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silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion


Sep 23, 2006, 6:42 PM

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silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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I would like to make a post about trying to find a male traveling companion. I have my own camping gear, and a Nissan 4X4 with a shell. Where do I go to look for someone who wants to split expenses and driving time from Tecate to La Paz, take the ferry to Mazatlan and head over to Ajijic? I want to stay in Mexico permanetly. I have my passport. I want to figure out how to get down there first and get started.
Right now I am lost in this thicket of posting. I am a non-dangerous "boomer" female. Just floundering here. I lived in Acapulco with my X 30+ years ago. I like Mexico I just can't figure out how to get back down there without a travel partner.
Sorry for what seems so dumb. I'd appreciate some pointers.


Sep 23, 2006, 7:01 PM

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Re: [melsie] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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The ferry is expensive ... unless you are just doing it for the experience. Nogales and south in 15 is cheaper

Sparks Mexico Blog - Sparks Costalegre


Sep 24, 2006, 6:37 AM

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Re: [sparks] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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And a lot more interesting than most of Baja.


Sep 26, 2006, 4:37 PM

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Re: [melsie] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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I have travelled in my minivan all over Mexico by myself, I'm a 50 year old female, I've camped in a lot of weird places. I think you develop a sort of a sixth sense about what is "safe", The rules of the game are different in Mexico than in the States and quite different again in Canada. I would personnally feel quite weird about advertizing for a male companion to travel with. Even when you know people this is a very delicate thing to do. I would prefer to start the trip and see if I meet someone I like.
Just my two cents worth not meant to offend. Feel free to pm me if you'd like.

As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.
"Henry David Thoreau"

wendy devlin

Sep 27, 2006, 6:58 AM

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Re: [melsie] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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Echo the sentiments above. Having Rved both routes.

Take the mainland route, don't advertise on the internet for a strange man:)

You didn't mention what kind of camping, you intend to do.

If you seek out regular style campgrounds, you can benefit from the 'neighbourhood watch' gaze of fellow campers, especially the long-timers or campground regulars. Network with folks upon your arrival. However don't advise telling people, too much about yourself, your plans or your insecurities.
Be friendly, but be wise:)

Gates can be locked at night, and there might be security...of sorts, provided by the campground owners or caretakers. ALthough take nothing for granted and always, 'expect the unexpected'.

If you plan on boon-docking, or attaching your rig to restaurants, Pemex stations etc. for the night, you'll need increase security precautions. Although security or sense thereof, is ultimately up to you, anywhere you go in Mexico.

As a single woman, travelling alone, you will be a 'person of interest' so expect the amorous attention and the pressures and have a few strategies, up your sleeve or in your purse:)

A green gringo(a) companion might imo, be more of a liability then an travelling. asset. You might make an error in trusting in their perceptions, abilities(alleged perhaps but unproven) then relying on yourself.

As margo mentions, chances are you might find someone to tandem travel with or give a ride too, along the way. At least if you meet them deep in Mexico, they will perhaps have a little more experience, and be a more useful companion.

And you for them.

wendy devlin

Sep 27, 2006, 7:23 AM

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Re: [wendy devlin] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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Back to the topic of strange men:)

About ten years back, a frequent poster/author on these forums advertised for a travelling companion and/or other RVER's to join the caravan he was leading through mainland Mexico. He had long touted himself as an expert of Mexico and especially RV travel there.

Since it had been a couple of years since our first two long RVing trips, I briefly entertained the idea of joining this group.

Then nixed the idea completely because:
1)there was something about this guy that didn't 'feel right'
2) the idea was daft for me personally, to begin with.

Turns out in later years, that this (in)famous poster/author left a string of unpaid debts and make off with valuable assets belonging to people whose trust he had solicited, largely via web-boards from Baja, and down the Pacific coast of Mexico.

Since that time, have had several more acquaintences with people of this type.

Especially ones that prey on the trust and gullibility of newbies on Mexico-topic forums.


Sep 27, 2006, 1:59 PM

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Re: [wendy devlin] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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Damn! Another employment opportunity missed!

Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán

wendy devlin

Sep 27, 2006, 3:01 PM

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Re: [sfmacaws] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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Jonna! Your boat may be coming ashore!

maybe this gal would like an (ex)cop escort;)


Sep 27, 2006, 10:28 PM

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Re: [wendy devlin] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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not ex, sounds like you got fired or quit, better to say retired - just sounds like you are old, which is true.

We had some good friends who wanted to follow us south this year and it was weighing on us like a ton of bricks. We couldn't say no and we wanted to do whatever was needed so that they could have a good time but whoa! we were dreading it. They have decided not to go this year and the relief is almost physical.

When I really want to make Mimi nuts, I tell her we are low on funds and that I've accepted a job for us as tailgunners for an rv caravan. Heh! That puts the credit cards back in her pocket!

Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán


Oct 1, 2006, 9:02 AM

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Re: [melsie] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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Check out this link, I'm not sure if it will be helpful for you, but it's probably worth checking out.

It is a site designed specifically for women who travel, including those who travel alone. The site also incluldes a travel classified section. Journey Woman has been around for 14 or 15 years and is pretty well established.

