Scattered across the arid, desolate landscape, a cluster of big bright RVs suddenly emerge on the horizon.
We’ve arrived at the Californian border with Mexico, the site of an unusual migration.
Much has been said in the past 18 months about Mexicans wanting to cross into the US. But in a vast car park, we meet streams of Americans trying to go the other way and into a town called Los Algodones.
It’s Independence Day, a public holiday, but these Americans have spent their break travelling across states, some taking two flights to get here.
They want what Washington can’t seem to give them – affordable dental care.
Dentist at work in Molar City, Mexico
Patients can save thousands of dollars
As we make the short walk to the other side of the borders, promoters wearing scrubs greet us with wide smiles and loud offers.
One shouts: “Welcome to Molar City,” before listing what discounts we can enjoy.
A military veteran dressed in fatigues approaches them and says with a look of relief and exhaustion: “I really need my teeth fixed.”
He’s quickly led off – today he could save thousands of dollars.
There are lots of elderly people, but families too. The whole street is lined with dentists, waiting rooms are full.
This is a city that was built on caring for teeth. It’s flourished because its wealthy neighbour puts a high price on the cost of a healthy smile.
It is a potent and humiliating illustration of America’s divides.