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skydancer

Dec 8, 2006, 1:41 PM

Post #1 of 14 (9484 views)

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Best crossing - Nogales or Calexico/Mexicali

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Driving from Portland, Oregon to Chapala in late December 2006. Will be stopping to visit friends in Bend, OR, Napa, CA and possibly San Diego, CA. The stop in San Diego depends upon which border crossing we select. Anticipate crossing over into Mexico Jan 7 - 9, 2007. Sounds kinda like a near-death experience as I write the word crossing over and over (pun intended).

Coming into Mexico on an FMT with a vehicle loaded with the necessities. We found the ideal rental in Chapala and leased it for a year. Plans are to get our FM3 in Mexico and have our shipment delivered to Chapala within a few months. Our stuff will be in storage in Portland until we are ready to ship it to Mexico. Yes, we did the correct paperwork and feel very secure in knowing that Stom-White Moving is handling our move.

I'm planning our drive and am looking at maps. We have been given suggestions to cross at Nogales and at Calexico/Mexicali. Both suggestions were made by people who have driven from Oregon to Mexico but they did it several years ago. Conditions (roads, motels, etc.) may have changed since their trip. Mexicala is the closest for us but we are willing to take other factors into consideration in making our decision, especially if it means roads in better condition and better accommodations along the way.

Question: Portland, OR to Chapala - which is the best route to take and the best place to cross? Why?

Thank you for your help. After our trip I will be able to share our experience with the newbies.

Deborah



rainer


Dec 8, 2006, 2:46 PM

Post #2 of 14 (9471 views)

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Re: [skydancer] Best crossing - Nogales or Calexico/Mexicali

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Even if you do decide to visit San Diego, the roads on this side (I-10 and I-8) are much better than Hwy 2 on the Mexican side. The next thing to consider is going along the Ocean (crossing at Nogales) or going down the center of Mexico (crossing at Santa Teresa - just short of El Paso). Of those two possibilities I can't tell you which would be better for you.
Smile


skydancer

Dec 8, 2006, 2:54 PM

Post #3 of 14 (9467 views)

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Re: [rainer] Best crossing - Nogales or Calexico/Mexicali

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Don't confuse me with offering more places to cross - I'm having problems deciding between two! Thanks for the info about the roads. That is important for me since my back gives me fits and I would like to ride in comfort as long as possible. So far, Nogales is ahead by 1 vote.


Rolly


Dec 8, 2006, 2:59 PM

Post #4 of 14 (9464 views)

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Re: [skydancer] Best crossing - Nogales or Calexico/Mexicali

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Rainer understated highway 2 -- it's a show stopper. Mark it off your list.

Rolly Pirate


esperanza

Dec 8, 2006, 3:19 PM

Post #5 of 14 (9456 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Best crossing - Nogales or Calexico/Mexicali

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A friend and I used to travel by bus from Tijuana to Guadalajara via Mexican Route 2. My Mexican travel companion always insisted on leaving at night. One trip I was traveling alone and thought, I'll go in the morning, I really want to see all the scenery. The route almost made me wet my pants. The road winds through rocky peaks (a section of the route is called La Rumorosa--you don't want to know), up steep inclines and down pitched valleys. As we rode along, I was treated to the sight of long-wrecked vehicles that had tumbled off the roadway and down the rocky cliffs to their demise. Rusted shells of automobiles, trucks, and a bus or two made me heed my friend's words forever: take the night bus! It's better than seeing your possible future right in front of your face.

Please, take the Nogales route if you really won't accept other suggestions. Nogales is not the best route, but it's the better of the two you've mentioned.

And by the way, the route after you cross at Nogales doesn't go anywhere near the ocean, so don't expect scenic sea vistas. It's called the Coastal Route because it eventually takes you closer to the water, but the route is mainly through the Sonora desert.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









(This post was edited by esperanza on Dec 8, 2006, 5:07 PM)


skydancer

Dec 8, 2006, 4:07 PM

Post #6 of 14 (9448 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Best crossing - Nogales or Calexico/Mexicali

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OMG! I not only have a bad back but get motion sickness. I've been known to lose it on a plane during turbulence. No question about it - you guys and gals convinced me to stay away from Route 2.

