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Tab


May 5, 2010, 9:43 AM

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The Difficulties of Moving

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Hello fellow expats!

Feliz Cinco de Mayo.

It's been 5 years in the works and we are finally moving to Mexico. We had a perfect plan in place for our move. We wanted to drive our Jeep with a 5x10 trailer in tow from our home in Canada to Mazatlan Mexico. We bought a new trailer, sold most of our contents, are preparing our menaje and the closing date for our home in Canada is May 28. We have 3.5 weeks left to go.

And then the car jackings start getting worse. I have been trying my best to keep up on what has been going on in Mexico. And now we have become too frightened to drive through Mexico to get to our destination. While the actual percentage of people who are car jacked in Mexico may be low for the population as a whole, I question what the percentage is for those travelling through Mexico. It often seems like highways are empty for long stretches between the towns, making me believe that most people are just staying in their own towns. I just can't stand the thought of going through all the hassle from Canada, only to personally end up delivering our vehicle and contents to some carjackers in Mexico with machine guns held to our heads. Yes, I know that there is always a chance even before these "wars" but one cannot deny that it has increased drastically.

So then we thought we could just have our Jeep and trailer with contents loaded onto a trailer and shipped to Mazatlan from the border. Wrong. We can have our Jeep shipped separately, but not with contents or trailer. I was told by a moving company that trailers can only be towed through Mexico not loaded on trailers, and must be towed by the owners. So then I thought about having someone drive our vehicle with trailer through Mexico. The website for the Canadian Consulate in Mexico says that only the owners or their children can drive the vehicle, but I just saw Article 106 (I think that was the number) that Rolly posted saying that someone with the same immigration status can drive it. Of course, the only person we can find to drive it is a Mexican friend (living in the US) and he seems to think he can drive it with a Notarized letter from us. But that goes against Rolly's findings and I am guessing the Mexican Insurance company would not cover it then either. So that is out.

So short of banging our heads against a wall (which of course has now been done a number of times), we are beginning to believe that the only thing we can do now is either A) sell our brand new trailer and rent a Uhaul trailer to Phoenix, drop our belongings with a moving company, return the trailer, get a permit for the Jeep and then drop it off at a place that ships vehicles, jump on a plane and wait in Mazatlan for everything to arrive. Or B) Drive the Jeep with our trailer to Phoenix , drop our belongings with a moving company, get a permit for the Jeep, drop it off at a place that ships vehicles and store our trailer at a storage facility in Phoenix, fly to Mazatlan from Phoenix. And when things settle down a bit and we feel comfortable enough we'll drive back and get the trailer. Or of course C) Suck it up and drive through. Maybe try to gather a caravan, but I am not sure how succesful others have been with this.

I know....Welcome to Mexico!

Any helpful thoughts anyone?



Gringal

May 5, 2010, 10:17 AM

Post #2 of 41 (10052 views)

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Re: [Tab] The Difficulties of Moving

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Here's the simplest route: Sell as many of your possessions as you can live without. Remember that Costco, Home Depot and many others are going to be near your destination. Turn the remainder over to a moving company. I have a high opinion of the SEYMI company after using it from the border to our casa. There is an 800 number for their Guadalajara main office.
Sell the trailer and the car. Cars are for sale, everywhere, and that eliminates selling yours someday, which can be a hassle involving an undesired trip back to the border.
Get on a plane and travel to your destination.
Find a great restaurant and have dinner by the sea. Celebrate.

Worrying about getting hijacked will just make your lives miserable.
Buen Suerte and yes....welcome to Mexico.


Rolly


May 5, 2010, 10:21 AM

Post #3 of 41 (10051 views)

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Re: [Tab] The Difficulties of Moving

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I vote for "Suck it up and drive through" Your other options are expensive, awkward and I think unnecessary..

Most of the road troubles are happening in north-eastern México, far from your route. While no one can promise you will not have a problem on the road, the chances are very low.

