Thursday, November 29, 2007

Some Reflection

Leg two is about to be cut off. I’ve received a few emails about how quickly I have been moving. Yes I am,  I switched from Victor to Captain Chaos after I got off the ferry and blasted across the country. When planning began I looked at my budget, looked at the land mass and unfortunately Mexico was the country to be put aside. It’s proximity to the US makes it too easy to return. Having spent some time here I will come back. 

I loved Baja and already talked about that.  I felt a weird disconnect with Mexico proper.  Okay disconnect is not the right word. That implies some sort of active process going on. I was never able to connect with Mexico proper. It was just a country I was driving across.  Until I reached Campeche.   I loved the town of Campeche. I ate some shrimp in my attempt to enjoy seafood (too much ahead of me on my trip) and actually did.  I posted pics of the view from my table of the old church and the town square. I walked around the city for about 90 mins.  Strolled the waterfront, got gas, bs’d with the guys at the military check point. I’m not sure why I connected to Campeche but I did and it was a good thing.


I cashed in some Marriott points here in Cancun and stayed in a brand new hotel last night. Did my laundry, reorganized the truck, sent out emails, sat in the hot tub. My time in 2 huge tourist destinations, Cabo San Lucas and Cancun have been spent in bed or running errands and I haven’t regretted it at all.  I did find a top 2 or 3 taco stand in all of Mexico (in my experience) last night. No complaints there.  Mexico is huge and I’ll be here a few more days. Tomorrow I’ll be wandering around Chitzen Itza with Ben. He doesn’t know it yet but my next blog post might be by him.  But essentially Mexico is over. It’s an amazingly beautiful country and I have experiences I still need to document but the Mayan exploration and bureaucratic nightmare that is Central America begins at 2 this afternoon. After going 8K miles in 3 weeks I’m looking forward to hiking around some temples and small towns over the next few weeks.  I love to be behind the wheel but it’s time for a break.   

I appreciate your interest in my trip and keep the emails coming.   The recent happenings in Venezuela and Bolivia have me a bit concerned but I have a lot of time and ground to cover between now and when I get there.  And I’m looking forward to that ground and experience all that it has to offer.


Dave Connors

Lead - Expedition Americas


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

new pics...

have been added to the gallery.  They are interspersed throughout the other pics. I forgot to put my camera on continous so it reset every time I emptied the card.  Should be good going forward. Enjoy.


Dave Connors

Lead - Expedition Americas


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

OK Unit Number: 0-7341800

SPOT. i'm in mexico. yep. mexico. but i'm sure you knew that.
Unit Number: 0-7341800
Latitude: 20.5728
Longitude: -89.9464
Nearest Town from unit Location: Santa Cruz, Mexico
Distance to the nearest town: 2 km(s)
Time in GMT the message was sent: 11/28/2007 05:03:09,-89.9464&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

the atlantic

When last your humble narrator posted he was melting away in his 85 degree tent on the Pacific Ocean. This post comes to you from the dirty and warm Atlantic Ocean. Somewhere near Ciudad del Carmen. I’m not sure how many of you found the same definition I did for the word cantinflear but it went like this…

“roughly means to talk a lot but say nothing of substance” the following post sort of feels like it will be that way.

So I can’t speak well enough to make any cultural observations but I have spent enough time in the seat of this truck to make one about the driving in Mexico. So in the US whenever you come across a car going really slow and holding up traffic 9 times out of 10 it is a Hispanic. The 10th time it is Brandon Madsen. In Utah the majority of the Latino community is Mexican. I have figured out why they drive so slow. They are completely overwhelmed by other drivers actually staying in their own lanes, obeying speed limits and stop signs. This confusion forces them to drive slowly. Down here it is total bedlam. Not to say it is chaos. There is order and pattern to it but it has nothing to do with obedience to the laws of the land. So you figure it out as you go. Then as soon as you get a grasp on it you enter a different state or city with totally different patterns. So now I am the white guy, driving slow and holding everybody up. Yes I am aware of the irony.

Another thing to concern yourself with is the effects of everyone speeding is the counter measures. Topes, Vibradores and reductor de velocidad. Variations on the speed bump. It is no secret I prefer 2 lane roads to freeways. So I’ve been taking a bit of both through Mexico. As you roll down the road you get passed on blind corners, cutting people off, on the right etc. No one obeying the speed limits. You hit a small town and boom, a speed bump of some kind. Each have their own characteristics. Topes, normal speedbump but in sequence like 10 to 12 of them. So even though it’s 40mph you are going 8. They have them on both ends of town. In the middle they’ll have a Reductor. A HUGE speedbump. 18 in high, 3 feet long. Sometimes they are covered with small ripples like on the side of US freeways to warn you you’re drifting. Those are called vibradores. Well after a few hundred of those in a day you figure it is worth it to get back on the toll roads. Which also vary in quality and price from state to state. 12 pesos here, 148 there, 72, 28, just random numbers. I did however drive one of the most scenic highways I’ve ever been on. I think only Calgary to Jasper is better. It was better than i-70 between Grand Junction and Denver. Better than the Columbia River Gorge. Better than I80 through the Sierra Nevadas. The place it reminded me most of was the road between the Cassiar Highway and Prince Rupert, BC Which is just a horrible analogy because that is road I doubt anyone reading has driven. So let me lay out the day first.

I camped at 9k feet on a dormant volcano east of Puebla. I woke, descended to the valley, drove through corn fields, at 8k feet for 2 hours. I come to Ojo de Agua. I am thinking this is like the heart (or the eye) of this farming valley. Nope. Surreal. 35 foot tall Joshua trees. Prickly pear cactus 15 high. Something akin to a yucca 8 feet tall. Then nothing but dirt. So the eye of water is actually desert. Odd. I climb from the eye to another ridge, through 2 hours of speed bumps and corn fields and join the Autopista headed to Orizaba. At this point I’m about 8k feet. Within mins I see a sign about a steep slope ahead. 15 miles later I have dropped into a canyon 5k feet deep. Just gorgeous. Then the rain came and I lost all sight. But that 15 miles of highway were gorgeous and fast.

