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Whitey

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I've been reading this board for some time now and see the escalating problems driving thru NV and Monterrey. Would you all still recommend driving down or would you suggest flying as a safer option. I have a Jeep Grand Cherokee - light silver with tinted windows? Would be travelling with my wife and our dogs.

Thanks for your thoughts.

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Drive down on the toll roads and travel in daylight and enjoy the scenery. If you read closely, what many of us are saying is we have little personal fear but love Mexico so much that it hurts to see the country going through this turmoil along with the Mexican people.

Cross on Bridge 2 at end of I-35. You can order car permit on-line to save one hassle if you wish. It will take 2 days from Laredo. Others may best recommend where you spend the night, esp. with dogs as some do not accept them. The scenery is great. If you ask, someone will provide excellent directions.

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As Ajijic said keep on the toll roads and do not drive at night, you will be okay. I'm a female and drove from Sacramento CA to Ajijic by myself in May, You will be fine. Enjoy your trip. From the border it only took 2 1/2 days.

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For every person that runs into trouble there are a great many who make that trip without a problem. If you are going to enjoy your life in Mexico, you might as well take the attitude right now that you need to abandon your fears, use your common sence, be careful and protect yourself.

Do not drive at night. Stick with a trucker or other car when you are going through a desolate stretch, if possible. I have pulled over at a pemex and waited for the next trucker to head out before leaving the station, just for safety.

If you mis-calculate or for some reason end up in the desert at dark, you can park at a Pemex station for the night. There are large parking lots next to some of them, you would want to park as close to the station as possible. The one I parked in was very well lit from the (24 hour)station lights, and I was in the company of a lot of truckers.

Remember that there are some parts of the trip where cell cell phones do not work. keep a gallon of water on board for your car, and one for you and your dogs.

Take your time and watch out for the other guy. There are detailed driving directions posted here somewhere, but don´t forget your map!

Enjoy your trip!

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We drove to the US and back last June and July with nary a problem on the roads or in the cities. There are tons of Mexicans on the toll roads, lots of military presence too and we slept in our camper in Pemexes as we have for years. We just park where the truckers do, are surrounded by them at night and feel completely safe. So in an emergency you can sure stay there and feel fine. Have a good trip.

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Its about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Never can tell when that is going to be the case.

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I've been reading this board for some time now and see the escalating problems driving thru NV and Monterrey. Would you all still recommend driving down or would you suggest flying as a safer option. I have a Jeep Grand Cherokee - light silver with tinted windows? Would be travelling with my wife and our dogs.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Both the US and Canadian Gov. have FORBIDDEN govern. employees from driving INTO or OUT OF Mexico- or areas outside of their normal scope of responsibility. a Jeep Grand Cherokee is a target car for car jackers. Just who do you believe has the better information about acts of violence - the Governments of 2 countries or 4 people on this forum who said - go ahead - drive during the day, you'll be fine???

Just this week I met several national business people at a huge Expo semi annual event of Furniture Manufacturers in Mexico -many from Monterrey - I asked them all about safety and traveling through there. In every case, they said "DON"T" .you will never know when or where roads, highways etc.leading into or out of the city may be blocked and you could be caught in the middle. When they must travel to the US or other cities in Mexico- They FLY.

I'd rather believe Mexicans who live in these areas and the governments, who have a lot more information about what's happening, than a few people on a public forum. Use common sense.

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Going through Monterrey? I think Privado is on the right track. I'd fly.

Otherwise, I'd definitely avoid Monterrey and stick to daylight and toll roads.

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I personally am not saying same as traveling in US or Canada but those who bypass Monterrey and travel on toll roads I have never heard of expat being harmed. Stopped and money taken yes around Colombia but not as I noted.

So what the last two posts are saying to snowbirds and anyone driving who would normally enter via Texas to stay away? Geesh people said months ago via my posts I was personally trying to destroy the local real estate market for my gain which of course was crap for many reasons. But if one follows the advice above which may be true, not disagreeing, real estate and tourism will suck big time.

On that note just chatting with a friend who has been coming to lakeside for years and this year Arizona because of the issue of safety. Imagine how many more are doing the same.

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While no one can determine "what might happen" - is it the opinion of many on this board that things have definately gotten worse and would driving down with wife and dogs be just plain stupid? I do understand that there will be mixed opinions, just trying to gather all possible opinions before making the decision either way.

