Ladies and gentlemen, for my 700th cache, I decided to take a walk across a bridge. Welcome to Piedras Negras, Coahuila. The irony is that for Texas Independence Day, I invaded Mexico!
Unlike Juarez, I walked across instead of driving. As you can see, had I driven it would have taken me forever to get back. And besides, the cache was just in the square beyond so what would be the need or point of a car?
Getting across, of course, was easy. I paid 50 cents on the American side, went through the turnstile, and kept going until I hit the border then kept going. Eventually I got to a room with glass doors and inside was an officer manning an x-ray machine. She scanned my caching bag and I could tell she was a little perplexed at the contents. I got a little worried when I remembered that I had a spent shotgun shell with a log in it for hiding if I ever found the right place. Since she probably noticed there wasn’t any shot in it, she went ahead and waved me through.
I started looking for the cache. I looked high and low. The photos gave a good indication of where it should be, but it wasn’t. I was a little dejected because, well, this is the only cache in town and coming across had a cost. I took a closer look at the latest logs. Someone several months ago mentioned in their log that it had gone missing and that they had left a throwdown nearby. A few people had already claimed it and it was easy enough to find. It left me in a bit of an ethical quandary. I’m really, really not a fan of throwdowns. I think replacement caches are alright with the owner’s permission, but I don’t care for them at all. That said, I have no right to take a moral high ground on this one. I took that bottle, I signed that log, and I called it a find. Some might say that it shouldn’t count, that I shouldn’t get to claim it. But sometimes, you have to relax and accept a victory on whatever terms it may come. In the end, victory requires no explanation.
I turned around and headed back. Only cost me a quarter this time, which is a bit of a miracle because I don’t usually carry change and cash on me. I had just enough in nickels to get back. I walked past border agents with M-16s to another room with a glass door. This time, the man there wanted my passport, which I take with me whenever I get close to the border these days. He asked why I had crossed over, so I told him the truth: I photograph courthouses and, since I was already in Eagle Pass, I crossed over just to say that I’d been to Mexico. That was good enough. A few more steps and I was back in the US.
If that’s not a metaphor for something about all this, I don’t know what is… I went back to the car and got back on the road and passed through a checkpoint with the nicest border patrol officer ever. And eventually I got all the way to…
9 thoughts on “Invasion!”
I started reading your blog a little while ago thanks to the HQ mention and am in the midst of catching up sequentially. When I got to this entry I recalled that I grabbed this cache around the same time as you. Sure enough, my log follows yours, less than a week later.
My wife and I did a county run while in Seguin for the Mega, crossing the border briefly to claim Mexico here. She is more muggle than cacher in recent years, so she’s a sweetheart to indulge my addiction and walk across the border just for me to sign a piece of paper.
She was quite nervous about hopping the border, thanks to the elevated tension of “these troubling times”. Unfortunately, on the way back she was ahead of me at the checkpoint and for some reason the agent subjected her to further scrutiny in the adjacent room rather than wave her through. Obviously, this was of great concern to me as I stood outside watching helplessly.
Once inside I tried to explain what we were doing, and the agent half-heartedly made an attempt to comprehend. Regardless, she directed me to join my wife in the other room, where we spoke to another agent briefly before being allowed back to our homeland.
Being a rather nervous type at times, my wife was FREAKED OUT by this. County caching with a traumatized wife for the next fifty miles or so was gut-wrenching and more than just a little guilt-provoking. Eventually the mood improved and some more counties dropped off the “unfound” list on the way back to our temporary digs in Seguin.
I’m enjoying your stories, thanks!
Sounds like a fun experience and I wonder if it would have gone any different if you would have told him you were truly there for a geocache. I have switched to this answer when asked now. I usually say it’s a scavenger hunt and only expand if they ask a question. They almost never do but I’m hoping it might soften it for the next cacher coming through. All personal preference and what you are comfortable with at the time and location. Congrats on another find and milestone.
The funny thing is that I actually hit 800 this past weekend, but that’s a trip for the near future…