Sunday, December 27, 2015


After a couple days in Leon, it was time to move on to Granada. Granada was, like Leon, hot enough to limit daytime energy and activities, but with the breeze off the lake it was a little more tolerable. Add in a healthy dose of a good hostel environment, and Granada was quite the destination for all of us.

Saturday, December 26, 2015


Leon was hot. Extremely hot. Unbearably hot, at times. But we made the best of it, and used what energy we had to explore the city.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Border to Border

Sometimes when I arrive and meet up with the Belgians (now the Belgians and French) we compare stories, and they'd have had the much better travel experience, like when I got stuck on the horrible road to Semuc Champey. Other times, it was better for me, whether because of bus conditions or because I was able to see a bit more than them. Arriving in Nicaragua was the latter.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

El Tunco

I'm going to be honest, I have almost no pictures from El Tunco. I think after I explain what I did while I was there, the reasons will become clear.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Ruta de Flores

I had split from the Belgians in San Pedro, and they had taken a looooong bus ride straight to El Tunco in El Salvador, which they'd be using as their home base for excursions to other parts of the country. For me, though, I decided that I wanted to see the Ruta de Flores on the west side of the country before meeting up with them, because I wanted to be able to do it with the freedom of the motorcycle. So I spent some time researching the cities, and plotted a route.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Another Test

I don't like retracing my tracks. If I can take a different way out of town than I took in, I'm happier. So when I saw Google Maps was recommending I leave San Pedro by the south side of the lake, I was happy. A new road to see, some new towns to go through, not just the same things I'd seen on the way in.

My enthusiasm was premature.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Across the Lake

After our night at Buddha Bar, we got up and checked out of Mr. Mullets (approaching checkout time, due to the previous night's activities), and moved all of our things to Hotel Mikasa. I'm not a huge fan of having to pack up the entire bike just to move across town - I think this might have been the only time I've done it on the trip - but for how nice the hotel was, it was worth it. We ended up with the four of us in a private room for the first night, which turned out to be pretty nice as well, and once we got settled we started looking at what else we wanted to do around the lake.

Friday, December 18, 2015


We didn't have much more that we wanted to do in Antigua, so after returning from the volcano hike we started planning our departure to the next location: Lago Atitlan. San Pedro had been on my list of places I wanted to go since the beginning of the trip, for the amazing stories I'd heard from Bryce's blog, and from everyone else who was on a similar route and had been through there. Excited to get there, we started looking at what we could do once we arrived.

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Dan and Delphine and I woke up nice and early on Saturday morning, got the last few things of ours tucked away in the back room of the hostel (since we would be sleeping on the volcano that night, we wouldn't need a bed in the hostel), ate the breakfast provided by the hostel, and hopped in a van to head up to our starting point for our volcano hike.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


After the long day of bad roads, tiring riding, and getting lost in Guatemala City, a lazy day was in order for me Antigua. Breakfast at the hostel was followed by a bit of relaxing by the pool, and then the four of us headed out to explore town for a bit.

Sunday, December 13, 2015


By the time I woke up at Greengo's in the morning, the Belgians were on the way on the bus. I got my things packed up slowly, procrastinating because I didn't want to get back on the horrible road out of Semuc Champey. But eventually, the time came for my offroad skills to be tested once more.

And it was quite a test.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Follow You Into the Dark

After a relaxing night at the hostel, we woke up and decided... another relaxing day was in order. It's hard to get moving too quickly at a place as comfortable as Greengo's - it was another place that, if I felt like I could stay anywhere for a long time, this would be one of the places. There's a few things to do nearby, but mostly it's just about hanging out and chilling with the cool people there. Honestly, I would have stayed two nights even if I had nothing to do, just to put off getting back on that horrible road one more day.

Nonetheless, late in the morning we made plans to head to the Semuc Champey caves, the other main attraction in the area.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Gringos at Greengos

I woke up with the sun. Well, really, I woke up with the roosters a few hours before the sun, and then drifted in and out of half sleep as they continued making noise until the sun started to come up. As I came out of the semi-haze of a night filled with dreams, my brain began to separate which parts of the past twenty-four hours were dreams and which actually happened.