So speaking of Peubla. Me and cities…

After leaving Manzanillo I drove to Toluca and stayed at a hotel. Time for a real shower again. I woke early and headed into Mexico city. I found the historic downtown. Drove around looking for places to park. Too tall or full. Sundays are busy. Spent an hour. Decided to give up and go find lunch in a less hectic part of town. Made a wrong turn. Hung a right down into the outdoor market. 30mins to go a mile. Basing it from a large concert venue or sporting event I bet I saw 75k people in those 30 mins. What a mistake. At one point 7 lanes of cars, then 2, then 4 then back to 1. A random bus or cop driving the wrong direction. I was surrounded by vw beetles. Counted 26 at a stop light. Nuts. Found my way out of that mess. Ate a damn good hamburguesa from a road side cart and headed toward Puebla. Figured it would be a good town to venture into. Nope. Same thing except this was worse. All the parking garages had heights listed outside. Saw one with no height on a tight street, headed for it. Turn in, guy screams at me. Too tall. Okay now I’m screwed. What do I do. Well I get to back out, and push back the 4 cars behind me. Then I get to 48 point turn on this tiny little road. 2 sidewalks full of people stopped watching me try and turn around in this cobble stoned alley. So I gave up. Then I found a high end mall. Liverpool, with Prada, Hugo Boss and Omega and ate dinner. Excused myself to the bathroom, came back to coke on ice. I have now exposed myself to the water. So far? no harm no foul. And the coke was excellent. The 4 cheese pizza not too good. I wandered the mall listening to Spanish, watching the Christmas shopping bonanza and went out to find my 40degree camp spot and it was pure bliss compared to the coast.

After descending the afore mentioned canyon I’m back on the coast. After Mexico city and Puebla I became very insular. Eating junk food from my own cache. Not talking at gas stations. Just hoping to find something familiar. Bad idea. Made it even harder to want to stop. I had to get fuel and take a leak in Coatzacoalcos. I forced myself to find a place to park and get out. It was dark but I managed. I ate 3 quesadillas and a coke for 25 pesos. Bought a loaf of bread and picked up a Valencia Futbol jersey for $20. Mainly because it said Toyota on the front. It was nice to overcome my insulation instinct and venture out. All day I was hoping to find something familiar. Something I knew. Knowing it wasn’t out there only made me more reluctant. But I managed to overcome it. Wandered a few more hours east, talked a security guard at a little beachside pool to let me camp in the parking lot. Slept miserable in the heat and humidity but eventually dosed off. He woke me at 6 to get moving before the staff showed up. So been on the road since 6:30. Camp tonight, hotel tomorrow. Pick up ben on thurs and then off to the ruins and costa rica.

Wow. Rambling non linear post today. A bit of cantinflear if I do say so myself. I uploaded pics last night. Tonight I’ll put them in the gallery.

Dave Connors

Lead - Expedition Americas

Monday, November 26, 2007

OK Unit Number: 0-7341800

SPOT. i'm in mexico. yep. mexico. but i'm sure you knew that.
Unit Number: 0-7341800
Latitude: 18.4381
Longitude: -93.2304
Nearest Town from unit Location: Las Flores Segunda Sección, Mexico
Distance to the nearest town: 2 km(s)
Time in GMT the message was sent: 11/27/2007 05:57:09,-93.2304&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Sunday, November 25, 2007

OK Unit Number: 0-7341800

SPOT. i'm in mexico. yep. mexico. but i'm sure you knew that.
Unit Number: 0-7341800
Latitude: 19.1582
Longitude: -97.9231
Nearest Town from unit Location: Pinar, Mexico
Distance to the nearest town: 1 km(s)
Time in GMT the message was sent: 11/26/2007 06:20:18,-97.9231&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Friday, November 23, 2007

freak may be too strong a word...

…but I am pretty sure I’m getting close.

This does not have to do with the fact that I am on this solo journey. It has a little bit to do with the fact that my first night in Mexico, after a full 7 hours of driving, 5 in the dark, that I pull into, within a 100 yards, a camp spot, where 6 months previous I had managed to spend an hour for lunch. Never any doubt I could find it. Yep, I tend to remember where I’ve been. But that’s not totally unusual. Yesterday was the day of enlightenment. (or just a reminder why I am here)

The plan was to take it easy. Get some PM done and drive an hour or two. I didn’t climb down from the tent until about 9:30. Slept in to honor Thanksgiving. I drove the 3 short miles to the beach and opened the tent back up to air out the bedding, rotated my tires, swam, respooled my winch cable, swam again, organized my truck, swam again, messed with my electrical gremlins, swam and then got in the truck about 3:30. Plan was to make it to Tepic at sunset, find an ipod cable, grab something to eat and set up camp. Seems simple enough right?

Decided against the pricey Autopiste for the back roads. Stopped to dick around some more with my faulty passenger side low beam. Still not fixed. Got lost in Tepic. Not once, not twice, but 3 times looking for any store that would have an ipod cable. No luck. Got gas. Ate dinner. Spoke and entire paragraph in Spanish and more importantly understood the answer coming back to me the first time. Hit the road about 8 hoping to find a spot to camp about an hour away. Well being completely out of my element in the jungle, one hour became 2, then 3 then 4. About midnight I stopped for a Military checkpoint. Asked the guy where I should camp. Said the area was unsafe and to head to Puerto Vallarta. Not too far out of my way to Guadalajara so of I went. This beach private. That beach no camping. This beach scary as hell at 1 am. Head into town, look for a cheap hotel or RV park. See a sign for a cheap hotel. Very cheap. Hourly. Skip it. No luck. Wander some more. Find the Walmart, no camping. Go back into town, look up hotels on my phone. Give up. Buy some more caffeine, and these damn vanilla wafer cookies dipped in chocolate I’m addicted to now, and back into the jungle. Head up the coast. Awesome, all private. 4 Seasons resort, Jack Nicklaus Course, Gary Player Course. Yeah this will work just fine for some stinky kid to camp. Find a dirt driveway with some name on the sign. Looks like the road hasn’t been used in awhile. Also just enough room in the field for an 80 Series Land Cruiser. Let’s see, 3:45am, I can be up and moving at 7. They’ll never know I was here. Back the truck in, bugs everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Time to climb in the back. So I push all my crap to one side. Grab my sheet to lay on and go to sleep. Didn’t send the SPOT signal because I wasn’t confident in veracity of the ‘okay’ statement. Grabbed my signal flare for safety and went to sleep. Slept sticky, sweaty and rolling to the driver’s side all night but not bad for 3 hours. Hopped in the driver’s seat drive 3 miles back toward town to a scenic viewpoint, I mean trash pile, grab the pillow and sleep another 2 hours in the front seat as buses rumble by with the engine break on for the sharp turn. Wake up to see a naked Mexican man changing into a swim suit to head down fishing. Beyond him and out of focus to my blurry eyes is a whole truck full of middle aged men staring at me.

So the part that makes me a freak? It was one hell of a day. Not great, but pretty good. That is why I’m doing this trip alone. As I was chuckling to myself wandering through Puerto Vallarta at 2am I tried to think of how all my friends would have been reacting at that point. It would have made a long day for anyone, it was for me, but I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Today more of the same, 90 mins in PV looking for an IPOD cable. (I have 16 more cds of Spanish lessons I need to load up) A truck that is 2.59 meters tall and a seaside tourist town do not combine for convenience in parking. So a lot of walking, 5 stores, finally lowered myself to hit up Walmart. Have felt guilty for it all day. Took a pic of some A arms laying in the parking lot. I guess they have white trash using Walmart as their driveway in Mexico too. Hit the road again south. Plan to get to Colina then head east. Spent too long in Manzanilla looking for a cheap hotel. The RV park was in the industrial section and I didn’t want black lung when I woke up, so now I’m down south on some stagnant beach, not an ounce of breeze, 85 and muggy. Sweating as I type this in my sweltering tent. Tomorrow I head east into the mountains and hopefully some heat relief. I decided to nut up and go into Mexico City. If all the rumors are true if I can survive there and not get robbed or accosted the rest of the cities in my future should be much easier. Hoping Sunday will not be too crazy. We’ll see.

