Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Life in the C.F.Z.

For our last evening in Marathon, TX, a local invited us on a trip to Big Bend National Park for a sunset hike. It was absolutely beautiful...bright pink and purple skies over jagged peaks and canyons.

On our way back to the hostel, we encountered the following interesting turn of events. We pulled into a border patrol station. 3 officers surrounded the vehicle and asked us to roll down all of the windows. In turn they asked all of us if we were US citizens. Three yes, one permanent resident. When asked to see his green card, Joe said sure he just had to grab it out of his jacket which was in the trunk and started to step out to get it. He was told to remain in the vehicle until he was instructed otherwise. Shortly after, we were told to shut off the vehicle and all step out of the car. Joe was allowed to get his green card which was heavily scrutinized and we were all told to sit on a bench where we were guarded by one officer and not allowed to put our hands out of sight. The other two officers and a dog then did a rigorous search of the car claiming the dog "alarmed" that there were drugs or people hidden in the car. When asked what signaled the "alarm" the officer said the dogs respiration increased. Ummmm, ok, if you say so. To no surprise, the search did not turn up any drugs or Mexicans and we were allowed to leave.

Flabbergasted and feeling quite violated, we got home and looked up what gave the US Customs and Border Patrol the right to search us with no inkling of probable cause. As it turns out, if you are within 100miles of the US border, you are within a "Constitution free zone"! This means that 2/3 of the US population can be subject to search and siezure at any time for absolutely no reason at all.

Wow, what a place...


  1. How does 2/3 of the US population live w/ in 100 miles of the border ?
    So glad you're getting back on the road . Love to all of you . Ellen

  2. Big Bend is heaven on earth . So glad u got to visit it . E

  3. Oh man that sounds scary... Joe, has that reignited your anxiety for US customs?? ;)

    Where abouts do you guys plan on hitting the east coast? ...

    Ange xxx

  4. You'll probably have to go through a couple more of those (via bike). They're always a pain in the ass for anyone who wasn't born here.

  5. Hey Ange - we plan on riding north when we hit New Orleans, and then riding up to Boston from there.