Day 9- Last Day of Vacation
We wanted to spend the last day just relaxing and not driving anywhere since we had a long road ahead of us starting the next day. Phil and Mom joined Dad in the water for an early morning surf session. I slept in a bit and caught just the tail end of their session but got to greet them as they came in.
We ate some breakfast and then my parents, Phil, and I walked up to Lourdes' which is a restaurant, bar, and surf shop where the locals like to hang out. We did not find anything to purchase so we didn't stay long. We decided to talk over to Dean's house so Phil and I could see the construction (my parents had been by the day before so they were able to give us the tour). After walking through the house, we headed back to the campsite and on our way stopped at a little taco stand and had drinks (limonadas for my parents and Coca Cola for me!). We talked to the ladies there about coming back for dinner and they said they would be open. But that evening when we showed up, there was not a soul in sight! We ended up having to eat at the restaurant on the beach that we had eaten at two nights before; we were hoping to add another taco stand to our count so this was disappointing!
Day 10 - Long Drive
We left Saladita at 5:45am and headed North. We had spent over an hour the afternoon prior mapping out our route to find the best way, a tricky combination of finding the most toll roads, least mountainous terrain, least windy roads, and not going too far out of our way to accomplish these goals. We must have done a good job because made very good time. We stopped minimally - only for gas when necessary. We had snacks (junk food) in the car and did not stop for a meal all day. Our goal was to make it to Cuidad Victoria and spend the night, which we were not sure we could accomplish since it was many more miles than we traveled on day 1 of our trip. We did make it there around 6pm and decided that since there were only about 3 more hours of driving to get to the border, we would rather keep going than stop and have to find a hotel.
I will be honest and say that driving in Mexico at night is not fun. Actually, some might describe it as scary. The roads are mostly 2-lane with small shoulders, and this is best case scenario. So, many times when a car is trying to pass an 18-wheeler going the other direction, you are facing that car head-on in your lane and have no choice but to slam on your brakes and reduce your speed to avoid a collision. This happened more than once! Also, the big trucks in Mexico are double-long which we don't see in the US much, so that makes passing them even more trecherous since it takes longer to get around them! We had to both stay very alert and awake the entire day. Luckily, the police know better than to pull anyone over on the roads- they have no place to safely do so! The only time we saw any police was when a safety hazard was forthcoming; they would park on the shoulder with their lights flashing if a dangerous curve was ahead to warn drivers to slow down, which was really helpful.
We finally hit Matamoros around 9pm although the signs did not clearly direct us towards the border so we got lost and did not actually arrive at the border until about 9:45pm. We turned in our car permit and actually made it across pretty quickly. But we still had a 40 minute drive to the island before our travels for the day were over! Since we had not eaten all day, we stopped and picked up Whataburger on the island as our first meal back in the US. How American... burgers and fries.
The best part of the evening was a hot shower when we got to my parents' condo (the campsites had fresh water and showers but never hot water!) and we went right to bed, having the best night's sleep we had had in 10 days! Phil is usually an early riser but it was almost 8am before he even opened his eyes. I think he may have even woken up in the same exact position he fell asleep in! Same for me, but that is nothing out of the ordinary in my case... :)
Day 10 - Home Again
This day I drove for the first time since we had left San Antonio to give Phil a break from being behind the wheel. We made it back to San Antonio around lunchtime and unpacked and started the unwinding and chores that come with returning from vacation, and preparing to return to work. That evening we drove to pick up the dogs half way between SA and Austin where Brad and Stacy met us for the exchange. It was great to see Cooper again (oh yeah, and Sam/Henna too) and with them back in the house, back into the swing of things we went.
All in all, the trip was wonderful- very relaxing, gorgeous views, with really no problems or stress. I decided that all our vacations need to be international so that we really are able to get away without access to phones or emails. We plan to return again on this type of trip to Mexico many times in our lives.
Did we mention the whole trip cost us less than $700 for the entire 10 days?! I think we can definitely afford to do this again!