24 February 2009

Mexico Mike

Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2009 7:22 PM
To: Mexico Mike
Subject: Notification of payment received

On Wed, Feb 4, 2009 at 12:17 PM, Mexico Mike wrote:

Thanks, Steve. Let me know what all you need. You can also call me at 512---------. I will be most pleased to help you.

From: Steve
Sent: Wednesday, February 04, 2009 1:13 PM
To: Mexico Mike
Subject: Re: Mexico Trip Planning

Mexico Mike! Thanks for getting back to me so promptly. I am going to lay out my situation in this email to you, which admittedly will be somewhat long. If we need to talk by telephone later, we will.

First, I would like to tell you a bit of information about me that may be helpful to you. I am nearly 62 years old, but in great shape physically. I have been a lawyer here in Cedar Rapids for 33 years, and I am quitting at the end of this March. I am single. You can assume that I have read everything at your internet site because I think I have. I want to try living in Mexico for all the right reasons.

My plan is to drive my 2005 GMC pickup truck into Mexico with a fold-down camper trailer in tow. In April I will be driving to McAllen first to camp there for a bit while I work on the camper after the shakedown cruise down there. I will visit Nelson Insurance Agency and get my Mexican insurance taken care of, and I will purchase my car permit. I will then cross the border sometime in very late April. My intention is to stay in Mexico for the duration of the six months that my car permit is valid for.

I must fulfill an obligation first. I must drive to San Miguel de Allende and camp there for a time. Friends are then flying down to spend a week with me there. I am well aware that this is gringo land and not what I am interested in at all, but I do owe this time to these friends, who would not be comfortable in any place that was not gringo land. Based on my map reconnaissance I am going to travel the first day from Reynosa to Matehuala on highways 40 and 57 via Monterrey. I will camp in Matehuala. On the second day I will drive from Matehuala to San Miguel de Allende on highway 57 and set up camp there. Does this trip sound doable to you in that fashion? I don't drive very fast with that camper... That is my easy question.

My stay in San Miguel de Allende will pretty much take care of the month of May. I would like to spend the remaining five months camped in some place that is truly Mexican and not infested with gringos. I want to learn as much Spanish as possible in the process by total immersion. I don't have a lot of money, but I can most certainly abide living cheaply. My hard question for you is where would you suggest I go, and how should I get there from San Miguel de Allende? Obviously, RV parks are an issue.

You need not give me two or three choices. Such choices would be meaningless to me anyway. Just give me your one best recommendation. You may certainly ask me further questions in order to make this recommendation, and I will get an answer back to you promptly.

One last thing. My eldest daughter who is doing this trip vicariously through me is a fan of your site now, too. She would like a picture of me with you in McAllen if that is possible.


On Wed, Feb 4, 2009 at 1:46 PM, Mexico Mike wrote:

How refreshing to talk to you Steve. You sound more simpatico with me than many who write (and hire) me. I know we can get a decent plan for you. Regarding the picture, sure, I am honored that somebody wants one.

The initial route is a piece of cake. There is a shorter and more scenic way to go, however. The only drawback is one section of road (maybe 50 miles) seems to be under perennial construction (at least for the last 20 years). However, maybe they are done now. Even so, it is my favorite and avoids driving in the city of Monterrey, which I hate.

After that, I will have to put some thinking into where to recommend and put together some maps. It looks like we have time, so I will take a few weeks to put it all together.

A friend has an RV park in Mission where I used to live and is a good place. www.oleanderacres.com It is not the fanciest one around with pools and golf, but if you don't need those things, it is a friendly spot. And it is inexpensive. If you want something with more amenities, there are plenty to choose from.

I will try not to overwhelm you with choices, but need some guidance from you to start.

But there are more obvious choices, too. And you have to decide if you want to be on a beach (Gulf is the only one not full of gringos), mountains or flat land like around San Miguel.

So to get started, let me know what you think about generally where you want to go. I do suspect that, like me, you will wander around until you find the place that fits, "just right," as Little Red Riding Hood proclaimed.

