. We walked some more, then a white pickup truck came with no room up front, but she let us hop in the back. We cruised for a while, then came to a little town, she pulled a block or two off the main road and up to the gate of her house. We hopped off the back thanking her, she asked us what our story was and we talked for a few minutes, ending with her offering to let us spend the night at her place.

Always tempting and rarely do I turn down offers like this, but with a fair amount of daylight left, we decided we'd keep on moving. The town was full of boulders and vast views, we waited on top of a hill to thumb cars and take it all in. We got a ride to the next junction, then another ride in the back of a pickup truck as the sun set on our day.

That ride let us out in the Quartzite, we talked to the driver for a little bit once stopped, then got to walking, south and into the darkness. After a fair bit of hoofing it, we hiked a hundred yards or more into the desert where we tucked away in the river bed amongst the few trees we could find.

In the morning we got packing up when I noticed the tightening cords for both my shoes had been snipped off, clean. I was perplexed, Bridget's backpack had suffered a similar clipping. She suggested it was the little alien spirits that surely inhabited these deserts, I struggled to think of any alternative.

We hiked back to the road to start hitching the final stretch to the border, of all the cars that could pick us up, it was the same pickup truck who'd dropped us off the night before. We told him about the mysterious clipping, he knew the culprit right away, "pack rats".

"They love anything bright and shiny, you're lucky he didn't go for your earrings!", he said looking over at Bridget, "I used to have pack rats in my backyard, I just let them be until I decided to get a dog. I went back there to destroy their nest, it was full of tinsel, key chains, ornaments, you name it", he told us. Apparently these buggers were pretty common.

He got us down to Yuma, once there Bridget and I went to get a bite to eat and decide our next move. Initially it seemed Mexicali would be the obvious place to cross the border, but looking at the map some more it became clear that we could end up getting stuck walking across the big city if we didn't get just the right ride. We spotted an entrance further west in Tecate, which seemed like a much smaller town where we might have better luck.

Eventually we headed back to the freeway leaving our options open, we'd make our decision based on the rides that turned up. Our ride did turn up, a couple heading to San Diego. Within minutes we decided Tecate would be a better bet, especially since the couple said they could take an alternative route to drop us off right at the border if we wanted. Our last ride in the US, just another example of simple generosity and friendly people. They dropped us off right in front of the border crossing, we said our goodbyes and thanks, Mexico now just a few footsteps away.

February 15, 2012 to to February 18, 2012

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