Day 32: McAllen, TX to San Fernando, Mexico

We had a light breakfast at our hosts’ house in McAllen, then made the brief 8-mile ride further south to the border town of Hidalgo, TX, then to the border crossing. It was uneventful at first, as they didn’t express any desire to see our passports or anything. It was a good thing Ray was persistent in asking about the requirements and making our plans clear. If you enter Mexico and intend to exit back into the US, they don’t care much at all; you are just a “turista.” But, if you intend to exit Mexico into another country as we will, you are instead a “transmigrante,” and it’s a different story. We had to go to another office near the crossing, fill out some paperwork, and pay a fee which amounted to about 25 bucks. After that, we proceeded into the Mexican border city of Reynosa.

We headed down what looked like the main road out of town, but it started to look too desolate too fast, so we turned around, and asked for directions from somebody parking at a small hospital near the border. It turns out, we were on the right road to begin with, so we turned around again and went on. We came to a couple of different areas that were a part of the major population centers of Reynosa. There was a lot of traffic, and with the recent rain, the streets were pretty wet and muddy. Once out of town, though, the road became a fairly modern highway, with a clean, smooth, and wide shoulder to ride on.

About 15 miles outside of Reynosa, we stopped at a Mini-Super, a small convenience store, for some lunch. They made us mortadella (baloney) sandwiches, and we got Cokes to go with them.

As we approached the town of San Fernando, a man on a motorcycle rode up beside us and starting asking about where we were headed. We explained that we planned to spend the night in the town ahead, so he said that he was a local doctor, and would escort us into town and recommend a hotel. So, we had a private escort through the slight traffic into town, and up a short side street to a hotel that appeared to be owned by a friend of his. The rate was reasonable, so we checked in and got showered and relaxed a bit. It started raining pretty hard in the meantime, so we waited until it trailed off before heading out to find a place for dinner.

We asked for a recommendation for dinner from a couple of locals, and they both mentioned a place called Las Palmas. But, from the rain, many of the main streets were flooded to the point of being virtual rivers, and when we finally found the restaurant, there was no way to cross the street to get to it without getting soaked up to the knees. So, we proceeded up the street were were on, and found a decent-looking place around the corner on the same side. Check out the video below to see what I’m talking about.

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