In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age
of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this
financially independent lifestyle, they invite you
to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.
Mexican Road Warriors
Interview with Lynne and
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
We often get mail from our
readers expressing concerns and curiosity about driving in Mexico and what it’s
like to own a car here. Doubts about safety are often first on their list.
While we have moved into being
Car Free, Lynne Metcalf and her physician
husband, Bernie, are true roadsters, and have a completely different
travel style than Billy and I do.
Metcalf's 35 ft. 5th wheel with garage to hold motorbikes
Originally from Arizona, Lynne
and Bernie have lived in Chapala for three years. They began visiting the
area when their business partners and friends moved here eight years ago and
decided they liked it so much, they would make the move themselves. But they
weren’t strangers to Mexico. They knew Puerto Penasco (otherwise known as
Rocky Point, a popular vacation destination of U.S. visitors) years ago when it
was just a stretch of beach and nothing more.
Crossing the Mexican border
twice this year alone, they log thousands of miles on the roads of Mexico in
their Toyota Highlander visiting well-known archeological sites as well as small
villages to get the real flavor of Mexico.
“No tours for us” Bernie says
emphatically. They like the freedom, privacy and spontaneity that having their
own vehicles allow them. Aside for one time when they had a flat driving through
Mexico, they have
never had vehicle trouble while on the road.
“Six men came out of nowhere in
the mountains and helped us with our flat. I was pulling a small trailer at the
time and my little car jack couldn’t lift up the car far enough for me to change
the tire. After assessing the situation, the men went back into the woods, and
returned with a railroad tie that had a slanted broken place on the end.
Although my Spanish is limited, they instructed me to drive my car over that
slanted edge and we used it as a fulcrum and got my tire changed. Incredible
experience. Mexicans are very creative thinkers.”
Lynne on her motorcycle,
riding through northern Arizona
“The Green Angels are
everywhere on the roads of Mexico. We have never had to utilize their services,
but we see them all the time,” says Lynne.
Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism
provides roadside and tourist help through a fleet of trucks known as the Green Angels which passes by a
location on a major highway at least twice a day. They
aid drivers in need, offering repair, tow truck service and medical assistance
throughout their patrol area. These utility trucks carry spare gasoline, diesel
fuel, and miscellaneous car parts. While service is free, you will need to pay
for parts and a tip is always
But isn’t having your own
vehicle stressful? What about finding gas stations, reading road signs in
Spanish and very importantly, how do you keep your ‘stuff ‘ safe overnight?
My inexperience with cars and
using this style of travel didn’t faze Lynne and Bernie in the slightest.
“Gas stations are everywhere,
and since the government owns them, prices are the same at each station. There’s
no need to go scouting around for the best deal.” Bernie says matter-of-factly.
“Years ago we memorized the universal shape of signs to know what they mean.”
his bike on one of his many motorcycle trips
“And we always travel with a
Spanish-English dictionary. If we don’t know a word we look it up on the spot,” adds
The Metcalfs seek out hotels
that offer parking, and they always bring their valuables inside nightly. If
they stop for a meal along the way, they choose a public place with lots of traffic in
which to park, such as in front of a Cathedral or Plaza, they lock
their vehicle doors, and cover their belongings to keep them out of sight.
They make it sound so easy,
When I asked for advice to
others who are considering bringing a car to Mexico, both the Metcalfs stressed
not to purchase a new luxury car. “If you don’t bump, scratch and dent the car,
someone else will,” Lynne maintains. “Sometimes there will be trees overhanging
the roads, or a sign that is lopsided and while your eyes may be on the road,
you car can take the beating.”
We discussed the current
unfavorable view of Mexico in the news North of the Border. Right now, people
seem very afraid to visit Mexico due to the prominence of reporting of the drug
gangs. I asked if they could offer any other safety tips.
“So much of this is common
sense, “ Bernie states. “You must know where you are, and what you are doing.
You don’t put your fat wallet in your back pocket with money hanging out, you
don’t open it up and flash cash.”
“No glitzy jewelry, no walking
the street in the wee morning hours wearing skimpy clothing, half-crocked” says
“You simply do not put yourself
in a bad situation. Smart people don’t even get there! Take advantage of the
obvious clues,” Bernie warns.
In ending our enlightening
conversation, I asked each of them if they had any closing thoughts they would
like to share.
“I have found it helpful to
have a wash-and-wear attitude living in Mexico,” Lynne advises. “Princesses
don’t belong here.”
“Another good thing about
having your own vehicle in Mexico is that you can take your pet along on your
travels. We’re looking forward to bringing our dog, Gypsy, with us soon,” Bernie
stated with a wide smile.
Guanajuato, Mexico in the background
Metcalf Road Tips
1. Keep your papers current
and bring them with you when you travel. Although Lynne and Bernie have only
been stopped once and asked for papers, they advise that you bring all travel
documents, including those for your car with you. Have duplicates made and place
them elsewhere in your luggage.
2. Use the Cuota Roads whenever possible.
These roads have less traffic and are in better condition than the free roads.
Smaller roads will tend to have speed bumps (called topes here) so continuously,
that the joy of travel can be affected.
3. Don’t drive at night.
The conditions of the roads are hard to see in the dark, but most importantly,
you can come upon cows, donkeys, horses or other animals and won’t have the time
to stop, thereby endangering your lives. This fact is something to take seriously.
4. Invest in a
This map guide of roads in Mexico is available on Amazon or in any large store
here in Mexico. This will give you an idea of the way roads are laid out in this
5. Consider using the “Auto Hotels” in Mexico.
These are hotels spaced along the highways and your time there can be purchased
by the hour. The Metcalfs recommend these hotels for their affordable 150-200
Peso nightly price, the fact that they are very clean, and most importantly,
they offer an inside garage where your souvenirs and personal belongings will be
safe from theft.
Thanks Lynne and
Bernie for taking your personal time to share your travel style and road wisdom
with our Readers!
To read more of our
interviews with successful retirees and captivating characters,
About the Authors
Early Lifestyle appeals to a different
kind of person – the person who prizes their
independence, values their time, and who doesn’t
want to mindlessly follow the crowd.
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About Billy & Akaisha