Saturday, August 9, 2008

We're Half Way There!

After 3 hours of driving we’ve arrived at the home of John and Luis, our friends in Frisco, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. I can’t believe we’re ½ way to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. We've driven across half the country. The experience has been great so far especially because our vehicle is so comfortable. I highly recommend anyone get a GMC Denali (either a Yukon or Envoy). It's like riding on a cloud. We keep the driving to a minimum - maybe 5 or 6 hours of solid driving a day, and then a couple hours more for stops, etc... Baby steps. Take it a day at a time and you'll get there.

As for Texas our experience has been great so far. It's very hot and humid - 100 degrees! We both love the heat so it's not a problem for us. Texas is also very flat. In places where the trees are low you can almost see the curvature of the earth. I know they call Montana Big Sky Country - but Texas comes in a close second. I've never seen the horizon expand in every direction - it's like the sky goes on forever. Of course I've never been to Montana, so perhaps I'm commenting from a limited perspective.
So we'll be in Dallas a few more days and then we'll drive 7 hours to Laredo, Texas right on the border. We'll spend the night on the US side, and then cross in the morning as it's less crowded early in the morning. Then we'll have another 4 days' of solid driving to Playa del Carmen, not including stops. Considering there's much to see we'll probably take a week.
I'm starting to get nervous about crossing the border. Ok, I'm not "starting to", I've been nervous for months. My friend, Betsy, asked recently if I was on anti-anxiety medication. Am I really that bad? It's just our car is filled to the roof with stuff, and we're prime candidates for getting stopped. I guess I should just take it like everything else - a day at a time.
Once we cross the border we’ve been instructed not to drive at night – more so to avoid the various speed bumps placed on highways with little or no advance notice (imagine hitting one of those at 55mph) and animals which wander onto the highway seeking warmth in the night from the warm pavement. We've also been warned not to drive anywhere near Mexico City. Apparently with our US plates we’ll be stopped and harassed – perhaps solicited for “donations” from local law officials. Luckily Playa del Carmen has significantly less crime and corruption compared to Mexico City. Our American friend in Playa has only been stopped 3 times by the cops – all for legitimate reasons (talking on the cell phone while driving and going the wrong way).
Although driving in Mexico will be more difficult, it will surely be more exciting. Mexico has some of the highest mountains in the world. It also has lush jungles, rain forests, deserts, volcanoes, ornately decorated architecture and a diverse array of brightly clad locals. From what we've heard Mexico is nothing like the US in terms of looks or culture. Although we're apprehensive, we're also very excited.
One challenge is finding dog friendly Mexican hotels. The experience most Mexicans have with dogs is the strays that wander the streets and bark at all hours of the night. It's unfortunate that many don't know what loving and faithful companions dogs can be.
We'll also need Mexican auto insurance before crossing the border. Our US policy won't cover us. Luckily I've purchased over 10 books on moving to Mexico, so we've complied a great deal of insurance recommendations. So wish us luck. I'm off to select a provider now!

Playa del Carmen Condo and Villa Vacation Rentals

Mitzi, Matt, Rickey, Allan, John and Luis outside John and Luis's home in Frisco, a suburb of Dallas.

Allan and Luis escape 100 degree heat in John and Luis's pool.


Nancy said...

Hi guys,

This might help you with the hotel situation - Pet friendly lodging in Mexico:

Also, if you see a "Love Hotel" (you'll know them because they are usually courtyard arrangement with garages for each room) those can be great since they won't even know you have dogs since you get out in the garage. Plus it can be nice to have a garage when your car is loaded with your worldly posessions!

Have a safe trip, my husband and I moved to Mazatlan last year and are loving our new life!

islagringo said...

Seriously guys, having made the border crossing 4 times now, do not cross at Loredo. Stay in Tx as long as you can. Cross over to Corpus Christi and cut down to Brownsville. From there you can cross the border and get on Mexico 180 and follow it all the way to Cancun. I've made it from Matamoros to Cancun in 4 days. Do NOT even think about driving after dark. Do NOT even think of entering the state of Mexico, let alone the capitol Mexico City. Truly guys. Just don't. You can purchase a 6 month car insurance policy on the mexican side of the border crossing.