ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Ride reports
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 12-03-2013, 06:01 AM   #76
steelhorsenyc OP
Adventurer
 
steelhorsenyc's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Circumnavigating the world
Oddometer: 93
Mexico: First Days

Mexico: First Days

I'm finally across the border! After endless delays due to mechanical issues and sponsors, I’m in the fabled land of Mexico.

The poverty is apparent the moment you cross the border. The people in the street, the men running back from a failed attempt to cross the border fence, the dilapidated houses, all came at the snap of a finger. Surely not everyone is poor, or at least not that poor, but the contrast came so quickly that it was hard to ignore.

The first thing I did when I got to Tijuana was drop Georgia, twice, both within 2 minutes. The second landed me in front of an oncoming car – which, thankfully decided not to prematurely terminate my journey, and life. Both times I was instantly surrounded by half a dozen men who helped me get my tires back on the pavement. though my leg was bleeding and Georgia’s engine flooded, I felt very welcomed in Mexico.

This latest drop further shook my confidence in being able to ride off-road,e specially when fully loaded. The bike is heavily laden, way too tall for me, with overly aggressive off-road tires – which make my ride unstable whenever there is a gust of wind or a change in pavement. I keep thinking of what I can get rid of, and still cannot bring myself to part with anything. It all seems vital, or at least tolerable. After all, my entire life is on the bike, there is a limit as to how little I can have. Right?

Within a couple of hours of arriving in Ensenada, Carmen, my host from couch surfing, and I, had dinner with her entire family. We then went dancing for 4 straight hours. The women were beautiful, the beer cheap and good, the music an excellent variety of cumbia, bachata, merengue, salsa, blues and punk. Carmen is a professional Arabic style dancer, so she knows how to move to say the least. It was the perfect way to start Mexico.




Wine Country
A few days later Carmen and I went to Mexican Wine country. The landscape reminded me a lot of northern Israel – boulder studded hills, dark green shrubs, and endless rows of olives and grapes.

Who would have thought that Mexico has delicious wines!? We began at the La Cetto winery, with the intention of visiting others…

The Tempranillo was not very good, the whites and rose’s were bland as well. However, the Petite Syrah was excellent – simple, dry, not a varied palate but very good in the flavors it had. The Bordeaux blend was off the charts! Cab, Merlot, Petite Verdot and Cab Franc. Dry and aromatic, juicy and fruity – but not jammy or sweet. It was a 2008 so still very young, but you could tell it will be an excellent wine in a few years. There was a little smoke, a little wood, some dried fruit – pronounced in a hearty palate and lots of cherry and plum at the top – extremely well balanced, nothing screamed over anything else. We then tried the straight cab, which was very good also – not on the same charts as my favorite Cali cabs, but very good indeed. The Nebiollo was also excellent – dark fruit, a little pepper, a little smoke, a rich, full mouth feel with a balanced dry finish.



We went on a small tour with two other visitors, cousins from far flung parts of Mexico. This turned into a multi-hour festival. After trying the first few wines, Carmen’s friend came with the special wines that are not normally available for tasting (the blend and Cab mentioned above), and we proceeded to talk and taste for a while. Then the two cousins invited us to drink a bottle of the Petite Sirah. A bottle turned into two, with bread, aged cheese, olive oil and olives. We sat for hours talking and laughing on the veranda outside the tasting room. A famous Mexican singer, Reyli, came by for a few toasts, photos and insults. Mexico just kept getting better and better!




Celebrating Life
We spent the following night at a ranch, about an hour outside of Ensenada. In the mountains there are no lights, the nearest Pueblito has not more than 100 residents, which brought a snugness to this gathering of strangers. Olive oil and olives, cheese, bread and wine – all made on the ranch – were served on tables normally used to feed the many ranch workers. There were a few bare bulbs giving us light, and we sat close to each other for warmth. In this tiny space there were two groups of musicians, neither professional, just people who knew how to sing and how to play. Something about the moment reminded me of Russia – the tiny table in the tiny apartment with 2 dozen people miraculously fitting in, singing, reading poetry, laughing. It is the best part of Russia, and it felt so good to experience it in Mexico. Upon request (which I receive every time people find out I am from Russia), I sang Katyusha (accompanied by a northern Mexican guitarist – the contrast was not lost on anyone) and gave a few steps from a Kozachok.