I have the two problems mentioned above plus a bad knee and ankle - have to ride with my right leg straight - can't bend it much. I want to minimize the amount of time spent in the car and I can't handle extremely bumpy roads or winding roads for any length of time. Sorry to whine but there it is.

My goal is to find the most direct route with the best roads and decent accommodations. I don't need anything fancy. My husband wants to power through and drive 14+ hr days but I want to take the trip slower.

Perhaps I shouldn't limit myself to choosing between Nogales and Mexicali. I thought those two were the closest crossing (from Oregon). In truth, I am open to other places to cross the border, even if I have to spend a few more hours in the car, if the route will be on better roads. It's all about the ride. And of course convincing my husband to drive out of his way simply for my comfort.


esperanza

Dec 8, 2006, 5:04 PM

Post #7 of 14 (9436 views)

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Re: [skydancer] Best crossing - Nogales or Calexico/Mexicali

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The trip from Nogales to Lake Chapala is long and the roads are not always good.

The quickest route is to come south from Oregon to Route 10 and then stay on the USA side till you get to Laredo, TX. Cross the border at Laredo. On the USA side, you'll be familiar with places to stay, food, gasoline, language, and money. The interstates are well built, fast, safe, and lit at the exits.

Once you cross into Mexico, it's only 700 miles south to Lake Chapala. The toll roads are about as good as anything in the USA. I've done it many times in one day; most folks do it with an overnight in Laredo and another at the halfway point, Matehuala. There are excellent places to stay in both Laredo and Matehuala.

Do a search on this forum about it--there's tons of information here.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









skydancer

Dec 8, 2006, 5:06 PM

Post #8 of 14 (9433 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Best crossing - Nogales or Calexico/Mexicali

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Thank you.


Bloviator

Dec 9, 2006, 5:18 AM

Post #9 of 14 (9394 views)

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Re: [skydancer] Best crossing - Nogales or Calexico/Mexicali

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We have traveled from San Diego to Ajijic numerous times in the past couple of years, so have information that we guarantee.

Esperanza's excellent answer, ignores your comments about visiting in SD and Napa. From either, I doubt that 300 miles across CA, 400+ miles across AZ, and 800 miles across Texas on I-10 etc, are the most desirable. Coming from Oregon, yes. Coming from SD, no.

I realize you have asked for no different choices, but I hope you will consider this one. Lukeville, midway between Calexico/Mexicala and Nogales, is by far the best choice west of Nogales. It is almost unused, avoids the TJ to Sonoyta hell of Hiway 2, and provides no opportunities to get lost (I got lost the first two times I went through Mexicali). We have crossed at all points west of Nogales - usually several times - except Sasabe, which is way out in the middle of nowhere. There is absolutely no comparison unless you really want to visit TJ, Algodones, San Luis Rio Colorado, or Mexicali for some bizarre reason.

To get there, you just go out I-8 past Mexicali to Gila Bend, AZ. Go south 80 miles on a good state hiway and cross at Lukeville. Often no officials on the Mexican side to even slow you down. On the US side if you are coming north, the US border folks are so lonely that they will stop you just to talk. There are good facilities in Sonoyta, which is the sister city to Lukeville (about 3 miles apart). For taking care of all your border crossing details, there is a full service facility about 23 miles south of Sonoyta. It has almost no business and you should experience no line.

The road from Sonoyta to Magdalena/Santa Ana, where the road from Nogales intersects, is a fair road, with a good new toll road for the last part from Altar to Magdalena. The whole road is straight and usually has little traffic. You can drive as fast as you feel comfortable the whole way.

