Fire night, beer and exercise…

We’re having fire night tonight… I love fire night… and now even more, when everyone is back to reality after Christmas madness and New Year’s party perdition… back to reality sucks for most. For Chris and I it’s super cool since we get to pick up old Christmas trees and make fire night.

My best friend from high school who I will name “Socorro de los Lamentos Fuentes de las Rosas” to protect her identity (love my Mexican ninja style there?) and I had the most cheesy-girlie friendship. No, you’re not understanding. I mean all teenager drama “Felicity” type cheesy. Have to say now from the beginning that finding someone with who you can be yourself to that level is super ultra cool… for real.

Did everything together: homeworks -more than twice I copied hers, cried, got drunk for the fist time, joined the soccer team in a time where there was no female team in high school (imagine how happy the guys were with two not very athletic girls in the team… yes, and it was a private school), did all the cheerleader stuff -for about a week. Got my very first magic herbs for my birthday gift and turned out to bring me the inspiration to learn about medicinal herbs later on. Wrote letters to each other to be opened 15 years later. Remember those times? When we actually WROTE to each other? We figured 15 years was enough time for becoming our future version of ourselves. You know what I mean?…  I know you do. I have spent the past 13 years learning how to forget about this future version and getting to know the present one. You can add that to another reason I am joining Pedaling for Peace.

I have Socorro in my head right now because in my mental list of the very select few items I am to take with myself for the ride and be pedaling around with it’s her letter. And a wine bottle opener.

La Escuelita del Porvenir… the ‘Little School in El Porvenir’

El vino, el café y la ciencia son gustos que he compartido con mi papá, desde pequeña. Nos pasábamos horas platicando de estrellas pulsares y de la relatividad del tiempo -mis conocimientos en el área son básicos, pero al menos, espero, compensaba con mi imaginación y curiosidad dando pie a las más largas y divertidas conversaciones.

Desde hace varios años llevo intentando convencerlo de producir vino conmigo, y hasta este año decidí comenzar por mi cuenta. El lugar para hacerlo; “La Escuelita del Porvenir”… el resultado: media tonelada de tempranillo con uva de San Vicente con mes y medio ya en barrica de roble húngaro. Como tenemos pensado Chris y yo salir de Ensenada en marzo, no me tocará embotellar mi vino ni darlo a conocer en el Guateque del Vino Artesanal, uno de mis eventos favoritos de las Fiestas de la Vendimia el próximo año, pero al menos ahora disfruto bastante cada paso del que logro ser parte…  así que ya saben, si estan en Ensenada para las fiestas del vino, busquen ‘Vinomio’, el vino de la etiqueta con una bicicleta y tómense un par a nuestra salud!

 

Last nights dream before I dream again…

I came back to Tijuana because I was offered a roll in a movie that paid handsomely….  The it turned into a commercial for a government party election…

I backed out.

No politics for me, money wont buy my freedom, or help me take it from someone else…

I dreamed this morning, well, yesterday morning now that I was flying, slowly at first, then faster and with more focus and power…

I’m changing, my world is starting to change around me…

Soon I will shed many of my things and travel light…

If I am to become Ninja, it is up to me at this point, I must be the change I wish to see in the world, I need to let my light shine so others can see in this darkness, otherwise what am I doing…

Perhaps I will fly again now…

Goodnight.

 

Aloha.

Ensenada Express A.K.A. The Adventures of La Calle Montaña…

Miles to date- a lot

Miles to go to completion of journey- no point in even guessing

Temperature, weather today- overcast morning, warming in afternoon

Hills- ridiculous, Climb- more ridiculous than the hills

People with Guns- 1 military unit, 1 Federale

Jars of Peanut Butter Consumed since Leaving US- 3

Plastic 6 ring holders collected- 23

Used Vega- Si

Days of unbroken Kung Fu training- 1 (number resets every time I miss a day, goal is 100)

My initial attempt to get to Ensenada was thwarted by two  Federales (State Police)with Bulletproof vests, guns and understanding for a gringo with limited Spanish, that and my lack of a map.  The Scenic road is not for bikers, period.

My second attempt was a fantastic success and gave me a small taste of the road yet to be ridden.

Leaving Tijuana was a cinch outside of the initial two attempts by local dogs to take me down, the first was cute in a way as only one of the two dogs was into it and the other was clearly confused as to why he-she was chansing me at such an early hour and what the end goal was to be had they been successful.

