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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Time rolls on
And that's as it should be
Here and gone
Seems to move so quickly​

Song = Damn Good, by David Lee Roth

Was able to exchange USD50 for pesos in Nogales USA, rate of 17.1 at a cambio near a Safeway, very stinky, but very close to the majority of signs I saw later in my drive. It does give me food and gas money for at least a day. It wasn't worth it to shop around, the time and fuel it would have taken. It will be easy going forward to find Allpoint atms.

I went straight south on I19, aka the right-through-town-Nogales-MX route. The border officials searched my car for about 5 minutes, asking if I was bringing any cigarettes, poking around in the large sterilite containers and big green garbage bags I have in the trunk. No issues.

I was able to handle the immigration part right at the border itself (FMM), no queue, the immigration guy seemed very clear on what was needed given the pre-approval I had obtained. As rvgringo predicted, quite smooth. Getting it done did reduce the stress I was feeling.

The town itself, as zorro posted, instantly felt like just a place to get through. So I did just that.

I stopped at the 2-in-1 place 20 km further inside MX, just to verify with Banjercito that what I had received in the mail in response to my online application was going to be good. She said yeah, get out of here (well, not literally, but almost that), you are fine. Does that guarantee it is fine? Well no, not 100%, but its something. I hope.

The drive was enjoyable. I did drive over one of those big hump speed bumps a bit fast, there were a few construction areas and some very slow moving trucks. But I was always moving, never a dead stop. I was able to work on Spanish a bit, reading all the billboards and roadside safety signs.

My car, almost 11 years old and nothing special in the usa, seems to be better than most of what I am seeing on the road. A small number of quite nice cars around, but the majority are sun-beaten old jallopies.

If I am reading the signs correctly, and also doing the currency conversation correctly - big if - gasoline looks like its quite expensive here. In Nevada and Arizona, it was USD 2.25-2.60 a gallon.

I am now in Hermosillo, where at present its 104F, about 10 degrees warmer than was my hope for mid October. So my car is parked in the shade, and I'm in the room, where I'll stay until the hotel pool area gets some shadows on it, maybe 90 or so minutes from now is my estimate. Checking in at the hotel, it took a team of 5 people to find my reservation, which is in line with a couple of my previous trips to MX.

The room is fantastic, beautiful wooden floors, central air with a digital thermostat, massive tv (I have not turned it on, but it is there), dark wooden furniture, earth tone walls, the bathroom is tile tile and more tile. The parking lot is very secure. Quite posh compared to the slightly dumpy and more expensive place I stayed in Green Valley - its the desert, yet somehow the room smelled musty.

So, big step today. Reflecting, the worst thing that's happened the past six days is the mosquito bites I got in Laughlin. I was outside at sunset, next to a river, I did not notice anything at the time, but right now my ankles look ugly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

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I did go online to the Allpoint website and they seem to be few and far between, most seem to be in the central parts of cities and some OXXO's.......
 

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Urbanman- so good to hear your journey and border crossing smooth so far.

Word of advice- try to hit ATMs that are attached to a brick and mortar bank, if possible. If the machine eats your card, you can at least go in and complain. Also they tend to be less possibly compromised re identity theft than stand-alone ATMs. Check your bank balance every day that you use one, so you can notify your bank right away if there are unauthorized withdrawals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Update Monday October 16 (Day 7)

I tried to find an Allpoint atm in Hermosillo. I went exactly to where one was supposed to be. The Oxxo was there, but no bank machine at all. So, during the day's drive, just off the highway near Guaymas, I went to an area where there were per my technology half a dozen banks in one concentrated area (a bit weird, not sure why). I randomly selected a Banamex (attached to a brick and mortar bank, per surabi's advice), and pulled out 4000 pesos, which will keep both me and my car comfortably fueled for awhile. A fee of 30.75 pesos was listed, I'll likely have to eat it (ie. my bank will likely not reimburse it), but no big deal. I needed cash, convenience often has a cost.

In reference to an earlier post, gasoline is at least 30% more expensive in Mexico versus what I was paying just before leaving the US.

Purchased lunch at a Ley's grocery store, can't remember the name of the town. They had a counter serving hot items to go, so I bought some spaghetti, and boom I was fed for under 2 bucks american. Nice flavor, tomato and cheese, hearty.

A very hot day, it was already in the 80s when I departed Hermosillo. Per my car dashboard, it topped out at 107F. So much for October being cooler. Last two days, I have been drinking lots of water and also apple juice, I cannot drink enough to eliminate feeling thirsty. Part of the reason I stopped at Ley's (previous paragraph) was to buy more juice.

Upon my arrival in Los Mochis, it was already starting to get a little dark, only 530pm local time. And yes chicois, there was a time zone change, though my laptop does not seem to know it happened. Google predicted it would take 6.75 hours to travel the 526 km, it took a hair over 7 hours actual driving (ie. not including my various stops).

My hotel in Los Mochis is interesting. It is named Ibis (this just for you, chicois). I'm on the fifth floor, I have a city view. The hotel feels Asian to me, like something you'd find in Japan or Thailand. Everything is very modern and sleek, but compressed. My room is not large, but has just right shelves and other clever spaces to accommodate everything. A digital thermostat is delivering perfect air conditioning. One drawback, no refrigerator. I checked in and also got ice and info on the parking, all in Spanish. No one has even tried to talk English to me - I like it!

