Welcome to the Journeys of The Zoo...
December 11, 2012:. After eight weeks of preparation, it all came together. We spent the morning winterizing our house; blew out the pipes, turned off the electricity, cleaned out all the appliances, turned off the furnace. Then, we loaded up Buchephalus with the two dogs, Aries the Cat, three kids and ourselves and headed to Toronto. Note: Alexander will spend the winter with Uncle Andrew. It was also the kids third birthday!
December 11 to 14, 2012: Visited with friends and family in Toronto. Celebrated the Kids Birthday/Christmas with The Family.
December 15, 2012 at 5am: Head south to Tennessee. Gain one hour due to time change. Stop at Walmart (I know!?) and purchase enough food for four people for four days. Note that we don't bring any food into the USA, however, we do take food into Mexico. On the road: 17 hours (includes washroom breaks, eating and gas stops), Km: 1,500km, Sleep: 6 hours.
December 16, 2012 at 5am: Head south to McAllen, Texas (border town). Hope that we don't meet up with the same cop and/or have to sleep in the van in a parking lot. See above comment about "dynamic trip". Km: 1,500, Drive: 18 hours, Sleep: 8 hours.
December 17, 2012 at 6am: No point in leaving any earlier, the bridge to Mexico doesn't open until "around" 6am (or 7am). Spend 1.5 hours at customs in Mexico importing ourselves and our vehicle. Pay $400USD deposit to import our vehicle. Receive partial reimbursement if we return. Hotel: Potrero del Llano, Usual fee $500MXN ($50 USD) but Ed always talks the (female) owner down to $350 ($35USD). Purchase a "Rosti Pollo" (BBQ chicken, rice, salsa, tortillas) so that everyone can eat the next day. Note that we only drive during daylight hours, so we take the toll roads to avoid cops and donkeys (not kidding). In turn, we have to pay around $100 in Toll fees. Military Stops: Three, Federal Stops: Two, Immigration Stops: Two. Crooked Cops: 3,871. Note that in our previous 12 trips we have never been stopped (received the "red light") at the Mexican border (heading south). There may be a first time for everything. Update to come. Km: around 1,000 km, Drive: 12 hours, Sleep: 8 hours.
December 18, 2012 at 8pm: Arrive in San Cristobal de las Casas. Stop by our Mexican friends house and grab keys to our place.
Enter and grab the extension ladder. Climb onto our neighbours roof and shimmy across a metal pole into our backyard. Open up the garage door from the inside. Uninstall the rooftop car box so that the van fits into the garage (with less than two inches to spare). Head over to friends for dinner, wedding, baptism or whatever else is going on (has been known to happen).
Note 1. We have never been asked for medical paperwork for any of the animals, ever. We do bring proof of Rabies vaccination, however, technically Mexico requires proof of health (from a vet) within the past three days, translated and in triplicate...
Note 2: When all is said and done, it costs us about $1,800CDN to drive with The Zoo (return). That includes: gas, hotel, food, tolls, medical and car insurance. Return airfare for one person is not less than $1,000.
Have you been on any roadtrips lately? Have any stories to tell?