SPOT settings for Mexico?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by operaflute, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. operaflute

    operaflute Starving Artist

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2012
    Oddometer:
    139
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Making a short trip to Mexico next week, and likely a month long venture in May. I have a SPOT GPS tracker and am wondering about the best use of the "help" (NOT SOS) and "custom" buttons.
    Typically my "help" button is set up to say something like "Aw, Crap, will you call AAA for me?" But since AAA probably won't cross the border on my behalf, I should use it for something else.
    Any message you wished you could have sent or were glad you could? I have the ability to send two pre-composed messages above and beyond straight up "SOS!"
    Thanks for your ideas!
    #1
  2. PirateJohn

    PirateJohn Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2001
    Oddometer:
    22,219
    Location:
    Uvalde, TX
    My quick thoughts are to go to the Is Mexico Safe? thread and ask there. Perhaps send a message to some of the inmates who live in Mexico and who can give you advice if you get into a jam.
    #2
  3. operaflute

    operaflute Starving Artist

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2012
    Oddometer:
    139
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    #3
  4. PirateJohn

    PirateJohn Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2001
    Oddometer:
    22,219
    Location:
    Uvalde, TX


    That would be a thought, although the Green Angels can be a bit spotty in places.

    I just got a Spot for Christmas and may be off base here but I thought that I read that the Spot advises that you email someone or multiple someones who can take responsibility. My concern would be that if you emailed the Green Angels they may or may not be able to coordinate things. As much as I love Mexico I wouldn't bet my life that there is an English speaker monitoring a working email account.

    I am stuck here in Borderland Texas but would be happy to be your point of contact if that's what you need. However, there are several guys on the Is Mexico Safe? thread that are in various parts of the country, speak Spanish, and are savvier than I am for day-in, day-out breakdowns and so forth.
    #4
  5. operaflute

    operaflute Starving Artist

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2012
    Oddometer:
    139
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Ah - I wasn't clear. I DO have the buttons send messages to various personal contacts, who in turn, contact AAA for me. (Long story perhaps not necessary to relate here, but I got to test drive this feature only a few days after acquiring the device - only 15 minutes from my house. Doh! ) But I'd like to give my contacts more useful/specific info than AAA before I leave for this trip, thus the Green Angels phone number. Also found the following, although can't find (yet) info as to exactly WHAT services would be available to me.
    http://exchange.aaa.com/automobiles-travel/international-travel/international-clubs/

    #5
  6. PirateJohn

    PirateJohn Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2001
    Oddometer:
    22,219
    Location:
    Uvalde, TX

    You are going in the right directions. If I were you I'd still make them aware of the group in the Is Mexico Safe? thread.

    Tell ya what. I'll PM my phone number and email address to you just in case.

    What part of Mexico are you riding into?
    #6
  7. operaflute

    operaflute Starving Artist

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2012
    Oddometer:
    139
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    You mean make Is Mexico Safe thread aware of Green Angels? Or my contacts aware of Is Mexico Safe thread? (must be the blonde gene acting up again)
    Got the PM - thanks!
    #7
  8. acejones

    acejones Long timer

    Joined:
    May 14, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,395
    Location:
    MS. Gulf Coast
    Oh-oh
    #8
  9. operaflute

    operaflute Starving Artist

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2012
    Oddometer:
    139
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    After a little more excitement than planned last week (home early from Baja), it occurred to me that if you are traveling with others, you might want to remind your own SPOT contacts, that if you DO hit any of those buttons, it might not necessarily be for YOU. It could be that one of your compatriots is having an issue, and you are using your spot on his behalf. Could avoid some undue worry.
    We didn't end up using our Spots, but after another rider took a spill (moto vs. dog/gravel/possibly cement post) there was a point where I thought I might, and imagined my own family assuming *I* was the one in trouble.
    We are all back in the US after a two day wild ride. He is the proud owner of 5 cracked ribs and two leaky lungs, and is being discharged from the hospital in Yuma today.
    Also made me realize that the $20 I spend on a small Medex policy could really pay off. (My health insurance won't cover me out of US, and the Mex auto insurance doesn't cover the rider. Seems silly to ride moto without insurance no matter where you are. He also had purchased similar, better, policy, and I'm sure he will be grateful for it, once the bills start arriving.)
    #9
  10. acejones

    acejones Long timer

    Joined:
    May 14, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,395
    Location:
    MS. Gulf Coast
    $20 for a Medex policy ?
    #10
  11. operaflute

    operaflute Starving Artist

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2012
    Oddometer:
    139
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Yeah, I got the cheapest one. The "Travmed Choice" plan for only $50,000K of coverage and just for a week. But that's waaaay better than the nothing I would have had. It was an afterthought, but I'd do it again for sure.

    (My US health insurance would only cover "life and limb" - anything else, including the likely injury of breaking this or that, would be out of my very very shallow pocket.. US auto policy counts for nothing there, and Mex auto insurance only covers liability, not medical if you're riding a moto.

    Really hard to believe I was hemming and hawing over the extra $20! Was very easy to buy online, just like the Mex Auto insurance.
    #11
  12. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,195
    Location:
    Mt. Vernon, Illinois
    I've been using one for years and my main messages I send are as follows.