I have also been on a site that matches single travelers with others who are interested in traveling to the same locations. Unfortunately, I did not bookmark this site and can not remember the name of it. Try Googling for single traveling, or traveling solo, or traveling companions. I found this site after reading an article in the travel section of a U.S. paper that was written by someone who had used the service. On the surface it appeared to be pretty legitimate, but the operative words here are "on the surface"

As have others, I will echo their sentiments to err on the side of caution with on-line contacts. I spent 8 years as a list wrangler for a very, very large e-list on Yahoogroups. E-mail is a very flat, emotionless communication medium and we tend to fill in what's missing with our own ideas and emotions. Not always a good idea. I can't tell you how many people masquarade as something or somebody that they are not and how much the truth is stretched. I also spent a couple of years on all the major dating sites (, American Singles, etc.) and let's just say that there's a reason relationships can be so difficult. Some of the guys on these sites could have made a decent living as fiction writers, not to mention some of them were pretty hard to identify when they actually showed up for a date because they didn't look at all like their photos. And the women were just as bad as the men (but not me, of course<GG>)

Enjoy your trip and have a great time whether you find a traveling companion or go it alone.


Oct 1, 2006, 3:40 PM

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Re: [wendy devlin] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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car camp. tent camp. First of all, I'm overly experienced in wilderness travel. Up until '97 I would usually spend 40 to 70 days out on the John Muir Trail. I carried a 75 pound pack until I screwed up my back, then I bought and trained and used six llamas to carry supplies in to through-hikers on the JMT and PCT over the eastern sierra passes (under the table - more to that story) until last year.
I've done a lot of desert camping in Saline Valley (Northern Death Valley) at the hot springs.
I'm not gay, I'm not a "girly girl" though. I can hold my own - 25 years of personally chasing bears out of my campsites I'm no chicken. I don't care if the guy is gay, just as long as he's got some Mexican travel experience. I could use somebody with upper body strength who isn't weird who camps.
Maybe I'll just do a month or two SoB until I can figure out what's going on with this thing.
Oh, yeah, I'm not looking for a "strange" man. I'm looking for someone to share my ride.
How the hell do you do this sort of thing? or do you look up a "caravan" type thing for support, but not constructed of retires on a schedule?


Oct 1, 2006, 3:50 PM

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Re: [sparks] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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Yeah, but the drive! And the border crossing! I"ve been reading about all the crazies and narco trafficing too. I thought that from Tecate I could avoid all that stuff by going across the border where it's still "small".
I did both Nogalas, and Nuevo Laredo with my X and his buddy in a 54 Chevy in '69 and it was crazy then. At least they had already done that before, I rode shotgun (figuritively).
We got turned back at Nogalas on a hot day in January because we looked too much like hippies and we didn't have enough money. A month later we went through Nuevo Laredo at 2 AM with $200 fanned out in ones and fives and made it.
We drove day AND night - quite an experience - but they had already lived in Alcapulco for a year before I met them in California. They did the night and city driving.

The ferry idea was to save that long drive through central Mexico.


Oct 1, 2006, 4:02 PM

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Re: [wendy devlin] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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My reason for looking for somebody to travel with. I wanted to take the Green Tortise but all the only long trip they have is for 28 days starting Dec. 6 or 9 - something dumb like that.
I bought the Loney Planet Guide to Mexico, the book about camping in Mexico - where all the campsites are for tent campers and RV'ers are. I've got Don Adams Renegade Guide, the Peoples Guide. I"ve been banging my head on them for nearly a year now.

My 92 year old mother (who is a sociopath I don't talk to) and has been to 115 countries, alone and with a friend. She just got back from a round the world trip last week. "Course she was married (the 4th time) to a travel agent and learned all the tricks.

I went to Africa with her in '84 - before they ended Aparthied - and just the 2 of us hit about 6 countries. I drove (we're talking when I wasn't wearing glasses and could drive long distances - she wasn't any help) from Cape Town all the way to Johannesburg. I got all the warnings. There were a lot of dangers in Africa for just 2 women driving alone.

But you wouldn't catch me doing something like that now - especially alone and in Mexico.


Oct 1, 2006, 4:13 PM

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Re: [wendy devlin] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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I'm not too gulible. I've got some street smarts. My problem is that for the last 25 years I've been living in a small (but getting eaten by developers) ski resort out in BFE. That's Mammoth Lakes, Ca.
After everyone you know has been priced out of the area, or died, and you're trying to split from a husband and a house....

Are these forums on Mexico where the newbies hang out subject to a lot of creeps, flakes and weirdo's?

I"ve been a bartender, a cook, a waitress, a condo project maid, a backcountry guide.......

And forums aren't new to me. I used to participate a lot on "". I used to get groups of people together from all over the country to go out on backcountry trips with me. I never got any wierd ones - some lazy or incompetent ones, yeah. I didn't invite them back.

These were usually mostly guys who would camp out in my big country front yard and we would go on fishing trips with my llamas carrying most of the heavy gear.


Oct 1, 2006, 4:21 PM

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Re: [wendy devlin] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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I don't do blogs - yet. In fact I'm trying to stay away from computers except for this. I also don't do TV or Cell phones.

