Jan 052009

Several blog readers have written to say that they like the new format, but that the photos are too small. Actually, they are thumbnail photos, and if you click on them with your mouse, they open up to a larger size then we could display them in the old blog.

Overall, I am pleased with the new blog format, though there has been a learning process. A couple of readers have expressed concern that without the larger sidebar links to the rest of our website, we might see a drop in traffic to our other web pages. I monitor our website traffic daily, and have noticed a very slight decline in numbers, and a more noticeable decline in clicks on the Google ads on the website. Hopefully as people become accustomed to the new format, things will swing back toward normal.

There has been a lot of discussion lately on the Escapees forum about safety issues RVers face while traveling in Mexico. We know many RVers who love traveling in Mexico, but it’s not for us, and never will be. I lived on the border as a kid, back when it was a safe place to be. But I also owned and published newspapers in Arizona for many, many years and have covered a lot of stories about Americans in trouble south of the border. No matter how deep some people want to stick their heads in the sand, Mexico is not a safe place to be these days.

Something as simple as a fender bender or a minor illness can become a major problem in Mexico if it happens in the wrong place. And yes, a fender bender in the inner city of any major American city can be just as problematic. So the solution for myself is to avoid those places, on either side of the border.

Soldiers at Fort Huachuca, in Sierra Vista, Arizona have been restricted from going into Mexico, and soldiers stationed at Fort Bliss, near El Paso are banned from going to Mexico for safety concerns over the violence. This is from an ABC news story dated December 22, 2008.

I have to figure if the US Army is concerned about the safety of young, trained soldiers in Mexico, it’s no place for my aging posterior. Saying that parts of Chicago and Detroit are also dangerous does not lessen the very real threat in Mexico. Yes, arsenic is a dangerous poison, but that doesn’t mean I want to ingest cyanide. I avoid any big city, anywhere in the country, whenever I can.

But in Mexico it is not just the big cities that are dangerous anymore. How many SKPs go to Palomas, Mexico when staying at Dreamcatcher RV park in Deming, New Mexico? We have many times in the past, but not any more. Here is a link to a story from March in which Border Patrol agents in Columbus, New Mexico recommend not going across the border because of the violence.

In a Travel Alert released October 14, 2008, the U.S. State Department warns Americans of violence in Mexico that includes “small-unit combat, with cartels employing automatic weapons and, on occasion, grenades. Firefights have taken place in many towns and cities across Mexico but particularly in northern Mexico, including Tijuana, Chihuahua City and Ciudad Juarez.”

I am sure there are safe places to visit in Mexico, and dangerous places. Just like anywhere. You might go to Mexico a hundred times and never have a problem. But if you DO have a problem there, you could have a REAL problem! Being a US citizen means nothing in a foreign country. If you are there, you play by their rules, or lack thereof.

Thanks but no thanks. I’ll do my traveling right here at home.

Thought For The Day – Money is a lousy way of keeping score.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  10 Responses to “Is Mexico Safe For RV Travel?”

  1. Palomas is where I got dental work done last Feb. The week following there were problems and still seem to be problems. I am in need of some “warranty work” from the dentist but am afraid to go back. It looks like Algodones is the safest border town now and I am considering paying a dentist there to repair my tooth. I doubt I go back for any more dental work, after this, unless things get much better down there.

  2. We agree. Although we have never been to Mexico and it is tempting in order to save some money in meds and dental work etc., we just cannot feel comfortable going there. I hear enough of the “bad” stories that make me just want to stay in the US. When we were in Sierra Vista, we wanted to go on down to the National Monument on the border and the visitors center gave us glowing reports and denied any problems going on, but when we visited Fort Huachuca and asked at their front desk at the gate, they advised against even going to that area. I’m with you – if the military doesn’t think you should go there, we’re not going! It’s disturbing to me that the volunteers at the visitors center couldn’t give us a safe, clear picture of the situation. Or maybe they just wouldn’t. We had some issues with the visitors center in Sierra Vista anyway, but that is another story.

    Stay safe.

