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:
    368
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    Haha never! Or rather, always? I guess when you live on a motorcycle you are constantly moving on with your life.

    Fell out of the habit of updating, but I have a full post to put up one of these days and recently got the itch to get back at it. Currently in Colombia, working on getting the bike into operational condition and on the road. Destination: South-ish. Roughly Brazilwise? Maybe Argentina though. Or Paraguay. It's nice of the world to set those arbitrary names on my map so I can claim to have goals.

    Cheers Blader!
  2. JustinOther

    JustinOther KLR MUTANT

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2014
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    Location:
    Nor Cal - Newcastle
    Glad to see you're alive and still living the dream my friend!
  3. cyberdos

    cyberdos Easy Bonus Loop ♦♦

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Queen Creek, AZ
    Still subscribed.

    :lurk

    Happy to hear from you.
  4. Red Knight

    Red Knight Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    206
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Glad to see your still around. I left you a note on the K-L-R site. Lets get back at it..
    Andela -Andela
  5. blake716

    blake716 nine toes

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    Baton Rouge, La.
  6. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2012
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    1,907
    Ha Ha! The Return of El Ex! So good to see your words again! I hope your back healed well. It must have done if you are now in Colombia! Looking forward to finding out whether you were able to refill that bottle of Centenario in Guatemala!! And you must have had some adventures leaping the Darien Gap?
  7. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    @Blader54 Back is still pretty buggered and the injury travelled upward to a strained trapezius, but I figure as long as I don't cripple myself young I could stand to endure a bit of pain. Going to take a serious break around North American spring to heal, write up the Americas portion of the journey, and make funds for the remaining continents. I have refilled the liver on several occasions, Zacapa has made itself famous but it's not cheap anywhere, not even Guatemala!

    And thanks gents, yes indeedy soon(ish) the story resumes. Cyberdos I have a special pic to share for you!
  8. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    Who are you on there? I don't have any messages.
  9. Red Knight

    Red Knight Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    206
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Same as here. Last post in the thread. We thought you ran off with a Senorita, never to return. Glad to have you back. I am rarely over there anymore as I sold the KLR. I just popped in occasionally to check your progress. I prefer to keep up on here.

    viajes seguros
  10. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Still going strong hermano!



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  11. cyberdos

    cyberdos Easy Bonus Loop ♦♦

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    HAHA!!

    :clap

    Nice.

    Kim still follows you on fb or instagram or whatever that other social media stuff is. So I know more stuff than you've posted here about how you've been through her. :thumb

    Not the same as the stuff you write on here though. :nah
  12. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    Jaja yeah I miss the crafting of the epic tale, imagining telling my friends grandkids about the adventure (I must be sterile myself after all that hard riding)
  13. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    Wild creatures rise with the sun.


    Except when they're hungover.


    By the time I am dragged into grudging consciousness the hammock is a stifling oven and all I want to do is turn on the fan. This model only comes with rain-proof tarp and regret-resonating headspace, so I get out and get on the road.


    Focusing on the ride drags from my fugue. The scenery shifts from coastal jungle to gentle hills as I make my slow progress. Previous communiqués have indicated that a couple of the ladies from my Copper Canyon adventure will be at the festivities. The world is a small place when you have a motorcycle.


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  14. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    Uh... it's been a while. Wasn't there a preview post option?

    Facepalm - Yes, I found the big orange button labelled "Options"
  15. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    I like to imagine the artist left the faces open to interpretation instead of just being lazy.
  16. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    Try Again?

    Insert coin...

    ...
    ..
    .

    Thank you!

    We now resume our irregularly scheduled programming.



    My progress is halting; the entire province of Michoacán is celebrating today and every cemetery has a stream of people going in and out.


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    Of course I have to stop in each town, how else will I be able to compare? In small towns the people are, as usual, the most interested in striking up a conversation with the armored traveler wandering through their midst. I'm treated to candied yams and aguachile, a delicious shrimp, tomato and spicy chili dish cooked by the acid action of lime juice (read: eat raw shrimp and pray you've already got the necessary immunities). The decorations on the graves range from incredible flower arrangements to a simple scattering of petals; all together it is a riot of colour. I soak in the festival atmosphere – it is ostensibly a day to spend with your beloved deceased, but the party is anything but dead. Booze and food are in steady supply, and cheery families keep waving me over or hamming it up for the camera.