I am not a great big gal - but my dad was a cop.
I'm 53ish with a bad back I'm working on. I want to go on a road trip. I want to make some live friends.
I"ve got all the right camping gear - car and backcountry.
I will probably go back to living in the Sierra Nevadas again - but I've got to go back to Mexico, way below the border to see what it's like these days.

It'll help me make up my mind about trying to move down there again for good.


Oct 1, 2006, 4:24 PM

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Re: [wendy devlin] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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You an ex-cop? So tell me what your story is about. What are you doing and why are you doing it?


Oct 2, 2006, 9:59 AM

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Re: [melsie] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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I think you'll find that the people on the MexConnect forums are pretty decent and starightforward folks. I've met several people in Mexico who post here and they've all turned out to be fine, upstanding and often entertaining individuals. Everyone who has replied to your thread here is reliable and knowledgeable about Mexico and sincere in their comments and advice. Most of them are also frequent posters in the other MexConnect forums as well. I think the one thing long time posters try and do is to provide a realistic picture of what Mexico is really like in an effort to lift the veil of illusion - or perhaps it's delusion ;-) - that many people have about Mexico. However, based on what you have recently posted about your background and experience, I would say that you are well prepared for the trip you'd like to take. I also suspect you've got more than enough street smarts to see you through and I think you could do the trip solo if you wanted.

The link is to the web page for a woman who went (by choice) from a pampered Beverly Hills life to the life of a nomad. She published a book about it called Tales of a Female Nomad that details her experiences. I mention this because she started her adventure in Mexico and talks about her life in a small Mexican village near Oaxaca. But she also traveled, alone, unescorted and with few resources through a lot of Latin America, including Sandinista Nicaragua during the Contra War. She talks about the risks she was exposed to and how she dealt with those.The book may or may not resnonate with you, I found it did with me (and you and I are the same age).

You've traveled enough, have relevant experience so I'd say plan your trip and go for it.

BTW, the border crossing at Tecate isn't exactly small anymore. It's certainly not as large as Tijuana, but it's a lot bigger than it used to be. But Tijuana or Tecate, it only takes about 3 seconds to get into Mexico (and about 3 hours to get out). The whole border area from Tijuana to Mexicali is pretty hairy at the moment as kidnapping and narcotrafficing violence has seriously escalated in the last month to the point where the Mexican army has been called in to patrol and augment the highly corrupt Tijuana and State police departments.


Oct 2, 2006, 10:11 AM

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Re: [Gayla] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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Also, Barbara Thacker's
Still Going…Blissfully Lost in the Baja – Wandering South of the Border with Barb Thacker and her dog, Ink. Solo female traveler, went for one month – stayed for 15. 1999. She describes her life in a palapa in the village as well as her RVing experiences.

Have you looked on Lonely Planet's Thorntree site?

I solo camped (with my two little doggies who bark if anyone comes near!) at a former KOA campground just south of Monterrey in November 04. 5 men were celebrating the birthday of one of them...I WAS a bit concerned about personality changes (they were ever so polite early in the evening) after beaucoup the music was not turned off until 8 a.m!

If you had a hard-sided vehicle (pickup/SUV/van/station wagon/RV) you could sleep in, as well as a tent (not sure if you plan to tent camp) that would offer more security, if necessary.
Sandy Kramer
Miami, Fla & El Parque


Oct 3, 2006, 11:34 AM

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Re: [Gayla] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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Thanks for your assesment of who and/ or what I am.

The reasoning for picking Tecate is BECAUSE of all the media hype (and some of what I have read on this site) on the other border x'ings between Mexicali and TJ. I keep a close watch on the LA Times and have read all about how "things ain't what they used to be". Chosing Tecate seemed to be a good way to avoid most of that.
My folks started taking me down through TJ when I was eight. We would go down and stay in little clean motels where they would leave me for the day in the room so they could go deep sea fishing. The last time I crossed the border at TJ was in 1974. That was also the last time I was in Mexico
Because of our 1969 entry through Nuevo Laredo in the middle of the night - pretty slow then at 2 am - and our attempt and failure to cross a month earlier at Nogalas mid-day, then our on foot exit from Mexico in TJ after the 3 of us took the bus all the way back from Acapulco, I have NO desire to spend a zillion hours dealing with the dangers and hassles at any of those major X'ings.
Tecate is "closest" to where I am currently located, and doesn't seem to pose the dangers and confusion of the other CA to Mexico entry points: TJ, Mexicali, or Nogalas on either side of the border.
One of the gals who posted a response to my initial question (seems she is a kyaker) suggested a list of books I buy. Some of them I have already since they apply to my particular situation - others are way off the mark - Birding, kyaking - being an "Amazon" woman who fights and lives her way through Mexico (you can take a look at her list).
It's evident that on this particular forum (Come in here Newbie so you don't make an ass of yourself somewhere else on this site) that all these folks are helpful and knowledgeable. I just don't need a book on every aspect of Mexico that has ever been printed. And as is obvious, I don't know how to navigate this place yet, so here I am.

