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Posted by MCD from 64.12.96.135 (cache-mtc-ag02.proxy.aol.com) on jueves, octubre 30, 2003 at 17:24:12 :

In Reply to: Driving to Troncones posted by Becky from 66.208.239.187 (66-208-239-187-cdnt02a-eatntn01-nj.hfc.comcastbusiness.net) on jueves, octubre 30, 2003 at 13:37:55 :

I believe Reynosa was my suggestion.

After you cross the bridge over the Rio Grande, traffic is separated - Mexicans take the right lane, which will probably have a line-up; Foreigners (us) take the left lane, which is virtually deserted. If the line of mexican entries is backed up behind the split, people will wave you on to pass around them - just watch for oncoming traffic.

You must stop and go inside the second building to get your tourist card, then go to the first building to get your temporary vehicle importation sticker. Total cost around US$25.

About 1/4 to 1/2 mile after (south of) the Mexican immigration and customs station on the Mexican side of the bridge, there is an overpass over route 40 (no sign), where you hang a right onto route 40 (not yet 40D at this point).

It will be several miles going west on route 40 before cuota 40D begins; along this stretch is a Federale checkpoint on the right where you must stop and show them your vehicle importation sticker. Then you are on your way. The cuota 40D is virtually deserted, flat, smooth, and fast. If traveling in November, you may cross paths with the migration of monarch butterflies along this section - so bring some paper towels and windex. As you approach Monterrey, you will see that the city sits right at the foot of the mountains - much like approaching Denver on from the east on I70.

There is a bypass route around the north side of Monterrey, but if you miss it you will end up on Constitution avenue (=route 40), which winds its way through the city along the river(several lanes in each direction) and out the other side, where it continues on toward Saltillo. Just follow the signs for Saltillo.

West of Monterrey, route 40 is divided highway with 2 lanes in each direction climbing steeply onto the central plateau. Before reaching Saltillo, there will be an interchange where you exit onto 57 south. This smooth, high-speed road runs down a long, broad desert valley between two ridges of mountains, then climbs up and over what remains of the western ridge and down into Matahuala, then on to San Luis Potosi - where there is better lodging.

From the border crossing to San Luis Potosi takes 8 or 9 hours - 2+ hours to Monterrey, 1+ hr through Monterrey to the route 57 interchange, 3.5+ hrs down the high desert valley and over the ridge to Matahuala, then 1.5+ hours to San Luis Potosi.

We like to cross the border in the AM, drive through to San Luis Potosi, and stay at the Sands hotel, just south of the big traffic circle (take the exit off 57 for San Luis Potosi, 3-4 miles into town to the roundabout, then follow the signs for Mexico City). Gated compound, very nice rooms with two double beds + huge bathroom w/ shower + TV for around US$55 per night.

If you hit the road from San Luis Potosi by 9AM and don't stop to eat or sightsee, you can be in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo in time for an early dinner on the beach. About 20-25 minutes less for Troncones.

Hope this is useful.



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