So with that being said I’m going to continue to celebrate the long holiday weekend and watch a little Vacation before I go to bed.

‘excuse me, does anyone know which way to the expressway?’

Dave Connors

Lead - Expedition Americas

OK Unit Number: 0-7341800

SPOT. i'm in mexico. yep. mexico. but i'm sure you knew that.
Unit Number: 0-7341800
Latitude: 19.0004
Longitude: -104.2604
Nearest Town from unit Location: Caliguana, Mexico
Distance to the nearest town: 1 km(s)
Time in GMT the message was sent: 11/24/2007 01:36:49,-104.2604&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

if i had a cd jacket this is what it would say...

‘Tyler you are, by far, the most interesting single serving friend I’ve ever had’

‘how’s that?’

‘You see I have this thing, that everything on a plane is single serving’

‘Oh I get it. It’s clever.’

‘Thank you.’

‘How’s that working out for you?’


‘Being clever.’


‘Keep it up then.’

That is about as close as I can get from memory but essentially one of my favorite exchanges in Fight Club. Or any movie for that matter. Well, I met my first single serving friend yesterday on the ferry from La Paz to Topolobampo. Hopefully, one of many I’ll document over the course of the next year. 25 year old kid from San Diego moving to Ixtapa named Mitchell. I agreed to give him a ride into Los Moochis to the bus terminal since it was late and he was unsure of his ability to get one at the dock. I didn’t think to ask how much stuff he had; skateboard, backpack, 2 surfboards, and 2 suitcases. We made it work. Ended up camping with him on some derrick south of town. Me in my tent, him in the back of the Cruiser. Gave him a ride all the way to Mazatlan, had lunch and said goodbye. It was nice to chat in English with someone for a day or so and realize I’m not the only American wandering down here with limited language aplomb. Can ‘limited’ and ‘aplomb’ be used in the same sentence? I guess I just did it. Anyway Mitchell good luck on the new life and good luck with the waves.

Mexico proper. Not what I expected so far. I travelled through a well developed agricultural region today. With the occasional coco palm here and there to remind me I wasn’t in the Sacramento Valley or Central Oregon. Lush green fields of corn lined the hwy and there seemed to be less trash on the road. Even the roads were in decent shape. I miss Baja. Mitchell made the comment that he thinks most Mexican Nationals view Baja the way we view Alaska and I happen to agree with him. It’s remote, it’s separated from the rest of the country’s land mass and it’s unbelievably rugged and beautiful, but why do people want to live there? Well having now spent some time in the former and lived a number of years in the latter I can think of few places I would rather live all things being equal. I ventured out to the beach tonight, about 30miles south of Mazatlan, and decided I didn’t need another windy night. So I found my way down a dirt road to a shallow lake or estuary full of birds. There are times where you can pick the perfect camp spot, have the perfect sunset and know everything is going to be just fine. I like to think of Long Canyon in Moab, Hells Backbone in Escalante, or the Dollhouse. Then there are times when you just get lucky. Tonight was one of those nights. Just enough of a breeze to keep the very few bugs at bay. A picturesque sky as the sun fell behind the trees. A local fisherman, off in the distance, singing every time he pulled in his nets. Ideal temps to wander around taking pics of the cranes and herons filling the shallow water. I got lucky tonight and I’m thankful. Or maybe I earned it for helping Mitchell out. Regardless tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I’m trying to keep the proper attitude about how fortunate I am. Except…

I get to spend my turkey day rotating tires, centering my steering wheel, figuring out why my washer fluid pump stopped working. Wait I’m still a very lucky man.

So on this eve of reflection. I need to thank a few people, publicly, who helped put me down here in such a wonderful place.

Kevin Smith

Jason Lee

Carter Beauford

Stefan Lessard

Josh Carmack

Neil Young

Larry David

Dave Matthews

Ben Harper

Ed Abbey

Wallace Stegner

Christy Turlington

Jerome Garcia

Indiana Jones and Han Solo

Marty McFly


Oh wait people I actually know and not just celebrities and superstars..

In no particular order…

Ray and Linda Connors, Travis Jeremy Farnes (the strangest, most eccentric and best friend a person could ever have, but truly just bizarre, insanely bizarre), Will Carroll, Jen Carroll, the 2 Carroll Kids. The Websters, The Trunk Monkey, Kurt Jeffrey, Ryan Davis, Kaleb Galbraith, Dustin Francis, Trent Ashby, Adam Tolman, Johnny and Angel Lange, Pablo and Kiddo May, The Morgans, The entire Call clan, Dr. Stephen Lewis Petersen (for the half a tank of gas in the paypal account tonight),Henry Cubillan (the real reason I’m in this mess, him and his damn stories) Eric Vogt, TJK, Troy Seinfeld, My Boy Beef Stew, Jeremy LaVar, Trent Anderson, Bart Anderson, Ken Thibault, Brother and Sister Hardass, THE 2007 WORLD CHAMPION BOSTON REDSOX, Alancia (or however the hell you spell your name),The Roses, Jack C, Dan D, Mr. Trent Taylor, Worm, Worm’s Twin Brother, my surrogate family the Muirs for teaching me that weird is good and home is wherever you make it, I miss you guys more than you know, Maddog, Ty Maddog, Brad Gillespie, Robert Segal, Wes Johnson, Scott Brady, J and Trevor Ralls for allowing me to live their dreams for them, Benji Butterfield, Crazy George, Hampton the Dopefiend Killah, Brian Hanson, Kent McComb, McArthur, Ivan, Ophir Nuiqsit, Jim Jackson, Curnutt, Scott Simpson and for real, Josh Carmack. Thank you all and to everyone else who has helped me over the past 6 months, or past 10 years. No more sappy crap from now on. Tomorrow curse words and sarcasm.

Gracias and buenas noches,

Dave Connors

Lead - Expedition Americas

oh I included a pic I’ve been meaning to post for a week now, this is for the Petersen clan and my bro, (I already emailed you so you know about it already but here is proof)

some clerical info

Just a brief blurb about a few clerical things then I’ll post up later about the last few days event.

First of all I want to thank everyone that is reading or signed up. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving for you American folk afterall. So gracias.

Brought to my attention by others.

Those reading from my site and not via email, rss or blogger direct I have adjusted the frame size to make it a bit more reader friendly. I hope it helps.

