But we plan, and then life happens and we are on another course.
Winds blew for hours as we drove north on the autopisto. The mountains and hills were obscured in the distance, the sun lost its shine. We thought maybe things were clearing up as we approached Guaymas but it wasn’t to be. We didn’t want to set up camp in our tents while being sandblasted. Our evening on the beach watching the sunset wasn’t going to happen tonight. We couldn’t even clearly see the sun!
So the kids voted to head for the USA border. There isn’t much for free camping inland (nothing that we are aware of) and once we left Guaymas/San Carlos its inland to Arizona.
Against all recommendations we braved the Mexican highway into the dark. The last hour and a half was dark to the border. We stopped at Km 21 to get our van’s temporary importation permit (TIP) refund and hand in our tourista visas. Crisp hundred dollar USA bills in my pocket we head north.
We snaked our way through old centro Nogales to the downtown border crossing since we missed the truck crossing that closes at 10pm (that’s what we’ve been told). We put our last pesos in as gas, then locate the busy border crossing open 24/7. No RV’s permitted but there’s ample of head space for us.
It’s about 11pm when we got into line; 20 minutes later we hand our stack of passports to the border patrol who asks us about the surfing waves we might have found. And how far did we go into Mexico?
He apologetically says he has to send us to the agricultural inspection area, and that we need to be sure to declare all that we have with us, or face possible charges/fines.
He walks us over, gets us in a new line. Another man approaches us, inquiring about the surfboards. He favors the waves of El Salvador though his friends and family can’t understand why he would go to such an unsafe country….back to work, he informs us of what the Ag Inspector will do, what things we need to declare. Honesty above all, declare everything. He instructs us to put all technology on our dash. It’s crowded with laptops, cell phones, readers, ipods. We’re a big family!!
While we are waiting we mentally inventory what we have. We find the jar we have shells and a little dead sea horse in. I remember that I have sprouting seeds, as in alfalfa, fenugreek, mung bean sprouts. I had them in BC back in 2012 and have crossed international borders several times and never been quizzed about them.
Finally the inspector comes over, and quizzes us about pets, animals, foods, and plants. Says we don’t need to itemize what’s in our cooler, he will physically be checking it. I declare the sprouting seeds, but sadly they are in a roof box, under the kayak and surfboards. We have to present them to the inspector.
An hour later we have surrendered the seeds and are clean to go. It’s 1am. We gained an hour today with a time zone change but have little juice to keep going. Its been a long day. We are tired.
We head north to Green Valley, then out to Madera Canyon where the kids and I had stayed in November the night before crossing into Mexico. We arrive around 2am and set up camp in the cold desert night. I dig out jackets and sweaters and wish the working kids “Merry Christmas”. They are delighted with some added warmth. The youngest 3 are sleeping in the van while camp gets set up for them.
We don toques and jackets for bed tonight. Sleeping bags have added wool blankets. Quite the change from our last hot days in Mexico.
The night is short and cold, but there is an aspect that feels good and right about being back in Arizona, in the USA. On our next adventure.