Is Mexico Safe?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Arte, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. PirateJohn

    PirateJohn Banned

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    I did a tremendous amount of riding 10-15 years ago. We joked at the time that I was having my retirement early and might have to work when I got older. Little did I know that my ex- would hire someone to steal my RV and almost all of my personal property at the same time the economy had turned down. :huh

    But yeah, I know exactly what you mean. My Facebook page tends to be one motivational poster after another, encouraging folks to take a chance and to live their lives now. That is a formula that has worked extremely well for me this minor topes on the road of life notwithstanding.

    My late father was very accomplished. But he planned his whole life around retiring at 62. Sadly, he died suddenly at 59. My grandfather also died suddenly at 59. I am 56 and take that as a Great Galactic Hint to get out, explore, and live.

    Just FYI I had a conversation with my mother and discovered that she had a life insurance policy on my carcass since the time I was in my late 30's. She told me that she never thought that I'd live this long and she seemed to be a bit annoyed that she can't collected yet. :lol3
  2. PirateJohn

    PirateJohn Banned

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    When I left Nogales in January or February 1999 there was frost on my bike when I went out to pack in the morning.

    About a week later I was taking the train to the Copper Canyon from el Fuerte, which isn't too far from where you are at, and there was light snow on the ground.

    Not too many years ago I remember a group of inmates that road into Creel just in time to get caught in a snow storm. They were stranded for several days and posted photos of road graders out clearing the snow.

    When I did that 1999 trip the infamous Pancho Villa tours (now Moto Discovery) put us up in a former nunnery in Alamos. The rooms were not only rustic but they didn't have any heat either.

    I have seen it get uncomfortably cold in the McAllen, TX area in the middle of the winter. Arte and Andres and I went over to the Sierra Madre Brew Co. in Reynosa one year and it was bloody cold in the building, and that's a very nice place but I assume that they don't have heat in the building.

    But for anyone reading this who thinks this is all typically Mexican, it's really just typically tropical. I was once in Key West on a record setting cold day (45 or so :lol3). In the Florida Keys few rooms have heat and most of the dining is open to the elements so it can get cold.

    Moral of the story - if you are riding in Mexico in January or February then Turkeycreek is 100% correct - bring something like a fleece jacket to keep you warm.
  3. dwj - Donnie

    dwj - Donnie Long timer

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    If you are in Guatemala and need to cross over into Mexico for a short distance and then return to Guatemala are you supposed to close your Tourist Permit when you leave Guatemala, get another one in Mexico, close it when you return to Guatemala and open a new Tourist Permit in Guatemala? I know that it seems that I am playing with words, but I will have this situation In January and am wanting to know what is the law, plus what do most people do? :D What is the down side?
  4. MikeMike

    MikeMike Long timer

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    Time for what we call "a teaching moment". Or "a learning moment" depending on your perspective.

    First, unlike other expeditions, no small or medium sized animals other than the one that committed Hari Kari so the Mystery Rider could wear it as a jacket, were harmed, they weren't even worried. They've learned, it seems.

    If there is one rule about riding in Mexico (actually there are probably a few thousand but who wants to remember all that detail stuff?), you have to remember that nothing good ever comes from a private discussion at dawn under a pink sky on the Mex #180 aka the coast highway. Nothing.

    [​IMG]

    Not being the nosy, snoopy, nor paranoid sort, I paid no attention to their private little board meeting. In fact, I was
    quickly distracted. Following the sage advice of one of the world's greatest photographers, I was checking behind me to see if there was anything worth shooting. Sometimes the best picture is right behind you! And it was, thank you Ansel Adams!

    The chosen irons for the day included: a bagger hog, a jet black V-Strom 1000 that could now handle like it was supposed to and which had a mysterious decal on the side, my red headed German psychologist hiding quite well behind the massive ass end top case on the bagger, and a large tour bus. As luck would have it, the bus was on a field trip from a school in Mexico DF. I had no idea there was an accredited "school of exotic dance and gentleman's favors" in Mexico City.
    You learn something new every day! Seems they were headed to Teziutlan, Puebla and golly gosh gee, so were we! Ansel Adams never had it so good!

    The day was showing promise. The bus was full and after a quick inspection we deemed it roadworthy after climbing on board and inspecting things. Sorry, we had to respect the "no photos allowed" sign and the driver looked like Bob Loblaw's evil twin. And there was that damn pink sky lurking above...

    [​IMG]

    Following a pleasant and inspiring lunch and chat with the bus passengers in Teziutlan, we bid them bon voyage because we are ADV riders...we do stupid things like that. But the open road beckoned, a few tears were shed (by us, I don't think the dancers really gave a damn because some soccer team had shown up) and the road that beckoned was Teziutlan to Tlapacoyan, a highway that bridges two states, 5 centuries, 4 climate zones, and has more twists than this story.