I also don't want to solo - I do want some company.
The idea of my wandering around anywhere alone - like Mexico, or other foreign countries, (other than the wilderness trails I know so well between Yosemite and Mt. Whitney) is first, daunting, and second, lonely.

I have an analogy I have based on trips I used to make out into the backcountry alone: Fishing wasn't any fun unless I had a couple of friends along to share the fishing experiences with. It was the fish stories and the competition of who caught the biggest fish at the end of the day,or by the end of the trip: who had the biggest catches of the trip. Or, how we had managed to navigate (before GPS's) and travel over certain miles long sections of trail buried under several feet of snow miles of snow, or who fell over what cliff when, or how deep some of the creeks were and the devices we used as a group to cross over the deepest and most dangerous of them - or crossing snow bridges. You get my drift.

When I went out alone, I rarely did much fishing. I just hiked 40 to 70 days a summer covering several hundred miles of trail and terrain. For company I had my llamas who carried my gear - but they don't talk. And at the end of the day cocktails after dinner at the campsite wasn't "happy hour". It was set up camp, fix dinner, have a couple of cocktails, break out the headlamp and a book, and get in the tent.
Up until 2 months ago I had a website that had been up for 5 years. I was guiding under the table and pissed off the US forest service. I was also selling a how-to dehydrator cook book I wrote, full of recipes I put together for people who wanted to learn how to dehydrate their own food for what-ever purpose, mostly backpacking.

The Forest Service made me shut down the whole site. But we'll drop that subject here.

So here I am now, with a vehicle set up with a tow package, a shell, and my load of personal collected outdoor gear suitable to pick from for an extended trip to Mexico. I can wing it if necessary. Mexico is a place I've lived in and liked. Only it was a long time ago.

Now, you're going to get a story after this, so stop reading unless you want to know the rest of the reason I'm here asking questions.

I'm not "bucks up".Not yet.I'm looking to get into Mexico on a road trip to get my perspective back again. I'm starting out on this site, in this forum, to get information and ideas on how to take a vacation from a stressful situation at home. I have to make a decision about going through with a divorce I initiated.

If you, or anyone else here has gone down that road, you may get the idea. Split the house, do the California style divorce whole nine yards. Our house is in a real popular Aspen-wanna'be (but never will be) Eastern Sierra ski resort. For the gals in my age bracket, and that's 50ish, I"ve been married long enough to get half of his social security. And I'm not working - I might get disability because of my back - working with livestock combined with years of heavy lifting do that. The house, a collection of decent social security (half of his and eventually mine, too), and perhaps disability is my retirement. All of that could do a reasonable job of CMA if I decided to split permanently and head to Mexico for an extended stay next fall.

But I have to go down and do a little exploring first.

Right now, I want to escape the upcoming snow covered winter in that unique little house in the California Sierra Nevadas. I've got a little savings that I know I can stretch, and will allow me to get by down in Mexico for a few months.

The husband doesn't ever want to leave the snow, telemark sking, and God Forbid, go to Mexico! He's 57, has no pension, no 401K, but has parents who are on their way out and will leave him and his sister a little something. He's never been anywhere and doesn't ever want to go anywhere. He hates Yosemite (well, anyone would who's not from the city, and goes there in August) I've "lived" there too. But as for Mexico? Him? Never!

I can stay gone from California from sometime before Christmas this year (I have to go back home for a couple of weeks to sort through my gear) until maybe April of '07.
If the mountians where I have lived for the 26 years do not get a huge snowpack again this winter, I'll go back into the woods for the summer of '07 to get in shape. By next fall, if I manage to pull off a trip to Mexico, then spend the summer up in the backcountry, I'll have made up my mind about turning loose the lawyer.

OK. There you have it. Point me to the correct forum, if there is one, keep me here and "heads-up", or send me to my room.

Thanks for your help. Melsie


Oct 3, 2006, 2:43 PM

Views: 20975

Re: [melsie] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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I can't help you with the personal issues but here is some good advice on camping/rving in Mexico.

Skip the tent! Sleeping outside when you are alone or even as a couple, it is difficult to find a good spot, it is rarely safe, it is rarely comfortable and you will greatly limit yourself in where you go.

Set up your camper shell so you can live in it. That includes secure locks and hopefully a pass through to the cab.

Get Mike and Terri Church's book 'Mexican Camping' and use it for the border crossing advice, the camping spots info and the bypasses of big cities and tolls.

Get a current version of the Guia Roji 'Por las Carreteras de México' in the 8.5 x 11 spanish version - it's the best available map.

I'd recommend skipping the Baja and crossing the border from Arizona in Nogales using the Church's advice. Head south and spend the first night in Magdalena del Kino. It's a great little town, has a nice rv park/motel (also in Church's) and an interesting plaza with the bones of Padre Kino under glass. You could spend days there if you wanted, it's a nice place and it has few foreign tourists so you will get your 'Mexico feet' under you quickly.

Then head south at whatever speed makes you comfortable. The sonoran desert is not for everyone and if you don't like desert, then move a little faster for a couple days and you will be at the coast. If you head down the Baja, there is nothing but desert and the roads are not as good from what I hear. In 2 days on the mainland, without paying for an expensive ferry, you can be in some beautiful country either inland or on the coast. If you like deserts, which I do, there is a lot to see and do in those 2 days that could stretch it indefinitely.

