There are always tales about the dangers of travelling through the State of Tamaulipas, but when you look at the alternate route via Laredo and Puebla there are other problems. It is Turnpike (Quota) most of the way (Over $100 in tolls), it’s 100 miles longer (more fuel). It goes to the high mountains where fog is very dangerous and very likely.
We still like to cross at the Los Indios, TX (Free Trade Bridge) border crossing. It is one lane, no city on either side of border, lightly used and it is only 12 mi south of Harlingen, TX on good roads. The trick is to get an early start in the morning. To do this we drive to the border the afternoon before we intend to cross. Border hours are from 6AM to Midnight but the Aduana (Customs) is only open from 8 AM to 6 PM. I tell both Mex.and USA customs people that I'm only getting our permits and then going back to USA. They don't search us and 20 minutes after we drove in we were back past USA customs to stay in the Harlingen Wal-Mart parking lot for the night. They have 24 hr. security.
Traffic was steady but light all day, there were no safety concerns at all. We like to travel by ourselves because it takes less time. We left at 6 AM in the morning, and were not searched at all at customs or military checkpoints. We stopped at an ATM in Valle Hermoso and were on our way south by 7:15AM. No search at the secondary inspection on MX180 either. We took MX101, great road conditions to MX83 which heads south toward Tampico. After we got to MX81 we turned off to go past town of Xicotencatl to get to Ciudad Mante and then on to Ciudad Valles is a little back into the mountains to the Huaxteca region where we kayak on the Rio Micos. We made the 370 mi trip by 2:30 PM and relaxed for the rest of the day on the river with mountain views. When we head south you can bypass Tampico and get to the Emerald Coast which is only 250 mi away.
Tom McEwan from Liquid Adventures met us on Tuesday night at the Wal-Mart but he got to the border too late to get all his import papers for the 16 kayaks he was trailering into Mexico. So that delayed him about 2-1/2 hrs. getting to our camping spot at Aldea Huaxteca. It’s not set up for RV’s but we manage to squeeze in here, there are no hookups but it is a nice facility with palapa rooms in a beautiful location right on the Rio Micos. Lots of beautiful birds can be seen here.
We had very heavy rains on Wednesday night which brought the local rivers up so Tom headed off early to do a few creek runs. We are catching up on our blog and reorganizing all the stuff we brought with us for the winter.