What is it like closing a business and then packing and moving out of your house to live in another country the following week? Does nerve-wracking come to mind?
Thatís what we did. We closed an eleven year old medical practice, which entailed liquidating all of its furnishings and finding new doctors for our patients, while still seeing them until closing day, making sure all the payroll taxes were completed and bank accounts set up for online banking. Believe me there was more, but these were the important things. We were so fortunate too because our staff stuck with us until the last day. We appreciate that soooo much.
Then, after having our house for sale for four years, we took it off the market and nice, a very nice young couple with two kids drove up and bought it while it was unlisted. How lucky was that? We needed it for another 140 days, so they worked with us and let us have a 120-day escrow, the longest possible, and then rent the house back for the remaining three weeks while we were waiting out the terms of the office lease and closing it.
Since our house in Ajijic was already furnished, they helped us out there too. They were moving from a small house to a large house and did not have enough furniture to fill it. But we were doing the opposite, and had to get rid of a lot of things that we didnít need any more, so we gave most of to them as part of the terms of the sale of the house. So voila, they basically bought our house furnished, with hot tub, bookcases full of books, wall art, dishes, crystal and towels too. It was a win-win, since we didnít want to have to dispose of it all or pay to have it shipped when we didnít need it. They made out like bandits - or is it banditos - especially since we threw in the adjacent empty lot, but we were pleased to be able to do so much for them in return for the very long escrow.
We closed the office on July 31st and headed south on August 7th. We packed our Durango to the rafters with the items that we would need while waiting for the bulk of our possessions that would have to sit in Laredo waiting for us to get our FM3ís (extended stay non-tourist visas), such as four suitcases, my food processor, good knives, spices, and more. We also needed to take those items that would not tolerate the heat of a warehouse or moving van, such as two guitars, medications, and a Huichol iguana with its beads imbedded in beeswax. Throw in two dogs, and you have an idea what we were transporting
On the morning of August 7th, after a half dozen stops including one at the vetís office for doggie health certificates, we left southeast Missouri and drove 600 miles straight through Little Rock and Dallas to Waco, arriving at about 6:30pm at the La Quinta Motel, a chain that accepts dogs.
The next morning, we left Waco at approximately 10 AM, and traveled through Austin and San Antonio to Laredo, about 300 miles. We arrived there at 4pm and spent the night at another La Quinta, but this one was much nicer, and for the same price. Whereas the room the night before had been adequate, this facility was brand new, much prettier, and with a few more amenities such as a refrigerator and microwave. We were pleasantly surprised, since all that we were looking for and paying for was a clean secure place to sleep, then take off. Both nights, we had to unload all the things in the car that might melt, since Texas was having a heat wave.
The next morning, we crossed the border into Nuevo Laredo with no inspections by customs, thank you very much. We spent the first hour being lost. The building where you get your visas is sort of off of the beaten path, but there were enterprising people in the streets willing to direct you in the right direction for a token fee. We poo-pooed them the first time by, but gladly paid them the second time. They giggled at us, but what can we say in our defense except estamos Americanos estupidos. We were on the road again by 8am as the sun was just coming up. Personally, I think Texas got the raw deal on land. Not too far into Mexico, we gradually went up in elevation and the temperature was very pleasant. We were expecting hot weather all the way and even brought engine coolant with us.
The Mexican roads were good all the way down. We encountered some heavy downpours as our elevation climbed. But it wasnít until Guadalajara where we actually got stressed out. We had driven through many cities and towns - Monterrey, Saltillo, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes and finally arriving in Guadalajara, just after sundown. We figured that a Sunday night would be dead but oh, no! The traffic was horrific there due to a summit of the three North American presidents, including President Obama. Since it had been raining, the roads were very hard to see, especially for our aging eyes. Furthermore, some had no lane lines painted on them. Eventually, we got lost again Ė at night and without a map. After wandering through some back alleys and an industrial park, we got very lucky and popped out onto the very street we needed and headed toward the Guadalajara airport and beyond to Ajijic, where we arrived a little rattled and bedraggled, but happy to be home, yes it can now be called home.
I really donít see us making that trip by car again, at least not any time soon. It was a hell of a long haul. As much as we dislike the airlines, theyíll be our main means back to the states when we visit there.