We woke up at around 7:00am and hit the road right away. When we travel in the motorome in Mexico we like to get as early a start as possible. Never know what snags you might encounter along the way and you want to have as much time to fix them in daylight as possible.
Plus, we had to drive about an hour just to get to the border crossing itself.
Around 7:40am, the sun made it's appearance.
We stopped a couple of times along the way to try and get on the internet, but no success. Didn't waste a lot of time searching for a signal though. Made it to the trucking toll highway that goes from the I35 to the Colombia bridge. What a stupid toll system. You either have to buy a tag which is designed for regular users, or you can buy a single day pass which costs between $3 to $4 depending on what type of vehicle you have.
But you can't do any of it in cash that day. You have to call a 1-800 number ahead of time and buy it using a credit card. I tried to do exactly that, but they're closed on the weekends! So we simply drove through and when the automatic camera system took a photo of Sherman they wouldn't be able to read our plate number because the bicycles obscure it.
Made it to the Colombia Bridge at around 9:00am. Paid the $3.50 bridge toll and crossed into Mexico.
I had detailed the procedure in a blog post last month, which helped to refresh my memory of things...
They've changed things a little since the last time we crossed there. Now, they have one of those huge x-ray machines on the Mexican side and you park before the building to go in and get your permits. It used to be after the building. Not a ton of room for motorohomes anymore, but they moved some cones and made room for us.
Then, a couple of inspectors came on board and poked around, opened a couple of couple doors, and complimented Sherman on his appearance. I think they just wanted to see the inside.
We went in and got our visitor permits, good for 180 days and cost 664 pesos ($53.80 CAD) for the two of us. Then had to get some photocopies of the permits and that cost a ridiculous 36 pesos ($2.90).
Next stop was the vehicle permit. Sherman gets a 10 year permit and the cost was 989 pesos. That's based on a USD $51.75 rate, so the peso rate changes daily. Plus, there was a couple of taxes that we didn't question. For us, it translates to around $80 CAD for the ten years.
Then, they said we had to go through the x-ray machine. Ruth was asked to remain outside and I had to drive Sherman onto a fancy ramp and then the operator led me to a shielded area while the x-ray machine rolled itself over Sherman. Quite the operation.
Then, we drove Sherman off and back to the building where we were told to wait. About 10 minutes later, we were told we could be on our way.
We were there exactly one hour from the time we arrived to the time we left. Not bad.
The road on the Mexican side leaving from the Colombia crossing to highway 85 heading south is not in good shape. Drive slowly, and watch for potholes!
Highway #85 heading south, before you get to the choice of free or toll.
The sign says "Welcome to the state of Nuevo Leon"
Two choices when heading towards Monterrey...the free road, or the toll road. We've done the toll road before, but it's expensive and we had been told that the free road is in good shape. And it was. No reason not to take the free road. It will be slightly slower, but free!
We made it to Sabinas Hidalgo and missed a turn. There is a way to bypass the town, but rather than look for it, we just drove through. Good thing it was not bad.
In the town of Sabinas Hidalgo.
Driving through el centro in Sabinas Hidalgo.
On the free road heading towards Monterrey.
Another bit of congestion just before the outskirts of Monterrey.
We then had another choice to make. The free road through Monterrey, or the toll highway that bypasses Monterry. You'd think this would be an easy choice, and it was...however at a price. The toll road cost 298 pesos ($24.50 CAD) for Sherman. Expensive, but saved on wear and tear for the driver! Plus fuel use would be less on the toll road.
We made it to Santiago around 4:00pm. A long day for us, but we had told Chris and Juan that we would make it by happy hour!
The road in to their place is not in great shape. But Sherman has done roads like this before. You just have to take it easy. But the problem was not in the road itself, it was the turn from the highway to get on to the road. Not easy for larger vehicles. After having done a three point turn to get around the cars parked at the sides of the road, and with Sherman's back end actually hanging into the main highway, we made it. Only problem will be getting out!! I am seriously concerned about that, but we'll deal with it when we leave.
The road leading to Chris and Juan's place.
We couldn't get Sherman into their driveway but they had made arrangements with a neighbour and a gated lot that wasn't being used.
Sherman, happily parked for the next couple of days.
Unfortunately, Chris was called in to work in Texas and we're not sure yet that he'll be back in time to see us before we leave. In the meantime, Juan is pretty good at entertaining us on his own! We still managed to solve a few of the world's problems!
Juan and Ruth making dinner.
Dinner is served. The picture looks a little empty without Chris!
Today will be a day of rest and relaxation. After driving every day for two weeks, Sherman needs a rest and so do we!
Yesterday's drive, 286 miles (457 kms).
Tommy Hilfiger men's wallet...on sale dirt cheap, today only!
And in Canada, a good quality crock pot slow cooker...almost half price...