We decided to head out on the early side to avoid the crunch at the border, early for us being on the 10 AM side given all the packing we had to do. Finished off the last of the 3 gallon can of cat food on the one condo cat that came around. Years ago, the place was overrun with abandoned kitties and their offspring. One day a resident (friend of ours) enlisted the help of a local vet and together they came out and neutered the whole tribe of them. Each cat received a notched ear to mark its transition into being a useful animal.

These days there are perhaps 10 or so and we always bring a couple of casks of wet food with us to feed them. This results in us having 4 or 5 friends for our time there, and so it’s a nice tradition.

Amazingly the car started right up so I backed over and loaded all our supplies. Fun in the 90 degree heat. Finished up, showered and got ready to go. Dead car. Of course I now had the option of installing the Mexican Autozone Battery which I did. So much for my clean clothes and shower. Doesn’t that figure?

Paying up, we took off for Rosa’s and our final plate of Machaca. As always the best.

The drive back was uneventful. The old stomach ache checkpoint near Hermisillo is now a good opportunity to chat in Spanish with the boys in uniform, the current fall fashion being a smart gray-based desert cammy.

Arriving at the border we felt good about the length of the line, that is until it took us 65 minutes to make it to the gate. The vendors were hawking glow in the dark Jesuses (Jesusi?) on a long plastic bead necklace. Also foam maps of the US, retablos with the Virgin on the front and baroque angels on the back and my all time favorite – ukeleles in every color in the rainbow.

We made it up to La Migra and spilled out guts on the goods in the cold box. Yellow-tagged we limped over to the place where they take your car apart. A nice Border Patrol agent came out and seized my 5 Australian Tangerines and just for good measure, took my Mexican eggs as well. He told us to back up and head around the guy in front of us because his friends were in the process of dismantling the poor fellow’s 70s Chevrolet van. In the words of my agent, “he’s going to be here for a while.”

For the second time, the car started right up. On our way, back in the USA and heading north for dinner with the family.

My attempt to start the car a couple of hours later in order to pull it into the driveway was met with, guess what – a couple of clicks and a dead engine. Hmmm, guess it wasn’t the battery after all.

Next morning I repeated the ritual of loading up the car, showered, put on clean clothes and proceded to jump the car from Barbara’s van. Ah, a new twist – it won’t start at all now. Visions of hours waiting for someone to come from AAA led me to get creative. Knowing that my trusty Diehard, currently sitting in a bag in the back of the rig, had ever so much more cranking power, I thought “why not” and dragged it out. Reinstalled it, jumped it and miracles of miracles – it turned over. Another changed battery post shower and clean clothes, you’d think I’d learn.

Now on our way back home, secure in the knowledge that we could never, under any circumstances turn the car off, we settled in for 6 hours of southwestern landscape bathed in October light and carrying a comfortable outside temperature of 65 degrees. A far cry from the previous week.

Home at last, an old dog turning himself in corkscrews of happiness, some hungry horses and dinner at Pei Wei, another adventure winds to a close.