If you get lonely, stop in any of the RV parks along the way and I guarantee you will meet nice people and enjoy good company. We've encountered single women all over Mexico and Central America traveling in vans and campers and having a wonderful time. They meet up with friends, some have friends who fly in and travel with them for a week or two, or they meet people along the way and join up for a while. You can be as alone or as involved as you wish.

Be very careful about inviting someone to travel with you in your camper. I've known several people who didn't want to go alone and arranged a companion. None of those situations worked out well, some ended really badly. Consider that you can live secure and alone in your camper but travel with others easily. There are travelers coming and going from all the RV parks on the west coast, just ask to join up with them for a day or two and do it.

It's easy to scare yourself ahead of time. Take comfort in the fact that literally thousands of old geezers drive into Mexico every year from the US and Canada and many of them speak no spanish. They have fun and they stay safe and they come back the next year and do it again but with a little more knowledge. Follow the usual warnings, don't drive at night, don't park alone in the boonies, stay out of bars and discos late at night, don't invite strangers into your home, follow your gut feelings about an area and leave if you are not comfortable. It's a well traveled gringo trail and you can stay on it until you feel comfortable going off it.

I just noticed that Mike and Terri Church have started a new section on their web page for people to hook up with other travelers and drive south together. It's a great idea, it looks like there are several options on it. Have a look and see if anyone's travel plans match yours.

Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán

(This post was edited by sfmacaws on Oct 3, 2006, 2:48 PM)


Oct 3, 2006, 3:58 PM

Views: 20965

Re: [melsie] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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<<One of the gals who posted a response to my initial question (seems she is a kyaker) suggested a list of books I buy. Some of them I have already since they apply to my particular situation - others are way off the mark - Birding, kyaking - being an "Amazon" woman who fights and lives her way through Mexico (you can take a look at her list).
It's evident that on this particular forum (Come in here Newbie so you don't make an ass of yourself somewhere else on this site) that all these folks are helpful and knowledgeable. I just don't need a book on every aspect of Mexico that has ever been printed. And as is obvious, I don't know how to navigate this place yet, so here I am. >>

I sent you, privately, my selection of books that I list under "outdoors and personal narratives" in case there may be something that caught your eye not that you should buy. I was trying to help you. Your sarcasm is not appreciated.
Sandy Kramer
Miami, Fla & El Parque


Oct 3, 2006, 10:17 PM

Views: 20935

Re: [melsie] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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I think you'll find that all the border crossings are much more sophisticated and much easier to negotiate now than when you last crossed, plus you're not a youngster any more and will tend to draw less notice. It is way easier to cross at Tijuana than Tecate. Getting to Tecate from San Diego - where I live - is a pain, mostly through the San Diego back country on 2-lane, reasonably well maintained roads. Given your history in the Sierras this drive probably would not be much of an issue for you, but it takes at least an hour to get to Tecate from central San Diego, but only 20 minutes to get to Tijuana. Neither city is very attractive and it's best to just keep headin' south.

Please read Jonna's advice about RV parks and such very carefully. It's very good and she really does know what she's talking about. And get a Guia Roji, the maps are worth their weight in gold and Amazon stocks them. And she is right about being on the road. Even though you might be traveling alone, you really aren't, there is a whole network of people out there traveling the same highways as you and camping at the same locations, and chances are pretty good they're looking for some company as well.

Since you seem to have something of a 2-year plan going, here's another option I thought of after I read your post. You can take it or leave it, it's just an idea. If dessert doesn't bother you, there are any number of small towns all the way down the Baja peninsula that might just fulfill your needs on this first trip. I'm thinking Mulege (Moo-la-hay), La Paz, Loreto and Todo Santo. The big plus for your timing this fall/winter is that is prime fishing time on the Baja and there are literally tons of people with rigs of all sorts heading down the Baja to a raft of small fishing villages, most on the Gulf of California side. The weather won't be hellaciously hot, and other than Cabo prices aren't too high. If you haven't been to the Baja Nomad web site check it out. I think it's but you may need to Google for it if that doesn't work.

One of the reasons I recommended the Rita Golden Gelman web site (and her book) is because her life adventure started just as she came to the realization that her marriage was, indeed, breaking up and that divorce was most likely inevitable. She ended up in Mexico. There are more than a few similarities between her story and the one you related, she just had better financial resources. You have a lot on your plate and it sounds like you might need some time and space to heal the wounds and figure out what you want to do next. In California New Age-speak, if Mexico resonates with you, it can be the perfect place to "get your head together", or, take stock and begin to rebuild and plan out the next steps. There are hundreds of women in Mexico that have traveled this path, some more successfully than other, but just know that you're about to travel a well-beaten path. The illusion that some people have when they move to Mexico is that things in their life will magically change for the better and that all their problems will go away (especially if the break-up was difficult). The problems, issues and baggage make the trip with you no matter what because they're part of who you are and make up a piece of your personal identity. That said, it is also more than possible to jettison some of the problems, issues and baggage in Mexico because of the freedom it can afford you to do the inner work if you're willing, not everyone is.