My birthday followed a few days later, with 3 nights of parties. Carmen threw a party for me at her mother’s house. We knew each other for not more than a week, and yet I found myself surrounded by family. They cooked and baked and decorated the yard. One of the brothers came with band mates to sing for us; the girls wore traditional outfits. We sang into the wee hours, full of delicious food, hibiscus water, cake and joy.



My streak of nights dancing for more than 3 hours began on my first night in Mexico, went right on through my birthday, and continues to this day. On the first night of my birthday Fabricio, my second host, and I went to hear a Cuban salsa group. I was lucky enough to be snatched up by a girl with whom I could dance as though we had been partners forever. Though I still make the occasional mis-steps and know only a few spins, we tore up the floor! What a difference it makes to dance with someone for whom dancing is as natural as breathing. When the band found out it was my birthday (and that I was a Ruskie), they got the whole place to sing me happy birthday, after which I had to return the favor by showing some Russian dance moves and teaching them a few words.



The very next day I went out with all of my hosts and we spent another night dancing until the sun came up. Salsa and Cumbia, Irish and Jewish and Russian, we threw it all down. I was plied with beer as though I were in Russia – in that Mexican’s understand the word “No” about as well as Russians. By the time we got to the next bar, I was more light footed than usual, but at last I was confronted with a dance I just could not pick up. I don’t remember the name, but it is typical of northern Mexico.


With a trip to a 4000 acre ranch which stretches from mountain to sea, I concluded my stay in Ensenada. It was a time of passion and learning, singing, dancing, eating and the setting up for an unforgettable trek through the incredibly varied places and peoples of Mexico.

steelhorsenyc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2013, 09:23 PM   #77
steelhorsenyc OP
Adventurer
 
steelhorsenyc's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Circumnavigating the world
Oddometer: 93
Live Update

How I wish I had a couple of GoPros so you guys could witness the hairy soup through which I drive every day!
Thank god for my 7 years of New York training - which prepared me for most of the worst I have been through. Georgia is easily 2-3 times bigger than most bikes and scooters on the road here, but I go where they go, I squeeze through places which bring looks of shock and awe when they catch up and pull up next to me at a light :)
Posting the first story from Mexico made me think of the fact that I have spent half of my miles riding between lanes, ever since crossing the border.
steelhorsenyc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2013, 08:57 AM   #78
steelhorsenyc OP
Adventurer
 
steelhorsenyc's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Circumnavigating the world
Oddometer: 93
Live Update

28 months on the road today!!

42,000km, 11 countries, 2 continents, 2 steeds, too many brushes with death, too many sicknesses... but lots of friends and laughter and love!
steelhorsenyc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2013, 10:25 AM   #79
steelhorsenyc OP
Adventurer
 
steelhorsenyc's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Circumnavigating the world
Oddometer: 93
Baja Riding

Baja Riding

Mechanical Difficulties – Natures Rewards
The day I decided to set out after 2 wonderful weeks in Ensenada, I discovered my bike was leaking gas. As horrible as it was to find out yet another thing had gone wrong, at least I was in good company. A little research revealed that there was something stuck in the carb – probably a grain of sand from one of the times I had dropped Georgia in the mountains. With no other choice Fabricio and I got to work taking the bike apart. As usual nothing went smoothly: from not having the right size tools, to parts not fitting correctly. Eventually we prevailed in removing the carb, taking it apart, cleaning it, putting it back together and putting Georgia back into one piece. It took only a few hours all together, but it was already too late for me to leave that day. Delayed again.



