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From: Palomas to Nuevo Casas Grandes
Date: November 27, 2000
Logged By: Mike and Terri Church
Vehicle: 19-foot Class B Van

Note: The Columbus/Palomas crossing is out of the way and generally very quiet, an excellent place to cross where you can get your paperwork taken care of and avoid a mob scene. The route south through Nuevo Casas Grandes to Chihuahua is both quiet and interesting.

000.0 Miles (000.0 km) -- Palomas border crossing just south of Columbus, New Mexico. Columbus is the town raided by Pancho Villa during the Mexican civil war, the state park in town is an excellent place to stay before crossing into Mexico, it has full hookups. Also a good place to stay is the town of Deming, New Mexico, about 30 miles to the north. Deming has a number of RV parks.

    We arrived at the crossing about 11 a.m., later than we generally want to cross, but the day's drive is short and the paperwork shouldn't take more than an hour. At the gatehouse the Mexican official asked us where we were headed and had a quick look through of the van. He explained what paperwork we would need and directed us to park just to the right after leaving the gatehouse. The parking lot is small and large rigs will have to park along the road in town where there appears to be plenty of room.

    First stop is the Migración office in a trailer just behind the gatehouse. The officials did not speak English but had no problem understanding that we wanted a 180 day tourist card allowing multiple entries. Migración offices no longer accept payment for the cards, they give you a voucher that you must take to a bank to pay. We have been told at other crossings that we must pay for the voucher within three days, these guys said to pay in Cancun, no hurry. It seems like they're being a little too accommodating, we'll stick to the three day limit that we think is the regulation..

    Next stop is the Banjército for vehicle paperwork. The bank is another trailer next to the Migración trailer. Unfortunately the door was locked, a security guard told us we would have to wait about 15 minutes for the official to return. He was back exactly on time, since he had been gone a while there was a short line ahead of us that took about 15 minutes to clear.

    Once we were at the window the official looked at our drivers license, passport, vehicle title, and credit card. He then sent us off to a nearby pharmacy to get copies of them made. This happens every time you try to get vehicle papers, it seems that even if you try to be prepared the officials want a different set of copies. Usually you must go somewhere else to get copies made, sometimes there is a copier in the office where you pay to have necessary copies made. Here the pharmacy charged us $1.50 U.S. for three copies. One was of our visitor card that we had just obtained at the Migración office, one was of our vehicle title, and one included our passport (copied open to he first page), driver's license, and credit card.
    Taking the copies back to the bank office we were quickly issued our temporary vehicle import permit and sticker, and directed to take the sticker outside ourselves and affix it to the inside upper left corner of our windshield. A charge of 156.26 pesos was made to our MasterCard. We made sure that the permit had the proper vehicle ID number on it and that it was for 180 days, just as the tourist card was.

    We're done, total time about forty-five minutes.

000.5 Miles (000.8 Km) -- Out of town and on the road. It is a two-lane, fairly narrow highway with a very heavily patched rough surface.

021.4 Miles (034.5 Km) -- At the intersection with the east/west Mex 2. There's a small Pemex on the corner if you already need gas. We turned right which is signposted for Janos. Mex 2 is a main route that crosses the country south of the border. Here it is two lanes, smoothly surfaced, and wider than the road we've followed south from the border.

056.8 Miles (091.6 Km) -- Enter the farming town of Ascencion, population 9,007. Cotton seems to be the main crop and it's harvest time. There's a Pemex on the right with magna and diesel.

077.3 Miles (124.7 Km) -- Enter town of Janos, another farming town, population 2,235. Pemex on the right with magna and diesel.

077.3 Miles (124.7 Km) -- Intersection. The highway going south is signed for Casa Grandes. We go that way.

090.2 Miles (145.5 Km) -- Customs (Aduana) stop. The official checked our vehicle sticker and paperwork and sent us on our way.

112.1 Miles (180.8 Km) -- Entering Nuevo Casas Grandes, population 44,087.

112.4 Miles (181.3 Km) -- Highway 10 to Chihuahua goes left. We turn left. The road goes left for a ways and then curves right. It appears to be bypassing the central area of town.

113.9 Miles (183.7 Km) -- Pemex on right with magna and diesel.

115.5 Miles (186.3 Km) -- Intersection with stop light. Centro (the middle of town) is to the right. There is a Pemex with magna and diesel just after the light on the left..

116.9 Miles (188.5 Km) -- Just out of town we're at the intersection with the side road to the Casas Grandes archeological site. The museum there with pottery exhibits is excellent.

    See our book Traveler's Guide to Mexican Camping for information about camping in Nuevo Casas Grandes.

Copyright © 2001 Mike and Terri Church