Apparently there are children, be it nieces or children of friends, reading my posts. I am going to say make sure an adult reads my blog before letting them read it. Most of you know my affinity for the f word. Isn’t has come out yet but I’m sure it’s not too far away. Just lingering, waiting to get out. As my friend Luke Chamberlain likes to point out. No funnier word in the English language if used properly.

Brought to my attention by myself.

I just re-read a few posts. Man I really should not be sending first drafts. Because I’m always feeling rushed to beat the clock, as it were, with my laptop battery life I don’t proof read and man does it show. Typos all over the place. I’ll try to work on that.

So thanks again for following me on my journey, I shall do my best to make it interesting for you. And again, I’m getting to all the emails as rapidly as my mind and battery allow.


OK Unit Number: 0-7341800

SPOT. one last signal from Baja then off to Mexico proper.
Unit Number: 0-7341800
Latitude: 22.8918
Longitude: -106.0459
Nearest Town from unit Location: Agua Verde, Mexico
Distance to the nearest town: 1 km(s)
Time in GMT the message was sent: 11/22/2007 00:04:33,-106.0459&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

OK Unit Number: 0-7341800

SPOT. one last signal from Baja then off to Mexico proper.
Unit Number: 0-7341800
Latitude: 25.4873
Longitude: -108.7431
Nearest Town from unit Location: El Caracol, Mexico
Distance to the nearest town: 1 km(s)
Time in GMT the message was sent: 11/21/2007 07:23:43,-108.7431&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

one last thought

Some day I’ll figure out how to focus my camera in the dark, when I do I’ll get some really good pics. My camp from last night. The moon provided the light.

Dave Connors

Lead - Expedition Americas


Have I been amputated if I have one less leg of my trip? I pulled into the ferry terminal today having gone 5001 miles since leaving Bountiful. UT 2 weeks ago today. Well according to my odometer, it’s been 5001 miles. In actuality it’s about 11.7 percent less than that according to my GPS reading. The 285 tires and 4:88s tend to mess up the factory calibration. Regardless I was still pretty damn surprised to be that close. I like to refer to the completed leg as ‘familiar.’ There was quite a bit of learning but it was in an environment I know. Whether it be learning to live out of a tent, the psychological realization that I am not going home anytime soon, or the communication in Spanish I experienced it in a world I know. Camping in the desert is second nature to me so Baja was a treat. No worries or fears about crime or harassment. Only snakes and cacti. I’m still getting used to the tent. In the last 2 weeks I’ve spent more nights in a tent than I have my entire life combined. I miss seeing the stars, I miss getting rained on in the middle of the night. I miss the fear of having some strange creature join me in my sleeping back in the middle of the night for some warmth. Scratch that last part. Trickier than the language and adjusting to the solitude has been the humidty. Yep the humidity. Not that it’s humid yet but little things like a bottle of coke compensating onto my laptop. Tossing your almost dry clothes in a bag expecting them to be fine, only to realize that stench of dampness the next morning. Sleeping in clammy sheets. Just subconscious habits that need to be changed but harder than the conscious thoughts like speaking coherent castellano or occupying my mind. I’m sure it will only get worse (I am headed to the jungle) before it gets better. So without much further ado I’m going to post up what I hope will be many ‘random thoughts’ posts. Inspired by Bill Simmons ( on Page2 and a test of my note taking ability along the way. I’m pretty sure it won’t be as witty as his but as Ben Stein used to say, I shall try my best.

Things I’ve seen written in English that make me feel far better about my inability to speak the local language…

I like Nuts

I will race until die

(those two on beat up ford ‘race’ trucks)

Ice Cleaning

Iced Coldy Coffee

Rug Factory Made in Hand

A conversation I had in San Ignacio at the Pemex

A wiry, grey haired Mexican man rolls up on his 175 Yamaha Enduro Bike with a foam cooler strapped to the back.

excuse me, you have one piece American gum?”

Very odd that I do since I’m not much of a gum chewer.

“you can have as many as you want I never eat it.”

I only need one piece to fix my bum.”

Suppressing the urge to laugh too hard “to fix your bum?”

Then he proceeds to laugh and blush after realizing how it sounded. He was using a hemorrhoid doughnut to soften the ride. He was riding Tijuana to Cabo in two days. The valve on his doughnut began to leak and he was hoping a piece of chewed gum would help. I’m sure he wanted bubble gum but he got Orbitz. It makes your mouth clean. Or whatever their slogan is.

Mexican Coke is awesome.

Mexican Pepsi is crap.

I would KILL for a fountain drink with ice in it. Well I wouldn’t go that far but at this point it’s worth risking a little Montezuma’s revenge for a coke with ice in it.

I sat in line behind two kids in their early 20’s while checking out of my hotel. It was a 20min wait or so and they spent the entire time talking about the coolest new wallet. Now I realize I am getting to be an old man, but early 20s is not that large of a delta for me to not understand their psyche. These kids are the same age as the kids I used to coach. I thought I got it. That guys are guys regardless of age and wallets are not purses. Maybe it was a cultural thing. One was a local (Cabo) the other a transplant I’m assuming, both working at the resort. Regardless 20mins about wallets! I chuckled out loud, and they heard me, when the local told the other kid ‘yeah your wallet is shit, no one buys that anymore, you can get it for like two dollars ninety at the store.’ The transplant had his ego destroyed. They soon changed their conversation to lunch.

If you type enough Spanish words on your phone it will change the predictive text to Catalan instead of English. Only after 3 or 4 emails of cursing at the stupid thing do you figure out how to fix it.

Just had a white dude on this here ferry ask me a question in English. Took me a second to realize what he was asking. Now I can't communicate in dos languages.

LaPaz, Baja California Sur, grey haired gringo on vacation, in his newly acquired overpriced ‘authentic huaraches’ trying to show a local kid how to ride roller blades. I sat an watch in awe as he tried to imitate speed skating positions, silding from foot to foot not on skates. The kid in the meantime just sat and stared at the guy with that look of ‘what in the hell are you talking about old man, didn’t you just see me grind that wall over there?’

Speaking of kids. Same plaza, same dinnertime observation deck, 3 white American kids (probably 14yrs old)on skateboards, all stopped to watch the sun set into the ocean. I’m sure they were just taking a break from their families for the night but they managed to sit and watch the sunset before they went back to attempting kick flips.

Yet the same plaza. What a great night for watching it was. Too bad I was forcing down fish tacos, trying to get used to the taste. Ozone, Turbo and Special K are now living in LaPaz. If you don’t know who they are then shame on you. Oh and the sequel, Electric Boogaloo never happened.

Last year I spent thanksgiving on a ferry in Southeast Alaska. This year seems like it will be about the same. Maybe I need to find new ways to celebrate the holiday.