It seems from the very start of this journey there has been something keeping me from leaving when I wanted to, and always something going on with the bike. For a machine that is so highly reviewed as the standard for long distance adventure travel, it has surely behaved like a finicky little bitch from day one. To say nothing of the fact that she is too tall for me – a confidence shattering reminder every time I drop her (7 times now). The weight is not helping, and yet I am not sure what I could possibly remove from my luggage. I need the mechanical extras and tools. I have few clothes. The camping and hiking gear does way a ton, but I cannot be sure to always have a place to stay, nor can I afford to rent things every time I want to go up a mountain. At the same time the weight is killing me. To top it all off, this thumper (my first) vibrates so much that my hands feel as though I am still riding hours after I have dismounted.


But that was all during the day. That night, however, I was rewarded with a beautiful spot along the coast on which to set up my tent. I was riding by as the sun was starting to set and noticed a truck with a camper top parked far down by the shore. There was something “Rocinante-esque” about the way it looked, so I turned around and headed into a development site (with a few model houses and a sales office). There was a sign which read “Beach Access, which I followed away from the homes and towards the truck. The guy standing in the sales office booth came out hopefully, but we just exchanged waves and I drove on. I spent the night in the pleasant company of a guy from Alaska, who comes down to the Baja every year to surf and escape the perpetual dark of the northern winter. He offered to share his food, and I my tea, and we passed a pleasant evening chatting, eating, listening to the waves and watching a billion stars slowly emerge around the grand arch of the Milky Way.



I stayed up for a few hours after dark and received the gift of a shooting star. The weather was perfect, the ocean was calm and

steady, the stars bright and cheerful. And I was lulled to sleep by the sound of lapping waves.

The good omen of the shooting star, however, was only good for the night…


In the Middle of Nowhere
I woke up to the sound of the ocean; herons migrating south, pelicans surfing the waves. It was an easy morning of waiting for the dew to dry off the tent. I set off on Highway 1 by 10:30am to a bright day, with a thick marine layer to the west and a wispy fog to the east. Exactly 15 minutes later the day turned gray when I ran out of gas in the middle of the desert. My so called 10 gallon expedition tank with internal pump which is supposed to bring up all the gas from the nether reaches of its hold, decided it would not bring up said gas and I puttered to a stop in the middle of nowhere. I could see gas in the tank! It was far from empty, but the pump was not bringing the gas up. I pulled onto a flat, sandy patch on the side of the road. The GPS, in a rare moment of accuracy, said there was a gas station just 18 kilometers to the south.



The first 10 cars did not stop for me. Considering there is not much traffic, this was very disheartening, and the clock on daylight was ticking. Finally a nice man pulled over and took me down through the military checkpoint and onto the gas station. There, they wanted 100 pesos for a 1 gallon jerry can, but when I looked doubtful the attendant went over to the trash pile and found an old anti-freeze jug to use instead. Another reason to love Mexico!

Finding a ride back to my bike proved even more difficult. Miguel was trying to do the same, so we decided to combine our fortunes and share a ride – if anyone would ever stop. Dozens of trucks and cars drove past as my concern began to grow: not only was daylight slipping away, but Georgia was sitting on the side of the road with no one watching her or my stuff strapped to the back. It is not hard to get a motorcycle onto the back of a truck and make it disappear forever.


Miguel and I eventually found a ride, he to San Quintin, and I to KM 37 south of the town. By the time I gave Georgia a drink and crossed the military check point for the 3rd time, it was past 1pm. That left me very little time to ride the 350 km I needed to get to the next big town.


The way to Guerrero Negro, along Highway 1, lies through a national park of surreal constitution. A dozen varieties of cactus grow here, in some places so many that it looks like a forest. One beautiful variety looks like a long wispy stalk, from which delicate, thyme looking, stems and petals grow. Another is the grand Cardon cactus which rises to over 60 ft. Add to that about 500 more varieties of bush, tree, shrub and weed, as well as a plethora of wild life. The surreal ride turned majestic as the western sky lit up, as if ignited, while the eastern took on a mellow pink hue with a complete double rainbow. The cacti became silhouettes as the sun broke through the clouds to cast its burning beam over the expanse of the desert. And so, captivated by the fierce glow of the west, the gentle pink fluffies of the east with the rainbow frame, and boulder strewn cactus forests, I ran out of light before making it to Guerrero Negro.



