On Saturday, November eighth The Live It Right Dream Ride went international. For five weeks before our departure we were stationed in Southern California at Jay's mom's house. While
some of that time was spent enjoying family (and feeling extremely lucky to have such a supportive, generous, and loving mother/mother-in-law), most days were spent agonizing over every detail of
our impending adventure south. Jay worked tirelessly on the bikes - changing the tires, putting on bigger gas tanks, adding tank panniers for expanded storage, hooking up a USB charger, and
trying to decide how much perfectionism was too much perfectionism. I slaved at the computer researching travel warnings in order to assure we take the safest route, getting our documents,
copies of our documents, and copies of copies of our documents ready to go, setting up our DeLorme InReach satellite communication device (which we love), purchasing last minute items such as
warm gloves and socks so my fingers don't fall off, creating and sharing our emergency and safety plan, purchasing health insurance, and trying to decide how much preparedness was too much
preparedness. Several times during those five weeks we questioned whether or not this was worth all the work we were putting in. The night of November seventh we realized that ready or not,
we just needed to take the plunge.
Gorditas, clavadistas, tollbooths, and tequila. It has been a wonderful 2 weeks. We arrived in Mazatlan on November 24th after a spectacular ferry ride across the Sea of Cortez.
It began in the ferry's parking lot in La Paz around 4:00pm on November 23rd when a handful of other travelers rolled up behind us and the semi-trucks. First, a beautifully restored VW van from
the 1960's carrying Alex, Roxanne, and their two kids (7 and 5, respectively). Second, a 1981 Dodge camper van that was purchased in British Columbia by a Swiss couple (Deni and Sue) and
which is on it's way to Panama where it will be sold again to another wanderlust (or two). Third, our friends Andrew and Tom whom we met the night before at our hostel in La Paz. Tom
is riding a 2001 Suzuki DR650 that he bought used in Canada and Andrew is on a WR450R that is relying on a hefty supply of JB weld to keep the oil inside the engine (the result of an inadvertent
righty-tighty, when the Dr. ordered a lefty-loosey). Like us, they're headed to South America. Fourth, Tim and Lily - an English couple riding Yamaha XT250's from New York to however
far south they choose to get by May 2015, at which point Lily and the bikes will fly home and Tim will continue by bicycle to Tierra del Fuego - or somewhere else. Fifth, Charlie and Janet
- an older Kiwi couple also on route to Tierra del Fuego aboard a Yamaha Super Tenere and a Yamaha 660R.
Save for Andrew and Tom, we knew none of these folks when the ferry ride began, but we knew them well 18 hours later and we look forward to bumping into many of them again along the way (indeed,
we already have).
Jay and I are still learning how to travel. The past five and a half months have been a constant process of discovering what we like, what we don't like, how much is too much, when we need
to rest, how to reach decisions, how to compromise, and on and on. We recently found that it's easy to go on autopilot taking the highways from city to city without really thinking about
what we want to be doing and seeing. Not thinking about what we need to feel fulfilled, rejuvenated, and at peace. Neither Jay nor myself are "city" people, meaning we prefer small
towns, back roads and nature to the hustle and bustle of a concrete community. We also set out on this adventure excited to slow down, to enjoy what the journey offers us rather than shoot
toward a destination. Our experiences over the past few weeks have allowed us to relearn this about ourselves and break into a more thoughtful and pleasurable travel path.
Our final two weeks in Mexico were filled with beautiful waterfalls, long, picturesque, mountainous rides, impressive ruins, and a relaxing, breathtaking beach retreat. Here's the long and
short of it:
We had been looking forward to San Cristobal de Las Casas since we began planning this trip. We had read and heard about the appeal of this quaint town with its cobblestone streets, lively
plaza, indigenous population and beautiful setting in the central highlands of Chiapas. It did not disappoint. We found Hostal Casa de Paco right as we rolled into town and parked
ourselves there for a few days. We can't recommend this place enough. Paco was a gracious, friendly, and helpful host and we felt right at home relaxing in the sunny courtyard,
cooking dinner in the communal kitchen and getting to know the other guests during breakfast (included in the price). We explored the town, enjoyed a few comida corridas (wicked cheap and
hearty home cooked meals), sat around sipping coffee at a cafe on the plaza, ate a cricket (common snack in this part of Mexico), and walked through the open air market.