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Travellers' Advisories, Safety and Security on the Road Recent News, political or military events, which may affect trip plans or routes. Personal and vehicle security, tips and questions.
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  #1  
Old 8 Jan 2009
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Cool mexico bound

Hi everyone, 4 of us are planning a trip through the Baja across to main land mexico and back up to Canada was just wondering if anyone has gone that route and is it as dangrous in the Baja and northern mexico as I've been hearing. Thanks would love to some input........Roosterblue
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  #2  
Old 8 Jan 2009
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Smile Northern Mexico

Hi There
I don't know about Baja but I'll be able to let you know about
the Pacific Coast from the the US border south, in another two weeks.
Not that I'm counting down
WooHoo!! :-)

I've already shipped my bike and most of our gear to Phoenix and it's now there waiting for us. My wife and I fly down in two weeks and we should be on the road to Mmexico by Jan 24th. We don't have any firm itinerary but the rough plan is to make a thee-day run due south to Mazatlan and then follow the coast to Zihuatanejo - and then just retrace our steps back to Phoenix. We've given oursleves four weeks but hope to do it in three. Hopefully, this will be a week on the road down - a week there - and a week on the road back.
I'll be able to give you first hand info - or just check my Blog for updates from the road
dboisclair.blogspot.com
Cheers
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  #3  
Old 9 Jan 2009
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I have been told from a snowbird who winters near the border that there are more problems at the border towns. Many day trips with buss have stopped. There has been a travil alert for Mexico (been one for years) but this is a new one.

Mexico

Another point of view.
Mexico Travel Warning in Perspective


I don't care for nasty border towns and as the problem seems to be there a gas up in the USA and a quick run 50 or so miles will get passed most of it.

If you want to know the truth your at more risk driving down there than from the people at the border. You wont look like a threat and if you don't stop not a good target for kidnappers. Kidnapping not lised as a problem by the state department but snowbirds seem to like to say it is. I dont know of many but thay do happen.
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  #4  
Old 9 Jan 2009
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Roosterblue.

I live in San Diego and have traveled Baja for 20 years. A great land that has changed very little. Unfortunealy the drug carels are creating a lot of violance in Tijuana and other major border towns. The local papers explain the violance is mainly between waring drug groups but pedestrians can get caught up in the cross fire. Most San Diegans have stopped crossing the border until things settle down. But a recent article stated the deaths in Tijuanu are still less per capita than 4 major cities in the US. I will be riding through Baja soon, taking the ferry to Mazatlan and farther south. Like most travelers I will cross the border just after sun up and move quickly to Guerrero Negro or Santa Rosalia before stopping for the night. If you need to obtain a visa or vehicle bond you may need to wait until these offices open but get an early start and don't waste time at the border or in Ensenada.

A good guide book is Clement Salvadori's "Motorcycle Journeys Through Baja" Some of the best towns are Mulege, where south of town you can camp in a
grass hut, sleep in a hammik and fish around the small islands. La Paz is where you can get a ferry to Topolobambo or Mazatlan. Farther south is a nice little artist village called Todos Santos and of course Disneyland in Baja; "Cabo".

If you need more information or help around San Diego, don't hesitate to ask.

Ride Safe,

David
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  #5  
Old 13 Jan 2009
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Baja

Quote:
Originally Posted by roosterblue View Post
Hi everyone, 4 of us are planning a trip through the Baja across to main land mexico and back up to Canada was just wondering if anyone has gone that route and is it as dangrous in the Baja and northern mexico as I've been hearing. Thanks would love to some input........Roosterblue
Did Baja last year
Mexicali to Cabo
Most of it solo
I'm a 65 yo frumpy Optometrist

Mexican people I have met are warm and friendly
Will be leaving in 2 wks for Guatemala and beyond

Get thru the border early and ride well into the interior your first day.
Do't look back you will have a great time

Greg
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  #6  
Old 13 Jan 2009
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Baja

Thanks Gregg, grabbing life by the short ones has always been my first choice.
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  #7  
Old 13 Jan 2009
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I read an article recently comparing the newest danger to terrorism in that at one bar, which I believe to be on the Texas/Mexico border in Mexico, some gunmen opened fire killing 7 or so people, and they were all apparently innocent bar patrons.

I live in Yuma, which is near 2 border crossings, and both have had no problems, as far as gossip goes. I work in San Luis, Arizona, which is the town on the 24-hour border crossing in the area, and many of my co-workers and students live in Mexico, and there have been no reports of any going-ons, and believe me, if something was to happen, it would be big news at a middle school, as well as blown out of proportion. Nada! (This border crossing goes into Sonora State of Mexico).

The other border crossing, Algodones, is just west of Yuma (you have to look on a map to understand it), and goes into the farthest eastern part of the Mexican state of Baja Norte. Because of the heavy snowbird presence in Algodones getting predominantly dental work, or getting pharmaceuticals, the Baja Norte police have a heavy showing here.

While Sonora could probably care less if "tourists" cross into it, due to the amount of cross-border commuters, Baja Norte places a high priority on its tourist dollars, and if that makes you feel any better, cross in and out at Algondones. Just keep in mind that the crossing is closed from 10pm to 6am, and that is California time (Arizona is an hour ahead), so going from Phoenix, you really have until 11 pm, but closed until 7 am. It would be to your benefit getting that last hour out, but you shouldn't be on the roads that late, not due to violence, but the generally crappy drivers who get crappier after dark. (If you think US drivers are bad, consider that many US residents come from bad driving countries, such as Mexico, and once you drive in Mexico, you will actually come to appreciate a US resident who has lived here a few years or longer)

PM me if you are going or coming through Yuma
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  #8  
Old 13 Jan 2009
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Generally, the sporadic violence is in the border towns. I try to hit the border about 0830-0930 and get the necessary paperwork done, then head South the same day. I've never had a problem, especially on bikes. It's better to worry about the traffic in the border towns than the bad guys, but if you're leaving a TJ bar at 4 in the morning...trouble may find you...as it could in any city.