Dave Connors

Lead - Expedition Americas

Monday, November 19, 2007

OK Unit Number: 0-7341800

SPOT. one last signal from Baja then off to Mexico proper.
Unit Number: 0-7341800
Latitude: 24.3386
Longitude: -110.3059
Nearest Town from unit Location: Los Azabaches, Mexico
Distance to the nearest town: 1 km(s)
Time in GMT the message was sent: 11/20/2007 02:15:48,-110.3059&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Most people come to Cabo sit on the beach, drink margaritas and work on their tan. I’m here to take a bath, then a shower then another bath. After 8 days living out of the truck and no running water I figured it was time for a real cleaning. I did manage to get out and see the town a bit. A brief, yet hopefully non-borifying (for those new to my writing style I tend to like to make up words to entertain myself. oh and because I have a poor grasp of the real ones) recap of the day.

Woke up after a very comfortable night’s sleep. I pretty much camped in a ravine/dump just outside of Los Barriles. Regardless of the filth and an unkindness of ravens (although I prefer a conspiracy of ravens) squawking around me I slept soundly after a long day. I guess writing helped relax me. I got on the road early after learning that you can indeed close a one liter water bottle into a rooftop tent and not notice until after you’re driving down the road looking to take a drink. I had no real agenda. Just drive to the end of the peninsula and figure it out from there. I am sure there were plenty of benefits of doing a trip like mine, 10, 20, 30 years ago. However, technology has simplified a lot of the headaches. I pulled over just outside of San Jose del Cabo, 15 roadside mins later and I was headed to my newly reserved hotel thanks to Orbitz. Room wasn’t ready yet so I took the time to wander the town away from the coast. So I have this theory that I often postulate when anyone is willing to listen and it goes like this…

If you ever find yourself wandering lost around a city, any city, whether it be Vanderhoof, BC, Worcester, Mass or Cabo San Lucas, Baja you’ll run into an LDS church. It’s true. You may not realize it if you’re not LDS but it happens. And so it happened to me today. Meandering through the roofless, cinderblock homes and dusty streets I run smack dab into a church. No one was there so I didn’t go in. I went back 3 hours later still no one there. So I guess I’ll save that cultural experience for another day. In the meantime I ate some more adobada, wandered some more streets then came back to the hotel to get my room key.

I worked a few years in the tourism industry. An average Best Western $100 a night motel in Juneau, AK and a 4 Star resort in Deer Valley, UT with some rooms costing $3500. I learned a lot in those years about how people behave while on ‘vacation.’ Well it all came flooding back today as I stood in line waiting for my room key. I hadn’t showered in 8 days, I was covered in dust and my beard was causing a rash on my neck. I still had no reason to be impolite. (yes racker, once upon a time I pretty much told you to go f yourself but that was after 3 days of 54 holes of golf in 110 degree heat) I watched as 3 straight people complained about their room, or the pool, or the people in room above them. Not civil requests for a room change but demanding and full of guile for the guy at the front desk. I walked a couple miles into downtown and saw no fewer than 4 families/couples in arguments about unimportant things. Not my idea of a vacation. I’ve never understood why vacation places in people’s minds an unreal set of expectations or entitlements. Yeah I paid more than I wanted. Granted I had a view of the parking lot and bell stand but hell, I’m on the beach in Cabo. I guess that 200 yard walk to the water is just too far for some people. I’ve always thought it’s okay to be frustrated and expect a business to follow through on their commitments but there is no need to belittle someone over it. It’s just astounding to me and a reminder that I will try my best not to be the ugly American. Dumb, lost and mono-lingual American but not an ugly one.

My walk ended in what could have been La Jolla, Ca. Ruth’s Chris, Haagen Daas, Johnny Rockets. I found the one ‘Mexican’ restaurant down there. It was quite the culture shock from the roadside taquieras that have been my staple for 5 days. It was a good chance to practice my Spanish since everyone down there spoke English also. I had a steak and rice and beans. Decent but not great. The joint was lined with old movie posters. One name kept popping up. Cantinflas. I really want to rename my blog but perhaps just this post will be enough. You’ll have to research yourself what cantinflear means. According to the definition I found it’s pretty accurate for my drivel. I took advantage of the opportunity for some mango sorbet in a waffle cone and made the walk back to my hotel room. So blogging, emailing (I promise I’ll catch up eventually, be patient), tweaking web pages etc is how my time in Cabo has been spent. I’ve added some links to the main blog page. I also threw up some pics into the gallery ( in no particular order. I thought that it would be an easy format for uploading pics but it’s not working as seamlessly as I’d like. Some possible changes may come shortly if I can’t get the back end process streamlined.

So I’ve been fighting the urge all night to walk out to the southernmost tip of the Baja peninsula. It just seems like something I should do. I keep telling myself it is just hamburgers for the apocalypse and that I should save my ‘southernmost’ statements for Tierra del Fuego. We’ll see if I make it through tomorrow without taking that walk, since my time in Cabo has apparently included the word wandering a lot. You know just wandering the earth like Cain from Kung Fu I might just have to do it again tomorrow. One of my top 5 songs to listen to while on a road trip is Mexico by the band Moe. How many songs do you know that mention Baja by name? Whether the studio version or a 27 min long live jam it’s one of the more entertaining songs around. Although I tend to alter one of the lyrics (in red) to my own liking “well I’m a million miles away from home and I can’t find a telephone, my folks don’t even know where I am, hell I don’t need to know where I am.” That has pretty much been my attitude for the last week or so and I hope it doesn’t change. I’m sure my friend Ryan thinks this Moe. song is more appropriate, however. I’ve already worked 3 movie allusions into this disjointed paragraph can I manage to sneak in a fourth? Or use a blatantly obvious one like…

The cookie stand is not a part of the food court.

There I did it.


Dave Connors

Lead - Expedition Americas

Saturday, November 17, 2007

to be honest...

…today sort of sucked. It started out okay. A nice Squishy Bowl of Frosted Flakes, I mean Zucharitas, is always a good thing. The clothes were still a bit damp so I set them out in the truck on top of a clean sheet. (which reminds me, the only thing not to be silt covered yesterday was the inside of my Ezi Awn tent. It may have let a little water through in NorCal but it kept the dust out. Seems like a fair trade to me.) Back on pavement the plan was to take my time getting to La Paz. Things started to go south when I had to stop and put air in my tire again. No matter how many lessons and dictionaries you have a gringo butchering Spanish and a small town Napa clerk cannot figure out how to communicate ‘valve stem wrench’ without going out to the truck to look at it. An hour wasted (although a clean toilet at napa) I was back on the road. Plan was to track down a race crew headed back north and borrow a wrench to see if that was the source of my leak. The gauge doesn’t want to read properly so I’m hoping that the stem isn’t fully tightened.

