Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Mexican/US Border Crossing | Leaving San Carlos

A couple days ago, I left San Carlos headed for the border. Compared to most of my towing days my 5th wheel trailer, this was one of the longest. The road is in poor condition in some spots and it turned out to be the bumpiest trip I've been on. It's at least a 6 hour drive, so I had to stop for fuel along the way. The first time I stopped, the attendant told me it was cash only. I didn't have enough pesos to pay for the fuel I needed, so I went to the next station up the road. Luckily, I usually stop for fuel when I my tank is half full unless I'm almost at my destination.

There were numerous times that traffic was directed onto two lane sections of road (both directions) because of road construction, so that tended to slow down my progress also. The new road looks like it will be really nice - and smooth!

There was a Mexican inspection about halfway from San Carlos to the border. I'm not sure what they were looking for, possibly weapons or drugs. In any case, the young agent went in my trailer and looked in most of my little cabinets and even under the bed. He was very curious about my solar panel. When he got finished with the trailer, he went into the truck box in the bed of my pickup. Then, he went into the truck to look under and behind the seats as well as the glove box. 

I thought it was all over until he motioned me to go into a small building, where he directed me to put my purse on an x-ray machine similar to what you'd find in an airport. After that, he put my vehicle on his list and told me he was done with me and I could continue on. The whole thing must have taken half an hour.

What took a long time was the border itself. When I got close, I could see long lines of tractor-trailer trucks. I was allowed in a lane separate from them and then separate from cars also. Further on, when I saw the multiple lanes of multiple cars, I was really happy that I was towing an RV since RVs were afforded their own lane! There were only a few ahead of me.

This is where they can inspect your vehicle, and the towed vehicle for vegetables, meat and fresh fruit that are not allowed over the border. I had gotten rid of everything - I thought. When the border patrol agent opened my freezer, there were two pieces of leftover pizza in there - with pepperoni! She confiscated that and I went on my merry way.

When I pulled away from that inspection, I was back in the States. I'm surprised that there was no other inspection similar to the Mexican one, but that's fine with me.

Unfortunately, there are no pictures of the border crossing. I knew better than to take any there. Last year, a friend and I walked across the border to one of the little Mexican towns. On our way back, we were taking photos of the border when one of the agents came up to us and informed us that we were not allowed to do that. He made us erase the photos in the cameras and then checked each one to be sure we had done so. Luckily, no one uses film, or he would have confiscated that.

I went up the road another hour to a casino that allows RV parking in one of their lots. I was so tired of sitting all day, I walked over to the casino for dinner. They usually have decent food that is reasonably priced.

While I have been here, I've been getting my mail and wading through that as well as other things I haven't been about to get done from Mexico. When I leave here, I'll be set for exploring this spring and summer.  For those of you wondering if I'll return to Mexico next winter because of the road conditions or the inspections, the answer would be a definite yes.  After all, I saw all those miles of new roads being built and they look great!

I'm back in the land of the saguaro cactus.  This is the Sonora Desert, as was the area all the way down to San Carlos.  However, somehow, these cactus are less prolific down there.  I'm enjoying seeing them again and wish they had been blooming already.


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