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Old 07-15-2010, 02:52 AM   #1
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Could have been a lazy afternoon but it wasn't, a xr650r heading back to Mexico

This story starts out as these stories sometimes do with a girl. Now its probably not quite what you expect. This girl is a good friend of mine, and by all accounts fairly nuts but in the best way possible. She had been looking for someone to go to Mexico with her, and for some strange reason no one wanted to take off to Mexico with a young blonde girl on a dirtbike. So she proceeded to convince me to accompany her. I was in a different country doing some scuba diving in the Carribean 3 weeks before she was to leave. My bike was broken as I had crashed it in baja the last time it was ridden. I had no spare money, class started at the same time as her trip, and I was going to be in Alabama up until 5 days before she would leave. The bike is sitting on a stand in Arizona. Peace of cake right?

I spent a last couple days in Alabama partying with an old friend and then I rushed back to Arizona driving almost 18 hours a day, only stopping to take naps when I was tired, to get diesel, food and little else. Hauling as much ass as an old pickup can.

My bike is a Xr650r, which I have a couple sets of wheels for. I had bent the crap out of my dirt set and they were basically worthless. So I bought a new back tire for my supermoto set and set to work trying to fix my electrical gremlins. My big 8 inch racelight hardly put out the light of a flashlight.

Alas after two days of trying I decided it was better to have dim lights than make it worse and have no lights. So I slapped it together, and promised myself that THIS time I wouldn't ride at night in mexico. Right. Either way there was no more time, so i got up the next morning slapped the bag on the bike and took off. Electrical system be damned I'm going!

She had gone down a few days ago to San Carlos to do some scuba diving. So I was to ride down and meet her at a bar. I didn't know where or when, or how or anything really. Screw it, I'll figure it out. Downside is that San Carlos is a good 6-8 hour ride from my current home of tucson. On a nice straight road. Fun!

But first Nogales. Now there are two options, the downtown and the truck route, the latter is much more tame, and its much less likely I would get run over, or that anything exciting would happen. Of course its also a toll road. And I barely have any money to do this, so I decide to hit the downtown crossing. Which is always guaranteed to be interesting. At least for me.

I stopped for some last gas on the credit card before going to my pesos.

I have done a bunch of mexico crossings lately. 20 so far this year or something rediculous. Which is a slightly long story but suffice it to say there were some girls, some fun, some trips and some broken bikes. Either way, I've never had an issue at the crossings. Searches? Yeah, but this time the gate wouldn't even open. No red light, no green light, nothing. So I sat there at the gate, wondering if anyone would notice, or if I should just ride around. Figures I get one foot into mexico and things start going screwy. Oh well, no sweat. I just turn back on my music and hang out, eventually somebody takes pity on the poor gringo pushes some button and waves me into the city! Woohoo, free in mexico again.

I was expecting some crazy traffic and I wasn't disapointed. I went into racer mode and just started chasing pizza bikes. I figure they are nuts, but so am I! It works a treat for a bit until I start feeling some strange bucking in my bike. I figure its just hot and there is nothing I can do about it now, so I press on. At one point the clutch makes a horrible squealing noise. That can't be good. But I pull up to a light and a bunch of guys selling stuff in between the lines walk up. Cracks me up because they love the bike, and keep shaking my hand with the biggest smiles. I can't understand a word they are saying as my ipod remote is acting up but I gotta admit that welcome to mexico just reminded me how much I love this place and the people. The bike will either make it or explode, and at that moment I can't say I even cared. I glance it over and nothing jumps out at me so I say screw it, the light turns green and I take off out of town!

lstzephyr screwed with this post 07-15-2010 at 03:11 AM
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Old 07-15-2010, 03:23 AM   #2
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And get on with the grind of riding down highways for a few hours. Not really all that exciting, but there is always that nagging feeling that I might blow my bike up to keep me company. Its ok though, I'm used to long hours, and I have plenty to think about. So life slowly unwinds itself as the miles stack up.

