Lost on the way to the End of the World

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by El Explorador, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    Thanks man, it's a pleasure to share the journey!
    #21
  2. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    The first thing I do upon leaving Indianapolis is meet up with a fellow explorer whose adventures make my exploits seem tame by comparison. After a tantalizing session on incredible things to see in the States and some edifying conversation on the status of drug legislation on the states (which may or may not have included some applied theory) I set my sights on the latest and greatest of my exploration goals: Kentucky Kingdom.

    So, the Kingdom. I head out real early, expecting to have plenty of time in the city to poke around before meeting up with Uliveandyouburn, BuddyKermit, and Eschaton. I’ve learned not to count on things to go according to plan, but was still surprised when racing through the beautiful hills of Kentucky my master link decided to snap and leave me stranded by the highway.

    The brotherhood of riders once again comes to my aid. Thanks to Davis for offering me a lift to grab a spare master link with which I just barely made it back to the dealership on in time to get a proper replacement chain. Davis is a Harley Rider with PTSD who drives his SUV hunched over from the anxiety of having been “blowed up twice” in armoured vehicles. He’s with the army corps of engineers and is going back overseas to help with demining, driven by a sense of responsibility for the kids who need his guidance to complete the task alive. A straight up guy, I tell him I hope he wears a helmet – he replies that after all he’s been through he’s not scared of riding without one. Well my best wishes are with him, for what it’s worth.

    Thanks to Davis’ help I arrive in Louisville (coincidentally in the parking lot next to my fellow explorers, convenient as I have no phone) right on time. It’s early yet, so we decide to scope out some of the city’s heights and thanks to various open doors we get some lovely views, and even a chance to sit down for a spot of tea.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The preliminaries over with, it is time to infiltrate, nay, to conquer the Kingdom. The 6 Flags park had shut down due to various factors, the most salient of which I believe was a girl losing her legs in an accident on a poorly maintained ride that cost the park $150 million. Naturally we debate whether it’s worth it or not – after all you can buy some pretty nice legs for that kind of cash, especially if the amputation is below the knee. I think being a cyborg and having super legs would be damn cool, but no thanks, there’s nothing like old-school biological legs for me.

    Entry is ridiculously easy. We keep pushing the limits, climbing higher in broad daylight, watching the cars along the highway speed by, oblivious. I try to ride a water filled gas can down a waterslide... well, I’ve had worse ideas; the ensuing crash decommissions my shades and rips my shorts. More hobo cred, I say.

    [​IMG]

    Speaking of hobo cred, I get to borrow Uliveandyouburn's infamous belarussian fisheye to catch some shots of me imitating a rollercoaster. I’ve never seen a lens cap fashioned out of Velcro, a sock, and a tin can before but it’s quite an effective contrivance, big thanks to him for helping me capture the experience.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] (photo courtesy Uliveandyouburn)

    I knew it would be fun monkeying around in an amusement park even without the power, but I had no idea how fun. Reinterpreting amusement rides is going to seriously dampen the thrill of regular park visits. I hope my kids are good climbers.

    [​IMG]\

    [​IMG] (Photo Uliveandyouburn)



    Eventually the sun sets on a kingdom conquered; the hedonistic glee of claiming the abandoned Kentucky Kingdom for our own is finally overcome by our need for food. Basking in our success, we stroll boldly to our rides right past parked security. Acting like you belong is worth hours of sneaking around... being a fast runner is a good backup plan though. Shortly thereafter, energized by a year’s worth of calories and grease at Rally’s, we set out to say goodnight to the city in style – we make it to another rooftop and perch on some particularly precarious looking concrete ledges. If it can support the winter’s snow, it can support my weight... but for some reason I find myself needing to repeat this like a mantra as I swing my legs over the tapered ledge.
    [​IMG]

    We end the night with a good session of freaking the hell out of the locals. Turns out Uliveandyouburn owns drywalling stilts. Of course I have to try them on, and even manage to get pretty good at meandering without falling once – much to the chagrin of my compatriots and the local carousing drunks. Being almost ten feet tall is fun as hell, even if security won’t let me into the bar district.
    [​IMG]

