Is there such a thing as the Me-hi-co Hillbillies? I am going to take full blame for this one. I wanted to check off riding the motorcycle down in to Mexico as part of my list. It “sounded” like a good idea. First of all there is the International Free Trade Bridge just miles from where we live that goes across the border. Great ride to it. Right up to the border. So far so good right? That’s where it starts. The toll guy asks me (in Spanish I might add) if we didn’t “really want to go to Progreso?” Typical Ohio Hillbilly: “Hell no! We want to go to Me-hi-co.” He just shrugs, takes our money, and sends the dumbass gringos on their way. We should have gone to Progreso. So then we come to the border crossing. I hadn’t put the latest registration sticker on my bike’s tags yet and didn’t have the latest printed registration for the bike (it’s sitting on my desk. Great place for it, right?). It’s about now that I am wondering what a Mexican jail might look like. Luckily, I had scanned the registration and had it on my phone. After they asked some questions about the bike, they sent us on our way. Seems like a Can-Am is a bit unusual in Mexico as hundreds of people stared, asked questions and commented on it.
So we drove for about 10 miles into the Mexican farmland (what you would call “empty desert”). We decided that we would get a map. Right after our GPS said “hell no I don’t do Mexico!” We stopped at the first gas station and I went in to get a Diet Pepsi for Melinda and a map. No maps. The Diet Pepsis were marked $12.00 each. No one spoke English. Oh man, is this gonna be a fun day or what? Turns out that is in pesos and the Diet Pepsi was $1. God bless Rosetta Stone that I caught enough of the cashiers directions to understand how to get to Progreso. Turns out Progreso is the better entryway into Mexico as it has more tourist stuff and…you know…buildings. One empty highway ride later and we were in the town of Nuevo Progreso. I would hate to imagine Old Progreso because without being mean, this place was a shithole.
Getting the Hell out of Dodge
We had heard some horror stories about the line to get to the border exit and had experienced some of that getting into and out of Canada, but I figured about two hours in line. I was WRONG. First, we drove about two miles up the line to make sure that this was the right line. It would suck to wait all that time to be in the wrong line. It wasn’t. So we drove all the way back and got in the back of the line and waited. And waited. Nearly FIVE hours of waiting in line just to get OUT of Mexico. If I were illegal, I could have done it in two! The bike started to overheat. We were bombarded by street vendors selling everything from pecans to blankets (in the 85° sunshine while we sweated – maybe not the most well-thought-out business model). The Can-Am nearly drank up a full tank of gas (5 gallons) while sitting in line for nearly 5 hours. I turned it off at various stops to both cool down and drink less petrol. We finally got out of Mexico and by the time we got back to the RV (after dark) the gas tank was so dry, it was scary.
- Don’t drive into Mexico. It’s like “trouble.” Getting into it is easy, but getting out is a bitch.
- If you do drive in and out, go through Progreso – we heard the line out at the International Free Trade Bridge (where we came in) was even longer.
- Learn Spanish. Not a soul we met could barely speak any English.
- Be prepared to be bombarded by street vendors and beggars. “No gracias” is your friend.
- Gas up, check your oil, and coolant before you go. There is no towing service to the nearest Can-Am dealer back to Texas.
- Ask your wife constantly what she thinks you should do. She won’t have any better ideas, but at least it diminishes the “I told you so’s” later.
RV On The Road Yet? is a blog dedicated to the journey one couple has taken on the road to living full time in a Recreational Vehicle. Please keep in mind that we are not RV experts (or lawyers or doctors). We are just a couple muddling our way through this RV thing like anyone else. With luck, we may share something that will save you time or money, or just make you smile. We are primarily doing this so Melinda can keep her 65 best friends informed on our full-time RV adventure exploits. Sometimes humorous and hopefully educational, we will relay the steps we have taken as we travel down the former path of frontiersmen, Gypsies, retired people, and idiots.