Having never driven the route before - which part of the drive would be "the most concerning or difficult? With the toll roads, is it pretty easy to follow all the way?

Thank you for all your posts and advice,

Whitey

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Both the US and Canadian Gov. have FORBIDDEN govern. employees from driving INTO or OUT OF Mexico- or areas outside of their normal scope of responsibility. a Jeep Grand Cherokee is a target car for car jackers.

Not trying to cause a ruckus, but can you specify the source of these three pieces of information please?

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Would the fear-mongers please post a list of expats who have been harmed, murdered, kidnapped or otherwise 'severely inconvenienced' between the interior of Mexico and the US border? I only know of one couple who were robbed, before dawn (they were advised not to drive at night) on a toll road, in their SUV (loaded to the gills with 'goodies'), shortly after a 'coffee stop', where they probably had an opportunity to be observed with cash and jewlery. Had they been an hour later, in broad daylight, it probably wouldn't have happened because of their visibility and more traffic, etc.

Rumors and inuendo are creating hysteria. The 'narcotraficantes' aren't interested in geriatric tourists & they certainly don't want to start an international incident of that type. We aren't embassy or consulate employees, competing drug dealers, authorities, politicians or other specific targets, are we?

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Steve from San Miguel and his partner last fall made a wrong turn in Monterrey and were held for 5 hours and thought for sure why they would be killed by what appeared to be police. They were taken to ATM's and daily limit withdrawn.

Diane who has a real estate business was stopped within 2 km of Colombia crossing and forced to pay as were my friends Jim and Kelly.

All 3 were traveling in daylight but none live behind 20 foot plus wall. lol

But as I clearly stated I know of no one who crossed at Laredo, stuck to tolls and traveled in day light who had a problem. Hence my first post on this thread.

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Canadian and US governments try to avoid the possibility of failing to warn their citizens of perceived dangers around the world, and tend to err on the side of caution. Government employees are definitely more likely to be targeted, and there have been incidents involving foreign government employees in the border areas. There have been reports of foreigners being stopped and robbed, but I can't recall if those were on well traveled toll roads or on side roads. I am also sure that there are more Mexican than foreign victims of violence, and not only due to the relative numbers of each.

I have only lived in Mexico full time for 11 years and have a daughter married to a Mexican, with Mexican grandchildren, and our son-in-law's large family of middle class Mexicans that we speak with frequently, so I am probably incapable of forming an educated opinion on these matters, but I still feel that it is not likely that a foreigner will run into trouble traveling on Mexico's toll roads during daylight hours. We drive a new Suburban, make frequent trips around Mexico and across the border, and have never experienced any problems. That anecdotal evidence is not particularly useful in developing statistics, but it is more reliable than theories or opinions of how bad it is going to get in Mexico for retired foreigners. News stories should not be used as proof that things are going to get more dangerous for foreigners.

In my personal uneducated opinion, random acts of violence are more likely to be experienced by foreigners than being targeted by Narcos, and random acts of violence occur everywhere in the world. I still feel safer in Mexico than in the US or Canada, not that I feel particularly threatened anywhere that we travel.

But, for those who do feel anxious, my advice is to stay home where you think you are safe, rather than venturing forth to places that are not familiar. Not that I think you are any safer, but, if you feel safer, that is all that matters.

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Ok, lets take another look at this. It really only makes sense to drive IF you are bringing down things not easily brought in suitcases on a plane and if you are staying for a long time / in an outlying area where you will need a car.

Flying is cheaper and much better than driving. I did the drive once to leave my car in Chapala, I'll never do it again, well maybe once more next year to bring down a truckload of stuff but the drive sucks and it is boring compared with 3 hours or less by plane and many, many hours of your life to do something different than get your butt sore where you keep sitting differently to keep it from going numb.

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Some folks like to drive and some folks don't. Having a car, being able to explore, stop where you like, take side trips, etc. all add to the pleasure of driving. Being retired, as we are, or still working like Intercasa, also makes a big difference in one's travel preference. Those who fly have a tendency to omit the two or three hour waits in airports, heavy luggage, car rental expenses, taxis, tiny airline seats and abysmal service, compared to when we 'old farts' flew in wide seats with good meals, drinks, pillows, blankets, magazines and pretty attendants looking after our needs. With that in mind, I really prefer to drive these days.

As for safety, we're not the targets unless we flash 'bling' or money; which is true anywhere in the world, where there are pickpockets, petty thieves or even 'banditos'. As for the narcotraficantes; they aren't interested in us at all.

