Freelance Journalist goes around the world on an F650GS--The Ted Simon Foundation

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Barone52, May 16, 2012.

  1. Barone52

    Barone52 ThumperJournal

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    Hello fellow ADV riders,

    My name is Adam Barone, and I am a freelance journalist, working with the Ted Simon Foundation. I'm on a motorcycle trip around the world to document examples of innovation in third-world economies. Basically, I'm looking for people that are doing cool and/or interesting things in for-profit or non-profit ventures that somehow outthinks a challenge or problem, using minimal resources as would be typical in a third-world economy.

    So, that's what I'm doing.

    I left Boston on April 20., 2012...my blog is www.thumperjournal.com I'll post on here, too. But my blog will be where the action is.

    -Adam
    #1
  2. Barone52

    Barone52 ThumperJournal

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    Follow me on Twitter @thumperjournal
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  3. Barone52

    Barone52 ThumperJournal

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    <header class="entry-header"> MINNEAPOLIS — Fewer things in life are more traumatic than upheaval. It comes in many forms: births, deaths, and milestones reached. Changing…jobs, significant others, your mind, and the place you call home. To name a few.

    </header> Motorcycles aren’t assigned street numbers. They don’t have zip codes. But they do have gas bills. (And repair bills…which can be quite ridiculous.) Changing the place you call home from a location to an object designed to take you from location to location sounds exciting, and it is. But it also represents a complete upheaval of the concept of home. Home is now something I take with me and point in the direction I want to go. My backyard will be changing landscapes. My neighbors…a constantly evolving cast of characters. This all wouldn’t matter so much if where one makes one’s home wasn’t such a big deal with we human types. But our lives sort of revolve around our homes. My home will now be my bike and the 80 pounds or so of gear I’m carrying on it. My address? Wherever the rubber happens to be touching the ground.


    And I’m proud to call it my home. As well as my office.


    The work I do in this office will be to find people doing innovative things that are somehow uplifting to their “third-world” communities and economies. “Innovative things” and “uplifting” are open for broad definition. Innovation is the outcome of creativity. Uplifting is a product of individual perception. What is uplifting to one group will not be the same as the next. Some people are hungry; others are starved for direction. It all depends on their circumstances and their own perceptions of what “progress” means.


    My job will be to find the people helping progress along its way. If I’m successful, maybe we’ll be able to triangulate a common destination for progress. Even if that destination is just another road, pointing somewhere we never thought of. At least that’s progress.


    -Adam
    #3
  4. Barone52

    Barone52 ThumperJournal

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    THEDFORD, Nebraska — May 8, 2012 — There’s no Craigslist for the area of Nebraska I’m in, and for the folks who live here, seas of grassy prairie dunes are the Jesus statue that stared at my former house in Boston.
    Meaning…you can always count on them being there when you wake up.


    It’s not easy for real people to have the staying power of millenia-old dunes or Jesus (statue or the concept of). To know they’re going to be there when you wake up. Or come to you…whether you’re ready or not. That’s expecting a lot.


    Nevertheless, I’m happy to know a few people like that. I’ve seen a good many of them on this epic moto journey I’ve been on so far.


    The friendships have largely become what they are because of honesty, trust, and camaraderie…which largely comprise various kinds of love. And love is always forged on something. And sometimes, that something hurts.
    It hurts to push a blocking sled for 30 minutes in the Indiana August heat. But you hurt together, and that builds love between teammates. Some relationships aren’t as simple, and the emotional hurt that can flow between two people in a close relationship may not go away with a few cups of Gatorade and a cold shower, but it can still be something to build on.


    Of course, this is all theory, and I’m pretty good at rationalizing sometimes. And not everything I do is rational. Quite irrational actually. My willingness to go with it, whatever it is, has been both a blessing and a curse in my life. I’ve reaped great rewards and borne painful consequences.


    The blocking sled was cake by comparison.


    -Adam
    #4
  5. Barone52

    Barone52 ThumperJournal

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    Dear 2001 BMW F650GS,


    I call you Rumble Bee. I know it’s kitschy, baby. I’m sorry. We don’t all get to have awesome names like mine. Hey, at least you have a clutch. Do you know how many times I wish I could have disengaged my gears? Especially the ones that run the freak show in my head?


    Baby, you were a freak today. I don’t know what got into you, but you had me racin’ down the dirty unpaved sinews of these Black Hills. Plunging into muddy rutts. Creepin’ up steep slippery slopes…climbin’ mountains, baby! Mountains! You and me. Climbin!


    You’ve always been sexy. Remember when we met?
    [​IMG]


    I rolled up to meet you in my big black truck…hey, Tilly (truck’s name) was love at first sight with you. She wanted to tie you up in her bed right then and there. I told her to, “Chill out, bitch!” And shut her off, so we could meet each other in peace. Properly.


    I get out. I see you and your hot little yellow-and-black body. All tough lookin’. Ehh…but I get up a little closer, and what do I see? Shitty handgrips. Baby, don’t front…they were SHITTY! All old and spongy. Nasty!


