Biking toward Mexico, the jagged mountains framing both sides of Arizona’s Highway 85 are now in my mirror. Wind and heat push me forward to where it is not much of a leap for my Midwestern imagination to place me in a scene from an apocalyptic biker movie on a two-lane road headed into the heart of dust. At the border wall, problematic for drug mules and Americans with criminal records trying to cross, the guards peer at my shiny wheels.
I’m neither criminal nor mule, but I’m wary of the gun-wielding guards; the mind-meld of television news depicts Mexico as dangerous, and at this wrecking wall I’m heating up like one of Dante’s eighth-circle bolgers.
My motorcycle brothers and I cross the wall into Mexico, and our bikes are screaming to hell with America and our jobs, if we still got them, left behind us with our families—fathers, children without fathers, and desperate mothers trying to become younger in their old age. Will I ever cross the border back to America?
So this is Mexico?
There’s a lot of dust.
Dust eats away at my skin. The leather I wear makes every minute an inferno on the motorcycle. Heat explodes up my ass, creeping past crack and sack to pillage my spine and overburden my shoulders. But I am an adult, I am in Mexico, I have documents and a clean record; I can drink, buy drugs, or pay to make fantasies come true. I can also do none of that or get a ticket to take the pirate ship and sail into the mystic with tourists, eating as much shrimp and drinking as much Dos Equis XX lager as I can handle.… read more...