Another copy/paste update after a few days of riding and fun. Looking forward to the next post as it will be from outside of the US!
Days 8 - 11 | Estados Unidos Grand Finale
Florida >> Texas | The last of the U.S. of A.
Date: Dec 23rd, 2013
Overview: Pensacola >> Brownsville
Mileage since leaving Denver: 3,099
Total mileage on bike: 6,101
I had an amazing time with Greg in Santa Rosa Island (Pensacola), but had to get on the road to New Orleans. I left out fairly early and had a nice ride cruising along the coast and then over the Mobile Bay via ferry to Dauphin Island. Two and four lane roads are definitely the way to go when traveling on motorbike (dirt would be even better, and I'll get my fair share of that down south). I've found interstate highways to be absolutely soul crushing, and have tried to stay off them any chance I can. Regardless of road choice, the Spotify playlists that a few friends have been creating for me have helped immensely. You know who you are, thanks for those!
The last few years I've been spoiled with nice hotels due to work travel and expense accounts. A buddy reminded me that I'm going to be camping and staying in dumpy hotels, and need to switch ASAP to money saving mode since I'm unemployed. That said, he recommended a hostel in New Orleans called India House. I showed up and it actually looked pretty cool. However, they lost my reservation somehow and wouldn't honor the e-mail and confirmation number that I had in my phone. After I explained to 'bro' at the desk how absolutely lame that was, he suggested another hostel down the street called Marquette House. I won't spend much time talking about it, but DO NOT stay there. I am surprised there were NOT bed bugs. The place was an incredible dump and was worse than ANY I've ever stayed (and I stayed in some absolute shitholes in Thailand). Too add to it, it's overrun with local drunks using it as a cheap long term hotel of sorts. Seriously, don't stay here... unless you want to cook up some meth in the kitchen, in which case you may like it.
Slum jungle hostel aside, I freaking loved New Orleans. I'd only been there once before and wanted to spend some time checking it out further. I met a really cool local named Christina. I had only gone out for a bite to eat that first night, but she offered to show me around to some great music joints, and then after hearing my hostel sob story let me crash at her place after a great night of partying NOLA style. She even walked me to this creepy old lady for my first card reading. I'll spare you the details, but Miss Cleo freaked me out when she wished me a grand adventure, and let me know that I'd end up with another girl who'd make me happy in the end (I hadn't told her anything at that point). I ended up staying one more night after deciding that a day of rest was in order, so after two nights in The Big Easy, it was time to pack up and head to Houston to stay with fellow ADV'er jfink.
I showed up around 2pm on Sunday and was greeted by Joe, his wife, and a few of his friends. Seriously, the hospitality was astounding. We chatted motorcycles for quite awhile over craft IPA. Not to mention, his wife prepared some amazing chili for the shindig. I was able to enjoy a room, shower, laundry facilities, and a garage for the bike. I was even treated to an early Christmas gift as Joe had done a similar trip a couple years back and figured I could always use another small flashlight. After blabbing about bikes for awhile, the guys treated me to a Texas tradition... shooting guns. I'm happy to say that I was able to hit close to the target and not embarrass myself too much. Joe seriously, thanks so much for the send off to the border. I REALLY appreciate it and look forward to paying back the hospitality at some point in the future. If I end up back in Colorado, I'll organize a BDR ride or something for you and the boys.
I woke up this morning and drove the almost 400 miles to Brownsville and am staying at the La Copa Inn in Brownsville. I'm approximately 5 miles from the border, and about to turn the page into the next chapter on my adventure. I plan to wake up super early to get across the border and down south with plenty of daylight. The goal is to make it to La Pesca and possibly camp on the beach for a couple of nights. Alternatively, if I can find a cheap spot to stay, I may do that. Anyway, I can't believe that the LatAm portion of this trip is about to begin. I'm scared, excited, anxious, happy, and essentially every other emotion in the book. I had an epiphany today though during the ride that gave me some peace. I passed a lottery billboard and was thinking about the two people who recently won the 'big one'. I read that they'll each receive $130mil AFTER taxes! I was thinking to myself, what in the heck would I do with that much money? Then it dawned on me, I wouldn't change a damn thing. Seriously! I realized that I'm currently in the process of living a dream that has been on my 'list' for as long as I can remember. It was quite a moment and brought out a huge smile.
I look forward to getting across the border and set up. I'll write and share more then. Until then... vaya con Dios mis amigos!