Rolly Pirate


Marlene


May 5, 2010, 10:42 AM

Post #4 of 41 (10039 views)

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Re: [Tab] The Difficulties of Moving

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If it were me, I would go with Option C. I know people who have done this routinely over the years. In fact, we know women who do this drive regularly to Mazatlan on their own. They try to round up a little convoy and meet near the border crossing. They are not fearful or worried, but then again none of them drive 2010 Ford Lobo's or F150's. It's a particular vehicle type, and even color, that these bad guys are after. They want it for a specific purpose, so where they take it to do what they need to do, it must blend in.

I hope this helps a little because I know how much you have been looking forward to this. Congratulations on selling your house!


(This post was edited by Marlene on May 5, 2010, 10:45 AM)


esperanza

May 5, 2010, 10:50 AM

Post #5 of 41 (10035 views)

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Re: [Tab] The Difficulties of Moving

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First thing to remember: the 'bad guys' aren't after you; they're after your vehicle (if it's one they actually do want), so having someone else drive it down for you doesn't solve the problem.

Second thing to know: a Mexican national is not permitted to drive your vehicle with foreign license plates, no matter that you give him a letter of permission from God himself. It's illegal unless you are actually in the vehicle with him.

Third thing: the reason there is never much traffic on the toll roads in Mexico is about the high cost of tolls, not about danger.

Fourth thing: I agree with Gringal. Call or email SEYMI (they have English-speaking personnel, if you need that) in Guadalajara for a quote, before you make a decision. SEYMI is the best mover in Mexico, bar none. http://www.seymi.com.mx/

Fifth thing: breathe. This is all just as do-able as it has ever been.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Peter


May 5, 2010, 10:52 AM

Post #6 of 41 (10029 views)

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Re: [Tab] The Difficulties of Moving

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I think your route has very little to cause worry. I made that drive, and beyond, only once to bring my SUV with rooftop carrier and all went smoothly. Nogales seems not to be as much a hot spot as some other border areas and I understand there are places to enter the country near there that avoids town altogether.

The drive into Guaymas should give you plenty of company, it is supposed to be the number-one drive-in destination in Mexico. The highway from there to Mazatlán is a good part cuota and I don't recall hearing much about incidents along that route.

It sounds like doing it any other way is a lot of unnecessary hassle, and nothing in life is guaranteed anyway. If I had to do it all over again, I would.

Best of luck. Relax and go for it.


RickS


May 5, 2010, 11:08 AM

Post #7 of 41 (10016 views)

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Re: [Tab] The Difficulties of Moving

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I don't live in Mexico but probably will some day, and I visit often (read drive down once or twice a year for an extended time-frame and drive 'all over' the country). While I do not and am not discounting or underestimating that 'some bad things' are happening in Mexico these days and that some of them could affect you directly or indirectly', I have to agree with Rolly. You observed "It often seems like highways are empty for long stretches between the towns, making me believe that most people are just staying in their own towns." I just recently concluded a 5500-mile trip from Colorado through some of Mexico and I can tell you that my observation on that trip does NOT coincide with yours at all.... I saw no indication on the highways that folks were 'honkered up' and not traveling. I'm sure that may be the case in Juarez proper or maybe some other hot spots, but I didn't observe any difference in the traffic on the highways I traveled.

And I also wonder out loud whether you are really a good candidate for life in Mexico in general, since you are seemingly very affected by the above mentioned 'potentially bad things' and how they may or may not 'statistically' affect you and yours on any given day as you venture out on the highways. That is not meant to be a condemnation of you or your personality/philosophies but just an observation based on my years of traveling to and spending significant time there.

Whatever you decide, the best of luck to you!


richmx2


May 5, 2010, 11:11 AM

Post #8 of 41 (10014 views)

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Re: [Marlene] The Difficulties of Moving

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Even the worries about the type of truck seem a little over-blown. First of all, not having seen any statistics on the types of vehicles stolen versus the number of those vehicles sold in the parts of Mexico where they are stolen, hard to say the gangsters are targeting people with X brand of truck. A few years ago, in relation to something else, I had looked at auto theft stats from Mexico City. At that time, white Tsurus were the most commonly stolen vehicle... but then again, the most common vehicle in Mexico City was a white Tsuru.

