Monday, March 23, 2015

And the Adventure Begins

          4 days ago, on May 20th, my girlfriend Kayla and I set off with our wheels pointing east for our first big ride of 2015.  The plan is as follows:  Take our time getting to Wilmington, NC, seeing friends and family along the way.  From there, we and our motorcycles are scheduled to leave aboard a container ship on April 3rd, spend 11 days at sea and eventually port in Antwerp, Belgium.  From Belgium we will head south towards warmer climates into Spain, Portugal (maybe), Italy and so on.  The route is rather loose at this point but we are hoping to catch a boat from Italy to Greece and work our way back north through Montenegro, Romania, Albania and eventually as far north as Sweden. So there you have it, that is our very basic itinerary that could change at any point.  
        Since our embarkation we have only covered about 1,100 miles but enjoyed a nice evening with my parents in Salina, KS, caught up with a good friend in Kansas City, MO and camped under a starry sky in Meramec Spring Park near St. James, MO.  Today we had our most enjoyable ride yet.  
        Leaving the park around 9am the temperatures were a brisk 35 degrees but quickly rose into the mid 60's.  The cold though, was no match to our newly acquired heated riding gear.  Ignoring the temperatures we sat back and enjoyed 200 miles of immaculate curves, dips, climbs and twists down Missouri road 19.  The road lined with farm houses, cattle and towering trees kept our curiosity as to what lay ahead.  Road 19 led us to US 63 east toward Memphis where we enjoyed an easy 100 mile final push into town and directly to Beale st., where we enjoyed some quality down home cookn and live music at the BB Kings Blues Club.  
         As far as the rest of the trip thus far, everything as gone relatively smooth. We did have a bit of a rough start exiting Denver as I was plagued with a cutting out, popping and sputtering problem.  Turned out to just be a loose grounding terminal on the frame.  From there, no problems until yesterday when my Battery took a crap on me.  I've been running an Earth X lithium ion battery to save room and weight, the last 35,000 miles it's been flawless and I would highly recommend one.  But, yesterday it decided it had had enough.  I borrowed Kaylas bike, ran up to the local Wal-Mart and purchased a lead acid battery that would fit.  Problem is that the bike was built with the smaller size lithium ion battery that cranks out a lot more starting power then a comparable sized lead acid making cold morning starting impossible.  Once the bike is warmed up, it is good for the day.  I spoke with Earth X today and they are mailing me a new battery, free of charge, to Wilimington.  Pretty sweet deal.  Final mentionable event was Kayla having a minor accident today.  As we were cruising through downtown Memphis, she caught an edge of the trolly track running straight down the road and dropped her bike. Don't worry, all is good.  No real damage to her or the motorcycle.  Luckily, at the time, we weren't going more then ten miles an hour.  
         Well, that's it for now.  Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Via Mexico: The Final Chapter

           Alright, where was I?  Oh yes, we were stuck in Hermosillo and I just connected with a Yamaha dealer to help us out.  Turns out these guys were pretty great and gave it there best effort to help us out.  Though they were expectedly unable to repair the now oversized paper weight we once called a motorcycle, they did offer us free storage in the back of their shop.  So, from here we spent three days basically scratching our heads, trying our best to maintain our composure and devise an exit strategy.   What ended up happening was that we left both our bikes at the dealership, knowing that there was no other option, and caught the next bus out of town.  Thats right, a bus.  By this point we had resigned ourselves to the fact that the motorcycle part of our adventure had come to a close, but the adventure itself was far from over.  
          24 hrs later, deep in throws of Montezumas Revenge (I should add at ths point that having Montezumas  Revenge on a bus across Mexico is by no means considered a vacation), we arrived in the resort town of Puerto Vallarta.  We were welcomed by our good friends Phil and Kiri, promptly hopped into there topless VW Bug and drove north to the town of Bucerias.  Phil and his wife own a beautiful house in Bucerias where she pumped me full of drugs to plug up my system, it helped tremendously and I started to feel much better.  
          The next week was rather uneventful, luckily.  We basically relaxed on the beach, then relaxed on the rooftop overlooking the ocean, then would finish off our days by relaxing at the local bar with some nice tequila and live music.  After all this relaxing we would walk back to the house and relax a little more before going to bed to get some rest...tomorrow would be another long day, of relaxing.  
           By now you are probably wondering how this story ends, so let me wrap it up.  We came up with a plan to catch a plane back to Denver, immediately get off the plane and climb into my truck with trailer in tow, drive back to Mexico and pick up our motorcycles.  Thats exactly what we did.  In fact, on the drive back we even managed to talk the dealership into hauling our bikes to the border, within walking distance, to avoid having to drive my truck across the border.  In reality, what actually happened is a little ridiculous.  We sat at the border crossing awaiting the phone call from the driver with our motorcycles. When he did arrive, he explained to us in broken english that he was right here  at the border.  Where?  Right here.  Hey Mike? Do you see him? No. Me neither.  Upon further vague directions we decided to start walking and see if we could find him, half a mile up the road in a dirt parking lot, we did.  We knew full well that we would be pushing Michaels motorcycle but I didn't anticipate pushing mine until I realized I left the key back in Colorado...oops.  We both just kind of looked at each other, chuckled a bit at the ridiculousness of the situation and started pushing.  Now, at this point we looked at the line of traffic to get back into the US, looked at our pasty white skin and said "screw it".  We pointed our bikes straight up the empty road coming into Mexico and away we went, walking past hundreds of impatient motorists waiting to cross the border.  It worked just fine, even when we caught the Border Patrol off guard as we approached the country line walking the wrong way up the road.  He yelled at us to stop, asked what the Hell we were doing, looked at us in disbelief and told us to hurry up and get out of there.  Perfect, we thought, we did it.  
            From here it was smooth sailing.  We simply loaded our bikes onto the trailer and got ourselves home safe and sound.  Needless to say, this trip turned into more then we bargained for, but I wouldn't change it for the world.