The Long Way Home.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Where's Harold?, Apr 5, 2021.

  1. Where's Harold?

    Where's Harold? Adventurer

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    Sure thing! I wanted to keep it unknown but it's sharing the story that counts. I Started May 7th, 2018 and Finished June 23rd, 2019. I will start to put the original dates instead of just DAY 10....etc

    I spanned 18 countries on an unknown motorcycle; a Zongshen 200GY Enduro that I paid $900 dollars for.


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    #21
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  2. Where's Harold?

    Where's Harold? Adventurer

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    Sunday, June 3rd 2018

    Current Location: Mariano Bareto; Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
    Destination: Noel Collares; Montevideo, Uruguay

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    Montevideo, here I come! The ride there was nice, and it was supposed to take less than 4-hours to get there. I was on track to not kill myself from driving. So far, I’d been able to stay with hosts I met on Couchsurfing. My fifth host was Noel, a fellow traveler herself.

    Upon arriving, I was met by her neighbors who let me in until she got home. There we spoke about their travels since one of her neighbors had just gotten back from spending some months in Brazil. They told me what to see, do, and eat when I got there. It wasn't long before Noel arrived and we left for her apartment. Off the bat, Noel was very hospitable. She made food, rolled up some fasso (marijuana), and then put on the season finale of one of my favorite shows, Six Feet Under, and without fail I began to cry. I alway urge people to watch this show because of its relatability and the fact that I believe no one can watch this show without crying (unless you have no soul).

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    Monday, June 4th 2018

    I didn't expect the cold to affect me so much, but there I was with a deep chest cold. With not much gas in the tank, figuratively speaking, I decided to take it easy today, run some errands and explore a bit.

    I started with buying tools. Nearly being stranded in the middle of Argentina without any taught me better. The simple act of having some tools is a real lifesaver when it comes to loose and popped chains, changing a tire, and even changing something as simple as the oil. With the bike's care in mind, I couldn't forget mine so I bought a ski mask to help keep my face warm during the cold drives.

    The beaches of Montevideo are famous, but I was there during the dead of winter and the beautiful beaches looked like ghost towns. The beauty was still ever present, but with a calm seldom seen in the summer.


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    #22
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  3. advrockrider

    advrockrider Long timer

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    Wow, what a ride. Report it how ever you want, the back story was all I needed to follow along. Thanks for filling in the details.
    #23
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  4. Where's Harold?

    Where's Harold? Adventurer

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    Tuesday, June 5th 2018

    Today I allowed my cousin’s threats on my life to ruin my day. It all started when I began this trip. My aunt asked if I could take a cell phone, some shower curtains, and three hats to my cousin in Chile. While I had no room for anything I did take the cellphone since I could easily just put it in my pocket. Upon arriving in Chile, I gave my cousin his phone, and instead of thanking me for the favor he began to accuse me of stealing the shower curtains. It even got to the point where my cousin began trying to scheme me out of money. This was the reason I ended up having a friend I made in Chile help me buy the motorcycle. I called her the Hummingbird. My cousin began to say he was going to find me and kill me, but if I really thought about it he wouldn’t be able to find me as I made my way back home.




    Wednesday, June 6th 2018

    As I prepared to leave, I made it a goal to get an oil change and find camping gear. After a bit of searching, I found a shop that changed my oil since I still didn't know how yet, and for a whopping $10 I got that and my bike maintained.

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    As I was waiting, I struck up a conversation with a man named Washington, the Director of Motul in Uruguay. The man had been on a motorcycle all his life, from racing to exploring. Me arriving here brought back all those memories for him. We ended up talking for hours; he gave me advice on what to expect in certain countries and connected me with his friend Baz, who could help me out while I made my way up South America. When I asked him where I could find a rear luggage container for the bike, he told me he had one and went into the back. He returned with one, and before I could say anything he told me it was a gift. Granted, it was not the one I was looking for, but you should never complain about the blessings life throws at you, no matter how small. I didn't buy a tent or a sleeping bag, but today was an overall success. I made a great friend and set up a meeting with his friend Baz to see how he could help me out.

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    BABY GOT BACK!
    #24
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  5. Where's Harold?

    Where's Harold? Adventurer

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    SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!


    MAY 7 TH 2021


    Today is a special day. Not only is it the launch of The Long Way Home Kickstarter today, but it also marks the three-year anniversary of me embarking on the adventure that brought this memoir to life. If you would have told me that I would write a book one day, I would’ve never guessed. I feel very blessed to be able to share my experience with you all and hope to inspire you to go find the magic in your own life. If I could inspire one person to go and fight for their dreams; I’ve accomplished my goal.

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    I haven't been very active but that changes today, I am going to be doing daily posts while I promote my memoir The Long Way Home.

    I will be posting more stories on here, but if you don't want me to feed your wanderlust drop by drop. Here's your chance to enjoy it in one seating!


    Enjoy Guys!

    Kickstarter is Live!
    Along with some other goodies!


    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thelongwayhome/the-long-way-home-2
    #25
  6. Where's Harold?

    Where's Harold? Adventurer

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    Thursday, June 7th 2018

    I didn't end up meeting with Baz, but I didn't let it delay the trip. I was still set to leave tomorrow. The last Uruguay soccer game before the World Cup was today, so Noel and I decided to watch it at a bar. They won against Kazakhstan, so everyone there was ecstatic about it. To celebrate, I splurged on some craft beer for when we got home.


