This is primarily a travel blog in which I write about traveling in our motorhome. Our travels have

Nacogdoches, TX, United States
I began this blog as a vehicle for reporting on a 47-day trip made by my wife and me in our motorhome down to the Yucatan Peninsula and back. I continued writing about our post-Yucatan travels and gradually began including non-travel related topics. I often rant about things that piss me off, such as gun violence, fracking, healthcare, education, and anything else that pushes my button. I have a photography gallery on my Smugmug site (

Friday, March 30, 2012

Photos in Chronological Order

I've added some more photos and rearranged the photo pages so that they are now in the order in which we visited theses areas. I didn't bother adding the dates as they can be found in the blog pages. I am still going through the 11,000 or so photos trying to pick out the better or the more illustrative ones of our experiences. Every time I go through them it seems that I see something for the first time. I am also attempting to improve some with minor light and color editing and also with different crops. I can't do too many at one sitting as I begin to tire and my eyes begin to blur. I find that I get much better results with a photo by working for shorter time periods. I don't use Photoshop as I would never spend enough time on it to learn how to use it. I would rather be lazy and think of serious editing with Photoshop or similar applications as "cheating". However, if I ever do learn to use such an app I will no longer think of it as cheating. Then it will just be working smart with another available tool! Right now I simply (and that is the KEY word) use Apple's iPhoto. I try to save all of my originals so that as my editing abilities do improve I can go back to the original and work on it again. You may notice on some of my more "artsy" photos that I like to play with color. I tend to over-saturate bright colors on purpose so that they seem to POP out at the viewer. These photos are not meant to look exactly as the original subject looked to the naked eye. Not everyone likes to see photos edited in this manner. But you have to remember, unless the photographer has been asked to reproduce a scene in a particular manner, the photographer is creating an image in the manner or style that he/she prefers. Afterall, We look at our own photos more than anyone else does! If you do like any of the photos you see on these pages then you may enjoy visiting my photo gallery pages on Smugmug (

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

7.6 Earthquake Hits Mexico!

Did anyone reading the blog feel it?  It shook buildings in Mexico City a short while ago.  It was first reported as 7.9, then changed shortly thereafter to 7.6 (the President of Mexico says 7.8).  The epicenter was about 15 miles (25 km) east of Ometepec, Guerrero, the USGS said, and its depth was about 11 miles (17 km).  That puts it between Acapulco and Oaxaca.  The signs of an impending quake have been building for a while now.  Maybe today's quake relieved some of the accumulated pressure.  No reports of injuries or damage.  After shocks were reported just a few minutes ago.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Home At Last!

Nacogdoches, TX
March 13, 2012

This was a really good day to get home.  Today is my birthday and what better present than to arrive home safe and sound after two exciting, fun, pleasant, tedious, great, stressful, frustrating, beautiful, and frightening months in Mexico.  We left Harlingen yesterday a little before noon.  I drove the motorhome and Carol Ann followed me in the car.  We stopped about 5:00 PM yesterday afternoon at a small, no-frills, $20 a night, RV park in Richmond, TX rather than drive through Houston during the afternoon rush hour.  Richmond is about 30 miles SW of Houston on US 59.  We left the park this morning around 11:00 AM (we weren't in any hurry) and arrived home about 3:30 PM.  We unloaded the fridge and brought in our cameras and computers before parking ourselves in our well-worn recliners.  The rest of the stuff can wait until tomorrow.

I need to run over to my daughter's house and pick up my dog, Mia (a chihuahua-dachshund mix) once I post this.  I hope she remembers who I am!  I felt bad about not taking her to Mexico with us but it would have been hard on both of us and she loves our friend who house sat for us.  We only took two of our seven cats with us on the trip.  They were feral kittens when we rescued them about 5 Halloweens ago and they never have been social with people other then me and Carol Ann.  Because they were "Halloween kittens" we named the orange one Pumpkin and his sister, the black one, Goblin.  Whenever anyone on the caravan came anywhere near the door of our motorhome they would run and hide.  I'm sure that some of those on the trip with us never knew we had any cats with us.  I do know that only a couple of people ever caught a glimpse of them.

It does feel good to be home.  I'm not sure when or where our next trip will be, but I'll be sure to let everyone know.  Hopefully, it will be someplace interesting and worthy of a blog post.

Happy trails!


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Back to Mexico!