If you are coming from the LA area (bypassing SD), you would just go out I-10 and turn south on State Hiway 86 past the Salton Sea. That connects to I-8 near Calexico. Then just go east on I-8.


(This post was edited by dlyman6500 on Dec 9, 2006, 5:29 AM)


deaconmoss

Dec 10, 2006, 11:07 PM

Post #10 of 14 (9330 views)

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Re: [dlyman6500] Best crossing - Nogales or Calexico/Mexicali

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Thanks for the information on the Lukeville crossing. We will be pulling a 5th wheel to the PV area and from your info I can assume you can get the proper permits and tourist visas at the full service 23 miles south of Sonoyta. The Churchs book "Mexican Camping" doesn't quite come out and say that! Thats why we bypassed Lukeville in the past years! We are excited to try a NEW route.


alex .

Dec 12, 2006, 9:53 AM

Post #11 of 14 (9267 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Best crossing - Nogales or Calexico/Mexicali

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I hauled a horse trailer westbound thru the Rumarosa on Friday from Mexicali. I had crossed at Algodones, actually. It really wasn't a big deal: the road is newly widened, paved, striped, and there are emergency call boxes along the way. The only down side was the cost of the tollroad, as you know the toll is assesed per axle. Two for the truck & two for the trailer, cost about 30 bucks to Tijuana. And they have signs posted at the casetas informing the preference for moneda nacional. I believe the system is transitioning away from the US dollar. The BIG upside is that I was able to roll into Tijuana on the MX side at 5pm without having to deal with the San Diego rush hour traffic.
Alex


(This post was edited by alex . on Dec 12, 2006, 9:58 AM)


aztex

Dec 28, 2006, 11:54 AM

Post #12 of 14 (9172 views)

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Re: [skydancer] Best crossing - Nogales or Calexico/Mexicali

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Having driven most of the road between Nogales and Guadalajara/Chapala I would recommend the Nogales crossing (the new crossing just west of town is called Mariposa). You would arrive at Mariposa using Interstates all the way from SD and at Maraposa you will bypass downtown Nogales and have a straight shot South. The road is in good condition and is a combination of libre and cuota all the way. Between Mazatlan and Tepic the road goes two lanes and is not as well maintained as the rest of the ride, but it is still decent and you can make good time on the road. Once at Tepic you are back onto a high quality system all the way to Chapala.

Hermosillo is easy to drive through and no danger of getting lost. We normally fly into Guadalajara and rent but if we were driving from the border this would be our first and only choice. People living in San Carlos, on the ocean south of Hermosillo, at Guaymas, drive to Guadalajara and take two days with a stop in Mazatlan. It's about a half day from Nogales to San Carlos.

Enjoy your trip!!


skydancer

Dec 28, 2006, 4:08 PM

Post #13 of 14 (9160 views)

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Re: [aztex] Best crossing - Nogales or Calexico/Mexicali

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Thanks to everyone for their advise. We have decided to use the Nogales crossing. I've already booked 3 nights worth of hotels in different towns so we have a schedule we need to keep.

I wasn't able to find a good motel in Nogales. I read the reviews in tripadvisor and anything that you can book via the Internet that is within our price range ($80 and under) seems to be a dump or is across from the railroad tracks. Can someone recommend a motel?

I'll let you know how our trip goes.

Movers came today and packed everything and verified serial numbers. Tomorrow they will come back and load. I'll spend one day deep cleaning the apartment so that I can get my deposit back and then we hit the road. It is really happening - we are moving to Chapala!


NinaNina

Jan 13, 2007, 3:54 AM

Post #14 of 14 (9099 views)

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Re: [skydancer] Best crossing - Nogales or Calexico/Mexicali

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Hi, skydancer!

I'm wondering how the move went for you. We're planning on moving the family from Portland, Oregon to Oaxaca this August, and must investigate moving/shipping options and/or possible driving routes, if we decide to drive.

I hope this message finds you well.

Que le vaya bien,
Serena
 
 
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