Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Read All About My (Insane?) Epic NAFTA Trip Over Land on Public Transport from Montreal, Canada to Monterrey, Mexico

Read All About My (Insane?) Epic NAFTA Trip Over Land on Public Transport from Montreal, Canada to Monterrey, Mexico

Old Jan 10th, 2004, 05:15 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,227
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Read All About My (Insane?) Epic NAFTA Trip Over Land on Public Transport from Montreal, Canada to Monterrey, Mexico

Hi!

I haven't gotten a chance to travel since May; my company closes from Christmas to New Year's and I decided to tack on a week's vacation, so as to give me around 2 1/2 weeks off.

This trip began because I tremendously enjoy long-distance train rides. I'd been eyeing the DC-New Orleans trip for some time. I Ever since I was a kid, I thought that wouldn't it be interesting to cross the USA over land, visit a cousin who lives (and still lives) in Houston and then hop down into and see some of Mexico. Once I actually got down to looking at what was involved, the sheer amount of time and expense involved in this trip for awhile seemed daunting, but then at one point, I said to myself, "when am I going to have the time, money, youth and willpower to do this again?" and bought my train ticket from DC to New Orleans, with every determination to proceed on my epic journey from Canada to Mexico!

Now some of you will probably think this guy is totally nuts (and I think you may be right! it's been awhile since I travelled last so I think I went a bit travel crazy), but let me preface my tale by saying that I wanted also to see some people along the way. My aunt/cousin live in NYC, my parents/brother in DC, a cousin in Houston and a friend in Monterrey.

Here's how the trip went:

Montreal-NYC by Greyhound
NYC-DC on Northeast Corridor Regional/Amtrak
time spent with family in DC
DC-New Orleans on Crescent Train/Amtrak
night in New Orleans
New Orleans-San Antonio on Greyhound
night in San Antonio
San Antonio-Monterrey, MX on Autobuses Americanos
5 nights in Monterrey
and then almost the same in reverse
except spent night in Houston to see cousin instead of San Antonio and one night in NYC to see aunt

This was my first time ever seeing New Orleans, last time in Texas since 1977 (I was 6) and first time not only in Monterrey, but also in Mexico and for that matter in ANY Latin American country! I looked forward for the opportunity to practice my Spanish some as well, which I took in university, but never had any real-world immersion opportunities. So needless to say, I was very excited about doing this!

I had no idea how eye-opening a trip it would end up being for me! A number of my misconceptions about the Southwest USA/Mexico were erased. Anyhow, I entitle each entry
Epic Montreal-Monterrey Trip: (i.e., Montreal- DC Leg Blurb #1)
since Fodor's postings can only be so long.

Even if you think this whole trip was crazy, I'll try to make the reading fun. Anyhow, I hope somebody reads and enjoys!
Daniel_Williams is online now  
Old Jan 10th, 2004, 05:21 PM
  #2  
GoTravel
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
It sounds great and I can't wait to read all about the trip! What an adventure!
 
Old Jan 11th, 2004, 07:37 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,227
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Gotravel!

Thanks for your interest. I've pieced most of it together now, except for excursions in the state of Nuevo Leon. The part of my journey that was in the USA in the "United States" forum; the part that's in Mexico is in the "Latin America" forum. If you prefer, you could double-click on my name "Daniel Williams" underlined in blue and observe my recent entries more easily this way!

Glad to see I've piqued one person's curiosity! DAN
Daniel_Williams is online now  
Old Jan 11th, 2004, 07:58 AM
  #4  
hsv
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 2,801
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Dan,

I am sure more than one (at least two)!

I am in the process of enjoying them all!

Cheers
hsv
hsv is offline  
Old Jan 11th, 2004, 05:23 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,227
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you hsv, for giving my entries a read as well!

I've now finally compiled 8 installations talking about my trip. Again, I think the easiest way to review the entries is to click on my name and find all of them that way! While I've said a lot, I know I've missed some details as well, so if you (or anyone) has any questions, I'd be more than happy to try to help!

Love and happy trails! DAN
Daniel_Williams is online now  
Old Jan 12th, 2004, 08:23 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,107
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Daniel - just read the entire series. I always enjoy your writing & enjoy your open-minded assessments of what your observed, including your self-doubts about the wisdom of your travel plans when you were in the noisy hotel. You seem to often choose some out-of-mainstream intinerary (eg: Pittsburg) and make the trip sound so exciting.

I also like how passengers are assigned a seat with others on trains. Sometimes I am hesitant to ask others if I may join them (but almost always enjoy the visit after the first awkward minutes) but being assigned dining companions gets me over the initial hurdle.

I look forward to YOUR next vacation!
rb_travelerxATyahoo is offline  
Old Jan 12th, 2004, 04:43 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,227
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Dear Rb,

I can't tell you how much it pleases me that you enjoyed reading about this trip and feel moved that you remember trips I've posted in the past (to Pittsburgh is now almost two years ago, deeply buried in the morass of Fodor's archives I'm sure). I personally wince sometimes as I go back and read my postings as to how many grammatical errors and run-on sentences I leave. Or in this last trip report, how I put a vulgar Mexican word in as a typo...oops. But it warms my heart that you enjoy the reports despite all this and see the story I try to weave. That's what keeps me posting these, a desire to share with others my travel experiences and just hope someone's curiosity will be piqued.

I've found in life that some of the best destinations are not necessarily where one might think. Any exciting trips planned yourself for this year, rb, or recent trip reports?