Did I mention I'm skipping the first week of spanish class to go to mexico? Seemed like it counts! I had done most of my first weeks homework ahead of time so I could take off, but that had to go in between fixing my bike, and I might have taken off to go hang out in Mexicali with a friend for a day in there too, so like I said plenty to think about!

I don't have a speedo on this bike, I used to but I broke it. So I'm doing the mental km/mph/distance/speed/time calculations in my head. I don't have a clock either but I keep an eye on the sun and decide that if I am going to make it before sun down, then no more pics. Its quite windy but I enjoy looking around at all the poeple, signs, vehicles, towns, and houses along the way.

I don't have a map either. But I've been to San Carlos once before a few months back so I sorta remember where I'm going.

So to recap, no map, no clock, no speedo, little money, bike is acting funny, skipping class, not exactly sure where I'm going, or how to get in touch with my friend, its f-ing hot, and windy to boot. Confidence isn't exactly overflowing at this point. Then I look down and see this.

Crap! Maybe I should have stayed home....
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Old 07-15-2010, 03:41 AM   #3
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Home is overrated. Besides I'm a few hours into Mexico now. Onward.

Surprisingly enough the rest of the ride is pretty calm, or at least as calm as it can be. I roll into San Carlos feeling extremely tired. I'm really stoked though and in my last couple hours of thoughts I remembered a vague reference to a wine bar. I do believe I remember where this is. In fact it was right next to a large mexican wedding and a dock. I'm sure it looks exactly the same.

And it actually does!

When I walked up to the bar there was a pretty blond girl waving back at me. I was very happy to think that I had found the right place until I got close enough to realize it wasn't my friend. Although I walked up she said "Hi, would you like a beer" so I figured they must be good people and joined them. Turned out that my friend had met her years before in Austria and she was staying with them on a boat in nearby Guaymas. I go and fetch my bike and as I'm pulling it up to the dock in front of the bar Becky runs up and gives me a hug. I'm pretty stoked to be back in mexico now! Good company, plenty of beer and so far everything has worked out. Just gotta trust it and go with it.

A little while later we take off for the boat. I had basically demanded we not move until I rested a bit, make no mistake I was weary at that point. But eventually it is time to leave. So off we go following their little vw buggy. We look like the rejects from Baja.

After the most random circuious route around the beach we pull up at the boat. It had run aground and Roger who backpacks around had been hired to fix it by the owner, who I think was a family friend. Either way, its a free home! Plus it has bike parking built in!

Our hosts Roger and Christine.

We walk down the street, grab some beer from the local place, and go back to the boat. The laughter lasts late into the night and pasta magically appears. All is good in the world. I love it here.

(Some of these pictures, like that beautiful sunset, are stolen from Becky's camera, which by the way here is her ride report on this little trip:

lstzephyr screwed with this post 07-18-2010 at 11:52 PM
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Old 07-15-2010, 04:00 AM   #4
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Glad you didn't stay home!

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Old 07-18-2010, 11:44 PM   #5
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The whole night I kept waking up, it felt like something was biting me but I just figured it was some fly or something. Nothing to worry about, or at least I though then. In the morning I was to discover that something at the hell out of me. Oh well.

I got up in the morning and messed with the bike a bit. I adjusted the chain and figured it would work. It was a pretty nice view considering it was a boatyard.

Nice and shady under the boat. I think I need one!

Pretty soon after it got ass hot out so out came the beer and we got down to that very serious thing of just hanging out.

And then later we drank more beer.

A boat showed up.

Becky's bike had a bit of a loose exhaust. So we decided to head out into the town to see about getting that welded up. I wasn't really feeling like riding the bike so I hopped into the back of the buggy. I decided I wanted some wind protection as I stuck about 3 feet up above the windshield so out came the goggles. I looked even more pimp and got even more strange looks than usual!

We had an idea where one shop was at so we headed there. They couldn't do anything for us so they directed us to another shop, who also couldn't help but never fear they knew another and directed us to it. They COULD help. Its pretty awesome in mexico that if they can't fix it they will just send you to their competitor that can!