The second two dog team some 4 minutes later was much more pointed in thier approach and need to cause me some sort of damage, with these two i would take a stab at territorial disagreement with me.

The road was fantastic, I have heard many things about the ills of the Mexican highway system, but this one was fine with a shoulder wide enough to be a called a traffic lane in most European countries.

I only got lost once, but felt the tug in my gut, ask for directions, made an insane dash across the highway and divider in between speeding cars and trucks and onto the necessary onramp towards Rosarito and Ensenada.

Which brings me to a special moment for me, I got to say Aloha at Fox studios which is where they did a lot of work on the first Predator movie.  That was one of those defining films for me as a wee, well, not wee per sey, but an earlier version to be sure…

In Rosarito I once again tried to get on the Scenic Highway, not out of spite for authorities or trying to be tricky, I was told it was O.K., and once again, I saw the giant sign of a bike surrounded by a red circle with a line through it, upon turning I also saw the  Federale appraoching hand on gun speaking into the shoulder mike.

Why not put the no bike sign at the entrance of the highway and not a football field into it…  Just a thought…

The people I notice are getting waaay more openly friendly.  So, I dont want there to be a mistake, Tijuana was super friendly once I made the first move, Aloha, Howdy, Hola, cheesy grin etc.  Now I am finding that people are saying all sorts of things as I pass and all seem to be favorable, lots of thumbs up, whistles, random shouts of joy, the heroes welcome if youu will.

So, it was destiny that I would have to take what I have called the mountain road not that anyone else here calls it that or that anyone really knows what I am talking about when I say that.  It is the Mexican 1, and the toll road or Scenic Highway is the 1D.

So I am on the 1.

The one follows the 1d for a long time from Rosarito towards Ensenada down the coast, beautiful by the way if you get the chance.

Then they sepaprate, the 1 following the coastline and the 1D begins its descent first into the valley, which is grand and you get to see cowboys ushering thier horses from place to place and small town living, which really reminded me of Hawaii.

Then it begins to climb, and it climbs for…ever, when I would get to what I thought was the top, I would see it was only a dip and then it just keep on going up.  I havent had the mountain action in some time, so for me it was rough, what made it rad were the road workers and of course the scenery, which my apologies for not getting pictures, but the camera is now so dead it will not even get blinky lights when I plug it into the charger.  keep your fingers crossed for me that my buddy Johnny who sent a camera via regular mail will make it.  If not, you get lots of good stuff to read.

The road workers, so rad as long as I was making effort, pedaling, they would be stoked, I felt like a rider in the tour de France the way they cheered and shouted.  BUT, if I was walking, they would rest on thier tools, nod solemly at me and say nary a word.  Perhaps they felt bad I let myself give up for that stretch, perhaps they were upset they didnt get to be part of the action and all they got for a show was a gringo walking….  Whatever it was, thanks guys…

Somewhere near the top of the mounatin, the actual top, not one of the many false hopes, I got to the military checkpoint which was hillarious! I never in a million billion years thought that I would be greeted by guys raising thier guns in the air cheering me on calling me Forest Gump.

Hello, I am Sgt. Suarez, you are Forest Gump (polite laugh) what brings you this way today….

I literally got a military send off down the mountain, I love it!

The downhill was fantastic, cruising down Valley walls forever!  I have noticed and may someday seek assistance to put into a mathematical equation the following, my joy in cruising down the hill, mountain, etc., is directly proportionate to my ride-walk equation going up it.

And when the ocean was in view and I could smell the salt of the sea, thats when it happened.

It started out as a growl and next thing I was being chased by an entire pack of wild dogs.  Now, if you are reading this from the states chances are you dont know what I am talking about, even the dogs that chased me in Missouri and Arkansas still had that humanization in thier eyes.  THESE dogs however did not, I think I know what it is to be the gazelle in the National Geographic special.  They are a wild pack of dogs that for all intents and purposes may as well be in the Sahara, theres nothing really in the Sahara though is there, Serengetti…

If it wasnt a downhill my video game might have ended on this level.  I was on red alert, my normal cool calm composer was cracked wide open, leaqving me shrieking obscenities and occasiosally throwing wild kicks until I realized that would merely give them something to latch onto… the dogs are snarling and sprinting, Im pumping the pedals in full on mode, soooooo intense, no way to relate it, it was out of a nightmare!  The feeling of doom, you know it, this feeling, and if you do not, I hope you never do!  The way the saliva was frothing and flying out of thier mouths, the look in thier eyes which read simply – you are food.