I pulled into La Paz about 2. Got lost not once but twice looking for the Ferry terminal. I was on the right road the first time just misjudged the distance out there. The second time was the crucial mistake. Trying to find my way back to the main road I guess I ran a stop sign. Obviously I got pulled over. I’m sure you can all guess where this is headed. I deserved the ticket, not an issue. He however wanted $200 cash instead. I told him I’d take the ticket. He told me the station was closed on Saturday. I said I’d be back Tuesday and do it then. He then told me he had to keep my license as a guarantee I would return. I said no problem (it was voided by the state of Utah anyway and I have the new one on the way.) I then asked his name so I could tell the clerk at the police station who had my license so I could get it back. End up spending $40 to get off without the ticket and my license back. Sucks to have to play their games but I figured it was cheap this time. Back into la Paz, ferry terminal closed for the night. Looks like I’ll be back on Monday to get a ticket for Tuesday. I wandered around looking for an ATM and something to eat. Okay mainly to look for a place to park to find the other two. Found a spot. Walked into a restaurant that had a college football game on. Just what I needed to turn around my long day. (oh did I mention I have a head light out. The Slee light harness has decided to come apart on me. I thought zip ties and electrical tape would hold it. I was wrong. That is a project for tomorrow. ) Right as I sit down they switch over the game to some Mexican music awards. I had spent too much time realizing I spoke crappy Spanish to try and ask to turn the game back on so I ordered a coke, headed outside to my truck and got on the road to Cabo. The entire route south people kept brighting me. I knew something was wrong. I guess in the chaos of the La Purisma road yesterday my one working light had fallen out of the socket. Hell it’s no wonder I couldn’t see anything. So pulled over, plugged it back in. A world of difference. I also had to put my 2nd quart of oil in over 5000 miles. Burning it like it was paper. Awesome. I found a camp spot in the dark. Finished off my Dreyer’s cookies and cream (the one positive to my day) and now I sit here typing in the tent. Hopefully the sunrise will find me in better spirits.

I guess it could be worse. I’ve been lost in Oakland trying to find a gas station for my rental car, frantically trying to make my flight. Yeah today was better that that. Time to email Lonely Planet and tell them ‘valve stem wrench’ needs to be added to their pocket dictionary.

Lost in Baja,

Dave Connors

Lead - Expedition Americas

OK Unit Number: 0-7341800

SPOT. i'm lost near El Arco on the east coast of baja. Probably not wearing a shirt. yes i will have sunscreen on.
Unit Number: 0-7341800
Latitude: 23.6462
Longitude: -109.7116
Nearest Town from unit Location: Los Barriles, Mexico
Distance to the nearest town: 1 km(s)
Time in GMT the message was sent: 11/18/2007 03:47:20,-109.7116&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1


Post number 3 for one day? Yep. I guess sitting around waiting for clothes to dry is the perfect way to get some writing done. Loreto was a fun town. Or I got lost and coasted into the Pemex on fumes. After fueling I looked for a taqueira. Found one surprisingly . what are the chances? Let’s just say I could eat Puerco Adobada every day for a mighty long time. Which a good thing because I may just have to. That stuff is Awesome. That’s with a capital A no less. After 3 tacos and a 2 cokes for 4 dollars I bought some more water, some coke, a snickers ice cream bar and headed out of town. On my way out I saw a lit playing field of some kind. So I drove down the wrong side of the road for half a mile while people flashed me until I found the stadium. There was a baseball game going on. Probably 150 people in the stands. Dirt field. No scoreboard. I watched for 3 innings. Both pitchers oddly enough threw side arm. The lefty had a curveball that was giving the opponents fits. Unfortunately, for him they tee’d off on his other stuff. It was 4, 4 when I left. Well at least that is what one guy told me. I am hoping to catch a lot more Latin baseball along my route. Supposedly the Winter (the Northern Hemisphere winter ) Leagues in VZ have incredible talent. I’m not a scout so I have no clue but it will be fun and education to watch games at that level and see how passionate the Latin culture really is about baseball.

What does this post have to do with anything? Well baseball, tacos and ice cream. Is there anything more important in the world? I’d like to think not. I’ve felt like a giddy little child the last few days. Fast trucks, desert landscape, chance encounters, desolate beaches, baseball and playing catch with strangers. This is exactly what I anticipated when I crossed into Baja on Monday afternoon. The reality has far surpassed the expectations. That doesn’t happen very often in my life and not only am I grateful to have this opportunity but the decision to take on this adventure has proven to be the right one…

So far. I’ll see how I feel once I am set free from the Guatemalan guerilla camp that I’m sure is just waiting for me.

Dave Connors

Lead - Expedition Americas

call me andy...

I found it. The deserted Baja beach I’ve been reading about. I rolled through San Ignacio and got gas, emailed the post about running into the guy who had driven to Ushuaia and headed for the west coast.  Around 4pm I pulled out onto a beach just south of Laguna San Ignacio.  It took a minute to find my way through the low slung dunes guarding the beach but after I did I found the beach that kept Andy DuFresne’s hope alive in The Shawshank Redemption. Sure I wasn’t in the right part of Mexico but this was it. Not a trace of another soul in sight. Not even a tire track or a fire pit to indicate a previous presence. This was it. Sure the sand may have had a slight tinge of grey to it instead of white but it was soft, it was clean and it was all mine. I setup camp, took a few pics and walked for 40mins to the south via moonlight. The water was clear enough that even with so little light I was able to see my feet clearly through 2 feet of water.  A few crab occupied the beach but nothing else.


“Get busy livin or get busy dying” is right. (to continue the Shawshank theme) So I woke up bright and early with the sun and took a dip in the pretty chilly water. Or it may have been the air temperature. But after a week of nothing by baby wipe showers it was nice to get wet, clean the dust and dirt off and not just the smelly spots with real soap. Dr. Broner’s all natural.  Yeah that stuff will peel anything off of your skin. I even used it to put to use my roof top washing machine. That tip alone was worth my subscription to Overland Journal.  Basically a 5 gallon cooler filled with dirty clothes, water and soap. Drive a bumpy road for few hours. Drain dirty water, add clean to rinse and do the same. Anyway, shower done, I took another walk. This time north up the beach where I found what remained of the town of El Deleadito.  A few abandoned houses and what appeared to be a grid of powerlines. Very odd. I hit golf balls for an hour or so then packed up the truck. I am planning on getting to la Paz by Saturday so I can book a ferry to Mazatlan for the middle of next week.  I also have a slow leak in my driver’s side rear tire that I’d like to get looked at and I doubt either option will be available on Sunday.

