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My group of riding friends are planning a ride this fall to the interior of Mexico. They say it's beautiful down there and I can't argue with that, but it's a bit dangerous for the Gringos these days. I've been invited along but I do have my reservations about riding down there. I talked to a great friend of mine who is American of Hispanic descent, speaks and understands Spanish fluently and is in international sales so he gets down that way from time to time. He's from El Paso, Texas and we were in the Army together. He definitely advised against it, saying that the cartels and banditos are getting brazen as of late, and they have no qualms about waxing anyone to include touristas from the Estados Unidos ( the EEUU, what they call the US in Mexico) as they see fit. He said that the last time he was down there there were superbly armed guards based in the hotel they were staying at. Seeing armed guards in Mexico is not something out of the ordinary, but in the posh hotels in the downtown areas is a bit out of the ordinary. He said that some of the cartels were hitting places where the well connected American businessmen were staying for ransoming efforts, hence the armed guards. Big money in that these days, ransoming that is.

The way my friends described to me what the plan of action is was on the first day in country was to fill up the gas tanks to the tip top before crossing the border. Then once the border is cleared we're to haul ass and stop for nothing until it's time to fill up again. By doing this they say is to reduce the chances of "being surprised" by the potential neer do wells along the way that we might or might not encounter. They ride BMW AT bikes, and one rides a KMT AT bike, equipped with 7 gallon tanks. My Chief Vintage sports a 5.5 gallon tank, so do the math. I'll be stopping a bit more than they do for refills. Not that that's a problem in itself, they'll stop with me, but the whole scenario just doesn't set well with me at all whatsoever. And once we're down there, we'd have to run the gauntlet again to get home.

They said that going down Mexico way is no more dangerous than going into New Orleans. Maybe, maybe not. In New Orleans at least I can go armed and be reasonably able to take care of myself. Can't carry weapons in Mexico at all. Also in Mexico there's another situation to endure. The tourists get "munched" by the policia from time to time. Getting munched means being shook down for valuables, usually cash. I hear that they don't pay their police very well down there and this is merely an opportunity for them to score a few bucks from the rich touristas. Who they gonna tell.... I guess that you could carry a wad of counterfeits in a cheap wallet when it's munch time.

So, with all this said, what would y'all do? I am not going along on this trip. Hopefully the next one in the spring will be one of a healthier choice in destinations.
 

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2020 Chief Dark Horse
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I good friend of mine spent a couple weeks riding solo through Mexico last year. He was on his BMW GS which doesn't turn as many heads down there as an Indian might. He made sure to stay at well lit hotels with perimeter walls. He speaks enough Spanish to get by but otherwise sticks out in a crowd. Mexico is too big to uniformly describe as dangerous or safe; both exist. He was careful not to ride a night. Sometimes roads simply end without much warning and manholes are stolen for the scrap iron and don't get replaced. Generally speaking he did not feel unsafe but he has also literally been shipwrecked at sea and was on a railroad car that exploded in the past so his risk tolerance is higher than most.
 

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My group of riding friends are planning a ride this fall to the interior of Mexico. They say it's beautiful down there and I can't argue with that, but it's a bit dangerous for the Gringos these days. I've been invited along but I do have my reservations about riding down there. I talked to a great friend of mine who is American of Hispanic descent, speaks and understands Spanish fluently and is in international sales so he gets down that way from time to time. He's from El Paso, Texas and we were in the Army together. He definitely advised against it, saying that the cartels and banditos are getting brazen as of late, and they have no qualms about waxing anyone to include touristas from the Estados Unidos ( the EEUU, what they call the US in Mexico) as they see fit. He said that the last time he was down there there were superbly armed guards based in the hotel they were staying at. Seeing armed guards in Mexico is not something out of the ordinary, but in the posh hotels in the downtown areas is a bit out of the ordinary. He said that some of the cartels were hitting places where the well connected American businessmen were staying for ransoming efforts, hence the armed guards. Big money in that these days, ransoming that is.

The way my friends described to me what the plan of action is was on the first day in country was to fill up the gas tanks to the tip top before crossing the border. Then once the border is cleared we're to haul ass and stop for nothing until it's time to fill up again. By doing this they say is to reduce the chances of "being surprised" by the potential neer do wells along the way that we might or might not encounter. They ride BMW AT bikes, and one rides a KMT AT bike, equipped with 7 gallon tanks. My Chief Vintage sports a 5.5 gallon tank, so do the math. I'll be stopping a bit more than they do for refills. Not that that's a problem in itself, they'll stop with me, but the whole scenario just doesn't set well with me at all whatsoever. And once we're down there, we'd have to run the gauntlet again to get home.

