Wednesday, December 17, 2008

about a year late

I finally added a Mexico album to my Gallery. It’s broken down into three sub-albums; Baja, Mainland and Yucatan.



Wednesday, November 26, 2008

75 degrees of separation

Reflecting back, as I have been doing quite frequently lately, upon where I was at this time last year, various things stick out in my mind. Today, for some odd reason, temperature is in my head. Or in my skin as it were. I was two or three days from picking up Benji in Cancun and had just arrived on the Atlantic Ocean. I struggled to find a place to camp and ended up at a small town beach side ‘resort.’ I chatted with the caretaker a bit, he said I could camp there after sharing a coke with him, and then kindly, helped me park in a well lit (poor for sleeping) and coconut free zone (great for not denting my truck or shattering my windshield.) Damn I’m glad I took my SPOT device with me. Just so I can post things like this…,-93.2304&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

The thing I remember most about that night was the heat. I was up very late that night, typing emails and IM’ing friends. I sweat the entire time. The fine gent who let me camp said I’d have to be gone by 9am. I sweat away miserably in the heat and because I couldn’t sleep I actually ended up sending emails out from my phone after the laptop battery died. About 3:30 or 4 I finally drifted off, sans clothing, into my hot damp sheets. About 5:15 I hear someone yelling at me. Yeah apparently 5:15 and 9 are the same thing on the Caribbean costal clock. I fought, not very valiantly, to wake up and get out of there before the jefe and workers arrived. Groggily I drove about an hour then slept an hour on the side of the road. My haze carried me throughout the day, through what could have been the most humiliating police check stop ever (narrowly escaped) and up to Campeche. Oddly I remember how HOT and humid it was, yet I was so psyched to have my brand new polyester Valencia jersey that I suffered through.

Last night I accidentally left my window open. I woke up freezing cold this morning and I’m headed to buy a new jacket at lunch since it feels like the time is right for a new fleece. Last year I slept through a 90 degree night. Last night was in the 20s I believe. 75 degrees of separation and an entire world away. Although just one small year, it seems like a dream and life that I can’t really remember.



Thursday, November 6, 2008

One Year Gone

One year ago today, just about this time in the afternoon, I climbed in my truck after lunch and goodbyes with friends and started off on a trip that would change my life forever. From the outside it looks like one guy got in his truck and drove as far south as he possibly could. That however is not even close to being the truth. Without the people listed below, that one man, me, never would have made it on, through, or back from his adventure. Each played their own role, some more significant than others, but each and every one of you is appreciated. The list doesn’t include all of the 118 people who subscribed to my blog (yes I have a list but it only contains email addresses and figured you wouldn’t want them posted for the world to see) or viewed it regularly. It also doesn’t include the hundreds of people I encountered along the way that took kindly to a poor speaking gringo.

In the next few days I’ll post up some reflection and I intend to start writing more frequently in my blog about my current misadventures and excitement. (since my return I have had at least one more ‘once in a lifetime’ experience that I need to share with you all) but for now I just want to say thanks to everyone that made my trip possible. I hope the list in complete and inclusive, but as is expected from a guy with my limited intellect and shabby organizational skills I’m sure there will be inadvertent omissions.

Muchas gracias mis amigos…

My parents for instilling in me the belief that the world is best viewed through a windshield on dusty road. For allowing me, after the sell of my house that funded the trip, to fill their basement and garage with clothes, camping gear, spare parts, tools, and all other sundry items that I’m sure they got sick of as I prepared for my trip.

Mike and Wendy Connors for living the more traditional life and providing my parents with Grandkids so that they are far more tolerant of my wandering.

My amazing friends who showed up, night after night and weekend after weekend to help get Ruby Claire prepared for the trip. Trent and Shellie Ashby, Jason Call, Darren Webster, Ryan Davis, Adam Tolman, Dave Helm, Cory Fillmore, Will Carroll, Johnny Lange, Troy DeMill, Cody Morgan

To William Joseph, Jen, Emalee and Gage Carroll for many dinners, hours in their garage, skills, talents, laughter and friendship.

To all of my sponsors whose donations ($10k worth) made my trip possible. Paul May at Equipt Expedition Outfitters, Kurt Williams of Cruiser Outfitters, Wes Johnson of Menlove Toyota Scion, Scott Brady of Overland Journal, Jim Jackson of ARB USA, J Ralls of Hewlett-Packard. Kaleb Galbraith of Mule Expedition Equipment and Dustin Francis for my exquisite roof rack. Scott Simpson and Julie Sediq for my Toyo Tires.

My awesome managers Trent Anderson and Jared Jolley (and to my former team, especially Josh Carmack, TK Hollberg and Brad Neves) for dealing with my giddiness about my trip and with accommodating my schedule during my last few weeks of work.

Ben Butterfield, Justin Kirkham and J Ralls for being brave enough to join me along the way. Greatest six months of my life will always bring fond memories of you gents. Sorry about my foul odor and dave matthews addiction. Life on the road makes a man stink. Words, or my ability to organize them, will never full explain how grateful I am to each of you for sharing in my journey.

My assistant Cory Fillmore, Jen Carroll, Kim McArthur, Jen Morgan (usually about 4am) and Adam Tolman for always being online to chat with when I had a connection. Keeping me up to date on the real world and reminding me how easy it is to stay in touch. For being there in my moments of panic when I needed to realize I was only alone physically and could find friendship quickly and easily when I needed it.

Eric Vogt, Todd Kaderabek, and Henry Cubillan for various and sundry reasons. Your excellent words and photos over the years definitely fueled my motivation to go. Inspiration is a better way to put it. For also giving me confidence in my own ability to provide that same motivation to others.

Scotty Brady for the last initial push over the edge after I had made up my mind to go.

Mr. Brian Hanson, for not kicking the baby and giving me access to your sling box for the Masters broadcast.

Travis Jeremy Farnes for being the freak you are and providing me with friendship, humor and 200 DVDs for my trip including all of the Red Sox World Championship DVDs

Again to Jim Jackson, your contacts in the latin world were invaluable to me.

Frank Diaz and Alvaro Pachon. Two men, emblematic of the love and warmth I felt throughout the amazingly beautiful Colombia. Thank you good sirs for your friendship and sacrifice for a total stranger.

All the fine folks in Wasatch Crusiers, the TLCA and at Cruiser people are truly special.

Christo Slee for overnighting parts to SLC so Ben could bring them to Mexico for some repairs.

Ken Romer for keeping me in the loop at IH8MUD. To all the guys at Rising Sun for the gracious welcome to Cruise Moab 2008. Cheeseman, Jethro, the Quigleys, Matt Farr, Perry Loughridge, Jeff Zepp etc Great group of people. Thank you for the kind words.

Brad Gillespie and Robert Gardner. Two best parts guys you’ll ever find. Friends first and the guys in the know second.

Motivational emails from Lisa Webster and Loretta Rose since neither of their husbands know how to type. And of course your friendship as well.

Erin van Zant and Kevin Bradley. My Canadian friends I met along the way. For the camaraderie, adventure and shared meals.

Barbara Belyea for saving me thousands of dollars with the buddy passes.

Ryan Davis for picking me up and the airport, sharing my last American meal with me, and being the funniest person on the face of the earth. Your friendship is never taken for granted.

Hampton, Bush and Morty for having the best nicknames ever for one family.

I could go on and on but I’ll cut this short. Each and every name below had an impact on my ‘solo’ journey through Latin America. To the strengthened relationships with old friends and relatives to my new friends found along the way. Thanks for buying stickers, donating to my cause or just sending emails. Thank you all…

