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Driving from US to Panama

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Hello, my wife and I are planning this fall to drive to Panama. We plan to live there for a minimum of three years, but will most likely be there for longer. Our concern is the drive. We plan to enter Mexico at Nuevo Loredo TX. and take the federal hwy 85.
Has there been anyone recently that has driven this route within 2013-2014?
What are we to expect and need to prepare for along the way with police and at the borders?
How much will we expect to spend? (We plan on not taking a long time along the way for stops. Except in Oaxaca mx, and in San Salvador we have friends to stay with)
And what places do you recommend to stop at along the way?

Of course We plan to NOT drive at night and understand there can be and will be some corrupt officials. Anyone have experience?

Thanks for your help!

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