So I pulled out of my Shawshank beach, saddened I didn’t have a skim board. If Noah Webster and Zane Call had been there we could have spent the entire day trying to outride each other. The waves were small but the beach was very flat and shallow. Perfect for long skimming.  Hell I could have even managed to hurt myself the conditions were so good. On the east side of the dunes was a thin estuary and beyond that a dry lake bed or tidal plane.  The road south ran up into the desert. However the locals (and SCORE officials) had managed to run a road through the length of this dry bed.  So for about 20 placid miles I drove along, smooth as possible, at 70 mph on the best road surface I had seen since San Diego. Sure I had to bomb over a few dunes every now and then but it was a good day. DMB at high volume, on a road that I had no idea where it went, windows down, coke in hand. Almost perfect. Hell I should have known better than to think those thoughts.  Before too long the chaco ended and the road went inland. Still decent but washboard and dusty.  Around a few small gullies, a military checkpoint of all places, then my first encounter with real Baja silt. Silt is not exclusively a Baja phenomenon despite what the Score and “Dust to Glory” folks think. I’ve been through it in Utah, AZ, NV, CA and Colorado. The problem with silt is it is silt. Yeah no shit really? Yeah it is really silt and it gets EVERYWHERE. Especially when you’re driving downwind.  So I approached the silt bed with decent speed but I recognized it early enough so I slowed to drop it into low just in case. It ran for about 150 feet. This is where baja silt is different than anywhere else. The depth. There was about a 30 foot section near the end that was about 18inches deep. I red lined it and bombed on through. My entire truck was completely filled with a cloud of dust. So much for the shower earlier. I got back up to speed as fast as possible, dropped all 4 windows and hoped to disperse the cloud before it settled. I didn’t do very well. I get to start tomorrow morning with a nice baby wipe detail of my dash and seats.


I cruised the remaining distance to San Juanico. (the one on the west coast, not to be confused with the one directly across on the east coast.) There I intersected with a nice 90kph hwy that I thought would take me down the coast.  10 miles in a detour took me inland on a jaunt of about 20miles or so. No big deal. In the town of La Purisma (where I was once again accosted for stickers)  I had to decide between east or south. East got to pavement shorter so I took it. HUGE mistake. What a miserable road. Rocky, rocky, rocky and a few more rocks added in. Average speed about 15. Took 2 hours to go 62km. awful. That is what I get for relishing in my good fortune out near the coast. I am very happy I am able to sit and type this email.  The folks over at HP that donated it would be in awe of the abuse it took today. Even in its padded case it had to be suffereing. I was ready to call it a night when I hit pavement but wanted to get gas while I could. So south again on the MEX 1 into Loreto at dusk.  After dinner I’ll go find a place to camp.




Dave Connors

Lead - Expedition Americas





Caesar and Lionel taught me that word. And I’m guessing that is how you spell it.  I can’t believe the desire for stickers down here during the race.  You all know my proclivity for stickers.  See the pics above. It doesn’t compare to the demand for stickers down here. My first encounter was at the Pemex station in Ensenada. They were buried so I just said I didn’t have any. When I rolled through El Rosario the next day I was ambushed by school kids.  I pulled over and got them out. Nuts. Hands everywhere and wouldn’t share at all so I had to pass them out one at a time. By the time I left Guerrero Negro I was a pro.  The night I set up to watch the Baja 1000 a family from El Arco thought my chosen corner would be a good one as well. So I got out some stickers for them and hung out by their fire for awhile. I ended up playing catch with my glow in the dark football with 10 yr old Caesar and 9 yr old Lionel.   We didn’t say pretty much anything but they taught me the word sticker.  Even the adults wants stickers, military checkpoints, gas station attendants. It doesn’t matter.




Dave Connors

Lead - Expedition Americas


Friday, November 16, 2007

OK Unit Number: 0-7341800

SPOT. i'm lost near El Arco on the east coast of baja. Probably not wearing a shirt. yes i will have sunscreen on.
Unit Number: 0-7341800
Latitude: 25.5868
Longitude: -111.2906
Nearest Town from unit Location: Santa Cruz, Mexico
Distance to the nearest town: 2 km(s)
Time in GMT the message was sent: 11/17/2007 04:55:54,-111.2906&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Thursday, November 15, 2007

OK Unit Number: 0-7341800

SPOT. i'm lost near El Arco on the east coast of baja. Probably not wearing a shirt. yes i will have sunscreen on.
Unit Number: 0-7341800
Latitude: 26.5669
Longitude: -113.0252
Nearest Town from unit Location: Querante, Mexico
Distance to the nearest town: 17 km(s)
Time in GMT the message was sent: 11/15/2007 23:56:09,-113.0252&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

suicide isn't as easy as it sounds...

I tried to kill myself on Monday afternoon. It didn’t work.  No I wasn’t really going to end it on the verge of fulfilling a decade old dream. However, I wanted to let my old self go. Maybe murder would be a better analogy. I was hoping to let all my preconceptions and American values and mores (or is it norms?) fall by the wayside as I crossed the border. I was okay sounding like a child with my very fundamental Spanish.  Driving down a insanely narrow 2 lane highway with even more insane truckers is no big deal.  I wanted to live according to the terms of each country I visit.  My goal was to retain the skills to keep myself safe and out of harm’s way. But let the rest go. I realize that Mexico and Baja in particular doesn’t have the luxury to afford to be environmentally aware. I understand the conservation, for the most part is an affluent luxury. Wanting to adopt the local attitudes would mean to put my trash wherever I felt like.  Right or wrong it is their way. I have been here before and was aware of the filth. That is not the issue. The issue was my inability to fully adopt the Bajanian (yep I made that word up) ideal.  So last night as the camp fire burned hot and the stars lit the smog free skies I decided to at least burn my paper. I just had the cherry coke cans and Target bags left to haul with me. Within mins of rejoining Mexico 1 a basura can stood on the side of the road. Problem solved. It may seem minor but now I realize some ideas are right for a reason. Not polluting the landscape with trash is right regardless of nationality or affluence. I don’t expect the people along my route to adopt all my beliefs so I figure I’m okay not to acquire all of theirs. Seems like a fair deal. Would be a hell of a lot easier just to toss my trash out the window however.


So as I was bombing down a portion of the Baja 1000 route today some people flag me down and I pull over.  They have 10 gallons of water they don’t want to haul back home with them. They were a pit crew for about 10 teams. One guy on a dual sport bike who came through their pit 17th overall 2 nights ealier. Not sure how he finished. We began to chat and eventually it turns to where am I headed.  Instead of the usual disbelief I get. “I was did that same trip last year on my BMW.”  So a 20min conversation later I took off down the dusty trail with a new contact to glean advice from for my expedition.  Even has some contacts for me along the way.  A random encounter on some desolate dirt road and I find someone who has done the same trip.  What are the odds? 20 mins later and they would have been on the road themselves.


I spent 2 days watching Baja 1000 racers fly past my camp. Took a 4 hour hike and reorganized my truck. Time for some surf and sand. Off to the beach.



