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robt65

Apr 11, 2011, 6:55 AM

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If You were Driving This Week

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If you were driving this week between Mexico City and needed to go to McAllen Texas which way would you go? Which crossing would you use?

robt65



Rolly


Apr 11, 2011, 7:43 AM

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Re: [robt65] If You were Driving This Week

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I would cross into Texas at Laredo and drive to McAllen on the Texas side.

Rolly Pirate


Brian

Apr 11, 2011, 8:55 AM

Post #3 of 40 (12728 views)

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Re: [robt65] If You were Driving This Week

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The most recent travel warning recommends against land travel through the states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon and San Luis Potosi. If you aren't going to fly, then you really don't have much choice. I don't see the value of driving all the way up to Laredo and then adding nearly an additional three hours to your trip by then heading back down southeast to McAllen. I also can't understand why people are willing to take an extra 30 minutes to use the Colombia crossing rather than Nuevo Laredo. No one can predict where an incident might occur at the moment they are passing through. If I absolutely had to make the trip you propose, I would just take the autopistas 57 and 40 up to Monterrey and then across to Reynosa. Although I hate to pay tolls, my previously preferred route around Ciudad Victoria is now just out of the question.


Altahabana


Apr 11, 2011, 3:33 PM

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Re: [robt65] If You were Driving This Week

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Robert: I would avoid the autopista between Monterrey and Reynosa. I think Rolly's suggestion is the best one. Most of Tamaulipas is even more unstable than usual. Omnibus and Noreste have suspended service between Reynosa/Matamoros and central/south Tamaulipas. There hasn't been direct service from Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo for nearly a year.

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robt65

Apr 11, 2011, 6:15 PM

Post #5 of 40 (12608 views)

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Re: [Altahabana] If You were Driving This Week

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I also do not relish the prospects of a lot of extra driving up to Laredo before crossing but, . . . . . . . I also hate having to change my pants on the highway (if you get my drift) as an adult. So maybe the most prudent thing to do is to invest the time. Besides I respect the suggestions of both Rolly and Altahabana on this one. If anything changes you think might be a factor in my choice, I would appreciate an update.

The bean jar seems to either have a heck of a leak of white beans or maybe the black beans are just multiplying! How long a run is it from Laredo to Matahuala, pulling a loaded 16 foot cargo trailer? Anyone have a good guess on that one?
Thanks for the suggestions.
robt65


Reefhound


Apr 11, 2011, 6:29 PM

Post #6 of 40 (12604 views)

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Re: [robt65] If You were Driving This Week

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We do it in 6 hours in a car.


Altahabana


Apr 11, 2011, 6:40 PM

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Re: [Reefhound] If You were Driving This Week

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You are really only adding the 140 miles in Texas by traveling to NL. NL and Reynosa are roughly equidistant from Monterrey.


panama john

Apr 11, 2011, 7:34 PM

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Re: [robt65] If You were Driving This Week

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Robt; Be careful and watch your speed limit if you travel from Laredo to McAllen. Most of those small towns on the US side are speed traps. We are traveling to the border on the 16th of this month, and will take the cuota from Saltillo to Mercedes,Anzalduas Bridge. Our final destination is Harlingen, Tx. 30minute drive from McAllen.instead of 2-3 hours from Laredo.


robt65

Apr 11, 2011, 8:31 PM

Post #9 of 40 (12561 views)

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Re: [Altahabana] If You were Driving This Week

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I have looked at it carefully Altahabana, I feel it will take me about three hours going the speed limit to reach Laredo. It will take another Maximum 2.5 hours in permit and Aduana time maybe three. That's 5 hours. It will take me about 8 hours with the trailer to drive to Matahuala. That's about 13 hours. That doesn’t leave enough daylight to make that in one day. As I recall at Christmas I went from Colombia # 2 to Matahuala and got through customs at around one or one thirty, including all permits for trailer and truck and travel and arrived at about nine PM in Matahuala. That included one additional Aduana stop south of Monterrey as well as one or two other checkpoints. Decisions, decisions . . . . damn I hate these kinds of decisions.

Altahabana, do you think taking the cuota makes a difference between Reynosa and Monterrey? I would be taking the cuota all the way. I can make Matahuala by about 6:00 PM. I can also skirt Monterrey quite easily versus coming the other way around Monterrey. I am really at a loss at this point. Not only from the money point of view, I just do not like taking that cuota from Reynosa to Monterrey.Do you have any other suggestions Altahabana?

