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!