I zoomed through Turkey Park, Ambush Saddle, Bean Flat, and Peach Tree Springs with my neck craning in awe of a new-to-me landscape. The further down the road, the better it became, culminating at the Portal Peak Cafe and Lodge. Similar to my experiences with Outback roadhouses, places you anticipate for days without knowing what lay in store, everything on offer was exactly what I wanted. The burger, espresso, and Topo Chico hit me so good, and I sat under a big sycamore writing postcards, thoroughly enjoying myself. I was so comfy I could have stayed for dinner, but instead I carried on and covered another 30 miles in the early evening. Very few cars on the road after sunset and the goodness of the burger pumped me along in a state of near total contentment, all the way to my next campsite, another ditch situation on the edge of private ranch property.
The border wall between the United States and Mexico is like a car wreck. It’s obscene and incomprehensible in its scale and damage, but intriguing too, and therefore hard to look away. I pedaled along the wall for an afternoon as I made my way to the border checkpoint in Naco, México. I had brought along some unused currency from a previous trip and spent two hours and 120 pesos on tacos, coffee, pan de muerto, and a bag of chips. Crossing back into the United States that evening, the light was almost gone, and everything was washed in the gray-brown of post-sunset. Something moved across the road ahead of me - two people - and crossing a barbed wire fence, the two figures hid themselves in the tall grass on the edge of the road. A helicopter thwack-thwack-thwacked overhead, and I wondered how many other migrants I had unknowingly passed hidden away in ditches and bushes in the last few days.