Friday, November 9, 2007

Back To Reality...(Keri)

Time to say goodbye to our new friends and the beautiful country of Mexico.  Sad. 

Our flight was out of Laredo, Texas at 11am - but finding a taxi driver who had permission to go in and out of the US was a challenge.   We also knew there would be a huge wait at the border, so we felt pressed for time as it was.   Finally, after many phone calls were made on our behalf by the hotel staff, we had our taxi and were on our way.

The border wait was excruciating.  It always is.  During the 2 hours it took to crawl up to the border, we were able to see a few interesting sights from the car though:

A pretty church steeple against a blue sky...

Near Church near border in Nuevo Laredo

An invisible baseball bat...

Weird Baseball Hero on Sports Bar at border.

And a skull memorial for Dale Earnhardt...

Tackiest thing I've ever seen

We finally made it over the border, to the airport, to the American Airlines counter - only to find out that Mexico actually does have daylight savings before the United States, so we missed out flight.  The next flight was 24 hours later.   24 hours in Laredo?  I'm sure it's a lovely town...but we rented a car and drove to Dallas to stay overnight for a flight the next morning.   You'd think driving a 120hp rental car would be a nice way to unwind after a week of racing.  It wasn't.  We'd been bitten by the Mexican Road Race bug.

Epilogue: La Carrera Panamericana was an amazing experience that we talked about for months.  (We still talk about it!)  Several friends have mentioned wanting to do the race next year, but it is not something to be entered into lightly.  There is a lot of preparation, including track time.  Unlike some rallies we've participated in, this is a RACE for drivers and navigators who know how to drive well.   Drivers and navigators need to be able to work well together under pressure and they need to trust each other. 

As if to prove this point, we decided to do a little demonstration for friends who had expressed interest in the race.   With our in-car footage of one of the race sections playing on a big screen TV, I had my trusty route book out, calling turns.  When I finished and turned around, our friends were silent and slightly pale.  One potential navigator was shaking her head.    I guess the driving/navigating dynamic had become sort of second-nature to Emil and I - we forgot how scary it was in the beginning when it was still new and unknown to us.  It was also a reminder to us of how extraordinary this race is, how it isn't something everyone can or should do, and how special it is that we were able to experience it together. 


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