Trouble at the Mexican Border
Trouble at The Border- our adventure south.
Our family spent an excellent summer on Cliff Island (a small island off the coast of Portland, Maine), where my Mom and Dad run community programs, before we headed south in September.
We took it slow and had many eventful stops along the way. My brothers and I hiked Mt. Washington barefoot, climbing with Mom, Dad, Pop-Pop, and Great Uncle Dave. We visited our grandparents in Pennsylvania at the Masonic Village in October, after we did some climbing in the Shawangunk Mountains. Then we visited family and friends in Florida.
Our goal for this year's journey was to cross into Mexico for the surfing opportunities on the coast and the climbing in El Potrero Chico, a stunning park full of steep cliffs and world-class climbs.
Last year we had hoped to journey into Mexico but Base Camp, our skoolie (converted school bus), was the limiting factor. In order to get a TIP (Temporary Import Permit), necessary for entering Mexico past the 35-mile free zone, the vehicle must weigh less than 7,700 pounds. That was a problem for us because Base Camp is a hunk at 13,000 pounds.
The only way around that weight limit is to register as a motorhome; there is no weight limit for RVs. In 2021 we weren't registered as a motorhome. So last summer, in Maine, my father worked to have Base Camp re-registered.
We had some long days of driving through Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana before making it into the Lone Star State (Texas). Before our arrival in Eagle Pass (the US border town), my younger brothers and I (Zev, 8; Cove, 12; I'm 15) were excited about crossing the border into Piedras Negras, Mexico. We were anxious to head to El Potrero Chico and beyond.
Unfortunately, my Dad came out of the Banjercito (TIP office) with bad news. The same border lady who declined our entry last winter turned us away again. Even though we were now registered as a motorhome, she claimed we were still a bus and therefore couldn't cross into Mexico.
We didn't want to repeat last year so we decided to try our luck at the next border town, Ciudad Acuna, and hope the Banjercito office was kinder (and didn't see our skoolie in their system).
With our fingers crossed, we drove into Ciudad Acuna and almost turned around when the lady at the toll booth charged us as a commercial vehicle, but we paid the $13. and drove across the bridge.
If you read my previous article about our first day in El Potrero Chico, you know we were successful and finally got our permit. We were free to head to the mountains and then to find a surfing spot on the coast.
Now, read about our first day in El Potrero Chico: