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Travel to Lake Chapala

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by RickS on Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:23 pm

P.S. If you haven't been to Lakeside since you were a teen and you are now the age of retirement and you are hoping Lakeside "hasn't changed so much"...... you are in for a huge disappointment. I first came in 1997 and it has changed dramatically since then. MANY more houses and MUCH more traffic. But it is still nearly perfect in my opinion.


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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by ferret on Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:53 pm

Trailrunner wrote:Welcome, Blackforrestgal! You'll be fine, piece 'a cake. Just don't drive at night. Enjoy.

Welcome from me as well! It always sounds so ominous "don't drive at night". The reality is that the lighting and signage are poor. The REALLY big reason is that animals migrate to the asphalt (or concrete) at night because it's warmer. We always used to pick up friends and family at the Leon airport when we lived in San Miguel de Allende. The planes usually arrived around 10 p.m. and I can't tell you the number of times we made that hour and a half drive in the dark. That all came to end when we rounded a corner and encountered a herd of burros on the highway. I don't know how we made it through them without killing ourselves or some of them but we did. Lesson learned. The rest of the trip home was very subdued and, from then on, we hired a professional driver to pick up our guests.
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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by RVGRINGO on Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:47 am

MAPS: The very best maps to have in your car for travel in Mexico is the Guia Roji Gran Atlas de Carreteras, which you can find, and order online. Get the large version and it will serve you well for years; especially if you make notations as new autopistas are added. http://www.guiaroji.com.mx/ is the Mexican site, but they are available on other sites in the USA. Try to get the 2017 Edition.

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by CanuckBob on Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:58 am

Get a Garmin. Load it with the latest Mexican maps. I haven't used a paper map in 15 years......jaja.
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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by RickS on Sun Jul 02, 2017 11:30 am

Me too, Bob.  I used to use the Guia but with today's technology a 'hand' tool is sufficient.

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by RVGRINGO on Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:28 pm

I really prefer Maps, as a GPS simply guides you along the route, with no knowledge of all the interesting sites and sights along the way. GPS makes spontaneous side trips a rare thing. They have to be planned ahead of time.....with a map. When a detour happens, a GPS sometimes has trouble “recalculating“, just as it often does on less frequently traveled routes. Then, a GPS only lets you know where you are going; never any information about where you are; which a map can do at a glance. Yeah; I am old, have no GPS or Smart PHone; not even a flip phone. I can be reached at home, when I get there, or by e-mail. I have no need for instant gratification......or pestering.

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by RickS on Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:47 pm

RV, you would make a good specimen for the 'before', as in the 'before and after'. Very Happy

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by Trailrunner on Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:50 pm

I agree with you, RVG, and for the same reasons too. I love maps. But I think the perfect solution is to use both. Follow the Garmin but consult the maps for all the other info, and for backup.
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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by RVGRINGO on Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:19 pm

As a side note: My wife does use a GPS. On those rare occasions when I am a passenger (I can no longer see well enough to drive), I may ask her why she has not taken an easier route, or if she might like to take a side trip to stop at a place I know of. It turns out that she has no real idea of where she is in relation to anywhere else! That would drive me nuts; and it does. I caution new blue-water sailors to know how to navigate without the need for a battery-powered instrument. At sea, such systems are vulnerable, and knowing how to navigate without them, and some other skills, is all that, stands between you and a watery grave. To a much lesser extent, the same can be true on land; think about wilderness roads, deserts, really bad neighborhoods, being chased by those who will do you harm if they catch you, etc.........You do need to know where you are, and your relative position to other places & the routes in between. The “connected geheration“ is really a pretty helpless bunch. Those of us from ‘before‘ might just be needed ‘after‘; unless it is too late, and we are all gone. Yup: Older than plastic and transistors, too.

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by slainte39 on Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:25 pm

RVGRINGO wrote:I really prefer Maps, as a GPS simply guides you along the route, with no knowledge of all the interesting sites and sights along the way.  GPS makes spontaneous side trips a rare thing. They have to be planned ahead of time.....with a map.  When a detour happens, a GPS sometimes has trouble “recalculating“, just as it often does on less frequently traveled routes.   Then, a GPS only lets you know where you are going; never any information about where you are; which a map can do at a glance.   Yeah; I am old, have no GPS or Smart PHone; not even a flip phone.  I can be reached at home, when I get there, or by e-mail.  I have no need for instant gratification......or pestering.

Ditto here RV

I drive around Guadalajara late at night (10PM to 1AM) and the hour trip back to Chapala often, and have never had, or encountered anyone, having a problem.  Doesn't mean it couldn't happen and I always carry a cell phone as I have a lot of family on both ends.
For cross country trips I most always stick to daylight driving for several reasons including the possible crime problem, but more so if you have a breakdown or mechanical problem, an accident, or some other unforeseen event, it is much easier to get assistance or find the Green Angels during that time. Try to get the Angels emergency number through any of the areas you are travelling through.

Also when travelling to PV on highway 70, which I always use, I have written down the numbers of tire repair/ mechanic shops in Ameca and Mascota just in case I need someone along the way.  Of course, in  some cases you would need rudimentary Spanish as not everyone is going to speak English.
Anything to lower the possibility of frustration.


Last edited by slainte39 on Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:50 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by ferret on Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:35 pm

and ditto here. We travelled all over Mexico with a Guia Roji

This is the one you need... http://www.guiaroji.com.mx/guia-roji-atlas-por-las-carreteras-de-mexico-2017-141822785xJM

Maps will still work when everything electronic fails. They are also usually available at Sanborn's.
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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by gringal on Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:46 am

Sanborn's is a great source of maps. We took out some insurance with them before first crossing the border and got all the maps we wanted.