Panama john, you have my cell phone number, I sure would appreciate a phone call with a road report once you clear the border. I believe I will be leaving within five days after your arrival. I am currently in Mission in our travel trailer. The travel trailer will be staying here. I will be pulling my 16 foot cargo trailer. Both close to the same weight. Where do you overnight when you come north? PM me if you wish. We should meet anyway. I don't mind driving to Harlingen if you are going to be around a couple of days or so . . . . . that is if you have the time.

Thanks All
Robt65


Reefhound


Apr 11, 2011, 9:09 PM

Post #10 of 40 (12546 views)

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Re: [robt65] If You were Driving This Week

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Just a thought, depending on your personal stamina, but in the U.S. you *can* drive at night so that first 3 hours to Laredo can be done early enough that you are crossing at first light. For that matter, if you think it's going to take several hours with Aduana, you could cross a little before dawn, say at 5am. So if you clear Nuevo Laredo by 9am, you'll make Matehuala early afternoon. If you don't want to drive at night even in Texas, go to Laredo the day before and overnight at a truck stop. No matter how much inconvenience the extra time and driving may be, it's a world better than running into trouble.


robt65

Apr 11, 2011, 9:48 PM

Post #11 of 40 (12538 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] If You were Driving This Week

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Reef Hound,

Your knowledge and expertise runs a close third behind Altahabana and Rolly (take that as a compliment - it was meant as one!) (smiling). I have been thinking about that also. Does anyone know the hours of operation of the Aduana and or the Permit office at Laredo crossing? I have never been through that crossing before. I don't even know which way to go when I do cross. I can drive for about 10 to 12 hours max before I start fading.(smiling)

I will also have a three year old Chocolate Lab with me for a little girl with a birth disability in Sonora, that I will have to walk a little about every three hours. No I am not going to Sonora, the parents and the child are coming to our home to get this companion for this little girl. Her family are predisposed to having other children with disabilities so no more children (sisters or brothers) for this couple. They wanted a dog like our Chocolate Lab for their little girl and so there we are.

I have to get two little girls her father home and another little girl her new forever home dog. So I appreciate any and all suggestions here. How do I reach the cuota from Laredo after crossing? Is the cuota close to the crossing with a pretty direct route to it? give me some answers here folks. I need the help, cause one way or the other I will be going, I don't like letting kids down!

Thanks All
robt65 (now almost 70)


Reefhound


Apr 11, 2011, 10:05 PM

Post #12 of 40 (12534 views)

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Re: [robt65] If You were Driving This Week

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Laredo services are 24/7, at least bridge 2. Back when I would take the bus we would cross around 2am and then when I started driving I followed the bus schedule until last year when I decided night driving had gotten too risky.

Crossing at bridge 2, it's a bit convoluted to get to immigration. Somewhere on here or another forum I wrote detailed instructions with google maps and street views. But basically you hang a left on Calle Bravo immediately past customs, a right on Colosio to the light at Hidalgo, then left onto a two lane road that loops back and under the bridge to immigration. Easier than it sounds. See this map. Immigration building is between bridge 1 and 2. After immigration, come back the two lane road to Colosio and turn left, this takes you to Mx85 where you go left and stay on this until you run into the interior checkpoint and soon after the cuota.

Here's an overview map showing how Colosio loops along the east of the city by the river and meets Mx85. It's a 4 lane road with a median and only a few lights on it. You can use street view to see exactly what the streets and intersections look like.


Reefhound


Apr 11, 2011, 10:13 PM

Post #13 of 40 (12526 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] If You were Driving This Week

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Oh, and when you're coming across the bridge don't get in the right lane. That's for buses and there will probably be a long line of buses. It would suck to wait an hour or two in that line and then see you're in the wrong lane. On the other side of the bridge they split the buses from the cars, buses go right and have their own inspection bays. Cars and small trucks go straight and choose from the Declarar or Nada Declarar lanes. I wish they would move Aduana over and send everyone to the right like the buses because they dump directly into the immigration parking lot rather than the convoluted path I described. But there are blue signs for Permiso Vehiculo guiding you.


robt65

Apr 13, 2011, 2:36 PM

Post #14 of 40 (12348 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] If You were Driving This Week

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I have been speaking to some Mexican friends here in the RGV of Texas. Most are from Mexico and many have direct family that are from the areas of or around Saltillo, San Luis Potsi and Monterrey. All of them will no longer travel via Reynosa. They have a name for the area of Tamaulipas from San Fernando to Reynosa and call it the "Corredor de la Muerte."

robt65


Altahabana


Apr 13, 2011, 3:51 PM

Post #15 of 40 (12321 views)

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Re: [robt65] If You were Driving This Week

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At Bridge Two all traffic with nothing to declare is diverted to the left into a new area, so all vehicles with items to declare go straight ahead. If you choose Bridge Two you (1) take a left at the very first street after you clear and then go about 6 blocks until the street merges into Coloso, the loop road. (2) There is no traffic coming from your left so it is easy to enter. However get into the far left lane immediately. (3) At the first traffic light about a 1 km from where you enter you will make a long U past the lanes of Coloso heading to towards the bridge onto the access road. (4) Once on the access road you go about 1 km and you will see the Immigration station on the left. You can visual it easily when crossing the Bridge.

