Mexico States we drove through today: Sonora, Chihuahua

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Here we are leaving St. George, Utah. We are towing a 14 ft. trailer. We bought the smallest one we could all fit in because we heard that the roads get pretty tight in Central America.

Feb 16.  We left Brett and Shane’s after 16 days.  We had so much fun there.  Castle loved it there.  He calls Brett “Bretton,” and I discovered why today when he said, “Are we going back to Bretton Shane’s to sleep tonight?”  Cute!

Feb 17. We did it.  We made it into MX.  Last night we stayed about 40 miles outside the Douglas/Agua Prieta border.  It was a beautiful spot down a dirt road off the Highway.  The air was clean.  One car drove by all night.  We got up with the sun and headed into Douglas and made our last trip to the stores in the USA.

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We got to the border about 12 after all our errands were done.  The paperwork at the border, which took about 1 hour and 15 mins to get done was handled all in one office with lots of different windows to go to.  When I told them we were going to Guatemala the girl looked a little put out that she had to fill out paperwork.  When I handed them 7 passports she about fell over, sighed and went in the back room to ask for help.  Everyone was really helpful, although even though we are expecting it we are certainly unaccustomed to the speed at which things get done.  Only one guy of the 5 border people we dealt with spoke any English.  The guy in the middle of the office spoke some English but he was not a government employee, he was an independent guy selling copies that you need for the permits and car insurance.  It is a tricky place to start practicing Spanish with all those words like license, registration, title, and the names of the different permits.  The inspection of our vehicle was about 5 minutes long.  The MX border guy went in the trailer and looked in the bathroom, pantry, and about 3 other cupboards.  Just that much was a project, as all our backpacks were on the floor in the way of everything.

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After the border paperwork we followed the google map and turned where it said the Highway was about 5 mins away.  I thought the map was wrong.  Wade said, “Well, this looks like a main road,” so we took it.  It was the right road.  Oh ya, I forgot a major Hwy in MX might not look anything what I think a Highway “should” look like.  It didn’t.  There were a lot of realizations like that today. IMG_0277

We drove until evening and came into Colonia Dublan and Nuevo Casas Grandes.  I struggled to read the detailed maps in my MX camping book which are the only detail maps I have so far.  I am getting used to how their directions work.  The cities aren’t marked with signs, “Dublan, est. 1875,” as you enter town.  So it is tough to figure out where we are on the map.  What town are we in?  We looped around several times to find this place we are staying tonight.  It was funny.  There is a major city sign on the side of the road that says “Los Pistoleros” which is where we were trying to go.  Once you turn and there is a dirt road and a big empty field with lots of roads through it.  Then a ways in there is a really cool looking enclosed structures with brick wall and buildings.  It is completely unmarked.  Wade and I parked, walked in, were met by 2 big, loudly barking dogs, then David came out.  He was nice.  I was happy with our conversation – mostly in Spanish. . .”The restaurant is closed today.  It will be open tomorrow at 1.  We are in Nuevo Casas Grandes, not Dublan.  Wade’s great-grandpa founded Colonia Dublan.  He is dead.  Died in about 1900.  We are going to Guatemala, staying here for a day.  Can we park and stay the night in their parking lot?  Can we pay him for it?  He said No.  He asked if we need water or lights.”  Whew.  We can communicate in this new land of Mexico!!!  He was very polite and welcomed us many times.

We really wanted Mexican food but it is dark, David is shutting the gates and we are in a new town.  So we stuck around and had leftover Pizza Crusts we made at Brett & Shane’s, cheese and some pesto  in the fridge.  Rainee made the pesto from our garden last summer, yummy.  Everyone thought it was great, especially because we haven’t eaten since our sandwiches we had for breakfast in Douglas, AZ because we had to eat our tomatoes and avocados before we crossed the border.  They never checked or asked us about fruits and veggies but we ate them all anyway!  Cooked up our pizzas in the oven.  This is actually the first time I have used the oven (Wade has used it before), first time I washed dishes in the sink, the first time we filled up our Berkey Filter so we could fill up our water bottles for tomorrow’s journey.  We did all this by light of flashlight because we have some glitch with the battery- light connection.  We would never have left if we stuck around to fix everything though.  I am sure Wade will get to it soon.  We fixed all the things that required a shop and left a few things that could be fixed along the way.

Shrines in MX. I think some are for saints and some like this one is put where a person died.

Shrines in MX. I think some are for saints and some like this one is put where a person died.

We saw hundreds of these today. Some were simple. Some were very beautiful. All were heartfelt.

We saw hundreds of these today. Some were simple. Some were very beautiful. All were heartfelt.

Sign on the shrineIt was a bit stressful today.  It was stressful at the border, not knowing what to expect.  Shortly out of town we had a huge mountain climb – by far the biggest pull yet with the trailer.  Then finding a place in time because we wanted to be off the road before dark.  We made it, 30 mins later and we never would’ve found this place.   So many new things. . . street signs, town signs (mostly no town signs), what is a highway, what is a bathroom, new stove, new waterpump.  We were a bit wound up by the end of the day but I feel like we have conquered the world.  After dinner we read two chapters of The Walking Drum.  It is so calming to read aloud.  Then everyone went to bed by nine, except me.  Now I have time to write about our journey!

How do I feel?  Awesome.  Scared.  Is this what I want?  Am I safe?  Do I really want to rearrange my whole trailer to go to bed? then to make food? then to go to the bathroom?  Do I want to feel that fear or excitement when I have no idea where we are, “Is this a highway?” What does that road sign say? What is that lady trying to tell me? Excited.  Accomplished.  I feel so accomplished, we did it.  I don’t really know what yet, but we did it!  We hatched this plan 11 months ago when we met Aaron and Jenny Walker.  We have spent literally almost every day preparing for this since March of last year.  So many days it seemed impossible.  It is awesome what we accomplished in the process of getting ready for this journey.  That is the real gift of this whole thing and now we get our adventure!!  We did some great stuff this past year that I never thought we could but the dream of this adventure spurred us on.  I felt it every day.  I have never gone to bed exhausted so many nights as I did last year.  I watched Wade push forward everyday too the last 4 months working on our truck.  We planned a week to get everything done on the truck that needed to be.  He worked on it part of Nov, all of Dec, all of Jan and just finished the morning before we left, Feb 15.  Wow. Now at least the work I got done had some variety to it.  I really admire the way he just pushed through the discouragement and kept on going.  And best of all, neither one of us burned it to the ground in a fit of rage!

Well, I am looking out the window at the beautiful moon that is still almost full.  Not very many lights around except for a big soccer field or something like that a ways off.  Oh and no wi-fi signals – not from my neighbors, not from anyone!  I love it.  I think I can call it a day!IMG_0334