Meet Giuseppe, my new truck from Sardinia, Italy. Sonoran Rovers wanted to bring me along to Mexico for a Sonoran Rover Tour. Each tour they set up also has a mechanic who teaches you how to fix your Land Rover as you go. Since old Land Rovers are so reliable (ask any of my towing services), I figured it seemed equal parts fun and crazy to leave my comfort zone and bring Giuseppe on his first trip into another country.
We met the crew and Land Rover in Tuscon. Within the first block of my journey, the master cylinder for the clutch gave out. I was unable to activate the clutch. We put it in second gear, drove it back to the workshop, and had to change out the master cylinder for the clutch. The rest of the crew had to wait for 90 minutes for us to complete the repair, but they cruised over to enjoy a beverage at the local brewery.
With Giuseppe back in working condition, we took off to Bisbee, Arizona. Upon arrival, we checked into our bed and breakfast and explored the town. Whitney and I had been to the town on one of our road trips many years prior to this.
We woke up, had coffee and breakfast, and performed a car swap before leaving Bisbee. One guy was waiting for his car to be delivered, and we had to swap over the rooftop tent too. We all left Bisbee to cross the border at Naco. We were an interesting and slightly unusual border-crossing group; some of the trucks are a military-style truck, so the crossing guards and their Malinois dogs poked around a lot to search all the cars for anything suspicious.
We passed the border crossing, then traveled by their largest copper mine, Cananea. We spotted a lot of agriculture, small towns, and farming as we left. Sonora is the only state that is legally permitted to sell beef and cattle to the US, so there is a lot of free-ranging cattle on the land where we visited.
We drove into a more rural area, and we stopped on the side of the river to have a picnic. A local family had prepared us local free-range beef, rice, beans, and fresh Sonoran tortillas.
After that, we continued driving to our destination Banámichi. We stayed in the center of the town in a beautiful house that had a wonderful courtyard inside. The people there prepared us another wonderful local, fresh meal with special margaritas with Bacanora.
We hit the road after a fresh and savory breakfast. We stopped at a mechanic shop first to perform maintenance work on the Land Rovers. In case you were wondering, yes, old Land Rovers require constant maintenance.
We continued onward to a really rural area where we camped on a ranch. Quickly, the pavement turned into dirt, and we were driving through riverbeds. We crossed flowing rivers, saw wild horses, and witnessed cowboys on horses using their herding dogs to round up cattle.We began to ascend at the top of the mountain. We stopped at one point on the edge of the river to cook a meal in the back of one of the overloading rovers. We continued up the mountain to find our campsite. We got to our campsite, set up our tents, and got bundled up for a cold night on the mountain. We had a fire, ate some dinner, played some games, walked around the area, witnessed a beautiful sunset, and drank some local spirits.
I slept outside on my sleeping bag on a cot on the eastern side of the truck, under the stars, so that I could wake up to the sunrise.
We woke up, cooked breakfast tacos, and we packed up our camp. We hit the road to head back to Banámichi to stay at the same lodging. Once we returned to town, did a little more rover maintenance, and then we had rooftop margaritas while the clouds rolled in during a majestic sunset. Before dinner, we did a walking tour of the town.
We went to a local spot to get tacos, and they had incredible chiltepin salsa and fresh tacos. Since it was the weekend, a lot of local people were eating out there, including the mechanic we met prior.
We rested up that night before getting to go visit a true, efficient homestead where Estefan builds houses out of mud and a thatch roof. He grows everything they eat, has a mule to help him with the farming, and they’re pretty self sufficient. They have water rights to a creek, and his oven and shower run on solar power.
On the way back to the border, we got some drone footage, but someone notified the police officers. We all got pulled over, and a person tried to bribe us by telling us that flying drones is illegal in Mexico. We decided to call their bluff because we knew this was untrue; we told them that we agreed to drive to the police station with them to go get the paper ticket for the infraction. That is when they said ah, no, we’ll just let you off with a warning this time. We were a little worried in the moment but were able to continue on to drive out of Mexico.
We stopped between the border and Tucson to grab dinner and forgot it was Super Bowl Sunday. We were able to get burgers at a steakhouse, but I had some issues with my brake lights. My rear door wouldn’t latch properly either, so I worked with the mechanic, Eric, to help me before I headed out. It was finally time for me to start the journey home. We said our goodbyes, but since everyone had become good friends at that point, it was hard to say goodbye.
There was a lot of driving to finish to bring the truck back home to Nashville. However, it puttered out in West Texas, and that story is for another day.
Until the next adventure,