Columbia Bridge may be physically easier to navigate, but it doesn't open until I believe 8 a.m. I won't comment on the saw nothing, heard nothing thread someone just posted on crossing at Columbia on Monday. Her experience is indicative of nothing except what she saw/didn't see on her 40 minute trip. There are problems out there regularly.


robt65

Apr 13, 2011, 6:13 PM

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Re: [Altahabana] If You were Driving This Week

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Thanks again altahabana,

Is signage of the streets well marked? Such as entering into Bridge 2? . . . . or that long U Turn? What about transitioning onto the Quota heading to Mexico city? Where does one do that after crossing Bridge 2 in Laredo?

Thanks,
robt65


donemry

Apr 14, 2011, 5:57 AM

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Re: [Altahabana] If You were Driving This Week

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Altahabana, I apologize for not getting mugged on the way to the Colombia crossing, maybe next time.


Altahabana


Apr 14, 2011, 6:43 AM

Post #18 of 40 (12199 views)

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Re: [donemry] If You were Driving This Week

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Considering the unstable situation that exists in Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas, responses like this are best appreciated by ex-pats from the interior whose understanding of the risks to travelers in the Frontera is marginal or non-existent. I live in Nuevo Laredo and only see armed Zetas moving around the city a couple of times a week and I know what to look for so it is hardly surprising that you saw nothing during your brief glimpse of the front lines as you transited through. I am glad you made it safely and I mean that sincerely.


robt65

Apr 14, 2011, 7:23 AM

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Re: [Altahabana] If You were Driving This Week

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Hello altahabana,

. . . . . . "Considering the unstable situation that exists in Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas, responses like this are best appreciated by ex-pats from the interior whose understanding of the risks to travelers in the Frontera is marginal or non-existent."
I would venture to say that many of us (and probably the majority of us) living in the interior also do not appreciate such responses. I for one am grateful for your time spent, keeping us all up to date on various cartel related problems closer to the fronteria. Some folks will not understand they also have to travel through those areas more prone to cartel conflicts. Bravado is a false friend. Many will never understand, until they get stopped once (as my brother in law and I did near C.D. Victoria couple of years ago) . . . it really is a mind bending experience, that I hope to never be a part of again.
Please, keep your information coming to this forum. It is a valuable tool to many of us making our travel plans.
Thanks
robt65


Altahabana


Apr 14, 2011, 9:04 AM

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Many will never understand, until they get stopped once (as my brother in law and I did near C.D. Victoria couple of years ago) . . . it really is a mind bending experience, that I hope to never be a part of again.

Nothing brings the reality of the narco insurgency home more than being detained at a narco retén by coked up, masked matones in flack jackets carrying assault weapons. I view posts by travelers saying they passed through the Frontera safely without seeing anything as personal messages to friends not to worry because they are home safe. Trying not to sound too harsh, such messages are of little value to others in assessing the security situation in a particular location.




(This post was edited by Altahabana on Apr 14, 2011, 9:05 AM)


mexicobuff

Apr 14, 2011, 9:12 AM

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Re: [Altahabana] If You were Driving This Week

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My experience is that people will believe almost nothing about Mexico unless they themselves have experienced whatever the topic might be. Otherwise, folks seem to go around with their heads in the sand. "What do you mean, narco gun battles? I didn't see anything in MY neighborhood." Trying to get people to understand that even though they don't see it, it still happens has been a losing proposition for me. Most folks prefer to be ignorant.
NB Email modified to avoid duplication with Esperanza's email of patalarga@gmail.com


chinagringo


Apr 14, 2011, 9:15 AM

Post #22 of 40 (12156 views)

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Re: [robt65] If You were Driving This Week

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Robt:

In defense of Altahabana, I know that he follows and posts on other forums whose participants often appear to be clueless that there is anything happening in the areas being discussed. As soon as someone makes a post such as: "I just made the trip and didn't see a thing", others react positively with observations such as: "things must be getting better" and "besides, I have never seen anything either".