Aaron Weaver

Alvaro Rodriguez

Bart Anderson

Trent Anderson

Alvaro Pachon

Frank Diaz

Trent and Shellie Ashby

Chris Atz

Bob Waterbury

Tim Baker

Barbara Belyea

Evelyn Batista

Benji Butterfield

Kurt Jeffrey Williams

Tyson Blackner

Mark Kuz

Steve Kemerling

Brandon Madsen

Brennan Dates

Bret Van Tuyle

Brian Dean

Mr. Brian Hanson

Brad van Uitert

Todd van Uitert

Cameron Egan

Joshua Neil Carmack

Jared Call

Nique Christensen

Christo Slee

Mike Connors

Wendy Connors

Royal and Loretta


Kevin Bradley

Erin Van Zant

Dan Davis

Darren Webster

David Jeffs

Davey Patey

David Petersen

Stephen Petersen

Dominic Gill

Dylan Austin

Eduardo Silva

Eric Cline

Eric Paine

Eric Thorne

Eric Vogt

Esteban Campos

Cory Fillmore

Ben Ferguson

Flor Granados

Frank Diaz

Gary Cummings

Ryan Gaz

Cameron Gibby

Grant Stewart

Gustavo Nunez



Heather May

Henry Cubillan

Kelly Hildt

TK Hollberg

Igor Karpovics


Ken Romer


Johnny Lange

Jairo O Rincon

Jan Alsen

James Roy

Jason Call

Jay Jones

John Curnutt

David Callister

Jen Morgan

Jennyfer Carroll

Jeremy Christoffersen

Jim Jackson


Jared Jolley

Jonathan Hanson

Joseph Muir

Juan Carlos Cruz

Patricio Rios

Justin Borg

Justin Burrup

Justin Kirkham

Kaleb Galbraith

Kelsey Cavanaugh

Kent McComb

Chris Koulouras

Kurt Nosack

Ed LaRosa

Lisa Webster


Lynn Scow

Mark Woytovich

Mark Amstock

Martin Jensen

Matias Calvo

Matthew David racker

Matt Nelson

Kim McArthur

Megan Lapage

Matt McKay

Natalia Basso

Nathan Eilers

Nate Thompson

Onur Azeri

Paul May

Perry Loughridge

Peter Carey

Rachel Romer

Jack Arthur Ralls

Trevor Ralls

Rodolfo Mata

Ron Petersen

Ryan Christian Davis

Ryan Sharp

Salvador Melgar

Jeff Salzman

Scott Brady

Scott Simpson

Sean Pritchard

Sean Robbins

Julie Sediq

Sharon Bowdish

Shreesh Taskar

Spencer Bybee

Susie Davis

Liza Swift

Traske Muir

Tangi Quemener

Travis Jeremy Farnes

Steven Davis

Ken Thibault

Tiff Muir

Trent Taylor

Todd J Kaderabek

Travis Manning

Troy DeMill

Lance Vaughan

John Whipple

Russ Wilson

Spencer Lynn Winegar

Tyler Wade Winegar

Brad Gillespie

Wes Johnson

Robert Gardner

Cody Morgan

John Yang

Aaron Weaver

John Curnutt

Joseph Thoming

Andre Shoumatoff

Matthew Pitkin

The guys from RideParts in Osorno

Luis and Odile

I shall be eternally grateful.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sweet Ruby Claire

She's home!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

just dandy

Six months today. Six months ago today I left on my life changing journey to South America. One week ago I arrived home and it has been a whirlwind since. Two days of catching up with friends and family then off to Moab for 5 days of wheeling with friends from far and wide at the TLCA Cruise Moab event. I returned home to my grandpa’s funeral. A great story teller and desert rock hound he was huge influence on me and my trip to South. I’m close to posting my summary thoughts on the last six months and I hope to have it up soon. My friends have started calling me Dartanian and I’ve included proof justifying the nickname.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

OK ESN:0-7341800

This thing might be getting a lot of use soon. I am lost (in a good way) in Bolivia, Chile, Argentina or Paraguay
Nearest Location: , Moab, UT, US
Distance: 0 km(s)
Time:05/01/2008 05:56:27 (GMT),-109.5475&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Sunday, April 27, 2008



Saturday, April 26, 2008

I heart Natalia

Before I get to that just a few things.

Steak and ice cream for lunch today. In a mall food court no less.

Steak and ice cream for dinner today as well.

Yesterday I did something I’ve never done before. Snapped the shaft of a golf club on purpose. Figured it was cheaper to re-shaft my wedge when I get home than it would be to buy an new one. Not as easy to do as I would have thought. Took a few smacks across the knee to make it happen.