No, my friend hadn't flown all the way down to Guatemala because they thought I'd died. Yes, I was sleeping in some random family's hammock on the side of the road. No, I hadn't been stuck in rural Guatemala for a year and taken up farming. Yes, I might have a busted radiator that would prevent me from riding anywhere and require me to hitch a ride somewhere for parts.

Okay. I can handle this.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Goodwill Positioning System (GPS)

I glanced back over my shoulder to see where the whistle had come from. It had very quickly gotten dark with the thick cloud cover, and I already couldn't recognize faces or even make out how many people were over there, but I was sure I'd heard a whistle. I was trying to determine if it was meant for me, so I shut off the engine and yelled a "What?" back over my shoulder, before realizing they wouldn't understand and yelling in Spanish.

Silence in return. I turned the engine back on and looked at the rocks lit up by my headlights, planning my line through them when I heard the whistle again, followed by a yell. I killed the engine and looked down at the gauges, then glanced back over my shoulder. I wasn't sure, but it looked like they were all staring at me. Maybe 6 or 7? It seemed like just the last few minutes had taken us from dusk to flat-out darkness, and it was hard to see even forty feet.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Warning Signs

Sometimes I make plans to get things done, and then life gets in the way. Other times I make plans to get things done, and I get in the way. I got a little of both in Flores.

Monday, December 7, 2015


After spending five hours at the ruins of Tikal, I got back on the motorcycle and headed for my next destination: Flores, the city on an island.

Friday, December 4, 2015


With the cave tour done in Belize, I decided to nix the other things I'd considered in Belize (one because the road was said to be pretty bad, the other because I'd heard lackluster reviews) and head out for Guatemala. First stop: Tikal. Well, really, the first stop was the border crossing.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Bella's in Belize

I pulled the bike into the courtyard in the back of Bella's hostel, and was immediately accosted by a tiny puppy, no more than a few weeks old by the looks of him. I talked a bit to the woman at the desk, and she let me know about the tours they could set up, and they covered all of the things I'd wanted to see around the area. Afterwards as it got dark I headed upstairs to the outdoor lounge where there was a guitar just sitting on the couch.

The hostel was looking pretty good already.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Crossing Lines

The uniformed guard pointed at my bike again. This time I gathered that he was pointing at the tire, not just commenting on the size of my bike like most people did. I glanced down at the tire and noticed that the tire was flat on the ground. I could even see the staple sticking out of the tire as well.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Lake Living

After leaving Tulum I made my way south to Bacalar, one of the last places I'd marked on my map of Mexico as a "place to check out." It would be my last stop of an amazing six weeks in Mexico, and what a last stop it was.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


I got to Tulum pretty quick from Playa, but as soon as I pulled in I started to wonder if it was really going to be all that much better than Playa. The crowd was definitely different, but just from the number of backpackers I saw on the main street as I pulled in, it was clear it was still a pretty touristy area.

I mean, I can't be too mad - I'm a tourist too. But over and over again, I've enjoyed myself more in small towns and places with fewer tourists, while I can hardly wait to get away from the places that have more travelers. But I figured it was worth a shot.

Deadlines and Free Times

As much as I like taking my time when I'm traveling, I seem to tend towards traveling quickly. When I've got a deadline to meet, it forces me even more to be efficient in how I travel: choosing my destinations wisely, using my time in each city effectively, planning ahead a little bit to make sure I have everything figured out and can hit the ground running when I arrive.

For 5 weeks I'd been aiming for being in Playa del Carmen on the 10th of November to meet a friend flying in, and that was my deadline pushing me continuously as I traveled. Suddenly, I arrived in Playa del Carmen and there was no more deadline. In fact, I found myself with an abundance of time, and not much distance left to cover in Mexico. It turns out I have a little bit of trouble handling that.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Pastels and Pyramids

After spending three days in Palenque (the longest I'd spent anywhere on the trip with two healthy feet), it was time to move. I was meeting a friend in Playa del Carmen on the tenth, and I woke up on the eighth, five hundred miles away, with a few things I wanted to see in between. So I plotted two stops, and started riding.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Unofficial Palenque

My first day in Palenque I'd planned on spending an hour in the ruins, but ended up spending most of the day wandering around the jungle and the ruins both. So I thought I'd seen most of what there was to see - but with a little bit of luck involved, I ended up getting to hear the unofficial side of things as well.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Don't Go Chasing

Leaving the cool mountain air of San Cristóbal behind, I made (tire) tracks down the mountain and into the jungle. After a stop in Ocosingo for a ridiculously good quesadilla (steak, quesilla from Oaxaca, pineapple, peppers, and lettuce: 30 pesos), the temperature quickly started to rise and the humidity rose with it.

