Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Trip Report: BigD's Christmas Shakedown in Sonoyta

--by BigD

Well it finally happened to me. I was on my way back from another trip to Rocky Point. I had to pay my Policia tax!

So there I was, just like pretty much every other driver, Mexican or Gringo, doing about 70mph between Rocky Point and Sonoyta. Then as I hit Sonoyta, about the 7 kilometer marker, most of you know the one-- the hill where the speed limit drops from 90kph to 40kph, and its all downhill. The perfect Mexican speed trap. Well I'm usually good at following the speed limits inside of Sonoyta and Rocky Point, as I'm never in any hurry to get anywhere, while I am in town. I am fairly sure I dropped my speed to under 50kph at the correct time. But of course going downhill and cruising along at 70mph, I might have been a bit off. Well I crested the hill, knowingly slowing down. I see off in the distance, at the bottom of the hill, the local Policia pickup truck and a few officers standing around.

I kept slowing down, but as I approached an officer waived me over. I figured OK, there were others standing around holding cans, collecting donations for whatever. I figured they wanted a donation. Little did I know I would be making a direct donation to a particular Policia's Christmas fund.

So I pulled over. The officer shows me a radar gun. It said 58kph. I really don't speak good Espanol, which might have been in my favor, as the officer did not speak much English. But he was nice. No animosity or power trip. He was trying to explain to me that I was going too fast. I tried to tell him that I really wasn't.

But, it didn't seem to matter. Hell, I don't even know if the radar gun was real. He asked me for ID. But before I did, he put on a big toothy grin and said the fine would be $40.00. I asked him do I go to the station to pay it?

Now I'm not stupid. I knew what was coming next. He said, no, I could pay him. So I figured what the heck. It just wasn't worth the effort of arguing. So I smiled and said Feliz Navidad! Handed him the $40.00 and proceeded to the border.

I wish they would be more consistent. Especially when it comes to running stop signs. I'm telling you in 4 years of driving in Mexico, I've NEVER seen a Mexican come to a complete stop at a stop sign unless there's other cars already in the intersection. Or it's a Mexican stand off: 4 cars at the same intersection at the same time. Everyone afraid to go first! But hey, what can you do? I personally think the Mexicans use the stop signs as more of a quideline to slow down at intersections, than to actually stop before proceeding through.

To be honest, I'd rather be shaken down for $40.00 than to be shaken down here in the U.S. I was pulled over once in Mesa, AZ. I was on my way home after having my car cleaned and detailed, I did not have anything in my car at the time. I had pulled everything from my glove compartment, registration, ID, insurance, and everything else. I left it home, as I did not want anything stolen by the car wash attendees.

Well I was pulled over by the Mesa Police. After 5 charges later, they just kept pilling on the charges, one after another. Then a trip to the Police station to be fingerprinted and photo ID'ed -- because I left my license at home, they did everything but ask me to give a DNA sample!

Oh, they let me go eventually, as I was not really under arrest. The Mesa Police just wanted to make sure that I was who I said I was. The fines and fees from Mesa traffic court were close to $1,000. I have no idea what that impact will be yet on my insurance, if any. But at least the Mexican, Sonoyta Policia were honest about their shake down.

So overall, 4 years of trips to Rocky Point, I figured it was bound to happen sometime. You hear all the horror stories. But I'm actually just relieved that I can buy my way out of trouble if need be. Some people find it a necessary evil, but just goes to show, Police worldwide are racketeers. At least in my experience, the Sonoyta Officer was cordial and nice.

Just glad this time I had money left over. Normally I'm coming back with just a few pesos left over in my cup tray. Seems like the tequila expenses are more and more each trip! HAHAHA!

I figure, now I have my own story to tell during the next round of tequila's!


(See BigD's Halloween Trip Report)

If you have a trip report you'd like to share, send it on in to I'd love to post it for you!
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain