Life Lessons Learned in Mexico

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Carlos guides us to the fire hall where we will spend the night.

“Tu estas muy rapido!” I greet the hombre racing along the dirt road paralleling the paved one. He shouts back, speaking as fast as he rides. Felix and I understand two words: Quince, 15, and dormier, to sleep. Quince kilometers pass at break-neck speed and we arrive at a fire hall. It is our fifth day in Mexico and our third night in a row staying with locals. Life in Baja Mexico is good, muy bueno. It’s also quite the learning experience.

SurfHostelBomberos

These five days in Mexico have taught us valuable lessons. The hard way. We learned the first lesson less than an hour into this country. I call it, “Shortcut for adventure.” The police kicked us off the toll road. A woman directed us to a restaurant. Her husband appeared with maps bypassing the toll road, but it required backtracking. We checked our own maps deciding on a shortcut. The shortcut took us well off the main road, through the heart of Tijuana and it’s crumbling houses and sandy, rocky roads. It added hours to our ride. Shortcuts are often quite the adventure. Just don’t expect them to be shorter. Continue reading

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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

San Fransisco, Ca to Monterey, Ca

Monterrey, California

1,750 miles-to-date

A cemetery sprinkler system forced us to retreat to the front
A cemetery sprinkler system forced us to retreat to the front “yard” of this church.

In Starbucks I sit recovering from a growing sleep deficit. Coffee consumed, my thoughts resume. I’m about to enter Mexico. As the border grows nearer, the gravity of this crazy undertaking slows my southerly progress. Three nights spent with Charles and his family. One under the Golden Gate Bridge. One terrible night along the side of the road 70 miles south. One in Santa Cruz 20 miles further south. Two nights contemplating life 10 miles further. Half-a-night in a Monterrey cemetery 30 miles south. And the other half in the front yard of a nearby church.

San Fransisco is a beautiful and diverse city with a dramatic landscape. And enough cannot be said about the Golden Gate Bridge. It is a sight to behold. The weather is cool, typically in the 60’s or 70’s. Fog is an almost daily occurrence this time of year. Walking the streets, numerous languages add an exotic feel. Old cable cars traverse the city. A modern subway system whizzes below. And buses fill the void. The houses are colorful most with bubbling bay windows. San Fransisco is VERY hilly. And thanks to the incredible hospitality of an Oakland family, it sits high on my list of favorite cities, though not one in which I would reside. It is simply too large and too populated and EVERYONE aggressively targets your money, even monks clad in robs. They are selling world peace. Continue reading

Strangers In a Strange Land

 

DSCF3317Integral to any great journey is the kindness and generosity of strangers. This tour is no exception. From the small exchanges that simply serve to keep the loneliness at bay, to gifts such as a bag of potato chips at the end of a long day, even to random invitations of a place to stay, thus far on this expedition, the altruism of strangers has been the primary theme and a real boon to moral as the prevailing winds batter my face and whistle through my ears while I ride north, away from my final destination. Continue reading