    How many days can I say I was my own rollercoaster, watched the city lights from atop a ferris wheel, and learned a new method of perambulation? Not many. I think this is going to be a hard one to top, but then again I am riding to the end of the world; it would be awfully presumptuous of me to claim I’ve reached the peak of my explorations so soon.
    #22
  3. Curtis in Texas

    Curtis in Texas Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Oddometer:
    209
    Location:
    Rhome Texas
    I'll give a little update for Blake. He left my house here in Rhome yesterday afternoon headed to Santa Fe NM.
    He was looking for a place to pull some preventative maintenance on his KLR, and since I work on KLR's a lot, I offered him my shop, and my Guest House above the Garage.

    We had a wonderful time talking about our different pasts and what forces brought us to the stages of life we currently enjoy.

    Since I live in the Country in Texas a few miles North of Fort Worth he had some cultural shock to get used to. Maybe out of the Main Stream, but definitely not Hick Country. But we like it.
    I think his education about firearms has just been ignited. We spent several hours discussing the reason why Texans are so obsessed with handguns and firearms in general. I think he was shock to find I carry in the shop because of the Coyote problem we have with our livestock.

    I found our conversations intriguing and very interesting. I found myself wishing for two possibilities.

    One I could find a way to join him for his ride, even if for just a few weeks, or find a way to get him to prolong his visit so we could share backgrounds some more. Did he mention he is Tri Lingual already? My wife loved his accent!
    World Travel is nothing new to this young Canadian!

    Blake, if you head back this way on your way home, you are more than welcome to swing be here and hang out the Misses and I again. We'll go get some BBQ!

    Hade a great time and found myself wishing I was younger! I'd have packed up and taken off too.

    But my youngest son (31), who is the last to get married, is getting married in a week and I'm expected to be there. So I'm committed to staying put. This is the second chance to Ride that I've had to pass up for him. I hope he appreciates it. I was on a ride when my Grandson , and best little buddy, was born 2 years ago.

    Have a safe ride and let us know if we can assist you later.

    Enjoyed every minute of your visit.
    #23
  4. fredster

    fredster Clueless Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Oddometer:
    81
    Location:
    Spartanopolis, MI (East Lansing)
    Yeah it would suck to leave on trip for the End of the World and die from an incident in Detroit.

    Stay safe out there.
    #24
  5. simonpig

    simonpig droppin' jewels

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,359
    Location:
    NYC
    Whats up, Blake. Nice to meet you at the Roaming Rally this summer. Look forward to following you adventures in South America. To say, I'm envious is putting it mildly. Have a great trip.
    #25
  6. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    Thanks Curtis! It was a real pleasure, I've got another post ready so I'm making my way to the Texas part slowly but surely. In Moab right now - WOW. Turns out I have NO idea how to ride sand, but it's a hell of a fun time. The fore storage on Lost is coming in handy, as are the many other mods... thanks a ton again! I will probably toss my scrap of alumium, that tiny sink no bob is actually doing a bang up job.

    Hey Tahn, it was good to meet you also, good to see you joining the adventure. No need to be jealous, just get on the bike and ride on down :)

    And thanks Fredster... though I can't promise to stay safe, at least I can promise to have fun!
    #26
  7. jmcg

    jmcg Turpinated..

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    457
    Location:
    The Dandenong Ranges, Vic
    Great read, great pics.

    Thanks,

    JM.
    #27
  8. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    So my stay in Kentucky is brief but eventful. The night of the 6 flags caper, Buddykermit invites me to crash at his pad. The place is pretty sketchy - enough so that I decide to bring in my saddlebags off the bike. Then it turns out my host is a gun nut - but hey, I've always wanted to meet one, and at least this one is on my side.
    He shows me his AK47 from Russia, and his newer model that's the trophy - "This one shot up a cop car". And enough ammo (hollowpoint, of course...) to take over a city block.
    I can't blame him for wanting to protect himself though, someone comes knocking on the door around midnight asking for a screwdriver so they can get into the apartment downstairs, apparently someone owes someone something...

