Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Saturday, Sunday, Monday . . .

I'm too muddle headed to write a blog posting, so for the record I'm just cut and pasting stuff I already sent to family and friends. For a few of you, sorry for the redundancy, but for the sake of this blog's continuity and to scaffold my own short memory, here goes . . .

Saturday was a relaxing day, I just rode around the country side looking for nothing in particular, and I'm happy to report I found it. After that, I rode back to where I'm staying and plopped under a certain tree, the only spot where wifi intermittently kicks in. It didn't take long to forget the wifi.

The older lady (my age?) who seems to own the place where I'm staying seems to be a nice person, quite sophisticated. I mention this only because it's relevant to what I was about to experience.

She opened the door of her place and urgently called for her man, who promptly dropped what he was doing and ran inside to join her. Within a few moments the sounds of amorous affection began to permeate the air. To be honest, I was impressed. Soon, the level of enthusiasm gained in pitch along with shouts of encouragement; all I thought was, good luck buddy. But evidently he didn't need any luck, they both started sounding like teenagers. Now I was really impressed; what's in the tacos down here? Then the yelling ratcheted up to a crescendo of enthusiasm – over and over again. To be honest, I thought one or both of them were going to be damaged.

Then the door flew open and they came out with huge grins on their faces. In a second I understood. Turns out they were watching soccer. Without a doubt, these Mexicans sure know how to express their enthusiasm for The Beautiful Game.

And yeah, I felt kinda foolish, and for some reason, kinda relieved.

In a random shift in narrative, here's a picture of a cattle, they're lying precariously on a ledge that rolls steeply down the pasture a few hundred meters.

Here's a shot of more cattle, a little hard to see them, but it's the steep angle of the pasture that got to me. Pictures don't provide the proper perspective. Just try to imagine where I was taking the picture.

Anyway, I spent most of a very quiet Sunday hanging around with a bunch of guys fixing a truck. I don't speak Spanish, they didn't speak English. Great time all around. What these guys can do in a back yard with a good set of tools amazed me; especially in four hours. They dropped the drive train, pulled apart the transmission, and spit out the problem. They found a part that cost less than a dollar to fix. It may take a week to get the part, but at least they identified the problem.

I know wrench-heads would have loved the scene. It really was rare mixture of hard work and fun. In as much as possible, they transformed a difficult situation into a family event. Cute little kids running around, moms, dads, uncles and aunts. Oil and grease mixed with smiles and laughter, and locally distilled hootch. After it was all over we even exchanged emails. Crazy.

Early Sunday morning I was out hunting for Mayan temples (still didn't find them) and met some people who just couldn't accept I didn't speak Spanish, it was as if I was from a different planet. I must admit, my brain hurts from charades – Mayan temples being a tad more difficult than miming I'm out of gas. I ended up in the middle of nowhere, which I'm sure is he middle of someone's home. I went up to a few people near a pile of coconuts. Perhaps it was because of the isolation, but I was quite glad when I rightly interpreted the big guy with the machete as he gestured on a coconut. Good guess on my part. I was even more glad I guessed right when he poked his finger in and out of a coconut hole and pretended he was sucking on something. Man, I was elated when he made a hole in the coconut and handed me a straw! We drank the juice, ate the coconut meat and had chuckles all around. And to a large degree, they were right – I am from a different planet.
Monday found me hunting out a place the locals consider spiritual, claims to have healing waters. I found the place but didn't feel it was right to start shooting pictures of people who were attempting to be healed. I'm tempted to give it a try myself; we all need to heal something, right? Here's a few pictures of the area. I've got to be honest, I was a little spooked, it was one of the most isolated places I've been to in Mexico, way out of my comfort zone. Shyness doesn't get in the way of riding to isolated places, however, chutzpa is something I lack. But, like John Candy said, “I went on a long trip to try and find myself but wherever I went, there I was!”


Packing up and leaving tomorrow, I'm in no rush to leave Mexico . . .




Just A Few Pictures . . .

Just pictures, no stories . . .

Here's a road I've been riding without luggage; it goes on and oni to the mountains. Sorta feels like freedom.

Here's a couple of pics for John, Bill, Chuck, George and Brian. I'm not a sea guy so you tell me what happened.


More of where I'm at . . .

