We like the Columbia bridge crossing because you totally avoid any congestion from either Laredo or Nuevo Laredo. We're also familiar with it, having crossed at that location with the motorhome several times in the past. From what we hear, it's also much less busy so we feel it's worth the extra drive.
There's our bridge. With nobody on it.
Crossing the Rio Grande. Mexico on the left, and United States on the right.
Last time we crossed with the motorhome we had been inspected on the American side first, then the Mexican military across the bridge, then the customs people. This time, nobody stopped us until we got to Mexican customs. At all border crossings, they have a random system for inspections...red light, or green light. We got a green light, so we crossed through freely and parked to go in to get our permits.
There were three RV's from Quebec who were getting their vehicle permits. They must not have been very organized because they sure did take a long time. We went and got our tourist visas first and then some photocopies, and they were still at the counter working on their vehicle permits when we came back to the lineup. They finally finished and there were a couple of Mexicans in front of us but they were fairly quick. Our turn came up, and we had to pay a $300 deposit on the little blue car. This will be refunded when we leave the country within 180 days. Then about $45 for the actual permit itself , and about $22 each for the tourist permit.
In total, we were exactly one hour getting everything done.
Then we hit the road!
It's a bit of a boring drive in this part of Mexico.
We took the toll road, and it cost 205 pesos ($16.50).
As you get closer to Monterrey, the scenery gets more interesting.
Our friend Chris had offered to meet us in Northern Monterrey. We had no problem getting to the Soriana grocery store and met up with Chris just after 1:00pm. We followed Chris right through the central part of Monterrey with no problems, but I sure wouldn't want to deal with that kind of traffic every day.
Following Chris through downtown Monterrey.
Monterrey is a busy city.
Hey, there's the fruit and vegetable truck!
Spent the rest of the day and evening talking with Chris and Juan and I think we solved all of the world's problems! Well, maybe not all, but perhaps we'll solve some more today.
Happy to be back in Mexico!