    [​IMG]

    Moments after this photo was taken, things went horribly wrong.

    [​IMG]

    Me: I tell ya, M.R., that open fire cooked cecina with fresh jalapenos and onions and that picante salsa for breakfast often gives me terrible bloating around this time of day.

    M.R.: I believe it is called "colonic fermentation" but I'm not medically qualified to give an expert opinion that would hold up in a court of law. Because, according to some US medical professionals, the word "doctor" does not mean as much here as it does in the USA.

    Me: So, will we connect the blue to brown or the blue to the blue/green?

    M.R.: This is "50 Shades of CANBUS".

    Me: Where did the Craneguy go so fast?

    M.R.: Well, heck, I don't know! He was standing behind you a moment ago just before that odd rumbling noise.

    [​IMG]

    All good stories come to a happy ending! Problem was solved, thanks to the ADV statue piping up and shouting, "Blue to brown and yellow to blue/green, now get off my lawn!

    Luckily, the Craneguy had returned because when statues start talking to you in Mexican mountain towns, you listen and do what they say. At least within reason. They might try to fool you into doing something embarrassing.:eek1

    This story was provided for the benefit of those who think Mexico is not safe. Imagine what would happen if we three merely stayed behind the walls of our homes and never ventured out?

    Our wives and families won't have it!

    They force us to go riding in these areas.:deal

    Now, on to the teaching moment.
    What is wrong with this picture below?

    [​IMG]

    Still guessing, eh?

    Well, she obviously did not know how to bypass a BMW fuel pump controller that has failed, so she is not riding home.
  5. dcstrom

    dcstrom Long timer

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    Yes, deep in the mountains. Dark-ish by 5, and IIRC it took me about 3 hours for that section. Probably 4 by car, at night. I was there the week before this happened. I have some video of that road if anyone's interested.
  6. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    Interested
  7. dcstrom

    dcstrom Long timer

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    OK - part of the road from Creel to Guanchochi.

    I think I posted something about some guys from the electric company talking to me in Guanchochi, saying there was some bad stuff happening in the area, just don't travel at night. Pity that group of women didn't get the message.

    <object width="640" height="360"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/PdoM4rQoawg?version=3&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/PdoM4rQoawg?version=3&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="640" height="360" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>
  8. terrapinneck

    terrapinneck Been here awhile

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    at 53 my bucket list is growing too fast to keep up with....:eek1
  9. raceu2

    raceu2 Adventurer

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    We see lots of riders here in Sonora. Northern Mexico in winter can be cold at times with morning lows in the mid to 30s. Som of the border areas are about 5,000 ft and it snows from time to time at those altitudes. La Rumorosa in Baja gets snow and it can be pretty cold in the mountains. We got snowed on in March 2010 on Mex5 between La Trinidad and Ensenada up high.

    Take a sleeping bag even if you are staying in hotels. Many hotels have no heaters (ours does :D) and many have only thin blankets. You will be happy to have it if it cools down. Pack your heated vest and winter gloves and hope you never use them. Once you get closer to Baja Califonia Sur, things will warm up.

    Just get on the bike and come down.


    Heading to Mexico and on to Panama Feb. 2. Will be staying in hotels and this is good info to know.
    Looks like I will bring the sleeping bag. Now to decide heavy or light. I'm leaving from Truckee so will be wearing warn gear. Anyone know of a good cheep hotel in Hermosillo or vicinity? This will most likley be our first stop. Will be crossing at Sonoyto can I get tourist card there?

    Scary to hear about those poor ladys, it does make you think.

    Another question. What is the deal with knives? Can you have one in your tank bag or another place on the bike? Not looking for defense but more for utility.
    <!-- / message --><!-- sig -->
  10. 2mstone

    2mstone Been here awhile

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  11. PirateJohn

    PirateJohn Banned

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    Seems to vary by region and circumstance. I know that some of the Mexican guys carry big hunting knives in a butcher block arrangement inside their top case. I have also been on a ride with some guys and one carried a Swiss Army knife on his belt. However, I have heard that local ordinances in some places, like Nuevo Laredo, make them knife phobic.

    I put my multitool in my tank bag and leave my survival knife in the USA on most Mexican trips.

    Once upon a time the military searched me and among the things that I had in my pocket was a Swiss Army knife. They didn't say a word about it. I was with a cab driver at the time and when I asked him about it he said "they know you are not a trouble maker"
  12. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    Knives in Mexico?

    The thread library is down the hall to the left. Or, you can use site:advrider.com knives in Mexico as your search protocol for this already plowed ground. Copy and paste that into Google and you can read all the still-valid discussion on this topic.

