A Mind Twisting Day

I left Kino around noon with two main goals: visit the Home Depot in Hermosillo to price some materials, and to then cut east and return via the Rio Sonora without getting stopped by the cops.
Home Depot seemed easy. The Rio Sonora route, not so much. Technically, US cars need a Mexican permiso to drive this route, and I don’t have one. They cost about $40 and require a $300 deposit that isn’t returned until you turn the permiso back in, on time. Not turned in? You can never get another one. Late? Well, you can get another one some day, but you forfeit the $300. So, big goal. No cops.
But then life happened. 
A friend had told me the Home Depot (henceforth the HD) was right across from the Wal-Mart (WM). I cruised up and down, round and round. I almost pulled right out in front of a car but his angry car horn stopped me dead. I circled and searched. Finally, I pulled into the WM parking lot (I SWEAR I didn’t go in!!!) to try to find someone who could tell me where the HD was.
My luck! Along came a taxi cab. I flagged down the driver and he told me it was across from the other Wal-Mart a few miles south. Turns out I had driven within a block of it before turning around and heading back north for miles.
I zipped down to the HD, parked, and went into the store. Such convenience! It was laid out just like the ones in the states, so it was easy to find my way around and check the prices.
As I wandered the aisles, Stevie Wonder crooned through the store speakers telling me he’d just called to say he loved me. I was touched. In honor of a friend who loves to dance, I did a a little jig down the plywood aisle. A few people backed away.
Got my prices, wrote them down without fainting, then back to the car to head back north to make my way around to the highway that runs from the north along the east side of the city. Then it struck me: I would just have to go way north and then east and then back south. Why not just cut through the city and get to the highway? Heck, I had a MAP! I was fearless.
Well, not quite fearless. I remembered the last time I’d tried to find my way through Hermosillo. I left a friend’s house around 2:00, and an hour later, I found myself circling back past her neighborhood. I’d gotten myself caught in one of the city’s many loops. 
I called her on my Mexican cell phone, got good instructions, and headed back out. An hour later, after wandering downtown,driving twice the wrong way on one-way streets, and circling awhile in a new suburb, I finally emerged onto the highway back to Kino. 
The one hour and fifteen minute drive took me only three hours.
But this time, I had a MAP!
I pulled over and laid out my route. Easy. Follow Johnson to Rodriguez to Kino to the highway. A snap. Fifteen minutes max.
I couldn’t get to Johnson directly and got lost in a neighborhood. I finally made it but almost missed it because it was labeled as Encinas, the whole name being Bolevard Luis Encinas Johnson. I never found Rodriguez (Alberado L Rodriguez. Had it just been called “L”?)
An hour later I was almost out of gas and had made likely the most circuitous route possible to the highway. But I made it. I snarled when I drove past my friend’s old neighborhood and didn’t dare call her to tell her I’d done it once again, but with a MAP.
Got gas, found the highway east and headed toward the Ruta Rio Sonora. Wow! 
Four miles down the road I landed in the wrong lane, missed a road entrance and had to circle under a bridge, drive back west a mile or so and try again. Success.
Now. Why had I planned to take this route? It is longer and it is much slower than my usual over-the-mountain trek.
Well, my tires are old and warn. I didn’t want to take that white-knuckle mountain road. Knew that it could be more dangerous than it usually is to drive it with old tires. 
So. I cruised east on Sonora route 14. A lovely drive past ranches and small villages. Men on horseback rode along the side the road. Many little towns had signs pointing the way to the molinero, the wheat grinding facility. It was rural and rustic, a Mexican blue highway.
And then it changed. It began to slowly climb uphill. Then it began to twist through the hills.  Oh, NO! Exactly the situation I had wanted to avoid!
But it wasn’t nearly so bad as the old white knuckler. This road was a bit wider, and it wasn’t anywhere as steep as the other. Also, there were several wide spots where it would be easy to pull off if necessary, and on the road I’d been avoiding, those spots are few and far between. Plus, there were no mind-numbing sheer cliff drop offs with little roadside crosses planted every few feet. And another bonus, no big trucks.
So, though I initially feared for my life when I saw the rise in elevation complete with twisty road, it was fine. 
In about 70 miles and closer to two hours than one, I found the road north, the actual Ruta Sonora.
I drove lazily, letting my eyes wander over green fields and beyond to the string of cottonwoods that gave away the river’s location. I thought about stopping a few times but figured with my luck a kindly cop would stop to see if I was okay. And then he’d become a little less kindly once he noticed I was without a permiso. So I plodded on.
And then it happened. In the first big town, Baviacora, a kindly cop watched me drive by. He was sitting at a stop sign on a cross street. And he then zipped in behind me.
First concern was there was no posted speed limit, so I was sort of winging it by cruising at about 22. Second concern, of course, was that he’d noticed the lack of permiso on my car windshield.
He clung to my back bumper. I kept driving an even 22. He stayed on my bumper. About a mile later, he turned off. Success! First kindly cop either ignored or missed my lawbreaking. 
On to Banamihci!

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