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  • 2 Post By garrydymond
  • 5 Post By MikeMike
  • 4 Post By jamesyeiser
  • 2 Post By Sjoerd Bakker
  • 1 Post By Dr. Benny

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  #1  
Old 20 Oct 2012
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Mexican / USA border Safest..UPDATE ?

Hi There..
I am leaving on my RTW journey next week from Maine. I have read all post regarding border crossings over to Mexico but most are out dated considering the increased violence and blood shed as recent as May 2012.

"The discovery of 49 mutilated bodies dumped on a highway in northern Mexico on Sunday is the third massacre in the last ten days in the country's so called "Triangle of Death."
On May 9th the dismembered bodies of 18 victims were left near Mexico's second largest city, Guadalajara. Before that, on May 5th, the bodies of 23 people were found hanging from a bridge or decapitated near city hall in the border city of Nuevo Laredo.
The triangle, an area comprised by the highways that connect Monterrey, Nuevo Leon Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo is a region where Mexico's two dominant drug cartels are trying to outdo each other in bloodshed while warring over smuggling routes. " Usa travel warnings are thick in all northern Mexican states....

I would like of course to save 3-6 days by crossing one the 5 borders on the east side of the US but not sure thats wise. ANYONE cross and ride down thru the eastern texas / Mexico roads ?? At this point i'm thinking of traveling to the Nogales border ( actually go 30 more miles west to small crossing at Mataposa )... any suggestions or thoughts would be GREAT... Thank You... sorry if this was a bit longgggg Winded... Visit my blog if you like.. Hope to see some of you on the road !! Eliza.
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  #2  
Old 20 Oct 2012
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I would come through any border and then plan on being 200 kms or so away from it before nightfall. There are real dangers from the drug war but you would have to be pretty unlucky to get involved in it.
By far your biggest risk is riding a motorcycle. You have already accepted that risk and feel you can handle it through your riding skills, luck faith etc.
I have had over 80 motorcyclists stay with me over the last 6 or 7 years and only one has had a problem in Mexico and it wasn't because of violence. Most travellers are surprised by how nice everyone is and the amount of police and army around.
If you want to come to Mexico City we can put you up and show you around.

Safe travels

Garry
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  #3  
Old 20 Oct 2012
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It never ceases to amaze me how ill informed people are about Mexico.
Thousands of motorcyclists ride in Mexico day in and day out.
We live here, we ride here, it is as simple as that. Reading posts about what is the safest route in Mexico etc... is as pointless as asking about what is the safest route through Detroit, or better yet, Chicago.
Check the violent homicide crime rate in Chicago and you'll see what I mean.

But of course you are not going to Chicago you are going to Mexico and Garry has told you what you need to do. If you don't like hanging around in a border area, get there early and book on through once the paperwork is done and once past the second border check, you are then heading deeper into Mexico. Take a good look at the map and you'll see a lot of open spaces in Mexico with a great majority of open spaces between border points and key cities.

If you are crossing on the east side, I can tell you that I ride the roads in Veracruz day in and day out (since I sold my truck, my bike is my only transportation) on all types of roads and a lot of it is way off the map.
I also live very close to where 35 bodies were dumped a little over a year ago. There have been 3 major events in my neighborhood in the past 2 years. So do I hide in my house and not ride?

I remember very clearly a conversation I had over breakfast with an HU member who was riding through to Patagonia from Alaska. We were having breakfast less than 100mts. from where the bodies were dumped and I asked him if he happened to know where he was. The simple fact is that there is narco-violence in Mexico, it can happen anytime, but what are the chances of it affecting you as a lone motorcycle traveler? Do you think you are going to be a target? I can put your mind at rest and tell you that unless you are involved in organized crime, the only problem you will have is leaving Mexico once you get used to the warmth, the kindness, the curiosity, the fun, etc... of the Mexican people.

Think it through. I've been living here for almost 20 years now, and I know the area and have ridden it since 1978 both on and off road. I feel safer here than many locales in the USA or even Canada.
Listening to American media reports about Mexico is simply going to make you worry all the time. Stop worrying and start riding. You can easily cross at Brownsville or the area and hit Tampico or even Tuxpan in a good day's ride.

Sorry if I came on strong in the first part of this post, but I have yet to meet a foreign rider that ever had a problem in Mexico. But the HU member had his spare gas can stolen in Alaska, so go figure.