I made my way to the nearest pueblito and began looking for a place for my tent. I found a lot on which stood a tiny house, attached to what could have been a motel, with some trees and bushes closed in by a fence. It did not look like anyone was home, and I was too tired too look any further, so I pitched my tent there and then.

I laid in my tent for a long time, praying that the proprietor did not have vicious dogs and that no snake or scorpion would find its way into one of Georgia’s crevasses or a briefly unattended article of clothing.




Desert Storms
I awoke in the desert no worse for wear, but lacking of sleep. Butterflies and vultures; a lizard doing push-ups in the sun; rustling palms in the wind which was fiercely blowing away the night’s rain. And then a fluttering ball of bright orange singing in the baby blue of the morning. In the night it rained and my tent decided to longer be waterproof; the fear of the family dog and of being disturbed for camping on someone’s property did not let me rest either. I fell asleep only at day break, but within a couple of hours the rain had turned to high wind, and sand was whipping the tent and covering everything inside and out.

Packing in a sandstorm is not fun, neither is driving through one. By the time I got to Guerrero Negro it was clear that rain was coming again to replace the blowing sand. I was stuck with a choice of whether to stay in a town in which I have nothing to do and have no place to stay (since I cannot afford a hotel on my own), or to brave the tropical storm and ride east through the desert.
I decided on the latter.
Though I do not recommend anyone do this, and though I was in the middle of nowhere, mostly alone, so if anything went wrong I would be quite fucked, I was gifted vistas that come to the desert only once every few years:

Silhouetted monoliths floating through misty cactus forests. A green desert – almost lush, with endless bushes and cacti rising off beyond the horizon. At one point flat and dry and empty, then all at once, mountainous with an endless sea of cacti where a minute before there was nothing. The stitch of the road running to the end of the earth, at times flat, at others a wavy ribbon of black in a sea of brown and yellow.

Cacti posing as candelabras, or vases with full bouquets; giant single pricks and motherly stalks with tiny offspring clinging to their cores; gesticulating human-like figures – at times exclaiming or dancing, waving and trying desperately to be understood without words, at others bowed with shame or sinking to rest after a valiant battle against the unforgiving sun; young and vibrant green; grey and dying – limb or whole, dry like their home, waiting to become dust again.

From the dust and sand, to the whipping rain of the tropical storm, from the dry and mutinous desert to an endless oasis of green grasses and palms, to the calm lapping of the Sea of Cortez: A ride I will not soon forget.

steelhorsenyc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2013, 08:20 AM   #80
steelhorsenyc OP
Adventurer
 
steelhorsenyc's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Circumnavigating the world
Oddometer: 93
Live Location Update

With Job prospects meek in Medellin, I'm off to Bogota!
Looking forward to mountain riding and meeting some of the great bikers there!
steelhorsenyc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2013, 04:43 AM   #81
achesley
Old Motorcyclist
 
achesley's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2003
Location: Jennings, Louisiana
Oddometer: 3,354
Keep it coming on the updates when can. Check this thread everyday to see what your up to. LOL, I really do follow every KLR thread I can on Adv. Thanks for the work of sharing your trip.
__________________

A '00 KLR 650 37,000 miles, A '07 1250S 75,000 actual, A '03 5.3L Chevy Truck 73,000 + '43 style dude , Simper Fi ;-)
achesley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2013, 05:48 AM   #82
steelhorsenyc OP
Adventurer
 
steelhorsenyc's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Circumnavigating the world
Oddometer: 93
From Desert to Sea

From Desert To Sea
I ‘m staying with Hiram, whom I met in Jerusalem, in a hostel, earlier this year. His invitation to stay with him in La Paz was not an empty one. Not only have I been sleeping in a bed and eating delicious food, my days have been filled with great conversation and learning about much of Mexican culture, politics and history. To cap it off he set me up with a snorkeling tour to Isla Espiritu Santo!



