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Splitting off the Albuquerque thread...

My travels are going to take me close to the border: down to El Paso, across through Columbus (NM 9) to Nogales, north on 19 to Tucson, up to Phoenix, back down to I-8, across to San Diego. In San Diego I'll be driving every freeway I can, including 905 and some of the non-freeways in the area. How much time should I be allowing for checkpoints? Realistically, how many will I hit in one day? I know someone said there were five on I-8, but is that typical or a worst-case scenario? I'd like to clinch I-8, really I would.

The one on I-19 took me about 3 minutes to get through during what I would consider rush hour (5 PM on a Wednesday)- most spent in line. Once they got to me they just ran a dog around the car and 10 seconds later I was waved through.

I crossed the one on SR 90 last week and they didn't even do that- I barely came to a complete stop before a guy standing about 15 feet away waved me through. As long as you're white I don't think you need to be worried about it taking too long

As a (very) white, (very) single male driving alone with no particular destination, I had a marginally ugly checkpoint experience on I-25 north of Las Cruces at about 9 p.m. on a weeknight.

The interrogator didn't like my answer that, after I was headed "to TorC," I was just "driving around." This led to about three rounds of "Are you sure you're not carrying any drugs?" ... which, fortunately, did not lead to my car being dismantled while I watched.

When it's mainly a harass-the-brown-people checkpoint, which most of them seem to be, I have no trouble, and I often get waved through without stopping, too. But if they've got d-r-u-g-s on their mind, well, their profiles are a little broader. And this particular checkpoint had a huge sign with a thermometer-type indicator proclaiming how many drugs they'd seized there.

And, btw, don't even think of carrying your legal medical marijuana through such a checkpoint. The feds don't care that it's legal in California and other states or that you've got a doctor's note; you're still going to the big house. Ewe ess eh.

I had a car load of stuff driving from San Diego to Tampa back in early 2006 and drove through four checkpoints. I was simply waved through the I-19 one (drove the spur to clinch it) and the I-10 one in west Texas. Was asked my country of citizenship on the I-8 checkpoint in California and if I was moving (with a smile on his face) at the I-8 one near Yuma, AZ. None of the checkpoints I drove through added more than a few seconds of wait time fortunately.

The only one I've been through is the one on I-5 NB between San Diego and Los Angeles. They see that I'm white and not driving a sketchy looking car and wave me through. It has added up to a half hour worth of delay on that drive due to traffic and the fact that they insist on having it open during evening rush. There are no checkpoints that I'm aware of within the San Diego metro area itself, only on roads in/out of town.


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