Sunday, January 27, 2008

Mexico is a harsh mistress

Day 14 - 468 klm /4,157 in total
Hola Mi Amigos Y Mi Familia
Today was a good day, a bad day and an emotional day, all in one.
We started by getting up at 5:30 for a 6:30 start and it was a cold slap in the face to realize that the original Team Panama was no more. We´re still a team - and we´ll do fine - but without BUFF at our side it just won´t be the same. Kevan came down to see us off and put on a brave face but I had to leave my helmet on when I gave him a final hug, less the security guard see a grown gringo cry. It´s doubly sad because so far it´s been a pretty sane trip. Today though, we crossed an imaginary line and we´re definitly not in Kansas anymore. We´re spending the night in a small Mexican town approx 160klm shy of the Guatemalan border in the heart of Chiapas State. There´s an uneasy undercurrent in the air and a frontier feel to the whole area. And a decided lack of any other Gringos.
So much for the bad; the good today was the riding. No flat tires, no mechanical problems and some stretches of not too bad roads. We were able to put on some decent miles with one exception. The geography of this area is such that we hit the narrowest part of Mexico between the gulf and the Pacific. This point also has a mountain range that funnels any weather through from one side to the other. I haven´t followed the news to see if there are any storms in the gulf but as we went through the winds were incredible. We tried to push on but it went from difficult to scarry to dangerous and we had to pull over to wait it out. Steve is a pilot and knows a little about meteorology and his guesss were winds at 90 KPH with gusts to 100+. We had to hunker down for at least an hour until it abaited a bit and we were able to carry on. Later on down the road we saw a huge wind turbine electrical generating farm. At least 100+ of those huge windmills so we now know this isn´t just a fluke. It´s obviously a windy spot all the time.

Tomorrow we hit the border and bid farewell to Mexico. It will be a bittersweet goodbye though. Mexico is a harsh mistress. At once she´s a demanding and rough around the edges, unkempt and more than willing to give you a piece of her mind. She accosts your senses with pungent smells, a cachophony of sound and tastes all too often foreign to those who only visit on occasion. She´s much more though. She´s a willing seductress: warm and inviting and ready to enfold you in the soft carress of her gentle night sky. She´s all these things and more and she has my heart in her hand. As we leave tomorrow she´ll smile because she knows. We´ll come back. We always do.

BUFF, we´re thinking of you and hoping you arrived safe and sound
Hasta La Vista


  1. hi dale and team. Eric Blakemore here, an old friend of Kevans from Nanaimo. ( Now Seattle) You have a new fan, since Ibby dropped out. I am saddened that Kevan had to hang it up early. He was so jazzed about this trip. I am glad that the remaining crew grabbed the baton and chose to continue the trip. I wish you all well, best of luck, and may some Mayan Mexican God of travel be sitting on your cluster ( speedo, that is) and guide you all safely to your final destination.

  2. Hi Dale! Sorry it's taken so long to respond but as you know Terry and I have been in PV and I didn't have your Blog link. Just for the record for everyone, we were to be mentioned in Day 3/4/5 but due to Dale's Internet 'ability', he lost the story about being afraid to cycle through the city, and how they made a wrong turn and missed PV almost completely! Dale, I must say that Terry and I just read your story and we were so entertained. I must say, you are an excellent writer. We both said almost at the same time, "Dale could sell this!". It's an amazing story. I guess you have long hours on a cycle to put thoughts and words together. Your description of the difference between a 'tourist' and 'traveller' is dead on. As you know, I'm a 'tourist' but because of you and Rosi, I've seen a lot of Mexico as a 'traveler' myself and I will never forget the experience. I know that everyone who is reading your blog has known you for quite some time and know your spirit. Over my lifetime I've shared many wonderful/tough/emotional times with you and even more with you and Rosi. You are one special man who I've always been proud to call my brother. You've always taken the 'bull by the horns' and live life to its fullest with honesty, integrety and of course a little bit of fun (and alcohol!). If I could have, I would have been right by your side....well, probably not. I'd be with Sheri and Rosi...but more than willing to meet up with you in Panama! Terry and I look forward to reading about the rest of your adventures, and wish boys the very best of luck with the rest of your travels. I look forward to sitting down with the rest of our family to see the pictures and to hear more interesting stories. I'm sure Brad and Steve have a few 'interesting' things to say also....
    I love you so much and I'm very proud of you! You boys be safe and await your return!!