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The longest day to date.

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Wide eyed we entered the Aduana check point via our feet figuring it should be enough that our bus was parked directly across the street! But no no the bus must come with us! So I went back fired her up waited the alotted 10 minute warm up time neccesary to ensure Alibi is ready to roll and proceeded to reverse. The best part about the whole situation is that I was reversing directly towards the small square where the christmas tree stood, it having been blessed by the “Mayor” only last night! Oh Lordie! After several honks and some excellent help from Alicia we missed the tree and made it into the tight Aduana checkpoint and presented our selves like proper citizens of planet earth. It should be noted the night before we went to get our exit papers and two of us (me being one of them) were missing our piece of paper. Now this paper stated that we had paid our $30 or so dollar tax upon entering the country, and judging by the tone of the Aduana agent we were not permitted to leave! For some reason he didnt like us but long story short I found mine and Trina used her amazing Spanish skills to make everything groovy! After all the talk of what horrible fate awaited us when we enetered Mexico well… I dunno about the girls but for me it was quite a beautiful experience from Pechocho in Topolobampo, to our early morning swim in Santa Maria del Oro, dragging a motorcycle behind the bus around Guadalajara, actually that one sucked! But Hierve la agua in Oaxaca was unforgettable so I guess what I’m saying is don’t always believe the news.

I parked on the side of the narrow road that was just on the other side of the border line, it was pretty early maybe 8 or 9 and there wasn’t much traffic passing through yet, just one guy we met from LA named Cody who was driving around Mexico and Central America for no real reason, which I dug! After proper paper work and again Trina saving the day with her skills we moved on ward… at this point I can see retrospectivly I should of realized the imediate change in the roads. We could see a whole street full of vendors and clothes and awning hanging out over the street I’m not exagerating because I clipped one of the awnings we were a tight fit through this market! But we skinnied up and made it through, in fact a large dump truck stopped to let us through and when we drove past them in english they said “we got you!” haha yess yes! Perfect timing too because there was no where else to go! So on we went into the jungle we drove all day along a tight two lane road with absolutly no shoulder that wrapped us through the jungle along a beautiful river bank, steadily we pressed forward. Then the bus began to shudder and spout and gasp like it was struggling to breathe and just has we began to rise up another slope out she went! I got her close to the side but this was a tight road and we were sitting ducks in between two blind turns, oh Lordie! The girls manned the turns and like every where we went on this trip people stopped to help us, this generosity in my humble opinion defines the culture of Mexico and Central America. We graciously thanked our good Samaritans and continued to our destination for that days trip, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. A place Aldous Huxley praised in his writings and a place I would not of known about if it wasn’t for the girls, who had been told to visit it when they were living in Antigua, Guatemala.

We reached the turn off for Lake Atitlan around 5p.m., we could see from our map the road was full of switchback something we had encountered before and did not want to relive that experience! It was also nearing dusk and we knew there was a solid hour of good light and maybe twenty minutes of managable light before total darkness. The small town we were driving through was perched just off the tight road we’d been driving on for the whole day and we found a truck full of police officers parked a hundred feet from what I’ll now call switchback pass. We stopped to speak with the officers who at this point had wide eyes and open mouths trying to decide whether we were breaking any laws just by driving! Our question was simple… “Can we make it down the pass?” Haha they didn’t blink an eye and said “of course!” In retrospect I wish I didn’t listen but we took that as a groovy and off we went into the fading Guatemala sunlight to our next conquest!

It got scary real quick! The view was amazing and I mean absolutely amazing volcanoes surrounding a huge Lake with the evening sun shining off its fresh water surface, oh lordie! But the road was absolute hell! It was dirt and had large cliffs on each side has it switched back and forth down the steep slope! There were 12 switchbacks and every time we got to one I would drive the nose of Alibi right to the edge of the cliff stop, holding the brake and clutch at the same time shift into reverse and give it all the gas I could without over heating while I slowly let off the clutch and break sending us moving backwards instead of over the cliff to a certain death! Whew I had practice in Mexico so the first two were okay but they they got tighter and I got one side of the bus stuck on a boulder just behind my gas tank. Trina and Lauren got off and it was now total darkness, I couldn’t believe it but it took us nearly one hour to get three switchbacks in! Alicia stayed with me on the bus and the girls started walking, at this point gas was pouring out the side of the bus and I was relatively certain I had punctured my gas tank, Alicia got the fire extinguisher and clenched the back of the drivers seat while I basically lost my mind! I was on a rant about how I couldn’t do this anymore, we were going to get the bus stuck on the side of this pass. But Alicia kept me going she told me there was no way we were leaving Alibi here! After each switchback I would ask in my shattered voice “how many left now?” I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that was the longest day of my life and I’m only half way through the story! After more side damage I got my rear differential stuck on a big boulder I thought well that’s it nothing more can be done here, Alibi made it to switchback pass and that’s that! I got out took a look and saw it was only under one side so I turned hard right and broke free maybe another 5 switchbacks more and we entered the first small town next to San Pedro! Haha we drove past a church I don’t know what day it was but it was maybe 7 or 8 p.m. at that point, the church had huge wooden windows that were open on the cool evening. I will never forget the faces of the 100 or so churchgoers who saw this beat up, gas leaking, door open school bus drive past their congregation. We were alive, thats all I cared about at that moment.

Maybe 5 minutes later we pulled into a gas station to observe the damage and find a way to get back up the pass to find Trina and Lauren!!! Alicia took a Tuk Tuk back up while I got under neath Alibi, good news… Gas tank groovy, septic more or less groovy, rear diff groovy I dunno how but groovy! Only real damage was to the frame and it was warped hard on the passengers side and you could see the scar from the boulder on the right. I was coming out from under the bus when I saw Trina and Lauren coming down in a Tuk Tuk! Apparently they hitched a ride with a newly wed couple from San Francisco!! haha of all the places but I guess the newlyweds didn’t appreciate two distraught girls ruining their romantic trip down switchback pass!! Alicia followed in a Tuk Tuk and we were reunited at the bottom and looking back up I really couldn’t believe we made it, there was certainly people up above looking out for us in Guatemala on that December night. Its all easy from here on out… right?

We decided that we had made it this far and San Pedro was the next town over why not make the fifteen minute drive into the town and find a place to park for the night… seemed like a good idea at the time. We got directions from the gas station attendant and it now being 9 p.m. we wearily got back in the bus and headed toward the next town over, the town of San Pedro. Our first turn was up a slight hill into the center of town, there were Tuk Tuk’s all around us (motorcycle’s converted into taxi’s) right after I made the first right we were stuck there was a pick up parked on one side of the road and I hope this gives you an idea of the size of these roads, we couldn’t get around it by a long shot! Luckily someone knew the owner and got them out of their house nearby, truck moved we proceeded, we reached the top of the hill to find a three way street. It was a T and we were facing the horizontal part I attempted the turn but got stuck and in the process of attempting to squeeze Alibi through the tight turn I hit a house and his plumbing near the street. The whole town came out it was night time and the town square with it’s own Christmas Tree probably blessed by the “Mayor” the night before stood directly in front of us. Some people yelled backwards others forward all in Spanish which at the time I spoke very little of so I wedged more and more and got deeper and deeper in to the house until finally I ripped his pipe right out of the ground! The cops came because at this point all traffic in San Pedro had stopped the horns blared behind us from what sounded like a thousand Tuk Tuk’s. They got a local chicken bus driver and with the help of the missing pipe we slid right through and three minutes later we were parked on a mid sized street maybe 100 yards from the Lake.

Once again… We had survived.