    Anyway, my bike is still locked in place where I left it the next morning so I begin my journey to meet my friend Sam in Ohio. Stay a day, I figure, relax and catch up on the my photos etc.
    Well, long story short lets just say I'm getting the feeling whoever programmed my GPS had a very unique sense of humour. The damn thing takes me all over the place, it seems to think the quickest way from A to B involves a stopover at Z. So it's pretty damn late by the time I get to Portsmouth; the ride is beautiful though. It doesn't help that the street his house is supposed to be on ends before reaching his number.

    Anyway we get it all sorted out, and my baby turns 20K!

    We have a moment together in the dark.
    <img alt="" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-oFa8VS9oubY/UE7L2_XdBnI/AAAAAAAAA_c/vPe3XKo12qg/s758/%23MG_4171.jpg" title="Happy 20th Lost!" class="alignnone" width="758" height="505" />
    The next morning I really get the feel for this place - I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Mist drifts gracefully over the riverside property, all the leftover hooch from his temporarily closed bar resting temptingly by the pool table, Shagnn wagon, 1200cc seadoo, pontoon party boat...

    <img alt="" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-BixDK2RVzXU/UE7LxwfKI5I/AAAAAAAAA_U/ksFMzIJglrs/s694/%23MG_4185.jpg" title="Slammin Sammy" class="alignnone" width="694" height="462" />

    This guy is set up for a hell of a good time. And so it is - another friend in town owns a brewery and steak house, so my one day stopover turns into a multiple day hiatus from travelling while I indulge in the finest living my self-professed hick friends have to offer. We tread lightly around our radically different political perspectives (until a few beers in, that is). We party in the middle of the river, drink some of the best pilsner I've ever had (If you stop by Portsmouth, get yourself a Portsmouth Pilsner from the Portsmouth microbrewery), and I'm treated to more delicious food than I've eaten since starting this journey.

    <img alt="" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-aS4E8ugJs74/UE7Kz4mITyI/AAAAAAAAA-4/NXuvNVDHtpc/s616/DSC00604.JPG" title="Local talent" class="alignnone" width="616" height="462" />

    I never do get to try the squirrel brains; I don't doubt Sam for a second about when he tells me they're a delicacy in the Appalachians. Once again I find myself comfortable, living it up instead of getting out there and tasting life - so I say goodbye to the luxury and comfort and head out on a rainy Sunday morning.

    Well I'm all dolled up in my duck suit against the clouds, I stop at an old graveyard that has been almost reclaimed by the forest and meet a fellow who goes by Hound Dog Harrisson, he scrawls his name on a piece of paper for me and tells me he's a musician - "We're not all hicks down here!". Hey, I've been partying with hicks for a week, it's a good time.I continue South and West for a few hundred miles through some gorgeous roads the GPS accidentally sends me through.
    <img alt="" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-fWd6NnwWsvY/UE7F3b663dI/AAAAAAAAA8k/3TEXwaAO9qE/s693/f20554752.jpg" title="Not just for hicks" class="alignnone" width="693" height="462" />

    It gets dark, and I'm tired, but I've been told there is a really cool abandoned structure nearby so I park my bike behind some old warehouses. I've also been warned about a tick infestation in the area, so I avoid setting up the hammock in the woods and camp Vietnamese style instead - just lay back on the seat and kick up your feet on the handlebars, thin cloth over my face keeps the mosquitoes at bay. Not quite as comfortable as the plush bed and bath setup I've had for the past few days, but there's something about sleeping outdoors, stealth camping and listening to the sounds of the nearby wetlands. Okay, last that part actually sucks... at some point an animal gets dragged down in the middle of the night and I listen to it's cries of agony with wide open eyes. I wake up stiff, tired, but somehow more fulfilled in a way I hadn't really noticed I craved - finally reliant only on my self again, exploring every corner of this strange and beautiful world.

    Now the adventure is back in full swing.
    #28
  9. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    Much appreciated JM

    #29
  10. Aprilia

    Aprilia Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,023
    Location:
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Its been a while since Blake posted but he just left Flagstaff today to continue on his journey. I'll let him fill the days past and the 'upgrades' we did to his bike these last couple days. Needless to say he cooks a mean asian dinner and I supplied a fairly good margarita as a complement. Great conversations about travelling. I think I surprised him with my own wonderings around the globe. While he's a bit green with 2wheel adventures he's undoubtedly experienced more than most folks even twice his age.