And then they were gone, even the German Shepherd looking one that did not seem like it was going to give up and came closest to bringing me down.  Aloha to the guy on the side of the road and I was in Ensenada!

As I sit here typing this, I have been meeting so many people, a part of me is stoked for the deserts I am coming to here in a short while.  A very small part mind you, as I am human and made of some 79-80 percent water, i tend to shy away from the desert lifestyle from a Darwinian angle on things, the solitude that I will have no choice but to enter into is fantastic, and that I have a tent, I am stoked to sleep under the stars, scorpion and rattlesnake free.  I look forward to the time when I get lost in this journey, get lost amongst the pages of life I am creating day by day, disappear from social media, from the world as I know it now,

…take me disappearing
through the smoke rings of my mind
through the foggy ruins of time
beyond frozen eaves
the haunted frightened trees
out to the windy beach
far from the twisted reach
of crazy sorrow
to dance beneath the diamond sky
woth one hand waiving free
silhouetted by the sea
circled by the circus sands
let me forget about today
until tomorrow…
Mr. Tambourine Man – Bob Dylan

it is afterall, a pirates life for me …

Aloha, I meet with WildCoast  – http://www.wildcoast.net tomorrow!

I get a choice, I either laugh or cry and then one day I die, I will judge myself on my death bed for the times I could have laughed instead of cried, and since I am dying, I will not be able to lie or rationalize, I will see with the clarity that only comes from the last moments of life… so… in the immortal words of the joker, “if you gotta go,go with a smile=]”

“Do or do not, there is no try.”  Yoda
“On the road of life you get flat tires, fix them and keep rollin'”  Me
“Live vicariously through yourself”  Me

