George Bush, perhaps the most well-traveled president in history, is on the road again.

Bush, just back from an eight-day trek to Europe and the Middle East that focused on the Persian Gulf crisis, headed south Monday for a two-day meeting with Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari that's expected to be dominated by talk of free trade.The president flew to Monterrey, an industrial city 420 miles north of Mexico City. He and Salinas were holding talks later in the Mexican leader's home in the nearby town of Agualeguas.

Bush will return to Washington late Tuesday. After a couple of days in the Oval Office and a refill of his suitcases, he will be off again.

The president is to depart this Sunday for a seven-day trip to South America, which will include stops in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Venezuela.

Bush is expected to celebrate the Christmas holidays in Texas, and then mark the new year with some more overseas travel.

In January, the president is to go to Moscow for a summit meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev and will also visit Turkey. In February, he plans to go to Japan and Australia.

All this from a 66-year-old chief executive who, nearing completion of just his second full year in office, has already visited nearly every state in the nation and has set foot in nearly three dozen foreign countries.

Bush, who returned to Washington late Friday from Europe and the Middle East, seems to handle travel with ease, although Gorbachev kidded him in Paris last week that he appeared a little jet-lagged.

The president spent most of the weekend at Camp David relaxing.