Tropic Winds RV Resort
Harlingen, TX
March 11, 2012

Last night I sent an email to the owner of the auto transport company telling him that we would meet the truck at 7:00 AM this morning.  The meeting place location was still a little fuzzy.  If you remember from last night’s post, neither we nor the Mexican border agents knew anything about a Federal Police station parking lot anywhere near the bridge.  In an effort to nail down a meeting place I attached a Google satellite view of the border facilities on the Mexican side of the bridge to the email.  I had circled a parking lot that would be easy to find and should be convenient to both parties and asked that he phone his driver and have him meet us in that parking lot.

We got up at 5:30 AM this morning and checked email.  There was no response to last night’s email so we decided that we would be in the circled parking lot by 7:00 AM anyway.  If the truck failed to show, then we would start making calls. 

We left the RV park a little before 6:30 AM, drove to the Veterans’ International Bridge in Brownsville, and went through the tollbooth at 7:03 AM (I remember looking at the car’s clock).  This time, instead of stopping and asking questions on the Mexican side, we acted like we knew what we were doing and got in the “Nothing to Declare” lane and were waved right through.  Easy as pie.  Then, instead of turning towards Matamoros we turned back towards the US border and found the parking lot that I had circled.  It was next to the Mexican customs building, about a hundred yards short of the tollbooth for returning to the US.

It wasn’t quite daylight and only one other car was in the parking lot.  As we were pulling into it a man in a private security uniform was walking toward the car.  He stopped and in quite good English asked if he could help us.  Once more I recited the story of our car and why we were alone in a dark parking lot.  The location of the Federal Police parking lot stumped him also.  He pointed to a very small parking not very far from where we were and asked me to follow him.  In the building next to the small lot were several other security guards to whom he explained my problem.  None of them had a clue where I should be meeting the truck either so I asked the man trying to help us if he would speak to the truck driver on the phone (I had the cell number).  He agreed so I dialed and they spoke together.  Then he told me his name was Casto (I believe) and that he would guide me to the truck as it might be difficult for me to find by myself.  He explained that he had just gotten off work and was on his way to a bus stop so it was no big deal. 

Casto got in the back seat and directed us to the main north-south drag through Matamoros.  While we drove, Casto told us that he had just finished his second day on the job.  He told us he had lived in Corpus Christi until recently when he “made a mistake,” was deported, and was now on “probation until 2015.”  For all I know the man is a serial killer and is sitting right behind us in a rental car in Mexico before sunup. He said his family is still in Corpus and can visit him in Matamoros but he cannot go visit them.  He also told us that he made $10 US a day at his job.  We drove several miles (more than 2, less than 5) and he directed us to turn left onto another major avenue.  After about half a dozen blocks he pointed to the left and there was the Federal Police station.  However, there was no transport truck in the small parking lot in front of the station.  I don’t know what I would have done had I not glanced over to the right-hand side of the avenue.  There, sitting in a Pemex station across the street from the police station was the truck with our car sitting on the back of it! It was a simple translation error.

We drove down to the next block, made a U-turn and drove back to the Pemex station.  He unloaded the car and I handed over the cash in an envelope. He took it and got back in the truck where he counted it.  That’s when I discovered that the truck driver spoke excellent English!  I had been told that he spoke no English and therefore had never attempted to speak with him on the phone.  Man, did I feel stupid!

We shook hands and he told me I probably should put some gas in it while we were at the station. I got in and checked the gauge. The last time we saw the car there was over half a tank of gas in it. Now the needle was below empty! We filled the car with gas and Carol Ann drove it while Casto and I took the KIA Rio and drove about a block to an H-E-B supermarket where he said he could catch a bus home (and Carol Ann could use the restroom).  I thanked him profusely and tipped him 2 days’ pay. He grabbed me in a bear hug and for a moment I was afraid he was going to kiss me.

All we now had to do was stop at the Mexican border and return our car’s temporary permit (or forfeit the $400 US deposit we had been required to make).  As we neared the border we didn’t see a sign showing where to return the permit.  Several soldiers were standing around so I asked them.  After some sign language and talking like a 4-year old we were directed by the soldiers to another parking lot. 

