Sunday, July 6, 2008

Journey Back to USA - Delays and Border Worries

Part 1 Was Very Good - 13 Hours
We left Saturday morning at 6:30 am (Nayarit time) and headed up the winding road towards Tepic. The clouds were literally right there - the kids thought this was very cool. We also saw vaqueros (Mexican cowboys) herding cattle down the road - also very cool.

We navigated through Guadalajara without too much stress and we arrived in Saltillo by 7:30pm. We chose the Hampton Inn right off 40 and the airport which was perfect since it required absolutely no detours. It only set us back $134 USD and included breakfast for 4.

Part 2 Was not So Great - 17.5 Hours (should have been 10 hours)
We were again on the road by 6:30 am (Central Time).

1st Set Back - Rain all the way from Saltillo to Laredo

2nd Set Back - We got caught at the Border in the line for International Bridge #1 for 2.5 hours! Then we realized at the actual crossing we really needed to turn in our FMT (180 day Tourist Visa) and our 180 day Car Permit in at Immigration before crossing bridge at same building in which we got them. We are on the bridge and no way to turn back. Now what?

We talk to US Border Person. He is not really too helpful. But we keep asking questions. Finally, he seems to think the 180 day part should make all okay. I am not so convinced. Husband and I have to decide whether to go back over border and start all over - definitely a 3 hour process. We decide to go on into Texas and I start researching on my iPhone web. It seems obvious we should have turned in the FMTs. The Car Permit also probably should have been turned in (and scraped off windshield) but there is conflicting information out there. Since neither are expired and we will be back within 2 weeks, we decide to deal with it when we cross then. The worst that should happen is we pay some fines and the best is we just go back over and use our FMTs and Car Permits as is. This all makes me very, very nervous.

3rd Set Back - We encounter multiple accidents causing a 4 hour delay. It was bad. One accident shut down entire highway for overturned 18 wheeler. Sidenote - We were behind a passenger bus from Mexico with Mexico plates - I thought this was serendipitous.

Humorous Highlights - We are serious car trippers so all three males maximized their equipment and emptied their bladders into an empty plastic soda bottle multiple times. Unfortunate for me I forgot and actually started to sip it ... oooh ... yuck ... quick spit it out! Kids just thought this was hilarious. Not so funny ...

1 comment:

Jenn;0) said...

Okay...your not so funny set back #2 is pretty funny to me, because we did the same thing!!!Coming back over a couple of weeks after Christmas we sat in line for 2 hours (with windows up in 90 degree heat trying our best to avoid the vendors practically jumpin in the truck!) to cross into Texas after making a wrong turn when we should have been in line to go to the building to turn in the permits!! So we turn around and go back which takes us all but 20 minutes to do! Then wait in line for another 2 hours to come back again!

I have joked about it a million times since, we left, returned, and left Mexico again all in one day!! I wasn't laughing then though!!!