Chapala or Bust: Our Ultimate Road Trip, Part 2

We were finally in Mexico!

(If you’re looking for how we got here, see the prior post here.)

Driving in Mexico can be sorely challenging.

First, there’s the newness of it. It’s just plain different here than in the States. Once we were out of Nogales and the commercial zone, there were no more strip malls, big-box stores, gaudy flashing signs. But there was an entirely new (to us) landscape. It’s really a challenge to keep the eyes on the road with all this newness coming at us at sixty miles per hour.

Second, the roads are different and until you get to know them pretty well, a careful eye is required.

We’ve articulated in other posts some of the issues with driving here in Mexico. You can find them here and here.

Suffice to say that the biggest challenge we faced immediately after crossing was how to ensure that we stayed on the toll roads. We had Google fired up; still just the sheer difference in layout of the highways here in Mexico requires special driving attention. At least it did for us.

And we had been forewarned not to drive at night, even on the toll roads. Some of these warnings are just fear-based. Yet, there is good reason to follow this rule. Toll roads can become regular roads without warning. It’s not necessary that you will pay a toll and then be off the toll road. Nope. A toll road can become a regular road and vice-versa with warning.

So? So what? A regular road can (and is very likely to) have speed bumps. Hard to see sometimes during the day; almost impossible at night. Plus pedestrians, bikes, and motorbikes.

We kept track of which major cities were coming up on our route and would then book a hotel online to spend the night.

We went through a number of cities.

You’ll find peddlers and vendors at many intersections. Guys (it’s always guys) will want to wash your windshield for you and will just start doing so unless you pretty aggressively say No. Doesn’t matter than your windshield was washed at the prior intersection. They’ll keep at it. And, for the most part, they will leave you alone if you wave them off.

Yes, we passed through areas of Mexico listed as danger zones on by the U.S. Department of State website. We had no problems.

Keep smart; be vigilant; be aware. We’re found that to be sufficient here in Mexico.

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