Sunday, November 9, 2008

Road Trip!

This weekend, we were originally going to go to Mesa to pick up the Trailblazer from being fixed, and be with Dan's brother Jared when he opened his mission call on Friday night.  But Friday afternoon, we got a call saying Jared couldn't wait anymore and that he had already opened his call.  CONGRATS to him first of all!  He's been called to the Tampa, Florida Mission and reports on February 11.  We're very excited for him to get ready to go.

So we didn't really need to go to Mesa anymore, and the Trailblazer needed a little more time to be 100% fixed, so we decided to stay home this weekend.  Well, Friday night we were at Macaroni Grill for dinner, and out of no where we were like "well, we could go to El Paso tomorrow"...  We had been talking about going and trying to find a time that would be good to go, but we weren't ever planning on going this weekend.  But we decided it wouldn't be very expensive because we'd take my car, and not stay the night.  We'd get up early Saturday morning and leave by 8am, and then we'd leave to come home around 4 or 5.  It was a very random decision, but we were very excited.

That's kind of what happened...we did get up Saturday morning and left the house at 8am.  I wanted to get an oil change though before we went because I was already 2000 miles past due and my car was shifting pretty hard.  So we went to Wal Mart to get an oil change and had McDonalds breakfast while we waited.  We went back to pick up the car, and the guy said that he couldn't do my oil change because the dipstick was broken off inside (the handle is broken) so until that was fixed, they couldn't do it.  So by then in was around 9 am, and we almost decided to stay home.  But we ended up going anyway.  We left straight from Wal Mart and drove to the border.  We got there around 1 pm.  
When we got there, we had to find a place to park in El Paso because we were just going to walk across.  The line to drive into Mexico was like 3 miles long, and it cost $60 to drive over instead of .30 to walk.  So we parked and started walking.  We crossed the border and got into Juarez, Mexico which was in some ways a little bit of culture shock.  It was very run down, very dirty, and in some ways kind of scary.  We were the ONLY white Americans we could see, until we saw an old white guy get out of his car, but that was it.  We definitely stood out a lot.  We looked like the "rich white kids" walking through Juarez.  We walked probably close to 2 miles and we finally reached the temple.  It was absolutely amazing.  Most temples as you probably know are in a nice area of town, surrounded by large, upscale homes or something similar.  Not Juarez.  The grounds were very small compared to some, and it was in the middle of the run down area of Juarez.  It was however surrounded by homes, which made it a little more quiet and made it seem a little less "run down".  The temple was absolutely beautiful though.  While it is one of the "cookie cutter" temples that was dedicated in the early 2000s, it had it's own beauty to it, and the grounds had their own unique feeling to them also.  It is a fairly small temple too, but it serves the saints there in Juarez and El Paso just fine.  It was pretty busy actually while we were there.  A tour bus in the parking lot and the parking lot was almost full at one point.  It was so refreshing to walk through such a dirty, rough city and still be able to walk onto the temple grounds and feel the spirit the same as you would in Utah.  We took lots of pictures before heading back to the U.S.  We wanted to get back before it got dark,  and we still had about 2 miles to walk back.  So we did, we stopped at a mercado, but didn't stop to look at anything because once you do for one person, you have to for all of them.

When we got back to the border, we had to wait in a line of probably close to 50 or 60 people to get back into the U.S.  Again, we were the only white people in the entire line.  A border patrol officer came walking down the aisle, looking at everyone who was trying to get in, and we thought we were going to be in trouble, but then he looked at us like he was going to say something like "you guys? really? come on up here...just go" But he didn't say anything.  So we got to the customs office and the border patrol agent asks "what's your citizenship?"...I'm like "...ummm..."  I pulled out my drivers license and birth certificate.  Dan has his passport in hand, and were like "... ummm ... U.S.? American?"  Haha it makes me laugh now thinking about it.  It was very obvious that we'd never done that before and we had no idea what we were doing.  So that was good, and then he asks Dan "what are you declaring?" and Dan's like "nothing, I don't have anything".  He wasn't carrying anything or anything so it was kind of random.  But he kind of chuckled at us and we went on our way.  

We walked back to our car and went to eat dinner at a place Dan had found online that was supposed to be the "Best in El Paso".  It was called Avilas, and it was pretty good.  We were really hungry, so Dan took a whole chip full of salsa like he normally does, and just about burned his taste buds out of his mouth. lol  But we ate, and then got back on the road home around 5:45 pm.  We drove straight through, stopping only once in Lordsburg, NM at McDonalds for Dan to go potty.  We got home around 10:30 pm last night and were DEAD.
It was a very fun, very random road trip.  It was a great experience for both of us, as we talked last night while laying in bed, about the things that stood out to us about Mexico and how different it is just a few 100 feet from the U.S.  We have now seen 21 temples together since we've been married and have traveled through 8 states, actually visiting 7 of them.  We love traveling so much, and are glad we were able to take this last little road trip, because we don't plan on traveling again for the rest of the year; probably not until March when we hope to go to Las Vegas and St. George again!