In the morning we set off in a skiff over water so clear that the bottom could be seen at a depth of over a hundred feet! Yannick, a fellow couch surfer I met on my first night in La Paz, was there. Yannick is a Frenchman who married a Mexican girl, lives in Monterrey and teaches French half of the year in Martinique – a long lost brother! We spent yesterday at the beach, swimming in warm clear water and drinking beer – we were basically a Corona commercial (a couple of French girls helped).



Whether on a motorcycle or boat, all I need is some wind in my face to be happy. Snorkeling, swimming with sea lions and eating fresh ceviche, help too.
Our first stop was snorkeling around some corral near Isla Espiritu Santo – a volcanic, UNESCO protected island off the coast of La Paz. Perfect, calm water; schools of fish and solitary crustaceans; a living reef; birds diving for their lunch; the water a wide palate of greens and blues. Afterwards we went to the sea lion colony on the island. Hundreds and hundreds of sea lions, swimming, sunning, playing, fighting, singing, grunting and roaring (perhaps even belching). Seeing the 600lbs bulls is a little off-putting, but they never came over to interrupt our fun. The babies, teenagers and even older males and females swam with and around us. Some played with each other, others played with us. There is an indescribable magic about a wild animal acknowledging your presence and taking a part in your life, if only for a short time.
After hours of snorkeling, swimming and discovering tunnels and caves, we went to another island for fresh ceviche and some relaxation. The ride back to mainland was tinted with the warm glow of the setting sun, over a now denim blue sea.

It’s getting hard to keep up with so many excellent days. Other than a couple of days of tough weather in the desert, so far, Mexico has been one endless smile.

There is, however, a new development which is disturbing to say the least: my left hand feels like it is tingling, vibrating, or slightly numb. This sensation is normal after many hours of riding, but usually passes within a couple of hours. It has now been a few days during which I have not ridden for more than an hour, and the sensation has not gone away. I’m not really sure what I can do. I don’t want to spend money on a doctor who will tell me that he doesn’t know why this is happening and just tell me what I already know: lay off the bike for some time. Nor am I willing to do that.



I ended Baja by crossing on the ferry with a number of other riders, one of whom I met in a café and with whom I rode for a few days hence. We managed to get a cabin on the ferry which made the 16 hour crossing of the Sea of Cortez and the Tropic of Cancer so much easier. We talked, drank beer, and watched the sun set over the mountainous horizon of the Baja. Some people sat inside, others spread out blankets on deck and sipped on what seemed to be an endless amount of beer until the sea lulled them to a starry sleep. It was like a mini cruise: with provided meals, a movie in the main salon, a crossing of a sea, and entertainment provided by the tambourine man.

steelhorsenyc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2013, 05:45 AM   #83
steelhorsenyc OP
Adventurer
 
steelhorsenyc's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Circumnavigating the world
Oddometer: 93
Sinaloa to Michoacan

Sinaloa to Michoacan

Colonial towns dotted the serpentine road around a luscious landscape: hills, mountains and volcanoes covered thickly with trees and bushes. Fields of sugarcane and blue agave; palms and cacti… everything grows and in abundance. The air is thick with moisture and billions of insects and butterflies.
Every village with its own specialty: Noni juice, honey, dried shrimp, a style of bead art or ceramics… no village the same, no product repeated even if the places were but 50 miles apart.

Every town now looks like it was built from one 450 year old colonial blueprint: main plaza; church on one side, a park with a pavilion in the center; arched single or double story buildings, one of which is the municipality, on the other three sides of the plaza.

The verisimilitude is great because I need not bother to stop. Mexican states vary greatly from each other, but internally one or two towns are generally representative of the rest of the state. And so Sinaloa, Nayarit and Jalisco flew by. I gave Tequila its due by sampling some fine, aged tequila – which duly blew my mind – I never knew tequila could be so delicious: it had all the silkiness and complexity of a fine cognac. As I was in a hurry to make it to Patzcuaro in Michoacan for Dia de los Muertos, I stayed in Guadalajara (the capital of Jalisco) for only a few days. I regret that decision to this day.



