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We picked up the car, a nice metallic red Ford Explorer 4×4 which seems more than adequate for the task ahead. The lady helping us to check out the car looked blank when we mentioned that we needed Mexico insurance and a letter of authority to take the car out of the US and into Mexico. I suggested that she’d check last year’s booking for the same purpose and the 2009 one, when we wasted four hours in Mexico because we did not have the letter of authority. She went to see her supervisor and ten minutes later came back with a big smile complementing us on the thorough research of what was necessary.

I mentioned to Eunice that in 1997, when I visited LA for the first time, with my sons Anton & Christiaan, they traded a morning at the Huntington Botanic Garden (a treat for me) for an afternoon at a huge Retail Outlet centre – their treat. Eunice immediately knew what and where: The Citadel and mentioned that the Columbia outdoor clothing chain that I favour for my explorer’s gear, had an outlet there. Guess where we went for the afternoon! I bought three nice new shirts, the lightweight, quick drying ones with sunblock, and anti-everything treatment that retail for GBP 20 to 30 each for around GBP 5 each! It was President Day – a US Bank Holiday, so the place was heaving with people. If I had unlimited luggage weight allowance for the flight home, I could have bought a lot more! I have suggested that Angie just brings hand luggage when she comes over next month and we’ll go shopping here straight from the plane.

Tomorrow we start the next trip, driving to Tucson, from where we head to Texas, drive through The Big Bend and cross again into Mexico at Eagle Pass from where we head south for a look at the Connoisseur cacti of Mexico.

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