Bottom line is to get to the border early, get the paperwork done, book on through as deep as possible on the first day. Don't ride at night if you absolutely do not have to, that is why an early start is by far the most important thing.

Before you leave the USA, do everyone in Mexico a favor and send an email to Eric Holder and tell him to please stop sending guns into Mexico. There are way too many already, thanks.

A few tips. As a blonde North American woman you will stick out like a sore thumb, dressed in ADV gear and alone on a motorcycle it will be multiplied to the power of 10. You, at some time, will also attract unwanted attention and you'll have to deal with it in a manner just like you would in a bar anywhere. Bluntly put, it is a macho culture here and particularly so outside of the urban areas. No sign of it changing, yet. Bring sufficient spares as BMW parts here can be hard to get, especially for BMW models that are more than 5 years old or no longer sold, like the Dakar. It is a great bike if you have the single cylinder F650GS and not the 800cc twin cylinder "newer" model. You might get lucky at some dealers, but outside of Mexico City on the eastern seaboard there are three dealers; Puebla, Boca del Rio (where I am), and Oaxaca. They can source some parts in 3-5 days, but if the parts are not in Mexico you will be waiting a long time.
Whatever might be particular to the Dakar, if that is what you have, would be a good idea to bring along. Chains and brake pads are easy enough to source, same goes for tires and tubes and sparkplugs. But a clutch might be a different story. If you need help while in the Veracruz area, you can PM me, same if you want maps or if you want some routing that will take you through much better and more interesting riding than the Mex #180 coast highway which is as boring as watching paint dry. This part of Mexico has a lot to offer once you get off the Mex #180 and ride the mountain zone or even just the secondary coastal routes. It would be my pleasure to help you out. I think your cause is a very noble one as outlined on your blog. And you are going to really enjoy Mexico. Too bad you just missed a wonderful motorcycle oriented fundraising event here that raised a lot of money for a local village school. I think that is the kind of thing you need to read about and hear about, but sadly it will never sell newspapers or airtime on TV. Good things happen here but the world never hears about those!
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  #4  
Old 20 Oct 2012
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Thank You Mike Mike !! I think I get the point... Thought I'd have to throw you a quick drink to settle ya down in the beginning..) Thank you also to Gary and Andy T. who echoed the same things.. I spent 6 months in Mexico years ago and did have problems with police a few times...( Looking forward to visiting with a different perspective now. Thanks for your encouragement and info..greatly appreciated.. Taking off from here is the hardest part... I have the new BMW G650 which is a single and like the old F650 which I had and traded for the G as it had too many miles on it..Starting fresh... Have a spare brake and clutch cable on board as well as filters, plugs, fuses and other things. I am use to traveling solo and sticking out like a sore thumb.. I traveled solo on a Honda 110cc thru remote places in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos for the last 2 winters. The good thing is im 55 yrs old .. it keeps most of the boys away . And if i show pics of my kids and grandson, i really become undesirable to trouble..) Any links, maps or suggestion you would like to send would be welcome. Will be rerouting and rethinking...Thanks again !!! Eliza
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  #5  
Old 21 Oct 2012
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Mexico