    OK Message----------------I'm OK and having a good time (and of course it gives my location).

    Special Message------------I've quit riding for the day and am either camped or in a motel (and of course it gives my location).

    Help Message--------I'm not severely injured but have a problem big enough I need someone to come to me.(and of course it gives my location).

    I'm thinkin the SOS one I gave some of my pertinent medical history---age--medical problems and such--phone number to contact my wife and son.


    Those are the ones I've been using for quite awhile. Of course may not work so well out of the country.

    I'll be in Baja for a month in about 10 days. Hope I just use it as a tracking device.

    BigDog
    #12
  13. operaflute

    operaflute Starving Artist

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2012
    Oddometer:
    139
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Yes, I found myself wanting to rethink things for a different country, since my usual "Could ya call AAA for me?" wouldn't really apply once I crossed the border. I ended up doing the following:

    Help - I need roadside assistance. My contacts knew to first check if I was in US or Mexico and then had the details of who to call depending on where I was.

    Custom Message - This was for an "event." ie - I'm okay, but something has happened and could you please alert both auto insurance and medex. (I gave them the contact details ahead of time.) Didn't want to not have a claim started sooner rather than later, and then be denied coverage.

    Check-In/OK - I don't really use this one, since I just like to leave the thing in my pocket and forget about it, I tell my contacts that the presence or lack of Check-In okay messages is indicative of absolutely nothing. Since I don't use it as Check-In okay, I guess I could use it for something else and have a third custom message available. Never thought of that!

    #13
  14. stickman1432

    stickman1432 Crusty Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    767
    Location:
    So.Cal.& St George UT-Baja-riding anywhere
    Travel with a riding partner and don't expect much from SPOT especially when you are out of the country like Mexico. Usually the Mexican govt will not be of much help, but your buddies riding with you can help right then and there.

    If you are solo, ride smart and always be self sufficent for medical and mechincal issues.:wink:
    #14
  15. operaflute

    operaflute Starving Artist

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2012
    Oddometer:
    139
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    True enough, but if you own one, might as well give it some thought on how to best use it if you need to. Here's the story of what happened with us - we didn't end up using it, but if things had been worse I would have happily punched SOS while we continued to do what we could have.

    But yes, all good advice. The SPOT may be a useful tool in certain circumstances, but it's never an excuse not to be sensible.
    #15
  16. stickman1432

    stickman1432 Crusty Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    767
    Location:
    So.Cal.& St George UT-Baja-riding anywhere
    That was some unfortunate stuff with the dog, but hindsight is 20/20. Once you eventually got back to San Felipe did anyone think about calling for a truck up in Yuma to transport the rider and bike.

    I am really surprised that he could ride so far in such a bad condition, fortunately he didn't compound it by crashing during any part of the return ride. Your also luck that you weren't further south and in a remote dirt road area like Calamjue Wash with the bike not ride-able.

    It is great that everything worked out and we can learn from others mistakes. Good luck next time..........:wink:........SPOT would not help you unless there was some family member willing to come help you, the company will make some notifications but that is the extent of it. The main problem with SPOT is that the customers think that a SPOT device is a life saver, but it is not. You could bleed out prior to the signal even getting to the person you want to help you out. I use my SPOT only as an advisory for the family.

    Always try and ride smart.............:eek1
    #16
  17. operaflute

    operaflute Starving Artist

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2012
    Oddometer:
    139
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Yes, although I didn't detail them, I mentioned twice in the story that there were a number of other options. This is the choice he made. On day two, he was operating under the information that his ribs and lungs were intact. That may have played a role in his final decision, although I am taking a liberty here in speaking for him.

    No kidding - we were lucking in many ways, and we know it.

    This was the reason for my original post - to open up a discussion as to how to maximize the effectiveness of the tool in a variety of events. No real reason to leave it at home, just because one is crossing an international border, but as you point out, the device has its limits, and it's important to be aware of them. It's foolish to depend on the SPOT, or any one thing, but I think it's also foolish not to give some thought as to how to best use it if you find yourself in need. No person or group is self-sufficient in every situation. At a certain point, one might want to exercise all the options, so you might as well think about it beforehand.

    Yep. Ditto for a cell phone, in a major metropolitan area in the US. All these things - SPOTS, cell phones, sat phones, and even ambulances - are tools, not magic.


    Yes! I never got the photos I wanted, and have yet to spot a Boojum tree!
    #17
  18. operaflute

    operaflute Starving Artist

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2012
    Oddometer:
    139
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    I realize I wasn't clear on any of that (that the SPOT isn't a magic lifesaver etc.) in the original blog post. I'd do well to edit in a note about that. I was simply taking advantage of good writing material!
    #18
  19. stickman1432

    stickman1432 Crusty Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    767
    Location:
    So.Cal.& St George UT-Baja-riding anywhere
    Here is a Boojum, (Ciro) tree..................not my photo though..............dirtdiver's...............with a nice flower on top from the great rain about this time of the year.......where is the cat in the hat??????????..........:clap

    [​IMG]
    #19
  20. operaflute

    operaflute Starving Artist

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2012
    Oddometer:
    139
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Love this photo! But it doesn't remove the desire to see one in person!
    Thanks for posting it.
    #20