RV parks – they are in short supply. There are some in San Miguel and of course Matehauala. After that, they exist, but not everywhere you might want them. But, fortunately, there are some farther south in colonial Mexico and actually I have yet another friend in Uruapan who is trying to put together a spot for people to park and live for several months.

Also, a thought – although this is way off most people's radar, Tamazunchale might fit your bill as not gringolandia and a place to learn Spanish by immersion. My friend there, Rudy, teaches English to Mexicans and could do the other way around for you. Plus he would be a great friend. There is no RV park there, though. But you could probably rent a house there as inexpensively as RV rent. There is a write-up on Rudy and the area with a link to his email at Tamazunchale.

From: Steve
Sent: Wednesday, February 04, 2009 3:11 PM
To: Mexico Mike
Subject: Re: Mexico Trip Planning

What a great start! Thank you, Mexico Mike. Let me give you some scattershot responses.

I do not play golf, and I don't need pools. That general type of "amenity" does not interest me.

You mention the south. As a matter of fact what initiated my interest in this whole thing was a series of travel articles in the New York Times about Chiapas and San Cristobol de las Casas as a destination.

HOWEVER, I am very, very interested in Tamazunchale. I have found it on the map. "The top of world." That sounds very cool assuming that my pickup can get me there. I think we're onto something already with Tamazunchale. And it's not too awfully far from San Miguel de Allende!

It says here at the Tamazunchale site to which your link sent me that "RV'ers can dry camp for free by the river or at another location." Can that really be true?


On Wed, Feb 4, 2009 at 3:33 PM, Mexico Mike wrote:

Yes Steve, 'free' really is true. But you get what you pay for in one sense. The area is a grassy flat spot on a river, which is very pretty, but there are not hookups, so it is suitable for a few days, but not long-term. However, it is a nice gesture by the city.

Tamazunchale is on a major highway and your truck will have no problems. Even big old RV's and those pulling Airstreams used to come here before the new Pan-Am highway was made (this is the old one).

Tamazunchale is not for everyone. There is not a lot to do, unless you just want to participate in life in a small Mexican town. Or you could help Rudy with his work with the indigenous people, which would be an experience few gringos could have.
Nearby is Xilitla, a most fascinating sculpture garden in what the locals call a 'jungle.' It is really a rainforest at best, but it is exotic. I believe the site for it is Jungle Gossip or do a Google.

Cd. Valles is the nearest 'city.'

And it is a day or less from San Miguel. There is actually a lot to explore in the area, but not in the town itself.

I nearly moved there myself after my house burned down, but then I met Nicki my wife and we settled here because she has parrots and you cannot take them to Mexico.
Worst case is you go check it out and move on to check out somewhere else. Chiapas and Oaxaca are really great experiences too. They also don't get a lot of gringos, though Oaxaca City has enough without being overwhelming.

Will work on both scenarios for you.

From: Steve
Sent: Wednesday, February 04, 2009 3:43 PM
To: Mexico Mike
Subject: Re: Mexico Trip Planning

I neglected to mention that I do wish to do the shorter, more scenic route to San Miguel de Allende regardless of the construction. The one thing I have plenty of is time--the good Lord willing of course.

Also, I am a recovering alcoholic and very much appreciated the information for the likes of me at your site.


From: Mexico Mike To: Steve
Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2009 9:42 PM
Subject: RE: Mexico Trip Planning


I am attaching the first map, which is not custom-made, but the one I sell to localize you with the general route. It does not go all the way to SMA, but to San Luis Potosi. The next map will be custom-made and to SMA and beyond. You will get a personalized route, but this is a start for you.

I asked someone in SMA to check out the RV parks for you to let you know how they are currently. There should be two.

From: Steve To: Mexico Mike
Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2009 10:33 PM
Subject: RE: Mexico Trip Planning

I received the first map, and I'm studying it.

Thanks, Mike.


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