Tahoe to Guatemala, anyone?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Mandooga, Jul 27, 2018.

  1. Mandooga

    Mandooga n00b

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2018
    Oddometer:
    5
    Location:
    CA
    Ok first post on advrider for me! I'm an Englishman in late 20's currently riding solo from South Lake Tahoe to Antigua, Guatemala.

    Very last minute I know as I have already embarked on the trip, currently in Mammoth now rushing a coffee and this post keen to hit the still cool morning road.

    I have just realised I don't know how to post a photo/host my photo of my proposed route. But essentially it's going down the 395 from Tahoe, then to Sandiego and crossing the border at Tijuana or nearby. I am vearing towards the Baja route and taking the ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan, unless anyone can convince me to take the mainland west coast of mexico instead?? Then basically hugging the coast all the way into Guatemala. Does this seem like a general good idea, and for the time of year? Or are there some major things I should make a detour to enroute, and others to avoid like hell?

    If anyone wants to join me for any part of the ride hit me up! I plan to be crossing into mexico 1st August at the latest. Also if anyone has a spot enroute I can hang my hammock for a night that would be much appreciated.

    Any general tips/advice also greatly appreciated. It's hard to do a lot of research whilst already on-the-road, lack of internet, time etc.

    Hope to hear from you inmates :beer

    p.s. direct email - rageingtelephone at gmail dot com
    #1
  2. Johnny Drunkard

    Johnny Drunkard Todo utz Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2004
    Oddometer:
    7,411
    Location:
    PNW
    Baja is gonna be hotter than hades this time of year. You’re better off sticking to the central mainland and getting up in the higher elevations ASAP unless you like really hot weather.

    Whatever route you choose, be sure to get your FMM & TVIP sorted at the border.
    #2
    severely and Sertguy like this.
  3. Mandooga

    Mandooga n00b

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2018
    Oddometer:
    5
    Location:
    CA
    Aha I was wondering this, would you suggest an alternative border crossing to Tijuana then if going central mainland route? Thanks for the heads up
    #3
  4. Johnny Drunkard

    Johnny Drunkard Todo utz Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2004
    Oddometer:
    7,411
    Location:
    PNW
    Sorry, can’t help with that. You might ask over in the “Is Mexico Safe” thread. Lots of knowledgeable folks there.
    #4
    JeepDawg likes this.
  5. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,681
    For less hot routes south through Mexico you can start off in DOUGLAS Arizona and work your way east on Mex 2 then Mex 10 southbound and a bunch of state highways to Copper Canyon Country around CUAUHTEMOC. It is high plains stuff , rather temperate with possible thundestorms. Visit the canyon vistas at DIVISADERO and other points Get to Hidalgo del Parral and down to Durango city then Zacatecas and all sort of road options to get onto the highway Mex 190 to Oaxaca , then to Tehuantepec and Tuxtla Gutierrez
    . The Mex 190 runs directly into the La Mesilla border crossing with Guatemala
    The route is all highland GT country , not hot but can be some heavy rain storms
    #5
  6. Mandooga

    Mandooga n00b

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2018
    Oddometer:
    5
    Location:
    CA
    Thanks for the info Sjoerd! Is that route you suggest the one that you personally would take this time of year? Seems like hot coast line vs rainy highlands? :hmmmmmI just rode through Death Valley yesterday, starting near Big Pine, stopping at the Racetrack and then going over Hunter Mountain to emerge south near Panamint Springs. The drive south of there was HOT, 122 degrees and high winds! Won't be taking that highway again anytime soon... I'm thinking Baja would be a lot more manageable in comparison? Would the west coastal mainland be similar condition to Baja also? I'm currently in Apple Valley California and have a few days left before I have to hit the border, do you know if the ride from here to Douglas is worthwhile?

    Thanks for the insight :super
    #6
    95Monster likes this.
  7. Mandooga

    Mandooga n00b

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2018
    Oddometer:
    5
    Location:
    CA
    Just realised that was a bombardment of questions apologies :dllama:
    #7
  8. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,681
    Yes I would like taking the interior route
    but I have done Baja tip to tip on July and liked it . I like warnm .
    The west coast of Baja can be quite refreshing , temps do not get as scorching hot because of the influence of the cold ocean current in the section down to Santa Rosalia .After a night it can be foggy and chilly for a few hours . . If the road carries you away from the coast the influence becomes less .
    Once you get beyond 40 or 50 km or behind sheltering ridges the temp can shoot up . The desert interior will be hot as will everything along the east coast of Baja .The heaviest rainy season downpours south of Baja will be on the mountain faces with lots of forest and tropical coast, No green forest is a clue to dry climate with heavy seasonal thunderstorms likely.
    Temps beyond the mentioned exceptions will not really be as extreme as Death Valley because of the protecting cloud cover keeping sunshine away .
    Its a trade off - cooler and humid or dry and searing hot .
    Look at the annual temp and precip stats for points in Mexico you will be passing through and get a sense of what you will deal with. Highland interior Mexico is quite nice in summer . That's a reason why the majority of population and big cities are located there.
    The mainland west coast on the Sea of Cortez in Summer is hot desert with pockets of population in river deltas where irrigation is possible for Winter cropping
    Farther south the precip regime varies but in summer temps not extreme
    #8
    Mandooga likes this.
  9. pceire32

    pceire32 Irish Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,101
    Location:
    Santa Monica CA
    You hit Death Valley in a very high temperature period last week, it hit the highest temperature ever recorded 127f. I would ride Baja, a lot more interesting and temperature will not be that extreme although it is Summer. If you have never rode Baja then you should it is a special part of the world. As noted do all your paperwork at the border TVIP & Insurance. Also check levels of insurance although everyone buys the cheapest if you compare levels you get a lot more coverage for a little ($2 or so) more a day including medical transport home. TJ going South is easy to get through but you need to stop to do your visa & TVIP since often there will be no one to stop you at the border going South. Rte 1 (all Tarmac) takes you all the way down to La Paz where you get the ferry. You can also go through Mexicali east of TJ and straight down Rte. 5 through San Felipe and back over to Rte 1. Just know that the last 22 miles of that route is dirt and it's condition depends on how many trucks have tore it up. :-)
    #9
    Mandooga likes this.
  10. pceire32

    pceire32 Irish Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,101
    Location:
    Santa Monica CA
    Two insurance companies with comparison rates MexAdventure Ins & Bajabound. I have used both but use MexAdventure now since the customer service is very good. You can buy your insurance on line before you reach the border. Check out the daily rate vs the 6 month rate since you will be in Mexico awhile.:-)
    #10
    Mandooga likes this.
  11. Mandooga

    Mandooga n00b

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2018
    Oddometer:
    5
    Location:
    CA
    Great stuff Sjoerd and pceire, appreciate it! I forgot to mention in my original post that I will be returning to the states in October. So in theory I could do both routes, one down and the other back up :doh would that make it preferable to do Baja in October? Or not make much difference?

    You are right, the 6 month insurance cover is waaayyy cheaper even if I am only there 2-3 months! Thanks.
    #11
    pceire32 and 95Monster like this.
  12. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,681
    By all means make it into a circle tour to include Baja on the way back north .
    Since you are coming back north through Mexico well before the TVIP expires should remember that it needs to be cancelled and get your deposit refund back before going back into the USA . You will do that cancellation at any Mexican BORDER CROSSING in Baja or Sonora or other state.
    The TVIP is not required in Baja but you can not cancel it at the mainland ferry terminal , and why should you? Doing it at the border is fast and simple ,
    #12