I like to head down the East coast of Baja...camping North of San Felipe the first night (I'd recommend Pete's Camp), then head down through Puertocitos to Bahia de la Gonzaga, and either camp on the beach, or enjoy some great tacos at Alfonsina's there....

HTH,

-H-
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  #9  
Old 15 Jan 2009
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Border Crossing Concerns - Looking for Advice

Hi All - looking for advice.
We'll be starting our Mexican trip by leaving Apache Junction around 8:00am on Jan 26th. I've asked my wife to be ready by 7:00 firm, but it'll be our first day on the road - and her first multi-day trip - so I'm sure there'll be some sorting out on the first morning that will slow us up a bit. It's approx 300klm to Nogales, which I suspect will take us 3 - 4 hours with breaks and one gas stop factord in. I obtained my vehicle permit in advance over the internet so all we have to do is stop for our Toursit Visa's and to get our passport stamped so, knock on wood, we should be through the border and on the road in Mexico by noon. My hope is to make it to Hermosillo the first night. It's another 278 klm from the border, which should put us in at 3:00. That might be a long day for my wifes first trip though, so Santa Anna around 1:00 might be where we call it a day. (I hope not!)

So, I'm looking for advice from anyone that's familiar with the area;
1. Should we stop at the immigration office in Nogales for the Visa or the Aduana 20 klm inland - which do you think will be quicker?
2. Are Santa Anna and/or Hermosillo considered far enough inland to get away from the "border town" issues? If not, should we consider leaving Apache Junction at noon and just going as far as Nogales on the US side and then hitting Mexico first thing in the morning? That way we can go all the way to Guaymas but it seems a waste because it puts us a half-day behind and means it'll be four days to Mazatlan instead of three.

Thanks very much in advance
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  #10  
Old 15 Jan 2009
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I've crossed in both Nogales and Douglas.
I've done Topolobumpo to Tucson in one day, you can reallt haul in thast area.
We always try to be through the border and well south of it as early as possible
Personally i would get your tourist permit stay stateside and go south early the next day

I would call Frank Zebrewski 520 290 3374 ( his shop)
his website is ZMWADVENTURES.COM

he helped me on both my Baja and Copper Canyon trips
H e is VERY familiar
with the area you can use my name,
Good traveling,
Greg Eaton
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  #11  
Old 15 Jan 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dboisclair View Post
2. Are Santa Anna and/or Hermosillo considered far enough inland to get away from the "border town" issues? If not, should we consider leaving Apache Junction at noon and just going as far as Nogales on the US side and then hitting Mexico first thing in the morning? That way we can go all the way to Guaymas but it seems a waste because it puts us a half-day behind and means it'll be four days to Mazatlan instead of three.

Thanks very much in advance
Leaving Apache Junction, you should be able to head east on the 10, and south on the 85, and across the border at Senoita past Ajo in about 2.5 hours. Apache Junction through Tucson, and south is heavy traffic, and I think sitting around in Nogales might be a waste of several traveling hours. The Nogales route is more direct, however, but traffic in Mexico can be a little crazy, although I have never crossed in either place, couldn't tell you which one would be better from a (Mexican) traffic point of view, but on the US side, the traffic is heavy on Interstate 10 to Tucson, and south towards Nogales, while it is not as heavy on the 85 southward.

Someone should be able to give you better advice as to which one is easier to ride through, but I know that traffic, especially now during snowbird season, is heavier in southern Arizona, but more so in southeast Arizona.

A more "romantic" route would be to head down Baja and take the ferry to Mazatlan, as an alternative route.
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  #12  
Old 15 Jan 2009
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Thanks

Hi There
Thanks very much for the input - you can't put a price on local knowledge.
All I have to run the numbers is Google Maps and I can see that your suggestion is excellent - it's about 185 miles and other than I10 West avoids a lot of the freeway. It looks like it adds a bit though to get east again to Santa Anna.
My thought was to go south east on 60 to Florence Junction and then south on 79 to Oracle Junction. From there, according to the map, it becomes 77 to Catalina. I'd then take W Tangerine Rd to I10 and stay on the frreway to Nogales. Is this a lot longer time wise though because of the traffic and congestion through Tuscon? If I can take your route and get to the broder in just 2 1/2 hours that's probable the way to go. That means going west on I10 through rush hour - is it still quicker?
Thx for your help - feel free to e-mail me or just post here.
Dale
d-boisclair@shaw.ca
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  #13  
Old 16 Jan 2009
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Now that I think about it, and don't live in the Phoenix metropolitan area, you have a point regarding traffic heading west. I think then that whichever route you choose, take it easy and don't push it. With traffic, heading west, you should be across the border within 3 hours or a little more. Heading east, you might not get as far, but from what I remember, those mountain routes are more scenic. There must be others who have actually traveled out of Phoenix both routes and could chime in, rather than my "local" knowledge, which would be relevant if you were on a time crunch, but if not, don't let me stress you, and just take your time!
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