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Ernie Gorrie

Aug 17, 2001, 6:47 PM

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California to Patzcuaro For Mary

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We did most of this drive in March 2000. We determined that the best border crossing for our purpose was at Nogales (AZ/SO).<p>We had two drivers and wanted to get to Zihuatanejo quickly so our first day was a long drive. We left Tucson at about 04:15. The AAA office in Tucson had given us incorrect information that it would be much faster to cross the border at the Mariposa (truck) crossing. Unfortunately, the Mariposa crossing was not 24 hours/day and was closed at that time.<p>We figured that out before we got to the Mariposa exit and crossed at the 24 hour downtown Nogales crossing. We did a quick, cursory oral declaration at that point, then proceeded to the 21 km. checkpoint to do the paperwork for FMTs and the vehicle temporary importation. The paperwork took about 45 minutes and was pretty uneventful.<p>The drive from Nogales to Culiacan was all on cuatas. This was four-lane divided highway. During the first couple of hundred kilometres it was a bit wavey, as if there had been some settling of the ground after the pavement was laid. After that, everything was fine. I believe speed limits were mostly 100-110 km/hr.<p>The sole potentially adverse experience we had on the southbound trip was in Hermosillo. Some six to eight kids wanted to wash our windshield and would not take no for an answer. After they smeared a dirty cloth on the windshield I was concerned that we might lose our radio antenna, but that didn't happen. (I noticed that ours was the only vehicle that was approached and that we were the only vehicle with foreign plates.)<p>We arrived at Culiacan at about 17:00 hours.<p>Our drive the next day took us from Culiacan (06:00) to Guadalajara. Culiacan to Mazatlan was cuata. The speed limit here was around 120 km/hr. Getting through Mazatlan was a bit awkward due to the layout of the highway and a bit of road construction that was going on. Our map showed a cuata for a distance south of Mazatlan, but it wasn't open yet. It may be open now.<p>Mazatlan to Tepic was almost entirely two-lane free highway. Again it was uneventful. Tepic to Guadalajara was back onto cuata and an easy drive. It is quite a climb though and I thought that during the summer months a vehicle with a cooling system that was not in good repair might have a problem.<p>There is a one-hour time advance at the Jalisco border. We arrived in Gudalajara at about 15:30, but that was really only 14:30 for us.<p>We used the 2000 Guia Roji road atlas for our trip planning. I recommend you pick up the 2001 edition. We found it to be very helpful. The Guia Roji includes a section that identifies the location and price of toll booths. Although the toll charges had changed by the time we drove, once we figured out the increases early in the trip it was easy to anticipate the amount for the next booth.<p>The Guia Roji road atlas also identifies the locations of Pemex stations on the cuata routes quite accurately.<p>I understand the road atlas is printed in both Spanish and English versions. I've never seen the English version, but I understand it is less comprehensive than the Spanish version. Even with my limited Spanish I was able to use the Spanish version effectively.

 
 
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