- Taking your RV to Mexico?
- Looking for someone who knows Mexico like the back of his hand?
- Want someone who will shoot it to you straight?
Let me introduce you to “Mexico Mike” Nelson…
There’s nothing better than running into a veteran traveler that can give you the down and dirty, real-life intel on an area you are headed to in your car or RV. That’s why we love Mexico Mike. Giving you practical detailed information is exactly what Mike Nelson specializes in and why we can’t recommend his Mexico travel guides highly enough.
He’s an amazing photographer, a brilliant author, and a travel guru in Mexico. Mike Nelson, “Mexico Mike” has been exploring Mexico and sharing his valuable experience since 1984. His 100+ page website, www.mexicomike.com has been recognized as an authority on ex-pat living and adventure tourism to Mexico since 1986.
Mike’s Impressive Resume
He has been recognized by The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Contenido (a Mexican newsmagazine), Texas Monthly, American Way Magazine, The Guardian (UK), Irish Times, The News (Mexico City), and Atención. (San Miguel de Allende). Mike also wrote an internationally syndicated newspaper column.
If that isn’t enough to impress you, he has published 15 books, most of which are about Mexico travel, culture, and ex-pat living in Mexico. Mike has also written for several significant guidebooks and wrote the Sanborn’s Travelogs for more than a decade.
Mike was also the media spokesperson for Mexico’s Tourism Department, promoting driving tourism to audiences in the USA, Canada, and Mexico.
Una Historia de Amor (A Love Story)
Mike’s love affair with Mexico began way back in 1957 when his father drove the family from McAllen, TX to Cd. Valles, San Luis Potosí to look at farmland in hopes of resettling there. Little Mike, unfortunately, saw his dad act rude and unappreciative to the locals. Yet, despite his dad’s bad behavior, the Mexican people were still polite and kind, and this intrigued seven-year-old Mike.
On that trip, the Nelsons stayed at a hacienda-type hotel, the Hotel Valles. At the hotel’s posh dining room, the little boy expressed a desire (which in hindsight was more like a tantrum) for Dr. Pepper, a drink only sold in Texas, Oklahoma, and NW Louisiana at the time. Needless to say, no Dr. Pepper was served at that meal.
At the next meal, a dignified white-coated, black-slack-suited waiter marched towards little Mike. Lo and behold, on his upraised right palm, balanced a shining silver serving tray. With a grave flourish, as if presenting vintage champagne, he lowered the plate to the table. On it was an ornate silver ice bucket with a single bottle of Dr. Pepper standing like a monument atop a sweating bed of ice. “Your Dr. Pepper, Caballero,” the waiter said. The intrigue immediately turned into a full-blown romance.
Young Mike didn’t quite understand the difficulties the waiter went to, but he knew that this was something special. Even without understanding trading partners and international trade, he knew that the waiter had gone to extraordinary lengths for him. It was this sense of friendship that the boy intuitively understood and always remembered.
Mike has since learned that calling someone caballero (gentleman in the old-fashioned sense) is a high tribute for an adult and beyond polite for a kid (it’s special tips and insights like this that Mike passes on in his road logs) making the story that much sweeter.
A Powder Blue Mustang and a Dream
Years later, Mike and his first ex-wife were unemployed in Austin, TX in 1969. They decided to take a trip to Mexico. Ignorant of topes (speed bumps that can ruin a car’s undercarriage), driving rules, and just about everything else, they drove off into the Mexican sunset in a powder-blue Ford Mustang.
In Zacatecas, Mike learned the importance of accents and pronunciation from an old crone selling elotes on the street. Mike asked how to get to Juárez street. He pronounced it the “Texas” way as ‘WAR ez.’ The dignified old lady gently touched his arm, engaged his eyes, and said, “WAH rez.”
At this moment, Mike learned that Mexicans will gladly take the time to help you if you at least try to speak the language or show any interest in their culture. And, possibly more important, he learned that no matter how old a woman is, you call her senorita, not señora, if you’re unsure of her marital status.
It’s these little things, these important, but often overlooked insights into the culture of the Mexican people that Mike conveys in his road logs. Modern Mexican roads are pretty well-marked, and GPS systems can almost get you where you want to go (though they sometimes will tell you to drive off a bridge, something Mike doesn’t recommend). Unlike GPS, Mike’s custom-made maps and detailed road logs help you learn something about the country and the people, not simply how to get from point A to point B.
A Million Miles
Mike has lived in Mexico since the 1980s and has driven nearly a million miles in total while driving across the country. Every year he drives around 5,000 miles while updating his guidebooks.
All this mileage keeps Mike current because he now uses his expertise to help people plan personalized driving trips to Mexico. Whether they want the safest route to a winter home or would like to explore the country, Mike uses his many miles of experience to tailor his advice specifically for them.
Through phone calls and emails, Mike helps first-time drivers overcome their fears and the misinformation they’ve heard about driving Mexico. His experience makes travelers feel safe and confident first and foremost.
This service of one-on-one conversation encourages those who had reservations about driving to Mexico to feel comfortable. By talking to someone who drives Mexico regularly and has for 40 years, people get the truth, not rumors.
Mike uses his detailed road logs to cater to their needs. His road logs are mile-by-mile travel guides for solo travelers. He photographs and writes about thermal springs and waterfalls whenever he can, in addition to many more accessible tourist and ex-pat destinations. Take Mexico Mike with you on your next trip to Mexico. Learn why it’s not just the destination that counts, it’s the journey that makes it worth the trip.
MexInsurance.com and “Mexico Mike” have teamed up to give you pro-advice on every spot worthy of your rig and your time. Find our Mexico RV Guide here.
Source Credit: This biography was adapted from Mike’s original autobiography. Ironically, the only truth he holds back on is the truth about himself and his vast experience.