I had to swing into Office Depot of Laredo to print out an emailed attachment from Sanborn’s showing that I had renewed my Mexican Auto Insurance. These guys are the company to go with… great customer service. As I was leaving, I ran into Paul, our host for the first visit to Laredo. It was great to see him, even if it was a short visit in the parking lot. The Rotary dinner is a Laredo highlight.
Paul seemed surprised to hear that I was venturing back into Mexico solo. I do admit to being apprehensive
before the crossing. There is definitely a comforting feeling when the person riding along next to you is as insane as you are. It’s not quite as comforting when you can’t find anyone else to ride along…
At the immigration checkpoint, I noticed the border guard’s eyes take in Guadalupe on the windscreen. This was the first time I could tell it was seen. The guard also took in the vehicle permit sticker on the same pane of glass. I handed him my passport.
“Tourista?” He asked.
And with that question, any apprehension dissipated into the Mexican air.
He was looking at The Rover.
“Sesenta-seis,” I replied.
The guard shook his head from side to side as he fought the grin that was forming. “Disfrutar de Mexico,” he said handing me back the unopened passport. Then he waved me through.
I made good time in spite of the nasty, nasty headwinds and the mountains west of Monterrey. The two mortal enemies of the Series Land Rover. I stopped at the “Speedy” Wayside rest area just past the toll, and met a couple from Dallas who had a springer spaniel puppy. I would have left with the pup as a copilot if they had offered. Luckily, they did not offer.
On a steep incline I passed a military convoy. No one wanted to pass them at first, so we all kind of congregated in the two lanes behind them until one trucker finally broke through the impasse. I snuck in between two semi-trucks and scooted around. At the top, the two northbound lanes were blocked off by police. I never saw the reason why. For 25 kms after that, traffic was locked in a bumper to bumper gridlock. The sight made me nauseous because I know I’ll find myself caught in a mess like that eventually. I have to give the Mexicans credit though: From what I saw, they were not overly stressed out. People had climbed out of their cars and were talking to one another, and some had pulled out lawn chairs and were relaxing in the afternoon sun. I did not hear one car horn, and I saw only one car cross the median to our side. Amazing really. I can’t imagine myself not driving across the grass and just going back to where I had come from. I’d rather wait a day than wait in a line.
For the first time since I have owned The Rover, I experienced vapor lock. At least I assume it was vapor lock, it isn’t really an Alaskan affliction. It didn’t take long to work through it, and I was driving slow up hills and into the wind in no time. Still, when I stop for a couple of days, I’ll take Mac’s advice and install that aux fuel pump.
90 kms outside of Matehuala, I spotted a wooden cart being pulled by a burro with two more burros following behind on either side of the cart. Riding in the cart were two teenage boys. The youngest, who was in the rear of the cart, saw me driving up the road and started to whack the older one on the back. The little wagon came to a stop, and both boys were staring at The Rover by the time we were even with each other.
I waved when we passed and both boys shot out such a huge grin and waved back so enthusiastically, that I had to laugh. Then they were gone.
Just shy of Matehuala, another military convoy passed me. It could have been part of the one I went by earlier, or it could have been a different one. All the soldiers went by with a stoic look on their face and both hands on their rifle. Then the last truck passed and reentered our lane in front of The Rover. The final soldier was standing at the rear of the truck with his back to the other soldiers. He raised one hand, waved, and gave me the thumbs up. Then they were gone.