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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 16 Mar 2008
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Mexico Safety Input

My wife and I will be heading to Mexico in April. We intend to cross McAllen, Tx. We will head south down central Mexico ultimaely to Palenque; west to coastal region and then north. Intended crossing at Agua Prieta, Mx. I done my actual trip plan and registered our trip with State Department. They have a dated safety bulletin and it will not be updated until after our departure. I have reviewed the current news reports and border town (Juarez, Tiajuana, Nuevo Loreado) problems and other safety issues. Intend to remain on toll roads for most of the trip. Will be riding a v strom. Been to Mexico as a tourist by air but never on the road. I would like some current input from those who have experienced a motorcycle road trip. Thank you. PS. The group we were going with all dropped out, however, we intend to press forward.
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  #2  
Old 16 Mar 2008
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Just normal, common sense precautions.
With a few exceptions, the libre (free) roads offer better scenery. The Mex toll roads are expensive.
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  #3  
Old 16 Mar 2008
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I'm afraid if you were to follow State Dept.

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 08:32.
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  #4  
Old 17 Mar 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by judgejoe View Post
My wife and I will be heading to Mexico in April. We intend to cross McAllen, Tx. We will head south down central Mexico ultimaely to Palenque; west to coastal region and then north. Intended crossing at Agua Prieta, Mx. I done my actual trip plan and registered our trip with State Department. They have a dated safety bulletin and it will not be updated until after our departure. I have reviewed the current news reports and border town (Juarez, Tiajuana, Nuevo Loreado) problems and other safety issues. Intend to remain on toll roads for most of the trip. Will be riding a v strom. Been to Mexico as a tourist by air but never on the road. I would like some current input from those who have experienced a motorcycle road trip. Thank you. PS. The group we were going with all dropped out, however, we intend to press forward.
I usually cross from Hidalgo, Tx into Reynosa. Just as you go over the bridge, the imigration building is to your left (you have to go sort of around a roundabout about 270 degrees) and there are no lines. Very fast and you're on your way. Reynosa's OK. Take the Autopista (I think it's 40) out of town just to get going. Keep an eye out in your rearview for a few miles to make sure no "Border Monkeys" are following you (you shouldn't have a problem, just a precaution). 40 Head's towards Monterrey. The Autopistas are generally in pretty good shape but have become very pricey. They have the highway "Gas Station/Restaurants" which are usually in median like in the states. Pull off at the first one, gas up. Get coffee. Get comfortable and "Welcome to Mexico". By now your gettin a little feel for it. At this point, it's O.K. to check your map and exit onto the "Libre" (free no toll) ( the only toll is to your tires). Basically, you just want to get away from the border "Unobserved?". I run the "Pista" to Monterrey and usually cruise at 100+ MPH. Never a problem with the Policia. I've had Lexus's come up behind me and just about pinch my fender to scold me for driving too slow. Like someone else mentioned, if you want to see stuff, take the "Libre". You've got all the trucks, busses, taxi's, and donkey carts you could ever hope to see. The towns are friendly and the people for the most part are happy to have your business. Stay in Mom and Pop "Posada" type motels. You drive into a courtyard and park in front of you room. Everything is on the ground floor. Usually family owned and run. Hope that helps some. P.S. As far as the "State Department" goes, don't expect "anything" from them. They are a "Last" resort. ...Anyway, enjoy. Smitty
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Old 17 Mar 2008
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Glad you're still pressing on with your trip- you'll have a ball! One of the slightly annoying things I noticed on my trip was when I was speaking to North Americans about having just ridden all the way from Argentina, the first response I got from a quite a few (and this was also from bikers) was 'ooh, weren't you scared in Mexico?'. Well no, not really, I really liked it. Great scenery, great dirt roads, really great street food (!) and friendly people much like the rest of Latin America really. Didn't like the 'Topes' (speed bumps) though.

So is it just a typical case of a country fearing the nearest next door neighbour or is there something I should have been more aware of?? Is it the US news coverage of Mexico painting a darker picture of how it is there? Mind you, the UK foreign office website told me to stay well away from Colombia and Equador so I took note and went anyway.
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Old 17 Mar 2008
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Originally Posted by MikeS View Post
Glad you're still pressing on with your trip- you'll have a ball! One of the slightly annoying things I noticed on my trip was when I was speaking to North Americans about having just ridden all the way from Argentina, the first response I got from a quite a few (and this was also from bikers) was 'ooh, weren't you scared in Mexico?'. Well no, not really, I really liked it. Great scenery, great dirt roads, really great street food (!) and friendly people much like the rest of Latin America really. Didn't like the 'Topes' (speed bumps) though.

