Yesterday morning, the alarm went off at 1:45am! By 3am we were header out of Maricopa and enroute to Mexico. We crossed over the border into Mexico at Nogales and headed on south from there.
First snag! We stopped at the 21 Km immigration checkpoint to pick up our tourist visas and temporary vehicle importation permit. Back in 2002 we had driven down to Guadalajara and back. When we returned to the US, we had turned in our vehicle permit. Unfortunately the government official did not cancel it…so I had an overdue permit attached to my name! Since you can only have one permit at a time, this caused a problem.
We had to post a cash deposit to guarantee we would return our current vehicle to the US. This caused a bit of a panic, but since we get the money back upon departure, we were able to move money around in the bank and “use” some for the week we are gone.
After eating up almost an hour of our travel time in customs/immigration, we were back on the road…destination Mazatlan, and a hotel downtown on the beach, for the night.
It was an uneventful trip down. No nasties or anything. To watch the US news, one would expect to see armed thugs wandering the streets looking for people to kill or maim. We did pass through one military checkpoint when we entered Sinaloa. They were armed with Uzis and M-16s so we didn’t say anything out of place and eventually carried on our way.
Right now I am sitting on the patio of my hotel room, looking at the surf across the street. The sun is coming up, but the sky is too cloudy to see it. Hopefully it will burn off. The temperature is in the upper 70s with just a bit of humidity at the moment. We are REALLY suffering on this vacation.