Finally got it fixed. They did a good job.

There was a local harley dude that brewed his own beer so we dropped by there for some good stuff!

The guy was real cool, talking about old bikes and he had a whole pack of fat chihuahas. The dogs were awesome.

Now at this point we headed back and hung around drinking. It was awesome just doing nothing. Some young girls that hang around the yard came over and we were all smashed enough that fingernail polish vending hilarity began. Roger insisted on trying all the colors before purchase.

Now at some point she painted my foot. It was perhaps the worst foot painting job I have ever recieved! The only one as well, but the look on her face was priceless. We were all having a good time.

We were laughing late into the night again. Good company! They made even doing nothing a ton of fun.

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Old 07-20-2010, 04:43 PM   #6
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Good times comrade. I'll have to drag you back again!
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Old 08-02-2010, 12:10 AM   #7
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Well we had been feeling like we had been lazy enough for a couple days so with Becky's bike fixed it was time to ride a bit. Roger had told us about a cool little abandoned movie set, a stunning beach and a hot spring up in the mountain. So we figured that was a worthy place to head off to.

It was pretty hot out though so shorts and sun dresses was the decision for the day. Of course if you are going to ride a dirt bike you need armor with your sundress. So posing was in order! We got even more crazy looks than usual.

And of course there is me looking kinda crazy as usual.

Safety first! So properly kitted up with the swimsuits it was time to head off out into the middle of nowhere.

It was warm out, so we had to get some airflow going!

After running through downtown guaymas we hit some dirt and took off out to the hidden staging area. It was time for a bit of hiking.

We walked around for quite awhile thinking that there would be water and the hot springs right over the next hill.

It was looking pretty dry though. Really dry.

In fact it seemed like we might as well be searching for unicorns!

But as always the company was awesome so there were no complaints. It was a fun little adventure hiking off into the desert in mexico.

We knew there was water at the beach so enough of this desert stuff its off back to the beach! But first a bit of offroading and a movie set.

We tracked down a epic little fish shop down on the beach. The food was awesome, although the vegetarian of the group may not have been as stoked as the rest of us!

Well after a bit of food and refreshment everybody was feeling a bit sleepy. I never sleep so I figured I'd go and explore the local fishing village. It was a cool little place and eventually I found my way to a little beach. Unfortunately I made it about 50 feet onto the beach before my back tire dug in hard and I got stuck up to the axle. Hmm...

I've been stuck in worse places though. The view was amazing and I even had some kids laughing at me to keep me company! I couldn't get the bike to lift up out of the sand so I went with plan B, which was to pick the front end up and drag it around. It took me a good 20 minutes to pull it around. For awhile I was holding the bike basically straight up in a wheelie while trying to turn it without falling on my butt at the same time! It was less than graceful but I got it turned around. Right as I got it started again Becky rode around the corner to see just what sort of stupidity I had gotten myself into. Becky came up the beach and then went into a bit of a tankslapper, then the bike shot off towards the little pond. It was the only water nearby and she heads straight for it! Luckily she just let it go and I wandered over to help her extract it.

My supermoto wasn't exactly working in the sand so she offered me the use of her bike. I'm looking at the ground trying to tell if the bike was moving at all. This stuff was soft!

But eventually I got a little bit of speed going.

And then I highsided Becky's bike! It went into a tankslapper and I couldn't get it back. The front dug in and the bike did a flip over the top of me and landed on top of me. I hit pretty hard but luckily the sand was nice and soft so when the bike hit me it just pounded me down into the sand. I tried to pull the bike off of me but I was wedged in pretty good. Normally I hop right up from crashes but this time I was down for a good minute or so, I heard the buggy fire up and a roar, I looked over and the buggy sank into the sand! Well, I guess I am on my own then. I rambled something in spanish, and started counting uno, dos, tres, push! and moved over an inch. Slowly I inched my way out from under the bike. It felt like it took forever but the bike eventually let me free! I hopped up, gave the scuba signal for ok, and pulled the bike up. I started it and tryed to ride off but I only got a couple feet before digging it in again.

