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 Getting to Santa Fe, NM from Lake Chapala

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Hound Dog
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PostSubject: Getting to Santa Fe, NM from Lake Chapala   Sat 04 Jun 2011, 19:06

OK, after much soul searching and research on how to most reasonably and, perhaps safely get from Lake Chapala to Santa Fe, NM for a necessary participation in the Santa Fe international artisans´fair in July and an intial plan to drive up there along Highway 15 to Nogales, Sonora, we have changed our plan. The drive from Chapala to Nogales along the coast is a bit arduous, unpleasant and damned expensive so here is the plan we have decided upon as the most practical to Northern New Mexico from Chapala:

Luxury bus from Guadalajara to Zacatecas
Continuing bus connection from Zacatecas to Ciudad Juarez after a pleasant evening in Zacatecas
Transportation from Juarez to El Paso (assuming we don´t get shot)
Rent a car to drive to Santa Fe and around other places we wish to visit thereabouts
Return rental car ro El Paso & return to Juarez
Buses back to Guadalajara via Zacatecas

This will save us a ton of money over driving and even flying.

Going by bus and rental car to Santa Fe from here seems the cheapest way to go with our senior citizen´s 50% discounts and, perhaps, even the safest . Driving costs an arm and a leg and leaves one at the mercy of car problems and highway thieves and assailants even if one is simply caught in the crossfire. Seems like no contest to us.

I´ll bet the route would be more or less the same from Morelia.



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cheenagringo
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PostSubject: Re: Getting to Santa Fe, NM from Lake Chapala   Sat 04 Jun 2011, 21:09

Now that you have announced Plan #22, I can only say that: I have never encountered anyone as flexible as yourselves! Given the number of "decisions" and then revisions, I have to wonder?

I see nothing wrong with an enjoyable evening in Zacatecas as it is a somewhat enjoyable colonial city with a certain number of what appear to be decent restaurants surrounded by great architecture. The centro part along Hidalgo (?) is an enjoyable experience. While there are numerous hotels in centro, many of them are quite proud of their facilities. We stayed at the Best Western Argento Inn at a reasonable price for somewhat basic small but clean rooms.

I am hoping that by describing the bus as a "luxury" you meant that they were armor plated. Personally I cannot imagine riding a bus for that distance but "to each their own"!

While you didn't confirm that you received our address for shipping, I am assuming that you did.
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PostSubject: Re: Getting to Santa Fe, NM from Lake Chapala   Sun 05 Jun 2011, 00:30

If you can imagine riding in a car for that distance then riding Mexican luxury-class bus should be easy. I certainly couldn't imagine riding a Greyhound for that distance ever again having once made a trip from Seattle to Ventura, CA by Greyhound when I was in my early 20's. Not sure if you have had experience with Mexican buses but it in no way should be compared to the Greyhound ordeal.

I have made numerous trips of several hours duration including a charter bus about a year ago that was our private ride for 3 days. Any trip of long duration can be challenging but executive or first-class Mexican buses are quite comfortable. I have no qualms at all about spending several hours and actually look forward to the ride.

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PostSubject: Re: Getting to Santa Fe, NM from Lake Chapala   Sun 05 Jun 2011, 13:01

cheenagringo wrote:
Now that you have announced Plan #22, I can only say that: I have never encountered anyone as flexible as yourselves! Given the number of "decisions" and then revisions, I have to wonder?

I see nothing wrong with an enjoyable evening in Zacatecas as it is a somewhat enjoyable colonial city with a certain number of what appear to be decent restaurants surrounded by great architecture. The centro part along Hidalgo (?) is an enjoyable experience. While there are numerous hotels in centro, many of them are quite proud of their facilities. We stayed at the Best Western Argento Inn at a reasonable price for somewhat basic small but clean rooms.

I am hoping that by describing the bus as a "luxury" you meant that they were armor plated. Personally I cannot imagine riding a bus for that distance but "to each their own"!

While you didn't confirm that you received our address for shipping, I am assuming that you did.