Carol Ann waited outside with both cars while I went inside and waited in line for almost an hour while the clerk processed the paper work for 4 people ahead of me.  He spent a significant amount of time with each individual and then stamped all of the paperwork multiple times.  When finished stamping, he would go outside to the person’s car and either apply (or remove) the holographic decal from the car’s windshield.  When my turn came he asked where my car was.  I told him that it was in a parking lot on the other side of the building.  Of course it was the wrong parking lot.  I had to run back to the lot where Carol Ann and the cars were parked.  The same soldiers saw me come back and seemed concerned that I had not been successful in returning my permit (they saw it in my hand).  They led me around a corner of the building and showed me where we should take the cars.  Then they walked ahead of us to make sure we didn’t get lost.  We ended up at the exact same place we had been for almost an hour the day before.  Finally the clerk came back outside, removed the decal, took the permit, and gave us a receipt so that we can get our $400 deposit refunded. 

After the permit had been returned we had to drive back around to the other side of the building in order to enter one of the “back to the US” lanes instead of going back into Matamoros.  I drove the KIA and Carol Ann followed in our Saturn.  We paid another toll and drove across the bridge to the US border.  Unlike yesterday there was almost no line at all.  The agent asked for my passport and asked, “Why were you in Mexico?”  On, no, not again.  Again I repeated the story, knowing that I would probably end up back in “secondary” absorbing more x-rays.  Instead he gave me the go ahead and once Carol Ann was waived through we bee-lined it back to the RV park in Harlingen arriving a little before noon.  This time we had been gone for almost 6 hours but it was worth it.  Now all we have to do is get the motorhome and the car back to Nacogdoches.  Without the tow bar we will have to drive them both.  We’ll start home tomorrow and hope to be there by mid-day on Tuesday if all goes well.

Oh, yes.  The Eurotech repair center (the shop in Mexico) guarantees its work for 2 years.  If the front end falls off we can just take it back to Merida, MX and have it repaired at no cost.  It’s only about a 1,700 mile drive from Nacogdoches!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My Bitching Must Have Worked!

Tropic Winds RV Resort
Harlingen, TX
March 10, 2012

If you have been reading this blog, then you know that I blasted ABA Seguros (Mexican insurance company) on Wednesday because they were going to make me wait an additional 72 hours after my wire transfer (for the deductible) showed up in their account.  Well, yesterday morning around 9:30 AM I received word that ABA had changed their mind and released the car. 

I contacted the transport company and offered a $100 bonus if they could still get the car to me by Sunday.  Not long after that I received an email from the transport company telling me that their truck would be picking the car up right away!  However, the delivery would now be Matamoros as originally planned instead of the relatively safer border crossing at Nuevo Progresso.  I understood that the delivery would be made in the parking lot of the Federal Police Station near the Mexican customs building just across the Veteran’s International Bridge from Brownsville. 

Let me back up a moment. You already know that I speak no Spanish. Well, nobody at the transport company spoke English. So all of our communication has been by email using Google to translate everything. That doesn't alway work as somethings don't seem to translate very well.

The transport company’s owner said that he knew one of the policemen at the police station, which would facilitate the delivery.  OK, then.  At least I wouldn’t have to drive through Matamoros.  Carol Ann could wait in the rental car on the Brownsville side while I either walked crossed the bridge or got a cab, went through customs, and then walked over to the police station’s parking lot.  There I would hand over the money and drive the car back across the border, meet Carol Ann, and we would drive the 30 miles back to the RV Park in Harlingen.   That should be safe enough as I would never be out of sight of the border crossing.  Of course, it would probably look like a drug deal going down in the police parking lot.  Other than that, a piece of cake. I didn't know how long of a walk that would require.

Then this morning Butch (the RV caravan’s wagon master) called me and said, “How would you like to get your car at 1:30 this afternoon!”  “Of course I would!” says I.  We would still be able to start home Sunday.  Only Butch called back a short time later (it did sound too good to be true, didn’t it?) so I knew there had to be a glitch.  It turned out not to be a biggie, only that the truck driver had revised his ETA from 1:30 to 3:30 PM.  We could still start home on Sunday.

Carol Ann and I got ready by counting and recounting our stack of money and making sure we had all of the proper paperwork ready.  I was a little nervous as Matamoros can be dangerous and I would be carrying almost $2,000 US in cash.   Last Monday there was a shoot-out and car chase on the Mexican side of the bridge that I would be crossing.

We left the RV a little before 2:00 PM just to make sure we were not late.  You never know how long it may take to cross the border. We reached the Brownsville side of the bridge a little after 2:30 PM but there was no parking lot where Carol Ann could wait for me.  I saw an administrative office next to the tollbooths, pulled over, and got out to ask where Carol Ann could park.  The agent informed me that it was almost 2 miles across to the Mexican customs station.  I didn’t see any taxis anywhere so Carol Ann and I both ended up driving across the bridge in our RENTAL car, which I don’t think we were supposed to do.