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The day we met the Mayor…

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I know I’ve been slacking on my blog posts and I promise I have a three countries worth of good excuses why but I’ll save that for some other time. San Cristobal de las casas is a beautiful place with a long history of challenging the goverment in Mexico City, this was the territories of Emiliano Zapata who fought with Pancho Villa to take over Mexico City and keep Mexico from being ruled by another dictator. This rebellious spirit is still very strong in San Cristobal and the city is a historical boiling pot of activism and has been since the 1960’s! The activisits have been organzing and helping the many indigenous tribes surrounding San Cristobal de las casas who speak their own dialects and have been there for generations since the early 60’s. In the 1970’s throughout the 90’s there was a man who helped organize the Zapatista Army of National Liberation EZLN he was known only as Subcomandante Marcos. Rafka knew of a commune in San Cristobal where we could stay, possibly for free, because years prior he had painted a large mural there after meeting the them at a rally. We arrived around 3p.m. to find the mural still covering the back wall of the living room area and they welcomed us with open arms! This place was very groovy all the people staying there were on their way to or coming back from indigenous communities all over Chiapas (the southern most state in Mexico). Very amazing to meet people from around the world dedicated to improving the lives of people they had never met, one girl I met was teaching villagers in Honduras to use hand held radios so they could communicate with other villages. She had some great stories. The girls stayed in a hostel but we met them that night! Ha later me and Rafka tried to show them and some friends the commune but after walking the neighborhood for an hour we gave up and headed back into centro. Me We stayed there for two days made some new friends and learned the importance of preserving theses indigenous peoples and their culture.

We left a day later but not before meeting Jenny’s parents (Alicia’s friend from NY) who were building their new house in San Cristobal! We parked down their street when we first arrived and for time and money sake decided to stay on the bus that night! We had a big dancing party into the night with boxed wine and I gave them an unforgettable rendition of “Goodbye Horses” that I fear will end up on the internet one day!! But it was a good time and in the morning we left for our second country of the trip Guatemala! The climb we made up to San Cristobal was a slow downward trip like floating over top of a wave and gently rolling down the back side we arrived in mid afternoon after several hours of sheer beauty. Oustide Ailbi the scernery was like a four hour long play unfolding before our eyes we went from cold crisp mountain air down through the long golden praire’s, near the steep slopes of a river and finally we were surrounded by the dense dank air of the jungle. We stopped in the border town of Ciudad Cuauhtemoc, Chiapas just has the Mayor of; atleast I thought he was the Mayor, was finishing the last details of the citys christmas tree. It was dusk and I remember (this was like three months ago by now) there being a very beautiful red sky descending upon us when me and Trina walked over to ask the “Mayor” and his crew where we could park Alibi for the night. With a big smile the “Mayor” pointed just down the way from where the bus was parked and by complete night fall we had it parked 50 yards from Guatemala. Lauren commented that the city actually closer to a town was certainly “not cute” I was still reeling from my first diplomatic meeting of the trip and how smoothly it went but in all honesty I think Lauren might of been right.

The next morning we woke up early to get a head start, we had a new country to visit, new friends to make, hell we had new poles to hit! We all knew at this point that it would certainly be a chapter in our on going adventure to somewhere but I don’t think any of us saw what was coming next!

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Our trip continues onward! Bumpy and Groovy! One big bump happened on Sunday in Guadalajara, Andrea’s boyfriend Alfonso now a friend of ours took us outside the city to a huge maybe 30 block wide outdoor market where anything can be bought and sold! I was in search of a moto usada or used motor cycle for the back of the bus. There was several blocks of options raging from vintage bikes from the 70’s to brand new 2014 models all se vende! I weighed my options heavily and found a used motorcycle with a good price! The gentleman started it up and I had a gander all seemed to be well. There was no tag but I wasn’t interested in formalities besides we were taking this thing out of country! With Alfonso’s help we managed to get him down to a good price and I bought the motorcycle! With in 5 minutes of paying the guy he had packed up all his gear and was gone, oh lordie, the first sign of what became a disastrous day! After some trouble getting the motorcycle restarted we noticed some things were not quite right. One of the rear shocks was loose and the bike had an unusually high idol but I wasn’t discouraged… yet! The crew grabbed a cab back into the city and I followed on my new purchase, happy has can be! The bike ran a bit rough but seemed to be exactly what it was a cheap used motorcycle that needed a new owner. Oh goodness after about twenty minutes the bike shut off about ten blocks from where we wanted to be, Alicia used her special touch and got the bike running again but the cab had left and now I was on bike and them on foot, so we agreed to meet near the metro stop we had gotten on earlier that day. The bike made it 8 blocks and to my knowledge hasn’t been started since! Haha we tried the kick start, we tried pushing it in second gear and letting the clutch out with giving it gas no bueno! It was a bust! So now what?

