As planned, we drove up the highway 80 miles to Bahia Concepcion this morning. The only noteworthy item in our brief journey was the Military Checkpoint not far north of Loreto. Last year we found each of the 8 northbound Checkpoints became more thorough, but it wasn’t until the northernmost one or two that we felt the scrutiny was at all intense. This morning, with more than half the Checkpoints yet to be navigated further north, the short line ahead of us moved slowly, and we were asked to get out of the truck so they could inspect inside.
There were more than a dozen men in military garb with machine guns (as usual), and 3 of them handled our processing. They opened the glove box (and used our binoculars to gaze at the distant horizon), looked in the pockets on the back of the seats and underneath, but declined our offer to open the locked box in the bed of the pickup. They also asked us to open the Arctic Fox and did a surprisingly thorough search inside, opening all the cabinet doors. Cathryn struck up a conversation in Spanish with one of the fellows, and he asked where we were coming from, her name and age. He then asked to see her passport, so she had to dig through a drawer in the Arctic Fox to find it. He asked her age again, then asked her how to say “How old are you?” in English. Few of these fellows speak any English, and most of the non-Mexican travelers speak no Spanish, so it appears they try to learn the routine questions in English, even though they may not understand the responses. He repeated the phrase “How old are you?” three times in English, inquiring whether he was saying it correctly. As usual, we were subsequently sent on our way with a smile and a wave.