Here's the location, can't find it on Google, but then again, I can't find Google.
Here's a great little Italian restaurant, in the middle of nowhere. Gordie, they'd have to carry us out of this place. Really, not another building around for miles, haven't got a clue why it's even there. I'm loving the food, the service, the cost and the perfect tranquility. If you could find a donkey you could hear it fart . . .

Who would of guessed? From the deck of the restaurant, looked over my shoulder and saw a donkey making an ass of himself . . .

Cheap places to stay . . . under $30 a night.

. .
. . . and not so cheap, this will put you back $50 usd a night; real nice but not for me.

See ya later, still much to explore.


Paranoid and Down to Fumes . . .

Today, the repulsive collides with the sublime. I suspect that happens somewhere everyday, but I post this some 36 hours later still muddled from the experience.

The ride seemed to compress forty years of riding into one day. What came to me were moments of awe, terror, boredom and relaxation. Also, transcendent beauty and extreme ugliness. In the early morning my nose unearthed tantalizing desert smells, a mixture of burnt grass incense, sea salt, cacti and a tincture of whatever the vultures fancied. As I twisted far up then down then more up into the mountains, the desert smells were replaced by sweet green tropical scents and, if possible, cloud dew. By evening I came back down to the urban sprawl and everything turned to a sulfury burnt plastic stench.

There were times when the landscape was so overwhelmingly beautiful it seemed as if the old neuro-pathways couldn't cope with the input. There were also moments when the impact of the industrial wasteland lobotomized my sensory impressions.

What a day.

At dawn I walked the streets of Pijijiapan; my intention was to stay and explore the place. After all, how could a place named with such a jumble of dotted vowels and consonants be anything but interesting? However, my impressions of that small city turned out to be less than positive. Walking the streets during sunrise, it was as if Pijijiapan was having as much difficulty digesting me as I was pronouncing it. Perhaps it was the time of day, I must have looked odd and uniquely without purpose. Even the ubiquitous roosters had a job to do. Or, maybe it was something more sinister. Regardless, what lurked in the shadows started to spook me. As it turns out, it wasn't the first time that day I felt confused and stupid.

I made a beeline through the squalor back to the incongruously pleasant hotel and made a quick exit. Maybe it was the lack of a focused departure, but when I packed up and rode out of Pijijiapan I had no firm sense of a destination. Maybe it was something I ate. Maybe I had soul issues, but the only word that can describe the day from that moment on is kaleidoscopic.

From the sand blasted desert to the mountains to the lush tropical green of the damp jungle-like valleys to the toxic industrialized urban sprawl. From beautiful smooth twisty perfect roads to pothole-hell and the nightmares of relentless Federal Police searches. To get burned so badly and healed so well in one day is beyond my understanding – but, it happened anyway.

Okay, let's get this out of the way. Running out of fuel was my fault; it was a stupid miscalculation. Paranoid and down to fumes, I had to go off the pavement into the dust to beg for gas. Maybe it's not a great country song title, but paranoid and down to fumes? That must be at least good enough for a C&W refrain, I mean ya gotta hear the line start high then roll down to the drawn out big bass note when it hits fumes . . .

Anyway, my exposed desperation drove me to locate an isolated ramshackle settlement. You know you've hit near the bottom in Mexico when there's no razor wire, steel gates or smoke charred cinderblock walls to protect the possessions. Didn't care, needed gas.

Me open wallet and SHOUT loud so underSTAND okay lOOk, HERE money – I give money – for gasolineO -(mime using gas pump handle) okay, you have gasolineO? Man, on so many levels, I'm embarrassing. GasolineO? Had I been a bag of broken hammers I would not only have been smarter, I'd of been way more useful.

After what seemed like a fruitless twenty minutes of dusty wind swept silence and inane charades the fuel arrived in an open bucket, sucked from what rusty contraption who knows. I opened my wallet and told them to take what they needed, 100, 200, 500 pasos. Whatever. The fellow with the gas burned hands carefully reached into my wallet, fished around, and removed 70 pesos and then asked his family if anybody had change. I could see that they all felt kind of bad, nobody had change.

Once again, I'm humbled. How's this so? How is it that honesty can trump desperation when so often it can't defeat greed? With smiles all around, I honor and respect their help; we separate differently than we met and I ride off with enough fuel – to get somewhere else.