Myself and Alfonso devised a plan to go back get the bus drive it back to the bike and put it on the rack, I would figure out the mechanical issue later. Off we went back to the bus! It was around 4 so we needed to be swift and that we were! By 4:45 p.m. we were back at the bike and ready to put it up on the rack! Oh lordie! The rack is 66 inches long but the bike was only 55 or so! The front tire went in beautifully but the rear had no where to wedge, the sun was on its way out. After another 45 min we think we had it strapped on there good enough to get back to Andrea’s. Me and Alfonso began the journey through the crowded streets of Guadalajara at dusk. After several stops to readjust and honks from passing motorists we thought we finally had it secured enough to part ways. He lives more near downtown while Andrea’s slightly out of the city. We hugged and said our goodbyes knowing it might be the last time we saw each other rejoicing in our small victory to keep the bike from falling off the back of the bus. I drove the rest of the way relying on signals from pedestrians and other drivers to let me know if I was dragging a moto usada behind the bus. All seemed well when I entered Andrea’s neighborhood then the roundabout!!! I cut it short and the whole back side of the bus lifted up, mason jars poured from the cabinets crashing to the floor. I knew all was not well. I drove another block and parked. I got out and slowly walked to the back of the bus, there behind the rack was the motorcycle hanging on by a thread. The heavy duty lock I bought had snapped, two straps I had used to tie down the bike were dangling from the rear bus door and only the strap still holding was the one Denver gave me in San Diego. I realized all had been lost. I man handled the motorcycle off the rack (also broken) and left it there by the road. I drove the bus up several blocks closer to Andrea’s house and parked for the night it was around 7 p.m. and I was covered in grease, dirt, sweat and blood. I had parked and began cleaning the glass up when a kid stuck his head in the door and said “Is it for sale” in relatively good English, Ha I laughed no the bus isn’t but I got a motorcycle down the street for sale. He said he was going to grab some cigs from his house while I went down and got the bike, I tried to put it in neutral but the gear pedal had been bent under the motor so I held the clutch in and began to push. The kid came back out and ended up hanging out on the bus with us and some other neighborhood kids for most of the night! I offered him the bike for 2.000 pesos half of what I paid but in the end after kicking it for several hours with him I called it a loss and traded it for a sea shell and arrow head he had found in the mountains near Guadalajara, good omens for our trip to come. The girls made steak on the bus and at my request picked up 24 beers from the store, the moto usada day was nearly over and we said good night to the neighbors and I slept, lesson learne

We left Guadalajara in the early morning saying our goodbyes to Andrea and a beautifully hip city, reminded me a lot of SF but with its own unique style and no hills. From one city to the next we made our way to Queretaro, Mexico. A medium sized city with behemoth companies operating out of it like Siemens and Tetra Pak. We spent two nice days there exploring the city center one day and enjoying a hot dog dinner with Mariana and her mom that night. They were truly hospitable and accommodating to us, almost like we were back home for a moment. Mariana’s boyfriend Diego mentioned that he had seen oil dripping from the bus, I inspected but only found what looked like a radiator leak either way I knew I needed to find a mechanic. We found the grooviest cat in Puebla, when I walked up to his shop I saw he had long gray hair tied up on top of his head and he was wearing a Miami Dolphins t shirt!!! Perfect! “Mi amigo puedes ayuda mi con escuela auto bus?” Ha he laughed! I walked with him out front and he saw I was dead serious! This guy was amazing he dropped all other jobs and found the problem, ordered the part, and fixed the problem. My oil pan gasket was shot and he had to call friends around Puebla to find one for our engine, we told him we were in no rush and he was happy to hear that. The gasket didn’t get there until 7 p.m. but he still came out to the bus to let us know it would all be done in the morning. I was under the bus with him learning how to fix the problem and trying to pick up Spanish auto terms. The labor cost was about $50 U.S. dollars for two days of work and an infinite amount of knowledge, he was defiantly a fan of the BeenJamminProject! The next morning after he checked all fluids and timing and got us running beautifully we said our goodbyes and left Puebla headed south.