  3. Nick,
    We are going to Los Algodones sometime in the next couple weeks. Will post what we see and hear on that trip. I must admit I am a bit anxious about going but am in need of dental work and meds so we are going to take the chance. If you don’t hear back from us, you will know they got us and since our family has no money, I guess we will end up fish food.
    Joy and Phil

  4. Nick, we have been to Los Algodones several times since we have been in Yuma this year with no problems. Doni had some dental work done there. Bought Joe and Marcia some salt for the Margarator. There are lots of police around so you feel somewhat safe. We look around some, buy some cheap booze and get back across to the USA. Have not heard of any problems in this area.

  5. I can’t comment on travel to Mexico but just wanted you to know that I like the new format you have adopted. I’ve been following the blog for some time now and I think this is a great change.

  6. We’ve never been particularly interested in going to Mexico, though years ago we figured if we ever got near the border we would take the opportunity to cross. However, with the current conditions there, it makes no sense for me to even to consider going down there. I’m too old for the possibility of any mis-adventures. 😉

    Very informative post and nice looking format for your blog.

  7. You’ve convinced me! We are newbie full-timers, and had qualms about Mexico anyway. I was curious, because I follow a blog of fulltimers who plan to go there this winter. I will worry about them now! Unless things really change for the better, we’ll skip the border crossings. Like the new format, by the way.

  8. I think in today’s economy ad hits are going to be down because people are making a real effort to control impulse buying.
    On the dangers of traveling in Mexico I would add a few thoughts. I am quite familiar with the Big Bend area so I will speak to what I know for a fact. Two to Three years ago the possibility of trouble took a large spike up. Even some old hands and long time area dwellers started taking precautions. To my knowlege it has not let up. I’m betting on the economy and the increase in illegal traffic. Long ago sneaking across for seasonal work was winked at and most returned after the season was over. Now more are making a permanent move and the “coyotes” have turned it into a large income producer. Large amounts of money always attracts unsavory elements.

  9. We finished another six months ot touring Mexico in our motorhome. We put almost 10,000 miles on in Mexico and pretty much circled the country all the way down to the Guatemala border and up the east coast. We experienced absolutely no problems and found nothing but happy, helpful Mexican people all the way. Mexico is like anywhere else, be aware of your surroundings and don’t be where you shouldn’t be. Don’t buy, sell, steal or use drugs and don’t hang out in all night bars and you will have no problems. The interior of Mexico is nothing like the border areas. I f you go across the border in one of the tourist areas to have dental work done or to buy meds, fine. Just be back across the border by dark and the chances are, you will encounter no problems.

    We have been doing this for a couple of years and are going back again next winter. Mexico is a beautiful country with beautiful people.

  10. My husband and I have been going to Mexico for several years. The first time we did a long trip was with a caravan that went from Texas to Belize and back up through Mexico City. I was nice traveling in a group and gave us confidence to travel on our own. We have driven down the Baja 3 times and never have had a problem. May be a little itimidating for people when the military come in at their check points and look around. Never had a problem tho. Helps to know a little survival Spanish. We have also traveled downt he West coast almost to Manzanillo with no problem. We even had a police escort when we made a wrong turn who got us back to our correct road.
    The last few years we have been going to San Felipe, down the east coast of the Baja 120 miles. Again no problems. It is a small town that hasn’t been taken over by tourists and many RV parks right on the beach. Lots of Americans and Canadians winter there. Still very inexpensive for parking and meals.
    We got to Algodones to a dentist, Dr. Catilan if you want a good one that does crowns for $130 and dentures for $350. Can even get them the same day for an extra few bucks.
    Our friends just returned from spending 6 months there and had no problems either. They went down the west coast and returned the east coast.
    Most Mexican insurance includes a english speaking representative if you do have a problem. I agree it wouldn’t be pleasant to have an accident.
    While in Arizona both my husband and I have bad experiences with the Mesa County Sheriff’s and since they scheduled our hearing after we returned we could do nothing but pay the fine, so things happen here too.
    Think you need to always get out of the border towns right away. That seems to be where the problems are.

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