Guy radioed "check out the butcher on the left" as we passed and I did a fast u-turn when I saw the calf standing in front of fresh meat. After making small talk with the people, I pointed at the calf standing and asked "does he know he's next?" The woman in charge laughed and said "¡Soy su mamá! - I'm his mother, he's got a long life ahead of him!" He was rejected by his mother at birth, so she bottle-feeds him and keeps him nearby.Once the people saw
We ended up in Cuyutlán because it was starting to getting late and we needed to get off the road. An expat American living there called it a "faded beach town." That's putting it mildly: it's so badly maintained that some buildings and streets looked like they've been carpet bombed.Entire sections of streets have fallen apart and not been repaired. There are piles of trash drifting in the breeze, street lamps fallen or with wires hanging out, and literally everything crumbling. Nobody seems to care or even notice the mess.On
I slammed my brakes on as soon as I saw this man riding on his donkey on the outskirts of Pinotepa Nacional, in the Mexican state of Guerrero. I asked his permission for a photo, and at first he said no, asking "porque quiere? (why do you want it?)" I talked with him for a while and finally he agreed to pose when I told him my friends and family are interested in the people of Mexico.It's more than a little uncomfortable at times to be on an BMW motorcycle,
There are fires all along the coast of Mexico, along roadsides and in fields. I accidentally rode through a sheet of fire that was whipped up by the wind - I told Guy "no need to shave today, all the exposed hairs on my body are singed off." Old cars and trucks add their clouds of blue-black exhaust to the mix. Guy has had a terrible cough for a week and we both have big nasty boogers at the end of each day. Yuck.
This little pueblo at the end of dirt and then sand roads was a beautiful and peaceful place to rest for an evening after a couple of long days of riding. Both of us almost dropped our motorcycles in the deep sand in front of the hotel, but it was well worth it.
I've been told "don't eat from stands, don't eat uncooked lettuce or veggies, eat only fruit that's not been peeled or cut by someone else, etc." Screw that, we're eating! We pulled up to taco stands and shanty-looking cafes and got meals that would put expensive restaurants back home to shame. We've also had a chance to eat a few local specialties:Camarones Secas, shrimp dried in brine that you eat with a garlic dipping sauce. They taste kind of like shrimp jerky - absolutely delicious.Mangos with chili, lime and salt.
I bought a well-used BMW R1150GS motorcycle about six months ago and christened her "Claudia." It's designed for this kind of trip: tall for extra ground clearance, crash guards for the inevitable drop, built-in luggage cases, and tires and suspension that can handle dirt and gravel roads. The first owner took her all the way from California to the southern tip of South America. So far she's worked great, although the front shock is leaking oil and might be a problem soon... we'll get it checked out in Guatemala.
I'm riding through Mexico and the Central American countries for the next month, turning around at the Panama Canal and heading back to California using a different route. I've been planning this trip with my friend Guy for over a year, and after a couple of delays and near cancellations, we're on the road and in Mexico.The first couple of days were long and fast, getting to the border, then getting across the Sonoran desert. We're now in the state of Jalisco, which is hot, humid and starting to feel
I used county roads to ride northwest from Fargo across North Dakota, and it's the first time in a while that I've been spooked by the lack of people. It's empty out there. There are many abandoned farmhouses and barns, but every field was planted with some type of grain. Someone is farming the land, but they sure aren't living on it.Rural depopulation has been happening for generations, but it's scary to see that it's happened to this degree. I was worried I'd run out of gas between stations, but
I've heard people say "cold snap," but I never really understood what it meant until I rode through Minnesota. We stopped in Minneapolis, which was sunny and warm, then headed northwest toward Fargo. About halfway there we rode into some dark clouds and the temperature dropped 35 degrees in about a minute. I was doing fine until I stopped and took off my helmet and gloves (for some reason) and just about froze solid. My teeth were chattering within seconds.We bought electric jackets before leaving, which did nothing but take
Elena and I are both huge fans of the movie "Grumpy Old Men," so when I noticed Wabasha was right across the Mississippi river from our route, we decided to take a little side trip. I crossed the bridge, took a couple of wrong turns out of town and from the back seat came a pitch-perfect Walter Matthau impression: "you SCHMUCK!"Unfortunately, the only part of the movie actually filmed in town was the steeple. The houses and other scenes were filmed all over the region. Oh well - it was
Almost as soon as we rode into Wisconsin, the landscape changed from flat cornfields to short, steep hills and dairy farms. When I was planning the route the evening before, Ed told me that this area is unglaciated land - it was never scraped flat by the glaciers. All the farms I saw were very small operations, with a collection of buildings and a few small fields with maybe 20-50 cows. Riding through Chaseburg, a town near the Mississippi river, we saw a Amish farmer and his son riding a
Illinois is one of the few states with no helmet law, and just about everyone rides with no safety gear at all. No gloves, boots or leathers, but I guess if you don't care enough to cover your head, why care about your hands, feet or skin?The ones that disturb me are guys like this. Young, riding a brand new sportbike (if you look closely, it still has temporary tags) that costs nearly ten thousand dollars, and no one is responsible enough to make him spend $100 on a basic
We spent almost a week staying with family and friends, relaxing, hiking and just enjoying not being on the bike. We rode from southern Alabama almost straight North, staying several days with my sister's family, then continuing through Tennessee and Kentucky before stopping in Illinois to visit friends.Haley and Ethan, my niece and nephew, are both talented musicians. I used my laptop to record them playing bluegrass with their father... keep in mind Ethan is eight years old and has just recently started playing the violin!We rode north through Tennessee