Mexican Caravan

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JamesOne

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Aug 11, 2005
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We have beeen in a Mexican Caravan for the past four weeks. I have read pros and cons regarding caravans. Let me give you three pros.

After one week of driving the narrow roads of Baja California, one couple was just about to return. Then they destroyed their driver side mirrow with an oncoming semi's mirror. That did it. Our wagonmaster laid out their options. They elected to take the ferry across to mainland Mexico where the roads are wider. The wagonmaster called on his Mexican cellphone and made ferry reservations. He then led them about 100 miles to the ferry port calling out oncoming traffic to them on the CB and assisted in their boarding of the ferry.

A week later we had a 71 year old man collapse in front of his RV. The wagonmaster saw him and rushed to his aid. His wife called the paramedics while he administered CPR. The medics and a doctor arrived in our park within five minutes but they could not revive him. The wagonmaster took care of all of the official paperwork. He then arranged for the cremation of the deceased and through the deceased's insurance arrange the flight reseravations for the wife back to the states and for a driver to return the RV. In the meantime the wagonmaster's wife essentially winterized the RV because it was going to Minnesota. We all bought what food and pesos they had. The tailgunner stayed behind when our caravan departed and took the wife to the closest airport and put her on her airplane.

Our third incident happened yesterday. Fourteen of us went out whale watching in a 26' open boat. Returning to the dock at about 25 knots we hit a huge bouy. We were all thrown forward. I probably had the most minor injuries, just some bruises. My wife got a broken finger and some major bruises. Others had broken bones and one got a slight concussion and a nasty cut on his head. Our wagonmaster met us in the emergency room and took care of all of the paperwork and expenses. He then made arrangements to transport us all from the hospital back to our RV's.

It certainly helped that both the wagonmaster and his wife are retired California Highway Patrol officers and both speak Spanish.
 

Ned

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Your first and third incidents sure don't give me any confidence about going into Mexico with that caravan.
 

JamesOne

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Ned, I know you don't like caravans but could you amplify your remark so that I can respond intelligently.
 

Ned

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Taking me on roads too narrow for my vehicle is poor planning.  From your other statements, this wasn't the first incident of this kind.  Of course, we traveled Alaska last summer, and we traveled some pretty narrow roads, but it was our choice :)

Booking a tour on a boat with an operator that unskilled is scary.  There is no excuse for running over a buoy, especially in your home waters on a commercial vessel.  This would also turn me off of that tour.

That's why I would not consider a tour with that operator.  Fortunate that you had such good wagon masters to save your butts.  Others might not be so lucky.
 

Ron

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At least two of those three reasons you mentioned are a good reason not to go at least with what ever company you are with.  Sounds like incompetence to me as well as disregard for peoples safety and well being.  I agree with what Ned said.
 

Jeff

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I beleive a great deal of your experience on a caravan will be the result of the staff. We are traveling with wagonmasters and tailgunners that are insistant on safety and go to great lengths each evening to cover in detail what we will experience the following day. They are also very experienced and professional in their duties.

Given the state of the tourism industry in Mexico (about 30 years behind the states in many areas) if you come down here you wil have some interesting experiences. It has certainly been worth it for us!
 

JamesOne

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Aug 11, 2005
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OK, I see where you are all coming from. You have never traveled to Baja California. If you ever do, you will find there is only one highway, Hwy 1. We were never on any side roads except short stretches into a campground. Hwy 1 is, in most cases, two lanes traveled by everybody. If you want to see Baja, that's your only choice. It is wide enough for semis and RVs to pass each other but there is no shoulder and quite often a foot or two dropoff on both sides of the road. So a comment like "taking me on roads too narrow for my vehicle is poor planning" is made through ignorance of the Baja road system. The couple that dropped out of our caravan were fairly inexperienced in rving, as it appears some of the above responders are, and they were intimidated by the narrow roads. This is not the caravan company's fault. As I said if you want to see Baja you must travel Hwy 1 whether you do it by yourself or in a caravan.

As to the comments accusing the caravan company of the boating accident. This comes from the responders lack of knowledge. There are only two or three companies licensed by Mexico to conduct whale watching tours out of Guerrero Negro. Our caravan company contracted with the same company they have been doing business with for years. How can you possibly place the blame for our boating accident on the caravan company? Certainly the boat tour company was at fault but not the caravan company.

Regardless, of the uninformed statements by the above posters, the point of my original post was how well the company took care of us. I am 75 years of age with a wife traveling with me who has Alzheimer's. I feel confident that she will be taken care of if anything happens to me. Btw Ron, you always agree with Ned so your post doesn't add much to this discussion.
 

