Across the Border...almost

Trip Start Oct 10, 2007
Trip End Oct 22, 2007

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Flag of Mexico  ,
Monday, October 15, 2007

Final Location: Matamoros, Mexico
Total Miles Driven Today: 5
Total Miles Driven Trip: 1758

What a day.  5 miles was the total of our trip but it took the entire day! We hoped to make it to Tampico, Mexico this evening but we just made it to the other side of the Rio Grande.

We left the Mireya Company (the people who made up our papers) and headed for the Free Trade Bridge. When we arrived, there were about 40 vehicles ahead of us in line.  Of course you don't just drive across the bridge. There is a process for everything. There is a line to get out of the US and then a line to get into Mexico. We waited as a man drove around with a John  Deere Gator picking up our papers for each vehicle.  Once he made his round we waited for him to return and clear us. For some reason, during this time, I began to not feel so well. Ask me about that one personally though ;-)

So when he returns, he hands me my papers and then drives on to Juan Carlos.  Of course something was wrong. He looks back and asks if he gave me Juan Ca's papers as well. He hadn't.  Instead as it turns out, he forgot to remove them from the folder. As Marcelo and Juan Carlos talk with him about the situation, US Customs and Border Patrol arrives on the scene. Because of the situation, they decide to do a thorough inspection of the vehicle. Marcelo says he will drive the Jeep to the inspection area as we remain with the vehicle.

Suddenly we watch as our line begins to move and Marcelo is still in the inspection area about 300 meters away! Juan Ca jumps in the bus and begins to follow the line of traffic. We pay the toll and begin to cross the bridge with no idea what is happening with Marcelo. Up over the Rio Grande and across a small expanse toward the Mexico inspection area. We pull in line on the right side of the road to await the officials.

Finally after about 10 minutes, we pick up Marcelo faintly on the walkies as he is approaching. Thank God everything turned out OK and we even were able to make a space for him between the bus and the truck.

Then came the inspection before "THE" inspection.  Mexico has a company that pre-inspects vehicles for potential problems.  When they arrived at us, they had a problem.  There are two TV's on the bus that aren't listed on the manifest.  The guys at Mireya didn't check everything but just looked over the load.  It isn't legal anymore to carry TV's through Mexico so we had a problem. When asked if there were any on the bus, Marcelo of course said yes.  What followed was a 3 hour conversation about what to do next. It was a game of cat and mouse sit and wait. The man would not send us through and instead said we needed to go back and come tomorrow.  Marcelo would not take no for an answer.

We wound up on "the black line" on your map between the US and Mexico until almost 6:00pm. Finally after the man left with our papers, we took the truck and the Jeep across the border.  My truck was inspected thoroughly but by very cool officials. I was able to go through, get my stamp at the "migracion" office and on we went with the bus still on the border.  Just past the border is a hotel, a store and a restaurant...nothing more.  It literally is a whole different place just over the border.

Marcelo got us a room for the night and we had a great meal that evening. By 2am I knew that whatever was wrong with me was not going to let go.  I had a full blown migraine headache. I laid most of the night on the tile floor in the bathroom for good reason. At 7am the guys were aware of my situation. I was to remain with the vehicles anyway while they went to clear up the situation (the border was walking distance.) Juan Ca gave me two red pills and a brown one. They worked.  I slept for 1 hour and then... wait this goes on tomorrows post!
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