Our next destination was Oaxaca City! A place we were all looking forward to digging! Our boondocking friends from Nogales gave us that groovy Mexico Camping book but it was published in 1996 so we found out along the way that most of the campsites were closed or had changed drastically! Well Oaxaca was no different! It was about 4:30 when we arrived into town and I was itching to find a place to park! I turned onto a street that looked a little tight, so I decided I would back up and drive on the bigger road, oh lordie while I was reversing I didn’t notice the electrical poll! I caught the wire coming from it with my bumper and heard an awfully loud sound! The poll had cracked towards the top and I had committed what in the states would be considered a very serious offense! I pulled forward into a dirt parking lot and hopped out, there was a bar and a auto mechanic store with all employees out front digging the scene. I hopped out and talked to the mechanic. His name was Leon and he was very groovy! He helped us call the RV parks all closed! Finally he offered for us to stay in the dirt parking lot for several nights while we went into the city to dig it! Since it was dark and he assured us no one saw us hit the pole we decided to stay parked 100 feet from the scene of the crime. We went to the bar to use internet and made friends with the barkeep. At this point there was a lot of commotion on the main street and we watched hundreds of people come marching down the main corridor. They were protesters.

Mexico is riding the wave of change and it’s reached it crest, we’ve found ourselves in a country that looks a lot like the U.S. in the sixties. The youth realize they have a chance to make something better for their futures and are acting on it. But it’s not social change they demand it’s the human right to live in peace, without fear. They much like the youth in the sixties fear those elected to protect and serve their better interests, they fear the mayor, and most importantly they fear the police. #43 is tagged across the country from city streets to barn yard doors, no one is immune to the sad reality that there are 43 students, no children, no loved ones missing. The protesters that night marched in Oaxaca City, Mexico City, San Cristobal and beyond, they demanded a change, an end to the corruption that plagues their beautiful country. We watched in silence. They would not be silenced and for that I admire them greatly.

We spent three days in Oaxaca City and met a new friend! He’s from Oakland and showed us all around the hip scene of the city. We ate amazing Negro Mole in the huge market made by a sweet older woman who called us “young ones” when we sat at her booth. We visited Mounte Albion an ancient Zapotec ruins situated atop of a mountain outside the city and felt the presence of 2,000 year old temples. We learned about the priests and their ceremonious use of peyote and marijuana to communicate with the gods. Went to a gay bar. Went to an art opening with free booze. Saw Santo Domingo where Aldous Huxley ate mushrooms and conceived writing for his later work: The Doors of Perception. It was the weekend celebrating Saint Cecilia the patron saint of music! There were processions with music and most importantly lots of fireworks!! Crazy bottle rockets being shot into the crowd and it was all around us! We left the church to catch a procession and has the last sparks went out on the make shift horses head being worn by the man shooting fireworks from it the rain came our way.