When we arrived at Mexican customs there were no cars ahead of us or in line and all of the signs were in Spanish (Surprise!) so I wasn’t sure which lane we should be in.  I decided to go through the far left lane because it appeared to be connected to a small parking lot where I thought Carol Ann might wait while I walked over to the Federal Police station.  You know, it never seems to matter where I may be.  Whether it’s a supermarket, bank, or service station.  I always seem to get in the wrong line.  And this time was no exception.  I was waved to a stop and motioned to back up but I couldn’t because someone else had pulled up behind me.  Finally, the gate in front of me was opened and I was directed to pull through while the cars behind me were sent around me to the other gates.

A customs agent came over to the car and asked me what I was doing.  Or I think that must be what he said (it was in Spanish).  It turned out that he spoke a LITTLE (as in almost none) English so I started telling him the story of our car and that we were supposed to pick up our car in the parking lot of the Federal Police.  Apparently when you say “Federal Police” they become very interested in what you are saying.  A female agent came over (probably out of curiosity) and I had to start all over again while they tried to figure out what I was talking about.  Then they asked for “documents” and I was ready for them.  Before we left the RV I had written out a few statements and questions, which I then ran through Google’s translator to produce the Spanish equivalents of “Where is the Federal Police Station, please?” “I have a 3:30 meeting in their parking lot”, “I am here to get my car”, etc.

An hour and several phone calls later by the customs agents to the transport truck driver (I had his phone number with me) and Butch (he helped explain to the agents what I was doing) I was told that the truck had been delayed due to heavy rains and it would be 5 to 7 hours late but that the driver wanted to make the delivery tonight so that he could turn right around and head back to the Yucatan. That would mean us having to be in Matamoros around midnight!

Finally, with the help of more phone calls, we got them to understand that Carol Ann and I had no intention of waiting any time at all in Matamoros after dark.  We would have to set another meeting time and come back tomorrow.  We were finally directed to follow one of their border patrol trucks and were led through no-man’s land and put in one of the lanes returning to the US.  They never even looked at our passports!

Ah, home free!  Not exactly.  After we paid the toll to go back over the bridge we were waiting in a long line to enter the US.  One and a half hours later we were showing our passports to a US Customs agent and explaining why we went to Mexico.  After the dog finished sniffing our rental car we were directed over to what they call a “secondary” inspection area.  That’s were you have to get out of the car while they search it.  Completely random I was told.  I don’t think so.  I believe that after my explanation of why we had been in Mexico that the agent thought we weren’t “right” and needed to take a closer look.  We drove our car up a ramp onto a platform and were made to get out of the car and go to the other end of the building where we were directed (more like ordered) to sit on a bench.  They parked 2 more cars behind ours and then some kind of X-Ray machine moved slowly down a track that was bolted to the concrete floor next to the raised platform.  After the machine had moved the length of the three cars the agent came out of what appeared to be his lead-lined booth (we were not offered such protection) and returned our passports.  I guess they were satisfied that we were not smuggling weapons, drugs, or human beings.  Where there could possibly have been any room for such in the tiny KIA Rio I have no idea. 

We finally got back to the RV park at 5:00 PM.  We had been gone over 4 hours and the driving time to and from the US border was only about 1 hour of that time.  Now we have to go back tomorrow and do it all over again!  Looks like we won’t be heading home on Sunday after all. This is beyond ridiculous now.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Talk About Pissed Off!!!!

Tropic Winds RV Resort, Day #12
March 8, 2012

I am going to either EXPLODE or SCREAM!  I have had it with ABA Seguros.  That’s the Mexican insurance company handling (albeit extremely slowly) our accident claim.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, in Mexico the insurance company is responsible for obtaining the parts required to repair the vehicle.  Obtaining the parts for our 2008 Saturn Vue took 4 weeks!  Total and absolute incompetence on their part as far as I am concerned.  They could have driven from Mexico to the GM plant in Detroit, picked up the parts, and delivered them to the repair shop in less time!

I was unable pay the $500 deductible until yesterday because ADA Seguros did not provide me with a proper bank account number until yesterday. 

This morning I received an email from the ABA representative thanking me for sending her the confirmation.  She informed me that she would call the repair shop and release the car so that the transport company could pick up the car tomorrow.