    Other than that though…baby, you had it going on. I took a good long look at you. Oogled at your ass. Tried to undress you with my eyes to see if I could detect anything wrong in you. Did you leak? Did you make funny noises? Did you have parts that…well…let’s face it, darlin’, you ain’t exactly in your prime anymore! You’re an ’01, babes. Old.
    Mmm, but you hadn’t seen too many miles though. About 9,800 miles if I remember right. Still under 10,000 was pretty rare for a girl your age.


    I test rode you…only a couple miles, but it was enough, baby. It was all I needed. Really, you had me at the cough of your starter. You were coming home with me that night.


    …And now look at your big-booty-boxin’ ass! I gave you some sweet steel crash bars and some bad ass rubber on your rims, and now you perch around the mountain like you own the damn place!


    And this was a new thing for us today, wasn’t it baby? We didn’t have many dirt roads and woody paths back in Boston, did we hun?
    [​IMG]

    Probably her. Hopefully, not at the same time.



    I’m glad we’re on this trip together. I’m glad I chose you out of all those other bikes out there…
    Oh? What’s that? What about yesterday?


    Don’t worry about it, baby. Every now and then, we all blow out our radiators. It happens to the best of us. I checked with the Germans, and they said it’s a known issue for the year you were born. Don’t sweat it. Hey, we got you fixed up. Good as new.


    Anyway baby…how you performed today…the way you did it the way I wanted you, and how you showed me what you YOU WERE WORKING WITH? Rollin’ over big honkin’ rocks, kickin up dirt and gettin’ nasty when you had to! I’ll never forget it. Ever.


    I hope to be on you for many, many miles to come on whatever kind of roads this world throws at us.
    And baby, the fact that our first time together doin’ it out in the woods was in a threesome with the girl I had on your back seat?! Freak, baby. Straight freak.


    Darlin’, they don’t make ‘em like you anymore.


    Love,


    Adam


    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. Barone52

    Barone52 ThumperJournal

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    Mommy, there are shells here–
    It’s because things that lived died
    It’s what they left behind
    Field mice chatter as they run
    Behind another shell
    With a different kind of death



    The desert looms quietly serene
    Stillness is all that moves
    Until the wind says so
    Crickets on lead
    Tractor trailors on bass



    The atmosphere craves wet
    But I have all I need
    I have all I need
    And it’s more than I should have.
    I have a bottle of Evian.
    #6
  7. Barone52

    Barone52 ThumperJournal

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    ERENDIRA, Baja California, Mexico – Big surprise: I’m having the time of my life. On a motorcycle trip around the world, you’ll get that I suppose.
    [​IMG]


    It’s night time right now, and I’m laying in my bed with my screenless window open to the Pacific. I’ve literally been falling asleep to the sounds of waves crashing for the last week here in Erendira…save the last two nights when I made an unexpected trip back to Ensenada, where I’d been for a week to cover the Baja 500, to hang out with my new friend Jose (name changed to protect the guilty) and his crew of deported “chicanos” and “chicanas,”—Mexicans who’ve had a significant amount of time in the United States—enough to influence their personality and language skills. They had been legal aliens until they got themselves in trouble with the law for selling drugs.


    My main goal in stopping here for a week was to work on the two articles for which I’ve completed the reporting and research, but not the actual writing. One is about the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota, for which I only recently received responses back to some key questions. And the second is a piece about the Baja 500 desert race, which I just attended.


    Aside from the staff of Coyote Cal’s Hostel, I’ve been one of only a handful of guests here. There was a time when this hostel was constantly buzzing with 50+ backpackers and other traveler and adventure types on any given night, but it hasn’t been like that for the last seven years or so, says Rick, the proprietor. Media reports of drug cartel violence throughout Mexico have effectively scared away all but the most adventurous, very few of which seem to be American. With over two weeks in the books here in Mexico, I haven’t encountered anything approaching that kind of danger. That’s not to say it’s not out there, but the cartels have an agenda with their violence, and messing with travelers or ordinary citizens isn’t part of it. Not that I’ve seen or heard of, anyway.


    I should know. The crew I hung with the last two days is either part of a cartel or they work for them as “contractors.” I guess I don’t fit in with the typical stereotype of the American tourist—that is of someone who just got off a cruise ship to get a “Mexican” experience in port. They’re usually wearing some combination of a giant obnoxious sombrero, which they bought as soon as they got off the ship, sandals/flip-flops often with white socks, giant Nikon or Canon camera slung around their neck with a camera bag hanging off their shoulder containing a grab bag of lenses and other gear they wouldn’t need if they were a pro on an African safari, searching for el grande purple spotted elephant-tiger for National Geographic. There was a time when that was me, so I’m allowed to poke fun.
    [​IMG]


    Really though, these were good people despite their occupations. Each of them had paid a sacrifice for doing what they’re doing, but it didn’t seem to stop them. One of the girls, a 27-year-old, has four children back in the States, whom she rarely gets to see. It’s not like they want to be doing something they have to sweat about every time they get stopped at a police or military checkpoint, which are everywhere, but they do what they must to get by. There’s no welfare state or social safety net, so it’s very much a hustle-or-don’t-eat scenario for many, including my new friends.
    They would have had plenty of opportunity to take my stuff or otherwise take advantage of me, but they were more interested in hearing about what I’m doing…and in many cases, showering me with story ideas for future articles!