    Friday, June 8th 2018

    Current Location: Noel Collares; Montevideo, Uruguay

    Destination: Augusto Debacco; Pelotas, Brazil

    After seeing the Fingers of Punta del Este, I planned to stay in Punta del Diablo, a town close to the border of Brazil. But, after Nicole, my girlfriend before embarking on this trip, told me I was being a “p*ssy,” I decided to "man up" and drive all the way to Pelotas, Brazil. Today also happened to be when Anthony Bourdain died, and Nicole was depressed. I didn’t understand the root cause of her depression, but she didn't talk to me about it. Sometimes she worried me. I would always talk to her when I got depressed. But, now that I was away, the fact that she wouldn’t open up was what worried me. My grandma being in the hospital didn't help either.

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    THE FINGERS OF PUNTA DEL ESTE


    Still, I was excited to see Nicole when I got to Peru. She was flying down to accompany me on this trip for a little while.

    It's these things that made me want to go home. One of my aunts was always quick to remind me that no one would pause their life for me, and that I shouldn't either. But, how can I forget everyone who was there for me? How could I enjoy my adventure when my loved ones were going through hell?

    The border crossing into Brazil was so easy, and finally I was in country number three. As the sun went down, the cold began to creep up. But, I was more prepared this time. The drive was smooth until I saw a white sheet over a body, and a crushed motorcycle under an 18-wheeler. It was my first time seeing a dead body on the street, let alone next to a motorcycle . I was a bit shaken up, but I only had 30 minutes left until I was at my host Augusto’s house. As I began speeding, my chain popped again but this time it jammed between the rear tire causing me to drift. I had no idea how no cars hit me, but I was able to swerve to the shoulder and began getting to work on the chain. I was completely dirty, but we were back in business.

    I arrived in Pelotas at 9 pm, and was greeted Augusto's parents: Jenina and Jose. Now they did not speak a lick of English, let alone Spanish, but they fed me and we somehow were able to carry on a conversation with my broken Portuguese. It wasn't long before Augusto arrived to show me around town. His English and Spanish were pretty good so we opted to speak English so he could stretch his language muscles. We had a beer and a joint at the docks where we relaxed as the boats passed by. Augusto said he had a surprise for me tomorrow.

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    AUGUSTO, JENINA, ME, & JOSE
    The Debacco Clan
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    Kickstarter is Live!
    Along with some other goodies!
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thelongwayhome/the-long-way-home-2
    #26
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  7. Where's Harold?

    Where's Harold? Adventurer

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    Saturday, June 9th - Sunday, June 10th 2018

    Tonight, Augusto and I are going to Xalassa, a huge party held twice a year in Pelotas, Brazil. The theme this year was fantasy aka a costume party. So, until then I decided to go to work with Augusto's dad. He owned a trucking company and even transported heavy machinery himself. We went off to the jungle to pick up an excavator, and things got interesting. Once we got the excavator, we got stuck on a dirt road, which we barely fit on to begin with. It didn't help that there was a language barrier between us but we managed to pull the truck out using the very same machine we picked up. I'd say we had a successful day!
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    ALL IN A DAY'S WORK!

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    Once we got home, Augusto and I got ready to go out to Xalassa. I didn't know what to expect. I pictured a small party with maybe 50 people, but I was so wrong. The building was a giant warehouse with a few hundred people lined up outside. Once we got in, the party really started. We danced, drank, and even joined some people for a friendly game of beer pong. The party was amazing but one thing kept catching my eye; men just grabbing women and kissing them. I thought it was along the lines of sexual assault but here the people just say, "this is Brazil.” That was pretty normal here Augusto said.

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    WE BEEN DRINKING!
    I kept seeing it happen as the party went on, and with me drinking more I decided to do as the Brazilians do. I began striking up a conversation with a woman named Kathy, who spoke broken English. She swore I was Brazilian, but I was able to convince her otherwise. It wasn’t until I pulled her in and tried to kiss her that she said, “you are Brazilian!” I began laughing. Luckily, Augusto was there to back me up and explain that I wasn’t from around here. We began talking and playing beer pong as she explained how it was such a normal thing to happen at a club or party. It still confused me. Once the party ended, we had an Uber take us home, but not before finally giving Kathy a kiss; the normal way.

    We didn't sleep until 7am, and when we finally got up it was time for another party; his younger cousin's birthday. It was a huge change from the party we went to last night. We traded in the drinks and costumes for juice, arcade games, and cake. What I loved more than anything was how the Debacco’s took me in as one of their own. I didn’t know anyone since leaving Santiago, Chile but everyone treated me so well.


    KICKSTARTER IS LIVE!
    THIS IS YOUR WAY TO GET THE BOOK BEFORE ANYONE ELSE!
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thelongwayhome/the-long-way-home-2
    #27
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  8. Where's Harold?

    Where's Harold? Adventurer

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    Monday, June 11th 2018

    The Colombians I met in Uruguay had just made it to Brazil, so we decided to meet up to discuss a possible partnership. There I was able to finally meet the last two guys in the crew, Diego and Sebastian that made up the seven. We spoke about Rio De Janeiro, a place everyone in Brazil had been telling us to avoid, and what our plan would be if we went there. If we had a solid plan that kept us safe, I was willing to go. I wanted to explore everything I could. I just didn’t want to ignore all the warnings and have something bad happen to us.



    We are now an 8 man crew: Andres, Daniel P., Daniel, Sebastian, Gordo, William, Diego, and I. It was the start of the Where's Harold? X A Dream through South America partnership. We decided to meet in Guaiba in two days to begin our trip to Rio.

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    1.Me, 2.Daniel P, Air Pires, 3.Sebastian P, 4.Daniel A, 5.Andres, 6.Sebastian T, 7.Willy, & 8.Diego

    Once they left, I began to speak with the Debacco's about my route through Brazil, and they began to get worried. They showed me YouTube videos and told me stories of how bad Rio was. They warned me of the yellow and red lines that divided Rio. They even offered to let me leave my motorcycle with them and let me return for it when I head to Paraguay. But, I wanted to be able to move freely. They began to make me worried, and that's something I hadn't done since starting this trip. Maybe it was the seeds they planted in my head about the possible danger. But, I still wanted to keep an open mind to the idea of there being more good in the world than bad. I had a feeling we would be fine, but it was always good to have a plan.