Tomorrow is Mazatlan, where gratefully it will NOT be anywhere near 100F .. though it will be humid.
 

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Just some advice, car thieves in Mexico have begun to use wreckers. The kind that just back up and telescope the device under and behind your front wheels raise them then drive off. Pull in forward into the parking spot if possible and turn your front wheels all of the way to the left before you kill the engine. If they try to jack it from the rear it will steer itself into oncoming traffic or better yet, buy a club from Auto Zone, you will find them here. And set your parking brake always.
 

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I like Mazatlán although it's gotten too big. While tourism is an important sector, it's not the beginning and end of the local economy like it is in Vallarta. Good timing too, as the heat and humidity are just starting to ease off. By December the coast is heavenly. What area of town you staying in? My favorite is the old sector. Stroll down the Centenario, cut through 5 or 6 blocks of newly gentrified idle ****** territory and you'll find yourself at the Catedral and the central market. Whistle José Alfredo's Corrido a Mazatlán while you walk. I usually stay at the Belmar-- old, sort of funky, but safe, comfortable and cheap. About 100 years old, Mazatlán tourism began there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
October 17

Lots of tolls during the drive today, the booths in this leg were open and collecting. I spent over 300 pesos on tolls I estimate, which is way more than I expected. Sure, I would hate what the road would be without the tolls, but it seems a bit much.

I arrived at Mazatlan about 1pm, and had to deal with the fun city traffic. Mazatlan is larger than I expected. I was able to check in shortly after 130pm. After unloading luggage, I walked on the beach. Surf is choppy.

Hotel is a little rough around the edges, but it is evident there is a reasonable level of caring. For those familiar with Mazatlan, the hotel is near the aquarium. Other than the tv and thermostat, the room is pure 1970s. It does have an elevator, the way its configured, its obvious it was added later. I have an ocean view room, the ocean is just across the road. The balcony is nice, but a blast furnace as of 3pm, should be better in a few hours. There's also a pool.

Being a tourist town, there's a multitude of dining options, including many outdoor options. I'll eaten post 7pm, after the sun has gone down.

The road is still enjoyable, but honestly is starting to get old, I am glad Guadalajara is now just 2 days away. Some of this is the temps, its simply been hotter than the averages the past few days. Makes walking around more challenging.
 

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If you thought 300 Pesos or $15 USD was a bit much, from Maz to GDL the tolls are 863Pesos or $45
UDS......Thanks for the up dates...You might run into a military or Federal Police check point near the Sinaloa / Nayarit border, they will see your USA license plate and know your a ******, I just say good morning in English and pretend I speak no Spanish and they always say Pase........
 

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It sounds like you don't want to add any time to your trip but you could get away from the heat by heading over the mountains to Durango and coming down to Guadalajara on that side of the mountains. The route from Mazatlan to Durango is new with a bridge that is one of the engineering wonders of the world.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baluarte_Bridge

It is on my list of things to see, but I haven't gotten there yet.
 

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It sounds like you don't want to add any time to your trip but you could get away from the heat by heading over the mountains to Durango and coming down to Guadalajara on that side of the mountains. The route from Mazatlan to Durango is new with a bridge that is one of the engineering wonders of the world.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baluarte_Bridge

It is on my list of things to see, but I haven't gotten there yet.


Just for your info, I use the CAPUFE website for highway alerts and there are 3 spots where road work is being done on the Maz / Durango Highway.......Might slow things up a bit...

capufe.gob.mx
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
TundraGreen said:
you could get away from the heat
Tepic is supposed to be very reasonable tomorrow, down into the 70s by 6pm. That will feel nice compared to the present.


You might run into a military or Federal Police check point
I forgot to mention, I did go through a police checkpoint today. They selected me, asked me some questions (where are you going, why), then they asked to see my 'vehicle documents.' I showed them my TIP and Vehicle Title. I was sent on my way.

If you thought 300 Pesos or $15 USD was a bit much, from Maz to GDL the tolls are 863Pesos or $45 USD
Is there any reasonable way to avoid these tolls? I noticed coming in, some signs I think referencing a free road to Tepic. Looking at google maps, there seems to be a "regular" 15 that would get me to Tepic.

I am committed to a hotel in Tepic tomorrow night. I don't want to risk damage to my vehicle, but if an alternate road is just a little slower I would consider it. An extra hour to get to Tepic, no problem, if I save enough to buy a decent dinner. I don't mind navigating small towns.
 

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I guess you did not see the latest (Oct12 th. US Embassy warning), I do not even enter Tepic now a days, I use the Bypass...
Saving a few dollars by not taking toll roads you will be on a 2 lane (one each way ) road, usually behind 18 wheelers hauling cement or a bus exhausting diesel fumes in you face, going through small towns with topes every block...I made the mistake once and I said never again... See Embassy Below...▼


Increased Criminal Activity in the Area around San Blas and Tepic, Nayarit

October 12, 2017

The U.S. Consulate General in Guadalajara alerts all U.S. citizens that due to increased violence and cartel activity in the state of Nayarit, the Consulate is extending its September 29, 2017 temporary travel restriction. The Consulate cautions U.S. citizens that U.S. government personnel are prohibited from travel to the area around the cities of San Blas and Tepic and the connecting highways 74, 76, 15 and the San Blas-Tepic Highway until further notice

SUERTE......
 
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