Mexico / Texas border vehicle crossing Presidio Ojinaga to Chihuahua city, Cuahtemoc, Creel
Mexico Texas border vehicle crossing Presidio Tx/ Ojinaga Chih on to Creel Chihuahua
We finally made it. We had everything done and crossed into Mexico. You cross the Rio Grande by bridge and you are across. You are directed to turn into an inspection station. We pulled over and got out and opened up the back door. Inspector One to Inspector Two, ¨Do you want to look in here?¨ Inspector Two, ¨No.¨ They then told us to park and get out papers. We had gotten a copy of what you could bring in by way of vegetables, fruit, and meat. The Department of Agriculture publishes a list and so we had cooked all meat, potatoes, and eaten any fruit or vegetables that were on the prohibited list.
We got out and went in the middle doors and got our tourist cards. They very thoughtfully have a copy of what you are to fill in and so that made it quite easy. From there we went to register the vehicle and pay our tourist fee.
We had read that you needed to have copies of your driver´s lisence, passport, vehicle title, vehicle registration and insurance for driving in Mexico. Make at least three because they took copies of all of these and we had to pay to have a copy of our tourist card there at the border and of course they charge you for that! We did have a breakdown in communication and a gentleman came out and told us we did not have to pay to bring the camper in. They give you a sticker to place above your rearview mirror and the other part goes with your other papers. I decided to use a plastic sleeve that you use for notebooks to keep all my papers together (one set at a time), to make it easier when we are stopped for any kind of inspection.
We then drove to the District Central to to change money. We went to a bank Bancomer, and were not charged a commission and we got a pretty good rate for our dollars. They also gave us instructions on how to get to the toll road to Chihuahua. Because we were trying to get to Creel, we decided that the toll road was the best option. I also thought the idea of first day driving might be better on road without too much hassle.
We kind of followed the directions we were given, were given a friendly wave and point the direction by guys on side of road and finally we were on what we hoped was the toll road heading to Chihuahua! Our maps were not exact except that it was highway 16 but the first part of the road was marked #341 leading out of town and then we saw a sign #67 La Pasada al Pacifico which was the road in from Presidio across the border. We did finally see the #16 and a sign indicating road to Chihuahua and it was confirmed at the toll station. We went throough one toll station on the way to Chihuahua and one after on the road to Creel. We were also stopped twice for inspections; one where they asked for Robert´s passport, our Mexican vehicle registration paperwork, and his tourist card. We at that point discovered that most of the western part of Mexico was on Mountain time so we gained an hour! We were also stopped at a military checkpoint where we watched them go through the vehicle in front of us, checking inside all doors and in the back. They had Robert get out, the inspector kind of looked in our back seat, probably in wondermont since there are two folding bicycles and a folding kayak and other things back there. He looked in the back in the camper but we were soon on our way.
Robert decided to let me do some driving and he worked with our GPS. He managed to punch enough buttons that now we were able to see how far to Chihuahua and how many minutes it was going to take at the present speed. When we neared the outskirts of Chihuahua, Robert took back over driving and I was to signal what the GPS directed us to do. I am so glad we had the GPS and it paid for itself because it would signal right before a turn and in the case where we made a wrong turn it would reconfigure our path and we were able to make it through with the minimum of trouble!!!!!!
A note about the availability of diesel. We had stopped outside Chihuahua and got diesel and have since discovered there are Pemex stations in some of the most amazing places. One person we talked to before we crossed into Mexico said he slept in their parking lot when he was near a big city and he also got water from them. A couple we talked to once we got to Creel said that had good maps of Mexico for sale there. Guia Rojas--Robert had also read about them on the Internet.
We did our first roadside snack stand because we were pushing on for Creel and didn´t know what time we would arrive. It was delicious--they called them burritos, soft tacos filled with our choices.
Drove on the Cuahtemoc and decided to stop for groceries if we saw a place that looked like it would have some fresh vegetables, fruit, etc. There was a large supermarket on the way and so we stopped. Outside the store there was a gentleman roasting green chiles--smelled so good and of course we bought some. They had everthing we could need and more! Back on the road pushing sunset. Just as we turned on the road to Creel, an owl flew across up onto a telephone pole. We took this as a good omen. Against all rules, we continued to drive as it got darker.
Fortunately the traffic was not very heavy, and ones that passed us, helped guide our way. The road began to get steep and winding and so the going was slow. Then Robert began to see snow along the side of the road and then signs warning us of ice on the road. Fortunately all the ice we saw was on the other side of the road! Finally made it to Creel- after being on the road for about 10 hours, crossing the border, changing money, lunch, navigating two cities, two toll stops, two inspections, groceries, diesel, snack and just plain driving. We then had to find the place our guidebook said had RV sites. We drove around and finally reread the part that said it was south of town and so turned ourselves south and voila!, there was Villa Mexicana. We pulled in and went and registered. This was once a KOA but has been redone in a very nice way. We were the only ones camping and so just picked out a site. We had electricity and pumpout but there was no water at the site. You also could use the showers inside the place.
Exhausted, we turned on our heater and called it a day!
The next morning we got up and I was starting to fix breakfast, Robert outside taking pictures. By the way, it had dropped to 12 by that morning, so we were glad we were plugged in! While Robert was outside, he glanced at one of our new tires and said, ¨Oh no, we have a leakflat!¨ He went inside to get directions to find a place to change the tire because our small pump that goes in the cigarette lighter would not reach--not sure it would do much good. Got directions to a place and off we went. Found the place open, the guys ready to work, very friendly, and were we relieved! You can imagine our amazement when what they pulled out of our tire was a spark plug that had been worn down as we evidently drove with it for awhile!
I rested and Robert hopped on his bicycle and went to see what he could see and buy in the way of chicken. Found a place with cooked chicken with onions, pico de gallo, tortillas and all smelled delicious. He decided to make us some chicken soup with rice. It turned out delicious and just what I needed!
Meanwhile there was a children´s birthday party going on in the community building of the Villa Mexicana. Shrieks of laughter, children playing and then the piñata! It was a very elaborate one and great to watch the children trying to break it.
It was also sad to see the poor children outside the fence watching all the festivities. They had come by our camper several time trying to sell us trinkets.
We then walked into town to the plaza. It was Saturday night and like many a small town there was the procession of cars up and down the main drag. We went to a place mentioned in the guidebook--nice fire and a few locals. We visited with them and then decided to walk on back to Villa Mexicana. We had a few drinks, visited with the workers and then off to bed.
The next day we were going to make our drive down into the Barranca del Cobre. We decided to go to Tres Amigos and check and see what kind of maps and information they had. Glad we did, gave us information about getting to Batopilas and also Uriqui and even on further. They also had maps that were helpful. So now we are ready to make that trip to Batopilas.