    KICKSTARTER IS LIVE!
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    #28
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  9. Where's Harold?

    Where's Harold? Adventurer

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    Tuesday, June 12th - Wednesday, June 13th 2018

    Current Location: Augusto Debacco; Pelotas, Brazil
    Destination: Motoquiero Fantasma MC; Guaiba, Brazil


    My final day with the Debacco's was extremely relaxing. We had a little bbq as I began packing my things to head out in the morning. They continued to advise me about leaving my bike, but I figured if anything I would put my faith in the universe and see how it would take care of me.

    Jose and Jenina gave me clothes to keep me warm on my drives, and even tried to give me money, but I would not accept it (they ended up stashing it in my bag anyway). Before bed, we all said our goodbyes since Jose and Augusto were heading to work early in the morning. I was going to miss my new family when I left.

    I woke up at 6am and was able to have breakfast with my family one more time before they all left. After saying goodbye again, I went back to sleep. For some reason, I kept having this recurring dream where my grandma told me she had cancer and it was freaking me out. It felt so real. I vividly remember crying while I sat next to her hospital bed. She was telling the whole family that she was not going to get chemo, and all I could do was beg her to get treatment. I told my mother about my dream and she just stayed quiet. Maybe it was weird for her to hear what I said, but imagine how I felt waking up from that dream.

    I was going to leave at noon, but the Debaccos insisted we have one last lunch together, and it was much needed. Since staying with them, they did their best to make me feel like a part of their family. Before we said our final goodbyes, I told Jose and Jenina that they now had three sons; Augusto, Daniel, and now Harold. Jose was tearing as we hugged, and I gained another family. It was too bad I had to leave them so soon.

    Driving to Guiba was intense with some of the windiest weather I experienced so far. I was so scared of being pushed into oncoming traffic, especially since there were a few close calls along on the way. The highlight of the drive was a yellow Lamborghini that flew past me, giving me a huge scare but then making me laugh. The Colombians were staying with the Motorcycle Club Motoqueiro Fantasma (Ghost Riders), so I decided to pass by before heading to my host’s house in Porto Alegre. Upon arriving, I was greeted with a huge feast and a huge hug from the president of the club. They were amazed at the trip we had undertaken, and they began to give us advice and connect us with some of their friends in different parts of Brazil. As night began to fall, the president insisted I stay with them instead of driving to my host's house. We bonded a lot during the course of the night, which showed me a different side of the biker culture; the brotherhood.

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    Prison Gang Picture

    As the drinks continued, the president began to tell a story of when he killed someone. At first I was a bit uneasy about this man telling me how he killed someone so nonchalantly. What reassured me was that I didn’t do anything to put myself on his hit list. So I continued to drink. As he talked about it, we slowly learned that he had killed his daughter’s boyfriend. He was apparently beating on his daughter, so he took it upon himself to make sure it never happened again. I wouldn’t go to such lengths, but in a country I had never been too, I had no idea how justice was served around here.

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    I Got Killas With Me

    In some countries, there is little that the justice system does to help people. As a result, I have seen first hand how mob justice worked. When I was in Colombia a a kid, 13 years old, I vividly remember wondering why there was a guy with two broken arms outside my grandmother’s house. My cousin began to tell me how he was a thief who got arrested but was back on the street the same day. One day, the people in town got fed up and broke both of his arms to deter him from trying to steal from anyone ever again. Did it work? I don’t know, but I never saw him outside my grandmother’s house ever again, that’s for sure. I’d like to think that he turned his life around for the better, but then again in Cali, Colombia people go missing for less.


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    #29
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  10. Where's Harold?

    Where's Harold? Adventurer

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    Thursday, June 14th 2018

    Current Location: Motoquiero Fantasma MC; Guaiba Brazil
    Destination: Edevar Da Re; Criciuma, Brazil


    First thing in the morning we all headed out. Our next stop was Criciúma. The Colombians had no place to stay, so I asked my next host, Edevar, if it would be alright if they came along. Worst case scenario, they'd camp outside if there was no room. He said there was no problem, so we headed there. We ended up arriving at 9 pm, after visiting what is known as the most beautiful street in the world, which ironically had warning signs on it about being assaulted and robbed. On top of that detour, Sebastian's chain popped but we managed to fix it and make it there safe.

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    BEWARE OF ASSAULT ON THE MOST BEAUTIFUL ROAD IN THE WORLD!

    Edevar's first words to us when he opened the door were, "hello motherf*ckers!” What surprised us more was that an elderly man opened the door. The language barrier was worse than before, but in the process of trying to communicate with his nephew, I decided to just ask, "do you speak English?” A huge sigh of relief came over him as we both laughed at how easy this was going to be now. We could speak to each other without having to translate everything on Google. The Colombians wanted to join the conversation, but since they didn’t know much English we were the only two talking as I translated everything to them and he translated everything to Edevar

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    THE CREW, EDEVAR, AND HIS NEPHEW

    First, we hit up a buffet since we were starving, and not long after we headed to the only biker bar in town. This night did a lot to not only strengthen the bond between the Colombians and me, but I got to know Edevar well. We drank the night away and sang classic rock songs until the bar closed. Luckily, I didn't have to drive. I was able to enjoy the drive home on the back of Edevar’s motorcycle. All I remember about the drive home was spreading my arms, closing my eyes, and feeling like I was flying in the sky. Soon we were home and all asleep in bed. Three of us are slept on a box spring in one room and the other five of us slept in the living room since Edevar only expected me, and not 8 guys in total.