Our friend Ralfka whom we met at a hostel in the city center was our unofficial host in Oaxaca City made sure we didn’t miss a thing including the mezcal ice cream! Yeah Baby! He decided maybe beyond his better judgement to join the bus trip from Oaxaca to Guatemala City! He’s from Oakland and such a small world it is indeed! We left Oaxaca with one common thought; we would all be back here again. When we reached the bus it was a sunday afternoon and there much like Guadalajara was a huge market of used cars and motor bikes and all sorts of goods surrounding the bus! Leon had the day off and we were trapped at least until 4 when the market closes. Around three we found enough room to inch the bus out of the market and back on the road, our next destination was Mitla just an hour south of the city we ended up sleeping near a security guard booth out side the city when the sun had finally set and we realized it was our best choice. Pasta dinner on the bus and in the morning I woke early around 6 and we were at Hierve el agua: a natural cold springs on a mountain side. Absolutely amazing! On our way up through the small town we saw a man with his thumb out so it being early and me and Ralfka the only ones awake we decided it would be okay to give the guy a ride through the town. He was very happy for the ride and when we asked where he was headed he looked at us with a smile and said “Hierve el Agua”! We arrived to the gates closed and locked. Our hitcher jumped out ran to the gate and opened them for us, he was the gate guy for the springs and we all had a laugh. The springs are absolutely beautiful and we were the only ones there! A short hike and we were wet!! Yess yes! Perched on a cliff shaped by the falling water we spent the morning in another groovy Mexican oasis! Then the bumps.

Against our better judgement we followed the Garmin out of the springs hoping to find the nice town we had passed in the morning, this did not happen. Instead this horrible piece of technology had its sights set on a dirt road that passed over a mountain range and continued to a long down hill stretch with switch backs the bus had no business attempting to traverse. Lets just say it was a harrowing day and I’ll leave it at that. I more then once saw the entire trip with the bus come to an end, but with the help of 4 guys driving the opposite way (in a small car) we some how made it through that pass and off that mountain Alibi included.

I’ve written alot but I must finish this last part for today we left Arriaga a town not much worth mentioning but we drove through Tuxtla on our way to San Cristobal, where I write this from. Along our trip we reached the cuota (toll road) leading to San Cristobal, we’ve come across many of these with nicely dressed attendants and electronic signs telling you the price. This one was different when we arrived there were a lot of people around the booth but not dressed like your usual Mexican toll booth agent, they had bandannas around their mouths and were standing in front of the booths with jars and pieces of paper. These were the protesters. They had taken over a toll booth and were collecting $50 pesos per vehicle to access the road. After a moment of silence from me and the girl about my age manning the toll booth we deposited the pesos into the jar, they handed us a piece of paper explaining the proceeds went to helping their cause. They wanted justice, they demanded justice, justice for the students and prosecution for those responsible. The world may not always be black and white, corruption is universal, we see this is the United States, we see it in Mexico and although it exists there are those of us willing to do something about it. I decided to drive a bus somewhere along time ago, about 5 years ago I decided I would drive South, now at this moment from a cafe in San Cristobal I know nothing is more important than being true to yourself. These kids (for lack of better word) know that without their enthusiasm, without their defiance and without their compassion nothing in this world would be worth sharing. I share this with all of you. humbly.

Love

Toph

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Then there was Mexico…

On the road again my friends! The bus and its wide eyed crew departed Berkeley, Ca November 1st around 10 p.m. after a grand jubilee! We drove into the cool Northern California night headed toward the next year of our lives on the road, on the bus, on our Alibi! Around midnight the bus was light up by a large fireball backfiring from our tail pipe! The bus began to loose speed so we pulled over onto an off ramp in the dark. We were out of gas! Oh lordie! Clearly an operator error on my own part mainly because I had been highway driving with the choke 3/4 way out! Ha oops! Luckily there was a gas station on the horizon and after a short hitch there and back we had enough gas to start her back up and continue on down the road! First night was a Truck stop parking lot and lots of jubilation and two buck chuck! In the morning when the girls went to wash up I realized I’d left the key in the AC position and the battery was dead! Quick jump back on the road!

San Diego was a gem we stayed with Denver, Brenda and the man Carter who reminded us we were “ready to roll”! Their hospitality and amazing amount of help to get our final touches taken care of were paramount! Plus we all learned in the importance of modern plumbing! Left with joy in our hearts and tears in our eyes headed east to Nogales, Arizona and quite possibly our last night stay in a Wal Mart parking lot! The 94 is a two lane windy road that runs from the beaches of San Diego to the hot deserts of south eastern California. At night and in the bus it ended up being a bit of a roller coaster ride! But we arrived at the Yuma, Arizona Wal Mart parking lot around 2 am.

