Charley Barnes Recounts His 10,000 Mile Honor Flight Northern Colorado Endurance Ride – Leg 2
Today’s story is Leg 2, the Border-to-Border run, on my 10,000 mile Honor Flight Northern Colorado Endurance Ride. It really wasn’t much of an adventure, until I got to Mexico and THAT was an adventure.
Author’s Note: I would have had a ton of pictures to show you but I lost the brand new GoPro that kindly lent me West of Junction Texas somewhere and that story will come out Steve Bourassa later but I wanted to preface this story as to why I don’t have any pictures.
My wake-up call came in about 0600 hours as I showered and got ready for my attempt at running the Iron Butt Border-to-Border run which would take me from inside Canada to inside the Mexico border within 24 hours. What most don’t know is that the run is actually 36 hours but if you can do it in 24 or less you earn the Border-to-Border/Insanity patch.
You know me all too well don’t you.
I got to the Canadian border about 0700 and was literally the only one there; either direction. After talking with the border agent for a short time, I was on my way but not before talking him into signing my witness form. I hit the duty free store, bought a cup of coffee for a beginning time receipt and had the owner sign my witness form as well. Still no one in sight as I made a u-turn and headed back for the U.S. border to begin my run to Mexico.
After showing the U.S. border agents my passport and explained what I was doing they asked me to park and come inside. Why? Am I in trouble? When I got inside I asked why and was told I was picked for a “random” survey, Random?
. . . I AM THE ONLY ONE HERE WITHIN 50 MILES . . .
I did their survey and was off like Keith Richards guitar at the end of show. Mexico here I come. The event was pretty much uneventful as I rode down through Montana, Idaho, Utah, Nevada and into California where I would pick up my SoCal PGR escort just outside San Clemente. We hit my hotel real quick so I could get rid of my gear and luggage in case I was searched to save time (good thing I did) and then continued to the border at the Otay Mesa crossing after leaving behind my SoCal PGR escorts at the last chance turn-off before entering Mexico and a very surreal feeling as I continued on knowing there was no turning back at that point; I was committed.
I hit the border about 0530 Pacific time to no waiting line going into Mexico…imagine that. I stopped for the Mexico border agent who waved me off to the side and moved some cones and I thought this was it. Total nerves as I stopped and looked back as she just waved me on. Whewwwwwwwww. The nightmare ahead had just begun.
As I entered Mexico I knew all I had to do was turn around and head back for the United States, cross the border and find my hotel for some much needed rest. So where do I turn around? OMG, the line was miles back and it would take me HOURS. I went down about a mile and found a cut-in where some guy in a silver mustang looked as though he had been waiting since 1937. Trust me when I say they will NOT let you cut into traffic. When I say bumper to bumper, I mean literally bumper to bumper. People jumping curbs, making their breakfast, reading the paper etc. Even saw a fistfight and not one person offering to clean my bug infested windshield that you couldn’t see though to save a life, mine.
I decided to take my chance and got on the other side of the Mustang and after 20 minutes, finally got a guy to look at me where I held my hands up in the Prayer/Please position and he nodded me in. Now, it would only be an hour our so before reaching the U.S. Border.
By the time I got to the Border, my bike was so hot it overheated and started melting down. I shut the bike off at the gate, showed my passport and when asked to move into the search area, the bike wouldn’t start. Made a sound like I have never heard and I about cried thinking the ride was over right then and there. Must have been some kind of an oil vapor lock. I pushed my bike about a 100 yards to the search area and then the fun began.
First, my LED lights would’t shut off so I had to pull my bags and seat to get underneath and pull the fuse. I would have to do this for the rest of the trip if I wanted my lights to work at night. After going through the search and showing all the border agents a flyer on what I was doing, they let me walk out so I could go get a quart of oil since it was low and hoping that was part of my problem and to just let the bike cool down. I returned after convincing a guard at the gate I was told to do what I was doing and needed to get back to my bike. After a few minutes he finally let me back in.
I took care of my bike, put it all back together and repacked from the search. I mounted my steed after I was told I was free to go and hoped it would start because if it didn’t, I was stuck in Mexico with no way home and had no idea what my next move would be. To my surprise, she fired right up and I said ADIOS AMIGOS and off I went and never even had to grab my ankles.
All in all, I spent about 3 hours going across the border and back across again but I did crush the Border-to-Border in less than 22 hours. What makes this extra special is that I left all my gear at my Shelby, Montana hotel so my search time would be shorter, if searched so I had to go back to the hotel after leaving Canada (my time clock is ticking at this point) and then I checked into my San Diego hotel before crossing the border for the same reason.
My bike ran great and I was off to my hotel in San Diego where I would sleep till 4:00 p.m. that afternoon before meeting Scott Wiles and other members of the SoCal PGR at Point Loma before beginning my Coast-to-Coast run to Jacksonville, Florida.