    PREORDER YOUR BOOK TODAY!
    GO ON KICKSTARTER AND BACK THIS PROJECT!
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thelongwayhome/the-long-way-home-2
    #30
  11. Where's Harold?

    Where's Harold? Adventurer

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    Friday, June 15th - Sunday, June 17th 2018

    The next few days at Edevar's were relaxing. We caught up on laundry and we even washed our bikes while we plotted our route for Brazil. Seeing as how we had a great experience with Motoquiero Fantasma MC, I took it upon myself to look up the largest motorcycle clubs in the world and message them for support. I messaged Hell's Angels, Mongols, Abutre's, and other clubs listed on a wikipedia page about the World’s Most Dangerous Motorcycle Clubs. Of all the messages I sent, Abutre's MC answered. They are the largest MC in Latin America, the 3rd largest in the world. They would be in the next town, and asked me to visit them. I was excited, and a bit scared at the same time.

    One of the days we were at Edevar’s I was woken up in the weirdest way. Since Daniel A, Diego and I shared a bed we were all in close proximity. I guess at some point I must’ve pulled the blanket towards me because when Diego went to grab it to pull towards him all he got was a handful of morning wood. It was like a jolt of electricity as I woke up saying you just grabbed my crotch. We were all half asleep so it took awhile to realize what happened but once we did we did not let Diego forget it. We kept making fun of him saying he must’ve been looking for his flashlight or that he got a little lonely.

    On our last night we were able to find a small samba bar where we had a great send off. There we met a woman named Muriel, who invited us to come and smoke at her friend's place. When we got there, we wasted no time in rolling up to smoke, and before long her friend left us there. As we all watched TV, Muriel and one of the Colombians went into another room. At the same time, we had no idea she was babysitting as well until two kids came rushing out. That’s when we realized Muriel and her friend switched places so the other could go out. The children ran into the room where my friend was (luckily they were already done) and began to jump on the bed while they were under the covers naked. The little boy even began pulling the sheets.

    "This is Brazil,” Muriel said laughing as she explained how kids were used to stuff like that, or even more. Anytime I saw something that gave me a culture shock in Brazil, I heard that phrase. Her daughter even began saying how her mother was in “trouble” once they got home. I thought it was funny except for the part where they began pulling the blanket away from my friend as he ran into the other room to put clothes on. It was an interesting way to end our stay in Criciúma to say the least.

    Since arriving in Brazil, everyone told us about how dangerous Rio was going to be. They all told us not to take our bikes and to just take a bus. Otherwise, we were just about 100% guaranteed to be robbed. It was beginning to chip away at my confidence. What made it worse was the Brazilian movie Tropa de Elite, which was about the police force that goes into the Favelas of Rio. All the drugs, guns, and violence made us scared, to be honest, but it could be that it was a well made movie. Regardless, we still had a while before we had to make the decision to take our bikes or not. For now, all we had to worry about was getting to Florianópolis tomorrow.
    #31
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  12. Where's Harold?

    Where's Harold? Adventurer

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    Monday, June 18th 2018

    Current Location: Edevar Da Re; Criciuma, Brazil
    Destination: Joao Gonçalvez; Florianópolis, Brazil


    We arrived in the town of Praia do Flora, on the outskirts of Florianópolis. The guy who the Colombians coordinated with ended up canceling on us once we got there. As we began trying to figure out what to do now, an old man invited us into his restaurant to feed us. We told him what happened, and he connected us with a pal of his in the next town over. He felt bad that he couldn't feed us more, but we were just happy to have a helping hand; let alone eat something in general. I put my sticker on his shop, and we were off to meet his friend Joverci, who then found us a place to stay with a man named Joao Gonçalvez Gau. Now, after ricocheting between four different people we finally had a place to stay.

    Joao was the first man to traverse the Trans-Amazonian highway on a motorcycle and had even traveled around the globe, a trip similar to what I am trying to do. Being able to meet someone who achieved what I was attempting was amazing. It was like meeting my spirit animal. Even in his old age, Joao continued to go on adventures on his motorcycle, and even had one planned next month with Joverci, the one who connected us. He gave me hope that I could travel and still start a family as well.
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    He originally told us we were all to sleep in the garage since we had tents, but after I gave him a sticker that changed. Joao approached me and told me to grab Daniel P., and he led us into his home and gave us a room to sleep in. With us having a real bed to sleep on, we slept like kings. I don’t know what we did right today but at least we found a place to stay.




    Tuesday, June 19th 2018

    Once the Motorcycle Club in Praia do Flora canceled on us, I made it a point to go meet the Abutre’s MC to have other options available. After they extended an invitation for me to come to their clubhouse, I decided to meet them tonight.

    But, before I did that the Colombians and I explored Florianópolis. The town is known for its beautiful beaches, and after grabbing some souvenirs and a bite to eat we drove around the city to take pictures and enjoy the day. When we returned to Joao’s, his wife surprised us with dinner and dessert. There, we had a great time laughing about our mishaps and falls. He began telling us about his trips, and then he gave us a book he wrote about his travels. I don’t know how to read Portuguese but I guess there’s always time to learn.

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    Not long after dinner, I got ready to go meet with the Abutre’s MC. I almost ended up going alone as none of the guys wanted to come. They seemed a bit afraid, but I was able to convince Daniel P. to come along. Now, I did have my reservations about going to meet these guys. But, I figured what’s the worst that can happen?

