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Although this is now my fifth visit to Mexico, there is always a tenseness among those in the car as we head for the border crossing. ‘What will go wrong this time?’ is at the back of our minds.

Absolutely nothing.

The cafe in Sanderson was closed for breakfast, so we had brunch near Los Rios, still in Texas. We had opted to cross at Eagle Pass into Piedras Negras, Coahuila, rather than use the big crossings at Laredo or El Paso. The crossing went in fact too smooth, just a traffic light changing from red to green – we did not even get a stamp in our passports! The Tourist Visas that Eunice and I had from our trip to Baja were valid for 180 days, but John needed to buy one, so we had to turn back to the alternative crossing, where there were more formal offices.

We learned that the import of the rental car would be at Allende, some 80 km south, at the first check point. It only took 45 minutes, and that included getting our passports stamped at immigration. We had anticipated the main snag experienced last year and had insisted on a letter of authority from Dollar, granting permission to take the car into Mexico.

Today’s stops were S1788, a scenic stop to photograph the bridge across the Pecos River, but a cactus stop as we spotted an Opuntia sp. S1789 was our first Mexican plant stop with Opuntia sp., Echinocereus sp. and Escobaria sp. formally identified at genus level anyway, plus three more different cactus sp. to keep me awake wondering what they are.

We arrived safely at the Best Western in Monclova around 7 and enjoyed a nice Mexican dinner (well, I had a Margarita, a Negra Modelo cerveza and a burger and chips) before retiring to the hotel for Diary writing.

I wonder how this weekend’s clock changings will work out in the end. We seem to be 7 hours adrift from the UK and probably still will be tomorrow.

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