Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Run for the Border, Part 3

Thursday began a bit more slowly after returning to CAM Center after midnight the night before. I managed to finally get a cup of coffee while visiting Tina and Steve (what's going on, isn't Hope Coffee's eternal spring nearby?), and talked with Stephen P. also (or was that Wednesday, I forget). Anyway, I spent a fair amount of the morning trying to call the agent on the border, and for some reason wasn't able to get through. I finally texted him, and he promptly called me. Good thing he did. He needed me to email him scanned copies of the inspection report and registration. Jessica Nixon, who dropped off a keyboard, a karaoke machine, a sewing machine, printer and a few other odds and ends, took a picture of the VIN number with her iphone. What I didn't want to happen was to get to the border and realize I didn't have all the documentation ready.

Daniel and I left Dallas shortly after noon, rested and ready for another long day of travel. Long, but not too long. Of the four days of driving that we had, this day was the shortest. And easiest. No rain, little traffic except for a bit going through Austin, with really no commitments on the border that day except to sleep. 

On the way we found a Sony store, bought a $39 portable DVD player, and Daniel was occupied for the rest of the long trip south. We crossed the border the next day without incident, then eventually found the offices of the customs agent in the narrow, busy streets of Nuevo Laredo. Crossing from one side of the border to the other is a cultural experience in and of itself. It's like going from a world of order to a world of spontaneity, a culture of completion to one of a work in progress.

 Our agent took our money (I was happy to get rid of all that cash...no checks, no credit cards, just cold, hard cash), and I followed one of his associates to a large parking lot, where we waiting in his beat-up Nissan and he drove our van to the customs offices. Daniel was imagining that we'd never see him again, but we did. After a two hour wait, we took our Texas plates off, taped a travel permit on the windshield, and met Brock and Heather Hower 5 minutes later.

 Our trip from the border with the Howers to Matehuala (in the middle of NOWHERE) was generally uneventful. Brock has a story to tell, but it's his story, and he made me promise not to tell it (it's a good one!). We rolled into Matehuala around 7 p.m., the sun having already set, with darkness folding over us. The Howers had decided to stay the night there. I asked Daniel about it. "Do you want to head home tonight, or stay here?" Let's go, was the response, so we spent the next 6+ hours hurtling through the darkness and rocket-propelled speeds, till we finally arrived home at 1:20 a.m. I was dizzy and road-weary to the bones. But we were home. 2502 miles in 5 days (plus 80 minutes of Saturday).

 Mayra and I took the van to get its new Mexican plates on Monday. The system was down (whatever that means) and we were told to come back on Thursday. So...mission accomplished, almost. Life here is almost always a work in progress. God is in the details.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

I'm worn out just reading it!