    When we arrived it was like out of a movie; just like when any unwelcome people show up to a bar or club. The people were all having a great time, and once they saw a red dirt bike pull up next to all their black choppers, they froze and stared as the record skipped. I entered their clubhouse first, followed by Daniel. Upon entering, they blocked the door and asked what we were doing there. They spoke to us in a serious tone until I told them their President Arturo invited me, and that was all it took. Once I met Arturo, I was one of the guys. They treated us great, fed us, gave us beer and even let us put our stickers on their wall.
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    BEFORE
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    AFTER
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    As we spoke about our trip, they were mesmerized. They thought the idea of us all meeting by chance to travel together was fate, and offered to help us during our stay in Brazil since there were so many clubhouses throughout the country. One of the bikers, Velho, began to tell me of a dream he always had to drive to the end of the world, Ushuaia. I think I might’ve gotten into his head because he seemed more determined to go than ever. Especially after seeing how far I’d been with my motorcycle. Only time would tell.
    #32
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  13. Where's Harold?

    Where's Harold? Adventurer

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    Mar 31, 2021
    Oddometer:
    31
    Location:
    New York
    Wednesday, June 20th 2018
    Current Location: Joao Conçalvez; Florianopolis, Brazil
    Destination: Marcio Arlete & Gui Riberio; Bombinhas, Brazil


    We woke up, and I thought we were going to stay on the Island of Florianópolis since one of the Abutre’s guys offered us a place to stay in town. But no, we ended up leaving for a town almost two hours away. We were at Edevar’s for almost four days, but were in this beautiful city only one. To top it all off, we also began driving extremely fast. I was weaving between trucks and cars trying to catch up, and was almost pancaked between two trucks. As soon as we made a pit stop, I asked for the address so that I could go at my own pace.


    Even at my own pace, I arrived in good time, no reckless driving required. We met our hosts Gui and Marcio who took us to Bombinhas where they had an empty house we could stay in. Once we got there, I was able to finally relax after those close calls. We ended up making some food on our gas stove, and I smoked to put myself to sleep.

    Today was a bit stressful. But from now on, I'd just put the directions in my GPS so I didn't have to worry about catching up, or stressing; plus it's better to arrive safely than to die trying to get there as fast as possible. Diego was making fun of me for being scared to speed, but what’s worse was to die trying to impress the “guys.”




    Thursday, June 21st 2018

    Gui woke us up bright and early to show us around the village. We saw beautiful beaches, like something out of a magazine; crystal clear water and white sand. At one of the beaches we found a dead sea turtle, which we named Franklin and quickly gave a funeral to.

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    The fishermen and their catch were a sight to see; there were hundreds of huge fish. And these were just men fishing with nets while they had scouts in the mountains to spot the fish when they entered the bay. It was amazing to see their teamwork, and I even lent a hand when they began bringing in the boats.

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    After getting back, our host Gui invited us to his place in the town of Itajaí. There we ended up going on a small ride around town before heading to his clubhouse. There we had unlimited food. The only thing we had to pay for were our drinks. They really made sure we had enough to eat as the grill was never empty. They interviewed us about our trip and some even gave us some of their patches. After spending a good amount of time there, we went to a bar where we had an even greater time (some more than others). There we got even more drunk as we sang karaoke songs. During the mayhem Diego tried to leave the bar without paying and the bouncer picked him right up and took him to the cashier. After finally paying his tab we drove back to Gui’s, but not before another incident. Daniel P. fell off the back of one of the bikes, luckily there was no car behind us or it could've been worse. The funny thing was we didn’t realize he fell until Daniel A. looked back and saw that he was laying down in the street.

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    Once we arrived at Gui’s, it was a shit show, Diego was screaming and jumping around to the point that I had to calm him down by putting him in a chokehold. Meanwhile, Daniel P. was bleeding all over the place, but the pain of the fall still hadn't hit him yet (wait until the morning). We helped clean him up since he was still drunk, and hoped for the best in the morning.




    Friday, June 22nd 2018

    Everyone felt last night, especially Daniel P., now that the pain had set in, he was like an elderly man. Any movement would hurt him. But, the show must go on. We headed to Gui's parents house, but en route the crown on my bike broke. Luckily, there was a place to fix my bike around the block, so we left it there while we met his parents.

    There we were treated to some live music since his father was a musician, while his mother made us food. By the time we left, Gui began to invite us to his clubhouse. But, after a crazy night we thought it best to head back to Bombinhas instead. Some of us had a lot of recuperating to do after that wild night, and we had no clean clothes.
    #33
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  14. Where's Harold?

    Where's Harold? Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2021
    Oddometer:
    31
    Location:
    New York
    Sunday, June 24th - Monday, June 25th

    Current Location: Marcio Arlete & Gui Ribeiro; Bombinhas, Brazil

    Destination: Pterodactilos MC; Curitiba, Brazil

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    We didn't do much since some of us were still recuperating. A few of us tried to fish, but didn’t have much success. We ended up having to buy some food to cook instead. We were actually planning to leave today but since our host Marcio took off from work, we thought it would be rude to leave without attending the BBQ he made for us. It was good we stayed because it was great to meet his family, and we were also able to weld my luggage base together.

    As we spoke, Marcio asked if I needed anything else. After I mentioned wanting a bigger luggage, he offered to trade with me. On top of being able to fix my base, I was also able to get a bigger back luggage to make more space.

    As we left Bombinhas in the morning, we stopped by Marcio's job to say goodbye. That's when the problem started, my bike wouldn't accelerate past 100km. The guys went ahead and I tried my best to catch up. The problems all started when Sebastian took gas out of my bike to fill the stove. Maybe he messed something up, and since I didn't know much about motorcycles I figured I’d take my chances and have someone look at it when we get to the next clubhouse. I drove over 300 kms to Curitiba with the bike like that where we were staying with Pterodactilos MC.

    This MC reminded me of Sons of Anarchy, from their murals and the wooden table engraved with their emblem. I was a bit bothered by the mishap regarding the bike, but the bright side was I made it in one piece. The guys at Pterodactilos also made sure I had a great time. Sapo, Marcos, Deivo, Chago, Hamer, Lelio, and Grasa spotted me off the bat. These were the smokers, so they took me to the greenhouse to smoke while the food was being made. It was a crazy combination. I would leave the greenhouse to eat, then have another member drag me back to the greenhouse to smoke, only to repeat the process. The greenhouse was a room that was exclusively used to smoke weed, no tobacco allowed.

