We knew we had about a four hour drive just to get to the Santa Teresa border from Chihuahua. So we were up early, and at just after 7:00am we said goodbye to our couchsurfing host Urbano.
Urbano and Ruth saying goodbye. Thanks for everything Urbano!!
From there, it was another long boring drive. Not much to look at but the sand and dust blowing across the road! It was actually pretty bad at times...
Little bit of a dust storm!
Kind of hazy from the dust.
Sand dunes. You'd think we were in the desert or something. Wait a minute...we are in the desert!
We pulled in to the Mexican side of the Santa Teresa border at around noon. There's an hour time change again just before the border, so we're back to a two hour difference from Eastern time.
First thing we had to do was to turn in our Mexican tourist cards. These are the cards that were in the bag that was stolen when we were mugged back in November. Our regular readers will remember that we tried to get these cards replaced at several points during the remainder of our time in Mexico, and eventually got new ones when we returned from Guatemala. But you have to pay for these cards, and we hadn't done so yet.
First, you find somewhere to park. Where ever you can find at the side of the road, because there aren't really any designated spots.
Then, you walk left and go in the big green building. Sure enough, we had to pay the equivalent of about $25 each for the tourist visas. Oddly, they said absolutely nothing about the ones that went missing. Makes me think that we could have just carried straight on through without handing them in and there wouldn't have been any consequences. Oh well, at least we know we've done it the proper way.
Next, it was back to the car where we had to go through the part that says "returns, re-entry, and cancellations". This is where they cancel and refund the car permit deposit of $300 that we paid when we entered Mexico back in November.
There's always someone trying to sell you something in Mexico. These girls are giving it one last shot before you leave!
We didn't have to produce a credit card for the refund. They simply credit back to the same card you used when you entered the country, unless you paid in cash at the time...then you would receive cash back.
Next of course, it's time to get into the U.S.
We didn't take any pictures of that procedure. I don't think the border guards would have been impressed.
It actually went fine, and the guards were quite pleasant. The only downside was that we were coming up to a shift change and we got pulled over for secondary inspection and they wouldn't process us until the new shift came on. Took an extra 20 minutes or so.
And then we were on our way!
Thanks! We've never been to New Mexico before!
We pulled into the city of Las Cruces (pop around 100,000) and drove to the center. There's not really much to see there, but we went for a walk anyhow.
Ruth, the little blue car, and the fancy new City Hall building in Las Cruces.
Lots of old adobe style buildings in the historical section.
Main street, Las Cruces.
Found this huge Indian head wood carving. The plaque says it was done in 1986 as a commemorative to the Native Americans of New Mexico.
We had some time to waste, so we went to Walmart and picked up a few things. Then, it was off to the home of couchsurfing hosts Kevin and Katrina. They were both still at work, but they had given us the code to their front door so that we could let ourselves in. Isn't couchsurfing great?!
We sat and talked with Katrina for a while when she got home, but Kevin is a firefighter and won't be home until this morning. Also met their super friendly dogs Murdoc and Oreo!
We're here for two nights, so we're thinking today we'll go for a hike at White Sands National Monument!
Ohh...some more interesting news...
You all know that we're going hot air ballooning with World Balloon Company in Albuquerque on Monday morning. You'll never guess what we're going to be doing the following Monday (the 15th) in Colorado! C'mon, take a guess...we'll tell you if you're right!
Yesterday's drive, 455 kms (282 miles).