I was fine, although there was sand in places I never thought sand would get packed in! All in all though everything works peachy so other than a dented sandy ego I was all good! Not bad for being body slammed by a dirtbike, gotta love body armor!

Besides, look at that view!

For some reason she didn't want me riding her bike back. So off she went, did I mention the sand was soft?

So with the bikes back it was time to try and extract the Boogy. Of course a local had appeared out of nowhere to help us. The mexican people are awesome! Everybody pitched in after making sure the crazy guy(me) was alright.

Our new friend was extremely helpful, and we were very happy to have his help. With a bit of effort we got the boogy out and Roger was only too happy to give him one of our beers for his help. Roger drove the buggy over the left side of the hill thinking it ran around the edge of the little pond but he quickly ran out of room and it got hairy for a couple seconds there. I thought for sure he would flip but his expert driving abilities came out and he held it together. He got a bit of a shock going sideways into the pond but no damage.

With all this getting stuck and flipping stupidity we all needed a break. We may have just been a bit dehydrated as well.

Some random posing was of course mandatory at this point. Gotta have some fun with it!

When we headed back into town Becky's bike was acting up a bit. The throttle was sticking because some guy had flipped the thing jamming sand into the throttle. No matter though because it eventually worked its way out. We stopped into a little bar for a couple margaritas and all was right with the world. I'm still looking a bit haggard though!

Roger was thinking it was time to upgrade to something a bit more pimp.

Now Roger had been joking that if the cops showed up behind us it was every man for himself. See the buggy only had one taillight and that one was suspect. We all laughed and thought nothing of it. When we went to leave we took off with me in the back of the group. Well a cop truck pops up behind me and I realized that there was nothing I could do. So I pulled over and prepared myself for a shake down. The first cop comes up and says something in spanish about my lights. I ramble some spanish about my friends being lighted boats and my eyes falling out. The other cop walks up at that point and starts talking to me in english. Crap! So much for bad spanish getting me out of this. I ask him what is wrong and he says that I can't stand on the pegs. I asked him if that was really what was wrong and he told me that my tail lights are out. At this point I figure he is just fishing a bit. After checking over my insurance and registration he says that I will need to follow him back to the station. I kicked, kicked, and kicked some more. The xr was just not wanting to fire up. It might have started a bit easier if I had tried harder but I figured if they were going to mess with me I would take my time!

So off I go, following the truck thinking to myself that my bike is so much faster than this thing but oh well. No reason trying to be an idiot in mexico. Eventually they pull over in front of a bar! HA alright I see where this is going, I had figured they wanted a bribe, but the bar was a bit obvious huh? So we started negotiations. He wanted 400, I countered with 20, he said 300, I said I didn't have enough to get home. Eventually I gave him a hundred pesos. About 8 bucks! I can live with that. They hung around long enough to get the bike running again and then off they went.

Now...I'm in San carlos, everybody else is gone, and I just have to find my way back to the boat without a guide, and I've only ridden this route once before. Oh yeah and its dark. Did I mention my light sucks?

lstzephyr screwed with this post 08-03-2010 at 01:21 AM
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:10 AM   #8
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Old 08-02-2010, 11:45 AM   #9
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So my sense of direction is pretty good, and luckily I have almost a photographic memory. I take off to the next light, grab a uey and blast out of there. If it only takes 8 bucks to get out of a ticket I'm not bothering to go the speed limit and get run over for not having a tail light. It occurs to me that maybe I should have spent a bit more time on my electrical. Oh well, nothing to do but go!!!

I almost missed the first turn as there are no streetlights out here, I also had noticed that a headlight is keeping pace with me and starting to catch up, passing a bunch of cars in the process. If its my policia buddys they are going to have to try harder than that! I took off up the hill and luckily there is a bit of light reflecting off the water making it a bit brighter.

