Boy was Monday night windy - we woke to a very shaky van come Tuesday morning.
We weren't up too early but ready to go by 9:00 am. Today was THE day to travel from Mexico to USA.
We had a mere 130 kms to go - but a Mexican Banjercito and the USA Customs standing between us and Texas.
So - here we go - let's get to it shall we.
On the way into Sabinas..... still windy.
And windy enough to take this roof down - just to the right outside of the picture - were the emergency vehicles. That was some wind.
A whole lot of nothing from Sabinas to the border - a bit of a wasteland look.
About half way between Sabinas and the border - at the city of Allende - is a military checkpoint and the Banjercito where we turn in our vehicle hologram and visitor papers.
It seemed that the military solder wanted to look in our van - but by the time we tried to figure it all out with the English to Spanish - he just waved us through. He probably figured it wasn't worth the aggravation.
It was nice that Judy and Dale told us exactly how it works here at the Banjercito - their explanation was perfect. First, we had to drive up to the small building on the left where they remove your hologram and take a picture of your license plate - then you park and go inside to hand in your tourist papers. We also had them stamp our passports.
Derek removing our hologram.
It was all very easy, back on the road and still VERY windy. It was a bit of a push through to get to the border.
Again - Judy and Dale provided us with excellent info on how to get to the border crossing. It was a real life saver because it isn't obvious where you should go once you get to Piedra Negras. We had to turn right at the Pemex (where we stopped to fill our tank - cheaper gas in USA then Canada - but Mexico is cheaper still), and then turn left at the lights. The only problem was that there were no lights to turn at so we kept driving - and driving - and driving. About five kilometres out we realized that we had missed it. Heading back we saw the sign for the Puente Internacional - with no lights.
Heading into Mexican customs. This military officer did insist on looking through our van. While I helped with that and held on to Roofous, Derek talked to the English speaking soldier at his window. He happily showed Derek his HUGE gun and his belt full of grenades.
After that we proceeded to the toll booth for the bridge over the Rio Grande - $24 pesos.
Clear sailing over the bridge to the USA Customs. Sure glad we weren't behind all the trucks.
I didn't take any pictures of our 'stay' at the USA Customs - that's right our stay. No way were they going to let us just drive on through - right! Nope - not us - never. So we first visited with a very nice lady who then directed us to the pull over area. There were about five men waiting for us to unload - a bit of a process as you might expect. Roofous and Moonie had to go into a very small cage and Cassia and I went to wait inside since it was still very cool and windy. We watched while all five of them sifted through the van. The engine, a dog, a mirror - inside - outside, little Caballito got a full search.
After not much of a wait we got the all clear - pretty straight forward. We loaded back in and were about to go when one of Customs Officers - at Derek's window - started to talk to us. Super nice guy - a farmer from Minnesota - now the Agriculture Inspector. So we ended up talking with him about all sorts of things for the next 20 minutes or so. I even got the directions from him on how to find highway 57 and the tip that highway 481 was a good backroad to Uvalde.
We just HAVE to say - those USA Customs Officers up at the Canadian border could sure learn a thing or two from their colleagues to the south about friendliness and common courtesy. Sheesh - NOT one smile from the northern group but hellos, conversations and smiles from these ones. It was actually a nice border crossing experience for once.
Thanks - so, so, so happy to be here.
We made our way through Eagle Pass easily enough and were on the 57 north to Uvalde in no time. Hmmm the landscape hasn't changed much from south of the border.
We stopped briefly in Uvalde for some groceries - after all there wasn't much we could take with us over the border. We stocked up - had lunch and got back on the road - by this time it was about 3:00 pm.
This is a shot while driving through Hondo.
Just east of Hondo we turned north to head to Banderas. We were quickly stopped for construction. Derek and I were struck by the differences between road construction methods in Mexico vs. the USA - and Canada for that matter. Just look at all those signs! AND even a pilot car. They could learn a few things about saving money from Mexico - ha ha.
Large scale agriculture area in these parts.
We pulled into Banderas at around 5:00pm and pulled out around 5:02pm. We thought to stay there the night and even drove up to an RV park - but when we saw all the large rigs there we made a hasty get away. Too crowded for us. Instead we pulled down the highway a bit and 'rested' overnight in a rest area. It was a cool one - below freezing. Brrrrrr......
It was quite the day. Since Derek and I seem to always get targeted at borders we were a little nervous about the whole ordeal. In the end it was a very smooth experience - it almost helps us to feel ok about border's again - almost.
That was yesterday .... today we made the trip from Banderas to Boerne and then on to New Braunfels, where we are now. I'll show you the pics from Boerne tomorrow night.
A bit weird being out of Mexico - we keep wanting to talk what little Spanish we know to everyone. Some reverse culture shock going on.
TODAY'S INTERESTING LINK: Why not start without us and visit the Boerne website - it's a great little town. Today was our third time through. We were first in Boerne back in 2008 when we did the tour. Last year we just drove through but today stopped again to visit Main Street and get some breakfast - and a GOOD cup of coffee. It's one of our favourite cities in the Texas Hill Country.