    One chica even spent over an hour giving me a haircut…a scissor cut, which in Boston, you might pay upwards of $60 for. She wasn’t going to take any money, but I insisted on giving her something. Turns out a $50 peso note is usually more than the average price for a haircut, which works out to about $4 American. I meant to give her $100, but we got separated, and I left Ensenada for the last time on this trip a few hours later.


    “Rosalita,” if you’re reading this, advertise, ‘Men’s Scissor Cuts $19’ when you open your salon. You’ll build an empire.
    [​IMG]


    There’s no place in the world I’ve been quite like Baja—places where the desert meets the ocean. The weather has been sublime, and when I haven’t been writing or chilling with my new friends, I’ve had all kinds of cool stuff to do—my favorite being jumping on my bike stripped of the extra weight of my around-the-world luggage and testing my offroad abilities on the impressive network of dirt roads and paths, many within view of the ocean.


    This adventure is still in its infancy, but suffice to say, I feel right at home on the road. I do believe I could make a career of this and not get homesick. Adam Barone, travel journalist? Maybe. We shall see.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    I’m anticipating encountering one of those situations for which I’m ill-prepared. I’m wondering when the day will come that somebody will mess with my bike or me. I was right in my thinking that there are easier targets. I was stopped at a military checkpoint the other day not 300 yards away from where I’m staying. The Mexican military dudes were pretty impressed by my bike. One asked me to give it to him to which I replied with a gigantic belly laugh and a pat on his back. “No, amigo. La moto esta mi casa. Todos la mundo. (The motorcycle is my home. Around the world.)” When I said that, he seemed to gain some degree of respect for me. Enough for the rest of the encounter to be lighthearted and jovial anyway. Hey, when anyone, military or not, is carrying an automatic weapon, is prepared to use it if necessary, and you don’t and aren’t…all you can do is laugh, right?
    [​IMG]


    Esta bien. When I leave here on Sunday, my plan is to make my way down the Pacific coast of Baja…dirt roads the entire way to the town on the border Baja California Sur (South Baja). It will be the first time I fill up my collapsible fuel bladder, which will give me just over seven gallons of fuel capacity, which is good for about 350 miles or so. Plenty, I think.
    And plenty of adventure left to go.
    #7
  8. Barone52

    Barone52 ThumperJournal

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    MULEGE, Baja California Sur, Mexico – I’m alone out here and at the mercy of my environment and the people in it. Seems obvious, and of course, understanding that little tidbit is part of the pre-trip reading list. Experiencing it though? Not really prepared for that.


    Here, I establish relationships with people and then I move on. It’s almost cruel to everyone involved. It’s weird. In Ensenada, this girl, with whom I spent a whole day riding around the northern coast of Baja, said to me, “You’re happy here.”
    [​IMG]



    And I was on a surface level, but I knew it was temporary. And in that respect, when you know the expiration date on things, you sometimes can’t enjoy them.


    It’s those things that make you happy, which you think are going to go on forever and it be exactly the same, and you be exactly the same, and nothing gets fucked up…it’s those things that really get you when they end.


    Back to her comment. It took me aback. But then I realized she was right. I was happy. And for me, if I believed life was all about attaining happiness, maybe I would have stuck around a while longer. But I guess it’s not for me. Is it? Is that the only logical conclusion? Maybe I just knew I wouldn’t be happy forever, and that, of course, is what everyone wants.


    What is it about for me?


    I feel like it’s a cliché to say that I’m going to find out on this trip. I don’t really believe that, and maybe that’s pride on my part. Maybe I just need to succumb to the ebbs and flows of existence on the road like a surfboard. But I have standards and rules to which I adhere. They’re important, I feel, in helping me remain who I am in the face of all that constantly changes.


    The funny thing is…I know that’s wishful thinking. I know this trip is going to change me. I just don’t know how.
    I have this thing that I do sometimes when I’m not sure what to do: I laugh. You could call it a nervous reaction. Nervous laughter. On occasion, I’ve recorded myself for one reason or another doing it, and, lemme tell you…I hate what it sounds like.


    Maybe that will change. No more nervous laughter because I’ve completed a ring around the earth on a motorcycle. Deal? Deal.


    I got some disappointing news today that one of my articles was not accepted for publication. I’m completely rewriting it and will likely re-submit it. I don’t know if that goes against accepted practice with this publication, and I don’t care. Better to ask for forgiveness than permission, though. That little standard has proven itself valid numerous times in my life and others’. Canonize that bitch.
    [​IMG]

    Me and my new best friend Alejandro. His cousin owns the garage my bike’s gonna get fixed at. My first night in Mulege, he and I went out for a beer, which turned into a whole bottle of tequila (via margaritas) and many cervezas. I haven’t hung out with him too much since then, but he’s a good cat. As is the rest of the guys at that garage.



