Crossing the boarder at Tecate went more smoothly than I imagined. We arrived with our RV in tow on a Tuesday morning around 10:30 am. We needed to find a large place to park our RV because you can’t cross the border without a traveler’s visa, which is on the Mexican side. We parked in the large parking lot on a hill that is to the left as you are approaching the border. A sign indicated to pay $10 to park an RV. Since no one was at the office we placed the money in an envelope and proceeded to obtain our traveler’s visas on foot. I suggest exchanging some dollars at one of the convience stores on the US border side prior to doing this since it is cheaper to pay in pesos. By the time we were back at the truck around 11:30 semi trucks were starting to arrive and it was starting to get busy. We were happy to discover that the nice lady at the parking lot returned the money to us, stating that she didn’t charge for short term parking to obtain a visa. We filled up the truck with more diesel and headed for the boarder. The officer inspected the RV in just 1 min (looked in the refrigerator and one cabinet) and we were sent off. She never asked to see our passports, traveler’s visas, or any documentation about our dog Marilyn.
We turned right to get onto highway 2, as Google maps indicated was the fastest route, even though there were signs that said to go left for Ensenada. You can get to Ensenada by taking highway 3, which is more scenic and takes you through wine country, but from the topo maps it looks mountainous which we try to avoid to preserve fuel. It wasn’t very long before there was a military checkpoint and of course we were flagged down to pull over. The Mexican army men looked mean and intimidating holding their M16s. However as one of them approached my side I rolled down the window, smiled and said “Hola” to which he returned the gesture. Again he only searched the RV for about a min (looked in the bathroom and the bathroom closet) before they sent us on our way.
We were cruising happily along, listening to our favorite radio on Pandora, Road Trippin Radio, when something happened…To make a long story short, when Tim saw there was a semi truck pulled over on the right shoulder of the highway Tim signaled he was getting over from the right lane to the left lane, as you are supposed to do to give them room. There was plenty of room to get over even though there was a van far behind us. It wasn’t too long when we were suddenly pulled over. Apparently the woman in the van crashed and she was blaming us , saying we didn’t signal and cut her off…so the police made us return to the scene. The police were really upset initially because they only heard her side of the story. When we returned to the scene and saw the van, it was obvious from the force of impact she was most definitely speeding and most likely texting on her phone or some other distraction. She probably looked up from her distraction, realized she was approaching us too fast, freaked out, turned the wheel and crashed. Tim explained to them in Spanish what happened and after about an hour of deliberation they let us go. It was surprising to me that they never asked for any insurance. Most people don’t carry insurance here, which is why the lady was trying to pull one on us because her van was obviously totaled. Thank goodness she wasn’t hurt or any of her kids either! I felt bad when I saw there were kids in the van but, hopefully she learned her lesson to pay more attention when driving!
So we weren’t in Mexico for two hours when this happened, what a great start to our trip! However, the main reason I wanted to share our story is to debunk the theory that ALL police and army are corrupt. Honestly, I think it went better than if it would of happened in the US since no one was ticketed. No paper work no problems mon. 🙂 After the gut wrenching sensation subsided, we hit play on Pandora’s Road Trippin Radio, and continued on to Ensenada.