Mar 25, 2013 View Comments by


Less than one week into Mexico, I find myself staring into my GPS, and then back at this “road” that has become more or less a goat path. At a dry creek bed, I dismount my Husky TE610 and track on foot to see where the path leads. I don’t want to get stuck out here by myself, and it’s starting to get dark. I only have about an hour of daylight left. The creek bed is pretty sandy with big smooth rocks everywhere. I can get down easily enough, but I’m not sure I could back track up the sandy bank. This is starting to become a dicey situation. According to my GPS, the road continues on for a few more miles before reaching a little town, but where I stand right now it has completely disappeared. I see no evidence of a path coming up out of the dried creek, so I continue down the creek bed, looking for anything resembling a path. I go about 100 yards and find a spot where I can ride up a mellow bank. There is a goat path looking trail from here. Really, this is probably the best way, but I have already decided that I should turn around. I am half way through my gas tank, so if I go any further and still have to back track I will be in trouble. Back at my bike, I decide to hole up here for the night. Do I have a tent? No, but I have a small sleeping pad and light 40 degree bag that will work as long as it doesn’t rain. With about 30 minutes left before the sun goes down, the coyotes start yipping. Now there are coyotes back in Michigan where I am from so I know that they don’t hunt people, BUT I still don’t like hearing them in this situation. I use the rest of the daylight to collect branches and brush to build a makeshift wall around me with the bike. Then I gather up some tinder and wood for a fire, which I won’t light. I don’t know where I am or whose land this is. A fire would draw attention and that is what I’m trying to avoid. I will only light the fire if the coyotes start checking me out. This could be a long night.

Once it is completely dark, I lay on my pad listening to the dogs barking all around me. There are three groups and I am triangulated in the middle. Nervous, but not scared, I get out my camera and shoot an interview, which years later will become one of my favorites. Eventually, the excitement drops, as does the temperature. I manage to get a little sleep on and off through the night, but now the hardest thing is the cold. I am somewhere around 3,000 feet above sea level in a desert climate and I didn’t fully realize the drastic temperature swings in this region. Frost is building up on the outside of my bag, testing the true value of my 40-degree rating. The sun is a welcome relief as it peeks out for the day. The temperature rises by the minute. I do a few push ups to get warm, and break down camp, wanting to leave before I run into anyone. I made it through the night; I didn’t do anything foolish like try to continue through the creek bed solo before dark. Now with a fresh mind, I back track to the main road with a fresh story to tell. That was my first night camping in Mexico.

Camping…Whoops!!! from luke Swab on Vimeo.

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About the author

Commercial fisherman to pay the bills. Adventure Rider for the smile on my face. Documenting it all as proof that anyone can live this dream.