Ah yes, Plan #22. We started thinking of driving to either Ciudad Juarez or Nogales to get to Santa Fe which is not that easy to get to flying from Guadalajara. The Nogales plan was designed to avoid Juarez - The Murder Capital if The Universe - but it turned out, after much research, that the Nogales route was a lot farther and if you´ll remember John O´Hara´s novel Appointment in Samarra, one can´t escape one´s fate by running from it so, what the hell, live dangerously.

We could, of course, fly Vivaearobus nonstop from Guadalajara to Juarez in a couple of hours, stay near the Juarez airport where there are several good, business style hotels, spend the night in Juarez and rent a car in El Paso the next day heading for Santa Fe and maybe, Neil, that will be Plan #23.

No we did not receive you address for shipping but as it turns out we won´t need it as we will not be shipping anything but thanks anyway.

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PostSubject: Re: Getting to Santa Fe, NM from Lake Chapala   Mon 04 Jul 2011, 06:34

As Neil, doubtless, would quip, OK, so here is Plan Number 497 and it must be the final plan as we have non-refundable tickets.

It turns out that Dawg is too old and chickensh*t to run the gauntlet of runamoke soldiers, corrupt federales, ruthless banditos and opportunistic carteles with his two bit Nissan up through the Chihuahua and Texas badlands to the tired and ugly precincts of Juarez City and El Paso strip- mall and scrub-brush plains which, as the Coen Brothers have adequately taught us is no place for old men so, what the hell, we´ll fly non-stop from Guadalajara to Phoenix and drive over to Santa Fe if the whole place hasn´t burned to the ground. I mean, who wouldn´t want to escape the mild 70F climate of Lake Chapala and fly to Phoenix where it´s so hot your hair would catch on fire if you had any?

As it turns out, my French citizen, Mexican resident wife doesn´t need a visa to enter the U.S. but does need approval of the Homeland Security Department, that will be $14USD thank you, and we think she has been cleared for that but who knows whether or not some two-bit Homeland Security functionary will confront her being in a bad mood because his wife threw away his pornography collection that took him fifty years to collect starting in 1953.

One seemingly good development since we last flew through the Land of the Freaked and the Home of the Paranoid is that one can conjure up a boarding pass on the U.S. based airline on line. At least that is what we have been led to believe. We´ll see when we actually try to board with those passes.

Well, at least we don´t have to figure out how to get from Ciudad Juarez to El Paso in one, er, two pieces.


Last edited by Hound Dog on Mon 04 Jul 2011, 07:50; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Getting to Santa Fe, NM from Lake Chapala   Mon 04 Jul 2011, 06:49

I guess that $14us is for those TSA whores to give you the best feel-up you've had since as a teenager. Enjoy your flight.

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PostSubject: Re: Getting to Santa Fe, NM from Lake Chapala   Mon 04 Jul 2011, 07:33

Thanks, Peter. Recalling a recent event at a U.S. airport, at least I´m not a 95 year old cancer victim woman in a wheelchair wearing incontinence napkins creating a bulge at my crotch and signaling the need among Homeland Security goons to strip search me and reveal that I, as is common among humans even in the glorious United States, defecate and urinate on occasion and, at times, in my pants.

While I´m up there, perhaps the BATF will sell me an AK-47 or M-16 so I will feel secure returning through Chihuahua on a bus.

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PostSubject: Re: Getting to Santa Fe, NM from Lake Chapala   Mon 04 Jul 2011, 08:04

Of course you should mention at the time of purchase that you plan to take those arms into Mexico. That would likely save you a lot of red-tape.

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PostSubject: Re: Getting to Santa Fe, NM from Lake Chapala   Mon 04 Jul 2011, 14:50

It will be interesting to see if US Air, formerly America West aka America Worst, can keep their act together and attempt to take off and land on time. Kathy flies on this airline frequently enough to have earned a free R/T to Mexico but absolutely despises this company! Somewhere between 60 to 70% of her flights are either delayed or even cancelled.