MexConnect is a wealth of information. If you haven't used the search function, try it. In addition to old forum posts you'll also get hits on articles and links to other resources.

wendy devlin

Oct 4, 2006, 7:28 AM

Views: 20913

Re: [Gayla] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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It is tricky to communicate effectively over the internet.
Especially when a person doesn't know what another person knows or doesn't know about Mexico or understand the other person's general life experience.

On a forum, I general stick to sharing those parts of my experience that might be most helpful to someone else.
Making the information, generic. What I would tell anyone.

Chances are, though, the other person might already have had those same experiences and then some. Or feel totally different about those experiences.

Plus people have different priorities. And pay attention to different aspects of advice. And provide different or even conflicting information.

I take the communication into the private message area if I want to be personal.
And am careful, even then, not to say, anything, that I wouldn't mind the whole world knowing as there is no such thing as PRIVACY on the net.

These are the kinds of thoughts, I have when participating on a forum.

And conditions are always changing. For example, below:

Travel down the Baja at this time might not be the same as in years gone by.

The lower half of the peninsula received a substantial battering from a big September hurricane.

Especially the highways. Re-construction happens and perhaps by tourist high season, infrastructure will be back in place.

This leads to the point of checking out recent information on traveller and trip advice forums before 'heading out' anywhere. And understanding perhaps, the motives or biases behind that information.

There are other web-sites with high traffic for information on specific regions in Mexico ie the Baja, Mazatlán, the Pacific Coast etc. General travel sites like Lonely Planet have specific country forums full of recent travel experiences.

And then there are RVing web-sites where travellers planning Mexico trips or already ON Mexico trips communicate with each other. Sometimes on a daily basis.

Possible to get a sense of the 'experience' before the experience:)

Although, no substitute for the experience itself. imo

Example No. 2.

when arbon and I RV, we make a point of talking to, 'interviewing' might be the better word:) every person we meet, who has just come from where we are heading or planning to stay. Locals and travellers.

Conditions can(and do) change swiftly in Mexico.

Keep plans flexible and adaptable to recent information about weather, road conditions, fiestas, civil unrest etc.


Oct 4, 2006, 3:43 PM

Views: 20870

Re: [sandykayak] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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No sarcasm intended.
It is virtually impossible to convey attitude, phrasing, or tone via online print format. Any reply I may make can be interpreted depending by whomever the individual is who reads it.
This in particular applies to forums where people do not know you, your attitude, your sense of humor, or how you approach anything in life in general.
If my "general" reply to anyone who replies to a post of mine, about any information they have offered tick you off.........stop, look, and think before imposing judgements on what I have said.
I am a veteran on-line poster - just not here.
I began posting on websites other than this back in '98. I spent virtual "years" sitting on my fanny enthralled with the "online experience".
Then I quit for a while. Just tired of all the increasing traffic and rehashed b.s. I was an "expert" at that site.
My friends from the websites where I was a regular got to know who I was and what I was about before taking offense at anything I said.
This mexconnect website stresses that this particular forum is for "newbies". I am a newbie here and I take the advice to stay here, in "safe" territory, and become familiar with how this place works. I have not come here to be scolded.
If my replies have offended anyone in any way, then they should be taken in the context of my status here: NEW.
I am a learner here. I am not here to tick off any "experts". If you have a pile of books that are helpful and I make a comment that not all of them are for me, I am not addressing you in a personal way meant to be offensive.
I offer my thanks for your suggestions. I also add that it is not wise to post unwarrented negative comments on newbie replies in a newbie forum.
Madam, the ball is in your court.


Oct 4, 2006, 4:34 PM

Views: 20862

Re: [sfmacaws] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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Eh - the personal issues will settle in time.
But the car.... that's the reason I bought a ''95 Nissan Hardbody, Manual 4X4 with a shell. It gives (gave) me the option of sleeping in it if necessary and the ability to drive on what-ever. The thing came with a lift kit, too, for God's sake! But this has power steering and brakes! Wowie Zowie! Never owed anything with power anything in my life.
I wanted to be able to be versitile roadwise depending on the situation.
Prior to the Nissan I drove a Toyota FJ 40 4X4 manual for 25 years, dirt roads, snow.. I've been living out in the woods up in the mountians since before people started moving to places like that.
I have every kind of backpacking, and car camping stove available, as well as car camp tents, backpacking tents - just imagine that I've collected an incredible amount of gear for both over the years. Thermarests, egg crate, sleeping bags, lanterns, head lamps, egg crates, five gallon buckets.... ad nauseum.

Guia Roji 'Por las Carreteras de México' - I have this one, and studied it to death. I also have Head for Mexico, Lonely Planet - Mexico, Peoples Guide to Mexico, and Mexican Camping. These books are dog-eared from my handling over the last year. But I will definitely look up your suggestion: Rolling homes (though a Nissan pick up with a shell might be hard to do much with conversion-wise - but all my gear is portable so who knows?).

