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Old 11-07-2006   #11
El Flaco's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,879
First off- don't go to Juarez. That's probably the sketchiest crossing, and it puts you driving a looong way to Valles on Mexican roads. Cross at Renyosa / McAllen and park your car at the McAllen airport. You should be able to get a car in Renyosa, or take a Directo bus to Valles for about $50 and get a car there.

That being said, you don't have to worry about mexican gas- it's all standardized, and there are no stations beside Pemex- it's a government monopoly. They even offer high octane; and you'll be paying the higher costs of gas with a rental anyway. Much more scary than the gas is driving the Mexican roads at night- the highways are mostly rickety semis that don't fit on the roads. Try to do your driving during the day, especially in the mountains.

In short- Take your car. We've taken the biggest POS trucks and rigs into Mexico and there's never been a problem getting shit fixed- if anything, it's cheaper there anyway. Labor is way cheaper than in the states, and there is even a Ford and a Toyota dealer (with repair shops) right in Valles. Other than the Santa Maria, the roads are surprisingly good all the way there and back.

From Dgo, you can leave on a Friday morning and be parked at Micos, dropping waterfalls by 2-3pm on Saturday.

Also- if you only have 10 days, don't break south just for the Alseseca- it's not worth the 2 days you'll be off the river to get there and back to Valles. The only time I've done the drive to Veracruz is when we had over 2 weeks, and the rivers in Valles were super low and it was snowing there for the first time in 20 years (January). You'll have plenty options to boat in SLP.

I have a shortcut to get to the Ojo Frio that will save you a couple of hours of driving- it's not in the Gringo's guide or on the Guia Roji. I'll PM you tonight when I get home.

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Old 11-09-2006   #12
cosurfgod's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 384
El Flaco thanks for all the beta, you have been a big help. Trying to get this group of dumb asses together is harder than trying to get a blumpkin from a mexican hooker after a buffet. Juanny has a new plan everytime I bump into him. Juanny and smokem are leaving early and we are going to meet them down there.

Our plan is to drive to McAllen, park our car at the airport and rent a car in Renyosa. At $50 a person to bus, it sounds more effieicent and faster to rent a car. We still might want to bus after the long drive but we are leaning towards the car rental for maximum paddling. Do have any more beta about the boarder crossing from the airport? Do you recommend a cab to cross and rent a car? Do we want to hide the kayaks for car rental duties? From the airport, can we access the bus depot?

Any beta on the transition or border crossing is appreciated. Thanks

Thanks for all the beta!

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Old 11-09-2006   #13
El Flaco's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,879
Well, I still say you guys should drive your own cars. It's not that bad, and you'll have a whole bunch more flexibility. Renting a car in Mexico sounds way sketchy, although I've never had to do that. I can just imagine signing something that says you owe them $1000's of dollars for a popped tire. No thanks. And I've rented cars in Costa Rica, so I'm not necessarily against the concept of foreign rentals per se.

That being said, I've never taken public transportation across the border either. I image that you might have to walk your stuff from one place to the other, then get your travel documents (Tourist card) at the Immigration Center on the other side. Count on an hour at Immigration. You'll have to ask a taxi company if they will get you across the border.

If Jonny and Smokem are already down there with a vehicle, take the Directo bus from Renyosa to Valles- you won't have to drive & get lost, and I'll bet it'll end up being cheaper than renting- gas is about $4 per gallon there. The Directo buses are like the gambling coaches here- plush seats, plus you can watch Weekend At Bernie's II en espanol the whole 7 hours down to the Valles bus station.

Regardless of what you choose, make sure you read all the immigration stuff before you leave:
You need to have a passport or a notarized copy of your birth certificate to go into the Interior (60km into the country).
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Old 11-13-2006   #14
Three Rivers, California
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 86
This is a probably a bit late but I'm sitting in Mexico City right now, and just got back from three weeks in Vera Cruz. We sold two Mega Rockers and one small Burn to Adventurec in Tlapacoyan. They also have a Java and a Huck and are really nice folks, I'd also ask them to refer you to Israel for shuttles and general river knowledge, he helped us out for three weeks and knows the area, runs, and restaurants well. If water is really high the Upper Upper Alseseca is great, it´s in No Big Names II, just be ready for a large portage on the left at the first downed tree in the river. We cut a bit of a trail in, be prepaired to rope your boats back down to the water and ferry across to complete the portage on the right, or scout/run the waterfall after the mandatory portage.
If you're willing to give it hard and cary a rope (70m) there is a lot of good stuff on the Middle Alseseca between the classic Upper roadside run and the Tomata Bridge. I have a bunch of stuff written about our descent of the middle at but no pictures up yet. Have fun, bring pants, shoes and socks as the flys are horrific bastards that bite. Get hydrocortizone (sp) at a local pharmacy to avoid foot rot.[/url]
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Old 11-13-2006   #15
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 335
Flaco is right ,the buses are really nice{pay the extra $ for first class service} not overcrowded and constantly picking up more people anywhere along the route like Central America.Night driving is ill advised!!But night buses are a great way to save time and hotel costs and you won't be as burned out as driving.Having your own vehicle you will get lots more done,though.
LOL,about 'Weekend at Bernie's 2',I must have seen'Spiderman' with Toby Maguirre and the one where a zebra becomes a race horse about 5 times now,not to mention Tony Soprano as a prison warden and lots of B grade machoman flicks.
Veracruz is a really cool area and the Huasteca Potosina/Potosina Huasteca looks awesome.Flaco are you talking about El Tajin as the ruins near Poza Rica,it is the best archeological site on the Gulf coast.
Have a great trip ,later.

ps you say you have Smokem 'with you ,don't be dumb like me and toke and bodysurf unknowingly on a Mexican military base ,close call.

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