    Here's three of those if you're short on time:

    LINK

    LINK

    LINK (Our very own IMS thread, not too far back starting at post #10018)
  13. MikeMike

    MikeMike Long timer

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    I think this knife thing has been asked before.
    There are guys here walking around with 3 foot machetes. Most of them use them for work, others use them for killing their brother in law, cousin, drinking buddy, or who knows who or what. It is a tool and a weapon and I have never seen a cop stop anyone from carrying a machete. Never.

    A gringo walking around with a hunting knife is another story.

    First, you are a gringo and you stick out like a sore thumb no matter how hard you try.
    Second, a cop is going to look at you like an easy mark and he knows he can lean on you and leave you worried.

    You are in his town and he can do what he wants with you. He knows you don't need that knife, but he also knows that you feel you need to have that knife. See where this is going? This is what Pirate was getting at with the taxi comment.

    So, if you have a knife in a tankbag, and you are searched, nobody is going to give a damn, they might comment on how much it costs, the workmanship, where you got it, but they are highly unlikely to take it from you or hassle you unless you are coming off as some kind of macho blowhard. They can spot bullshit a mile away, just like anyone here can spot a gringo a mile away.

    Carry tools you need. If you feel you need a tomahawk axe for camping, then carry it in your panniers. If you need a knife for camping, ditto.

    The chances of you surviving an encounter where you have found yourself having to actually use it as a weapon are slim to none, it doesn't matter if you are Bruce Lee reincarnated or how well you have been "trained".

    People who will hurt you here do it for a living.

    Day in and day out, and you are their meal ticket.

    They have survived in a rough game and are better than you. It's like anywhere else in the world.

    So you avoid those people. Very simple to do. If you can do it Friday at midnight in Compton or downtown Detroit, you can do it here. It is called common sense. Not to mention that you will likely be outnumbered.

    Take a look at the case of the late Peter Zarate. Google him and read the story from the New York Times. He was an ex-Seal. Are you an ex-Seal?

    One thing I have learned about Mexico, is that it is really not that complicated, but we, as gringos, tend to make it way more complicated than it really is. There is a fluidity to life here that you have to tap into and let yourself go with it, surrender yourself to it when you find it. Resistance is futile. That will let you find the good here and more importantly, it will help you spot the bad.

    If you find yourself on the wrong end of things, your instincts will kick in and you will do what you can and the outcome will be what it will be. Learning to avoid the wrong end of things is the trick, and you'll do that better from within the flow than from outside the flow. I think anyone who lives here will understand how difficult it is to describe this, it is a feeling not a procedure per se.
  14. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    I do a pretty good karaoke of his "Kiss From A Rose" hit

    Does that count? :freaky
  15. Craneguy

    Craneguy British Hooligan

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    On Mysteryrider's behalf I would like to invite you to the "seal club". The severity of the clubbing will depend greatly on how lurid your account of sleeping with Heidi Klum is... :D:D
  16. MAXVERT

    MAXVERT OG on da OC

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    Looks like the road down to Batopilas is impassable.
    Iy the ;m in Creel at present and talked to a large group of riders
    who were turned back by the road conditions caused by road constry=uction.
    They looked to be competent off road riders.

    Look out SR we're coming your way.

    Max
  17. MikeMike

    MikeMike Long timer

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    Craneguy, I ran into the Mystery Rider at the airport last night where he was doing that thing where he pulls an airplane around with a rope in his teeth.
    I think he sends his regards, it was hard to understand him through the grunting.
    He did nod his head affirmatively when I mentioned the single malt scotch tasting session left us all deaf.
    Well me anyways because it sounded like you two were babbling incoherently.
    Sounded like Nahuatl or Quebecois French.
  18. rockymountainoyster

    rockymountainoyster Been here awhile

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    My GPS led me straight to the front door of Hotel Reyna Soledad...but, and Trice is spot on about this... too much time looking at the damn thing in Mexican traffic, drivers here are not real tolerant of lost adventurers on motorbikes being tentative about their progress and direction... even with the GPS I missed a few turns as I had to be avoiding death by MVA, same same navigating out of Lerdo yesterday, eventually I resorted to some off roading through a constrction area to get to the road that I could clearly see but which was not quite yet connected to the perifico. The GPS gives verbal cues but I am not big on having a wire connecting me to a device on the bike... the power cord for the heated gear is enough... don't want my head attached to the bike too.
  19. dcstrom

    dcstrom Long timer

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    RMO, where will you be tonight? In Tuxtapec right now. Having an easier day today, aiming for somewhere like Cardenas. I found out that 300 mile days on the libre roads are hard going! If I never see another tope it will be too soon :lol3
  20. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    I would gladly accept a severe beating if I could legitimately claim a story like that :freaky