    While Blake mentioned the 'sink no bob' Curtis in Texas installed I think a picture is required. [​IMG] Just classic!


    I'm officially subscribed...
    #30
  11. cyberdos

    cyberdos Easy Bonus Loop

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2005
    Oddometer:
    31,005
    Location:
    Queen Creek, AZ
    If there's ever a personification of getting out of one's own self induced comfortable constructs, it's Blake. The spirit which he carries himself with right now is to be admired.

    I was happy to host him last night and dig into some much needed TLC on the KLR.

    [​IMG]

    Yet I feel that even though the bike certainly needed the care, to Blake it wouldn't really matter either way. I believe his adventures on this trip and through life itself will work themselves out regardless of the hardships and obstacles which may present themselves down his path.

    With a tool kit like this, how can they not be. :D

    [​IMG]

    Safe travels amigo!
    #31
  12. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    Thanks Chuck, and whaddaya mean green? I've been riding for almost a collective year now :lol3
    It was a treat to stop by and Lost is very happy with her new innards as well. Definitely enjoyed the route down to Phoenix you showed me!

    Meeting Julio was great luck, as there were a couple of other issues (aren't there always) that I'm glad to have caught before getting going on the road. And I know, I know, I always overpack on tools... hehehe

    All the riders I've met thus far have been awesome people, it's good to be humbled when you think you're all cool just because you can point the bike South (usually).

    Anyway I'll post the latest tomorrow, catch up to where I am eventually but between riding and reporting I seem to do a lot more riding than I can keep up with!
    #32
  13. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    Time in transit again. I ride, digest the events of the journey so far, and lose myself in translation as the odometer spins steadily.

    A rusty bridge with vines interlaced through the latticed steel beams stirs me from my reveries and off track. Further investigation leads me to discover the Wild Turkey Distillery, and as usual Lost proves herself a more than capable trespasser - barriers made for four wheels mean little to her two.
    <img alt="" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-ru1-RmDHeus/UFvRTPsm9uI/AAAAAAAABCk/qwUEl-evPwU/s758/f22635200.jpg" title="Wild Turkey Bridge" class="alignnone" width="758" height="505" />
    Some clambering and and wild turkeys later (yeah they actually have wild turkeys wandering around the distillery. In case anyone comes to challenge their cred?) I also found this cool looking thing.
    <img alt="" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-2c4aXkSinU0/UFvQfjUos9I/AAAAAAAABCc/jCFyGvDAhRA/s758/f26774912.jpg" title="Shock absorbing thing?" class="alignnone" width="758" height="505" />
    So much to know.

    The ride down through the Natchez Trace is dreamlike, the hills roll and the road curves endlessly repeating for 444 miles. I make it a fair way down, but the sun sets on the Trace and I set up the hammock at one of the many nature trails. On one detour I saw a lady selling fresh produce and decided to spice up my menu; for a dollar she gave me a basket of okra, a sweet potato and an onion. Add some of my trusty <em>chile de Coban</em> and dinner is delicious. Fireflies burn crazy neon lines across my vision in the dark, hundreds of them calling out for mates with their bioluminescent dance. I decide not to put up the tarp so I can watch them; the trees will cover me from rain long enough to set it up should I need it.

    More of the same beautiful riding takes me down to Natchez, and then I'm riding interstates through Baton Rouge. At one point I notice what appears to be a vine covered mansion through an overgrown drive right off the highway. A U turn later I'm riding through a badly deteriorated estate; dilapidated towers watch my trespass impassively from either side. Pulling in front of what turns out to actually be a rather small property and an old Caddy that clearly hasn't moved in years I look for signs of habitation. Nothing indicates anyone is taking care of the place, but the windows are suspiciously clear. I can't see through into the darkness within. I listen for a reaction to my presence. Nothing. I leave the keys in the igition, on, as I cautiously begin to explore.