Dave Connors

Lead - Expedition Americas


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

OK Unit Number: 0-7341800

SPOT. i'm lost near El Arco on the east coast of baja. Probably not wearing a shirt. yes i will have sunscreen on.
Unit Number: 0-7341800
Latitude: 28.2177
Longitude: -113.1877
Nearest Town from unit Location: Rancho, Mexico
Distance to the nearest town: 4 km(s)
Time in GMT the message was sent: 11/14/2007 00:10:51,-113.1877&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Well some of you may have noticed I am sending my SPOT gps updates to my blog. Easiest way to distribute them I think.  I also tried posting from my phone last night and never showed up for some reason. I’ll need to get that figured out soon because pulling over to dig out the laptop is not always convenient. 


So last night I broke my own tenet and the cardinal rule of latin American travel: do not drive at night.  I drove 4 hours in the darkness.  After 1000 miles on Saturday and another 650 or so on Sunday I wasn’t going to let a stupid 6 hour delay prevent me from getting to El Arco before the Trophy Trucks come ripping through. So I’m pulled off the side of MEX 1 about to leave the pavement for a week.  I’ll be out of contact except my SPOT signal and relishing it.  I’ll find time to read, write, and finally organize my filthy truck. 

I’ve found over the last 2 days I know far more Spanish than I thought. The lessons are paying off. I also learned I don’t know anywhere near as much as I need to.  But it is coming along. Visa, 3 security checks, passed out about 30 stickers and ordered some tacos just fine.  Yeah really deep conversations.  Time for some dirt road rallying…


Monday, November 12, 2007

OK Unit Number: 0-7341800

SPOT Check OK. I am doing just jim dandy and everything is just fine.godspeed to myself and to my friends.
Unit Number: 0-7341800
Latitude: 30.2024
Longitude: -115.7947
Nearest Town from unit Location: El Consuelo, Mexico
Distance to the nearest town: 6 km(s)
Time in GMT the message was sent: 11/13/2007 06:39:34,-115.7947&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

OK Unit Number: 0-7341800

SPOT Check OK. I am doing just jim dandy and everything is just fine.godspeed to myself and to my friends.
Unit Number: 0-7341800
Latitude: 32.5803
Longitude: -116.6316
Nearest Town from unit Location: Tecate Rd, Tecate, CA, US
Distance to the nearest town: 0 km(s)
Time in GMT the message was sent: 11/13/2007 00:29:01,-116.6316&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Friday, November 9, 2007


Inner Dialogue: Wow this is a crazy dream.  I can’t remember the last time I had a dream this surreal. And I am really sleeping. Like good sleep. Actual rest. This is kind of nice. Been a while. Wait a minute, am I consciously analyzing my REM state? Is that even possible? But i’m sleeping so well. Okay now I’m confusing myself and ruining my dream.

A distant female voice, “are you okay?”

Okay who is talking to me? Is someone shaking me? Maybe she is real and I should open my eyes.

“are you okay?” I open my eyes to a dark haired woman I’ve never seen before. Or have I? that’s right, I do know her. She is the nurse that was cleaning out my wound in the E.R.

But why am I on the floor?  

As the reality of what happened sets in so does the embarrassment.  I was lying on the floor of the Lakeview Hospital E.R. after passing out. I apologize for fainting; realize I am still nauseated and sweating profusely from my balding dome, and close my eyes while she continues cleaning my lacerated knuckle. 

“I really am sorry I passed out. I’ve never passed out before and normally I’m pretty cool with blood and needles.”

“‘Don’t worry about it. It’s pretty common.  Normally people come right out of it. However after a few minutes, when you started snoring, I figured it was okay to wake you up.”

That in a nutshell is the ignominious beginning to Expedition Americas.  Two straight weeks of 19-20 hour days of packing, organizing, saying goodbye and repacking, reorganizing and resaying goodbye had finally taken a toll on my body. The thought of a lingering infection later cured by tequila and a sharp knife for a simple cut, on the last day of my health benefits, that I would normally ignore, required only four small stitches.  The fatigue, stress, and lack of eating combined with the anesthesia to put me down. Not just out, but off the table, onto the floor and into the most restful sleep I had in weeks.  I decided to push back my departure a day. Give myself enough time. November 6th would be the day. And it was.

Tuesday morning dawned (I assume since I was asleep until 9am) cold yet sunny.  A few more errands, breakfast with friends, one final stop at Menlove Toyota Scion and I hit the road.  Before I can look forward I have to look back.

One of the benefits of leaving on trip like this is the time spent with friends beforehand.  The weekend of amazing 10th row Neil Young tickets in Boise, ID, only to be teeing off 16 hours and 700 miles later in St. George, UT for 81 holes of golf, and a game 7 vic for the Sox over Cleveland. The many dinners and lunches with friends and co-workers.   The dozens of hours spent prepping the truck for the trip. The sponsors, the friends turning wrenches and offering up their garage.  The Sox winning another Championship! 

Then the stress. Packing for the future, a year on the road.  Living out of car. Minimizing and organizing. Leaving the old life behind. A half-assed effort of tying up loose ends and cleaning up the old life. The kindness of the parents for dealing with an explosion of spare parts, bags, clothes and paperwork consuming their basement and garage.  And lastly the stupidity.  Friday the 2nd I took all my documents into work to make copies to stash on the truck just in case.  The last item was the passport.  Mid-copy job the M4345MFP, the machine that disrupted the industry (that is for all my hp friends) ran out of paper. I loaded some paper in the tray, finished the job and took off for lunch.  Tuesday about 2am I realized my passport was missing.  Took a while and a complete vehicle unpack to remember it was at work.  No stress whatsoever involved with that mistake.

So a day and half late I hit the road, augmented route in hand, bound for Seattle.  Banff and Canada would be saved for another day. I’ve been there 4 times already so I’m okay with that. I’ve never seen the Baja 1000 so I’m still keeping to that portion of my agenda.  I hope.  After Menlove and a stop at DP Custom Fabrication to show him the completed roofrack, I said a final goodbye to a friend and settled in for a long drive into the night.  At Snowville, UT I left the interstate for the two-lane highway, turned up the dmb and all the stress faded away. I met up with Eric Vogt, friend and longtime cruiserhead in Mountain Home, Idaho. Our ‘quick’ chat only took two hours.  It was good to see his new 100 series Cruiser and relieve him of some of his 80 series spare parts. Thanks Eric, the tie rods ends were something I definitely overlooked.  He pointed out that it was two days shy of one year since my frigid Thanksgiving trip to Sitka, AK when he almost slid his 80 down the side of a mountain.  I slept that night in Paradise Valley, OR. As I climbed into the rooftop tent for the first time, the 23 degree air crystallizing my breath, a calm settled in and I slept even better than the 3mins I stole on the floor of the ER.  It was a good night’s sleep and an even better omen for the trip before me. 

So I don’t post for a month and come up with this doozy.  967 words.  Another night with the Farnes family here in Seattle then it’s back on the road and Baja bound.   I’ll post more tomorrow before I head out.