Because of the age of MexConnect and the wide range of member's experiences, in my opinion you see a more mature and more experienced membership. Face it - there are many out there who no longer pay attention to what day it is, let alone to the news from their country of residence. It is far easier to live in a make believe world!
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



Altahabana


Apr 14, 2011, 10:39 AM

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Re: [chinagringo] If You were Driving This Week

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I am pretty thick-skinned so it doesn't bother me if someone doesn't like what I post. Besides I live in Nuevo Laredo and my business brings me into contact with sectors that are affected by the situation in the Frontera. I have a pretty good idea about what is happening in Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas, and the 40 minute experience of someone passing through once every six months or so probably isn't going to add to or change my understanding, much less cause me to do something I wouldn't otherwise do--e.g. travel on the Piedras highway (Hwy. 2) towards Columbia bridge.

How do I reach the cuota from Laredo after crossing? Is the cuota close to the crossing with a pretty direct route to it? give me some answers here folks.

Once you get what you need at the CIITEV immigration/vehicle permit station located between the two downtown bridges the rest is easy. (1) When you exit the parking lot, you go take a right and retrace the route you took to get there. The access road--where you made the wide U-turn on your way to the CIITEV station--ends at a traffic signal and you simply merge onto the Coloso, the loop road around Nuevo Laredo. (2) Coloso is divided highway for about six-seven miles and as you round the bend near the Nuevo Laredo Civic Center you will see the Monterrey Highway (Hwy 85) overpass in the distance. (3) As you approach the overpass get into the far left lane and after the light you will make a left onto the Hwy 85 access road and then onto Hwy 85. (4) After about 8 miles you will come to the junction with Highway 2 (right---Columbia detour; left--the Riberena to Reynosa). You continue straight and about 1-2 miles past the junction you will come to the interior Aduana checkpoint. (5) After clearing the Aduana checkpoint you simply continue on Hwy 85 and it will turn into the autopista about 20 miles further on down the road.


(This post was edited by Altahabana on Apr 14, 2011, 10:43 AM)


robt65

Apr 14, 2011, 7:50 PM

Post #24 of 40 (12046 views)

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Re: [chinagringo] If You were Driving This Week

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Chnagringo,

I hope you are not thinking that altahabana requires any "defense" from anything I have said to him in my reply. I completely agree with Altahabana. I do not like the extra driving from McAllen to Laredo and I am not familiar with the crossing there; however safety wise, I think it is the lesser (in terms of potential problems at this time) of several other possibilities. Both the Laredo and the border crossing at the Mission, Texas Anzalduas Bridge, have different positives from my particular perspective and use. Laredo is an older bridge and not the most efficient setup from necessary office visits for the immigrant. The Anzalduas Bridge on the other hand is new and very efficient on the Mexican side, and has a pretty direct rout (although more expensive) onto south of Monterrey and then an easy merge with Hwy 57 and the cuota heading south.
I hope my remark in an earlier thread . . . . my quote ” I would venture to say that many of us (and probably the majority of us) living in the interior also do not appreciate such responses.” . . . . was intended to point to the remark made by donemry, to wit . . . . . “Altahabana, I apologize for not getting mugged on the way to the Colombia crossing, maybe next time.” . . . . . . I thought that remark was not called for.
Altahabana, thank you for the directions. . . . . having never crossed at Laredo bridge # 2 before it is still confusing to me . . . . . probably because I am not familiar at all with the landmarks that you point out. Probably after a time or two crossing there all will make more sense to me.
Robt65


donemry

Apr 15, 2011, 9:13 AM

Post #25 of 40 (11978 views)

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Re: [Altahabana] If You were Driving This Week

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Columbia Bridge may be physically easier to navigate, but it doesn't open until I believe 8 a.m. I won't comment on the saw nothing, heard nothing thread someone just posted on crossing at Columbia on Monday. Her experience is indicative of nothing except what she saw/didn't see on her 40 minute trip. There are problems out there regularly.


My somewhat snarky reply was in response to this perceived snarkiness. If nothing bad happened, then nothing bad happened. The tone of your posts tend to suggest that something bad will happen to anyone that chooses to cross at Colombia. You are right in that my 40 minute experience may not be indicative of the general situation in the Neuvo Laredo area. However, it is indeed just a 40 minute experience and not camping out on Highway 2 for two weeks. In my judgement, that 40 minutes is less harrowing than the other 18 hours of simply driving in Mexico and being concerned about accidents. YMMV
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