At noon, we left Catorce. The long ride home was ahead of us. It was already dark when we reached the Mexican border city of Laredo Nueve. We were close to the US, but it was not obvious to us in which direction we should go to reach the border crossing. When we stopped at the intersection to consult the map, the Federales (federal police) officer knocked on my window almost immediately. I realized that their vehicle pulled up directly behind us. When I lowered the window, a man in a military helmet with a black mask on his face and a machine gun in his hands asked if we needed anything. Politely I asked him for directions to the border crossing. He explained with details where we should go. "Everything OK?" - he asked finally. At the rear, a heavy machine gun mounted on a pickup truck pointed at us. "Oh, yes, were absolutely fine" - I assured him and waved goodbye as we left.
We realized that the Federales were actually protecting us. The part of Mexico near the border is the most dangerous. We can often hear about robberies and kidnappings on the roads. Everyone we talked while in Mexico has always advised us not to travel after dark. Sometimes however, we had no choice, when night found us too soon.
At the border, we need to find offices to cancel our vehicle permit, the one we obtained in Mexicali. The clerk removed the sticker from the windshield, which guaranties that we get our security deposit back. The label has many build-in protections; some of them remained on the glass. Later we will have to scrape them off.
After crossing the border, monotonous and eventless ride home began. The next two days we spent on the road. The constant driving through day and night, short stops, lack of sleep and one driver.