Posted from San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico.
After spending last night in a very creepy Motel 6 about 2 miles from the border crossing, we woke up early and left before 7:30. After crossing the actual border, which consisted of telling a guard why and where we were going, we drove for several miles to obtain the proper paperwork for us and Apollo. These things included a tourist card for the humans and a vehicle permit, which included a bond on Apollo to ensure that he would leave with us when we exited Mexico. We also exchanged our dollars for pesos. As we drove through the customs queue we were given a green light, indicating that we did not have to pull over and get searched. It’s like playing roulette since whether you get a red light or a green light is totally random. In all, this stop took about an hour and then we were on the road again.
All day it rained and rained, sometimes quite hard. We followed the tollway the entire time, which was four lanes, pretty straight and mostly flat, but as unfortunately textured as a Minnesota street in the spring: very rough and not without potholes. We also followed the speed limit, which NO ONE else does – including Americans. Cars and trucks screamed past us, but since it was four lanes we didn’t inconvenience anyone.
The sights along the road were interesting. Like southern California and Arizona, it was mainly a mountainous desert with lots of fun cacti to admire. All too often we would see lots of trash along the side of the road, despite the strategically placed garbage cans and the billboards asking everyone to keep the roads clean. Quite frequently there were also memorial markers (some small but some very elaborate, complete with shrines to the Virgin Mary) to honor people who must have died in those spots. Also, it was customary to find teeny chapels for praying – usually only big enough for only one or two people – on the side of the road with the businesses, restaurants, and gas stations.
We arrived in San Carlos around 2:30, and the weather is warm and sunny! We are right across the street from the beach, the Sea of Cortez. We went for a walk to stretch our legs, and the ocean water is starting to get warmer. Yay! San Carlos is a town for tourists: it’s lovely, it’s very clean, the signs are in English, and there seems to be a lot of money here – and it’s not local money.
Tomorrow we will head south about another five hours and camp another night. Don’t worry, you won’t get an update every day. We just wanted everyone to know that we made it safe and sound, and that our trip was pretty uneventful. Erik did an awesomet job driving the entire day as Joe translated billboards, highway signs, and the writing on semi-trucks. (Those 1500+ flashcards must have paid off!) And we listened to plenty of fun Mexican and Latin music.
Now it’s time to cash in the coupons we received from the campground: one free margarita for each us at a nearby restaurant! ¡Fabuloso!