I’m all packed and ready to go. So why do I heart Natalia? I have 2 companies in Ushuaia still working on shipping quotes (I’ll let them know on Monday that I’m home) going on 4 weeks. Another one working in Chile going on 5 weeks. Or is it 6? Natalia first emailed me on Monday in response to my email Sunday night. I loaded my truck in the container Friday afternoon. Less than 5 days. She, along with her co-workers, Matias and Marcelo combined to make miracles happen. Of course they are nowhere near as cute as she is. Yeah ‘miracle’ might be a bit of an exaggeration but after the frustration of the last few weeks it is how I feel. How about I just say they kick ass. I am just still astounded at how simple the process was here and so difficult everywhere else. I think I stumbled upon a gem of a company and have to thank Kevin and Erin for putting me in touch with them. Sea freight is not even their normal mode of business, they are an airfreight company. That confuses me even more about why this process is so hard for other companies to figure out. Not only did they get me in a container with a ship date for early next week (which means no dock storage charges) but they also made it possible for me to pay the freight upon receipt of my truck in Long Beach. The companies in Ushuaia were estimating almost $6k due upfront. (Spend some time thinking about the prospect of getting $6k in cash, cc is not an option, 14k miles from home with no local bank account. Yeah there are no easy answers to that dilemma.) Friday morning I paid All Cargo $891. Just a bit easier to swallow than $6k. By the time the truck shows up in Long Beach I’ll have earned enough money (assuming the job thing pans out) to pay cash for shipping and avoid the CC. That is a HUGE benefit since I wanted to do this trip debt free. I got close but not quite. Half the cost, ¼ the time, and it allowed me to spend some time in this wonderful city. Yeah I made the right choice to leave Ushuaia. Should have done it 2 weeks sooner.

Friday morning I was sitting in the office of All Cargo after paying the fees and listening to Matias talk to the port on the phone. I’d been there about an hour waiting for the official’s name and appointment to stuff the truck. ‘Stuff’ is the highly technical term they use for loading the container. Matias was speaking in his rapid business Spanish and somewhere in there I caught ‘at 2pm.’ An overwhelming sense of sadness and triumph set it. I fought hard not to tear up in front of 6 strangers on the 10th floor of 893 Rivadavia. I managed to maintain my stoic, hardass appearance. But inside the emotions were chaotic. The finality had finally set it. Oh beautiful sentence there. The breadth of my vocabulary is truly astounding isn’t it? The closure was now real. My trip was over. 10 years of planning over. Proud of the fact that I did it 7 years before my original goal of age 40. It was a nice quiet time to reflect upon my accomplishment. 20mins passed and it was back to the anything but quiet task at hand.

The task at hand? Drive through this nightmare, from a traffic and pedestrian standpoint, of a city to the port and get it loaded successfully. Considered paying a taxi to let me follow him through the confusion but I nutted up and did it solo. I made it. Ruby Claire is parked ever so politely inside her sealed container waiting to be loaded on Tuesday for her journey to Long Beach, California. Two minor fender benders, some small nagging mechanical issues but she made the 30k miles of abuse and stress pretty much unscathed. Just a hair shy of 196k miles on the odometer. Yep there is a reason I drive Land Cruisers.

This morning I woke up with nothing on the agenda. First time in many weeks. Instead of hitting snooze I turned off the alarm and went back to sleep. I rolled out of bed about 11 and spent the day wandering the city, taking pictures, laughing at some lady who asked me what my sign is, shopping for last minute souvenirs and ended up finishing my trip with 7 pairs of shoes instead of 6. Yes I am that big of a loser. I sat in the middle of the 22 lane street and watched people, for about 90mins just soaking it all in.

Tomorrow night I’m headed to the airport and will say goodbye to the Latin World. For the time being. if I’m lucky I’ll make both flights (flying standby here and atlanta) and be home by Monday before most of you read this post. In the morning however I’m hitting up the antiques market to find my ACA medal, track down another ice cream cone or two, and see if I can avoid getting lost within blocks of my hotel like happened Friday between paying and shipping. Ideally I’ll get a post in tomorrow before I fly out. For now I’ll throw in a few more pics and then I need sleep since it is 3 am.

Until then, Cheers or Take Care or Much Luck or Sincerely or Con Amor or Saludos or Chao or a word that signifies closure to this post. Oh and there is a ‘behind the scenes’ for Beverly Hills Cop 2 on tv right now. Damn I’m going to miss this place

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I read the news today oh boy...

8:47am- I’m woken up by the people above me playing what I think is a cello. They were playing until 1 last night and then at it again this morning. I was up until 3:15 or so thus 8:47 is a bit early.

9:15am- My alarm goes off on the phone. I hit snooze.