    Add disappointing news to a bout of boredom, and you’ve got a mildly depressed Adam Barone. Oh, and I’m stuck here, waiting for a part to arrive for my motorcycle. It was broken down completely, but the Mexican mechanic that tore my bike down and diagnosed the issue as a compromised section of the intake manifold…well…a compromised intake manifold and JB Weld can be a beautiful combination in the right hands.


    The bike is actually running like hot butter right now…the best it’s been since Boston. Yet, I still need to wait for and install this part. The puttied up version that’s in my bike now could last a long time, but then again, maybe not.
    The part was supposed to be here tomorrow, but I doubt that’s going to happen. Nevertheless, I’m leaving this hotel room. I can’t stay another night here even though it’s comfy and air-conditioned. Bed could be better, but hey…it’s less than 30 bucks a night. I get clean towels and sheets everyday. No complaining.


    Nevertheless, after being plugged back in 24/7 for the last 5 days or so, I’m looking forward to unplugging for at least three. Maybe more. My way is due south from here, and there’s lots of opportunity for camping on the beaches of the Sea of Cortez (otherwise known as the Gulf of California). I plan to take advantage of that.


    My destination is La Paz, Mexico. I’m not sure how long I’m going to be there. I’m due to meet up with this Russian guy, who went to Boston University for seven years studying philosophy. I found him on Couchsurfing.org. We actually used to live in the same general part of Boston. He left on his motorcycle to go around the world about a year ago, but didn’t make it out of the United States and Canada until just recently.


    Yeah, it’ll be my second go around with that site, Couchsurfing. I had a good experience in the Black Hills. Hopefully, this next one will make two.


    [​IMG]
    #8
  9. jetjackson

    jetjackson Been here awhile

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    Hang on, what happened with the post you had to take down?? :evil
    #9
  10. Barone52

    Barone52 ThumperJournal

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    I've been friends with this girl for a couple years now...best friends sorta. She actually used to be my roommate in Boston. She lives in Minneapolis now, and I visited her for a week at the beginning of my trip. It's become something of a complicated/dramatic friendship lately as I've developed more-than-friends feelings for her, and she tells me she loves me and blah blah blah. Anyway, to make a long story a bit shorter, she knows how I feel about her, but while I was visiting, she proceeded to throw herself at another guy while we were out one night. Then, the situation escalated when she and I went over to her friend's house (another girl) the next night and her friend had invited two dudes over, one of which was the dude she drunkenly threw herself at the night before. That left me as the third wheel, and I was not happy about it. I took her car back to her house. She went home that night with the dude.

    When I got back to her place that night alone, I was fuming and wrote a blog entry about what had just happened...and it basically turned into a rant where I just shattered all the pretenses that existed between us and posed some tough questions to her. She got home the next morning, and I immediately told her that I'd written something on my blog she should read. We then proceeded to forget about everything and had a great time together the rest of the time I was there. When I left her house a few days later, she still hadn't read it. Not until I was in the middle of Bum-F*ck, Nebraska did I receive the texts I'd been waiting for. She had read it. I took the post down as my goal was not to embarrass her in front of some of our shared friends and her family...it contained a few secrets she had been keeping from one of her other good friends and her family...about this time she and her BF at the time had hooked up with a girl I had been seeing in a threesome. A threesome I actually broke up as it was happening...

    Anyway, as I write this, it's becoming evident to me that she sucks and that I shouldn't bother with her anymore. We were very close at one point, but as I look back, it was a pretty one-sided relationship. I was there for her...listened to her complain and cry and tried to lift her up when she was going through other bouts of drama. She loves to get blackout wasted and hold my hand and tell me how much she loves me me and then the next day, disavow any recollection or responsibility for her actions the night before, blaming it on the booze.

    She needs to grow up. I need to move on. Maybe someday in the future we can reconnect, but as it stands now, I've apologized for airing out her secrets in public...made plenty of attempts to talk about everything, but she hasn't spoken to me since she sent those texts.

    Whatever. It doesn't matter. I'm going around the world on my bike, and she back in Minneapolis...hopefully growing up.

    Adam:freaky
    #10
  11. acejones

    acejones Long timer

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    ?
    #11
  12. Barone52

    Barone52 ThumperJournal

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    That last post was in response to this one. Sorry...still figuring out the controls around the forum.
    #12
  13. Barone52

    Barone52 ThumperJournal

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    Ace...that whole bit about the girl started in the first post. The other poster just had a question about it. It was a post on my blog thumperjournal.com that I took down, not here. It's irrelevant to what I'm doing though...:D
    #13
  14. Barone52

    Barone52 ThumperJournal

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    [​IMG]
    BUENA VENTURA, Baja California Sur, Mexico — Time has its foot on my tail, and I can’t go anywhere. Me and the thumper.


