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Allie's Time in Mazatlan

I dropped our daughter Allie off at the Mazatlan Airport after a two week stay here with us.  I hadn't driven the truck in six weeks so it was good to start it up and let it run for the hour round trip.  I do not like driving on the back streets here though.   The neighborhoods are very poor once you get a mile east of the ocean, and the roads are poorly maintained.  Some potholes are big enough to swallow up a small pickup truck.  And traffic is busy with motorcycles and bicycles darting in and out of traffic, pedestrians walking across the road, without looking, and cars occasionally passing on the right shoulder where there simply doesn't seem like there's enough room to get by.  As a result, I saw a lot of vehicles with bent mirrors, dents and scratches. Anyway, I think Allie had a good time hanging out with her elderly parents. Mescal and Tequila Festival All-Star Baseball game The baseball game was very different from ones that I've attended in the United States. 

Road to Torreon, Mexico

We were up at 5:30 a.m., ate breakfast and had the car packed up by 6:45 a.m.  One of the things not advised in Mexico is to drive while it's dark out:  more crime, animals on the road, and unseen speed bumps (called topes).   So we waited until a little after  7 a.m when enough of the sun was up to see the road.

 Airbnb Backyard

About a half hour later, we pulled off next to a small, unmarked government building on the side of Hwy 57 just past Allende.  It's easy to miss.  A visa is required in Mexico.   Also, a TIP (temporary import permit) is required for vehicles outside of lower Baja and the border zone.  

Fortunately, we arrived early enough that there was no line.  Getting a visa was as simple as showing our passports and paying the fees.  The immigration officer keyed in all of the information, and we just had to sign.  We're good to go for 180 days, although we won't be staying that long.

The TIP was more complicated.  Importing a vehicle cost about $80 and then a $400 refundable deposit, returnable if one remembers to drop off the receipt/permit at a TIP office just before leaving the country.  There's more paperwork involved.  Original registration, stamped FMM (visa), and copies of passport and registration.  We purchased Mexican auto insurance online before leaving home.  The application for TIP is in the same building and across from the immigration window.

After that, we were back on the road, driving south on Hwy 57  and then Hwy 50 around Monclova, where we were stopped by a police officer at the side of the road.  He asked where we were going, took a quick look in the back of the truck, saw Callie, and sent us on our way.

Then we were back on Hwy 57 until we turned west on Hwy 114.  

The road was easy driving up to this point, although I had to get used to the invisible third lane.  On two lane highways, the middle of the road is used as the passing lane, while other vehicles on both sides straddle the shoulder line allowing that to happen.

Hwy 114 took us across some of the most desolate country that I've ever seen.  Other vehicles were rare.  There was no shoulder and steep drop-offs on the side of the road.  At one point, I pulled over as far as I could to let a pick-up truck by.  Instead of passing, the pick-up truck pulled alongside us in the opposing lane at 50 mph.  I then noticed it was a police vehicle.  He looked us over and then waved us to keep going.  He then stopped, turning around in the opposite direction.

Our last police stop of the day came about 30 minutes later.  Two policemen set up a cone in the middle of the road and motioned us to slow down and stop.  Neither spoke English.  Callie gave them a rousing hello in "bark" language.  They smiled a lot and checked our papers carefully.  After asking for our destination, they waved us on our way.

Hwy 114 soon turned into Hwy 40, which was bone-shaking rough for about an hour.  That turned into Hwy 40/440, the toll road, and it was smooth going all the way into Torreon.  We ate outside at a deli adjacent to the hotel.  It was dog friendly, and Callie was on her best behavior.

Police Liason waiting for a morsel of chicken


MFH said…
What agency did you get the insurance from?

Did the $400 deposit have to be in cash?

Where did you cross into Mexico?
John said…
Lewis & Lewis. The deposit can be in cash or by credit card. We crossed into Mexico at Piedras Negras, which is across from Eagle Pass, Texas.

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