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Travel advice, San Antonio Tx. to lakeside.


dcstroker
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I'll be returning from a trip up north the first week in April and need to make a stop in San Antonio. From there I'll probably make one more stop before getting home. Is it easier to cross at Loredo or McAllen? Would you stop on the U.S. side or drive farther into Mexico? I'm used to driving 12 to 13 hrs. a day so that's not a problem. Suggestions on where to stay? Thanks

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52 minutes ago, canmex87 said:

You can make it from San Antonio to Lakeside in 12 to 13 hours.

 

47 minutes ago, John Shrall said:

Look at Google Maps and plan a trip from San Antonio to San Luis Potosi. It shows 3 options with the Laredo, Monterrey, Saltillo to Hwy 57 being the shortest and quickest at a little over 11 hours.

I have some business to attend to in San Antonio in the morning so wouldn't be able to get an early enough start.

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But that route allows a stopover in Matehuela or Saltillo if needed. Going through Pharr the only good stopping point before SLP is Ciudad Victoria.

When we stop to visit friends in Elgin outside of Austin we just go to Saltillo for the night but that's only 5 hours from San Antonio.

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1 hour ago, dcstroker said:

 

I have some business to attend to in San Antonio in the morning so wouldn't be able to get an early enough start.

Depending on when you actually leave San Antonio here are some stops along the way in Mexico that you could consider. From San Antonio I personally would NOT consider going through McAllen.

+ Around the Monterrey Airport (a little out of the way but several good hotels and restaurants)

+ Hotel San Pedro Express (70 miles short of Matehuala and right on hiway 57)

+ Hotel Las Palmas (and others) in Matehaula

 

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Just my opinion, but... when crossing coming south and especially if one doesn't have to do something like get a car permit, I find it much faster to cross downtown at Bridge II rather than schlepping all the way out to Colombia and back. Coming north, well that's another story as US Customs can cause long delays.

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I have been told by several highly experienced local riders that Tula is not real safe.  Best to get through Tamps as quick as possible.

I still think if you are getting a late start from SA, Pharr is a great route.  I do from there to here in around 10 hours and the tolls are much less.  Overnight in Pharr, hit the bridge at first light and you'll easily be here by 4PM.

Most Americans cross at Laredo so the cops like to feed on them and the customs pay a lot more attention to what you are bringing in.  It takes us a maximum of 5 minutes to clear the Mexican side (we are permanentes driving a Jalisco plated car) and if you have to do the paperwork of getting a tourist permit and car permit there are no lines, everything is within a few few of each others and the people are very friendly and helpful.

 

 

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5 hours ago, dcstroker said:

Any comments about taking the Los Indios border crossing? Would be spending the night in Tula, Tamaulipas.

I'm not sure why anyone would drive from San Antonio through Pharr or Los Indios to Lakeside rather than Laredo, especially if they will be leaving SA 'in the morning'.  It is an extra 1:15 minutes and 70+ miles. Is this to pay fewer tolls?  Is it to not have to stay somewhere in Mexico for one night?  Yes, crossing at Laredo one pays about $30 more in tolls but looses some of that savings for extra gas and spends an extra hour + in driving time going another route..... and drives for 6 hours and 300+ miles in the state of Tamaulipas.

If one is intent on paying less tolls, there is another route from San Antonio to Lakeside rather than thru McAllen or Los Indios... and it has similar miles and tolls:  cross at Eagle Pass/Piedras Negras, go down through Monclova, skirt Saltillo to the west down to Zacatecas, on to/thru Aguascaliente and over to cuota 80D to San Juan de los Lagos.

Unless one has to get a TIP, crossing the border in a southerly direction is pretty quick no matter where one crosses, including N. Laredo.

 

 

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We prefer to stay in the U.S. overnight in both directions and drive straight through from the border to here when traveling south.  Pharr/McAllen has a much better selection of hotels and restaurants, we can do last minute shopping since we arrive there from DFW mid afternoon.  Some time ago John Shrall and I did a comparison of the two routes and found the time was nearly identical.   Last time I made the run in 9 hours and 45 minutes from the Pharr bridge.  The route avoids all urban areas until Lagos de Moreno.

 

 

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We like to go the San Antonio - Eagles Pass/Piedras Negras (plenty of hotels and shopping to be had in both towns) cross in the early AM - around Monclova on the outbelt and then on to Saltillo and head Ajijic - takes about 10 hours.  Lovely drive without a lot of trucks.

 

We stopped taking this route a few years ago because of some cartel activity but contacts in Eagles Pass say that hasn't been a problem for 2 years or so and we will do this route in May.  We generally do it all the way into the west side of San Antonio in a single day.

 

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2 hours ago, solajijic said:

 around Monclova on the outbelt.....

Years ago this 'outbelt', out through Frontera, was a serious haven for mordida cops, especially for folks in RVs who would take the bypass rather than drive straight thru Monclova. It got so bad that RVers stopped going down that way into Mexico and the Monclova folks took notice. I knew about this and would always go straight through town. One trip I noticed new signs on both ends of town.... put up seemingly by citizens and business folks.... complaining loudly about mordida and asking their government to crack down on that practice. Guess what! It worked and that town rid itself of that Mexican pastime.

I actually go straight through to (Monclova) as I find it much faster than doing the bypass out through Frontera. Lots of signal lights but they are mostly timed and one just plugs along down Harold Pape  Blvd. at 35 MPH. It is actually a nice, clean town and I often spend the night there going north. First Burger King that I saw in Mexico outside of Guadalajara was/is there. Made my day.

 

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Yes I spent about an hour on that outerbelt arguing with a mordida cop a couple days after Christmas 2008.  He was trying to make me nervous by drawing a picture of jail bars and then a woman behind them if I didn't give him $9000 pesos.  He would cross out the number and write a smaller one under it as we argued.After about 20 minutes of hassling back and forth I handed him $1500 but I do have a Check for the Bank of America the best bank in the United States I told him.  I can give it to you I told him, just write your name down on that paper where you drew the lines thru the money and give it to me so I can write your name on the check.  He went to the other cop in the pickup and apparently the check would be okay.  So I wrote it out, took off and got thru the mountain pass and over the state line as fast as my little go fast car would go.  They were going off to eat, it was Saturday, and someone was going to tell him he got took.  Got home and husband cancelled the check.  Next times thru were thru town, and you are right it is nice.

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Tom, the OP has stated that he has early morning business to attend to IN San Antonio and can then continue on, so staying in Cotulla seemingly is not an option. Using the Colombia (notice spelling) IS an option and maybe a reasonable one but he probably will not be able to make Ajijic in one day, with a late start from San Antonio, without driving at night.

 

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7 hours ago, RickS said:

Tom, the OP has stated that he has early morning business to attend to IN San Antonio and can then continue on, so staying in Cotulla seemingly is not an option. Using the Colombia (notice spelling) IS an option and maybe a reasonable one but he probably will not be able to make Ajijic in one day, with a late start from San Antonio, without driving at night.

 

This. As of now the plan is to stay the night in Pharr. Thanks for all the advice, lots to think about.

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