Jan 6 2008

XelaXelaXela

So, we found ourselves in Guatemala; no car; and no cares. Well, we didn’t really know a bit of spanish, but….what can you do? The day was Thanksgiving. We decided that we should find place to stay then start looking into language schools. Xela, the town that we where in has a booming language school industry. I would highly recommend attending if you’re in the area; there are others scattered throughout the region, but Xela seems to be the place where good prices, and lack of tourism hit a sweet spot.

We spent Thursday looking at language schools; finding, and checking into the Black Cat hostel, and trying to find a good place for a thanksgiving dinner. The dinner we found wasn’t our typical tofurkey and veggies, but it definately did the trick. We had a quiet evening, followed by a night of craziness at a couple of the local disco’s. The night ended with us hearing a Guatemalan dude explaining that he was the milk and our companion was the cafe – and that they should drink together. It didn’t work so well. Lesson learned: Guatemalen men know how to dance.

That weekend we ended up having the opportunity to visit an indigenous coffee farm. We spent the night at this co-op and were able to see how the people lived. When we first showed up we where given fresh fruit. We spent the next 24 hours learning about coffee, seeing the lives of the rural Guatemalen indigenous people and enjoying life.

The houses are concrete structures that typically only enclose the bedrooms and and perhaps a kitchen. Most of the time, people are outdoors. This particular farm raised organic coffee, that was sent to the U.S. All of the farmers were indigenous women who where displaced to Mexico during the Guatemalen civil war; only recently were they able to return to their homes.

The next three weeks where spent studying Spanish at Kie Balam language school. Thanks to Palmenia for all the patience and instruction. She did a great job. We did so much during this time that it’s hard for me to recall all of it. Highlights include:

Going to the San Francisco Market, the largest public market in Central America.

Going to Fuentes Georginas hot springs with Nick, Laura, and Dan.

Watching the sun rise from the highest point in central america, Volcan Tojumulco.

Visiting Zunil for a festival, and a meeting with San Simon – the evil saint.

There where so many more things that we did, too many to mention. However, I think that what I found most interesting was learning about Guatemalan/Mayan culture and getting to know the people. I learned how similiar, culturally, we are to the rest of the people in the americas.


Dec 9 2007

Into Xela

The last time I posted I was travelling through Mexico with Joan. The trip from Houston to Guatemala ended up taking the three of us about a week.


A quick word about Joan: During the week that we travelled with Joan I went from optimistic that we could spend several weeks with Joan, travelling around Central America, to plotting with ct how we could, in kind words and actions, not travel with her any longer. Our function was to escort her to Guatemala, as she was worried about travelling alone. Somehow, in the beginning we had all begun talking about increasing our travel together. In any case the last night we where to travel together she took a wrong turn and we ended up in the wrong town. I think the frustration that CT and I felt at that point caused us to reach a point where we definately didn’t want to spend anymore time with her (If you want detail we’ll need to talk in private).

The following morning, as we where driving into Xela, our original destination, she asked us where we could like to be dropped off. Happily, we asked for a drop at the town square, and before the hour was through we where in Xela.

To Be Continued….


Nov 16 2007

Catching up

So, I find my self in La Pesca, Mexico; on my way to Guatemala. This is a plan that I could not have hatched had I been trying for years.
As of my second-to-last post I was in Ciudad Nuevo York. CDT and I spent a week there shuffling back and forth between Brooklyn and Manhattan. Highlights include the library, natural history museum, and killer Canolies! The Canolies (I spelling that wrong I think) where by far the highlight. I may be back to taste some more; thank you Eric!
From Nuevo York we e-hitched up to Fulton where we spent a week with Chris’s family and friends. This is a good group of people. I was able to paint part of ct’s fathers new house; and climb Mt. Ampersand with Aaron, Sean, and ct. This was also fun. Then we met Mike of crazy road trip fame.
There is not much more to say about the next week, except that the phrase crazy road trip is true. I think we ended up travelling about 4000 miles and had a lot of fun.
The next leg of the journey had us staying at the super-nice Trendwest resort in New Orleans for a week. The contrast from La Frontera in Mexico, to this resort was striking – Also, how much New Orleans was trashed. The tourist areas where pretty much as they where when I visited pre-Katrina; however, the whole rest of the city (at least what I saw) was pretty rough. They have a killer bike co-op and book co-op there.
After taking the LA Swift to Baton Rouge, then hitching to Lafayette, we fell asleep behind some dumpsters with our new found friend Kelly. About 3 am we where awoken to the terrifying sound of a garbage truck lording said dumpster over our soft-fleshy bodies! I actually didn’t wake up until I was standing, in my sleeping bag, about 10 feet away from the truck. Somehow I had managed to stand up, and run, those 10 feet without exiting my cacoon. Needless to say much nervous laughter was exchanged and I slowly fell back asleep. Two hours later a similiar thing occured; however, this time it was old had so we only cowered in the shadows near the dumpster. The next day was spent trying to hitch out of Lafayette. I-49 is impossible to hitch on at that locale – give up, all hope is lost. a $36 greyhound (Kelly called this the dirty dog) ticket later we where back at Mikes house in Shreveport.
Mike was super-accomodating, and in general very helpful. I went to church with him and Gabe on Sunday and we spent Monday preparing for the future, whatever that may hold. Thank you for everything Mike! Tuesday Chris found a woman on Craigslist who wanted companions to travel with her to Guatemala. We called asap and before I knew it I was once again riding the dirty dog to Houston to meet Joan. I do miss riding my bike, but I’m on the 24 hour party wagon so I have to go where the wagon goes (if you don’t know about 24pw then shoot me a message and I’ll explain – it will change your life). Skipping over the mundane details of not having appropriate vehicle paperwork and having to stay the night on South Padre Island we have had an uneventful, albeit fun, journey to where I am now – Northeast Mexico.
PS. don’t go to South Padre Island.