    When President Allyson arrived, we went to greet the guy who had made it all possible. Every member knew when he arrived since his bike's engine made a different noise. I on the other hand couldn't tell the difference between theirs and mine. We bought Allyson a beer, and enjoyed the rest of the night as I showed them the 360 degree videos I had been recording. They loved the video of me driving through the Andes and jumped at the sight of trucks driving past them. Allyson even scheduled an appointment for me at his shop to get my bike checked. I hoped not to break the bank to fix my bike. The trip started not even a month ago, and I was already having problems.

    The highlight of today was the never ending food. Sapo made a huge pot of chicharrón and rice that I helped to finish. I was in heaven because even after I finished all the food they made, they were still trying to feed me and take me to the greenhouse to smoke up. I would’ve kept eating, but in the end I felt it was better that I refuse more food in case my stomach overstayed its welcome. I doubted that would have happened, though. I never would have thought I would be staying with motorcycle clubs or that they would be adamant to help me. Who would’ve thought?

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    Tuesday, June 26th

    We went to the Botanical Gardens of Curitiba, which is renown in Brazil. Two members of the MC, Danilo and Yappa, took us around after Allyson told them to the night before. Before long, we were at Red Moto Customs, their headquarters for whenever their bikes are having problems. I was the first one up and boy was I worried. So many things rushed through my mind: broken engine, expensive parts, or worse…I bought a lemon.

    When Chico checked my bike, he saw what the problem was immediately; my carburetor choke was closed halfway. We all laughed because I never thought to look at that, or for that to be the reason for everything acting up. I thought that was the end of it until we got back to the clubhouse. But, there they all made fun of me for that mishap. Though, they made sure to remind me that it happened to the best of us. Lelio said we were now Fogador Bros (Portuguese for carburetor) because he had gone through a similar experience. He had to drive 400 kms in the rain with it, so he had me beat.

    We planned to leave tomorrow, but the Brazil World Cup game was tomorrow as well. So, we opted to stay. One of the members, Chago and I were up late talking about what the MC meant to him. He spoke of feeling part of a brotherhood where everyone was treated equally, and everyone helps each other out. Their cohesion was evident in their clubhouse where they all had a job in maintaining the property from welding, electricity and landscaping, to bartending and tattooing. I gained a huge insight into what a club could achieve, and what it meant for its members.

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    Wednesday, June 27th

    We watched the game, and since it was raining heavily we waited again until the next day to leave. But, not before we all got tattoos to signify what it meant for a group of 7 Colombians to meet a Colombian "Gringo" on the road, and begin traveling together. The tattoo was of South America with Colombia outlined since we all happened to come from there, and the words Galera da Estrada. Now this phrase was suggested by Serginho, our tattoo artist and a member of Pterodactilos MC. Galera is a word used for the passengers or slaves of a ship, with da Estrada meaning “of the road.” Thus the “Passengers of the Road” were born. These guys and I had been through a lot since meeting June 1st, so it was only right that we had something to remind us of what we went through.

    Attached Files:

    #34
  15. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,669
    Location:
    GTA, ON, CDA
    Bueno dude! I'm diggin it.
    #35
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  16. Where's Harold?

    Where's Harold? Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2021
    Oddometer:
    31
    Location:
    New York
    Thursday, June 28th - Friday, June 29th

    Current Location: Pterodactilos MC; Curitiba, Brazil

    Destination: Nivaldo Mota; Mongagua, Brazil

    Today, we headed to the town of Mongagua. On the way there, my bobber broke, so now I could no longer tell how much gas I had left. I would have to calculate when to get gas based off of the odometer, constantly checking my mileage. When we arrived we met Nivaldo, a black belt in BJJ and a member of Morumbizinho MC. He was a humble man who fed us and put a roof over our heads (which happened to be across the street from the beach). We spoke to him about visiting Rio since that would be our next big drive. I figured that so far since we only heard bad things about Rio, so he would tell us just the same. And he did.

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    All this time we heard stories of incidents involving favelas and the travelers who stumble inside them by mistake. One story was the shooting of two Italians. One was killed, the other was seriously injured. He confirmed the validity of the story. They were supposed to come to his house after Rio but that they never made it.

    We were all worried now. We had made it this far without anything bad happening to us, but now it was getting real. I was only willing to go if we had a solid plan. So far everyone is trying to convince us otherwise. We had one last stop before Rio, so we were trying to figure out our next course of action fast.




    Saturday, June 30th

    Current Location: Nivaldo Mota; Mongagua, Brazil

    Destination: Gustavo Rossetto; São Paulo; Brazil

    Since arriving in Brazil, I had been speaking to my friend Gustavo about going to São Paulo. It was now the next town on my schedule, so I figured it was the best time to pop by for a visit. Before I left, Allyson, the president from Pterodactilos MC sent Carlos to our place to escort me to Estrada Extranjera. Something a lot of motorcycle clubs did once we left was take us for a ride along the edge of town to see us off. When we left, the rest of the Galera were going to a motorcycle meet to figure out where we’d stay in Rio while I went to visit my friend.

    I first met Gustavo in Dominican Republic during the Summer of 2010 during my stay at an all-inclusive resort. He was the best wingman I ever met. We kept in touch over the years, and after all this time we'd finally be able to meet up again. When I arrived, he took me to go watch a World Cup game. It was Uruguay vs. Portugal. We grabbed a beer as we caught up. He was now a lawyer in the heart of São Paulo. Meanwhile I had decided to go on this vision quest before I entered the workforce.