After going through a couple little fishing villages and about 20 random turns later I get pretty close to where the boat is at. Unfortunately I forget which turnoff it is so I spend a good 30 minutes running back and forth. When I finally figured it out, I went to the boat and nobody was there. I probably should have just stayed but they had said they were going to the harley dude's beer place so off I went. No one was there either but when I came back the gate was closed now. Crap! I made a bit of a racket and nobody came over so I just popped the gate and opened it, turned around and the gate guy showed up then! Figures. I try to explain in my meager spanish that I am a friend of a guy there and I've been there for a few days but its not flying with him.

A guy drives by and translates for me, but at that point the guard is not happy with me. He tells me I can't wait there and I have to leave. Crap! My gear is on the boat. All I have is what I'm wearing, and some pesos. Most of my dollars are in my jacket, on the boat. So I get on my bike and slowly ride off, I figure I'll wait around at the beer shop up the street. But I'm thinking that Roger, Becky and Christine are at the boat now, so I'm not sure I will have a place to sleep tonight. Maybe I'll sleep on the beach.


I was feeling pretty rejected at this point. I wasn't going to let it bother me though, I have dealt with worse, it all works out in the end. I figure I'll go get some gas, grab a pacifico and hang around somewhere so I can do some thinking. Right as I have this plan figured out I see 3 crosseyed lights and a small seperate light round the corner! Its the Boogie and Becky's bike! I'm pretty damn stoked, and there is a grand reuniting. Becky had felt like they had abandoned me, and they were all shocked to find out that I rode basically straight there.

We headed back to the gate and after a bit of explaining the gate keeper let me in with the group. I could tell he was still a bit pissed but with a handshake and a lo siento its back to home sweet home, err...well boat on stilts.

We go for a walk to grab a couple beers and hang around. I probably ramble about my little misadventure 3-4 times but everybody seems pretty enertained by it all. I actually kind of enjoyed bartering with the cops, although getting kicked out wasn't exactly fun.

No matter, it all works out in the end, and this time it worked out just fine.

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Old 08-02-2010, 12:52 PM   #10
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Old 08-02-2010, 01:30 PM   #11
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Becky had a couch surf hosting offer in Hermosillo. We had been thinking about riding up the coast but hanging out in Hermosillo sounded pretty cool so that was the plan for the day. We said our goodbyes to our wonderful hosts and Becky did her best to convince them to come join us at Tentspace, a small gathering in Puerto Penasco the following week.

It was a pretty unexciting ride up the highway, but it was only a couple hundred km so no big deal. I don't have a speedo on the old xr so Becky was in the lead and I just cruised along to her pace. We could have been going 90 or 40 I had no clue, and I kind of prefer it that way. I was just going the "right" speed.

We hit traffic outside of Hermosillo and our lack of ability with directions and the lack of any radiator fans on either bike started to show its ugly side. We pulled over at a gas station when both bikes started to overheat, as well as their riders! I managed to almost get flattened by a semi in the process but a bit of courage and a lot of throttle got me out of that situation. We oiled stuff, drank a ton of water, asked around for directions and just generally tried to cool off a bit.

We headed out with a slightly better idea where we were headed but this city is pretty complicated. Eventually we decided on getting a taxi to follow. It did kinda make the overheating issues a bit worse as we could no longer lane split, so we were keeping a really close eye on the temps. Becky would shut her bike off at lights, but with only having kick start I couldn't. It seemed to take forever but finally we got to our hosts house, right as my xr boiled over and spit coolant everywhere. No importante however as we weren't planning on riding around a lot more today. Our host(Mijail) was extremely polite, and his mom was probably one of the sweetest women I have met. She was constantly trying to feed us! We went out to get a tour of the city and do a bit of wandering around, and came back to find the bikes moved and tucked in.

Did I mention how much I love the mexican people?

Our tour of Hermosillo was very enertaining. It was so completely different and I was fascinated by it all.