I contacted the transport company and they confirmed receiving the transfer confirmation and could pick up the car first thing in the morning and deliver it to us on Sunday at the border.  Hallelujah!  After sitting at the RV park in Harlingen for 2 weeks we would finally have our car back.

About 4:30 PM today I received another email from the ABA representative telling me that she was very sorry but their accounting department informed her that a 72-hour wait would be required to make certain that my bank had actually sent them the money and that I had not faked up some kind of document to try and fool them (OK, they didn’t really give that reason but they might as well have).  That would mean that the 72-hours would not be up until SATURDAY.  The WEEKEND in MEXICO, which means that no one will do a frigging thing until MONDAY!  The car would probably not get picked up until Tuesday and we wouldn’t see it until Friday of next week. 

I sent an email back to the ABA representative and copied our US insurance representative plus someone at ABA a little higher up the ladder than the representative with whom I have been communicating.  I told them that the additional delay was unacceptable and was caused by their delay in ordering the parts. 

It was also necessary to contact the transport company so they would not send a truck to the repair shop in the morning.  It made me feel sick at my stomach to have to do that after all of the time we have spent trying to get this thing setup.

Everyone just shrugs and says, “Well, that’s Mexico.”  That just doesn’t cut it anymore.  I am tired of hearing that phrase and I am tired of hearing “mañana.”  Those are simply excuses for incompetence and slothfulness (yes, I said it).

My expenses for waiting here in Harlingen are really adding up.  So far we have almost two unnecessary weeks of car rental and RV park charges, not to mention food and other incidental expenses.  Now ABA is telling me that we could be sitting here for almost another week!  What a rip-off this whole experience has been.   If I ever think about going back to Mexico would someone please just shoot me!  Speaking of shooting, it’s a good thing you aren’t allowed to take firearms across the border to Mexico!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I Can't Give Money Away!

We have been sitting in Harlingen for 10 days and still have not yet solved the car problems.  The problems being, how to pay the deductible and whether to have it towed or driven to the border.  Why should it be so difficult? 

As to the first problem, how to pay the insurance company?  I have never had so much trouble giving money away!  About 9:30 this morning Carol Ann and I went to BankAmerica in Harlingen to wire funds to the insurance company.  I found out you can’t send a wire transfer from a bank in which you have no account.  Even if you pay cash for it.  That’s because if the money is returned (and why would it be?) the bank would need an account in which to place it.  Needless to say, we do not have a bank account at any bank in Harlingen, nor is there a branch of our Nacogdoches bank located in Harlingen.

I called my bank in Nacogdoches to see if they could wire the money.  They could do so, no problem, if I was there to sign the transfer request.  Well, I’m not there.  I’m here.  Here is 470 miles away.

Credit card!  Surely a large insurance company would accept payment by credit card.  I called the insurance company in Mexico.  They said, “Of course you can.  But you must do that at an HSBC Bank branch.”  A check of HSBC Bank on the Internet revealed that the closest HSBC Bank branch to me is either in Florida or Illinois; I’m not sure which one would be closer.  Probably a toss-up.

So, how else can you get money to someone in Mexico?  Money orders!  Of course. Except that they have to be mailed and that would take too long.  Hmmm.  WESTERN UNION!  I have seen a lot of people in the grocery store sending money to Mexico via Western Union.  Off we went to the local H-E-B Supermarket and, yes, you can wire money to someone in Mexico.  Unfortunately, I was told that they could only wire the money to a person and not to an insurance company (????).  That just doesn’t sound right.  I should have asked for the manager to confirm that.  But by then I had learned that one of our cats at home in Nacogdoches had crossed the Rainbow Bridge.  Jack was almost 19 years old and we have been stuck in Harlingen and weren’t there for him when he drew his last breath.  I was feeling pretty depressed by this time. 

We got in touch with someone at the Mexican insurance company again and their suggestion was to have the person who picks up our car from the repair shop just pay the repair shop the $500 US in cash!  Great idea.  But how do I get $500 US cash into the hands of the person in Mexico who will be picking up the car?  Do you think they might just have an extra $500 US cash in their pocket?  Hey, maybe I could wire them the money!  Yeah, sure.

I phoned my bank in Nacogdoches again to see if they had any other ideas.  Fortunately, they did and it was even simpler than having the pickup man pay cash.  Why not just have our daughter in Nacogdoches wire the $500 US to the insurance company and then we could just pay her back?  That’s what we decided to do at 2:30 PM, which gave us an hour and a half until the 4:00 PM cut off for wiring money.  Carol Ann got in touch with our son-in-law who agreed to go to the bank and take care of it.  All I needed to do was to email the payment information to the bank.  That’s when I discovered that the “Account Number” I had been given by the insurance company was not really their bank account number.  It was our claim number.  It’s too late now.  Everyone has quit for the day.  We will have to try again tomorrow.