9:25am- My alarm goes off on the phone. I hit snooze.

9:35am- My alarm goes off on the phone. I hit snooze. I realize that my hotel room doesn’t have a clock in it anywhere.

9:45am- My alarm goes off on the phone. I hit snooze.

9:55am- My alarm goes off on the phone. I hit snooze. Takes a minute to fall asleep as I try to reconcile the dream I just had about not being able to find my spindle kit to make a fire (yes starting a fire with no matches is possible) for the manager of the hotel.

10:05am- My alarm goes off on the phone. I hit snooze. Again try and figure out the fire thing for a second.

10:15am- My alarm goes off on the phone. I hit snooze.

10:16am- Finally get up.

10:18am- Email Natalia to find out if I have a shipping quote yet. Turn on the TV and settle in on ER. A show I never watched once until this trip. Not sure I’ll watch it when I get home but it’s in English.

10:22am- Open the HP Mobile Workstation, my Office Season 4 episodes 1-9 torrent is done. Only took 6 days. Episodes are all available online if you live in the states. They aren’t viewable down here so I have to go the BT route.

10:37am- Start converting the office .avi files to mpeg4 for the IPOD so I can watch them on the flight home.

10:53am- Got an email from Natalia. Still no quote.

11:04am- William Joseph Carroll sent me an email from his ‘work’ trip to Oregon. Pic of him with his 22lb 36in King Salmon from a trip on the river yesterday. Glad it was him and not me.

12:39pm- Office files were corrupt. 2.2gb and 6 days of downloading and no worky. Bummer. So I messed around with those for bit and no luck. So I started over with 8 individual torrents for each episode and we’ll see what happens. Gilmore Girls and Scrubs were decent though. Spent some time cleaning myself and other things you do in the bathroom including a good nail clipping. I’m dressed and headed out the door to see the city, get some food, take a few pics, get some sun on my Ushuaia-blanched head and do some good ole’ fashioned people watching.

12:57pm- Still here IM’ing the Trunk Monkey about the joys of Lasik recovery and Land Cruiser moderation.

1:24pm- The new Jack Johnson is playing in my cab on the way over to the Automovil Club Argentina office. Driver had no idea what he was listening to. Or I didn’t understand him when he answered my questions. I have some stickers from the ACA but want to track down one of these. They have an antiques market here in the city on Sunday. My flight is scheduled for Sunday night so I’m going to go see if I can track one down there.

1:42pm- I leave the ACA and take some pics of the nearby sculptures and plazas. I feel weird taking pics in crowded cities. Makes me feel touristy and at this point I feel like I’ve gone a step beyond a ‘tourist.’ Maybe not since I’m looking to buy antique souvenirs for my truck.

1:49pm- I get my buddy pass confirmation for my flight home. THANK YOU Barbara.

2:14pm- Wondering around Northern BA looking for a bite to eat. I wander into what I think is a mall looking for a food court and find an ice cream stand. Chocolate Chip and Swiss Chocolate in a waffle bowl for my lunch. Perfect.

2:45pm- The mall was actually a large 18 screen multiplex in a 200 year old renovated building. A movie was not on my agenda and even now not sure why I did it, but I was there, it felt right so in the theater I went. I decided on 21 since it’s in English and I’d heard a bit about it. I enjoyed it. But then again I’m easily amused by movies about people with badass math skills. Good Will Hunting, that Russell Crowe/Ron Howard movie I’m drawing a blank on, Pi. Numbers+me = total confusion. Previews for the movie? Run Fatboy Run, We Own the Night, King of the Streets, Ironman, Super Agent86, and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead. Why does this matter? I have no idea but I was able to translate the titles from their Spanish Equivalent so there they are. I think I got them right. Coke, with ice, and Runts for snacks. Pineapple in the Runts down here.

4:49pm- A quote came in from Ushuaia. 22 days from the start of the process. Still no ship date though. Yeah I’m glad I came here. (see 6:17pm)

5:02pm- Andres was my cab driver on the way back from the north end of town. He talked the whole time like he thought I could understand him. I just said ‘oh si?’ a lot. Oh and threw out ‘en serio?’ once or twice.

