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Driving from Alberta


Simon
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We will be wintering for four months in the Ajijic area and would like some advice.
We are considering driving down from Lethbridge Alberta to Ajijic and want to do it in four days.
I have come up with a plan and I would like some input as to my choices of places to stay etc.
Lethbridge to Casper Wyoming says it takes 10h 12min
Casper to Carrizozo NM takes 10hr 51min
Carrizozo to Torreon or Gomez Palacio Mexico 11h 1min
on to Ajijic next day 8h 31min
I have no idea about these stops. I just chose them to break the drive up.
If anyone can recommend places to stay at these stops or have advice on whether stopping at any of these places is a bad idea or not it would be greatly appreciated.
Also if anyone has done this drive recently do you have a better plan, and how much did it cost you for gas etc.

We do not need a car once we arrive except to go to Costco once in a while. Driving gives us more flexibility however. My sister and her husband have booked a place for the four of us starting Nov 1st. I never know when I will get laid off from work. If driving we can leave as soon as I get laid off. If flying I would have to book for December 1st just to be sure my work has ended. We also will spend March in SMA
and having a car would allow us to drive there and then to drive back right away to Canada if I have to go back to work sooner than hoped.
Another option is to fly one-way to Guadalajara and fly home out of Leon.
Each option has good and bad points.

Any insight on this from anyone would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!

Simon

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Four days is rushing it, especially once you are in Mexico and everything is new to you. Your rather strange work situation seems to make planning difficult, too.  Are four of you traveling in one car, or just two.  If just two, it might be easier to fly and almost as economical, especially if you were to have a bag packed and ready for a cheaper, last minute airline seat....even if you had to fly separately. 

Your plan sounds difficult and exhausting, with no room for flat tires, etc.

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I agree with RV. Those are long driving days with no margins for error, mishap or just fatigue. I drove here from Southern California and took a day off part-way to sleep in and just rest before continuing on. That decision was made when towards the end of the driving day I snapped awake just in time to swerve away from the bridge rail I was about to drive into. 

Check airfares, both round trip and one-way. Then rough out costs for gasoline, motels, food, and tolls before making your decision. Don't forget to factor in the wear and tear on your car and bodies.

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I drove from Edmonton to Chapala and back twice last year towing a trailer, once alone and once with my partner. Both times it was a 5 day trip with only brief rest stops and napping at various highway rest areas and was very tiring. I don't remember gas costs or my exact route but it wasn't a picnic drive.

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We have driven from Lethbridge quite a number of times,but we have a motor home and pulling a car. Our preferred route has been to Cheyenne Wy. then over to North Platt Nebraska then down 83 to Laredo Tx. which is a 4 day run. Then crossing at Columbia which is a little west of Laredo but an easy crossing not much traffic.Then it is a 2 day trip to Chapala area. We will be going back to Canada this summer for another family wedding and will be in Larado about Oct. 28 on our way way back and then crossing into Mexico. We will be meeting a new to us Rv couple that are wanting to come to the Chapala area and will be new to Mexico so we will be guiding them through the process.

Also to keep in mind is that the person that owns the vehicle and is getting the TIP in their name and wants to leave Mexico the vehicle must leave at the same time. Meaning you cannot with a tourist visa leave your vehicle in Mexico and fly out ,you must take your vehicle with you when you leave.

As for fuel costs the only thing we have is diesel fuel costs.

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I too think your 4-day goal is probably aggressive for that distance. But it depends on how many drivers and how your all can cope with that many hours per day straight. Don't forget that you will be crossing two borders and there will be some time 'lost' doing that.

I would offer another 'path' for your journey. It is about the same distance (70 miles farther) but the same time on the road. AND it will save you on Mexican tolls and gas cost as it keeps you in Texas longer with great gas prices vs Mexico with horrible gas prices, and will cut your tolls drastically over your route. It would stretch your travel to 4+ days. I drive much of this route (Denver to Ajijic) often and all the roads on this route are very good. The nightly stops give you some leeway and good reasonable-cost lodging opportunities. I can give you 'tips' on the Mexican route roads if you like. 

The route is:

1st day:  same as yours... to Casper Wyo.      10.5 hours  + border crossing time

2nd day: Casper to Amarillo Tx    10.25 hours

3rd day: Amarillo to Eagle Pass Tx/Piedras Negras Mx     8 hours

4th day: Eagle Pass to Zacatecas City    8.75 hours  + border crossing time

5th day:  Zacatecas to Ajijic   4.5 hours

 

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Does the driving time you listed from Carrizozo to Torreon include the time you will need to spend at the border getting your car import papers and immigration visa? It could be fast if there is not much other traffic, or it could take up to 2 hours if busy. 11 hours is already a long driving day and none of your times take into account possible highway construction, slowing down to almost nothing for the numerous speed bumps you will encounter, stopping to pay at the toll booths, etc.

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