    At least within a 50-mile radius. I’m waiting for a $60 part for the intake manifold from my BMW motorcycle dealer in the States. Without it, the bike won’t hold an idle and basically dies the second I let go of the throttle because there’s no or very little air making it to the engine. Indeed, suffocation sucks. I realized it was going to take a while and was prepared for five to seven days, according to the dealer, not 12 to 14.


    The more infuriating part is the bike currently runs, and I still have to wait. I was fortunate enough to run into a talented mechanic, and he had the problem diagnosed and cured, insofar as the bike running, before I even showed up to the garage the next morning. He patched up the broken part with JB Weld, reinstalled it into my bike, and that’s how I’ve been riding it for the last almost two weeks, four of those nights in Hotel Mulege (a nice air-conditioned room), four nights tent camping on Playa Santispac, and the last five here at Playa Buena Ventura about 30 miles south of Mulege. I’ve now upgraded my digs to a camper. I suppose I could have chanced it and ventured off with the mended part instead of a new one. But…peace of mind in your machine, especially when it’s your home, is important.


    The terrain around here is jaggity as hell. Like giant piles of every-size rocks, from silt-like sand to boulders of every size and texture, dropped from an enormous dump truck in the sky. One hundred foot cliffs around-the-next-corner unforgiving. Then there’s the heat. Somewhere between 105-115 of muy caliente. There’s a thermometer, but I’ve stopped looking. I seem to handle it better when I don’t know how hot it is.


    Right now, I’m completely alone in this restaurant except for Bertha, who cooks me meals. I use the WiFi and drink waters and Tecates all day. Usually I’ll go into the water once a day, but thanks to three failing pairs of leather sandals I bought from a Mexican-run shop in Mulege, both feet have a few blisters on the mend, and it stings in the salt. I still go in though…with my fourth pair of sandals…these from an American-run store, a comfy pair of Reef-like flip-flops . I also scratched the bottom of my big toe on a barnicle whilst towing my kayak back to shore after tipping over multiple times. Clearly I don’t know what I’m doing because I took the two-man kayak (figured longer was better for a guy my size) instead one of the many one-mans. The surf was getting heavier and it became difficult to control from my rear seat, so I got out and pushed.


    Hey, at least I got a good workout, and Mark, Olivia, Nathan, and Savannah got a funny show. They’re the family that owns and runs this little nook in paradise. Mark and Olivia are in their late 40&#8242;s/50&#8242;s. Nathan, 21, is their son, Savannah, 19, their niece/cousin.


    Paradise for these four–Mark and Olivia especially–has come at a price. They’re hopefully near the end of a 10-year land war with this bandito named Rafael Munoz, whose henchman have been coming around the property attempting to take it by force. By force! I kid you not. Guns firing off like cowboys chasing off Indians in the Wild West type of stuff. Only replace horses with the banditos’ red pick-up truck. I have to give Mark credit for keeping his wits under pressure…he snapped a picture of a gun pointed in his face! That was just one of the nights the couple was under siege earlier this year. Munoz’ thugs wouldn’t let them leave for days at a time.


    The epic bout has spilled over into the courts, as well, but it’s interesting to see how matters get settled with a little extra O.K. Corral in Mexico. First, Mark was asked to pay the local cops money for gas to come all the way out to his beach to address the situation. Umm, never heard of it working that way. In any country, third-world or not. Then, the cops apparently got a little jilted when Mark asked them to remove the banditos from his driveway. The cops did nothing, and instead acted like immature brats! Brats I tell you! When Mark brought a U.S. Consulate Officer into the mix, the locals complained that Mark didn’t respect them and asked him to apologize.


    Huh?


    Whether he did or didn’t respect them, the word in Mexico is that local cops are the most corrupt. Mexicans and tourists alike routinely drop 200-peso notes on them to stay out of jail for ridiculous reasons like towing a trailer that is “too big” (true story!) The cops get their pesos and they magically change their tune. Hilarious! Until it happens to me.
    It’s a good thing the Mexican justice system has been treating Mark and Olivia a bit better. In the end, there’s a good chance Mr. Munoz will be in jail for his alleged crimes throughout all this…from home invasion and attempted murder to forgery and other “paper” crimes in this multi-front conflict.


    It’s been fun hanging with this crew, but now they’re gone, and I’m forced to practice my Spanish with Bertha. Which isn’t bad at all. She’s such a sweet lady. Funny, too. But it’s not like I’m at the level with my Spanish where I can engage in any kind of meaningful small talk beyond the basic stuff, which we’ve already covered.


    Time, go ahead. Inflict your will on me. I’ll have a margarita, a Tecate, two pina coladas and forget you’re even here.:freaky
    #14
  15. jetjackson

    jetjackson Been here awhile

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    Sounds like one of those situations where you are better off mate, either way, you are going to meet heaps of people on your trip. Being single will only come in handy.

    I met a girl in Skopje, Macedonia last week that has been travelling for 8 years as a freelance writer so it can be done, and for decent periods of time too.
    #15
  16. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

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    Hi - Looks like quite an adventure. Sort of confusing, but an adventure none-the-less. What is this trip about? Are you just checking out? Also, what is the Ted Simon Foundation about? I poked around the website, but it seems sort of vague.

