Cross Country and International Ride

It was 6am Friday morning, and I'd made my way to a parking garage on the westside of manhattan to meet up with my ride to the west. He was on time, and we hit the road, twisting through the northeast and beyond until we finally we made our way to Knoxville, TN by dark to stop for the night.

We has a lot of interesting conversation, Jim was a filmmaker and an avid traveler, he'd been all over the planet in a lot of situations. A lot of his stories began with "Do you know (insert name) from ____ (insert movie or something)", and I only knew about half the time.

I mentioned he was paying for gas and motels along the way, but as it turned out, I was also treated to meals throughout the day and beers each night. That brings me to the first night, before we arrived in Knoxville when we attempted to go to Dollywood on the suggestion from one of his friends. It was closed, but the surrounding town was like a cheap Las Vegas for families without gambling... a lot of neon, rides, comedy barns, etc. We found the only bar that had been grandfathered into this dry town, had a couple beers, and took off to Knoxville. There we found a night club, I guess. A lot of two step kinda action and female mullets, but good times all around.

We made it as far as Dallas the next day. We found a little bar there with an interesting crowd of regulars and 70 year old bar maid who's worked 364 nights a year, for a long, long time. By the end of the night everyone was buying everyone rounds of shots and beers, mini-therapy sessions broke out, and we all had a great time into the night and past last call. We got on the road late the next day of course.

El Paso, TX was our stop on night three. We were set on going into Mexico for some food and beers, El Paso borders Juarez, Mexico. Things got a little shady. Jim slipped the guy at the hotel $10 to help setup a trip across the border, and the guy Dave called his buddy Sergio who agreed to take us over the border, wait for a few hours while we drank and ate, and then take us back to the hotel all for $55. When he showed up, he said he was Sergio and confirmed all of this, and off we went.

Getting across the border was easier than I thought, we drove over the bridge, they opened our doors and trunk, didn't check our IDs or passports (Jim didn't even have one), and then there we were in Mexico. We stopped in front of a good looking bar, and asked Sergio if we should just meet back there in 3 hours... Sergio said he wasn't waiting and we'd have to find our own way back. We stayed in the car while Jim berated him for the scam, called back to Dave at the hotel who was assumed to be part of the scam, and he decided to make Sergio drive us back and that we weren't going to pay a thing.

Off we drove in the tension taxi into the 2 hour line of cars waiting to get back across the border. Jim and I opted to hop out and walk, the walk only took 10 or 15 minutes at the most, Jim told part of the story at the border and talked our way across without even being asked to see any ID once again, and we caught a different taxi back to the hotel in hopes our room hadn't been broken into and our stuff stolen. Jim lied to Dave saying the cops were coming to question and had everyone's name involved (by the way, "sergio" was actually ricardo). We then went to grab some food and beer, in america, assured no one would try to steal our stuff if they thought the cops may be coming to investigate.

So that's my only experience in Mexico to date.

This morning we took off from El Paso, and I'd decided to stop in Tucson, AZ while Jim continued on to California, and here I am in Tucson now. I've put out some couchsurfing requests and have a confirmation for tomorrow night, nothing for tonight quite yet, but we'll see what happens.