Yesterday, a US citizen was killed on the road between Acapulco and Zihuatanejo. He was not a retiree & didn't appear to be on vacation. He was only 32 years old and was shot by the Mexican Military. Oh yes, the reports say that he was killed at a checkpoint and that he shot at the military first. That leads me to suspect that he was, not only in possession of a firearm in Mexico, seriously violating Mexican law, but that he probably didn't want to stop. I wonder what he was carrying? Now, I'm just waiting to see how the 'propagandists' spin this story to make Mexico look bad.

So, if you want to drive, want to have your car in Mexico, want to enjoy some beautiful scenery and experience 'life'. Get our your map, pack your bag, change your oil and put the compass on 'S'.

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Canadian and US governments try to avoid the possibility of failing to warn their citizens of perceived dangers around the world, and tend to err on the side of caution. Government employees are definitely more likely to be targeted, and there have been incidents involving foreign government employees in the border areas. There have been reports of foreigners being stopped and robbed, but I can't recall if those were on well traveled toll roads or on side roads. I am also sure that there are more Mexican than foreign victims of violence, and not only due to the relative numbers of each.

I have only lived in Mexico full time for 11 years and have a daughter married to a Mexican, with Mexican grandchildren, and our son-in-law's large family of middle class Mexicans that we speak with frequently, so I am probably incapable of forming an educated opinion on these matters, but I still feel that it is not likely that a foreigner will run into trouble traveling on Mexico's toll roads during daylight hours. We drive a new Suburban, make frequent trips around Mexico and across the border, and have never experienced any problems. That anecdotal evidence is not particularly useful in developing statistics, but it is more reliable than theories or opinions of how bad it is going to get in Mexico for retired foreigners. News stories should not be used as proof that things are going to get more dangerous for foreigners.

In my personal uneducated opinion, random acts of violence are more likely to be experienced by foreigners than being targeted by Narcos, and random acts of violence occur everywhere in the world. I still feel safer in Mexico than in the US or Canada, not that I feel particularly threatened anywhere that we travel.

But, for those who do feel anxious, my advice is to stay home where you think you are safe, rather than venturing forth to places that are not familiar. Not that I think you are any safer, but, if you feel safer, that is all that matters.

Those of us who live here have decided to do so,so a resident is likely going to give you an optimistic view about safety/security. If they thought things were bad they would leave. So asking a resident is going to give you a biases opinion,statistically speaking.

To get a balanced view, you might want to speak to some people who have left Mexico. My Mexican sister-in-law and German husband recently left after many years in Guadalajara. Another couple we know-an American man and Mexican lady-left just a month ago after about 15 years in Guad and Morelia. In both cases the stated reason was concern over personal safety.

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Those that live here are more likely to give you a truer picture of what life is like here than foreign news reports or of perceptions of people who live elsewhere.

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I recently drove with my mini toy poodle and adult daughter from Tucson to Guadalajara. Did toll roads all the way, didn't really stop except to get gas, stretch and keep on moving. No problem at all along the way. Daylight driving.

Another 25 yr. old friend drove alone from San Diego to Gdl (much to the horror of her worried mother)just a month ago - reported NO PROBLEM.

Another business acquaintance drove (2 adults) from San Francisco to Gdl - last week - no problem!!

I would just be alert, keep filled up on gas, be aware of the military stops along the way. I don't stay in Culiacan area (which would be just about 1/2 way..) I spend the night in Navojoa (10 hrs. from Nogales and 10 hrs. from Gdl)

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Ok, lets take another look at this. It really only makes sense to drive IF you are bringing down things not easily brought in suitcases on a plane and if you are staying for a long time / in an outlying area where you will need a car.

Flying is cheaper and much better than driving. I did the drive once to leave my car in Chapala, I'll never do it again, well maybe once more next year to bring down a truckload of stuff but the drive sucks and it is boring compared with 3 hours or less by plane and many, many hours of your life to do something different than get your butt sore where you keep sitting differently to keep it from going numb.

Spencer, they are traveling with their dogs, and, as another poster noted, who wants to hang out in the airport for three hours after spending who knows how much time getting there? Then there is the bad air and sometimes annoying fellow passengers. I know someone who flew to Europe on a flight which included a woman and a bunch of her kids, totally not behaved, two year old twins included in the bunch. He was extremely unhappy and exhausted when they landed. Pros and cons on both sides, me, I'd drive any day, unless I was in a hurry to get from point A to point B. :lol:

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I suppose everyone's preferences vary, but I'd rather fly for 12 hours with screaming kids in the seat next to me than drive for 3 days. Go figure.

