Bienvenido Mexico!!!

Felix and I wave goodbye to California and the United States of America. Adios!!!
Felix and I wave goodbye to California and the United States of America. Adios!!!

After being on hold for over a week, the long journey south has resumed. I am now in Mexico traveling with a companion. Felix is German. His English is passable. His Spanish is almost as poor as mine. We crossed the border yesterday morning, Sunday, after an early departure from Armando’s house. Crossing the border was easy. So easy that we passed through customs without realizing it. Learning to change currency was not so easy. Navigating the mostly unnamed streets of this country is even more difficult. And conversing with the locals is impossible. Luckily, obtaining a six month visa was fairly easy .We have SO much to learn.

“A travel guide would tell us never to go to this place” Felix said. “Too dangerous!” We found ourselves in the middle of the city of Tijuana after La Policia kicked us off of the toll road. Their message was clear even if their words were not. A passerby gave us directions around the toll road- we would have to go back the way we came. We did not listen. Our “shortcut” had us climb and descend a mountain. It was the steepest climb of my life and I barely made it to the top. Houses soon turned to rubble. Emaciated dogs roamed for food. And the road turned to sand and stone. We have only been in this country for an hour and we are already “lost” in the most impoverished area you could imagine. Continue reading

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On Hold

Felix tends the fire for our chicken dinner.
Felix tends the fire for our chicken dinner.

Fleeing the wrath of Hurricane Odile, I am back in San Clemente. My journey is on hold. The storm has created a good swell for the surfers. The competition is on. I spend my days on the beach watching the competitors ride waves many times their size. The quickly paddle then stand up and ride down the face of the wave. They race along dodging the break. They fly off the top of wave crests like skateboarders in a half pipe. Surfing is an intense and fascinating sport as fun to watch as participate.

The campground here allows hiker/bikers to stay one night only. Odile is currently devastating Cabo San Lucas. I must wait for it to pass. If it wipes out the road – and there is only one down the peninsula – I must reroute to the mainland. Due to the campgrounds policy, under the cover of darkness I sneak in each night.

Spending multiple days in the same campground, I discover other cyclist on similar trips to my own. This is how I met Felix. Felix and his friend Lucas flew to San Fransisco, CA and are riding to Puebla. Puebla is a Mexican city just south of Mexico City. Lucas has been unable to keep pace with Felix so he rode on without him. Continue reading

Surfs Up!

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Surfing is a very popular sport here in Southern California and I happened to be here at a wonderful time. The Hurley and Swatch Pro Surf competition is taking place. The worlds best surfers are here at Trestles. The boards they ride are short and pointed allowing greater mobility. The board I rode was long, black and named Darth Vader. I practiced a sport similar to surfing; not drowning. Not drowning is very difficult, possibly the hardest thing I have ever done. My knees are scraped and my foot bleeds. Yet, I am addicted. Surfing pervades my thoughts and I cannot wait to get back on the water.

My surfing experience was made possible by a wonderful couple who stopped me as I pedaled along. Bob and Kate were on their way to rent electric bicycles and asked me to follow them into the parking lot. We covered the basic questions: Where did you start? When? Where are you going? How many miles? Then the unexpected: “Would you like to stay with us?” It was early in the day and I had only traveled twenty miles. I planned to camp close to the border then cross in a few days. Their offer was too good to refuse (not that I would have as meeting new people is the best part of traveling). It also came at an ideal time. I had new gear to prepare and test. Continue reading

Los Angeles, California

Swimming in the Pacific Ocean for the first time then dodging Lamborginies and Farraries, Bentleys and Benzes; through the streets of LA I race. Seeing the Hollywood sign provokes intense jubilation. Though I could never reside in this reality, this city has captured my heart.

I spent most of a day here at the observatory study the stars, the planets, the sun and even a giant pendulum that eliminated any doubt from my mind about the earth being round..
I spent most of a day here at the observatory study the stars, the planets, the sun and even a giant pendulum that eliminated any doubt from my mind about the earth being round..
At the top of Mount Hollywood watching the sunrise.
At the top of Mount Hollywood watching the sunrise.

For the last few days, I have been in Los Angeles, California. Someone special arranged for me to stay with a friend. For three nights, their apartment served as a basecamp for me to explore the city and prepare to cross the border. Thank you Matthew and Sarah! Sarah, it was a pleasure meeting you. I used this time to order new supplies. A tent and battery pack are waiting for me near San Diego at the home of a fellow tourers father. I also downloaded maps for Central America and had my front derailleur fixed at a local bike shop. Yesterday, I planned to escape this sprawling metropolis but its gravity was to large.

In an apartment in downtown LA, I awoke yesterday morning with every intention of resuming my ride south. Instead, I worked, explored, and slept in Hollywood in front of the infamous sign. I decided I must see Hollywood Blvd, and the stars in the pavement, before departing the city. Then, heeding the siren call of those very large letters, I turned north for the sign. I climbed steep hills and ignored road blocks. I passed Mercedes limousines and extra fancy houses. I was on a mission. I reached the top of the hill. I dismounted and walked up a sandy ridge and I captured a selfie with the Hollywood sign. I was as close to the sign as I could get. Or so I though. Continue reading