I drove to a party in Tijuana tonight.  It is a Couchsurfing party, but thats not why I am writing this, one party is ususaly as good as any other, ending as most do, with lots of trash and people rubbing sore heads the next day;….  No, my reason is that I drove.
If you have never driven in Tijuana, I cannot say Mexico as I do not know what it is like anywhere else, but here, in Tijuana, it is a lesson in Zen, going with the flow, it reminds me of a river gong through many twists and turns, a river with great force behind it.
For one, the rules of the road are faily basic, do not hit or be hit, close calls are the norm and a hairs breadth is how they are measured.  the stop signs seem to be more a suggestion than a demand.  At one point I turned to Carolina and said, “goodness, I just mossed a stop sign…”
She smiled politely and said, “that was the 6th one.”
There is a level of awareness you must have, yo actually have to be paying attention to what is going on in the road, to what is happening around you.  Insurance is rare and a penalty for killing someone is actually severe, not a question of whose fault, but more that I alife was lost, there are actual consuqunces beyond a raise in insurance.
This was driving with a car, small pick up to be exact, now, from the saddle of my bike, the ninja.
At first, it is, well, for me, it was very scary, the rules of the road, as I said before are kind of suspended.  Being on a bike suspends them further, trying to stay on the shoulder of the road for me is a near impossibility as this would require a mountain bike with suspension, so I find myself in the thick of it…
Its fun, again, its like a river, only now I am a leaf following the flow, not the water, i must watch out for the cars, busses, pedestrians, so many things, random holes and slashes in the surface which cold topple me into the flow where i would surely drown.
At the end of the day I feel safer, again, people do not want to hit me, further, the drivers are very aware of what is going on, further improved by the day-glo orange vest given to me as a gift by my freind Uncle Billy.  Interesting, Uncle Billy, thelast time I heard that name I was in Hawaii…=]
I feel safer was what I was saying, much safer than the states, as there is such a blanket of laws that there are stories of people purposely hitting cyclists and getting away scott free, If I got hit here, it is almost assured that the hitter would have a very bad day indeed.  Of course at the speed at which things happen here, I would as well, but, we neednt dwell on that, it hasnt happened.
Later….
The Couchsurfing party was fantastic, hosted in a huge mansion in the hills of Tijuana, big pool, plenty of opportunities to practicar mi espagnol, an impromptu eye exam and flushing by a med student on a motorcycle rider from the Netherlands who opened his visor while driving and got something in his eye at 60km and hour.
The family I am staying with here in Tijuana is so kind to me, that I find myself waiting for the “shoe to drop” at times, or I feel like a bad man, strange thing, a person or persons are very kind to me and I end up feeling like a bad man.  Now, this is something to be worked on as it really can have a negative slant on the life a person, myself, will lead.  As we know, if you wait for something, especially subconciously, seek so shall ye find, you will not be dissapointed.
I am waiting in traffic now to go back across the border to have a conversation with a camera company…  The border still mystifies me, a true expression of a very aggressive symptomatic dealing with a problem.  Is it not the companies in America who place such a high demand on illegal immigrant labor?  Do not most companies put this labor into the bottom line on the documents that are leaked to the public?  And yet, who is punished, the immigrants, usually at the business end of a gun….  so interesting for me the “way” things are done when it comes to business, no longer American business, for it is now the common denominator for how the world does business.  We have managed to export the one thing that we argue so loudly against, thereby insuring that we will never be written out of the program as it stands now, because it is us who are writing it.  Yes, Greed has been in existence for some time, and yet, if we look at simple numbers, we have the highest consumption per capita in the world, ergo, we are the greediest.  This is the prgram that we export, we control it, so it does not mattert hat we no longer produce anything, we produce the reason for producing, and the way to make extravagant waste the norm.  Its ingenious in a way, a diabolical way to be sure, but credit must be given where credit is due, the plan in itself is ingenious, its a shame that the designers never accounted for our species in the picture and only money.
This is the seed that is so often spoken of when people talk about the seed of destruction has been sown in the soil of the very crop being planetd for success.  The money seed is great, and it is so great that if left unchecked, it will devour the planet till there is nothing left for the farmer to eat.
My only glimmer of hope is that the seeds of the programs destruction will be stronger than the program itself.
I’m on diatribe, enough.
I’m getting healthier here in Mexico, my eating has normalized, I eat much less and have increased energy, my sleep is better, the amount of fresh fruit I eat has increased exponentially, my “Simple food” intake is up and I feel fantastic!  Being Vegan is at first daunting, there is a glut of meat here in Mexico, everything is meat and oft times the beans are made with manteca, a.k.a. lard.  Vegan or not, lard is a hard road to hoe for the body and I would advise that no one eat it.
Back to consumerism, I am slowly making my way to the border crossing with Caolina and my goodness.  I speak now if the roadside stores along the highway into America, the last minute shopping for Gringos going home… If supply is driven by demand, than as Americans we are telling Mexico that we love the following, cigarrettes (but you knew that), food that tastes good but will leave you inches frmo the grave, figurines (esp. Christ, Santa Maria, donkeys, spiderman, Mario, Transformers, old tyme children on benches, giant frogs, pigs, Mayan inspired pottery), Lucha Libre masks, blankets with  – Scarface, Hello Kitty, Monster energy Drinks, American football teams (esp Seahawks), Zebra and leapord prints -, regular Mexican blankets, Futbol jerseys, Mexican flagsand lastly woven hammocks that I have yet to actually see hanging from anyones house, though I have seen them in garages across the states=]
We just cossed the border, and I am happy to sum it up in a word…. C R E E P Y.
You first drive through an entire bank of photograpic arrays, I think I lost a year or so of life for the moment, literally, I spent in the midst of so many different rays that my body basically just got hit by the equivalnet of a solar flare  while standing inside a late model microwave outside of a partially melted down nuclear reactor with TV sets all around playing daytime soap operas.
Next we come to the open door of the agent and this is where it got wierd.  he looked at us in the front seat with a kind of smile and then focused on little guy in his baby seat int he back, I am Big guy by the way, one of the best nicknames I have been given to date.  Now, when I say focus, I mean it in the essence of the word, it seemed as though he was no loonger human and instead a robot with some kind of x-ray vision and he was having temporary difficulty with the lenses and had to focus them.  The look was devoid of anything human, it was a machine looking through a child to find something else, something hidden.
I was creeped out, I’ve been creeped out by the whole wall thing, all of it is just creepy.  I have yet to understand how anyone can believe we are workign towards peace when we spend ever increasing amounts on war.  In that vein, check out the book, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, a lighthearted look at the world we live in from eyes of pilots on the war front.

