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  1. Default From Merida, Mexico to Chicago

    Hello - My wife and I are retired US expats living in Yucatan, Mexico. The import permit on our van is expiring so we need to take it out of the country. In September we are planning a long road trip back to the US ending up in Chicago where we will sell our van and then fly back to Mexico. A little bit about ourselves - we are in our mid 50's, we like museums, some light hiking, sightseeing, and urban exploring. We plan on staying in Airbnb and mid range hotel/motels along the way

    Our rough itinerary is this:
    Day 1 - Merida to Villahermosa
    Day 2 - Villahermosa to Puebla
    Day 3 - Puebla to San Miguel de Allende
    Day 4 - San Miguel de Allende
    Day 5 - San Miguel de Allende to Monterrey
    Day 6 - Monterrey to Fredericksburg, TX - cross border at Colombia
    Day 7 - Explore Fredericksburg, visit LBJ ranch and then drive to Austin
    Day 8 - Austin
    Day 9 - Austin to Oklahoma City via US 281 and US 81
    Day 10 - Oklahoma City
    Day 11 - Oklahoma City to Joplin,MO via old Route 66 then detour south to Bentonville, AR
    Day 12 - Bentonville - Visit Crystal Bridges Museum
    Day 13 - Bentonville back north to Joplin and follow Route 66 to St Louis
    Day 14 - St Louis
    Day 15 - St Louis to Springfield, IL - visit Lincoln museum and monument
    Day 16 - Springfield to Chicago

    Does this seem doable?
    We can probably fit in an extra day or two if there is anywhere else along the way or in the vicinity to visit or spend time

    Thanks in advance for any info

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Odd Suggestion

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    They're only odd because you won't have a lot of time for significant side trips given the distances involved and the type of vehicle you'll be driving, but I found Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas interesting as were Hannibal MO (Mark Twain) and Springfield IL (Lincoln). An 'oddity': if you want to avoid St. Louis, you could head up through west-central Missouri and include both a second Columbia and a second Springfield. More to your point, once you're into southwestern Arkansas, there will be more national forests and state parks for those short walks


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri


    This sounds like a lovely plan! I can't speak for the mileages/kilometers in Mexico (I don't have a map), but in the US, those are reasonable distances.

    From OK City to Joplin, you can follow old-Rt 66. That should be full of some interesting things. From Joplin to St Louis, though, much of old 66 is under the I-44 slab. As you come into MO the first time, stop at the Welcome Center at mm2. Then, later after you have been down to Bentonville, stop at the one at mm111. That one has a theme of old 66 -- lots of fun!

    There are other historical things hanging around the towns along I-44 in MO, that have to do with old 66. Some of those things, including a Rt 66 museum, are in Lebanon, MO.

    In St Louis, you can park and walk onto the old Chain of Rocks Bridge over the Mississippi River. (My dad had the experience of driving across that bridge towing a travel trailer, back in the 60s. He did NOT like the narrowness nor the 30-degree turn it makes halfway across the river, especially with trailer mirrors sticking way out!!!)

    My husband and I will be making a trip back to the Midwest in less than a month. Part of our trip will take us along old-66 between Tulsa and Claremore, OK. I'll be posting a trip report sometime in early July.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Phoenix, Arizona


    Howdy--and welcome back!

    Merida seems to have worked out for you; that's pretty terrific! (And if you made it through the year of the pandemic, you'll make it through most anything!) Will you be doing without a vehicle when you return to Mexico, or do you plan to buy something down there? (Just curious).

    Regarding your route through Mexico: you're taking it in very easy stages. Do you have plans in either Villahermosa or Puebla, or are they just stopping points? Personally, I think I'd go from Merida to San Miguel in two days, rather than three, with a single overnight halfway--but that's just me. (I also prefer the border at Piedras Negras to Laredo, but I guess the Colombia crossing was okay for you guys when you entered Mexico?)

    I'll defer to my colleagues for the US portion of your trip. It all looks pretty good to me!


  5. Default

    Hi - sorry for the tardy reply.

    Driving through Mexico we're only stopping in Villahermosa and Puebla to spend the night. I wouldn't mind doing the drive to SMDA in two days but there are not many decent lodging options at the midpoint of the route - we also have a much of IHG and Hilton points to burn so we can stay for free in Villahermosa. We're also now planning on crossing at Piedras Negras/Eagle Pass.

    When we return to Mexico, we're planning on buying a local car - a slightly used Honda CRV

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Phoenix, Arizona

    Default Mexican Road Trips can be quite an adventure!

    Hello again!

    Sounds like you have your route well prioritized. A word of warning: if you cross into the State of Mexico, even just passing through, be sure to get a Pase Turistico, the 14 day exemption to "Hoy no Circula," which applies to the entire State of Mexico, as well as the D.F. Mexico Sate Police love to harass vehicles with USA license plates, so be careful!

    In Puebla, I remember there being a problem with the manholes. The heavy metal covers were being stolen faster than they could be replaced, so there were open manholes all over town, in the middle of intersections and in traffic lanes, no warning signs, no cones, no barricades. Local drivers knew to watch out; I sure didn't, and I came close to dropping into one of those holes (good way to bust an axle!)

    Have you been to Palenque? It's quite close to Villahermosa, and it's a lot more interesting. (I realize you're not sight seeing, but still...)

    I re-worked an old blog post about Palenque, and I put it out on my web site just this morning (strange coincidence!):

    Palenque: Mayan City in the Hills of Chiapas

    Safe travels! Drop back by to let us know how it went.


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