Secondly, you're talking about people with a trailer and a truck-load of stuff. Even the most boneheaded criminals aren't going to want to have to take off the trailer hitch, and dump a load of stuff before they head for the hills.


http://mexfiles.net
http://mexicobookpublishers.com


Marlene


May 5, 2010, 11:30 AM

Post #9 of 41 (9998 views)

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Re: [richmx2] The Difficulties of Moving

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Very true. The vehicle with a trailer attached would likely not be of any interest for several reasons.


Reefhound


May 5, 2010, 12:45 PM

Post #10 of 41 (9958 views)

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Re: [Tab] The Difficulties of Moving

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I'd recommend C) suck it up and drive through. Just do it in the day time and be somewhat mentally prepared for trouble. That might include splitting your cash between you with some on you and some in the vehicle, keeping your documents and cell on you so if you're thrown out of your car you have some resources, being ready to comply promptly if ambushed by getting out immediately and not resisting.

It would be nice to have some kind of device that would cause the jacked car to stop running a few miles away. I wouldn't want it to stop too close to me though (remote kill switch) because they might get out and demand to know what I did and shoot me over it.

Having someone else drive your car and trailer doesn't solve the issue of losing all your stuff.

Personally, I've not been a big fan of the requests for a caravan. For one, let's be honest, if one of the other cars gets ambushed you aren't stopping for them and if you get ambushed they aren't stopping for you. At best, there will be a witness and someone to make a phone call at the next stop. For another, some of the gangs have been setting up checkpoints on highways and stopping/jacking numerous cars at once. They aren't going to be deterred by your caravan. It always sounded like a lot of logistical hassles for very little benefit. Biggest benefit would be helping each other with car trouble.


Gringal

May 5, 2010, 1:33 PM

Post #11 of 41 (9943 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] The Difficulties of Moving

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Lots of good points there, Reefhound. Caravaning may have an old West wagons appeal, but in fact, the bad guys are much better prepared to do harm than the good guys are to defend.

If you do go the "suck it up and drive" route, remember the primary caution: Don't drive after dark. Break that trip up into segments between comfortable lodgings with secure parking. It has been said that secure parking is often best found in Mexico in the "no tell Motels"; however, the trailer may create a problem...or not.

The cuotas have less traffic because of the toll cost. However, I think the tolls include insurance. Rolly would know that one.

Me, I still say ship it and fly.


Tab


May 5, 2010, 3:10 PM

Post #12 of 41 (9919 views)

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Re: [Tab] The Difficulties of Moving

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Thanks for your input everyone. It's always good to get the information from the people who are actually living there. You made alot of good points. I think we are going to stick with Option C - suck it up and drive. It's the easiest thing for us to do and what we really wanted to do before we got a scare. We are down to such few contents, which is why we have such a small trailer. But to sell every last bit, including Jeep and trailer right now would probably add even more stress on us. Not to mention it would be unlikely to unload it all in 3.5 weeks. With the feedback from all of you and the others we have spoken with we are feeling reassured to go ahead with our original plans.
Muchas gracias amigos!


Gringal

May 5, 2010, 3:43 PM

Post #13 of 41 (9905 views)

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Re: [Tab] The Difficulties of Moving

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Best of luck on your journey! And please, once you've safely arrived at your destination......post and let us know.


tagman787

May 6, 2010, 7:22 AM

Post #14 of 41 (9833 views)

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Re: [Tab] The Difficulties of Moving