After another days drive we reached Nogales Wal Mart parking lot… are you beginning to notice a pattern? But here we were greeted by three other groups of Boon dockers!!! Old timers, young families and all on the road! Going to here or coming from there, sharing information about roads ahead and border crossings and amazing beaches! At this point I noticed I had a leak in my fuel line so I got out the tools and began to fiddle one by one our Wal Mart neighbors came to offer opinions and such! Two hours and two new fuel filters we were back in business! One of our neighbors had been travelling Mexico via RV for 10 years now! “This will be our last year in Mexico” said the older gentleman “were thinking Caribbean next year!”. After hearing about our adventure his wife brought us their Mexico Camping guide, it was the accumulation of years of notes and tips and a plethora of priceless experience! This type of generosity has become a common place on our adventure so far.

Nogales morning and another dead battery! I believe it might of been the background music from our radio that killed it but so it goes… Ended up being a blessing because the battery was old and wouldn’t of made it much longer! New battery and border here we come! The Nogales border crossing was a breeze! Our only close call was not having the original title for Alibi but they let us get by with the registration and after about an hour we were on our way! Groovy baby!

The adventure continues… Our first stop was Guaymas or San Carlos we arrived around 7 driving into the glowing orange sunset of the pacific coast of Mexico! After a harrowing search for a RV park that probably didn’t exist we found one in town and rewarded ourselves with a margarita. San Carlos is touristy and Trina and I ventured out to find the local scene while Alicia and Lauren went late night ocean swimming! Simply a stopping point we left the next morning for Los Mochis down the pacific coast and along the quiet fishing villages of our new road the Mex 15D.

Arriving again in the dusk of another unforgettable sunset we headed toward topolobampo. We found ourselves on an island known as El Maviri beach, since it was dark and the road was dirt we pulled into a restaurant parking lot. There were two woman closing the joint for the evening who gladly allowed us to stay over night even offering us breakfast in the morning. We woke to a Sunday fiesta on the island! People from all over the area came out to enjoy the beach and deicious frozen pina coladas! That morning was a little rough because the night before we were invaded while we slept! Not banditos or the infamous drug cartels! Our intruders were much smaller and set out for blood! El Maviri beach empties around 6 every night, we assumed it was because people were tired from their day in the sun. We were mistaking it is the infamous Maviri knats that got us while we slept. Bitten but not discouraged we enjoyed the day on the beach indulging in the large array of local seafood! We met a new friend names Jesus! His mother in law owned a restaurant on the beach and we parked by it the second night closing all windows and burning citronella in a feeble attempt to fend off our invaders! The next day Jesus rode around town with us trying to find used motorcycles but when all searches failed we decided to visit a friend of Topolobambo via Jesus boat! Pechocho the dolphin! There is a cove near a lighthouse off the coast where this one dolphin has been living for 21 years! He told us Japanese researchers several years ago took the dolphin out to the ocean only for it to return right back to its home in the cove! We jumped in! Pechocho was swimming around with a stick in its mouth we could see it twenty meters from the boat! Jesus told us this means hes in a bad mood! Haha Yess yes! Still he swam next to the boat and around us like we were new friends!

