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Corporate Runaways

Overland travelers and certified geeks, based in Vermont.


4-Minute Read

  • Speed limits are rules of thumb, but the local and federal police will pull you over for traffic violations.
  • The speed limits on anything other than major highways are maddeningly slow. This is probably the reason they are treated as a rule of thumb.
  • Mexicans drivers are reasonably sane but generally incapable of adhering to the maddeningly slow speed limits.
  • When two or more people live, or set up shop, alongside the road it is a town and the speed limit drops to 60 kph. When 100 people or more live, or set up shop, alongside the road it is a city and the speed limit drops to 40 kph. When 1000 people live, or set up shop, alongside the road it is a major city and the speed limit drops to 20 kph. I suspect in Mexico City the speed limit is negative 50.
  • If someone is driving below the speed limit it is because their vehicle is incapable of exceeding it.
  • Vehicles are passed whenever people feel like passing them. The presence of a Police officer does not affect this. It simply results in getting pulled over afterwards.
  • Finding someone who drives the speed limit is statistically equivalent to finding a white tiger.
  • Signage on the roads is excellent.
  • 80% of the time the next speed limit sign will be less than or equal to the last sign.
  • 50% of the time when the speed limit rises to what seems a reasonable speed it will halve itself within 250 meters.
  • Mexicans are terrified of speed bumps. It’s the only explanation for how slowly they traverse them.
  • Mexican sign makers are terrified of curves. They are all “Peligroso”.
  • That totaled car of yours that the insurance company wrote off is now living in Mexico, being happily driven.
  • If anyone in Iowa is missing a car it is in Mexico (surprising number of Iowa plates).
  • License plates are optional.
  • Going to the USA, purchasing a shit car/bus, filling it with broken bicycles, appliances, wheelchairs, and / or mattresses and bringing it back to Mexico is a popular business plan.
  • Army guys searching for drugs don’t like to be filmed (duh).
  • Unless you’re way past the time when you should have eaten, keep driving and you will eventually find a guy with some sort of makeshift barbecue.
  • The surprise military and police checkpoints don’t seem particularly interested in adventure riders (so far).
  • The poor people don’t quite *get* commerce. The logic seems to be: Bob is selling X. I have, or can get, X. I should set up a stand selling X next to Bob’s. Oh look, Bob and Mary are selling X. I have, or can get, X. I should set up a stand selling X next to Bob’s and Mary’s. Repeat until there are 8 stands selling exactly the same thing less than 200 feet from each other. Nothing else is for sale unless there happens to be a convenience store along the same section of road.
  • Mexicans drink oil. It is the only explanation for the sheer number of stands selling bottled oils.
  • When Mexicans aren’t drinking oil they’re drinking beer. It is the only explanation for the sheer number of roadside beer stores.
  • Signs displaying the Coca-Cola logo are purely for tourists because drinking soda would cut into the oil and beer consumption and the roadside economy would collapse.
  • Mexican Pizza places think 8pm is a good time to close.
  • Adventure riders in full gear and loaded bikes do not generate particularly more interest than they do in the US, although no-one has a clue what we’re wearing.
  • Our 40 year old copy of Berlitz Passport to Spanish (with a helpful section on finding the Telegram office and sending telegrams) has been incredibly helpful. I copied important sections of it to a folded six panel sheet along with a few extra phrases and stuck it in our tank bags. I’ll post it to our site.
  • Getting along with only a handful of useful phrases and being able to count to 1000 is surprisingly easy.
  • When you order two of the same item and say “Quanto Cuesto?” they will tell you how much one of them is, not both.
  • Food here isn’t notably cheaper, it just costs what it ought to in the US.
  • non-sketchy Hotels aren’t notably cheaper.
  • the going rate for the kiss-no-tell motels is $100 Mex for 4 hours. This is frequently noted as 100×4 on the signs. It’s probably the most secure option if you’re concerned about your bike.
  • You need never change your own tire, or repair your own tubes except in a dire emergency. There is always a Vulaniziadora (possibly also called Tepulche?) around the next corner, although most of them appear to be of very questionable quality.
  • Mexican hotel beds are incredibly hard. This is a rule. Just accept it.

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A couple with 2 dogs and a thirst for exploring the places in-between.