Road Trip Warriors
Well, been a long time coming for me to post about our road trip to Mexico. My brother-in-law, Will, and I (Jed) had some memorable moments.
On Sunday September 20th we left. It was a beautiful day. Our family was commissioned by our awesome church community- Antioch Church of the YMCA in Lebanon, Ohio. I felt ready, able, and excited for this new journey. The week leading up to this point was spent giving and receiving prayer. We were ready.
Will and I left around 2pm. We brought a soccer ball along to make the drive a little more interesting.
Our goal was to make it to the border in 2 days time. On Google maps it said the trip would take 21 hours, but we were driving a 17 foot U-Haul with our minivan attached on a trailer. So, the normal speed of 70 was not going to work. The first 5 hours we had to drive 60. But, after getting fed up with being passed so much, we decided to push it and get up to 70.
Will drove the next 7 hours. We were going to stop in Memphis, TN. But, in order to make the next day easier we decided to push to Little Rock, Ark. After 11 hours of driving and getting into Little Rock at 2am/ 3am Eastern, we slept until 6am and then got back on the road. We spiced things up by jamming out to music, watching funny YouTube videos and juggling soccer balls at gas stations.
Then second day we decided to push to San Antonio, even though it would be another 12 hour drive time. Because San Antonio is only 2.5 hours from Laredo, where we needed to be.
We decided to cross the border at Laredo because we were connected with a man (D) who works there. D specializes in “getting stuff across the border at little or no cost” as he explained it to us. We got to Laredo and we pull up to this warehouse where you can see Mexico about 1 mile away. Our friends from Back2Back meet us with vans and trailers to help.
The guys there tell me D is off work that day. I laugh. They call him in and he explains the routine. We unload everything that can fit into my van, a 15-passenger van, and a 10’ X 5’ trailer. The rest we leave with him and as he says, we should get the stuff within 1-2 weeks. This is all done legally by the way. We left our couch, the kids toys, and who knows what in an open semi trailer with strangers.
Next, we return the U-Haul and head to the border. We pass the US border crossing and then go across a bridge and get to the Mexico border crossing. Since we are declaring what we are bringing into the country, we pull off to the right down this narrow road and into this car park area with a lot of people on staff. You have three soldiers with machine guns, three Mexican police officers with firearms and one crazy mean dog, and then other attendants. We pull up and the first thing they tell us to do is take out most of what we just packed and put it on the ground so they can look at it all.
I told my brother at the beginning of the trip that it was my goal to juggle a soccer ball with soldiers at the border. So, he gets the ball out and reminds me about it. We start juggling and then one of the soldiers asked to play. So he joins in, but the police dog was freaking out at us so we stopped.
After we unpacked probably 60% of what was in the vehicles they said that was fine and we waited another 30 minutes until another attendant came over to inspect our stuff. You’re supposed to tell them the value of everything if you had sold it at a garage sale. So, I told them the amount and they said okay and just took 16% of the amount I gave them.
I paid the fee and then walked out and we realize another inspection has to happen. The Mexican soldiers now have to inspect. So, we motion over to the soldiers and they look at us and just look away. They were doing nothing; they just wanted to show who was in charge. But, it just so happens that the one guy who tried to juggle with us comes over to inspect our stuff. He looks around, pulls out his knife, starts opening boxes, but ultimately 15 minutes later he said we are good to go. He motions for me to come over again and start juggling. I had a USA soccer ball so they thought I played for the USA National Team I think. They asked me to sign the ball and then asked me if they could have the ball. I was not going to say no to three Mexican soldiers with machine guns even though I loved that ball and my Aunt Linda had given it to Joah as a gift. So, I gave it to them and then figured I would ask for a picture and they were all about it. I was praying all week for favor and a smooth border crossing, because people from Back2Back have been denied crossing into Mexico, have been asked to pay an exorbitant amount of money, and/or have had to take everything out of their vehicles and unpack it all. After about 2 hours we crossed the border and received the stickers for my car to be able to be driven in Mexico. Then we had a three-hour drive to Monterrey in pouring and we were done.
Glory to God – He saw us through the whole way. We pretty much hit no traffic or issues, everything worked out with “the guy who can get things across the border,” and we had a fairly painless border crossing. We are grateful.