Ned

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You're correct, I have not traveled to Baja, for all the reasons you state.  You have made my case very nicely, thank you.
 

Ron

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I don't see how you can think that the caravan company is not at fault for the boat accident that occurred while Their caravan members were  on board.  The boating company was contracted by the caravan company.  Just who's responsibility is it to see that any body contracted by the caravan company is indeed legal and competent. IMHO any boat driver who hits a huge buoy has displayed incompetence and any company that contracts another company with incompetent drivers is just as incompetent.  Just my opinion.
 

Betty Brewer

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Mar 10, 2005
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James,
I certainly appreciate your comments regarding the care you were given on a Caravan.  I think  any travel to Mexico  is  only for the adventurous.  The narrow  Baja roads are doable as  you say  and STUFF happens to all of us when we travel.  I think we should be grateful when we have any  support to help us out in travel emergencies.  Sounds like your  wagon masters did a fine job of taking care of "the issues."  I plan to travel to Mexico again and with a caravan.  The brochure states that the travel is only designed for those seeking an adventure. 

Thank you for sharing and I hope your injuries heal up quickly.

Betty
 

Carl L

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Ron said:
I don't see how you can think that the caravan company is not at fault for the boat accident that occurred while Their caravan members were  on board.  The boating company was contracted by the caravan company.  Just who's responsibility is it to see that any body contracted by the caravan company is indeed legal and competent. IMHO any boat driver who hits a huge buoy has displayed incompetence and any company that contracts another company with incompetent drivers is just as incompetent.  Just my opinion.

The US Coast Guard which enforces admiralty law for the USA has a rigorous licensing scheme for the certification of captains and deck officers of commercial vessels operating under US flag.  It specifies the waters of operation and the skills and knowledges and experience to be gained.  It ranges from the Six Pac (6 passengers max on a small vessel, thru the 100 tonner thru master unlimited tonnage and all oceans at the highest level.  The skipper of the Exxon Valdez held that rating when his ship ran aground in Resurrection Bay.   

The US Navy hands out the rank of Captain sparingly, especially to line officers and then after a lot of service in various commands.  Nevertheless, I remember as a kid seeing the USS Missouri, flagship of the Atlantic Fleet aground on the mud flats out in Hampton Roads.

Accidents happen to the best.  The sea is a nasty mistress. 
 

Terry A. Brewer

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Mar 4, 2005
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To expound on Betty's description... The tour book says :

"These trips are for the adventuresome and not for those who put a high priority on the importance of RV facilities and roads. These are exotic trips with great appeal and exciting lifetime experiences but the roads are poor in some areas and RV accommodations are rustic in many areas that we travel."

I find it refreshing to travel in Mexico & be away from all of the suffocating regulations that he USA imposes on us. You are not going to be able to "SUE" your way out of problems in Mexico...you have to assume responsibility for everything that happens to you.

I can almost guarantee you  that if you have a serious health problem like a heart attack you will probably not survive, but this could also be true of some of the out of way back road places we travel in the USA.

If you are afraid of dings/scratches or possible damage to your motorhome I would rule Mexico travel out.
 

ArdraF

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Feb 12, 2006
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Sure glad we've enjoyed all our trips to Mexico - Copper Canyon and Baja by RV and elsewhere by plane!  One time in Baja we spent 3 days going just 85 miles south of Puertocitos to Hwy. 1 and we apparently were the first motorhomes they had ever seen on that road.  If people listened to all the naysayers they'd never do anything and never have any fun.  Yes, we've had little incidents happen in Mexico - and Canada - and West Virginia and Florida and numerous other places in the U.S.  If you aren't willing to take a chance occasionally, you might as well stay home - and miss some wonderful times with some wonderful people.  I feel sorry for people who have such limiting attitudes because they miss so much.  I highly recommend the Copper Canyon trip.  Our only regret was that we took the shorter version which didn't include the ferry to La Paz and up Baja because we'd already driven the length of Baja.

ArdraF
 

Wendy

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Shoot, we took out our driver's side mirror backing out of the backyard at home.....wish we had done it on a Mexican adventure instead.

Wendy
Navajo National Monument
 

tlapointe

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Apr 17, 2007
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wendycoke said:
Shoot, we took out our driver's side mirror backing out of the backyard at home.....wish we had done it on a Mexican adventure instead.

Wendy
Navajo National Monument

;D ROFLMAO!  ;D
 

brudan

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Aug 5, 2007
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My wife & I are planning a trip to the Panama Canal, we will be going in a caravan. It is reassuring to hear that you will be given assistance when trouble occurs.
 
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