As most are saying: Don't drive at night. It's not just bad guys to worry about: It's a stray cow in the middle of an unlighted road.
Also, stay on the cuotas. Well worth the cost.

To lighten up, a mixed cautionary tale: Friends of mine from SMA, single older ladies, decided to take a trip in Mexico. Car got stuck at dusk, a goodly distance from anywhere to overnight. Mexican guy stopped and was described as 'scary looking', offered them a ride into the nearest town; set up a tow job and a garage and a place to stay overnight as well; wouldn't accept a peso for the help.
That's the good news about Mexico and Mexicans. You'll hear enough of the bad.


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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by brigitte on Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:11 am

ditto I use maps, I like to see the big picture.. I think a GPS would be good in cities I am not familiar with but on the road give me a map any day.

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by CanuckBob on Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:55 am

I have the big picture on my Garmin route planning software (Basecamp) on my PC. Whenever we are going somewhere new I can look at the on-line map and create an exact route (or take the recommended route). It even shows where every point of interest is along the way (hotels, atm's, malls, etc., etc). Once finished I upload the route (complete with any side trips or stops) into my Garmin and viola, ready to go.

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by RVGRINGO on Mon Jul 03, 2017 11:56 am

That does sound better than our previous experiences with friends tying to use a GPS in Mexico. I am sure thare has been progress in the systems, but the well worn Gran Atlas served us well.....until we traded cars and it vanished in the rear seat pocket, never to be seen again. I miss it, along with all the margin notes that we made.

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by CanuckBob on Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:08 pm

GPS systems have come a long ways in the past 5 years. I still think Garmin is the best. Rarely does it steer me wrong and if so you simply hit detour and have it recalculate a way around. It even gives you traffic status now. Of course we also travel with a map for back up.

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by slainte39 on Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:54 pm

CanuckBob wrote:GPS systems have come a long ways in the past 5 years. I still think Garmin is the best. Rarely does it steer me wrong and if so you simply hit detour and have it recalculate a way around. It even gives you traffic status now. Of course we also travel with a map for back up.

Does it show cows (or steers ((me wrong))) on unlighted roads?  lol!
These days, as cows seemed to have gotten smarter, I  am more concerned about unlighted vehicles on unlighted roads, and all those road signs put along the way about not leaving rocks on the pavement are put there for a very good reason. (harder to see at night)

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by ferret on Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:08 pm

Aw, come on Slainte... you didn't tell them why people leave rocks on the pavement. :)
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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by slainte39 on Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:18 pm

ferret wrote:Aw, come on Slainte... you didn't tell them why people leave rocks on the pavement. :)

Nope, I'm clueless because the reason is so diabolical (the leaving part that is, not the placing). Very Happy

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by ferret on Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:34 pm

Okay then, tell them why people place rocks on the pavement. :)

BTW, I can't imagine the damage that a steer could do to your car... probably along the lines of running into a deer. I do remember a line from John Howell's book called "Choose Mexico" in which he stated "a burro ceases to be cute when it's coming through your windshield at 50 mph".
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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by CanuckBob on Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:41 pm

The deer only weighs 300lbs vs the steer at 1500lbs. The steer would be more like hitting a Honda Fit.

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by ferret on Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:46 pm

I wouldn't want to run into a steer or a moose. I thought playing dodgeball with a herd of burros while driving a VW bug was scary enough.
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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by slainte39 on Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:52 pm

ferret wrote:Okay then, tell them why people place rocks on the pavement. :)

BTW, I can't imagine the damage that a steer could do to your car... probably along the lines of running into a deer. I do remember a line from John Howell's book called "Choose Mexico" in which he stated "a burro ceases to be cute when it's coming through your windshield at 50 mph".

I ran into a cow (not steer, not bull) many years ago on the Libramiento. head on, as it was trying to cross the road, at night. Didn't come through the windshield but rode on  the hood for about 50 meters until I got stopped, then she slid off, said "gracias" and ran off.  I had to buy a new hood.

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by ferret on Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:02 pm

And the rocks... people put rocks behind their wheels to stop from rolling backwards when stopped... or in front as well. Which makes for eight rocks on the road... which are usually just barely moved out of the way so the vehicle can get going again. Kinda hazardous for others.

You're lucky you only had to buy a new hood.
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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by slainte39 on Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:37 pm

ferret wrote:And the rocks... people put rocks behind their wheels to stop from rolling backwards when stopped... or in front as well. Which makes for eight rocks on the road... which are usually just barely moved out of the way so the vehicle can get going again. Kinda hazardous for others.

You're lucky you only had to buy a new hood.

You are correct and sometimes to block or signal traffic that there is a breakdown ahead when there isn't any shoulder to pull over.
Years ago when I lived in Zamora, Mich,. the pueblo from the "13 villages" (Tarascan), would use rocks on the highway (old 15), east of Zamora to show their displeasure with the government, businesses, rancheros, whoever, from Zamora as a form of protest.

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by jrm30655 on Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:52 pm

I had a pony cross the careterra today at 7:30am. He crossed at the light but obviously didn't understand the walk light because he crossed on the wrong color.

I've seen cows in the middle of the highway at noon also.

Dogs, cats, horses, cows and people in the road are just a way of life here.

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

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