    The light through the overgrown canopy is just taking on that golden evening hue, and I hunt for the right angle to capture the car and greenery. I can just barely make out someone calling out as I ready the camera. Shit.

    I think they're just yelling "hello", so I decide to try the Stupid Tourist routine. "Sorry, I thought this place was abandoned, I just wanted to take some photos, I'll get off your property".

    Clearly this place does not belong to whoever is inside. But I'm still not sure I want to meet the current tenants. A small dog comes racing out, yapping furiously. The voice yells "That's fine, take all the photos you want".

    What's happening behind those inscrutable windows? Calling for backup? Loading the shotgun? Masturbating furiously?
    I decide to risk it. This place is cool, the voice sounded feeble. Real gangstas live in cities with people to push around, we're directly off the highway in the middle of nowhere, and this fellow won't even show himself. I turn off the ignition, but leave the keys in and stay close to the bike just in case. The dog quickly submits to me after I throw him a piece of jerky. Some rapidly composed shots later, I get the hell out of dodge, marvelling at the oppressive presence of an encroaching wilderness that almost seems to say, "Humanity is lost here; soon this place will be alive again". I try again farther down the road, this time there's nothing but golden orb weaver spiders (massive, evil looking demons as big as your face; webs strong enough to catch birds).
    I ride on towards New Orleans.

    Night falls, I'm riding down the highway, and these strange spindly citadels covered in diamond lights beckon off in the distance. I finally pass one up close. The sign says polyethylene (?) processing plant. It's gorgeous, noctilucent clouds pumping out from tower stacks by the delicate looking structures. It looks like something out of Blade Runner. So I take some shots from the highway, but this deserves more detail. I pull in, ask at the front gate - sure, no problem they tell me.

    I've got the tripod set up and am two shots in to a panoramic scene when a security car pulls up. I'm asked if I have any weapons, and patted down with my hands behind my head. "Welcome to Louisiana, eh?" I remark.
    The guy is actually pretty decent about it, and I'm cooperating. My stuff is too dispersed to make a run for it, and besides what's the worst that could happen. He explains that this is an oil refinery. Oops.
    It's when he tells me I'm going to have to wait for the police to come by and look at my camera that the warning bells sound. Okay, so I can delete the shots of the refinery... but what if he browses back a couple? I have barely taken any shots since passing by these nuclear plants in the mist and taking a ton of shots

    [​IMG]

    . This guy has been throwing around the Homeland security card, like that justifies his treating me like a terrorist. But I can see how things might start to look bad, and remember I also have a bunch of shots of a generating station in Kentucky...

    Now, I realize these people are trained, and have procedures, and in all fairness he is being pretty nice. But lets just look at the facts here. I took a bunch of great shots of the facility by standing on their sign by the road, crews rolled right on past me in trucks as I snapped away before coming up and announcing myself. So first of all, anyone could have taken these shots from the highway and just rolled off. And secondly, I am clearly not trying to be discreet here. Making me wait for the cops is a dick move. These are just the kinds of automata I despise - those who prefer to squander their human potential by sleepwalking through templates rather than examining their actions. Such a waste of free will. It's like a cop giving you a ticket for going 5 over. Yeah it's against the law, but the law exists so it can be enforced when it must, not at every possible opportunity. Anyway, there endeth the rant.

    Nothing I can do but wait at this point, I don't know the laws here. It's decision time. I've heard you can recover deleted photos from a card... so I erase the whole thing. "Oh, you wanted me to wait until the police showed up? Sorry, I already deleted everything." We've gone through the procedure, and the fellow is joined by another security officer. With no template to follow, a more human conversation unfolds as I tell them what I am doing and where I am going. They have no mixed feelings towards New Orleans. The fellow who stopped me is a cop there also, and their unthinking bias is clear as they tell me to watch out for the blacks, the fellows who hold their guns sideways to shoot, the grifters who will get their big buddies to roll you right on the main streets in public. The cop arrives and it's a straightforward release, I have no information to give him they security didn't already get - I'm a vagabond, no phone, no address. I don't get a hard time about it, though he does insist on getting my dad's number so he can confirm my identity.