My goal is to reach Coatzacoalcos, which I believed to be a seaside resort area. Turns out that is another stupid miscalculation. It also turns out that running short of fuel is no small irony. As I head into Coatzacoalcos I'm confronted with kilometer after kilometer and hundreds of hectares of fossil fuel holding tanks and processing facilities. My nose burns, my eyes sting. I'm sure the area can be seen from space; that's certainly from where I'd want to see it. This Mad-Max creosote soaked metropolis rivals the industrial horror show of Midland,Texas (home of the Bush clan). And, if you ain't seen Midland, you ain't seen nothin' – right.

Clearly, there's nothing for me in Coatzacoalcos. But, I'm exhausted and before I crash I have to find a place to not do that. I quickly grab the tenth or twelfth thing that appears that doesn't scare me, badly.

I roll into what I know is a Ho-tel, a no-tell-motel, a pay-by-the-hour 'n get what ya yanks fer kinda place. In other words, a brothel. Don't care, need sleep. Two young ladies appear – God love them – and we negotiate a price. For the room. Only the room. To put a spin on an old line, I'd never want a lady who'd have me as a customer. But wow, this is quite a room. Why a pink, red and blue dimly lit room needs a stiff black pole sticking out of a red bucket and a couch and two chairs facing a huge bed and mirrors everywhere, including mirrors to cut your blow, is beyond me. Really, take my word for it, it's beyond me.

But, I need sleep. So, with the lull of the relentlessly pounding, tope hopping jake-breaking traffic, I toss myself on the crinkly plastic body fluid protected mattress. I'm mildly thankful. As I fade into a type of slumber I sniff and think, hmmmm, not too many beds can be cleaned up with a shot of Windex.

Here's a picture of the room; like magnificent landscapes, pictures can't do it justice.

But oh, what a new day can bring! It started out as a sunrise escape from a room that not so oddly smelled of day old buttocks. After a rocky start along taxi honking congested pot-hole infested roads, I hit the sweet spot. A smooth meandering road through pleasant hills and plains, almost not a Federal cop to be seen. And now I write from stunningly beautiful El Paraiso. But that's a story for another day . . .




El Salvador to the Guat to Mexico . . .

Gone to me is El Salvador; I’m back in the Guat.

Previously, I reacted negatively towards Guatemala. I also acknowledged that my opinion I is limited by limited exposure. That said, I’m becoming reasonably accustomed to squalor, crumbling infrastructure and poverty. But, what I can’t wrap my head around is the absence of expectation. What gives birth to our expectations?
On the Island, I once chased down a car from Ontario because someone tossed out a plastic bottle. High indignation: I had to do something. I hip-checked the car over and issued a lecture. I believe that the car’s inmates were suitably ashamed. Either that, or they didn’t know what this whack-job of a biker would do next.
Flash back to here and I’m left with a lingering question: What explains the never-ending piles of garbage along the sides of the roads in Guatemala and Nicaragua, but not quite so much Mexico, El Salvador or Costa Rica? Education? Laws? A better sense of aesthetics? I wish someone who understands more than I would explain it.

But talk of garbage, yet another border crossing has taught me something, and it may even shed some light on the garbage question. As I was sweating my “socks” off in a long line of people waiting to get their documents triple checked and double stamped at multiple windows held together by duct tape it hit me. Perhaps my angst was amplified more than my fellow victims for a reason: I know what efficiency looks like.

If you have never seen efficiency, how do you know what it looks like? If you don’t know what it looks like, how are you going to design it into your systems and behaviors? If you’ve never seen a ditch clean of tons of garbage, why would you expect a ditch to be clean of garbage? Why wouldn’t you toss garbage into the world if the world has never presented itself to you in any other way?

One of my most profound moments as a teacher occurred when a grade ten student asked me a question. She asked, “Why does something become a problem?”