In three days Guadalajara managed to entice and excite me to the point that I would think of it every week for the rest of my 6 months in Mexico. Every day there was live music; on the street, in bars and on the October Festival stage. The streets were filled with delicious food and beautiful women. The festival provided a great variety of music, from traditional Mexican music like Mariachis, to pre-colonial, to a modern folksy pop. People dancing and singing along – a great joy was spread throughout this international hub. It was hard to leave, but I could not miss the Day of the Dead in the place where Mexicans form every corner of the country come.



Dia de los Muertos


I got to Morelia just in time to drop my things off and rest for the night. The very next day, about 30 couchsurfers and hosts from around the world and Mexico boarded a van and a bus to go to Lake Patzcuaro and the surrounding villages for Dia de los Muertos. For more pics from Nat. Geo Click Here
Wikipedia info Here

The party started right away and we drank and sang and laughed. I met a Russian with whom I could talk – it felt so wonderful to speak Russian again. I always feel so comfortable with people who speak Russian, and so quickly. Kostya’s grandparents were forced from a border area in Korea into Russia at the start of the Second World War, and have lived there ever since. It was a buffer zone created by the Russians for the war with Japan. Yet another example of how horrible Russia is, and yet we feel so good when we find each other abroad – no matter our background.



I got drunk. It has been a while since I have been so – it was great fun, but thankfully I had the sense to stop in time so as to observe the holiday and what was going on.

The day of the dead is not a sad time, or so I‘m told. There are many tourists who flock to see the graveyards decorated with marigolds and deep red flowers, fruit, bread, candy and candles. People sit vigil all night at the graves of their loved ones. They answer questions and tolerate the tourists, but I did not see joy in their faces, I did not feel festivity in their souls – only in the drunk tourists who abounded. I’m told one thing, but I see another. I’m told it’s festive, and yet the people there did not seem so. I felt intrusive, and sickened by the presence of drunk tourists taking pictures. I did not see any disrespect for the grave sites or towards the locals, yet I could not help but feel that we did not belong, that we should not be there. Though most of the tourists were Mexican, I still feel as though this is no way to intrude upon others. If you do not want to go to the graves of your family, then stay in the city – party, get dressed up, paint your face, have a good time. Why bring the hoopla to a sacred place? You want to see the beautiful decorations, come the next day, or the next night when the families of those past are not there. I know that we have a different tradition in Russia (and in the U.S and as Jews), and that I should understand and accept others – and I do, but I cannot reconcile what I am told and what I saw. We did not belong. Mexican or otherwise, we should have been somewhere else.



I did my best to stay out of the way, I did not laugh or sing or take pictures or disturb the people there, and perhaps that is a happy medium, but I still felt like we should have just stayed on the bus and gone to the city for a good time in the streets and bars.



A Magic Moment

A few days later I again found myself in the magical city of Patzcuaro, sitting in a hotel lobby, full from soup, simmered pork, rice, pasta and tortillas (all for $2). The rain was coming down yet again. I don’t remember a day without rain since I have gotten to Michoacan.

I wrote to some couchsurfers in and near Patzcuaro – to no avail. A friend from Morelia tried to contact his friend in the village – nothing. It got dark, the rain was still coming, and I had nowhere to go. I decided to walk around the market again because sitting in the open hotel lobby was too cold and waiting for nothing makes no sense. I picked a lane in the market and started walking, looking at all the beautiful crafts brought from many parts of Mexico for the holiday. As I looked up from yet another table of brightly colored skulls and skeletons, I saw a familiar face. Not familiar in that we have met, but in that I have seen it somewhere before. Right away the name Lupita came to my mind and I came up to her. “Lupita?”, “Sii…” she responded with a bit of shock since she has never seen me before. She was the person to whom I wrote on couchsurfing weeks ago asking if I could stay with her for the holiday. She had to decline because she had too many requests as it was. I explained who I was, which put a beautiful smile on her face, and she offered for me to stay with her! I went from wet, cold, nowhere to go in the dark, to a clean bed in a rustic adobe house near a tiny village on Lake Patzcuaro!
Another magical moment in Mexico!