Our second problem.  How to get the car the 1240 miles from Merida in the Yucatan to the US border?  Well, we thought we had that covered, and we did.  A transport company would truck it all the way and I would meet them in Matamoros in a few days and drive it back across the border to the US.  The fee, however, had risen and it is now $45,000 Mexican Pesos (around $3,500 US).  To have it hauled the same distance in the US would only be about $900.  I know because I got several Internet quotes from companies to haul it from Nacogdoches, TX to Yuma, AZ, as that would be approximately the same mileage.  I realize that the Mexican company will have to pay the driver “hazardous duty pay”, plus pay the “fines” that will be levied along the way.  But, friends convinced me that $45,000 Mexican Pesos is still way too much money for the service. 

So the transport company is on hold while my friends check with their friends in Mexico in order to find a “trustworthy” individual who, for a lot less money, would drive the car from Merida to Reynosa (they said that Matamoros was too dangerous!).  They would also drive me across the border and go with me to pick up the car (which would make me feel a lot better about having to go back to Mexico).  Just have to wait and see.  Mañana.  Mañana.  Mañana.  Mañana. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Suspended Animation

Mar 3

It’s down to 3 couples left here in Harlingen.  Me and Carol Ann plus the Sweets and Coopers.  We have eaten at a different restaurant almost every night and are tired of eating out.  After one of our dinners I began turning to the right in leaving Appleby’s, only to be stopped by shouting from everyone in the car.  The street was one way, to the left.   Last night after we left Chili's Bob pulled along side and flagged me down.  Carol Ann put her window down and Bob shouted, “Turn your headlights on!”  I have to keep telling myself that I am no longer driving in Mexico!

We have invited the Coopers and Sweets over to our rig tonight for a potluck supper (we all have a lot of leftovers).   We’ll eat, drink, play some card games, and talk about the other caravan members.  Really, we talk about the group a lot.  But it’s good talk!  We keep saying things like, “I can’t believe how well the group got along together.”

When you take 35 people and send them off for 7 weeks into “Indian Territory” they tend to circle their wagons and learn to depend on each other for support.  It reminds me a lot of Army Basic Training where you throw together a bunch of guys from different parts of the country and place them in a strange or hostile environment where they must learn to work together in order to survive.  At the end of 8 weeks some very strong bonds have been made. 

OK, our car.  Everyone keeps asking about it.  Well, we are waiting for Monday afternoon to call the Mexican insurance agent.  She will tell us if the repairs have been completed and the car is ready for pickup.  If she has received the bank transfer for the deductible she will “release” the car.  The next call will then be to the transport company to let them know it is ready for pickup and transport, assuming of course, they have received a bank transfer for at least half of their fee ($45,000 pesos, or about $3,500 US). 

The transport company estimates 36 hours of driving time from Merida to Matamoros, about 1,240 miles.  One of the reasons for the seemingly high fee is to avoid “the possible interruption of service by federal authorities” (Google translator comes up with some rather weird translations).  In other words, some of the fee will probably be used to “pay fines” that are levied by “federal authorities” along the route.  I understand this has become a way of life for truckers in Mexico.  They get pulled over for no apparent reason but are quickly back on the road again once they have paid the “fine” (usually about $10 pesos I am told).

I now have friends advising that I should not use the transport company because the fee is too high.  They say that it would be much less expensive to hire someone to drive the car from Merida to the border.  A couple of friends in one of our RV clubs used to live and work in Mexico and are calling around to try and get some names.  Because of this, everything is still up in the air.  However, it will all come crashing back to earth on Monday afternoon when a decision must be made.

I have used Google to find a few transportation companies that ship autos from Mexico to the US and have requested quotes from a couple.  Most of them only ship via sea with the car in a container.  I would imagine that this is even more expensive than transport by truck.  It would also require that I pick the car up from the Port of Houston once it arrived (probably weeks later and about 140 miles each way). 

I plan to stick my head in the sand this weekend and relax.  Carol Ann and I both have been a little stressed-out this week and, anyway, we can’t do anything before Monday.  It’s always manãna.  Remember that I told you the dictionary says it means “tomorrow”, but it really means “not today”.