I was gobsmacked.
She went on to say, “Smoking, impaired driving, even family violence used to be not so much a problem but now for many people around here, those things are a problem. How come?”
Good question then, still a good question. But, it appears that the question is as valid for Prince Edward Island as it is for the third world. How come? What makes our garbage visible?. And, when does what has become visible become a problem?
I guess we’re all beneficiaries and victims of familiarity. If garbage and inept bureaucracy is what we’re familiar with, it takes something quite significant to pop up and make it a problem. If it isn’t a problem, there’s nothing to fix, right?
I know in my life, I often seek out the familiar just to avoid confronting a problem. But what happens if we obsessively take shelter in the familiar, what then?
Oh yeah, I made it back to Mexico. I headed out of Guatamala during a beautiful sunrise. The sun was at my back, which makes it wonderful for me to see what’s ahead of me; not so wonderful for those facing the sun and trying to see me.
The people were coming out of their shelters, heading to who knows where to do who knows what. The smell of the morning fires mingled with food and tropical sents I know nothing about was intoxicating. And, there in front of me I saw a volcano pop. I’ve seen active volcanoes before, but never one that just blew in front of me. I was mesmerized. By the time I pulled over to take a picture it was pretty much gone. But wow, for these moments, I am so grateful.
in animate and inanimate breath
is crazy beautiful.




Last Daze in El Salvador

I’m on a bike trip, it’s time to bike. But it’s going to be hard, really hard, to leave this location. This will likely be the last blog entry for a while, spare time being a challenge to find on the move. But all this moving and staying has got me thinking, rarely a good thing.

The fellow below, high above in the tree, is located. He has a ritual before every climbs. He knows every climb may be his last.

That’s Harvey in the next picture; he’s in his 50’s. Long time world class surfer, Iraq survivor. Different location.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION isn’t that the realtor’s mantra? The message is that using your resources to be in a good spot beside a bad spot doesn’t make much sense. But, between the bike seat and the hammock, I’ve had time to wonder what location actually means, or what it ought to mean.

I have good friends who save their pennies and flee the frozen north to putt around on various Florida golf courses. All evidence suggests they love it. I know others who perennially shed their winter skins on the hot rocks of Central America, Mexico, Spain, anywhere where they could gleefully watch Frosty melt. The theme here appears to be: To not worry and be happy, stay warm, don’t freeze. And, if you can’t do that, at least learn how to whistle.

Google knows all; we tap the screen and the screen tells us the options that are . . . well, on Google. Most of those options suggest a location we’re not in now. I haven’t seen one that says, “Wow, you nailed it buddy, stay put!” Perhaps that can’t be helped, priorities change. While it would have been a hoot, I know during our family growing days never once did I ask a realtor if the location offered opportunities to retreat from corporate culture and the norms of the workforce.

Rarely being one to require a point (it’s hard to believe you’ve read this far) I have to say that the old mantra of location, location, location is probably still relevant, just not so much in its original intent and certainly not as a marketing tool for location agents. When I’m located on my bike throttling through life, I’m located in movement. If I’m in the zone, I’m grateful to be alive. When I get off my bike to find shelter, that’s another type of location. I can be grateful for a decent location there too. And, when the two kinds of locations converge? Hey, that’s the best in and out of head location of all.

Finding those middle locations, for me at least, takes work. It requires selling off my sense of location entitlement. Then I have to use all the proceeds of that sale to renegotiate for a better understanding of the location I’m actually in. But once the deal’s been cut, how do I know if I’ve found the right location?

For me, it’s when I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. It’s the only indicator I recognize and the one I have to look the hardest to find. And, work hardest to keep.

So there – or here – it is. Location (motion) location (place) and the relationship between the two, the magic location. The sweet spot, the OM in home, the point of life. I guess it melts down to this: It’s not so much the location that matters, what matters is making the location matter.

As I write, this Big Bang is what’s happening in Costa Rica. Glad I don’t have to ride through the falling ash.

See ya. Maybe the only way to be in a constant state of finding new locations
is being . . .

Who knows? Not me.



To Do, or Not To Do.

Another beautiful day here, woke up by thunderous waves. At sunrise there were already a lot of surfers; I’ve counted sixty, but it’s hard to get a number. They won’t stay still.

Today is a this ‘n that day. A bit of preparing for the next phase of the ride. A bit more pure pleasure riding; no point A to B stuff. And, the bike won’t be laden with luggage, which in itself is a pleasure.