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    I lose all trepidation as I realize that the sacred and the profane are delineations for the chapel – here people relax in empty graves and tread over lumps marking the simpler burials, there is none of the somber pomp of traditional christianity. Everyone is relaxed, today is a festival day, candy and balloons being sold to the kids and there are even groups of ambulatory musicians competing for pesos in traditional mariachi garb. One group comes over to where I'm taking photos, a fellow with a tiny guitar moves his hands in a blur while his companion to his right begins to pluck at an upright bass, three more strings join in and they sing in soulful union while the family pauses to give audience. They continue for enough songs to earn their pesos and move onto the next funereal party.


    My hopalong journey lands me in Patzcuaro just before dark, and I'm lucky to find a place where I can hang my hammock – everything is booked solid, I get the impression that once again showing up on a radical motorcycle and claiming to have ridden all the way from Canada shakes a little compassion out of people who are tired of the usual unprepared tourist.


    One of the first things I see in town is a couple with their faces painted as skulls, but it turns out they're just tourists from the capital and that's the last I see of that. I'm trying to see what the fuss was all about but I arrived too late – all the ceremonies took place during the day. I suppose the big event must have been exciting but I don't regret the way I spent my day.


    I meet up with Kristina and Martina who are partying with a bunch of tourists, but they vanish and I find myself with a bunch of gringos; tequila keeps appearing from somewhere among the rising volume.


    The next day I wander through town, there are artisans from all over and one of them catches my attention calling me “carnal”. I find out it means “kin”, decide I like it and decide to start using it. The guy has a decorative skull on display that would look great on Lost, so I break a rule and buy a souvenir. The markets are full of incredible craftsmanship and kitschy creations awaiting a poorly considered impulse buy.


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    Having saturated my memory card in artisan goods I seek out some sustenance, it's going to be veggie sandwich today. I pick out just enough produce for one sandwich including a couple stalks of cilantro from a cheery gentleman selling from the back of his truck, an he waves my money away when I try to pay him. He picks up a chili pepper and says it's a gift to me - says it's called No te olvides de Mexico, Don't forget about Mexico. I've never tried these before but trust that it will remind me at least twice.


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    Fed and content, I decide to head over to the island of Janitzio following a wave of endorsements. Naturally it's the exact opposite of what I am looking for, a slope covered in restaurants and souvenir shops. I can't help striking up a conversation with a local kid about how it feels to have your idyllic island invaded by tourists and turned into a showpiece. He seems happy to have the money coming in; I leave him to it and decide I've seen all I want to of this island. On the way down I find the tiny cemetery, decorated in traditional style, but today there is nobody around to celebrate with the dead and I have them all to myself.


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    On the boatride back I strike up a conversation with a dude with a ridiculous shirt and a couple of cute friends, one of whom I had seen earlier wandering around barefoot.


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    They invite me to go with them to check out Camecuaro, and promise that it's worth it. I don't really have anything next on the list so I fire up the bike and follow them to meet up with some friends waiting at the famous Aztec rounded temples. I'm not sure how they got there but there is one person too many for the two car caravan, so next thing I know a Spanish girl named Jara is riding with me. I give her my spare poncho and wrap her in my scarf so all I can see is her eyes but she's already wet underneath, she holds close for warmth and we ride slow sandwiched between cars with blinkers on as night falls. The trees branch over the road, headlights painting an endless tunnel of phantasmagorical shadows as I follow my new friends on into the night with no clue where we're headed; time seems to start to distort and undulate just like the hilly road as Jara falls in and out of sleep, squeezing me tight each time I tap her to reassure me she's comfortable and not about to fall off.


    When we arrive there's not much to see, they fumble around in the cars for tents and get everything set up. Guitars appear and thrum, voices sing, others start rolling joints; a bag of bread rolls appears from somewhere and then chocolates and chips. Jara turns out to have an incredible voice once she unwraps herself and shakes out the cold from her wet limbs, and as the empties pile up everyone starts to realize they can sing. It's not overly cold, but it's not too warm either, so when A offers me to share the tent with her and her friend I gladly take her up on it. We keep each other more than warm, but her friend's presence keeps the tent from getting too steamy despite her protests that she's asleep, which makes it all the funnier when she starts quoting things we thought we were whispering only to each other.


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    The next morning I wake to a scene from another world.


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    Ancient trees line emerald green waters, their bare roots gnarled and wrestling for dominance all along the bank. Gaily painted boats skim the surface as visitors paddle along, elegant ducks wander boldly among people, all under a the grey sky whose softly diffused light gives everything a dreamlike quality.