    He chips in his two cents - "There's a bad part of town you should avoid. It's from the 'Welcome to New Orleans' sign to the 'Leaving New Orleans' sign;" the security folks tell me four of his fellow officers just got shot to death yesterday so I can understand how opinions in their circles may be polarized on the subject of crime in the city. I'm sent off on my way, with a warning not to try again as I'm now in their system.
    #33
  14. cyberdos

    cyberdos Easy Bonus Loop

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2005
    Oddometer:
    31,005
    Location:
    Queen Creek, AZ
    Take your time. No need to rush. This is your adventure.

    Ride on!
    #34
  15. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!

    You said it!

    Killing time in Phoenix has been productive, however:
    #35
  16. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    Alright so the last post was photo sparse due to most of the recent shots being corrupted. I was lucky, and the majority of the shots came out, though I lost some keepers for sure.

    The Refinery Incident behind me, I make it to a McDonalds and do a last minute websearch for a place to crash, as I'm not quite comfortable urban camping in the city until I've seen it in daylight and my couchsurfing connections have failed to come through. The cheapest place wins, and it looks like the international hostel it is when I show up - heavily bearded dude on an old recliner talking to an asian hipster smoking from a cigarette holder on the porch, scruffy potpourri of characters roaming around the stickerbombed front desk where a weary and slightly indifferent fellow informs me they're booked for the week.
    Pity, fifteen bucks is about as cheap as it gets round these parts.

    I follow his recommendation through the winding one-way streets and start to get a feel for the character of the town. The patchwork neighbourhoods have no architectural cohesion whatsoever - I'm passing by artfully wrought balustrades and slate-tiled roofs one block, low slung bungalows with taped up windows the next. I can't tell which is the "bad" neighbourhood. What would be considered trendy housing back home is backed up right against what any Northern American could easily identify as "ghetto", although the beads and gaudy props arranged even in some of the shabbier looking joints might be better classified as "ghettofabulous". Clearly this city has some complex levels to parse.

    I make it into the recommended joint and go through some strange process where I have to prove I'm an international (we don't allow US citizens) so I can get into my room full of Americans (???). Whatever, it feels amazing to shower and shave, Jason the hilarious ubergay host entertains me as I cook up the last of my fresh produce and rice and befriend the cute girl in my dorm. The morning proves delicious - pancake buffet! I'm thinking this might not be too shabby a place to spend a couple of days when I'm informed the whole place is booked for the next few days - get out.

    Oh well, I head out with Jean, a nice quiet asian guy from Houston and we check out the place Jason recommended. When I see the place I can't believe Jason calls his little outfit the "Ritz Carleton" and this the "Motel 6". It's a massive property with a pool and intricately curled French iron balconies, a local artist's magnificent woodcarving on display in the main hall; apparently it was originally an orphanage.

    <img alt="" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-2dLj7bNuqn4/UGO23lSLwYI/AAAAAAAABD4/PwYBA5XNk_c/s766/IMG_4856.jpg" title="St. Vincent slash motel 6" class="alignnone" width="510" height="766" />

    <img alt="" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-YSSM251Pbro/UGO29Z3w5vI/AAAAAAAABEA/A4a47Ja-tFM/s528/IMG_4853.jpg" title="Scream" class="alignnone" width="352" height="528" />

    Well the façade quickly fades as we're shown into our dorm. The TV is on it's face on a dusty shelf; the majority of the bunk beds have been partitioned off by wrapping sheets around to form mini apartments - the fellow next to us has taken up four beds with his makeshift home. As we lay our stuff down in silence, contemplating our sketchy surroundings, a shirtless fellow in the bed across from us starts making <em>noises</em>. He gets up, "Enh! Enh!", his scrawny shirtless form shuffles in a rough circle, he faces us and rubs his nipple absently while his abnormally large tongue fumbles awkwardly around.

    I'm quickly back at the front desk.

    "I realize I've already paid, but - what's the deal with the guy in our room? You know, the one who would make me come back here trying to get either a good explanation or his money back?" I don't mention the hobo camp.