I'd made my way down out of the mountains once again, this time into the jungle.

Monday, November 9, 2015

San Cristobal

After climbing my way up the curvy road to a cool 7,200 feet, I pulled into San Cristóbal de la Casas to meet up with Nancy, whom I'd met at the hostel in Oaxaca. She lived in San Cristóbal for six months a few years ago as part of a medical internship, so she was eager to return and I was eager to have a guide for the city.

It was refreshing to treat my visit to a city more like I would if I lived there and had a few days of free time, rather than as a tourist.

Sunday, November 8, 2015


 After the bummer of a stop that was Tuxtla Gutierrez, I headed off towards San Cristobal. Only I knew that I wouldn't really be able to check in to any hotels until the afternoon, and it was only an hour drive on the tollway (or half an hour more to avoid the tolls), and decided I would take a detour instead.

And what a beautiful detour it was.

Rest Days

One of the things about traveling is that I really want to enjoy every last second of my time. Alright, fair enough, those of you who know me and are currently laughing - maybe it's not just when I travel. The last few years in San Diego were quite the whirlwind of activities and plans and sports and concerts and whatever else I could fit in.

One thing I struggle with - both with travel and with my daily life - is  being able to just take some time to rest.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Waves and Bungalows

After leaving San Jose del Pacifico, I knew I wanted to get someplace on the beach, and just relax for two days. Maybe set up a hammock, listen to the waves, and catch up on a few blog posts.

Instead... well, my life gets crazy sometimes.

Fog and Cabins

The past week has been pretty crazy - big cities, hurricanes, flat tires, and even when I've taken two days in a city (like Orizaba and Oaxaca), I was busy all day with activities and tours.

So I decided it was time to just relax a bit. I plotted a course to finally make my way back to the coast after my inland detour, and after spending the morning finding parts for the motorcycle, I headed off in the afternoon.

Friday, October 30, 2015


Oaxaca was one of the first places that I'd added to my map of "places I should go" in Mexico. I was told that the state as a whole was beautiful, and the city in particular had a number of interesting archaeological sites, natural wonders, and other interesting things to see in close proximity. Oaxaca was big enough that I looked for a couchsurfer, and while I didn't find someone to stay with, I did end up finding a good guide - and the hostel I stayed in led to some good adventures as well.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Since I wasn't on the coast anymore, I was able to make my way to a few of the things in the central parts of Mexico that I had been planning on skipping. So my next stop after Teotihuacan was to make my way to Orizaba - and honestly, I wasn't 100% sure why it was that I'd marked it on my map, but I decided to head that way anyway. And I decided that, since I'd been riding like crazy away from the hurricane, I was going to take two days and actually have some time to enjoy the city, even though I had no idea what I'd spend all that time doing.

This one's going to be more of a photoessay than most - the pictures do most of the storytelling themselves.

Monday, October 26, 2015


Finally having escaped from the rain, I can actually do something with my day other than race the motorcycle as fast as possible against the impending storms. When I was originally planning where to go in Mexico, I'd marked a few things around Mexico City, but then nixed them after deciding to head down the coast and not go inland. Well Patricia forced me inland, so I resurrected one of the places I'd wanted to go: Teotihuacan.

Absolutely unbelievable, and I'm glad I ended up going that way.

Sunday, October 25, 2015


I'd gone the whole trip so far without having to use my rain gear at all. It rained a bit while I was in San Ignacio, but I was mostly in a hotel bed with a cast on, so I hadn't ridden during it at all. I checked the weather one night and saw that there was some rain in the forecast, and when I looked a little further, I saw a little blurb about a tropical storm that was going to come on shore near where I was. Well darn, hopefully it won't be too bad, I thought.