Good luck to BubbaDawg and Brigitte!
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PostSubject: Re: Getting to Santa Fe, NM from Lake Chapala   Wed 20 Jul 2011, 21:10

Well, CG, U.S. Airways stuffed the fat boy into a way too small seat on one of their cattle cars and flew me from Phoenix to Guadalajara in a couple of hours more or less and everything went according to plan except that the Transportation Safety Administration took it upon themselves to destroy a $300 suitcase with a crowbar and left us a message inside the suitcase that they regretted destroying our suitcase but if we didn´t like it we could go f*ck ouselves which is another reminder of how pleased we are not to have retired in the despicable fascist United States. I think it may have been that jar of pickles we left in the suitcase that triggered their violent reaction to our clearly dangerous checked luggage.

Dawg does not understand how you continue to live in that craphole. That will definitely be our last trip there.

You may recall that we planned to take a 12 year old Zapoteco boy from Oaxaca who is Brigitte´s godson, to see the wonders of Arizona and New Mexico but the visa application process made that impossible in less that two months if even then so we gave up on that and will take him with us to France next year which will drive him crazy with delight. The United States persists in shooting itself in the foot.

The world is too big and too exciting to waste one´s time traveling to hell.
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PostSubject: Re: Getting to Santa Fe, NM from Lake Chapala   Wed 20 Jul 2011, 22:27

Isn't there a song, "Do you know your way to Santa Fe?" And wasn't that the name of our old passenger railway system, Santa Fe?

More folks are discovering how true it is that the longer you live here the more difficult it is to ever go back to the US, for any reason. Very little time has to pass before one is reminded why they came here to Mexico to have a look around and decided to stay. Took me less time each time I crossed the border. I was so happy that last time about four years ago I spent about two weeks in the US taking care of some final business and could then come back home here and say, "Never again."

I remember entering the US that final time after standing in a long line at the border that I began waiting in in Tijuana and after an hour-and-a-half emerged in San Ysidro, California where one immediately encounters the trolley system that goes into San Diego. I walked up to the ticket machine to purchase my pass then stepped back and lit up a cigarette to wait on the trolley after my long wait in the Customs and Immigrations line to be cleared through.

Almost immediatly I was approached by a uniformed man that was telling me there was no smoking allowed in the trolley station. I did a quick look around trying to find the trolley station and the No Smoking sign and could find neither. There was a little overhead cover where the trolley pulls up, kind of like one may find at a bus stop, though I was not standing there but was at a brief distance. "Umm... where is the trolley station?" I asked. It was anywhere 25 feet from the waiting platform, ticket machine, and information posters, I was told, so took about 5 strides further to assure I was in compliance with trolley ordinances. Oh yes, the US, I was there again.

There are just some things that feel so right about Mexico in contrast to the US, like being able to watch the road ahead while driving. I realized driving in the US has the need to be constantly watching the rearview mirror. It really takes the combined efforts of the two-party system to make the US what it is. One, it takes the "libruls" to pass some very restrictive laws that are much derided by their politically foes. Next it takes the "conservatalitarians" to make sure those same laws are followed to the letter, one party to draw an arbitrary line and the other to post officials along every step to watch for any half-inch foot fouls.

There is some crazy fascination in America for everyone to be extra vigilant that everybody else obeys "The Rule of Law" to its black and white letter without exception. In Mexico it would seem "laws" are merely suggestions until things get out of hand to the point where order needs to be temporarily re-established, then if there were any violations of those laws then the offending party is required to make some monetary remuneration to the official for taking up his time. It is only in the case of someone unable or unwilling to accept the official's recommendation that someone may need to be taken "downtown." In the US the degradation ceremony is about the only festive occasion one ever participates in with any regularity. In Mexico it is always one big fiesta.

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PostSubject: Re: Getting to Santa Fe, NM from Lake Chapala   Thu 21 Jul 2011, 04:11

cheenagringo wrote:
It will be interesting to see if US Air, formerly America West aka America Worst, can keep their act together and attempt to take off and land on time. Kathy flies on this airline frequently enough to have earned a free R/T to Mexico but absolutely despises this company! Somewhere between 60 to 70% of her flights are either delayed or even cancelled.

Good luck to BubbaDawg and Brigitte!