So is it just a typical case of a country fearing the nearest next door neighbour or is there something I should have been more aware of?? Is it the US news coverage of Mexico painting a darker picture of how it is there? Mind you, the UK foreign office website told me to stay well away from Colombia and Equador so I took note and went anyway.
It's great to see that they are going...regardless. I'm sure that you may have had some "apprehensions" prior to your trip north. That becomes an afterthought however once you actually get started. You must consider the fact that they are bombarded daily by a "Media" which essentially "is" the Government. It decides who will be "President" and it decides who will be afraid to travel in Mexico. It's unfortunate but true. The only way they will know is to go. We can only provide reassurances "Not necessarily to believe what you hear". This will be taken with " a grain of salt" so to speak. "Seeing is believing". When they get to the "Seeing" part, the "believing" will be validated. Let's just hope they post a testamonial of their trip when they return. You know as well as I that they will have a great time and it will most likely turn their heads around. Smitty
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  #7  
Old 18 Mar 2008
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Mexico safety

Forget the state department bulshitins, just go .And dont,dont´,dont try to do the entire trip by tollroads. You will miss most of the good stuff, and eventually all the toll roads dump you back onto the same roads with the Libre traffic . You will be paying through the nose just to bypass the interesting towns, not really the pont of a trip , is it?
Right now I am back in Mexico and spent the whole day just exploring the back highway between Galeana and Matehuala- great scenery and not a toll road.
Crossed into Mexico from McAllen by way of the new Free Trade Bridge which is not a very good set up being open only between 6 and 23 hours and they do not have enough wickets to serve car trafffic. It was pugged with a load of missionaries so I just went to the 24/7 Reynosa terminal after checking into a hotel.It was a breeze .
Just use common sense, don't tie yourself into unrealistic timeframes or reservations, drive with care and get off the road before dark and don't try to cover Ironbutt distances in a day. You wil have a great time
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  #8  
Old 18 Mar 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sjoerd Bakker View Post
.........don't tie yourself into unrealistic timeframes or reservations, drive with care and get off the road before dark........
Take this advice.
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  #9  
Old 18 Mar 2008
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On our three thousand mile, month long, trip through Mexico a few years ago we found the Mexicans to be friendly, helpful, honest and curious. We had a great time. There is less random violence in Mexico than the USA. (But they do tend to ignore traffic laws, like stop signs, more than Americans, so stay alert.)

On the "libre" roads there are "topes" (pronounced TOE-pays) at each end of every small village. These are speed bumps from hell. Slow down!!! We actually saw a man standing on one selling bread in one village. Traffic slowed down to about 1 mph to cross it (so did we) and at that speed he was able to make sales to drivers as they went by. The "libre" roads are the old highway and the "couta" (toll) roads are like American Interstates but are very expensive. Like many places in America the old highway is more scenic but also more crowded and much slower, unlike America the couta is costly where an Interstate is free in most of America.

If you get the chance, ride the "Devil's Backbone" between Mazatlan and Durango. It is a hundred plus miles of sharp curves. Watch out for trucks with their tail end in your lane on the curves. It also goes from 9,000 foot elevation at the Durango end to sea level at Mazatlan. Great Road!!!

Enjoy Mexico!
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  #10  
Old 18 Mar 2008
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Useful information

I'm not pushing "Sanborn's" insurance, but if you go to their website, it's set up with ton's of useful information that you can download. Veteran traveller's may want to take a look-see too. Just Google "Sanborn's Mexican insurance". Smitty
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  #11  
Old 21 Mar 2008
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Just wanted to thank you for your responses and encouragement. My wife and I do speak some basic spanish. I have kept my mileage down (250 miles, when traveling). If that ends up being too far, because of some unexpected condition, we will adjust. We have obtained the necessary evacuation and 3rd party liability insurance, with copies. Also, I have maintained an international file from different Blogs on UH with their suggestions and packing list. Just did a complete tear down of the bike and added new tires.
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