steelhorsenyc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2013, 03:00 PM   #84
steelhorsenyc OP
Adventurer
 
steelhorsenyc's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Circumnavigating the world
Oddometer: 93
Tumblr

Hello Friends!
I know that I am way ahead of my Ride Report... so I want to make an effort and post things which I do more in the now, until I catch up with the ride report... to that end I started a Tumblr blog some time ago, and starting now am going to try to post something that is going on RIGHT NOW, a couple of times a week.
Here is the link: http://motorcyclejourneys.tumblr.com/

Thanks again for following me on this crazy ride!
steelhorsenyc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2013, 03:14 PM   #85
moe50
Adventurer
 
Joined: Aug 2013
Location: williamsburg, va
Oddometer: 11
Great RR
moe50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2014, 03:32 PM   #86
steelhorsenyc OP
Adventurer
 
steelhorsenyc's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Circumnavigating the world
Oddometer: 93
An Explosion of Art in Morelia

Every once in a while a person gets a bad feeling about a place, and is unable to explain why. Sometimes this turns out to be intuition, at others it remains a mystery as the feeling gets proven wrong over time. I felt this way about Michoacan (the state) and Morelia (its capital) at first, but at the same time I could not bring myself to leave. It was like two opposing internal, subconscious, forces vying for the ultimate impression of the place. I ended up staying for 3 weeks, and could not be happier that I did – Michoacan turned out to be a wonderful place, full of art, music and the best food I had in Mexico.



A random entrance into a room in a museum brought me in contact with some local, country wide, and international artists. They invited me to the opening of the exhibition which I accepted. Something about one of them struck me and I followed her downstairs and began a conversation. I did not invite her to join me that day, which I should have done, but instead planned to meet her at the opening. The next day though, in the hopes of seeing her there I came back to the not yet ready exposition, and was invited out for a drink with one of the artists. That night, at the bar, not only did I meet her, I met a girl from couch surfing who had gone salsa dancing with us a couple of weeks ago, as well as 3 friends of Lupita and Christof (my hosts near Patzcuaro)whom I had met the week before in Patzcuaro. Then Ray (my host in Morelia) came by with some friends in the hopes of catching the game. I was at once surrounded by a dozen people I knew. What is even more fascinating is that most of them new each other as well. We sat and talked and laughed... it felt like we had been friends forever. The soul of the artist truly knows no borders: Mexican, Argentinian, my own fucked up combination of identity, we all vibed and understood each other immediately.

Earlier that day I met a girl in a café, who, after a couple of hours of excellent conversation, invited me to a party that night. We arrived at a beautiful house, and the first thing we noticed was the incredible abundance of art on the walls. It turned out every person there was either a painter, sculptor, photographer, musician or actor. I felt like I was back in New York. It was yet another party where no more than 5 minutes into it we broke out in song… and did not stop till four in the morning.

What began as a wonderful party, turned, on a dime, into a domestic dispute for the ages. Neither I nor Cass knew how or why it started, but singing turned to silence as the last guests left, and silence turned to violent screaming and pleas to be allowed to leave from the wife of the host. She did not look drunk, yet he locked the gates so she could not leave. He did not seem like a violent person (and he is not), yet he did not want her to leave. Fierce screaming and wailing for hours on end did not bring forth complaints from neighbors or cops. She was literally screaming bloody murder at some point, and yet no one came. Perhaps they knew, perhaps it was not new to them, and they were aware that he would not hurt her. But such screaming! And then the breaking of a glass. And then another. Then more screaming, and his calm pleas for her to calm down. And then things began to shake and shatter as she broke more and more things of greater size and mass. My friend and I hid away in the spare bedroom upstairs and could only imagine what was being destroyed – it sounded like the entire house, including windows.

The whole day, from the café, to the bar, to the party, and it’s horrific end, all felt like we were in a Woody Allen film.


The next day I went to the opening of the exhibition. The theme was “art inspired by music”, and every one had headphones with the musical pieces that inspired each work of art. What made it all the more interesting were 2 painters and a ballerina between whom I was rather desperately trying not to choose. To top it off I met again a rather famous artist who had invited me to stay in her studio, but whose phone number I lost. This fateful meeting brought me to her studio and to a lovely conclusion of my stay in Morelia.