I've lived at the NM/MX border for years
currently in MX 4 months on cgl 125 I bought in Zacatecas
Last year was 1 month in Sinaloaense cartel territory in Batopiloas and beyond, riding back roads, being passed by trucks full of armed narcos....no problem.
No problems with gringos riding down here other than drunks or stupid drivers: the Mexicans are killing each other.
Contrary to most opinions it is safe enough here IF you aren't:
1. A Mexican
2. a Mexican involved in drugs
3. or a Mayan in Chiapas
Police are mostly courteous and helpful if you ask for help.
The unsaid rule from the narcos is hands off gringos, and no selling drugs to them...this is first hand info from a jefe of a certain group i happen to know near the NM border.
IMHO the best crossing is at Columbus, NM/Palomas, Chih.- easy, safe, fast and 2 day ride down to Creel...roads are safe and wide open,
Zig demoted to CGL 125
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  #6  
Old 21 Oct 2012
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Excellent advice given , I Will add my two centavos.
Any of the Texas border crossings into Mexico will work fine.
Just this year I have used Reynosa,Aleman,Piedras Negras and
Juarez and encountered no problems of narco violence nor
did I see corpses piled roadside .
I would even go so far asto suggest that in order to a very early
start on your ride away from the border that you actually cross the
Rio Grande in mid to late afternoon at either Matamoros ,Reynosa or
Nvo Laredo and get the paperwork done at their clearly identified
border Aduana facilities , then with lots of daylight left pick one
of the many good hotels in the city enter area on your route and get
a room for the night. Really,they are very good ,cost less than on
the US side and are quite safe even for you as a woman traveling alone.
These city centers are not the shooting
galleries US media stories make them out to be.
If you chose to
cross at Piedras Negras you would not even have to worry about the
customs process since that is done at Allende 53km to the south.
Also before dark ride around a bit ,visit a Mexican restaurant,even McDonalds ,BK or whatever familiar US chain you see .Then back to the hotel
and securely park the bike, see theTV News for any thing which would
impact your ride and get a good longnight of rest.
Next morning you will be fresh to tackle the ride out of town
and notbe worried about running out of daylight before you.
feel far enough away from the perceived dangers of the border.
Send me a pm if you would like some directions to a good hotel in
the MEXICAN border town you select
And Mex 180 is not as boring as Mike makes it sound. wave:
You just need to appreciate the colours of the paint,it's texture and
variety of application techniques I.e. the subtle variety in the natural landscape
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  #7  
Old 23 Oct 2012
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Thanks Sjoerd... Good advice. Ill see how things shape up in the next couple of weeks on the way to Texas.. thinking ill cross at Eagle Pass at the moment..Thanks again everyone !
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  #8  
Old 28 Oct 2012
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It's already been said, but here's the bullet version:

1) Any crossing will do
2) Get to the border by 8am with a full tank of gas
3) Ride 200km
4) Enjoy Mexico

__________________
Motorcycle Mexico - The easiest way to prepare for your first ride south of the border.
USA to TDF Blog
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  #9  
Old 29 Oct 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garrydymond View Post
I would come through any border and then plan on being 200 kms or so away from it before nightfall. There are real dangers from the drug war but you would have to be pretty unlucky to get involved in it.
By far your biggest risk is riding a motorcycle. You have already accepted that risk and feel you can handle it through your riding skills, luck faith etc.
I have had over 80 motorcyclists stay with me over the last 6 or 7 years and only one has had a problem in Mexico and it wasn't because of violence. Most travellers are surprised by how nice everyone is and the amount of police and army around.
If you want to come to Mexico City we can put you up and show you around.

Safe travels

Garry
Hi,
It is my first post and i am in that kind of situation and the war between the drug dealers bother me a bit but those posts on HU bring me some peace in mind.I will ship the morcycle in Monterry and will take a flight for Mexico city to pass a few days before i hit the road for Central and South America around november the 10.
It is Horizons unlimited (the motorcyclist bible) that gave me the guts and the courage to fulfill my dream.
Thanks to every members and specially to the HORIZONS UNLIMITED TEAM
The bishop (Maurice Guay)
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  #10  
Old 1 Nov 2012
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I'll echo what others have said.

In our 5+ years when we lived in Guatemala and made annual trips back to Canada we crossed Mexico numerous times and through all different crossings. For scenery, I prefer the west coast. For speed I prefer the east coast but that's a personal preference.

Our plan was always get to the border early, get the paper work done and go south a good 4-5 hours minimum. Same drill going north, stop a good 4-5 hours south of the border, get going early and get through the border in daylight.

Personally I'd fuel up south of the border, it was considerably cheaper back then but that may have changed recently with the changes surrounding the oil industry and free trade.

If the guns at the Mexican/USA border are freaking you out, guns in Guatemala and Honduras and other Central American nations are a lot more plentiful and out in the open.
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  #11  
Old 7 Jul 2013
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Join Date: Jan 2012
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Crossing Piedras Negras

Hello,

I am crossing PN in October 1st going to Mazatlan and further.
I have 6 days for this track.
Any suggestions, do and don'ts?

Djin
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  #12  
Old 8 Jul 2013
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As to the Piedras Negras crossing simply see post#6 above for
details , the Aduana and TVIP stuff is all done at the km53
terminal at Allende,Coahuila.
You are onto a very good plan if you are allowing yourself 6 days
to reach Mazatlan.Slow and easy is the major DO on a ride in
Mexico. The DONT'S are all the obvious stuff like riding at night on
the open- range highways,or generally doing dumb stuff you would not
do at home either .
Enjoy
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