DAN

PS On the train, I met some fascinating folk. A young college couple, guy from rural Louisiana and girl from suburban Boston; she was going to meet his family, he had just started school in Boston last semester...they were taking the train back from New Orleans and talked about both of their culture shocks. A hilarious, very social 50-something couple where the wife hated her job and they opened up a successful B&B in Gettysburg, PA, even though their friends thought they were crazy. Now they love what they do! A 70-something woman who went from NYC-New Orleans by train on her own then was going to Pensacola, followed by a train ride from Pensacola to San Diego! Made my trip look like small peanuts (there are some real train fanatics out there)! She was a lot of fun, sat with her twice; once I commented about the wine "these sulfites are going right to my head" and she clinked glasses and said "have some more!" and we had a good laugh. It's amazing how warm strangers can be sometimes, living often very different lives and different belief systems, but still drawn together as humans...glad to hear you enjoy this too.





Daniel_Williams is online now  
Old Jan 13th, 2004, 07:32 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,107
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi again, Dan-

(readers will wonder if we're the same person doing some self-promotion)

After years of writing software for other companies, I've "hung my own shingle", and I'm working with no employees so far, so won't dare to take much time for many trips this year. I will try to go to Montreal Jazz Festival again this year, and since I'll lose some credits with S.W. airlines if I don't travel by mid-March, I'll probably do another DC/Baltimore trip.

My only long distance train trip was Schenectady-Orlando. I do Amtrak to Williamsburg quite a bit, but the trains only have snackbar food service. I will be traveling Scdy to Boston in Feb with my brother while his wife in in FL - we'll take a motorcoach trip to Boston (a day trip so we arrive by 11:30am and tell the driver we won't be returning) then take Amtrak back the next day. My brother has been wanting to take the train somewhere, but his wife refuses ("they're dangerous!"). Our "rail sale" fare is under $10 each. I love the attitude of most rail passengers, but always tell "type A personalities" to avoid the train ... things aren't always perfect, and you must be able to roll with the waves and accept "problems" as new opportunities.

I don't read peoples' travel reports for writing perfection, but for the story they tell. My writing is terrible, as I don't devote enough time to it, so most of my posting is simply sharing tips when someone queries about places I've been.
rb_travelerxATyahoo is offline  
Old Jan 14th, 2004, 09:08 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Daniel,

I'm looking into traveling from Austin to Monterrety in a couple months and I have a few questions about your trip. How was the ride from San Antonio to Monterrey? Were there any stops? How long did it take? What sort of quality was the bus that you took?
I'm actually planning on driving to Laredo and taking a bus from there to finish the trip. But all the sites I look up are in spanish, and poorly made.

Thanks for any and all advice,
-Craig
craiga1 is offline  
Old Jan 14th, 2004, 06:59 PM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,227
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I took Autobuses Americanos from San Antonio to Monterrey: 210-223-5585 is their San Antonio tel number. We made a brief stop in Laredo before crossing the border, and one 10-minute stop halfway between San Antonio & Laredo for food, drink, bathroom break.

The ride was fine, a little bumpy off the toll roads in Mexico, but perfectly respectable. Left San Antonio at 8:30am, arriving in Monterrey around 3:15pm. The quality of the seats was pretty comfortable, more leg room than on Greyhound for sure; they showed a movie dubbed into Spanish (all but one or two of my fellow passengers appeared Mexican or Mexican-American). The bus was perfumed, another difference from Greyhound.

It's hard to get any information about the bus schedules; not easy in Spanish and I'd imagine more challenging with only English knowledge...I know you would have more choices out of Laredo than out of San Antonio. Since you'll be in Laredo anyway, my recommendation would be to cross the Rio Grande on foot and take a taxi to the Central Camionera in Nuevo Laredo; other companies include Estrella Blanca series, El Expreso, El Conejo, to name the ones I know of. Returning to the States, especially in times of heightened alert in the USA, I think it's perhaps becoming a must to only take a bus as far as Nuevo Laredo, taking a taxi to the International Bridge 1 (or as close as possible) and crossing by foot. I waited 7 hours at the border in my Autobuses Americanos Monterrey-Houston bus and there were still 25 buses left to go through before mine last January 4th. I told the bus driver at this point to open the luggage compartment so I could find my luggage. I then wheeled my bags through Nuevo Laredo and across the Puente Internacional 1 and into the USA (15 minutes). Luckily there was a Greyhound bus available from Laredo to Houston, where I was headed!

Have fun if you decide to go! DAN
Daniel_Williams is online now  
Old Jan 14th, 2004, 07:04 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,014
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
craiga1, I googled the Mexican Consultate and found this website published in English. Maybe that can help you?
http://www.mexonline.com/consulate.htm
wsoxrebel is offline  
Old Jan 19th, 2004, 07:06 PM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,227
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
http://www.magic-bus.com/oldsite.html

Hi Craig,

This site is in English and talks about a number of aspects of bus travel in Mexico that you might wish to know. I find it pretty even-handed but may not have all the companies and schedules you're looking for!

Best wishes, DAN

Daniel_Williams is online now  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
tailsock
Canada
7
Nov 11th, 2012 05:08 PM
Moglin
Mexico & Central America
12
Aug 13th, 2009 09:11 AM
Daniel_Williams
United States
4
Jan 22nd, 2005 03:33 PM
Daniel_Williams
Mexico & Central America
5
Jan 12th, 2004 08:34 PM
Lolita
Canada
4
Sep 18th, 2002 07:36 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:37 AM.