Tuesday, June 16, 2015

RV go si'

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I know it is only June, but I am in a heated discussion with my wife about where we are headed this coming winter. We have tried all the supposedly warm southern destinations in the U.S. and are often holed up in the motorhome because it is too cold outside.

The problem is, I want to go as far down the Baja Peninsula as possible and spend the winter where I am guaranteed warmth. My wife watches too much news and thinks everyone that goes to Mexico is in grave danger. I am not ignorant of the facts, I just know that a lot of RVer's go into Mexico every winter and seem to have no problem.

Am I asking too much? Do you think I would be putting my wife under too much pressure?
--Baja in a Bounder from Boise

Dear Bounder:
Before you go, I think you should both be comfortable with it. Having your wife spend the winter out of her comfort zone would defeat the whole purpose of living the RV dream.

It will take some studying on your part. You'll want to make sure you know the rules and regulations of entering and traveling into Mexico. Carry the right insurance, have your passports, and take no weapons. That is just the beginning of what you should be aware of. My suggestion would be for you to read and study the many up-to-date forums and blogs of RVer's who do this every winter. I would share this information, good and bad, with your wife as you progress.

Knowing that thousands of others are doing the same thing might make her begin to feel more comfortable about the adventure. Many people who RV to Mexico will tell you they have never had a problem. This might very well be true. However, if you read the U.S. Embassy Report online, you will find it's not true for everyone that travels there.

You might want to find others to caravan with. Safety in numbers can be a much less stressful way to travel into Mexico. Most people find services very accommodating in Mexico, some say more accommodating than many of the snowbird areas of the U.S.

The bottom line: There is a lot of insanity in the beautiful areas just south of our borders. Caution is advised, but with the right preparations you are most likely not to have any problems. Traveling close to the border in the U.S. can have its own dangers, but you will find a heavy law enforcement presence and the insurance that they are there to help you.

It's not like the old western films in Mexico where the good guys wear the white hats and the bad guys wear the black hats.

It's a personal choice. My only suggestion is that you are both comfortable with the decision before going.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink


Unknown said...

Best quote …. There are two ways of winning an argument with a woman ----------- neither work ...

Unknown said...

Baja California, all the way down to Cabo San Lucas, is probably the safest part of Mexico; most of the human and drug smuggling, with it's attendant gang turf violence, is happening further east. Many Gringos travel to San Felipe on the Gulf of California, without incident. I would certainly completely avoid the Rio Grande valley. That said, I still do not feel comfortable driving my vehicle anywhere in Northern Mexico, and since you have to drive through Northern Mexico to get to the rest of Mexico, and home a few months later, I wouldn't recommend it. About all I can say is that the drive from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas is about the safest long drive in Mexico, and the Cabo area is itself a fairly safe area too. My concerns about Mexico are not so much personal as simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Predicting where those wrong places and times are is beyond me, but maybe take a hint from the presence of heavily armed Mexican Army soldiers as soon as you step over the border.

Unknown said...

We have wintered on the Baja for the last 6 years, owning a lot just north of San Felipe right on the Sea of Cortes. There are basically 2 ways to enter the Baja, either thru TJ or Mexicali. About 50 miles south of each city you will encounter a military checkpoint manned by the Mexican Army soldiers. I have NEVER had trouble with any of them, actually it has become a Spanish/ English lesson for both of us. The soldier points to an object in my coach, (yes they come on board and inspect, stay with them while they are in the coach) and says it's name in Spanish and I answer in English. It takes maybe 10 minutes to go thru the inspection. Once past the checkpoints it is almost free sailing to where you want to go. Keep in mind that most of the RV parks are old and on the small side. Some offer 50 amp the vast majority do not. The water can present an issue and if you feel safer drink bottled water. My lot has a water tank in the ground.. I have water delivered to me about every 6 weeks. It is city water BUT I still do the chlorine treatment on it and run it thru filters before putting it in my coach's holding take. I do drink that water and have not had any problems. You will find the people very hospitable here and many speak a little English. The Baja is a wealth of things o see and do in nature. The San Pedro de Martir Mountain range boasts Mt Diablo at 11,000 feet. It is the tallest point on the Baja and readily visible from San Felipe. It is filled with canyons having waterfalls and in the spring the desert is carpeted with wild flowers. Fuel is readily available from Pemex, the nationalized oil company. There are plenty of places to exchange dollars for pesos and there are ATM machines in the market in town to draw money from your US account. Use common sense when traveling, do not pick up anyone and if you have to travel after dark make sure all your lights are operational and that you travel in tandem. I find, as a retired Law enforcement officer, the Baja to be safer then LA, Chicago, Washington DC or any of our major cities. If you need more information contact me at walt66@me.com

Dennis said...

If it's sun and warmth you desire stay in a campground anywhere From Escondido, CA south to San Diego. We have really enjoyed the KOA South of San Diego which is rated one of the top KOA's in the country.

Anonymous said...

Traveling all winter, East to West, across the South for 7 years now...I agree. We have found cold and snow where there shouldn't be.... But there is one place that is always warm in the USA.....and that is Key West. I agree with your wife.... No Mexico for me!

Unknown said...

Coyote Howls east or west both are in USA, cheap no snow not far from Mexico But i would not go there... check out what happens if you do some thing stupid intentionally or not you might get to stay longer than you want.... wife and i winter at coyote howls east and love it

Anonymous said...

Baja will be relatively safe if you:
Travel only in daylight
Do NOT boondock.

Anonymous said...

We have driven all over Mexico each winter for many years - been in 28 of the 31 states. It does require research and education. Permits are required. There are a number of guide books and online websites where you can find out where RV parks are. It is not like roaming around the US. RV parks can be few and far between. There are risks but there are risks everywhere - just watch the news to see daily killings in the US. The killings in Mexico are mostly criminals killing criminals - we rarely hear of tourists or RVers having problems - not to say it can't happen but it can happen anywhere. The further south you go the warmer it gets - tropics do not start until around Mazatlan and even that is too cold for some. But Mexico has a lot more than beaches which is why we roam - ancient ruins - pyramids - colonial cities - great cathedrals that are architectural marvels - amazing food - but most of all the people are the friendliest and nicest you will ever meet. We spend our winter roaming and have lots of friends all over Mexico. But getting rid of fear is very difficult and some people will never overcome their fears. Find online forums about Mexico and find some friends there to talk with - you will find the facts and the truth are far different than what the talking heads on the news would have us think.

Jerry X Shea said...

Over an 8 year period my wife and I have driven our motorhome to all 49 states and most of Canada. We have encountered many woman, when it is 78 degrees, wearing heavy jackets because they are "cold." I am walking around in a T-Shirt & shorts ( I am a skinny guy) and here is some woman all "bundled up" because she is cold. Without getting into medical reasons, if your wife is cold, you could drive to the equator and she will most likely still be cold. I agree with the folks above, San Diego or Key West is as far south as you need to go. Maybe a trip to the doctor about what may be a low Iron problem or something else that could be "changed" would solve the "cold problem." Think about it - will going to Mexico really solve your wifes problem. If she thinks so, jump on a plane and spend a week in Carbo and see how cold she gets.