    I read two books by Ted, the original and his 2001 trip. I exchanged some emails with him. Is he still going strong?

    He inspired me to try some motorcycle traveling. Since 2005 I've spend about 60,000 miles riding all over the continent. I learned a few things from his tales. Probably the two biggest lessons were a) Only ride a bike you can pick up in the mud by yourself, and b) soft luggage doesn't break legs.

    I originally planned to ride to Terra Del Fuego over a couple seasons by riding, storing and flying. But for me world travel is such a project, I'd never go anywhere. So I visit places I can get to easily.

    If he has a contact point, I'd like to sent him a note.

    Good luck on your travels. Hope your writing career bears fruit. Sorry about Minneapolis, but better to know now.
    #16
  17. Barone52

    Barone52 ThumperJournal

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    [​IMG]

    Ted is definitely still going strong. Here we are at the Overland Expo this past May in Flagstaff, AZ, where we had the U.S. kickoff for the Ted Simon Foundation. One of the sharpest cats I've ever met and brimming with wisdom as you might expect.

    If by "check out" you mean checking out of Cubicleland for about 20 months or so, well sure, I'm checking out. But thank you Cubicleland for providing me with the means to take this trip! (And it really hasn't been that bad working as a copywriter and brand strategist in Boston...I'm blessed for sure) Though I think of it more as a check-in to a whole new life that I really have no idea how it will turn out, which totally suits me. I'm unmarried and unattached. I gave up my house in Boston to take this trip, so I'm really up and open for anything that may come out of this. I could maybe see settling in Colombia after all this is over given that the women there are the most beautiful/friendly/sexy in the world. (I rented a bike there for a week last spring and had the most amazing experience you can imagine...check out my blog from that trip at www.adambarone.com/blog). I'll probably spend at least a month-plus there hanging with some friends I made and making new ones this time around. But that's merely a long-term possibility...one among dozens.

    The mission of the Ted Simon Foundation is fairly straightforward, but quite lofty--to bring about greater world understanding through the works of people of good will...like me, other Foundation folk, and all you ADV riders...moving through foreign cultures and transforming those experiences into something of value to share with the world...whether it be writings, photography, film, or anything really. Within that framework, all the Jupiter's Travellers have sort of thesis they're working with. Mine is to find examples of innovation in third-world economies--people doing interesting things socially, technologically, agriculturally that benefit the community. Everyone on this forum can play a role in the mission, too, if they like. It's not ours exclusively. Throughout history, explorers have been vital to the development of our species and societies, and while there may not be many lands left unexplored on this pretty blue ball we call Earth, there is still the act of exploration and the changes that occur in a person and the perspective they gain and share with others because of it.

    In Cubicleland (a loose term I use to encompass all those who have settled down into an employment/family life-driven safe, predictable, insular life), that perspective doesn't exist mostly because we cocoon ourselves into those lives, and thus, very little from outside the cocoon affects us, and in turn, we generally have very little affect outside the cocoon. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but in America and other "first-world" societies, what we have in material wealth and comfort and such seems to be cancelled out by what we lack in a true sense of community. For some reason in less developed areas of the world, that sense of community is much stronger. It's actually pretty ironic how disconnected we are from each other in an age when we are more "connected" than ever.

    Anyway, that's a bit of a ramble. Ted can be reached through the foundation, I believe. He's also on Facebook and LinkedIn. I don't have his email, but I'm connected to him in both those places.

    And as far as my writing career bearing fruit...I started as a sportswriter when I was 15 years old covering HS basketball games for the local paper. I went on to college at Anderson University in Indiana, where I majored in journalism and philosophy. Continued sportswriting for newspapers during that time. Graduated. Took jobs at newspapers in Ohio and New Hampshire. Transitioned into working as a copywriter and brand strategist...a move that was absolutely financially motivated. Been doing that the last 10 years or so...a well-paid gig that, as I said, gave me the means to do this trip.

    I'm 33 now. I've been at it for 18 years, and the fruit tastes amazing!

    -Adam :puke1
    #17
  18. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

    Joined:
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    :rofl

    That was a good post Adam. I enjoyed your rambling.

    I must admit, I victimized myself in your Cubicland. I was a helicopter pilot in the Army and Vietnam was the only place I've ever really lived in another society. Since then it has been the corportate straight and narrow. Heck, I was with the same darn firm for 27 years!

    Well, I went to London on a company junket once, so that's a little something... I came to Boston in 1990 from the Bay Area. Culturally, that was a shocker for me. :lol3 Today I feel almost worldly...:nah

    Glad you could use your artistic talents to make a career. Most of us can't. We have to pursue paths that are less intellectually rewarding but more financially expeditious. Then we have to convince ourselves that we like it...That's where motorcycle travel comes it. :D

    I'll follow along your journey. Stay well.
    #18
  19. Barone52

    Barone52 ThumperJournal

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    Boston (and I SHOULD mention Cambridge if we're being fair) is absolutely a rich city to live in. If you're going to get worldly living anywhere in our country, it's there. So multicultural and so many intense, smart people doing what that they're passionate about in very innovative endeavors. That aspect of Boston is part of the inspiration for this trip. I had the opportunity to work with some of those folks, and I value those interactions and exchanges. If you're engaged in something going on in Boston, whether it's doing what I did in the advertising/brand strategy field or education or the medical field or any one of the startups and some vibrant large companies, pushing the envelope is the norm.

