Sunday morning - no, not last Sunday morning - the Sunday before that .....we were up bright and early.
I'm not really sure that Derek and I slept all that much, it was a big day for us. We've been thinking about traveling in Mexico for a few years now so it was still hard to believe that we were actually doing it. Plus - with all the paper work that had to be done during our first day we were a bit nervous.
By 8 a.m. we were ready to go. As mentioned in the previous post, to get to the border we just had to drive around the corner.
The view going into the border.....
and, looking back at it. It was a green light for us!
Just to the left is the location of the immigration office. We found it the second time!
WE'RE IN MEXICO!
Our first stop was the Migracion office just inside the border to pick up our tourist cards (FMT), and I mean JUST inside. We ended up driving right past it and had to turn back around when we realized we had gone to far. A nice BIG sign would have been helpful - but asking one of the locals worked just as well.
It didn't take to long to get our cards however the fellow behind the desk wasn't really moving all that fast. When we arrived at the office we were the only ones there, by the time we left there was a family headed to San Carlos for the week and a couple from Boise, Idaho headed to the San Blas area for the winter. (Funny - that Boise couple is going to show up in our future - stay tuned!)
The thriving metropolis of Sonyata - a bit hard to take it all in. Plus we are trying to keep our eyes peeled for direction signs.
Santa Ana! That's our turn. Today we were taking the #2 through Caborca and on to Santa Ana - 260 kms (162 miles).
And confirmation that we really are going the right way.
IF ONLY YOU COULD HAVE SEEN THIS!
All of the trucks lined up on the side of the road!
and miles ......
and miles ......
and miles ......
and miles ......
and miles .....
No kidding and no exaggeration. The line up must have been a few hundred semi trucks - easy. And just to show how wet behind the ears WE are - when we can upon the trucks we stopped in behind them. Since we figured we were in for a wait Derek got out for a smoke. Just as he did that I saw a few cars drive by AND then I saw the driver from the truck behind coming up to the van.
We figured out pretty quickly what he was trying to tell us - so Derek jumped back in and we were off. Thank goodness that we didn't have to wait behind the trucks. Our first lesson for driving in Mexico.
The scenery is quite nice to Carborca - the desert with lots of Organ Pipe Cactus.
On the south side of Carborca we knew that we needed to stop at the Banjercito to get our temporary vehicle import permit. Since we came down a hill just before it, it was quite easy to pick out. Being a new, large, white building helped as well.
The building is very formal and again there was nobody else there. The 3 of us walked up the staircase to be greeted by a security guard who directed us to the office. Again, a very easy process. We paid for our FMTs, $22 each and vehicle permit at $49.95.
Thankfully we are an RV so we didn't have to leave a deposit.
Upon leaving the Banjercito office we went through our third check point - the red light, green light kind. The previous two had been green but this one was red. Perhaps it was because he was on his cell phone, but the fellow just asked to see our paperwork and where we were going and left it at that.
Another few hours and we arrived at Santa Ana. We were surprised just west of the city by a toll booth - nothing I had read mentioned a toll booth. Derek and I were nervous at first because we hadn't yet picked up pesos. Not a good idea - next time we will for sure stop in Sonoyta for some. Thankfully this toll booth accepts American.
I had read about the Punta Vista RV Park in Mexican Camping and on line. Everyone seems to know Ana and Edgar and stop as they go through.
THRILLED TO HAVE ARRIVED IN SANTA ANA
We were relieved to have made it through our first day of Mexico. It was a bit challenging but we were happy with ourselves that we had figured everything out. We found our first day to be a bit of a culture shock - particularly for Derek who has never been to Mexico before - except for border towns that is.
We were the first rig there but were quickly followed by two more - one from BC and the other from Alberta. It was nice to chat with others going south - Derek and I have lots to learn.....
The view from our site overlooking downtown Santa Ana. $10 per night with full hook ups.
Our hosts Ana and Edgar. We had a wonderful time talking with this couple they are lots of fun. We highly recommend their RV park as a stop and look forward to overnighting there again on our way north. Edgar even took me downtown to the bank and Derek to pick up some smokes. Now is that service or what!?
Driving in Mexico sure is an interesting experience........
TODAY'S INTERESTING LINK: Hmmmmm, this seems like an interesting site. I stumbled upon it from another link -- Southwest Compass. It appears to be a good resource for southwest USA travel, which we LOVE to do. It'll come in handy once we head north again in the spring and for future travels.