Not long after, that little tropical storm became the strongest hurricane ever recorded and I was riding as fast as I could away from it.


Colima got added to my list of places to go pretty early on - I'd heard about a volcano nearby that you could hike up, and I'd been told by a friend that it was a cool town as well. When I rolled into town I expected to spend one night there, but after spending the evening in town, I decided I needed to stay an entire day there and have a second night.

But you know what they say about plans and mice and stuff.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Compromises Pt. 2

In the last post I talked about two of the compromises I made when preparing for the trip that ended up causing me problems, and how I resolved them as I was leaving Guadalajara. You might think, having fixed two things that I'd previously screwed up, the rest of the day would go smoothly.
Yeah, of course not.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Compromises, Pt. 1

When preparing for a trip like this, or taking a trip like this, there's a lot of decisions to be made. How much should I bring, what things, should I buy good stuff so it'll last or cheap stuff I can replace, etc. On some occasions, I've made compromises - instead of buying the best, or exactly what I wanted, I kept an old one I already had, or tried something new, or tried for a "best of both worlds" sort of situation.

And it seems like every single compromise I made has come back to haunt me.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

City Living

Every time I've pulled into a big city, I've found myself... overwhelmed, perhaps? I definitely don't enjoy the "feel" nearly as much as when I pull into some small beach town, or a little village on some back highway. Big cities grow on me over time, but that first arrival is rough. Guadalajara was no different.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


For the first time on the trip I stayed in a hostel instead of a cheap (or expensive) hotel or camping. And it was 100% worth it.

I pulled into Sayulita in the afternoon after a pretty long day of riding, and made my way to one of the two hostels I'd heard about in town. "The Amazing Hostel" was a block or two farther from city center, but looked like a cool place. And man was it ever.


Okay - been a little behind on blog posts. Each of the last two nights I've sat down at the laptop, opened up a new post... and then not written anything. So I'm gonna catch up, because it's actually been a pretty busy couple of days.

In Mazatlan, I ended up staying in a hotel for $43 for one night - by far the most expensive night I've had so far, especially when you add on the $13 dinner I had too. While I won't be spending that much often, in Mazatlan it worked out pretty well.

Friday, October 16, 2015

I'm on a Boat

Finally made my way down to La Paz to catch the ferry across. I realized as I was arriving in town that, had I planned a little better, I could have made it to the Tuesday ferry and been moving on two days earlier. But I'm actually pretty glad I didn't.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


I'm constantly amazed how many people I run into who are doing something similar to me.

Granted, Baja is a section of the trip that, if you're doing the trip, everyone pretty much goes through. It makes for an interesting funnel. And for those who aren't doing the entire trip but are selecting some smaller portion of it, Baja is almost always part of it.

But still - a guy at the border, three guys in Bahia, three guys in San Ignacio, a guy in Loreto... I keep running into other motorcyclists. And that's not counting the ones I'm not even seeing, or see but don't talk to. We're all over the place.

Monday, October 12, 2015


Nine days my trip has been going. Nine days, only four of which were spent NOT sleeping in San Ignacio.

I was a little hesitant when I got back on the bike this morning. It was kind of like starting over, in a way. I'd been stationary longer than I'd been moving.

But once I got moving again, I could feel the momentum come right back.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Man Down

Been procrastinating on writing this post, because it's still a little painful to think about. But at least now I have a plan.


On Wednesday night, I tipped over the bike on a rough road, and hurt my foot badly enough that I couldn't walk. Here's how it happened.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


I'd forgotten what a real riding day felt like. I spent so much of the 48 States trip doing 5-7 hours of riding a day, every day, and I hadn't done that for a bit.

But yesterday I got ready to go nice and early (ok 9:00, I slept in a little bit), and took off for Bahía de los Ángeles. And man was it a fun ride.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Zona Curva

First, an update on the battery: it works! For now, at least. It wasn't quite as charged as I would have liked this morning when I picked it up from the shop, but hopefully it will be enough for the bike to do the rest.

I woke up nice and early to go pick it up, and immediately tested it out - confident that I could start up the bike and move it, I started taking a look around at the rest of it, since it had been sitting all day the day before.

First thing I noticed: low coolant. Guess I'm not getting out of town as quickly as I thought.