    I hope to find people doing that sort of thing but with far fewer resources--maybe just some raw materials and a vision. Whatever that is.

    I'll add something about Ted Simon. The guy is one tough hombre in addition to being wise and sharp. To do what he did at 70 (his second time around the world) is nothing short of amazing. Especially having now taken a nasty spill in some gravel today and f*cking up my ankle nice, stiff, and softball-like. I can put weight on it and jump--in pain--so it's just a sprain, but I'm being a huge baby about it. Got myself a nice hotel room on the beach in Mazatlan. Got AC. Like I said, BABY. It's gonna be so stiff in the morning (that's what she said!) :lol3:lol3




    #19
  20. Barone52

    Barone52 ThumperJournal

    Joined:
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    GUATEMALA, Guatemala — The landscape change in Guatemala was dramatic. From low-lying inland tropics, much of which has been cleared for farmland in the Mexican state of Chiapas, to a gentle ascension into puffy white clouds at 5000 feet on my first Guatemalan morning. After lunch, I rose another 3500 feet on wicked steep twisties, which, other than their geometry, were as nice as they were scary. Making a gentle descent back to around 5000 feet, I found Antigua, Guatemala—where I’ve been for the last week and change. Did I mention Volcanoes? One of which just erupted for the first time in over a hundred years…right in my path.
    The Guatemala border was a long time coming. In the weeks leading to my successful crossing, I felt like a sharp knife repeatedly plunging into a freshly shot whitetail deer, but refused puncture.
    My route in Mexico started in Ensenada, just south of San Diego. Baja was all desert and miserably hot at times, but also the start of exactly what I signed on for on this trip—new experiences.
    Breaking down in the desert, of course, had to happen. If not, then I truly don’t experience Baja. Taking a hard spill on the Baja 500 course DURING THE RACE and getting trapped under the bike as gigantic 700-plus horsepower trophy trucks threatened to squash me was probably my first full-scale adrenaline rush since leaving Boston on April 20.
    After a week and a half of beach camping on the playas near Mulege, Baja California Sur and a week of couchsurfing in the oven that is La Paz, BCS, I boarded the trans-Sea of Cortes (or Gulf of California as we call it in the USA) ferry for Topolobampo, where I paid my first bribe to a cop (at least I negotiated)! Wrong way down a one way. Classic-Barone-traffic misbehavior.
    On the mainland of Mexico, it went:
    - Mazatlan, Sinaloa: Enjoyed sunsets and well-formulated painkillers as I nursed my badly sprained ankle back to health; attempting burn outs on a gravely Mexican gas station parking is not among those recommended new experiences.
    - Guadalajara, Jalisco: Hung out with some crazy Australian backpackers and banged an outrageously hot stripper named Fernandana.
    - Mexico City, DF: Went couchsurfing again with my new buddy Marc, who gave me the run of his Coyoacan (think Mexico City’s version of Brooklyn) apartment for a week as he flew back to the states for a trumpet gig. It was here that I met a girl named Paolina Margaret Parra, who continues to rock my world from over 1,000 miles away and counting.
    - Puerto Escondido via Oaxaca: Once again, I baked in the sun in this Mexican tourist-centric beachside retreat. One morning, I enjoyed a pleasant stroll on the beach, whose topography was brilliantly reshaped by a Tropical storm the night before.
    - Tapachula, Chiapas: A series of unfortunate events begins for the Rumble Bee. While attempting to navigate my way through the correct order of immigration administrivia to check out of Mexico, I managed to pick up a passenger—a gigantic three-inch nail in my back tire! Once fixed, Rumble Bee’s coolant thermostat seized, causing Bee to vomit like an antifreeze-guzzling frat boy all over a parking attendant’s shoes. Coolant thermostat removed, I set off again…still overheating. Tom at MAX BMW Motorcycles in New Hampshire, who’d been coaching me through the issue, informs me I best seek out professional help. The nearest BMW Moto shop was back in Oaxaca…12 mountainous hours away, which I surely would not make in this condition, in this lifetime, riding the Bee as circumstances would require: a couple miles…overheat…wait 20 minutes to cool down…ride another couple miles…overheat, wait, and so on. Not to mention the obvious strain all the constant overheating would put on the engine. That ride would surely have been the funeral procession for Rumble Bee. I chose the alternative…
    - A $1,000 truck ride back to Oaxaca: Two Mexican drivers, me, and the Bee in the bed of a brand new made-in-Kentucky F-350 flat bed for 12 hours. A professional set-up usually in the business of moving furniture. More-or-less, the limousine of emergency motorcycle transport. Very safe. It was either that or stand on the side of the road with a sign offering pesos for a 12-hour lift. Not so safe.
    - Oaxaca…Ciudad de Amore Mexicana: OK, it’s not Venice. Or Paris. It’s more like a Tootsie Pop, nice in the middle but forgettable on the outside. But…Pao showed up, and for that, I now thank the Bee for getting sick. I’m gonna keep my waxy poeticisms de Pao to myself until the book comes out, but rest assured…la chica es poesia.
    - Bus back to Mexico City to pick up a new radiator fan: Upon further inspection, the radiator fan was missing a blade and seized, so it was me and Pao on the most pleasant eight-hour bus ride of my life back to Mexico City, where I visited the largest BMW Moto dealer in the country to pick up the part I needed. I stayed with her, her mother, and niece Ali in their Tlalpan (a borough of Mexico City) apartment. I coached Ali up on salary negotiation for her first job as an architect, had some of the best huevos of my life thanks to her mother’s skills de desayuno, and of course spent more time with Pao.
    [​IMG]Pao is the one on the left. On the right is the bard-poet-minstrel extraordinaire of Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Rey Oh Beybe…AKA Cafe Caliente (Hot Coffee). I picked up his two CD’s and his Johnny Cash-like ways have been reverberating around my head for the last month.