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True, depends on the trip. I still would rather spend 3 uncomfortable hours on a plane than 20+ driving but that's me. My break even point is 4 to 5 hours, any drive longer than that and I'll fly absent exigent or special circumstances.

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Ok, lets take another look at this. It really only makes sense to drive IF you are bringing down things not easily brought in suitcases on a plane and if you are staying for a long time / in an outlying area where you will need a car.

Flying is cheaper and much better than driving. I did the drive once to leave my car in Chapala, I'll never do it again, well maybe once more next year to bring down a truckload of stuff but the drive sucks and it is boring compared with 3 hours or less by plane and many, many hours of your life to do something different than get your butt sore where you keep sitting differently to keep it from going numb.

Flying is cheaper than driving??? Let's see, it's approximately 700 miles from Laredo to Lake Chapala. For me that's less than two tanks of gas or about $50 USD. One night's stay at Matehuala, perhaps $80, with another $10 for dinner. Lunch both day's driving $5/day. Total: $150 to drive (one way) or $300 roundtrip (or $140 RT if I make it a one-day drive each way). Cost of flight from San Antonio Tex to Guadalajara: $609 roundtrip, plus 2 taxi rides of $30 each way from Guad airport to Lake Chapala for a total of $669 to fly. Even supposing you flew from a hub airport like Houston, flights range from $450 RT to $1000 RT. I picked San Antonio because it is reasonably close to Laredo to equalize the distance.

Now, perhaps if you are coming from Seattle or Boston, flying might be cheaper than driving, depending on whether you were staying in motels or camping, and whether you were making sandwiches and otherwise avoiding restaurant meals. And of course whether you drive a gashog behemoth SUV and pull a trailer. Seattle-Guad = $585-1192 RT to fly, Boston-Guad = $654-$1128 RT to fly. If you bring a spouse or significant other, double the flying cost, but only slightly increase the driving cost for food and double room.. But for anyone coming from Texas, NM, AZ, or So. California, driving is definitely cheaper than flying. (All flight fares from Expedia, re: Sept. 2010 rates)

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Flying is cheaper than driving??? Let's see, it's approximately 700 miles from Laredo to Lake Chapala. For me that's less than two tanks of gas or about $50 USD. One night's stay at Matehuala, perhaps $80, with another $10 for dinner. Lunch both day's driving $5/day. Total: $150 to drive (one way) or $300 roundtrip (or $140 RT if I make it a one-day drive each way). Cost of flight from San Antonio Tex to Guadalajara: $609 roundtrip, plus 2 taxi rides of $30 each way from Guad airport to Lake Chapala for a total of $669 to fly. Even supposing you flew from a hub airport like Houston, flights range from $450 RT to $1000 RT. I picked San Antonio because it is reasonably close to Laredo to equalize the distance.

Now, perhaps if you are coming from Seattle or Boston, flying might be cheaper than driving, depending on whether you were staying in motels or camping, and whether you were making sandwiches and otherwise avoiding restaurant meals. And of course whether you drive a gashog behemoth SUV and pull a trailer. Seattle-Guad = $585-1192 RT to fly, Boston-Guad = $654-$1128 RT to fly. If you bring a spouse or significant other, double the flying cost, but only slightly increase the driving cost for food and double room.. But for anyone coming from Texas, NM, AZ, or So. California, driving is definitely cheaper than flying. (All flight fares from Expedia, re: Sept. 2010 rates)

I don't necessarily agree. Driving from Phx to GDL - you forgot the include the $200 in tolls for a round trip (and let's face it, the vast majority of us are going to stay on those toll roads these days). You did not include the cost of a car sticker for those that need it. You did not include the cost of Mexican insurance. You did not include the cost of the Tequila shots that I drink every night after we get off the road (husband drives, I cringe and white knuckle the entire time). Airfare from Phoenix can be found for $530 RT, including taxes, nonstop, no change of planes, on USAIR.

On the other hand, if staying here for an extended period or bringing pets, I'd vote to put up with the drive (as we did this past summer). Our prior, shorter visits were sans dog and we did just fine with taxis, buses and our feet.

In the end, it's a vanilla or chocolate question. What's best or preferred for some will be exactly the opposite for others.

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