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Travelling in Mexico - A cautionary tale!


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Before I get to Carlos' story, the folks mentioned in this trip (Priscilla, Rufus, Leroy and Carlos) are members of our local Monday ride Group " The Lost Boys".


Warren, mentioned in the tale, is a Canadian who joined the group for the Mexico ride



Motorcycle Ride to Sonora Mexico March 22 to 31 / 2012

by Carlos Mateus



On Monday 26th of March, during our trip to Sonora, Mexico; we spent the night at Rancho Acosta, a beautiful B & B right outside the city of Los Alamos. The next day, March 27, we got up early, had hot coffee and a succulent breakfast. Then, Priscilla, Warren, Leroy, Rufus, and Carlos “I” decided that it would be very nice to take a dirt road ride, +/- 112 Km due East to the town of El Fuerte. The ride was hard, dusty and hot. After 4 hours we arrived at a large manmade reservoir about 5 Km west from El Fuerte, where the road became a narrow, “Mexican”, paved road.


About 3 Km outside the city of El Fuerte, 5 banditos holding semi-automatic hand weapons, dressed in black with black nylon masks covering their heads, jumped out of the bushes with the intent to block the road and force us to stop. They were waving their arms and aiming the guns at us; (from now on what ever happened, happened really fast and not fast enough); Priscilla who was in front of the group, was forced to stopped at gun point and was being motioned to move the bike to the shoulder; I was second, behind Priscilla, but when I saw the banditos come out from the side of the road, I was able to turn around and yelled to every one to do the same. But Rufus yelled back saying they had Priscilla, so I turned around again. Warren, who was third and behind me (Carlos), was also forced to stop at gun point. Then, one of banditos ran toward me waving his gun. He probably thought I was getting away. At the same time I notice that Priscilla and Warren had gotten away. Then I saw Rufus revving up the engine in his bike and charging at full speed, against one of the guys that was aiming his gun at him. I smartly followed suit and accelerated my bike behind Rufus. I heard several shots going off and thought they were just blanks because I did not see anyone go down or being hurt.


Unfortunately I noticed that they stopped Leroy, it almost appeared that his bike had stalled. Once we got far away from them, Warren and I stopped and looked back to check on Leroy’s fate. To our relief, we saw Leroy's bike headlights appear over a rise so we continued our run into town, were we all rode directly to the police station in the main plaza.


At this point, we started assessing what had really happened and noticed that there was a bullet hole through the fuel tank of my bike, the tank that sits under my seat, next to my leg! Fortunately, only fuel was flowing freely.


Then we noticed the bullet hole in Leroy's windshield, the windshield front of his face! This pretty much confirmed that this was no joke and how very serious this incident was. We could have been dead meat.


We are very lucky and fortunate to be safe and sound to be able to tell the story now.


Recounting the story, we realized that everyone's actions contributed to a rapid and safe get-away, but it was Priscilla’s get away that precipitated a bunch of actions by the other riders. While Priscilla was being forced to move to the side of the road she noticed the bandito was busy looking toward the back and Priscilla took this opportunity to accelerate and run away while dragging the bandito along with her as he held on to her arm. The guy that was holding on to Warren also got distracted with all the commotion Priscilla was causing and in a split second he pulled a wheelie from standing still and took off, the bandito was probably stunned with Warren’s wheelie. Then it was Rufus' furious attack and then it was me following Rufus at full throttle. While they held Leroy they put their hands inside his pockets and stole 1500 pesos, his hankie, and his new cell phone. Leroy says that one of the banditos slapped him on the side of his helmet and told him “bayase” get out of here, Leroy humbly obeyed and got out of there rapidly.


In fixing Carlos’ bike we notice that the bullet impacted the fuel tank, went through the fuel itself and left the tank close to the rear wheel, and then went on through the wall of the tire and impacted the inside of the rim causing a dent big enough to create small cracks to allow the air to escape. Warren had the right solution. He was well prepared to solve both the tank and the rim problem. He had in his tool bag, epoxy glue that proved to be very effective in patching the two holes in the tank and partially fix the hole on the rim. With this solution we were able to get back to Los Alamos. However, this time we took the longer route on a paved road.


The next day, we needed to find a permanent solution to fix the rim. Warren again, had the right plan. We needed to remove the rear wheel of the bike, the tire was flat again, and take it to a tire repair shop to have them remove the tire and be able to inspect the inside of the rim. When the tire was removed we found a bullet slug inside the tire. Warren & Rufus inspected the tire and rim and then applied the epoxy to the dent inside the rim. They also had the repair shop vulcanized the hole on the wall of the tire. With this done I had a reliable rear wheel and tank to take me back to the good old USA.


There are a lot of scenarios that could have happened, but this is the way it played out. And we are all very fortunate to be able to reflect and analyze the motivation of each of our actions.





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Safe is a meaningless word. There is no such thing and no such place as safe.

The debate has continued on Advrider.

Here is a link to a thread there title "Is Mexico Safe?".


The thread has 524 pages, and more than 7,800 posts. Many or most from people riding all over Mexico. I have not read all 524 pages, but of the dozens I read, nobody had any problem at all.

So what are the odds?

I suspect I am in far more danger here in Los Angeles.


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Wrong place - wrong time! That's all it takes to end up in deep sh...t down there. We had much the same thing happen just South of where you were, somewhere east of Tameapa (El Tascate). We were on a dirt road. One of our guys got separated from us and "captured" by some drunken idiots who fired at his feet to make him dance. He was rescued by an armed family who took him to their house and gave him directions out in the morning. It was several days before we found out what had happened to him. We too were stopped by some armed guys, but they just wanted to wave their guns around and pretend they were tough guys. I think to impress a nice blonde lady who was riding with us. It was a long story just getting back to paved roads. We were lucky and you were lucky. Our adventure was several years ago and the drug lords in Sonora didn't want any problems so the main threat was what my friend ran into - armed drunks. Today some of those areas aren't controlled by anyone.

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Glad you're all OK.

Tempting to say something about the need for

"training and licensing" of gun owners in Mexico.


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Glad you're all OK.

Tempting to say something about the need for

"training and licensing" of gun owners in Mexico.


...or ask em if they were wearing hoodies.



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Gee, I wonder where they might have obtained their guns. Augie.gif I could reference a possible link, but it wouldn't go so well for my future here. :Cool:


So glad it all ended reasonably well.

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