We just completed our first round trip on Volaris. GDL>SJC and back 10 or so days later. In most ways, Volaris is a delight (I will expand on this on my other blog.) and I now forgive them for canceling the Oaxaca> Toluca route a couple of days before we were due to fly. That was over 3 years ago. The lovely and cheerful female flight attendants alone are a great incentive to fly Volaris. Their uniforms are very attractive, I guess the word is "tailored" purple outfits ina retro style.


I didn't take this photo.

Our seats were reasonably comfortable, without getting into first class, which doesn't exist on Volaris. For a very small additional charge, you can book forward cabin sting, which we did.

While no real meals were offered on our flights, we were given plenteous snacks plus beverages. I'd heard from a friend that after 11:00 a.m. on Volaris, alcoholic beverages were available at no extra cost. This was borne out on our return flight yesterday, and I asked for "spike" of rum in my coffee. The first taste was almost imperceptible, and the flight attendant asked if I wanted more. So I got it.

So now, Volaris is moving toward First Place as my favorite airline. Besides everything mentioned above, the fares are cheap, though as ever, price varies according to what and when you book.

Apart from that, my impression of San Jose International Airport, SJC, is that it is one of the more civilized airports. The TSA security lines were civil, also. These days, that's a plus.

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PostSubject: Re: Getting to Santa Fe, NM from Lake Chapala   Thu 21 Jul 2011, 09:14

Don:

Thank you for the positive report on Volaris! It confirms my decision to try something new for my trip in August. I am flying Volaris LAX-GDL-LAX on a red-eye flight leaving at 1:25AM and arriving at 6:40AM and using Southwest for the ABQ-LAX-ABQ portion. One positive aspect is that neither airlines charges for baggage. For comparison purposes, I am paying a total of $430 while a R/T ticket on US Airways would have been $674 + baggage charges.

Booking on Volaris can be a bit of a roll of the dice in a craps game. They call their lowest fare the "I Want to Save" ticket and one loses some of the change options, the on time guarantee program and a few limitations on baggage. This fare can vary from flight to flight and day to day. At the time when I booked, they had a 20% off coupon on their opening page and I jumped on it. Last week, I noticed they were running a 50% off coupon. I started kicking myself in the butt for pulling the trigger too early as I was have cut $125 off the fare I paid and don't even think about getting them to give you the lower fare! Tried that a couple of different ways and no amount of whining or conning worked.
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PostSubject: Re: Getting to Santa Fe, NM from Lake Chapala   Thu 21 Jul 2011, 09:22

Hey, Mike.... I feel the same way about Volaris--we also have had a few good flights, the seats are comfortable, and the flight attendants are pleasant and attractive. As I understand it, for any flights originating after 11:30 am, they will provide two free alcoholic beverages. Since this is now so unusual, I bet many don't take advantage of that.

I'm amused that you find the San Jose airport "civilized." For 20 years, I flew in and out of there often, and I regarded it as one of the butt-ugliest airports in existence. There were even articles in the local newspapers complaining that Silicon Valley deserved a much nicer airport. Over the years, they've really improved it, but it is still small enough that it is a more or less pleasant experience.

Good to hear your trip went well!

Jim
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PostSubject: Re: Getting to Santa Fe, NM from Lake Chapala   Thu 21 Jul 2011, 12:48

Quoting the BubbaDawg: "Dawg does not understand how you continue to live in that craphole. That will definitely be our last trip there."

Given your rant just prior to this statement, I cannot tell if you are referring to NM or the US as a whole? At any rate, some of us that didn't have a "banker's silver spoon" have not been lucky enough to be in the position to retire early and run off to a foreign Paradise! As the dog knows quite well, I have lived all over the world and far too many places within the US and certainly many of those locations would qualify as crap holes or hell holes. Accepting that as fact, I have always operated under the theory that ones acceptance of where they happen to live is defined by what one makes of it and I think I can safely say that I have yet to experience an absolutely perfect location.

At the present time Albuquerque, NM, USA works for us but who knows where things will lead in future years?
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PostSubject: Re: Getting to Santa Fe, NM from Lake Chapala   Sat 13 Aug 2011, 10:41

Back to Volaris: I just received a reminder email telling me that they would PAY ME $100MXN if I print my boarding pass somewhere between 2 and 24 hours before my flight. Have no idea how I collect but it is a novel approach!
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