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My wife and I just returned from a 4 week stay in San Carlos just outside of Guaymas. I have also ridden my Motorcycle down 2 times in the last 2 years entering thru Juarez and Palomas. ( 1 guy in Juarez did give me the finger which was the most threatening thing that i've had happen in Mexico)e We drove down with our van, motorcycle in the van, and pulling a small Scamp camper. We entered thru the west port of entry (truck route) in Nogales. Our trip was no different than previous years, people were polite and friendly every where. The media has convinced most of the US that all of Mexico is like Juarez. We just travel with common sense, no night driving, a friendly attitude at all checkpoints, etc. We had planned to drive further south (even paid the fees in Nogales to go so. of Guaymas and never did because we enjoyed San Carlos so much) We camped 4 weeks on a remote section of beach just so of town, never felt in danger, policia came by 1 a day and waved. On our return trip we stopped for gas between Hermosilla and Santa Anna and filled 2 tanks on our van only to find that they wouldn't accept credit cards and the ATM was beat up badly, so they gave us Arturo (a window washer, gopher and overall nice guy) and we went for a ride to Santa Anna to find a ATM. We all had a good time and he hitched back to the station once I found some Pesos. We plan on returning in October for our first full winter. Proceed with your plans, your risks are higher in many US locations. Enjoy your trip. John


Tab


May 6, 2010, 7:42 AM

Post #15 of 41 (9816 views)

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Re: [tagman787] The Difficulties of Moving

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Thanks John! Its so nice to hear of some positive current travels through Mexico. That's the problem with news and even web searches...we only seem to hear about the bad stuff. People rarely report on the good stuff. But that's the way news always has and always will be.


DosViajeros

May 6, 2010, 8:54 PM

Post #16 of 41 (9734 views)

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Re: [Tab] The Difficulties of Moving

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Hello to all:
My partner and our Sheltie and I just got back from a wonderful two-week driving trip to Guadalajara (Ajijic) and back to Phoenix - about 3,000 miles. We had no difficulties, other than a broken bolt in the brake shoe our first day out. By the time we got to Guaymas it was screeching horribly. So, the next morning we were first in line when the El Yunque Refacciones opened at 8:30 a.m. The owner promptly ushered our car in, put it up on the lift, popped the wheels, did a thorough inspection, replaced the bolt, put the wheels back on, lowered the car, and sent us on our way. No charge. It was almost beyond belief. The legendary Mexican generosity and hospitality that we usually experience, and that seemed to be the good omen for the rest of our trip - we ran into absolutely not one scintilla of a problem. On the way down we saw four federales, two going the other way, one stopping someone else, and a fourth broken down by the side of the road. On the way back we were stopped once by the Mexican Army - a cursory question or two, and waved on our way. Stopped once again by the federales at a checkpoint, another couple of questions, and waved onward. We also had to stop at about four fruit inspection stations. The entire trip was populated by wonderful, friendly, helpful, and extremely courteous people. Now, we are not Pollyannas: we read the news, Guadalara Reporter, these and other forums, etc. while planning; we travelled on the cuotas, in daylight, kept an eye out around us, and checked into motels by nightfall. While we did not (yet) move our household to Mexico, the cuotas are just fine to drive right now. Keep a positive attitude and go for it! ¡México lindo y querido, te amamos!
Neil and Dan


robt65

May 7, 2010, 8:04 PM

Post #17 of 41 (9648 views)

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Re: [esperanza] The Difficulties of Moving

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In Reply To


Second thing to know: a Mexican national is not permitted to drive your vehicle with foreign license plates, no matter that you give him a letter of permission from God himself. It's illegal unless you are actually in the vehicle with him.

This is all just as do-able as it has ever been.


Hi Esperanza,

I must disagree with you at least in the states of Queretaro and Tamaulipas. My wife is a Mexican National and she is also on my vehicle registrations, even though she never has been in the USA. She is also on our American and Mexican insurance. She is allowed to drive our car, as is any immediate member of our (her family) such as brother, sister, mother father and or children, with lisenced drivers of course. Maybe like some other things even though this is supposed to be a national thing . . . . maybe . . . . . just maybe it is also a state thing? Who knows . . . . all I know is the only thing for sure is that nothing is for sure!