Nov 11 2007

Finally back on the bike

I’m spending far to much time browsing y’all’s profiles right now not to type something here. I’ve been disinclined to do any e-writing recently. Here are 10 recent (semi-random) items that are in my notebook:
-What’s an appropriate response to a grown mans temper tantrum?
-To learn on guitar: To Be somebody by June Carter Cash
-To be an example of not being at war
-If you are comfortable in your own body – it is your home – you will never be homesick
-We’re all presidents/We’re all Congressmen/We’re all Cops
-despacio = slowly
-Forest and Jay’s address on 15th.
-I’m stuck in Lafayette, LA
-tatoo ideas: Ak Flag, banana, chain rings, Love and Tolerance, the Anarchy Heart
– fuck non-dairy creamer.
Pictures coming soon, all the way from Penn State(at halloween), Boulder, Ojinaga, Texas, Chicago, New Orleans, plus many more.

Oct 25 2007

24 Hour Party Wagon

To all those that are curious:

Currently I’m in New York. Don’t worry about how I got here; the point is that I’m here now and will not be staying much longer. I will say that there are 3 individual Mike’s that are personally involved in this craziness. In related news I will soon be in Colorado. I really miss you and hope that we can see each other soon. If not see each other, at least have a good conversation or post-card exchange.

Check these out:

All three of these creatures have made an attempt [in one fashion or another] on my life in the last month.

Indeed, what will happen next?


Sep 27 2007

come on ‘n ride it (the train)

finally the crew was back together

We where ready to ride the train to Chicago and head south. We said our final good byes

Then spent the next 50 hours ridin’ the train. I don’t think that I’ll ever take an airplane again. trains are so much more comfortable, not to mention you get to see so much more.

Chicago is a beautiful town

I got to see a 30 piece punk rock marching band, twice!

not to mention morrocan music, a grammy award winning Indian slide-guitar player, and the play soiree dada.

camping at Indiana Dunes with our new friend Leslie

I’m happy Kayla is doing what makes her happy. I’m going to miss her.

Goodbye from little rock.


Sep 17 2007

chicago

I find myself in Chicago now. The amtrack ride was great, save for a nasty fight/ stupid understanding with Kayla and losing my knife. The entire trip across the high plains I was thinking how much I love that part of the continent, and how much I wished that I could be riding my bike across those same plains. No matter.

From here cdt and I will head roughly south until we hit shreveport. Finally I can see what damage nature (and perhaps vandals) have wreaked on my stuff. Not that I’m really attached to most of it anymore, but it’ll be a lot of fun to go through stuff that I haven’t seen in 5 years. There are a lot of letters from high school and a whole box of pictures I wanna’ see.

Chicago has been a blast. Chrisser has spent most of his time replacing all the small bits and pieces that go along with a touring bike. Kayla and I have hung out and generally had a great time. anyway….pictures soon.


Sep 10 2007

no more long blog

So, being to computer savvy person that I am I deleted my last blog post. No matter, this one will be shorter though.

After Ash and Davids wedding Kayla and I travelled to Portland with Krista and Jeremy. For the next couple of weeks we went back and forth between Mcminnville, and Portland. Enjoying ourselves the whole time. We spent a super-hot Wednesday at the beach. That oregon water is super cold, but has awesome waves. I would highly recommend checking it out.

A few days later I was able to attend Gogol Bordello at the crystal ballroom – an awesome show. If you have the chance I would highly recommend checking it out. Unfortunately we where only able to acquire one ticket, and I got the luck I guess. Somehow, during the show, my camera worked its way out of its case and made love with the sand and sweat in the bottom of my backpack. Now it has a bad case of “my lens won’t extend and it’ll cost more to fix than replace”. Argghhh. It was a good camera while it lasted.

