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Customs in Loredo and Train Run to Mexico

We arrived in Loredo on Thursday night, a few hours late. As we were spotted, we were also informed that no 'greywater' would be allowed in this yard. This meant no showers, dishes, etc., because all of that water gets flushed right onto the tracks. A little frustrating, as many people have gone days without showering at this point. Eew.
On the upside, there is 'ok' internet and phone signal! I'm savoring the connection before a month of data withdrawal :P

During the night there was a big thunderstorm. Kinda cool and unexpected!
In the morning around 7am an announcement was made that inspectors would be coming through. I made my preparations and waited, and waited. Eventually some train crew came through with trash bags to take any food that we wanted to throw out before customs came through. Around 9:30am customs reached our car (they started at the high end and we're in the middle). It was about the same as last time, except this time they did actually bother to come into the room and look around (last time they just stood in the hallway and glanced in).

Guy #1 wished me 'good morning' and came in with a big binder. He stood in the center of the floor and kind of turned in a slow circle, looking at my countertops and cabinets. Then he made a little note in the book and stepped back into the hall. There were three other dudes in the hallway with him; the second guy told me to take my passport down to Pie Car for paperwork. The third guy glanced into my room and said, "Nice floor!" (you remember I installed some vinyl faux wood flooring a few months ago). I said thanks. Guy #2 came back to glance in again and asked if I had installed it myself ("Yes") and complemented me on how it looked compared to the standard flooring. :D

Anyway, I took my passport to Pie and was surprised to find both US and MX customs set up inside, and doing a great speedy job of processing everyone. Last time this part was a mess; this time it took less than five minutes. US Customs checked me off first, then MX Customs filled out an FMM form for me and stamped the passport. Everyone was polite and quick, and it was really easy.

(photos courtesy Claudia)

I was glad to have my feet on the ground even for a little bit!
The weather was nice, cloudy and rainy-looking. I had hoped to find some dung beetles rolling poop around to photograph for you, but I guess they're not fond of this weather.

When I returned to my car, there was an orchid in the trash. Someone had dumped it either because customs told them to or they figured customs would take it. I fished it out.

Since customs was so quick, I think many of us were hoping to cross the border only an hour or two late. As I sit here typing this it's a little after 4pm. We were supposed to leave at noon.
Two years ago we weren't allowed to take pictures, and the vestibules had to be closed. This year--perhaps because it was still early in the evening--we were allowed to stand on the vestibule and enjoy the view of the Rio Grande.

Border customs:


The river:

Orange bridge:

We're in Mexico!
On the other side of the river, Oscar pointed out a private security convoy headed down the highway.

Soon we entered a suburb of sorts. We were only there briefly to turn around and get into a nearby yard, but it was enough time for all kinds of people to come out and wave or just stare.

Some houses:

After entering the yard, a truck pulled up filled with hay and grains for the animals. Shortly thereafter a small truck pulled up to the Pie Car to restock it. I suppose they're just giving us enough to get to the city.

We started moving after an hour or so, and I messed around until I got tired.

The next day I woke up and did the usual stuff, then burped all of my unsealed bottles as we had gone up in altitude during the night and they'd become pressurized. I'll probably do it once more when we arrive in Mexico City. There were lots of interesting things to see today.

A family:


Cactus fence:

Houses alongside the tracks:

A guy from our security company, waving as we pass:

Herds of goats:

Burning trash:

A woman and her children:

Various houses:

A church:

We are all pretty excited to arrive and get to work. It feels like we've been on the train forever.


It's just been announced that we're outside the Mexico City yard, but they're not ready for us yet. We might be bumping around a bit in the early hours of the morning. At least after that we're done moving!

Tomorrow there is supposed to be a wal-mart run at 10am. I'd like to go but probably won't. I haven't had a real night's sleep since we started moving (Monday) and there are lots of people who need groceries more than I do. Maybe I'll do laundry or practice or just walk around the yard.

Tonight before going to bed I watched Miyazaki's The Wind Rises. It's a very slow-moving film, but beautiful and nostalgic and a bit sad. Supposedly it's his last movie before he retires.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 28th, 2014 03:53 am (UTC)
Love your blog.
Howdy from Corpus Christi Texas. I am a train nut and I share on a facebook model train page daily. Another member of our train group posted a link to your blog about crossing into Mexico. It was so interesting, I went back and read through an entire year of your blog. Backwards of course. You have a lot more to write about than most of us that post our day's stuff on facebook. I hope you are as good a musician as you are a writer! And great train and scenery pictures! Hope you have a great Mexico City engagement and continue a great year.
Kenneth Anthony
Retired local TV reporter and history teacher
May. 28th, 2014 11:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Love your blog.
Wow, thank you very much! I'm flattered!

I started the blog for my family, but lots more folks read it now. I'm very happy to hear that you enjoyed it enough to read a whole year (wow!!).

I'll try to post again soon :) and I'll look for your train fb page!

Thanks again and take care!
Jun. 14th, 2014 02:25 pm (UTC)
I have no idea how I've missed so many of your entries. This one is pure art. Sad states of poverty, but honest beauty.

Do you start them up to align all the photos, then make them viewable later?

I usually repost mine if I've spent time working on them and had to save them several times. I get it all set up, then repost it fresh so it doesn't get lost on older entries on the f-list. Not sure if that's the reason. I thought I'd only missed reading ONE!
Jun. 18th, 2014 01:36 am (UTC)
You are probably right, and thank you for pointing that out! I DO start making the posts in advance. Will try to remember to change the post dates from now on!!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )