Riding from Laredo TX to the Yucatan Peninsula mid Nov - would much appreciate current route wisdom!

Discussion in 'Americas' started by BlackMarketBikez, Oct 29, 2020.

  1. BlackMarketBikez

    BlackMarketBikez n00b

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    Well as the title of my post suggests both my fiancé and I are looking to ride our Africa Twins from Laredo TX using the Columbia bridge crossing and enter into Mexico probably around November 15th weather dependent then travel down to the Yucatan Peninsula ultimately terminating the trip somewhere around Tulum MX. We plan to spend the majority of the trip exploring around the Yucatan peninsula itself trying to hit some of the less touristy destinations of the lesser known centoes, maya ruins, haciendas, etc. traveling on as many sac behs and back roads as possible to get a true local experience vs the typical tour bus stops that pour in from the Cancun area and seaports.

    The general route we have planned based on recent research we have done as well as some feedback from other riders is to take RT 2 to RT 85 from the Columbia crossing down to Monterrey, stay the night in Monterrey and move down to San Luis Potosi the next day taking RT 57. We are going to be trying to stay on toll roads for safety and efficiency for the first part of the trip to put some distance between us and the border and really start exploring central Mexico around SLP. Some places we have seen others suggest in ride reports on this forum and others would be towns such as Real de Catorce, as well as sites like Tamul waterfall, Teotihuacan, etc. We would ideally be continuing down to the Yucatan continuing on through the states of Puebla, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatan, and ending in Quintana Roo. We have roughly 5-6 weeks that we can stay south of the border and have to return back to our truck we are leaving in storage in TX by the first of the year to start heading back to frigid Pennsylvania.

    Just to give some background we are both fairly experienced riders, having ridden about 10k miles on our first big cross country dual sport trip back in 2016 doing what was then the Trans Eastern Trail down to TAT and back across the south and up the blue ridge. Then riding 1500 miles in Guatemala in 2017 with a fellow rider we met on our first TAT trip. We spent 6 weeks riding all around Arizona and Southern CA following the BDR's and AZ Peace trail back in 2018 and last year spent 8 weeks in the winter riding big bend and all of Baja down and back. Hablamos un poco de Español but we did manage to survive a month in Guatemala even in the very remote mountain regions and all of the remote Jungle of Peten as well as the whole Baja Peninsula so we are at least at what I would consider survival level Spanish at this point but not conversational.

    We loved our experience in Baja and really enjoyed the Mexican people and met several nationals who were riding there from Mainland who said we had to see the rest of the country. Unfortunately the current level of safety in each province of Mexico seems to be volatile under normal circumstances then when taking into account the entire scope of how the world has changed over the course of this year it becomes much more difficult to decide on where you want to travel, where you should travel, and where you are even allowed to travel?

    That is why we are graciously asking for the help of any inmates who have intimate and current (current being most important given ever changing COVID guidelines) knowledge of any or all of the areas I mentioned we are looking to travel through as well as any suggestions for routes to take or areas / points of interest that should not be missed on the way down or back. Sorry for the long winded intro but I figured its best to get most of the background info out of the way for any prospective respondees. In return I am more than willing to give any my feedback on any of the trips we have taken that I had mentioned earlier! Thanks in advance and we hope that the spirit of adventure is still alive and well in the riding community even given all that has happened around the world this year.
    #1
  2. tellicotom

    tellicotom Been here awhile

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    Isn't the US-Mexico border closed through at least Nov 21???
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  3. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Skizzman crossed into Mexico at Colombia a day or so ago and he stated that the border control told him that Mexico was OPEN .

    Now ,Blackmarketbike , as to your musings about routes and safety. Cosidering that you apparently have visited and ridden in Guatemala on a fly -in trip and although only riding since 2016 ( ??) you do seem to be safe enough on a motorcycle to tackle Mexico.
    First I would recommend that you put aside the idea of racing down toll roads to get away from the border which you consider a very dangerous area. Okay there is an occasional shoot-up in a border town . But given what seems to be a common consensus ,rightly or wrongly , that all governments in Mexico are corrupt and under the sway of cartel bosses , why would the "zone of safety" somehow show up at some magic distance from the border ?
    The current lawlessness hazards in Mexico appear to be no worse than pre-covid19 .The difference is the health risk , for which you will of course wear a face covering and observe the other sanitation protocols .

    I would suggest that you commence your explorarion of the REAL MEXICO within an hour ,if not minutes ,of crossing the border and that you follow the less hectic ,lower ranked roads,federal and state , south without imposing upon yourself the destination-driven schedule .None of this day 1 Monterrey,Day 2 SLP, Day 3 Teotihuacan .
    Relax , you will get to the Yucatan in plenty of time . Don't blow by all the intervening scenery. If D2 ends in SLP then no way on earth will you be able to visit Real de Catorce along the way. The toll routes you envision are heavily used by thousands of transport trucks hauling junk to and from the US border .
    I took this photo on Mex57 on 5 Feb 2020, just before the covid19 got out of hand .
    DSCN5879.JPG
    Better would be to go at a more moderate pace . From Colombia head south on NL 2 ,the state highway which will get you to Monterrey but stop short in a hotel in ,say ,Salinas Victoria . That way you are not bucking hectic big city traffic at the tail end of your first nerve wracked day . Your supposedly early crossing at Colombia tends to be later than you would like unless you start off in Texas way too early . From there on do yourselves the favour of riding and exploring at a reasonable pace , no more than 400km per day and follow your nose to the touristy things you have listed .

    The toll freeway might be a reasonable way to avoid the major density and traffic around the DF , so use parts of the Arco Norte as required to expedite the visit to Teotihuacan . But otherwise the free roads are more scenic ,more fun and there are plenty of hotel choices whenever you think it is time to stop for the night at any town worth that descriptor .

    On the return trip follow different routes with thes ame relaxed approach .
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  4. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    There are race teams crossing back and forth into Baja as we speak to pre-run for the Baja 1000.
    Fuck me! A little punctuation might help. Its just "too long didn't read" when painfully presented like this.
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  5. radmann10

    radmann10 Old fart Supporter

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    Kind of hard to follow without a paragraph or two!
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  6. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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  7. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    :-)hey , what else is there to keep me doing :lol3imaginary rides out of the country, at least I didn’t wax about my hotels guide they could have bought:imaposer
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  8. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    You are The Original, Sjoerd. Everyone else, including me, is just trying to keep up!

    Tricewife (and I) want you back here!
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  9. BlackMarketBikez

    BlackMarketBikez n00b

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    Very much appreciate the reply Sjoerd, to clarify our riding background I was just giving some info on relevant ADV trips we have taken in recent years to give an idea of our experience doing long distance back road style dual sport trips. We have been riding much longer than that, as we both have been riding for about 15 years and have done numerous track days, local dual sport events, etc.

    Yes, Guatemala was a fly in and ride type of affair on rentals but was totally unguided and aside from a few days of riding with our friend in Antigua we were completely on our own. That was our first experience ever riding out of the country and was definitely one hell of an initiation into the ways of Central American driving as we were pretty much thrown into the mix shortly after leaving Antigua and quickly realized it was nothing like riding in the states. Even lane splitting on the highways in CA paled in comparison to making our way through the insanity of Guatemala city and many surrounding towns that all had the same level of organized chaos. We quickly got accustomed to the ways of riding there though and began to miss that when we got back stateside to the east coast.

    As far as concerns of safety in areas around the border we were strictly going off of what people who lived and worked around the border had told us in person both in Texas and in southern CA about it generally being a good idea to not spend much time in towns right along the border area (on both sides) and that typically once you were a fair few miles down the road from the border crossing areas it generally became more safe as it was mostly small towns of local residents. This was information we had gotten from both Mexicans that now lived or worked in the US as well as other locals that grew up on this side of the border. We had no way to judge how accurate the advise that we were given was up until actually crossing the border ourselves last year and traveling the Baja. We couldn't have had a better experience in the entirety of that part of the country including the border towns of Tecate and Mexicali where we had crossed. I explained to a local woman in San Jose del Cabo when she asked if we thought it was dangerous riding our motorcycles all the way from the border down that far into BCS, that where I am from on the East coast of the US, many of the cities in are much more dangerous than any place we had encountered in Baja and we hit just about every town down there in the month we spent.

    We do not need to stick to an itinerary and would definitely like to take it slow so I appreciate the advise of taking backroads rather than the toll roads. We have never been to mainland therefore all we have to base our decisions and trip planning on at this point is our previous month spent in Baja (which has a much more limited road system than mainland and we spent most of the time on dirt tracks when possible) and guidance we have read from others. If you have a hotel guide or any other information compiled on the areas we mentioned traveling we would certainly be willing to help support your efforts! Thanks again for the help and the others are welcome to chime in on my usage of punctuation this time around. I don't post on forums much as my profile odo indicates therefore I wasn't sure of what the best format would be when writing the initial post. (Although after posting I did notice it looked like a small novel :)
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  10. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    okay , :Dgrammar pointer ; advise = verb , to give counsel
    advice = noun , the stuff you tell to inform others :D

    I just HAD to say that , it is a common error I see too often here on adv posts . Everybody is allowed to make typos but when they repeat the same errors consistently it is a sign that the words are not understood .
    After I post anything I read the post and try to pick out any errors and then correct them , and I still may miss some .

    But enough on that.

    You are ready and well prepared for mainland Mexico .Go and have fun . Mainland border towns are no different than in Baja, all can have their bad days occsionally ,so just stay informed about the local news from the crossings you are considering and adjust the route if you think it wise . Last January there was a bit of a "hot" spell in Nvo Laredo but the police provided an escort for us to speed us from the customs terminal along the express bypass and out of town to the Mex 2 bypass junction where we were released onto Mex 85 . Under more normal conditions I have no qualms about riding around NvoL or any of the other border towns sightseeing in the day, and I regularly spend the first and last nights of a Mexico trip IN a hotel IN the Mexican border town .
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  11. Sidney

    Sidney Been here awhile

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    Can you pick me up on your way through? This is an area I would like to go back to on a motorcycle to just putz around and see as many of the Mayan ruins as possible. Best meal ever in Mexico was a small place in Piste right outside Chichen Itza. Ek Balam was way less crowded and more intimate experience. Valladolid has a nice center square and church. Go swim with the turtles in Akumal. Avoid Cancun and Playa if possible. Tulum was over run with tourist the day we went through so just spent more time with the turtles.

    Have fun,

    Sidney
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  12. BlackMarketBikez

    BlackMarketBikez n00b

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    Thanks for the replies, and yes Sjoerd that was a spelling error, I am usually to limited on time to proofread line by line. Glad to hear it doesn't sound like travel in this part of Mexico will be much different from what we are already used to, hopefully COVID won't make travel much more difficult other than the usual precautions we take here as well.

    Sidney you are more than welcome to join, we will be crossing within the next two weeks! Would love to have the company of a fellow moto traveler experience it with us for the first time but it sounds like you already have a pretty intimate knowledge of the area. We will take your recommendations into consideration and we certainly plan on avoiding the tourist traps, that is the whole point of adventure riding right? To be able to get off the beaten path and discover hidden local gems that the tour buses will never show you. I typically don't post ride reports but we will try to give some updates to help others currently looking to travel to MX for current conditions.
    #12