Jesus mom made us breakfast at their house in Los Mochis far from the Maviri knats and we were back on the road to our next experience! Mazatlan is a popular beach destination for people from all over the world and I now know why! It’s a piece of paradise! The RV park was across from the beach so we decided to get schwanky with a tepid shower and groovy little pool! Trina finally got to break out the blender and we made fresh margs on the bus! After spending a relaxing day at the beach and Trina getting risky by getting a shark tattoo on the beach! Henna of course but still very intimidating! I met a new friend names Axel (his mom is a big guns and roses fan!) we ventured into the large market in town around 6 to get dinner supplies while the girls found it impossible to leave the Mazatlan sand and waves. The market was a trip with hundreds of stalls and although it was closing you got the impression this was the heart of the city! Axel and I walked through the neighborhood surrounding the market with views of the whole city. When we got back the girls had made it back to the trailer park and met out neighbors Tim and June bug from Oregon they were like the rest of us happy to be! Aside from sharing delicious fish dip and cerveza’s with us they gave us quite possibly the best tip of the trip so far: Laguna Santa Maria!

A collapsed volcano that over centuries filled in with fresh rain water creating a lake. This is in my opinion the most beautiful place we’ve woken up at so far! Once again we arrived late just after sunset to the town of Santa Maria del Oro and asked directions to the Lake! The two old timers sitting outside a store in town described the road has “loco” Hahah they were being honest! But we took the drive slow and winded down through the forests to the Lake at the bottom. It’s legend or maybe truth that Jack Cousteau once put a submarine in this Laguna in an attempt to reach the bottom, he never succeeded. We also tried to swim to the bottom but as you can imagine we didn’t come close! This place is not to be missed if ever travelling across Mexico.

Now I write you from Guadalajara where we are visiting our dear friend Andrea from Prague! It’s a big city and so far very welcoming! Tomorrow we go to a huge market that is on the streets outside town every sunday to try and buy a moto usada for the back of Alibi! It’s difficult to post from the road but I will try my best! Love to all of you Be easy and stay groovy! If you need us we will be furthur on down the road to tomorrows sunrise!

Toph

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The trip

I get by with a little help from my friends!

oh the road

It’s very easy to allow loneliness to overcome your spirit when driving down a long open road. I find this to be especially true when crossing the vast deserts of Utah and Nevada. My mind explores the atlas imprinted in my brain from past crossings and determines proper places to stop for fuel. The miles roll behind my wheels like yellow lines suddenly my conscious asks me a question; how did you make it this far? I ponder my infinite number of questionable answers for what had felt like hours… before I came to a simple conclusion. It was simple I would not be where I was without the help I received on my trip. The desert has a funny way of playing tricks on your senses. It filled me with a sense of companionship. I would never have been able to make it this far if it wasnt for the incredible souls that helped me along the way. From beautiful families living my version of the American dream in Fort Collins to truck stop encounters with mechanic savvy personas, I never would have made it this far without a little help from my friends!

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Uncategorized

“Have I told you I think your crazy?”

ScottColorado Sunset

Three friends getting together to do what they love to do and maybe in the process help out their community is in no way crazy to me! This is the sun setting over a farm I had the pleasure of visiting and completely falling in love with. The original question I used for the post title was asked to me by a wonderful person and mechanic named Scott with On road automotive services in Northern Colorado and friend of the BeenJamminProject! I know him and I know he does think I’m crazy but he also sees something bigger taking place, I thank him for his help and insight! Crazy or not the road is calling I leave Fort Collins with a positive tail wind and a whole new group of friends! Some of whom I went Morel mushroom hunting with today! Mother Earth abides!

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The trip

If it ain’t broke…

Toph and JonSuccess

When we first set out on this trip I’d say we were all fairly ignorant on the inner workings of a Ford 385 429 7 liter engine. There was fair knowledge of the more common used instruments i.e. gas pedal, stereo, clutch,etc.. But beyond those components we freed ourselves from worry the bus ran and for what it was it ran well and then came the mountains!! It is not just the residents of Colorado are high but so it the land they live on we rose from the west Texas, New Mexico flat lands into a whole new world perched around 7325 ft above sea level. Now we learned about the other forgotten components of our Ford 385 429 7 liter engine! remember her! Well fate being what it is we broke down outside Colorado Springs where our wonderful relatives the Mcginley’s put us up with delicious food and great times! Jon and I spent our memorial day underneath a school bus and we now understand and respect our new friend the Ford 385 429 7 liter.

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