    I wander around discovering the details of this strange place, my new bohemian friends playing in the trees and wandering half-clothed through the flooded parks and along winding walkways. It's my kind of day.

    After a swim in the lake a German couple studying in Guadalajara tell me to come stay with them a while. Turns out they live in a gorgeous hacienda style house with a bunch of other people, most of whom I've already met here. They're all enthusiastic, artists, film students, dreamers, musicians, and I agree without a second thought.


    The breeze halts its swirling chaos and focuses, this leaf in the wind finds itself once again seeing the patterns in the currents, a future I can barely hear the shape of, but definitely there, waiting for me.
  17. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,907
    And so the journey continues. Thank you, El Ex! Most excellent!
  18. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    The pleasure is all mine amigo!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Blader54 likes this.
  19. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    Been posting a few updates on my blog but haven't gotten around to copying them onto here, so for the three of you still subscribed six years later (!), here's the first of a few updates :D


    If it was easy, it would be a vacation, not an adventure.

    This is my mantra for when shit goes wrong, mentally laughing about “that time I found myself lost at night criss crossing through the city of Guadalajara”. I mentally place myself in the future where this is already a funny story, and decide that it doesn't end in my finding the wrong neighbourhood and ending my adventure on a ballistic note.

    Gibraltar? Guevara! No, something Italian-esque; all I can remember is it sounds garbly. The name of the street I'm looking for, at night, alone in a strange city in Mexico on a bike that is threatening to burst into flames. Everything was going fine until we got to the toll at the city limits. Turns out I've not properly put Lost back into working order and idling by the car wasn't an option; the temperature needle steadily crept up towards Kaboom! until I realized there was no way to avoid catastrophe apart from speeding ahead and getting some air-cooling action. I pass the toll, and the motor chills out but I know it's only temporary. Another, more diligent owner might just turn the bike off. But this biker knows it took a boost to get running and doesn't want to shut down – it can be surprisingly hard to get a boost. Or not surprising, considering the multitude of schemes people are warned to avoid to keep from getting hijacked on the road. I'm fairly certain there are more permutations of the story where someone is robbed for stopping to help like a good samaritan than actual instances, if only for the volume of stories.

    The needle shivers its way higher and higher, I give in and turn off to wait for my escort as I have no idea where I'm going.

    Time goes by.

    Annnnnnd the car doesn't pass.

    Or did it already pass?

    Shit.

    Now I'm lost with Lost and its dark and getting darker. But I remember, Garbly street. They live near the university. I ask a tow driver where the university is and if I can get a boost – I get directions and a runaround between the toll staff, a security guard, and the tow driver until some kind soul stops to say hi about a half hour later and solves my most immediate problem by boosting the battery so I can go play marco polo with a half-remembered address.

    Okay, 98 problems to go... I ride in the general direction of the university and the city centre, which was easy to see from the hilltop toll station. It occurs to me several times that this is madness, but that's been the modus operandi from day one and has worked out stellar so I just keep criss crossing streets, avoiding missing manholes in unlit intersections, blazing through what clear stretches I can find to cool the engine. It’s a give and take game where I have to balance my need to keep moving with my desire to not be lost amongst the feral city dogs and other predators of the night when/if Lost throws in the towel and leaves me pushing her uphill in search of… what was that street called again?

    Ah HA! Garibaldi, I spot it, and it just feels right. I'm at least seventy percent sure this is the street. The last two times I thought I found it I was wrong, so the odds are in my favor.

    ...Right?

    It ends, and I go back up the parallel one way to do another pass and just as I turn around I hear a shout. I turn, and lo and behold, my new friend Iris is waving me over!

    Totally how I knew it was gonna go down.

    I ride up my first flight of stairs (but don't tell them that) into the courtyard of their lovely colonial group home to some impressed faces. I give my best “do it all the time” smile and get off the bike to greet everyone, we figure out what happened and I get set up in my friend's room with my sleeping pad to end the day once again thankful for my seemingly infinite font of dumb luck and with a kiss and a promise to dear Lost; I have one thing to do in town and it's get her fan fixed!
  20. RandyLove

    RandyLove Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Oddometer:
    35
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Good to see you back at it! I was quite literally tonight was working on the KLR I took to South America from 2012 to 2013. Getting her ready for my RTW in 20??.

    Best of luck, and keep us posted!