My last night in Mexico was spent in a well lit Pemex north of Saltillo at coordinates 25.61314°N 100.83809°W. When I left the gas station I was happy to find a long acceleration lane because the station is between the north and south bound lanes. Unfortunately, by the time you get on the main road, you have gone past the turnoff for the Monterrey Cuoto. I had to use the next "retourno" and go back to the station and try again. There was no traffic and I was easily able to get to the Monterrey highway.
I noticed that most of the toll plazas had ample parking for night stops. There were several Pemex stations, but not with a lot of parking. I traveled northeast on Rt. 40 then back on 85. The route to Columbia Crossing is RT. 2 off 85, south of Nuevo Loredo. Immediately before this turn are TWO Pemex stations side by side. Both have lots and lots of room for parking. This is also the LAST Pemex before crossing, Coordinates are 27.29923 N and 99.59961 W.
The crossing was something else. I easily found the booth on the left where a senorita removed the decal from the Jeep windshield and processed the paperwork. She was very proficient. I asked her where to turn in out Tourist Papers and she indicated someplace ahead. The next stop was the toll booth. We paid the toll and asked the woman about he Tourist papers and she also indicated someplace ahead. The next place ahead was US Customs and they didn't want anything to do with the papers.
US Customs was a nightmare all by itself. I pulled the motorhome and Jeep on the side with the trucks. When I got to the booth, the Customs agent informed me that the lane was only for the motorhome and driver. He told me to turn around and deliver the wife and three dogs to the Auto side. He had me pull through the booths and do a u-turn, now heading AGAINST the trucks coming in. I did manage to pull around and get in the auto lane. The agent there gave us a quick OK on the contents, but said that the motorhome had to go back to the other side. Also, he felt that Helen and two dogs were enough and I would have to keep one dog with me. They never asked for one paper of documentation for the dogs.
Again, I had to make a u-turn and go against traffic to reenter the truck side. I got to the same booth and the agent was ready for me. I was processed quickly and was sent on to be X-rayed. That took quite a while as Helen was standing in the sun with two dogs waiting for me. After the xray, agents insisted on opening all basement compartments and checking the inside. It was a quick and dirty look, but I have no idea what the x-ray showed or what they were looking for. The gave me a pass and I headed out. On the way out I turned in the pass and was told to go ahead and take a left to pickup the family, This was the southbound lane heading to Mexico. With the family on board, a Customs agent surveyed the problem. By moving several sets of cones, I was able to make yet one more u-turn, heading north in the south bound lane. Horns were beeping but I didn't care.
If I had to do it again, I would disconnect the Jeep in Mexico and have Helen drive the Jeep and the dogs through the auto/pedestrian side while I drove the motorhome through the truck maze. Helen would have had the Jeep for comfort and A/C while she was waiting for me.
From there it was a straight shot to San Antonio and a straight shot to Florida on I-10. Gotta love the American highway system!!!!!
Yes, I'm talking about Columbia. Right now I'm about 180 miles away and I've been plotting the places where one may stay on the way from San Miguel to Columbia Crossing. Tonight I'm in a Pemex, well lit, at 25.61314 N and 100.83809 W. It'a a little north of Saltillo. I also have the coordinates for other Pemex stations and toll booth area where overnight parking seems likely. Tomorrow will finish the job and I will be able to advise others where thay may be able to stay and where thay may be able to fuel up.
Wolfe10 .. As I said, we were driving our Class C when we crossed the border on Sunday. But we do own a Dutch Star Class A as well as the Class C and I don't think I would have had any trouble if I was driving the Dutch Star when we crossed the border. There seemed to be as much room as you would see at a Cuota booth.
When I drove the wife and the dogs over to the auto side, I WAS NOT ALLOWED TO CONTINUE THROUGH THAT SIDE!! I had to make a u-turn and return to the truck side for the X-ray and walk-through. My RV is a 37 foot Winnebago.
Teo.. We just came through Columbia with a Class C pulling a Jeep. In the past we got into the truck lane but was asked what we were doing there when we got up to the U.S. Customs official who said we should have gone in the car lanes. But by then it was too late and we had to go through the x-ray, drug-dog sniffing etc.
This year we went through the car lanes and all the Customs official asked for was our passports and where we had been and where we lived. We also gave him a detailed list of all the things we bought in Mexico (he liked that) Then he just waived us through. Didn't ask about what food we had. Nothing..