One important “do” is working out how to get the insurance documents to cross back into Mexico next week. You don’t need them to get out, but I think you need them to get back in. Of all the Central American jungles to navigate a vehicle through, the paper jungle they make a person machete is the scariest. It’s full of paper snakes and poisonous “plants”.

It would be a tedious enough task gathering the documents in the USA or Canada, but here it’s excessive and needlessly complex. I’ve learned that persistence and patience is the key, qualities I sadly lack. And, I must admit that the issues are often due to my own language limitations and access to technology. On the other hand, what helps turn the key (should it not be under one’s hat) is the willingness of the common people (not the bureaucrats) to help out. It all reconfigures the brain, or at least my brain. No bad thing.

I should say that the border madness would be much more tolerable, I think, if a person was going to stay here for a lifetime. Or at least a few months. For me, it’s the thought of doing it repeatedly in short spurts that amplifies the angst. I also must admit that I’m anaphylactic to forms, so please take all of my whining with a grain of salt.

I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a seventies guy, they were my formative-stunted years. When CCR put out Cosmo’s Factory (Run Through the Jungle), for some reason I often recall to mind the cover. You’ll notice there’s a sign. Part of the sign is purposefully “chipped off” so, where it used to say Beware of Dog, it now reads: Beware of Do. I’ve kinda worn that for the last 45 years. I’ve never interpreted it as suggesting not to do, but just to be aware – and beware – of it.

Holy cow! I just saw one of those Hawaii 5-O waves come in; it was amazing. People are laughing their heads off out there. Crazy. It must take a lot of guts and skill to play on one of those babies. I took this picture of a biggie this morning, but there’s no perspective. Anyway, it’s half the size of the 5-O I just saw.

Bellow is Roberto, the owner of the hostel that’s been my home base. Due to the huge and dangerous boulders just under the surface, he is one of the few to surf directly in front of the hostel. Now that’s guts . . . and skill. Amazing.

Speaking of guts, one thing I’ve noticed down here is the relative lack of obesity. Quite the opposite, most people I see are either in good shape or ripped. Then again, I’m in a “Beautiful People” surfing zone, so maybe that’s to be expected. Hey, this morning I noticed I’ve even lost a bit of girth myself, but no fears, you won’t be seeing me in a thong bathingsuit just yet.

For breakfast (desayuno) I walk a few meters to a little hut where they serve fantastic food, most of it caught a few meters from the hut. Here’s the hut (Sharky’s) and lunch arriving:


Ah well, the opportunities for doing this blog will dissipate once the wheels under my ass start spinning. But before I get vertical, a little horizontal wouldn’t hurt, For now, it’s enough of this do . . .




Riding into San Salvador; Reflections of a Dumb Gringo.

Unless you’re bored, I don’t suggest reading this; it’s being written from a swinging hammock. I don’t claim it to be more than self indulgent rhetoric, not much more than graffiti. Hey, at least I’m not spray-painting it on your property.

Yesterday I took a ride and noticed that the closer I rode into San Salvador the easier it was to see (within the frame of my visor) extreme wealth and extreme poverty. On a daily basis, I’m not sure what taking it in with one glance does to the mind. Over time, does it nurture critical thinking or willful blindness?

The overwhelming situation here is poverty, and all the suffering poverty brings. The harder I look, the harder it is to romanticize it; smiles and laughter don’t suffice as valid indicators of economic stability. Or for that matter, even happiness.

I have to admit that my knowledge of Central America is limited to a few hours of reading. I do know that everyone my age, who was born and has always lived here, has known unbridled savagery, violent economic upheaval and horrid environmental catastrophe. I wish I knew more about their lives. I wish I’d studied sociology. Maybe then I could look at things through an informed lens.

But, I suspect the clinical environment within which I would have studied sociology wouldn’t have enabled me to do much more than increase my vocabulary and perhaps enhance the quality of my debate. What informs me here and now are the smells and the noises and the grime and grit. . . . and the polish. It’s the shining new $100 000 BMW parked beside the bent up lady (old?) struggling to push a rusty wheelbarrow full of sticks.

I used to think that the redistribution of wealth was a central ideal of democracy. My mind is shifting on that point; now I think it may be a necessary feature of humanity. To survive.