I am leery about driving long distances. I have a problem with falling asleep at the wheel. For the last 15 years my husband has done all the driving specifically because of that. I also have a problem with my vision: I had to switch over to wearing trifocal glasses 2 years ago. Remember movies in 3-D? Totally wierd driving, and city driving I am like an Eskimo who has landed on Mars. Freeways in S. California scare the living s-it out of me, and I've been back down here 6 months.
And since I am as you so aptly phrased it, no spring chicken - I look a little younger than I am, plus I have a blond braid down to "where my thighs stop, and my butt begins". I was told about being blond in Mexico back then, and I did stick in the late 60's. Alone I will still stick out even though I'm still short, a little wider, and gravity still sucks.
When we tried to go through Nogalas during the day at the end of the sixties - me and 2 guys - it was pure horror story. I hesitate to drive from the LA area where I am currently holed up all the way to Nogalas where everybody is fleeing from Mexico to the US for work, or to sell drugs.EEEEEK!

As for the desert, and alone on wheels (I live nearby high desert - 4500 feet) - Green Angeles? Green Anybody?
Driving through Baja was suggested - down the Pacific Coast to where it crosses over to the West Coast to La Paz. But when I brought up the ferry from there to Mazatalan, somebody here said it was too expensive.

I halfway remember the drive from Laredo to Acapulco, but three of us drove in 100 mile shifts, and back then you HAD to go through Mexico City, and the guys had been there, done that so I got to skip that mess. Taking the bus back from Acapulco to Mexico City, then on to TJ was the way to go since we had to leave the old beater at an Aduana. No, we didn't go back for it!

I've got a clue about picking up creeps, flakes, and weirdos. I don't want to go there, for sure.

Is this idea I had totally unrealistic? I better get out of here before somebody flames me.

I shall return.......


Oct 4, 2006, 4:48 PM

Views: 6002

Re: [melsie] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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Melsie, I think it would be Prudent to check out the Social Security website, and to contact a Social Security office regarding your plan to collect half of your husbands SS benefits as well as your own.

The latest solid information I had (several years ago) was that you cannot collect SS benefits on two accounts. You may collect on an ex-husbands account if the marriage lasted for ten years or longer, but not on his account and your own. It is an either-or situation; pick the highest one.

Collecting SS benefits on an ex-spouses account will not reduce the amount of the ex-spouses benefit. Contrary to popular belief, both parties in this situation will receive the full benefit earned by the primary account holder. The primary account holder must be of retirement age, or retired, before an ex-spouse may begin receiving benefits.

The folks at Social Security are past masters at obfuscation. They usually will never give an exact answer to any question, but will indicate that when you retire everything will be resolved to your satisfaction.

It took a lot of digging, and prying for me to get accurate information regarding this situation over ten years ago. I have an ex-wife that was retiring then, I wasn’t retiring then but I was of retirement age. Her SS benefits are much smaller than mine are.

She got some mis-information and thought that I had to be retired, and that she would only get half of my benefit amount. She still refuses to look into filing on my benefit account. If she would do that, the amount she receives in SS benefits would double. She is the mother of my kids, but I have given up on trying to help her on this.

Lastly, I advise anyone not to believe what you have been told, but only what you know.


"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo


Oct 4, 2006, 5:10 PM

Views: 5998

Re: [RexC] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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Rex, you are correct except that the divorced spouse would receive only 50% of her former husband's SS benefits. I had occasion to check into this myself. In my case, 50% now would be far less than my own full benefits later, but it varies depending on one's situation. Here are the relevant portions on this issue that I found and bookmarked:

How does a divorced spouse qualify for benefits?


How does a divorced spouse qualify for benefits?


A person can receive benefits as a divorced spouse on a former spouse’s Social Security record if he or she:
  • was married to the former spouse for at least 10 years;
  • is at least age 62 years old;
  • is unmarried;
  • is not entitled to a higher Social Security benefit on his or her own record.

In addition, the former spouse must be entitled to receive his or her own retirement or disability benefit. If the former spouse is eligible for a benefit, but has not yet applied for it, the divorced spouse can still receive a benefit if he or she meets the eligibility requirements above and has been divorced from the former spouse for at least two years.

Generally, benefits cannot continue to be paid if the divorced spouse remarries someone other than the former spouse, unless the latter marriage ends (whether by death, divorce, or annulment), or the marriage is to a person entitled to certain types of Social Security auxiliary or survivor's benefits.
A person can receive benefits as a surviving divorced spouse on the Social Security record of a former spouse who died fully insured, if he or she:
  • is at least age 60, or age 50 and disabled;
  • was married to the former spouse for at least 10 years; and
  • is not entitled to a higher Social Security benefit on his or her own record.

If the surviving divorced spouse age 60 or over applying for benefits remarried after age 60, or after age 50 and at the time of remarriage was entitled to disability benefits, the marriage is disregarded. If a person is already entitled to benefits as an aged or disabled surviving divorced spouse and remarries, benefits continue regardless of the person's age at the time of remarriage.

The benefits paid to a divorced spouse or a surviving divorced spouse will not affect the benefit amount paid to other family members who receive benefits on the same record.
If you would like to receive an estimate of benefits you may receive as a divorced spouse or a surviving divorced spouse, you may contact our representatives at our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213. They may be able to provide you with this information over the telephone. If you prefer, you may visit one of our offices. You can get the address and directions to your nearest office from the Social Security Office Locator that is available on the Internet.