It was kinda cool talking about where we were all from, had lived, and stayed by using the map to point out areas. It really made it all make a bit more sense geographically.

We went to a history museum that used to be a prison as well. It was really cool to see a different viewpoint of history.

We hung out with a couple locals and Mijail that night. It was really cool talking in spanglish with them and seeing a lot of the local culture and bars. We went to one of the oldest bars in Hermosillo and I learned quite a bit. It was a good night.

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Old 08-02-2010, 08:34 PM   #12
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The next day we went and wandered around with Mijail again. His friend Adrian lived nearby and his house had a pool in the backyard and as it had been damn hot lately that sounded awesome. Nothing like just hanging around bsing and floating around in a pool. We had some interesting discussions on all sorts of things, it was cool to hear about different things from people who grew up in a completely different culture than I did.

They took us up to a overlook over the top of the city. Nice view of the city.

We took some random pictures on some rocks.

We wandered the city some more, just looking around at everything. I think I could just wander around in mexican cities for a very long time before I got bored of them. This guys airbrush stuff was amazing.

Later on we played pool and hung around some mexican bars. I had a ton of fun trying to order drinks and talk to the waitresses in spanish. Half the time they had no clue what I was saying and most of the time I didn't quite get what they were saying either. It was still fun, and as long as I gave them a big smile they were always patient with me. I had to laugh when Mijail explained what the music was saying. They were playing reggaeton. Good times!

The next day I had decided that I should head back to tucson to try and get far enough ahead in my class that I could come back down for tentsurf in puerto penasco. So it was time to leave. Mijail was an awesome friend and tour guide. I really enjoyed hanging out there. Plus his mom was great! It was funny, she thought that we didn't like her food because we didn't eat enough. We were stuffed the whole time and I doubt I could have eaten another thing! We packed up and headed out.

At one point down the road my earbuds decided to attack and my cord wrapped around my neck and started to choke me. I pulled over and fought back! Becky got arty while I waged war on my ipod.

We split up in Santa Ana, and I headed north while she headed west to Penasco.

It was a pretty uneventful ride back. I got as much done as quickly as I could in my spanish class and I realized that my time in mexico made a big difference in my vocabulary and pronunciation.

I was itching to get back to mexico though so tossed the bag back on the bike and went back south again. I really wasn't sure if the bike would make it, but I didn't really care anymore. I own a truck with plenty of fuel, and I left the keys with my sister and brother-in-law if things got bad. I won't stay home just because the bike might have issues. In the end it didn't.

Tent surf was awesome. A big multi-day party basically, and I met a bunch of great people. It got a bit crazy a couple times but all in all a good time.
The beach was beautiful.

A whole bunch of tents

And plenty of partying

Even some crazy fire leaping hippies!

What more can you ask for in a random unexpected meetup of a bunch of travelers in a Mexican beach town? I would have liked to stay longer but I had some stuff due. I had tried to finish up what I needed to do for class by borrowing a computer while I was there but I didn't get everything done so I needed to leave a bit early. Becky decided to join me leaving early so we headed back across the border. It didn't seem like it took very long to get back to tucson, and all too soon it was all over. I have to admit going back to a normal house in the US was a bit odd. I really just wanted to go back to mexico. I wanted to go somewhere that the people were different and I didn't understand. I loved mexico, I will definetly be going back.

It was an awesome time! And to think, I could have stayed home, but where is the fun in that? There is so much out there I don't know, so many places I haven't been, so many things I haven't done and so many people I've never met. The simple wonder of it all is staggering. As always, I just want to go and see.

lstzephyr screwed with this post 08-02-2010 at 11:05 PM
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:02 PM   #13
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Beautiful! I wanna go now -
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Old 08-02-2010, 10:20 PM   #14
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that was a fun read...

makes me want to head back south myself.
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Old 06-23-2011, 02:34 PM   #15
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what a amazing trip. I would love to come next time you go! and by the way, what rims are those?
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