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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Ferry Crossing?

Sunrise over the bay
In the morning I rose early to catch the sunrise from a nearby massive hill while Josh watched the massive moon set over the Tecolote Bay. After a quick breakfast we walked into the immigration office downtown at 10 am planning on catching the 9pm ferry. In between we had visions of getting internet and doing laundry. In the office we explained the situation and they promptly informed us that no, we could not get the FMM there, the only place to get it was at la frontera or the border. What? Why!? We pleaded; we came by yester day and the workers said we would be all good if we returned today? We explained exactly what we wanted, how could you tell us to simply come back if there actually was no recourse? Frustration flared from each of our nostrils. This makes no sense. Why would you waste our time? We walked outside to regroup and rehash what we had learned. Entering the lion’s den we pleaded our case once more asking if there was any way we could figure this out. Finally we came to the realization that we had no options, we could purchase an expensive permit that would make us legal for 30 days, however, that permit did not allow for travel with a car. Flabbergasted, we thought about the multitude of others who must have done the same silly thing before.
Moon setting over the bay

One of the workers suggested that we simply drive back to the border because that was the only place place to obtain the FMM and he argued that it would be the most economical option. ARRGG!!! We finally left the office after they made some references to us being illegal; fearing a fine, we assured them we would decide on an option soon, this meant slinking away to our favorite café with Wifi and the extremely helpful owner Ana Luz. We researched as fast as we could looking up everything online. Apparently a rule changed in 2010 that made it impossible to get the FMM anywhere other than the border. We also realized that we were not in the country illegally as the FMM is not necessary for travel in Baja, simply everywhere else.
We realized we had few options, Ana Luz kindly offered to contact a friend from San Diego who was visiting her in a few days, to see if he might be able to do something. Unfortunately we came to the conclusion that no, we could only drive north. As with most decisions in our group, we hemmed and hawed but upon realizing we had no other option, we quickly mobilized and prepared for the drive north. Ana recommended the safest route, entering in through Nuevo Laredo and heading south to Monterrey and Ciudad Valles on our way to Vera Cruz. We calculated the distances and gas prices, finding that the route back through Texas in some sickening Carbon joke, was actually cost similar to crossing on the ferry. Crazy world of gas prices. Filling up our water in Ana’s kitchen we thanked her for everything, packed up the car, and headed for the border. 

Sad to leave Tecolote
We drove, drove, and drove more. And then we stopped for gas. And then we made PB and J’s. And then we drove, drove, and drove more. And then the car started making weird noises. And it went put, put, put, and our car trouble fun began. Pulling over we realized that our seat on top of the car had sprung up. WOWZA. Upon closer inspection we found our roof rack was attempting to escape the roof. A few screws had ripped up through their casings, one entire leg had shifted! We saw that our muffler had also pulled free from the bottom of the car. We went to work, strapping the seat back down, tightening and replacing screws, and pulling off the muffler. After thirty minutes of industrious work the beast returned to tip top shape. 

Not a terrible place to break down
Back on the road we cruised north. The sun appearing fully engorged, a massive orange disk slipping behind the mountains and nearing the the western horizon, put, put, put, Brian pressed the accelerator lower and lower with no response from the motor. Shit. Pulling off to the side of the road we began our days of car fun. The shoulder at this point sat a massive five feet below the road, fortunately we coaxed the car forward and pulled onto a small side road spur. The orange sun cast a glow over the incredibly craggy rock desert. The ground consisted of nearly all rock with no soil, but yet myriad elephant trees and Cardon cacti thrived in the area, each silhouetted by the setting sun. We pulled up the hood. We could not start the car instantly. The Beast sounded like it was struggling for air, put, put, put and poop it gasped. Hmm. The engine seemed hot. We messed around under the car and around it. We couldn’t pinpoint a specific problem. After twenty minutes we started him up and the engine fired up. We headed off trying not to push the motor hard as we knew we were within a couple of hours of Puerto Escondito where we had our surrogate mothers, Penny and Suzy!

We limped into Puerto Escondito around 8 pm and thank goodness, Penny and Suzy knew the man we needed to talk with. After hanging out at a full moon party, we had connections to Rich from the area who would help us out. The next morning we talked with Rich and the problem was above his knowledge level but he knew Feely, the best mechanic in town, so off we drove to Feely’s garage. Thank goodness for Penny and Suzy!

    Elliott Finn

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