And so, where am I now, time to continue packing and head for Ensenada!

 

Aloha!

Silly Gringos……Acid running down my legs, literally=]

I get some wart remover for my foot and all is well and good.  As I leave the gentleman with me translates what the lady says, “She says use with caution, not like American, medical grade, very strong acid.”

“OK., O.K.”, no worries is my reply.

I put as little drop on as possible and yes, it is a very strong acid indeed, replace the rubber stopper and absentmindedly drop it in my pocket.

I plop down in the couch to read my latest and greatest book, Catch-22, and lo, there is a liquid running down my leg, thick and viscous, like an egg yolk (vegan of course).  It took me roughly 10 seconds to connect the dots at which point I was bounding the stairs to the shower, turned it on, ignored the freezing cold water as at this point my legs and more importantly my bits and pieces were on FIRE!

I peeled off my shorts only to be confronted by problem two, it is not just an acid, but is has the glue like affect, so now I am ripping out glue like acid, tufts of leg har and bits and pieces hair…. Dios Mio.

No worries, a little futbol on the tele and then riding to Playas for a couple days, have a great party with the couchsurfing organization on Friday and then bike to Ensenada!

Aloha!

A Tijuana Bike Ride and Dr. Luis Arturo Cruz Ibanez

I’ve been in Tijuana 48 hours, when I originally wrote this it was only like 30 something.
I’m sitting in Dr. Luis Arturo Cruz Ibanez’s dental office waiting to hear my fate on my teeth which have been having that “sensitive’ feeling of late.
Now I’m in the middle of three palm trees on Avenida De Los Heroes and Calle Sanchez Tiboada.  There is a man in tattered and stained clothes with his face painted as a clown, he blows a whistle to get the drivers attention at the red light and then perfroms an act of magic in hopes of donations.  the trick today, maybe everyday, is pulling a dove out of a seemingly empty black bag.
I feel my teeth, Senor Ibanez was great, it was relatively inexpensive, and what is expensive when it comes to the body, especially the teeth, without them you have to carry a blender every where you go…  the Greeks, maybe Romans, as a torture would pull all of your teeth and kick out of the castle walls, where you would slowly starve to death.
So I feel them, my teeth, he suggested i start brush no more than 5 min after I eat instead of waiting before bed and at preset times, makes sense I guess, I picture a castle wall and enemies breaking the bricks that make it, you can get them away from the wall when it matters or at pre set times…..  verdad?
I met Uncle billy today, at first i heard change in someones pocket coming up behind me, then he fell in step beside me and started asking questions about my bike, next thing we were crossing the street and meeting with his friend who built a really rad trailer out of parts and had such a good shock systme built into it he could haul refrigerators.  of course he also did some pretty ninja stuff with his rear cassette, he had 13 rings and said he could beat most cars and of course, haul a fridge.
That was the part that I was stoked about, and that it was built from scrap metal, and used car parts.
Uncle Billy used to be quite a player in the drug scene, he even got bailed out by Don Johnson at one point although how and why that came to happen i forget, he had so many stories and so many intricate details that I knew he was telling me the truth, even when Interpol tortured him in Columbia by tying his thumbs together behind his back and then hoisting him off the ground by those same thumbs until he passed out or spilled the frijoles.  No frijoles spilled on Uncle Billy’s watch.  They made him sign a paper saying he knew nothing.  He once got his aircraft full of drugs grounded by the Columbian airforce.  Got quite a whooping for that one, “what a party” he says!
We rode our bikes through Tijuana, he introduced me to people here and there, all family or in some way related…  his friend, the gentleman who built the trailer, told me how he used to surf all the time, traveled all over the coasts and made me promise to go to the Mexican Pipeline, one of the three places he knew of that had the biggest waves..
“The Pipeline in Oahu, Mavericks IN Northern California and the Mexican Pipeline.”
He then told me a story about one of the greatest Mexican surfers, he had already wrapped up a contest they had to send someone fully sponsored to the Triple Crown in Oahu, when he decided to get one last wave, I was told his name, but with so much information coming my way, it is lost, perhaps google will help me find it later.  Anyway, this surfer was the best, he surfed this spot his whole life, and he had the contest totally wrapped up by so many points it was a done deal, he decided to get one last wave…
The pipeline closed on him and his body and board were never found.