How much can a divorced spouse receive?


How much can a divorced spouse receive?


A man/woman who is divorced after at least 10 years of marriage keeps certain benefit rights on their former husband/wife's Social Security record. In order for him/her to get benefits, a divorced husband/wife must be at least age 62 and the former spouse must be eligible for benefits, but not necessarily receiving them. The maximum benefit is 50% of the benefit the worker would receive at full retirement age. However, benefits paid prior to full retirement age of the spouse are reduced based upon the age of the spouse at the time benefits are received. For a chart showing the reduction in benefits based on the year of birth, see "Retirement benefits and reductions by year of birth".


Oct 4, 2006, 5:28 PM

Views: 5992

Re: [misslyn] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

| Private Reply
Misslyn, Thank you, I am sure you are right. Upon reflection, I think I was thinking about survivor’s benefits for my present wife. She had been told that upon my death, her benefits would be reduced. My latest research a few years ago showed that it would not be reduced, but would continue at the present amount.

All my research was done several years ago and rules and regulations do change constantly. It always seemed to me that the people at SS keep moving the ball too.

"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo


Oct 5, 2006, 2:47 PM

Views: 5961

Re: [RexC] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

| Private Reply
Thanks for the info. So far I haven't been able to find out anyting about this end of the stick.
I may or may not file. If I DO, I don't believe I'm elegible until retirement age - 62? And that's a ways off. But His is is twice the size of mine.
I'll continue to keep my ears to the ground.


Oct 5, 2006, 6:30 PM

Views: 5946

Re: [melsie] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

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Melsie, be aware that if you retire at age 62 which is at present the youngest age for SS early retirement, instead of age 65 your benefit amount will be reduced permanently. You cannot go back at your full retirement age of 65 and re-file for full benefits on the same account. You might be able to file on one account early, and then at age 65 switch to a different account, since you will have yours and his to choose from. I don’t know if that is possible though.

The retirement ages for younger people were raised when President Reagan corrected many of the shortfalls in the Social security System in 1982 or 83. The higher retirement ages only apply to people born in 1961 and later I believe. One of my daughters was born that year, and she will need to retire a few months later than if she was born the year before she was.

The increases in retirement ages now increase a few months, depending on the year and month of a younger persons birth, until they reach the maximum ages, which will be 64 for early retirement, and 67 for full Social Security retirement.

I mention this because about 15 years ago, my Suegra filed for Social Security retirement on her late American husbands account. My wife and her brother went with her to the Social Security office in Seattle when she filed. All three of them are fluent in English. All three of them misunderstood what the agent told them.

My Suegra filed for her pension at age 62, believing that she could file again at age 65 for full benefits. That did not happen, and is not allowed. She is losing about US$300 Dollars per month because she took early retirement. She is still in good shape financially. She owns her house in Mexico City, and also has a Mexican government pension. Still, money is money.

Everyone needs to look at their own financial situation when deciding if early retirement is a good move for them personally. I looked at it, and I would have been money ahead for 14 years if I had retired early, after that, it would have been a slowly losing proposition.

I loved my work though, and I didn’t want to retire, I hated to do it when I finally did. I had a good job and I was increasing the amount in two other pensions, besides Social Security. My wife is considerably younger than I am, and my main motivation for working as long as I did was to provide a comfortable life for her when I am gone.


Choose a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life - Confucius

"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo


Oct 5, 2006, 7:29 PM

Views: 5939

Re: [melsie] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

| Private Reply
Hello Melsie,

No the idea is not unrealistic. In fact it is a good idea. And nobody on this board is going to flame you. Don't even think of it.

But do listen to advice. Then make your own choices. You will anyway, whether you listen to the advice or no. I would advise you, for example, not to even think of entering Mexico through Laredo or Nuevo Laredo. Just West of there is the Colombia Bridge which will bypass both Laredo and Nuevo Laredo. Try that. But why go that far? Isn't Nogales, south of Tuscon, Arizona much closer? Many people who come down the coast route you have been advised to travel enter there. And people who enter Mexico from California or Arizona have many more suggestions than I could possibly make with my experience all in Texas. In fact, what is wrong with Mexicali? Somebody here must have experience in entering Mexico from California. Just be patient, and ask.

And another observation, just for what it is worth. Perhaps you are telling us just a bit too much about your personal life. You have already told me things that I would never tell a stranger, and as yet, we here are all strangers.

In summary, ask for advice, listen, decide, but don't abandon your idea. A motor trip through Mexico for a single woman, even if she has trouble driving,or seeing, or is terrified by city traffic etc can be a very pleasant experience if she takes things easy and stays calm and collected. You want to do this for enjoyment. Then cool down and enjoy.

Adiós. jerezano.


Oct 6, 2006, 2:33 PM

Views: 5908

Re: [RexC] silly newbie w/passport & transport needs camping companion

| Private Reply
You might be able to file on one account early, and then at age 65 switch to a different account, since you will have yours and his to choose from. I don’t know if that is possible though.

Unfortunately this is not the case. You makes yer choice and yer stuck with it for eternity (or however long you may be above the sod).