5:18pm- I went shopping for toys. It’s J’s fault. He spotted these toy Land Cruisers when we were in Castro, Chile in the corner of some hole in the wall junk store. I’ve been searching every town since. I estimate 200 stores I’ve walked through. Nothing. If the stores I checked tonight didn’t have them none of them will. Bummer really. Thanks J’s for sending me on a scavenger hunt with no reward.

5:33pm- Back at the hotel. Settle in to do nothing. Okay to stop sweating and do some packing.

6:17pm- Quote came in from Natalia for shipping out of Buenos Aires. Less than 2 full business days since I started the process here. Headed down in the morning to pick it up and over to customs to start the paperwork of getting my truck out of here.

6:43pm- go to my truck grab my huge duffle bag, my ipod, two books and some other miscellany to get packed for the trip home.

7:14pm- lit up brickbreaker (video game on the blackberry) while getting rid of some of the sugar I’ve taken in today. Legs fell asleep from sitting on the throne for too long. Damn game.

7:28pm- browsed the internet for awhile. Land cruiser stuff. Ebay looking for ACA medals. Indiana Jones trailer etc.

8:10pm- went for a walk to find dinner. BA is a bit of an enigma. A quick overview reveals a city of wealth, healthy economy and cleanliness. Walking around at night that all changes. The shops in my neck of the woods put all their trash on the street corners each night and it is cleaned up by the sanitation crews. Filthy at night, sparking clean in the morning. However before they get clean up the piles are ransacked by the impoverished for anything they can use. I saw two young girls waist deep in trash, tonight, ripping open bags and sorting through the contents. Fairly sad.

8:58pm- I ended up at McDonald’s for dinner tonight. I don’t eat there in the states and didn’t really want it but sometimes I just don’t want to go through the 90 mins process of eating in Latin America just for a chicken sandwich. To be honest with you, sometimes eating alone, for that long is depressing. Last night I ate a pizza in a crowded joint while watching the local BA club dominate a club from VZ. It was fun and intense. But tonight I just knew I needed food and didn’t care what it was. I was more than happy to eat quick, and head back to my hotel where even watching dumb TV makes me feel less alone.

9:08pm- Done with my chicken sandwich, coke with ice again and fries. I ordered and ate in less time than it takes a waiter to even acknowledge your presence in a real restaurant. Oddly I enjoyed it.

10:08pm- David Archeleta rocked it on American Idol

10:14pm- grabbed a coke from fridge. Need to get some work done tonight.

10:23pm- Cracked open the laptop and finally caught up on some lingering emails from last week.

11:12pm- Finished this post as well as some cheesy movie on FX about the same time. Hopefully you enjoyed my day as much as I did.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

don't try to figure it out

Oh I forgot a few things in my last post so you get two today/tonight/this afternoon or whenever you read it.

Trying to apply North American logic proves frustrating and fruitless when difficult situations arise but in the past 48 hours I have had two that are just baffling to me.

Insurance is mandatory in Argentina for all vehicles.  I bought insurance in Coyhaique, Chile for liability only, that covered me for Chile, Bolivia, Arg, Uruguay, Brasil, Paraguay.  I paid $28 or so from a company call Mapfre.  Well it expired on Saturday. I drove Sunday without it and then spent 2 hours Monday morning buying new insurance.  (then wasted another 2 trying to scan my documents to email to the shipping agent here in BA)  So I go to ACA, the ARG version of AAA.  They can’t insure US vehicles.  They guide me to a Mapfre Agent in Bahia Blanca.  Mapfre Chile can insure US vehicles but Mapfre ARG can’t.  So he calls someone, gets a phone and fax for chile and says call them.  So I head back to the ACA office. They call 6! companies before they find one that will insure me.  So my logic tells me if Canada required someone to insure their car companies would be lining up to do it.  Not here. It’s the law and finable but no one will do it. So I head over to the company they found and I get a policy.  I ask how much it is for comprehensive, just in case, he tells me $2200.  I asked 4 times and made him write it down in pesos and dollars. Yes that number is right, $2200 for one month. Liability only ends up being only $70 but for Arg only.   Needless to say when I was in Chile I should have got 2 months. They require it but won’t sell it. Genius plan.