She is a nice person, but, what is more important is that I really enjoy her art. She is self-obsessed, as most artists are, but if you overlook that, you will see the skill and beautiful vision of her work. In her breaks from self, she asked to see my photography and poetry, which, if she is to be believed, is very good. She stopped every few lines to express her love of a line, an image, or an idea. She was very moved and excited and said she would like to do something with me – for me to write a poem for a painting she made for a show in Paris. I know better than to believe anything is a surety until after it occurs, but what do I have to lose by writing a poem for a piece of work I like anyway.

Staying in her studio was like a dream. When you walk in through the massive gates, to the left is a long building with virtually no internal walls – her studio. Filled with works, old, new, and incomplete – each better than the previous. Just beyond the studio is an abandoned Studebaker – to give it that antique charm that only old cars can. At the far end of the cobbled path between the studio and the tree-filled green space, is a tiny house with giant windows for walls. A beautiful little bedroom, with an exquisite bed, to the left; a sitting/dining room to the right; and a small kitchen in the back. It was too perfect. I forced myself to leave after a few days, fearing if I did not I would stay forever.





To end my stay I went to see a display of flower art. Carpets of petals, flowers, twigs, cones, and other parts of trees and flowers, flowed for 3 blocks under a canopy of elms. Such beautiful work, it was almost unreal at times – that such things, from various patterns to three dimensional pieces, could be made from just petals. And just like the incredible works of art at Burning Man, all of this would be destroyed after only a few days on display. So much time, energy and creativity put forth only to be enjoyed for a brief moment.





Perhaps that final display was what helped me leave. No matter how wonderful Michoacan turned out to be, I still had the whole world ahead, and it was time to move on.
steelhorsenyc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-2014, 09:50 PM   #87
steelhorsenyc OP
Adventurer
 
steelhorsenyc's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Circumnavigating the world
Oddometer: 93
Live Update

Hello You Adventure seeking Scallywags!!
Happy New Year, and may you find the road - open, clean of debris, and free of idiot drivers!
I'm off to Venezuela - Country #12, in my 29th month, and 45,000th kilometer!
steelhorsenyc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2014, 06:31 AM   #88
steelhorsenyc OP
Adventurer
 
steelhorsenyc's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Circumnavigating the world
Oddometer: 93
A Poem from the Road

So I know it's not part of a normal ride report, but since I do dabble in poetry, being a writer and all, I thought I might share this with you manly men out there - just some things that the road, the steed, and the mountains inspire...
I will start with one, and if you guys don't want to see more, let me know, and I will stick to the roads, grub and women.

Our Road

The road forgives
Our use and wear,
She grips us tight
When death we dare.

She listens closely
To our wail,
She bears with patience
Our angry stare.

When we are lost
She helps us find the way,
She may be tough
But with her we will stay.

Though sometimes barely there,
And often filled with ruts,
We seek her still,
And take the wisdom of her bumps.

When on her,
The going may be slow,
But when she’s gone,
There’s no where left for us to go.

And if we sit
Too long in place,
We lose our selves
And are like holes in time and space

So always forward we will ride,
And throw the throttle back a nigh.
And let the wind make clear our head,
And let the road our suff’ring mend.



Dedicated to J.L and D.H of Seattle
steelhorsenyc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2014, 03:46 PM   #89
steelhorsenyc OP
Adventurer
 
steelhorsenyc's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Circumnavigating the world
Oddometer: 93
Live Location Update

Country #12: Venezuela!

2 years, 5 months and 45,000km on the road!!
steelhorsenyc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2014, 03:58 AM   #90
steelhorsenyc OP
Adventurer
 
steelhorsenyc's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Circumnavigating the world
Oddometer: 93
Live Location Update

Merida, Venezuela!

It has been a month of the Andes, and now I am at their end... only to return to them and ride to their beginning in a few weeks :)
steelhorsenyc is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 06:48 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014