From Portland, the next day, krista drove me out of Portland and sent me on my way to mount st helens. Since I had just driven down the alcan I wasn’t to awestruck by the scenery; it was nice, just not the Haines highway. The few days of aloneness in the woods did me a lot of good though. I don’t often get a chance to be quiet and ponder. A few days of that and I was off to Seattle to meet Chrisser.

As an aside, I love a good public trans system. It just makes life so much easier.

cdt was in good spirits and we had an enjoyable time walking the streets of Seattle. I discovered I like Ethiopian food and mediocre comedy is ok at $5.

We caught a ride on Craigslist down to Oly to catch kt and aemmon. I like that town and I love those people. I wish we could have stayed longer. I called Krista up and begged for a ride to portland so that we could take an extra day to hang out. She graciously sent Jeremy and we got to spend the day working on a farm for the gleaners coalition in Olympia. Good times, and a good organization. I already miss those two.

Back in portand I picked up Kayla and we kissed in the middle of a grocery store parking lot for some time. I think we where blocking traffic. It is good to see her; I missed her much more than expected.

Next: off to Chicago via Amtrak special.


Aug 24 2007

mostly pictures

I’m in a lonely mood at the moment and don’t feel like writing so I’ll fill most of the details in with pictures. Tonight there is a house show in NE pdx that Kayla and I are going to go to, that should be fun.

I don’t think we had a rest day until rolling into Van. We where super tired, mostly due to the back roads that we’d been taking:

That was only the beginning of three more days of similiar roads. For the first time in my life I seriously considered backtracking 50 miles…then I saw the cows

Somehow they made everything alright.

The Clinton-Pavillion road, and the sea to sky highway in BC are both incredible roads.

We made new friends in Lilloet that taught us a bit about robery

The natives north of Whistler seem to be unhappy.

What a contrast civilization is; Oklahoma! in Vancouver was great.

Great $3.50 breakfast in a diner that hasn’t changed since the 60’s

It was all worth it though; congratulations Ashley and David!


Aug 9 2007

on my way to the sea to sky

So, I’m now at the public library in Williams Lake, British Columbia.

After getting back to the cabin in Haines, and spending the night, Kayla and I set off for Haines – again. Chrisser was going to hitch there.The first night we enjoyed ourselves. Despite the 15 mph headwinds we still managed to make it about 100 km. On the second day just after I finished repairing a flat tire ( actually my tire had worn out, probably due to me skidding to a halt at some point, but that’s irrelevant) Kayla and I where laying down on the side of the road, in the grass, when a large truck pulled up and none other than Chrisser pops his head out and asks if we want a ride to the cabin, about 50 km away.

The cabin is located at kilometer post 107.7 on the haines highway. It is a free cabin that is kept up by bikers in the summer and snowboarders in the winter. Inside there is a guest book with notes from people, some quite charming, that date back to the late 90’s. Anyway we stayed the night and where quite warm.

The next day Kayla and I headed into Haines on, by far, the most beautiful ride I’ve ever been on. Seriously, if you haven’t ridden on the Haines highway do it. It’s well worth it. Not to mention that about 20 km past the cabin is a 14 km downhill. Passing through customs was a breeze; for a change US Customs treated us more kindly than the Canadian officials.

Chrisser ended up riding into Haines on his bum ankles. We stayed the night at the free campground (the one that we didn’t think to check on our last trip) and caught the ferry in the morning. Skipping forward to Juneau we decided to jump off and see a little bit of town during our 2 hour layover. While hitching into town a very kind young man picked us up and drove us around the valley for the next hour. The glacier, Safeway, UAS, Spawning salmon, and some great conversation where included in the trip. Definitely post card worthy. We also managed to stop, for varying amounts of time in Sitka, Kake, and Ketchikan. Sitka was the only town that we got to explore much of – it looked quite nice though.

When we arrived in Prince George we met a couple, Colt and Liz, while asking for information about where to camp, who offered us a night in their basement. We had a wonderful time with them that included an awesome Fresh Salmon dinner, crepes and fruit in the morning and several cans salmon for the road. Thanks Liz and Colt!!! That day cdt realized that his ankles still wheren’t okay for riding, so he decided to fly home to New York for a few weeks to get R&R and see family.

So, Kayla and I have been riding 80 mile days, 4 in a row, in order to make it to Silverdale for Ashley’s wedding. We followed the Yellowhead from Prince Rupert to Prince George, then headed south on the 97. Rest days have been in Smithers and in Cinema II, outside Quesnel (say it with a silent ‘s’). There have been a ton of good times, but once again internet time is short. Most of of all I’ve been enjoying getting to know Kayla better and checking out the beautiful scenery that bc has to offer. I’ll try to fill in details of this part of the journey when I next write. See you soon!