    Check out Rey Oh Beybe’s anthem, “Cafe Caliente”
    [​IMG]Pao and I at El Árbol del Tule near Oaxaca.

    I Thought I said goodbye to Pao, only to break down again: Solo, I boarded a bus back to Oaxaca, where I successfully installed the new radiator fan. Then, I got hit by a dump truck on my way to get a new rear tire before heading out of town. Thankfully, I only needed a new front rim, but that meant another week in Oaxaca, attempting to locate one. Enter my new buddy Lance from the ADVrider online forum, fearless leader of the ADV Cartel. Located near Mexico City, he had F650GS with a good new front rim and tire—exactly what I needed—and I had a bad-ass chica in Mexico City about to board a bus back to Oaxaca again to see me. Again, exactly what I needed. Pao—the tiny thing—met up with Lance, got the tire, and lugged it onto the bus with her. We had an all-too-short four-day weekend together with lots of great food, drink, and space-time continuum shattering. Long live love and The ADV Cartel!
    - Time to leave Oaxaca and Pao for real: I left Oaxaca, headed for Guatemala. I made a wrong turn, which put a few extra days on my route to the border crossing. No sweat. Wrong turns are like unexpected side dishes that come with a meal “just because the manager appreciates your business, sir.” I ended up in the oil-exporting/importing town of Coatzacoalas on the Carribbean coast of Mexico. From there, I bounced over to Catemaco, where I took a boat ride to check out some monkeys living Lord of the Flies-style on their own little islands in Lago Catemaco. From there, I made my way to Palenque, where I saw an extremely bad-ass set of Mayan ruins. A huge Mayan City of which only 10% wasn’t still shrouded in jungle. I took a photo that apparently included a UFO…or something. Here it is…
    [​IMG]Taken while standing in the “palace” of Palenque, an extraordinary set of Mayan ruins near the Mexican city of the same. I don’t know what that is in the sky, but it was there in two consecutive photographs I took, maintaining its spatial relationship to the ruins, so it wasn’t dust on the lens. That’s all I can tell you…

    - Three days of Ruta Maya: From Palenque, it was a three-day ride down a highway that ran along the Guatemalan border, but due to insufficiently-staffed border crossings along the way, which did not include a Banjercito, where I could get the $300 deposit returned on my temporary vehicle import permit, I rode nearly all the way back to Tapachula. I crossed into Guatemala in La Mesilla, Mexico. My last night in Mexico was pretty sweet, too. I found a camping spot on this blue water lake in the Lagunas de Montebello National Park.
    In Antigua, Guatemala…I have found my first subject of innovation in an third-world/emerging
    [​IMG]Ecofiltro is working very hard to solve the drinking water crisis in third-world communities of the world.

    economy. The company is Ecofiltro, an expat-led firm that manufactures and markets ultra-cheap water filters for use in the poor, rural villages that abound in Guatemala. They turn ordinary river, lake, or rainwater into a clean and great-tasting vaso de agua for less than 1/10 the cost of bottled water and zero of the health concerns of drinking untreated water. It’s a compelling story and a great example of how capitalism, which has gotten a bad rap of late in some circles, can truly add value to a culture and an economy…when it’s the right kind of capitalism. Capitalism based on innovation and developing innovation into a business model, i.e. human creation. I’m very excited to have found my first story. Now, I just need to query the right publications to get it out there in the world. They just opened a new factory back in March and are at the beginning of an eight-year plan to plant 99 more factories in 99 more third-world/emerging countries around the world by 2020. Indeed, it’s an exciting time to be Ecofiltro CEO Philip Wilson.
    And of course, it’s also an exciting time to be Adam Barone. [​IMG]
    #20