    The lady at the front fixes me with a look, and explains that his name is R. and he just happens to be a good person with a speech impediment who sometimes bites his tongue, and if he spits on you trying to talk it's not his fault, and he's a man like any other who will pee on the seat.

    I reflect on this. It's clear that with tourism down and beds to fill they're allowing any crusty character to just set up shop. On the one hand, I feel that if I'm going to pay twenty bucks to sleep with the same transients I could share the underside of a bridge with for free, I'm not getting value for my dollar.
    On the other hand, I'm actually a little pleased to patronize an establishment that isn't too proud to provide for the city's less fortunate. You'd normally expect a joint that caters to tourists would turn away these sorts simply to maintain their reputation.

    Of course, it could be a matter of "money is money" (and very likely is, at least in part). But considering they dropped the price 5 bucks without me even trying and the look of my ragged roommates, I'm going to go ahead and assume they're not raking in the cash from these motley folks. I also noticed that one of the "staff" sleeps in my dorm. I suppose it's just the sort of pragmatism the confluence of Katrina and New Orleans style openness encourages. I doubt I'd find these inmates here in the high season though.

    So I go back to report to Jean. We concur that one night of this will be acceptable, I'm just glad I have my belongings in locked cases bolted to the bike. Long as the bike stays in place...
    No photos of the dorm itself - it just felt too personal, intrusive.

    Well, today I have a little fun planned. The bankrupted Six Flags didn't leave just one amusement park to be reclaimed by nature and vagabonds...

    <img alt="" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-Q8frNuSai9Q/UGO2KbhYB3I/AAAAAAAABDg/NwQYpIO9nBc/s462/IMG_4708.jpg" title="Mission Accomplished" class="alignnone" width="308" height="462" />

    <img alt="" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-XGQfCFGaMaw/UGO2ECgG5mI/AAAAAAAABDY/uIoCeNkRGMU/s794/IMG_4711.jpg" title="Our town" class="alignnone" width="794" height="529" />
    #36
  17. Aprilia

    Aprilia Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,023
    Location:
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Yes, Arizona seems to be the place for upgrades before crossing over the border. Stick around another couple weeks and I'm sure we can get you a proper spring rate for that rear shock. One of the upgrades you got here in Flagstaff...688kit :clap.

    [​IMG]
    #37
  18. cyberdos

    cyberdos Easy Bonus Loop

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2005
    Oddometer:
    31,005
    Location:
    Queen Creek, AZ
    Nice, Aprilia. <label for="rb_iconid_24">[​IMG]</label>
    I was wondering where all those shavings had come from when we did the oil change. :lol3

    We added a little bit of preload to the forks and some heavier fresh oil so it should be firmer up front at least.
    #38
  19. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    No, the dearth of reporting is not due to my heart being stolen by one of the many beautiful ladies this country has to offer, though they sure as hell are trying.

    The love here is an overarching love for this country in general, it´s people and culture. This is a great place, and the fact that I have spent far more time here than originally schedules vexes me not one bit.

    I am vexed at the twin tragedies of my lens and laptop, the former which was shattered in a moto crash andthe latter which was stolen in Chihuahua. I spent 11 days in the copper canyon, in which time I actually managed to draft up all my updates up until about a week from current time... but those are no doubt erased now, my laptop in the hands of some dude in Chihuahua who can´t believe what a good deal he got on the computer.

    I will take some time while the bike is repairing to rewrite a few, photos on hold since without a computer I can´t convert them proprly from RAW to jpeg. I need to catch up, if only to thank the people I´ve met on my journey, without whom it would have been twice as fast and half as enjoyable.

    Cheers riders, hope those of you North of the border are enjoying a beautiful fall still.
    #39
  20. cyberdos

    cyberdos Easy Bonus Loop

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2005
    Oddometer:
    31,005
    Location:
    Queen Creek, AZ
    Been wondering where you were. I was glad to hear you bumped into some friends over there south of the border and saw some pics which indeed looked like you were having a great time. What did I tell you about the chicas :evil in Mexico? :lol3 Bummer about the lens and laptop.
    #40