Crossing the Mexico/US Border

Trip Start Jan 12, 2007
Trip End Nov 19, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The road trip comptroller had spent most the morning unearthing receipts we had squirreled away in every recess of the van the last ten months and then crunching the numbers.

Adrienne was worried that our VW van "profile" would lead to a full court press interrogation by the US border officials.

But it turned out that it wasn't getting back into the US that we had to worry about. They have bigger fish to fry than two transiting Canadians and it took us about 30 seconds to be processed at the small Sonoyta/Lukeville border outpost.

(The orderly border was such a welcome contrast to the general mayhem that prevails at the Central America borders).

- - -

No, it was getting out of Mexico with our paid for paperwork in tact that was the problem.

The Nogales border crossing is far more popular, as it links directly with Highway 15, which extends south in Mexico to Tepic, which is about half way between Mazatlan and Puerta Vallarta.

We decided, however, to cut farther west to Sonoyta/Lukeville, the border used to access Rocky Point in Puerto Penasco.

Advised by the gas station attendant that the libre (free) road from Santa Ana to the border was 70 kilometres longer than the cuota (toll), we opted for the latter.

The Mexican immigration office, where we were required to turn in our vehicle permit and get our passports stamped, actually sits by itself in the middle of the desert about 30 kilometers south of Lukeville.

Nine months earlier in La Paz on the Baja we had purchased a 10 year vehicle permit, which should have allowed us return in the van over the next decade and not pay anything.

We had, however, mistakenly given the original copy of the permit to a Mexican official in Chetumal when we left the country and entered into Belize back in June.

This mistake had taken us two hours to sort through

Not having the original paperwork had forced us to spend two hours fighting our way back into Mexico a few weeks earlier, at the Guatemala/Mexico border. It carried no weight that we had:

1) given the paperwork to the Mexican official at his request;

2) a photocopy; and

3) a valid sticker on our windshield and we were still in the computer system.

While we had ultimately been allowed to return to Mexico from Guatemala, the same bureaucratic black hole re-surfaced at this lonely Mexican immigration office.

More based on principle than the likelihood that we would be taking the van back to Mexico anytime soon, we wanted pour ten year permit continued.

But it was to no avail.

And after 90 minutes of arguing in the Banjercito we gave up, signed the form stating we had "lost" the permit, and set out sights on Lukeville.

See more about our roadtrip, and others' roadtrips, at
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