Roll With It (x3)

Alright, whether or not I get this battery stuff figured out and get out of here "on time," I think I can consider the trip officially started.

One of the big themes from my 48 states trip in 2011 was to roll with it. I left myself the ability to always say yes to things and alter my plans, and in return it seemed like amazing things just sort of fell into my lap. From a yacht on a lake in Seattle, to a jam band in Minneapolis, to either a backyard concert or a college concert, opportunities just seemed to pop up all over the place. Not always, but more often than I expected.

And last night was yet another one of those.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Stutter Step

Alright ladies and gentlemen, it's official. The trip has started.

Well, sort of.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Out the Door

There's always a little bit of prep to get ready to go out the door. Making sure you've got your keys, phone, wallet, maybe you need your sunglasses too. Maybe you're going to a party and need to get some food out of the fridge, or grab a sweatshirt to return to a friend. Once you've got everything you need, then you can head out the door.

Thing is, that's pretty much never how it happens for me. Here's how it usually goes for me:

Monday, September 21, 2015


Arriving at the school was slightly painful... the teachers don't speak English at all. I could understand the hand gestures and a few of the words well enough to get the general gist (you're going to take a test, then meet the host family), if they spoke really slowly. And then I met the host family and found out that while the husband speaks a little bit of English, the wife speaks none.

It was a little daunting. I did find that I didn't need the crutches as much as I used to think I did, but I still found myself in the deep end trying to swim. Suffice to say it was a quiet first couple of days, outside of the English that I was occasionally speaking with the Canadian and the Dutchman who were also staying there.
(And I still felt guilty about much of that - Diana would cook us dinner and then sit quietly while the three of us rattled on in English, which she doesn't understand. I've been the one who can't understand anyone else, and it sucks.)
But today was a breakthrough.

Monday, September 14, 2015


[For clarity, the crutches part is a story from 8 years ago. I'm not on crutches now, I'm fine.]

I was given a choice: I could stay on crutches for three weeks, or I could use crutches for a week and then use a cane for a few weeks afterwards. So I immediately headed over to and picked out a pimpin cane.

It would have been easier on my knee to be on crutches. Less work, less painful, faster. But crutches always come with their own difficulties: stairs, doorways, carrying bags, etc. With the cane I was not far off from how mobile I'd be fully healed.

I've found that other crutches in my life are similar. While they're easier at the time, the experience you get with them has its own set of difficulties. And thus I find myself, after 24 hours in Ensenada "on my own," being more comfortable here than any other time I've been in Mexico.

Sunday, September 13, 2015


It's been a whirlwind past couple of weeks. Months, really. But this past month was... overwhelming, to say the least.

In retrospect, it probably wasn't the best idea to stack up leaving my job, a 3-week trip to see family, Burning Man, departure on a six month trip, getting rid of everything I own, and getting a new motorcycle running.

But with a few stumbles here and there, I've successfully made my way to Mexico for two weeks of Spanish immersion courses.

Friday, August 7, 2015


One suitcase. That's what I allowed myself to keep out of the things that matter to me.

Sure, there are plenty of things that I'm giving to friends that they'll use and hang on to, and maybe I'll even get some of them back when I return. But at the end of the day, everything that I really, truly wanted to keep - the things that mattered to me and me alone - I gave myself just one single suitcase.

And I was having trouble trying to fill it up.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Grand Re-Opening

How do you re-open communication that's been closed for 3 years?

The last time I posted on this blog, I was in the interview process for a position in San Diego at Qualcomm. It seemed promising, and I'd just gotten back from a day of interviews with a team that it sounded like I'd really enjoy working with - though one of the interviews didn't go as well as I'd hoped. But I wasn't getting my hopes up too high, because I'd spent the previous Fall going through a similar process for a Qualcomm job in Boulder, and then a few days before Christmas I got a call saying that I didn't get the position.

So I was sitting in an extended stay hotel room in Tennessee, thinking about the contract job I was working at an oven company, and hoping with everything I had that this Qualcomm thing would pan out and I'd be able to move to San Diego. I was dreading hearing that I might not have gotten the position, and thinking about trying to find an apartment close enough to work that my commute didn't suck without being an hour or more away from Nashville.