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    At night, we went out to a nice jazz restaurant in the historic part of São Paulo. There we had talks about religion and life. I opened up about my grandma being sick, and how it's been holding me back from fully enjoying my trip. He told me to live my life, and that others can't be my priority when I can do nothing from here. I was so far away. I couldn't help them or myself by worrying. I just had to trust that everything would be alright until I got home. He was right. If I were home, I could help. But, being so far made me essentially useless.


    Sunday, July 1st

    Gustavo showed me Ibirapuera Park, the central park of São Paulo where we took a walk and drank coconut water. After a bit of running around he then took me back to the city center to see what happened on the famous Avenida Paulista on a Sunday. The entire street was closed off and they had a huge cultural fair with performances of all kinds of music, and so many different street vendors. Two of my favorites were the samba dancers and the little Michael Jackson dancers. I am a huge Michael Jackson fan so any time I’m treated to a good performance, I go crazy.



    Overall, the day was full of great music and museums, and we even went out to dinner with some of his friends. Just like everyone else, they too warned me not to drive to Rio, and told me how they only fly there for safety reasons.

    After all of these warnings, I had more than enough of a reason to just take a bus,. But, no. Instead, I opted to leave my back luggage at Gustavo’s, and head to Rio with a small bag of clothes so as to not attract too much attention.
    #36
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  17. Where's Harold?

    Where's Harold? Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2021
    Oddometer:
    31
    Location:
    New York
    Monday, July 2nd

    Current Location: Gustavo Rossetto; São Paulo, Brazil

    Destination: Marcio Costa; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    I decided to head out early since security in Rio was my main concern. I was driving as fast as I could since Brazil was playing in the World Cup today. I hoped it would be even safer for me (since everyone would be watching the game). Midway to Rio, the Galera gave me an address for where we would be staying. They apparently made friends with even more Abutre's MC members. In Rio, we were staying with Marcio and his wife Marcia, members of Escuderia MC.

    When I got there, the thing that caught my eye was that Marcio was on crutches. I assumed he was in an accident, but he informed me his legs never fully developed as a child. Yet, he didn’t let that stop him from riding and starting his own Motorcycle Club. We met his entire community when we got there: Claudia, her sons Juan & Luis, Fabianna, Julia, Suellen and others. The game was still going on, so we arrived at a BBQ full of food.

    The entire complex was welcoming, and I bonded with a boy named Juan. He reminded me of myself, the class clown/trouble maker. He was in love with my bike, asking if he could rev the engine and sit on it. For me, it instantly transported me to a younger age where I would've loved for the opportunity to jump on a motorcycle. So, I let Juan hop right on the bike and rev it until his mother began to complain about the noise. We all got along instantly. They even offered us places to stay, but in the end we opted for Marcio’s.

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    Tuesday, July 3rd - Friday, July 6th

    We explored Rio over the course of a few days. We visited Maracanã Stadium, the famous steps of Selarón, the Aqueduct, and the Cathedral of Rio. We even had time to take a break and catch the World Cup game between Colombia & England. We were eating at a Chinese restaurant as the game came down to penalties. In the end, we lost to England. My friends were defeated, but I’m not into watching sports, so I just enjoyed seeing a good game. Then, I left to find souvenirs.

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    Marcio and Marcia ended up joining us one day and took us to Vista Chinesa, a beautiful outlook overseeing the beaches of Ipanema, Copacabana, and Vermelho where we saw the Pāo de Açúcar, a giant boulder that they say looks like a sugar loaf. They were really hospitable, and showed us a great time. Seeing someone like Marcio ride a trike inspired me to keep on riding myself. He didn’t let his disability hold him back from riding, and yet some of us who are perfectly healthy hold ourselves back way too much. 0BB7BA84-4B49-4ED4-B537-0CBC12F7A318.jpeg

    Of course, we ended up visiting the piece de resistance, the Cristo Redentor. But, not before we were hounded by tons of guys charging an arm and a leg to take us to the statue. In order to save money, we opted for the bus and then a van to take us the rest of the way there.

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    On the way up, there are two stops: Vista Santa Teresa and Heliponto. After a few pictures at these spots we finally made it to the Cristo Redentor, and boy was it a sight to see. It was the culmination of all the people who helped us get to this point, and for the Colombians it was the halfway point of their trip since they would now be returning to Bogotá.

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    On the final day, we ended up watching the Brazil vs. Belgium game with the whole complex, and they gave us a great sendoff. That was until Brazil lost, and they began blaming us for their loss. I couldn’t tell if they were joking or not since they were crying a little after the game.

    Instead of leaving Rio, we decided to stay longer and go to the Abutre's clubhouse where we were greeted with open arms. They showed so much love, and even showed us around the area with an armed escort. They took us down “Flesh Street” as they call it, a place where strippers and prostitutes were concentrated. As we walked down the alley, one woman even grabbed my crotch. I was so dumbfounded as I laughed and tried to see which stripper did it exactly. It was a crazy sight to see as she walked down this narrow alley full of naked women and disappeared.

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    Afterwards, there was a bit of drama. Andres and Diego of the Galera decided to have a talk with the other Colombians since the three of us had been butting heads lately. It started as small remarks, but gradually escalated to them yelling. In the end, I resorted to saying we could go outside and fight to get it out of our system. It showed me that I couldn't expect to be cool with everyone in the group, which is okay. But, the least they can do is not go out of their way to rehash things and say things to me just to rile me up. And when my reply was to put up or shut up, they backed up. Because of this they are having an "internal" meeting regarding the matter.

    Call me American, but whenever I had a problem with someone, we would fight. Sometimes we would even become better friends after getting that out of the way. For them, the idea of fighting, especially their friends was something they never experienced. As they explained; if they ever fought someone, they were enemies for life. I just wanted to avoid problems, especially when we were nearing the end of our travels together. I’m like this; don’t push my buttons and there won’t be a problem.
    #37
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  18. Where's Harold?

