We hugged our families goodbye on Saturday with a few tears from our heartfelt mothers and hit the road. I had been rather emotional about leaving over the past week – as you saw in my last couple posts – but for some reason I could only think happy thoughts on Saturday when we left. I feel like everything will be fun, and it will seem like we just left when we get back. I don’t know how long we will be gone, but I think it will seem short. It is merely a droplet of time in a lifetime.
The drive on Saturday was actually a little leisurely because we only wanted to drive to the border and stay on the Texas side. We were told by several experienced individuals not to drive at night in Mexico, so we planned to cross the border at dawn. So Saturday morning we had a delicious breakfast with Tim’s parents and headed down to meet up with my family in Austin for a little bon voyage lunch. Then, only 3 more hours and we made it to Eagle Pass – a recommended crossing town.
This morning we awoke at 6:30 a.m. and we on the road by 7 a.m. We crossed into Piedras Negras. We were not quite sure what to expect at the border because we have a new car (traded in the good ol’ Honda coupe for a Toyota 4 Runner to fit all our stuff) loaded down with crap. I had no idea if they would question why we were driving that far or how long we were going to be in the country or possibly go through every bag of stuff we have. NONE of that happened. They did not even look at our passports. We were kinda shocked. It seemed way too easy. So we headed on thinking – awesome! About one hour into the country we come across a checkpoint. I was thinking it was similar to the other ones we had gone through on our last trip where they poke around your stuff and send you on your way. Well, I was wrong. This is actually where they want all of your documentation and information about your trip. We drive up and are directed to a man at a station where it looks like he is about to look through everything we own. “Oh boy, this is gonna take a while,” I’m thinking. He asks us if we have our permits in broken English. I, in broken Spanish, offer up our passports with our Mexican Visas inside. No, no, no – for the car. hum…
These are close to his actual words, “I hope you understand me when I say this. Without this permit this car now belongs to me.”
Stomach drops. Excuse me? You mean you are going to take this car from us right now, and I will have to walk back to my home country so I can call my family.
Ok, it wasn’t that serious because he followed that with, “I will let you turn around and go back to get the proper permit for this car.”
As it turns out, the imigration and permit office was right behind us, we just didn’t know we were supposed to go there first (no signage, of course). We were able to get the proper permits for the car and check into the country with little hang ups. It took about an hour to get it all taken care of. We went back through the checkpoint and spoke with the same man who was happy to see we were keeping our car. He looked in the back seat and didn’t touch anything before he waved us on through.
The rest of the trip here to Durango was fairly uneventful. We made pretty good time and stopped only a couple times for gas and pesos. We did get a bit turned around in Torreon (a city we passed through) for a while.
Now it it time to kick back and watch the World Series en espanol before we wake up early and continue our trip to the Luckiest. Next stop: Copala to pick up (and finally meet) our sailing mentor and friend Gary!