The big day finally arrived on Monday, Feb. 22. Our house had closed a few days earlier and we were ready to hit the road after packing up our household goods into a 26-foot Penske truck. We went through the checklist and all was well. We had our FM3s, as well as our approved Menaje de Casa, the list of household items to be moved by our shipper, Victor Diaz, to Loreto Bay. We breathed a big sigh of relief and headed out early in the afternoon for San Diego, where our goods would be transferred to Victor and his truck.
But that relief was short-lived because we found out from Victor that evening, well into our trip to San Diego, that our Menaje de Casa was invalid. Our consulate had failed to stamp every page of our inventory, which meant it had to be fixed fast.
We couldn’t go back to Albuquerque, so we decided to try our luck with the Mexican Consulate once we arrived in San Diego.
What ensued was a stressful mess! George drove the moving truck into downtown San Diego with me following in our SUV. We found the consulate, but where the heck were we going to park that behemoth downtown? We traded vehicles after finding a parking space for the SUV near the consulate. For the next half hour, I drove that Penske truck around downtown looking for a place to park while George was in the consulate. I finally came upon a large parking lot near the harbor and gratefully pulled in, even though the sign expressly forbade oversized trucks. For more than an hour I waited to hear from George and when he finally did call, the news was not good. The consulate could not help us. We had to get our Menaje de Casa fixed by the consulate in Albuquerque.
The rest of that day is a blur. We made our way to a motel and started making phone calls. The end result (after a FedEx mistake that lost our overnight letter to the consulate in Albuquerque) was that our consulate was able to FedEx stamped copies of our Menaje de Casa to us, but not before we spent two stress-filled days waiting in a Travelodge off I-5.
With double and triple stamped papers in hand, we delivered the documents to our broker/shipper but learned they wouldn’t be able to ship our goods until Wednesday. Undaunted we crossed the border (as well as our fingers) at San Ysidro about 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26. And thanks to the generosity of our friends and future neighbors, Karen and Terry Stepp, we had a place to stay in Loreto until our belongings arrived – their beautiful new house in Agua Viva.
Next up: Trip tips and driving dilemmas!