    Where's Harold? Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2021
    Oddometer:
    31
    Location:
    New York
    Saturday, July 7th

    Destination: Marcio Costa; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Current Location: Abutre’s MC; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    We planned to drive out together in the morning with some of the Abutre's members, but my bike stalled and I lost them in the process. I returned to where we were staying, and there I spoke with the mechanic named Bruxa. He showed me his project cars, bikes, and even a bus he was planning to drive to Peru one day.

    After that, since we were having a slow day, we decided to see the kid I befriended named Juan and his family one more time before we left Rio. We met them at a Samba festival. When we arrived, Juan came straight to me and gave me a gift: a yellow and green beanie. It was great to see how I inspired this kid to travel one day. All he tells me now is how he is going to find me once he can ride a motorcycle himself. His father even pulled me aside and thanked me for mentoring his son, even if only for a little while, and gave me a joint. In the end, I left thinking about how grateful I was to have met them. Back at the clubhouse I lit that joint between us all to help smooth things over.

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    Sunday, July 8th - Tuesday, July 10th

    Current Location: Abutre’s MC; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Destination: Abutre’s MC World Headquarters; São Paulo; Brazil

    One of the members of Abutre’s called Robocop took us out to some of the beautiful beaches of Rio, and they did not disappoint. It was all clear blue water, and there were even some cliffs to jump off of. I was in heaven. As we walked, you could see women in bathing suits made of electrical tape, leaving little to the imagination while vendors sold water. And some women offered to braid my hair. The water was cold. And compared to the heat we’d been exposed to, it was a godsend.

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    On the way from the beach, we saw a woman getting robbed and we all chased the guy who did it to a small little cafe where he was quickly caught. We were told that the favelas were dangerous. But, they are actually heavily regulated by slum lords that prevent crimes in the favela for fear of the police entering and causing them problems. So most bad things actually happen outside of the favelas.

    Robocop then drove us to the Rocinha favela in Rio, a place where innovation and utility was evident the minute we entered. The power lines looked like spider webs as one line hooked to another and split the power in all directions. As we drove we entered a dark area where a transformer had blown up and was visibly melting. There we began to get a little frightened, but in the end all that went away when people approached us and cheered us on after seeing my Chilean plate and the Galeras’ Colombian ones.

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    Robocop took us to meet Cromado, the club’s doctor, and Robocop’s Godfather when he entered the club. Abutre’s members serve all different uses, from regular members to even doctors which help other members who can’t afford healthcare. Cromado treated us to a wonderful meal as he told us about his travels to the end of the world, Ushuaia, and from around South America.

    Even after we stuffed our faces, Robocop still wasn't done with us. He still had a BBQ and a party for us to go to. The first stop was his friend Anderson's BBQ at his MC Los Dezocupados. There, we ate and spoke with so many of them who wanted to travel beyond Brazil, but were afraid to. I told them that I myself was afraid but, I didn't let it hold me back. Since everything was unknown when traveling on a motorcycle, it's normal to be scared. But, I just kept reassuring myself that I would only meet good people, and nothing would happen to me. Maybe it was naïve of me to think like that. But, realistically if something does happen I’d take my chances.

    I was glad I met these guys because I was able to inspire them to hit the road. After some more drinks and grilled food, we went to our final spot, a Pagode aka funky party. These parties were the soul of Rio where people from all walks of life got together to dance the night away. It was a great time as we bought drinks and danced to Funk carioca. There were huge groups of people dancing and jumping around.

    I walked around with the Colombians until I saw a dwarf dancing. As I watched, I then realized what I was watching; an 8-year old girl in tight clothes grinding with a man while her mother cheered her on. And at 4am. It was a bit intense for me. But, Robocop quickly saw my face and said, "this is Brazil.” There was even a newborn baby being passed along between parents while they danced in front of the speaker system. That’s when I decided to call it a night.

    To be honest, Robocop was a bad influence because we didn’t get back until 4:30am, and woke up at 1pm the next day. We tried to make the most of it, but ended up just cooking food and smoking. Robocop showed up at night to say goodbye, and we gave him our stickers. He was a great help during our stay, despite being a party animal.

    In the morning, we were off, but not before I went back to the mechanic Bruxa. He had shortened my bike’s chain since it was too loose. As the rest of the guys packed up to hit the road, I waited as Bruxa’s assistant Leo helped me out. His huge presence and demeanor reminded me of Lenny from Of Mice and Men. As I began to speak to him, I noticed that he could not speak at all. Maybe he was mute or deaf, but his body language was very friendly. After we finally finished, I gave him one of my Where’s Harold? stickers and we shared a moment. He grabbed my head and nudged it to his own for a few seconds as you would to a little child before he gave me a hug, and I drove off.

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    We were headed for the Abutre's World Headquarters in São Paulo. The drive there had to be the worst so far, and the first time I experienced any rainfall on my trip. To top it off, I had no rain suit, so I was soaked from head to toe. The rain was heavy and cold, but I couldn't stop since there was no place to hide, so I pushed forward. It would stop here and there, and give me hope, only for the rain to come right back even harder. Yet throughout the drive, I noticed how much more controlled I was while driving regardless of the weather.

    The six-hour drive was grueling, but by the time I arrived the wind had dried up most of my clothes. We set up a fire to dry our bags and clothes while we made food after a long day. The warm shower melted all the stress away, and I slept amazingly. But, not before squashing the hostility between Diego and I. I wanted to move forward with the trip without any problems. If we could avoid a fight, it would be for the best. It would make the trip that much easier. Seeing as we were the only ones awake, I rolled up a joint as a peace offering while we spoke about what was bothering us to get past it.
    #38
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