It’s not if the redistribution of wealth will occur, it’s how. And perhaps ironically, at what price. I don’t know much, but I think I do know this: The heavily armed guards outside each and every bank must look very different to the impoverished majority and the wealthy minority.

Here’s another observation. I haven’t taken pictures of any examples of the economic extremes. As for the rich, I can’t get close enough – I tried. As for the extreme poor? I’m too ashamed.

On another note, or perhaps on a similar note of privilege. Today I was sharing with a good friend the similarities between my most recent experience in El Salvador and our experiences a few years back in Costa Rica.

In our element, the lucky and informed leisure class is up in the pre-dawn sipping coffee stirred with a bit of sunlight. Later a fresh breakfast, the planning and doing phase being between 8:00 – noon. Then, there are two paths from which to choose; either the Mad Dogs and Englishmen or the extended siesta phase. Then, the final reward is harvesting the consequences of the decisions made during the day. It appears to me that while the specific content of the day is up for grabs, the structure of the day is as predictable as the phases of the moon.

What it isn’t, or doesn’t have to be, is death by Netflix or shallow ambition. Nice.


Mostly just pictures . . .

Fewer words, more pictures. These taken in the last couple of days . . . lest anyone think I’m suffering.

The place I’m staying, the Hostal Almendros.

My room, upper right. To the left the hammock, from where where I’m sending these photos.

The place is a surfer’s paradise; they’ve been coming here since the seventies from all around the world. The following two pictures taken just a few meters off the deck this morning.

Early morning shots, stunning sunrise and sunsets on the Pacific Coast in El Salvador.

A tad less exposed to the ocean, elevated (rainy season ready) beach huts, just behind the hostel, 200 meters from the beach, rented by the week or the month. To the left, elevated bar.

And with respect to that second “enhanced” shot, a quick shout out to fellow ‘Strom rider George S. from Southwest Lot 16. He tried to show me how to use the great little camera he convinced me to buy. Now, all I have to do is apply what he taught me. More importantly, George got me a simple fork reseating tool that I had to use on Merlin’s bike. Had we not had it, I’m not sure what would have happened. He also sent me this picture from PEI today, just to remind me to keep enjoying myself. Thanks George . . .


Decision Made – Approaching The Ides of March.

Okay, here’s the rub. Everything considered that I know how to consider, I have decided to abandon Panama as a destination, but not abandon the fundamental purpose of this “find-a-way” adventure.

To be honest (no small task) the more I found out about the border crossings (especially the return crossings) the more I wanted the water-board. To spend more time, money and risk crossing two borders “alone” than it does to actually cross the country, then repeat the process returning too short a time later, seems a tad ludicrous. As my old colleague Jim MacAulay used to say, “There’s a difference from scratching yer ass and tearing the hell right out of ‘er.”

So, what’s been lost and what’s been gained? I’ve briefly been to Nicaragua and I did want to return to Granada, a beautiful little town. I also wanted to revist other places my buddy Gordie and I visited, but that will have to be postponed for another opportunity, or another lifetime. Whichever comes first. That’s lost. But the gain is that I’ve reclaimed the purpose of the ride, which is to explore and discover that which exists to others, but not to me.

So, the first thing I’m not going to do is go all homing pigeon. My plan (hear God laughing?) is to down-play the throttle and up-play whatever makes me and the bike go slower. And better. The “be safe” thing matters no less going west, east or north than it does going south. At this point, the only thing I can promise Glenda, and anyone else who cares, is that I’ll try to avoid hurting myself and not avoid helping myself. Again, no small task. Please, try to remember this when you’re getting out of the bathtub.

Ahhh, I feel better already.

One of the (many) unanticipated features of this trip is how it’s challenged my normal experience of what’s private, what’s public and what’s important. Usually, the words in my head are reasonably private. Then, for a lark, I started this blog. I figured, by default, it had the added bonus of allowing people to follow me in case I disappeared. Then I used the blog to solicit advice, which I gratefully received. What it has helped to bring me so far is a new appreciation. When I left PEI, the destination was a place, a find-a-way to get to Panama. Now, the destination has become a find-a-way to appreciate wherever I find myself. And, it’s been my experience so far – for good or bad – wherever I go, there I am!

Thanks for your interest. I’m not sure what the rest of this trip will look like, but I’m reasonably sure I’ll find out . . .

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