Archive for March 11th, 2015|Daily archive page

Seeking More Points of View

Woke up this morning and thought I needed to bounce some thoughts off anyone following this blog. I know all decisions are mine, but it helps to share. Putting things in writing helps me sort out my own thoughts, as muddled as they may be.

I’m taking three days here in this beautiful place to weigh out my options. If it wasn’t for the border crossings there’s no doubt I’d keep on riding south. As far as the riding goes, I’m in the zone. But, I have to measure the pure pain of the crossings and other pressures against the pleasures of riding. As well, the unanticipated variables that have come into play, at some point, have to be accommodated.

If a mistake was made in planning this adventure, it was not having a few experts take a look at the map and provide a reasonable time, distance, cost schedule. By not doing that, I ended up with a plan that was far from feasible to apply in the timeframe I had in mind. The number of miles and days needed to complete those miles (plus cost) was way out of whack. Someone once told me you need at least three points of view to get at the facts. I see a lot of truth in that position, and I wish I had applied that in planning this trip.

Anyway, that’s all water under the bridge or, as life has recently taught me, keys under the hat. I don’t have three people to help me think this through now. Only me. So, after looking at the map and applying the math that comes out of my head, it would appear that to get to Panama and back to PEI (with any sense of pleasure) would require about seven to eight more weeks. On top of the time I’ve already been on the road, the thought of that much more time on the bike, with all the related costs, is a tad daunting.

But, here’s the hard part. Even if I turned north now, I need at least 14 to 16 days just to pleasurably get myself back to Texas. That gets me to the end of March. Then, I have to begin the ride home through the states. At that time of year the weather in the southern states may be fine, but the northeastern states and Canada is pretty iffy. Right?

I’m putting this out there because I’m not confident my thinking is right. If I am right, mostly because of timing, this leaves me with not so perfect options. Anyway, I’m tossing this out there to other people to see what options others may see that I may not. As it stands, I’m ready to recast the trip from the PEI to Panama ride to the Smell The Roses Ride. Trouble is, I’m just not sure just what that looks like.

All advice, encouragement, admonishment or insights are welcome! As it stands, I’m shutting down the iPad for more than a few hours and I’m going to enjoy this amazing location. The sun is out, the heat is on, the huge waves are calling for attention. As for this moment in time, life is good.

Sent from my iPad

El Salvador – Day One

El Salvador.

To survive El Salvador's border crossing I had to pretend I was in an old Humphrey Bogart movie. Black and white. The room where the paper work was being shuffled contained two very old broken down motorcycles and various pieces of dusty artifacts; engine parts, broken typewriters, chairs with three legs, mops, pails and what appeared to be something used for water-boarding. Who knows?

After a great sunrise ride from Guatamala, I got to the border bright and early, ready to take on anything a buracurate could throw at me. But, here's what I didn't understand. 1) They don't get paid by the person and performance or efficiency indicators have yet to be discovered here. So, dealing with one person is a lot easier than dealing with more than one person no matter how many people are waiting. Which is zero incentive to deal with more than one person. 2) The sigh. If you ever see a minor under paid El Salvador paper pusher sigh, just fall to your knees and pray he/she isn't looking at your documents. 3) Documents. I won't go too deep here, but this is an example. After verifying each and every number on each of at least six documents at least three times by at least three people they make you write, by hand with a pen you must find, each and every number of each document then cross check that the official numbers match the numbers you've just transcribed. Then, they enter the numbers you have handwritten into a computer, using one finger. One number, look at screen, look back at number, look back at screen. Repeat. Do the next number – sigh (oh please God) and proceed to the next number.

It took well over three hours. With less effort, a rusty '62 Volkswagon Beetle with no exhaust and a donut spare could drive through El Saladour in about the same length of time. But enough of that, I'm through; next time I'll gladly take the water-board.

Was it worth it? Yep.

The road started out Guatamalan rough, but slowly transformed into one of the best rides of the trip so far. Not a tope to be seen, then it morphs into twisty ocean side splender. Oh yeah, this is why I'm doing this, I'm here at last.

I'm staying at a hostel, first one I've been at since the early seventies (late sixties?). You can smell the pachouli oil and the gentle wiff of the herb. Some things just withstand the test of time. I have Peter Williams to thank for the suggestion, I never would have thought of it myself. Checked into a beach front room, sound of of the Pacific Ocean pounding on the shore, many surfers catching the waves. The rooms, each with a private bathroom, are clean and spacious. Hammocks on the huge front deck, bar downstairs. And, at $25usd, not that expensive. At the moment, life is good. Very good. I'll try to post some pictures, but my drive to capture all this on camera has fizzled.

But, for the record, this one I snapped with the iPad out my bedroom window.

Oh yeah, a nod to Mr. Red Green. I fixed my helmet that was blown off in the wind. From this …

To this. Magic!