Saltillo, Coahuila to outside of Nuevo Laredo, Texas, US of A.
We set off this morning for the USA, leaving La Fuente at about 11:30. The first thing we did was get into a Pemex station for me to gas up. Saltillo to the Colombia Bridge border crossing to the West of Nuevo Laredo is 192 miles. We were hoping that our timing would be good for crossing the border – Saturday afternoon. But, I got a little nervous when I saw the number of huge trucks heading to the same border crossing. I had read and heard some stories about how long it might take to cross to the US – waiting and waiting in line. And, I’d read about all the things I’d have to have ready to show the immigration border patrol. I’d made a list of all my purchases – tee shirts, blouses, various pieces of clothing from Wal-Mart, hammock, patio / beach umbrella, souvenirs, vacuum cleaner, Radio Shack radio, etc. I hadn’t realized how much STUFF I’d accumulated in four months and was a little concerned because it does add up to more than the $800 limit! I defrosted the refrigerator and gave away or threw away anything I thought wouldn’t be acceptable for entry to the US. Interestingly, there claims to be much distress about ‘foot and mouth’ disease so any food coming from a cow I’d been informed is restricted.
The Mexico 57 toll highway between Saltillo and the border is an excellent 4-lane highway. The tolls were steep; if I remember correctly, they were in the neighborhood of $450-500 pesos (about $37 – $40 US). But, I have to say, it’s worth it, if for no other reason than we avoid the pueblos and their ever-present ‘tomes’ – speed bumps. I can’t express how frustrating and potentially very dangerous and injurious to the RV those speed bumps are – to hit one at about 15-20 mph – can knock cupboards open, spilling contents all over the ‘house’ that must be cleaned up before continuing. It’s happened to me so many times and I’ve tried so many solutions for avoiding the onslaught of extra work. I now have about 20 bungee cords of various lengths that I secure all cupboards and drawers with - it takes about 10 minutes of work to prepare all of them for the trip and another 10 minutes of removal when I arrive at my destination. But it saves on grief over spills, breakage, etc.
This is the 'welcome' sign to the border immigration area at the Colombia River Bridge Border Crossing
Back to the trip: It turned out to be a relaxed trip to the border - no bandits, no bad experiences, no drug busts, no bad ‘federales,’ no murderers or rapists, no stress. We sailed along at about 60mph – made my second Pemex stop for gas – and arrived at the border crossing at about 2pm. There was not one car in front of me – as I drove up to the stop, the border policeman waved an invitation to join him. (I think he might have been bored – standing there with nothing to do)! Anyway, two gentlemen, one of whom asked me if I’d bought anything in Mexico, met me. I answered, “Yes, lots.” He then revised his question, “Do you have any food you bought while in Mexico? Fruit? Other food? I listed about 5 or 6 types of food I presently had in the RV. His response was, “OK.” He asked if he could come in to take a look and entered the side door and made several comments about how beautiful my dog and cats were. He put his hand on one of the cupboards, but didn’t open it, took a couple of looks around without touching anything and then stepped back out onto the pavement. His colleague, standing at the open door, asked what part of California I’m from. When I told him I was born in San Francisco he said it’s his favorite city in the world. Then, both gentlemen said, “Thank you and have a safe trip.” And I was off. The whole process took in the neighborhood of 50 seconds!
So, essentially in the middle of nowhere these modern buildings - must be the US of A
After my 50 second 'inspection' and admission to my country, I parked the RV and
Waited for Renate, a German citizen, to be welcomed to the US
And here she is!
From the border it was just a hop, skip and a jump to our first RV Park in the US ....
Vaquero Village RV Park, Laredo, Texas