Robt65


Rolly


May 7, 2010, 8:10 PM

Post #18 of 41 (9644 views)

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Re: [robt65] The Difficulties of Moving

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Robert is correct. Article 106 says:

Los vehículos podrán ser conducidos en territorio nacional por el importador, su cónyuge, sus ascendientes, descendientes o hermanos, aun cuando éstos no sean extranjeros...

In translation:

The vehicles can be driven in Mexico by the importer, his or her spouse, their parents and grandparents, etc, their decedents, their brothers or sisters, even when those relatives are not foreigners...

Rolly Pirate


Tab


Jun 7, 2010, 11:20 AM

Post #19 of 41 (9267 views)

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Re: [Tab] The Difficulties of Moving

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Hi Everyone!

I just thought I would write an update to say that we arrived safe and sound in Mazatlan on Thursday June 3rd. It took us 6 nights, 7 days and 4700 km of driving to get here from Toronto. The travel was not completely without disruption as we did find ourselves going through what we deemed to be a fake checkpoint. We had made our way through 2 Federal Police checkpoints and were always just waved through, no questions asked. When we found our third checkpoint 25 km North of Ciudad Obregon on the #15 Quota, the situation just did not feel right. There was one guy with a PGR shirt on, an AK-47 slung over his shoulder and an unmarked white Ford Lobo with a stick-on blue and red flashing light on his windshield visor. To the right about 100 feet away we saw a black Suburban, red Ford lobo (both unmarked) and about 3 men in dark clothing also with machine guns, slouching beside the suburban and laughing. A few cars were already being searched on the runoff area. The guy who was stopping all the traffic was smirking just a little too much and told the car in front of him to go over to the runoff. When it was our turn he looked at us with our Jeep and trailer all loaded up and just grunted and waved pointed over to the runoff too. So we drove real slow, but then just kept on going. My husband was watching his rearview and the guy was already onto the next victim and I was watching the other side -there was nobody at the runoff ensuring that we pulled over. We kept on driving and all went well - thank goodness! Our intuition definitely lead us the right way!!

We are thankful for this forum keeping us informed. All I can say is pay close attention to the situation and you can only make a judgement based on each scenario. We count ourselves lucky.


Peter


Jun 7, 2010, 12:18 PM

Post #20 of 41 (9238 views)

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Re: [Tab] The Difficulties of Moving

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Welcome back. I am so glad you made it all this way safely. I guess with the state of affairs even a "fake" checkpoint is as real as any other kind. Here's hoping your life here will be tranquil and pleasurable.


Marlene


Jun 7, 2010, 1:59 PM

Post #21 of 41 (9210 views)

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Re: [Tab] The Difficulties of Moving

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Welcome back Tab! We have having the nicest June weather I can remember! Enjoy it, as you get settled in.


robt65

Jun 7, 2010, 4:28 PM

Post #22 of 41 (9170 views)

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Re: [Tab] The Difficulties of Moving

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Hi and Happy to know that you made it safe.

Just for the heck of it, can you remember the time of the day that you ran into this false check point? I am getting ready to drive again back to Mexico and I am thinking that maybe these guys do not get up so early. Maybe I am wrong.

Robt65


chinagringo


Jun 7, 2010, 5:29 PM

Post #23 of 41 (9149 views)

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Re: [robt65] The Difficulties of Moving

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I believe that the "bad guys rule" of not getting up too early has gone by the wayside. The recent fake checkpoint north of PV and the one near Mazatlan happen in the early morning hours, if my memory serves me correctly.
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



esperanza

Jun 7, 2010, 6:52 PM

Post #24 of 41 (9118 views)

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Re: [chinagringo] The Difficulties of Moving

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Up early? Ha! They hadn't gone to bed yet.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Peter


Jun 7, 2010, 7:14 PM

Post #25 of 41 (9109 views)

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Re: [esperanza] The Difficulties of Moving

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If their specialty is Meth they may not go to bed for days.
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