They said that going down Mexico way is no more dangerous than going into New Orleans. Maybe, maybe not. In New Orleans at least I can go armed and be reasonably able to take care of myself. Can't carry weapons in Mexico at all. Also in Mexico there's another situation to endure. The tourists get "munched" by the policia from time to time. Getting munched means being shook down for valuables, usually cash. I hear that they don't pay their police very well down there and this is merely an opportunity for them to score a few bucks from the rich touristas. Who they gonna tell.... I guess that you could carry a wad of counterfeits in a cheap wallet when it's munch time.

So, with all this said, what would y'all do? I am not going along on this trip. Hopefully the next one in the spring will be one of a healthier choice in destinations.
I'm the poster boy for Murphy's Law... so no way in hell I'd go. If you wanna hit the tropics, why not South Florida... if you wanna enjoy cartel drama, stop by Miami on your way. :)
 

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You can "What if" all day long. For example.... "what if my Aunt had testicles... would she be my uncle?"

It has been my experience in countries like Mexico that common sense, being polite but firm (not a pushover who seems scared $#*!less), attempting to speak the language and so forth, bring out the friendliness in people. Ultimately that is what it is about... PEOPLE. Don't go out riding at night. Like I told my teenagers when I had them... nothing good happens after midnight. Well in places like Mexico... it is after say 10pm. If you feel cops are trying to bribe you (they rarely try and bribe you like they do in the movies. They usually ask for fee's or threaten to take you in if you don't pay for the ticket etc.) then ask for a receipt. It is amazing how many fees and charges disappear when you ask for a receipt. Don't try and barter, or get angry etc. Be friendly and ask for a receipt.
If your gut is telling you that a certain place is not safe... get out of there. Trust your gut instinct. (even in the going down there or not).

Mexico is a large country and once you get away from the main areas, especially near the US border, you will find the people are friendly, welcoming, GOOD, people who are just trying to make a life like the rest of us are. I personally think you are missing out on a trip of a lifetime. But ultimately... trust your gut. If you feel that it is a bad idea... don't go. If you do go, remember you are a guest in their country. You do not have all the "rights" that we have here in the States. You will find however that they actually are more free than we are in regards to daily life and what goes. That does not mean you should be the "ugly American" who thinks they can treat people like dirt because they seem to have less regulations. It is that lack of regulations that can make things go sideways quickly if common courtesy and politeness is not given in my opinion.

So yeah.. in my opinion... go have a blast and make memories for a lifetime. Or not!
Whatever you decide... its all good.
 

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Just have to weight risk vs reward and that’s different for each of us. It would be a hard no for me, but so are visits to other locations such as NYC that my old lady keeps trying to talk me into. I did indulge her and took her to nola but it’s gets a little tiring when you are constantly scanning to keep situational awareness and can’t fully relax. I think I’d be more stressed than anything else going on a trip like that.
 

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Uh, no. If something happens, it’s just you. The Mexican Police (and Mex govt) will be no help. I’ve been to Mexico once…that was enough for a lifetime.
 

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A few years ago I planned an IBA 1500 miles in 24 hrs “Border to Border Insanity” ride from the Canadian entrance at Sweet Grass, Mt to Nogales, even paid ahead for the required Mexican liability insurance for 1 day . All I had to do was cross the border, get a time stamped gas receipt in Mexico then head back. I chickened out.
 
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A few years ago I planned an IBA 1500 miles in 24 hrs “Border to Border Insanity” ride from the Canadian entrance at Sweet Grass, Mt to Nogales, even paid ahead for the required Mexican liability insurance for 1 day . All I had to do was cross the border, get a time stamped gas receipt in Mexico then head back. I chickened out.
Well at least your a smart chicken😊
 

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Besides the cartels, do you have any idea how they drive down there (at least in big cities)? I’ve spent several months down in Guadalajara when the place I worked decided to outsource - they wouldn’t allow us to drive down there - they’d hire a service to drive us around. I’ve seen a one lane exit ramp with cars 4 wide!
 

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You did ask for opinions. Mine are NO, HELL NO, NO WAY IN HELL NO. It simply isn't worth the risks. You want that type of scenery & weather? Get it elsewhere--or do without it.

Long story short--many years ago (early 70's) I was dating an Eastern Airlines Stewardess (or whatever they are called these days) who lived here in Louisville for a while. She was from Riverside, CA and I ended up driving her and her mother and a pregnant dog (I told you it really was a long story but I'm making it short) they had taken in on the way visiting relatives in Ohio back to CA. Stayed with them a few days. Ginger (the Stewardess) and I drove to Tijuana for a day of shopping and being tourists. Ahhh, the memories of drinking warm Mexican beer on a Tuesday afternoon in the Tijuana A Go Go will be with me forever LOL. Ate dinner somewhere there and after dark got lost looking for the border. Finally, got back to the USA. We had a really fun day in Mexico. But today you couldn't pay me enough to go back. Way too much has changed and NOT for the better.
 

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There are a few Moto-adventure tour business around that used to regularly go to the southern countries. These guys knew who to pay and their tours never got hassled. Not sure they even exist anymore.
 
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