I arrive in Buenos Aires and go to the shipping company to work on that process.  They can’t load my truck into a container until I show proof I’m leaving the country. Makes sense right?  They don’t want me sticking around and stealing a job.  Oh wait how can I buy a ticket when I don’t know when I can put my truck into a container?  All Americans are rich you can buy a $2k flight then eat the ticket when we can’t get you out of here.  If I had believed what the guys and gal in Ushuaia told me I’d be out $36k in plane tickets.  I told them to get me a quote and assure me it is happening in a contract then I’ll book my flight.  After that I’ll find a place to print it off. Who uses paper tickets anymore?  Okay I could have made this rant a lot more humorous or cantankerous but it’s 1:30am and I’m tired. Just remember. LOGIC DOES NOT APPLY in South America.


you never know

First let me give you a rundown of the movies from last post.

Star Wars

Dead Poets Society




Cannonball Run

Tin Cup (seriously underrated sports movie)

Top Gun

Back to the Future

Shawshank Redemption

Can’t Hardly Wait

A Clockwork Orange

Elizabethtown (mediocre movie but an appropriate line)

Good Will Hunting

I enjoyed assembling the quotes but it took a long time. I could have butchered them all and just typed what I thought they were but wanted to be accurate. Then of course I butchered the final Star Wars line.

So, I am sitting in a hotel in Buenos Aires. The Apart Hotel Flamingo I believe it is called. My room is just a titch on the large side of normal. I asked for a single and I got 3 beds (1 king, two singles), a kitchen (the apart part) and a decent sized although poorly laid out bathroom. From the throne to lying in my bed is 31 steps. Yes I counted. More importantly that’s like 90 feet. I could park Ruby in here and still have plenty of room for 2 beds and the bathroom. It’s very odd but I like it and reasonably priced. I managed to fit into their parking garage by less than an inch. BA is not designed for tall Land Cruisers and on that note…

I have made a bad decision or two along the way (staying in Ushuaia for 3 weeks being one of them) and managed to luck my way into some very good experiences. I will have to say however that yesterday I made a decision that would pretty much assure my status as a genius. Not in the legimate IQ status but pretty damn clever. After the wise move to leave Ushuaia (and get more accomplished in 4 hours regarding shipping than I did in 15 days there) I followed it up with one that was even much more wiser. (why do I feel like I need to explain that is joke?) So as I was rolling north through the wind and desolation of Argentina I was unsure of the best way to approach the second largest city of my trip. I wanted to make it Sunday but it was just too far. The rumors and reputation of the southern Argentina winds are 100% true. At times 30mph and pushing my top heavy truck all over the road. It was very tedious driving and after back to back 16 hour days I was torn between staying an hour outside the city or coming into the city at night. The benefit of late night is little traffic. The downside? Hard to read signs, lost in the wrong neighborhood, hotels are full.

I came in last night and first thing that happened I got lost. The fault however was not mine but that of Lonely Planet. They had the right address for the hotel I wanted but it was wrong on the map. I found the map location quickly. Graffiti, abandoned buildings, empty trash filled streets. Awesome. I parked the truck and walked up to the corner to look around. A guy on the street says hey then the first thing out of his mouth. Your lights are very bright. Or some approximation thereof since I was confused at his greeting and didn’t fully understand his Spanish. I told him that yeah I know they are bright. After a few minutes I was in his little market using his phone to call the hotel. I was about 20 blocks away but they had a room. The shop owner couldn’t read so when I showed him my map we had to ask a patron to help us. Hey good thing they are people shopping at midnight. We found it on the map then I had 4 more people help explain how to get there. All were super friendly, complimentary of my truck and my trip, one even said he’d join me if I kept going.

Back into the city and I got lost. This time my fault. Missed my turn, got stuck in the middle of 9 de Julio (which is a 22 lane road) and couldn’t get out. So my 5 min drive took 20 mins. Finally I found the hotel and parked the truck. I spent most of the morning walking around town working on shipping and one thing dawned on me. This town would have destroyed me had I come in yesterday. Buses, taxis pedestrians, one way streets, alley ways passing as streets and did I mention a 22 lane road that I would have had to use and cross? It was hard enough to get across it on foot let alone in Ruby. So I am at the end of my trip (I hope for real this time) and I think I’ve learned a few things about getting around. You never know when your experience and judgment will kick in. Not driving at night is the standard tenet of Latin American travel but without question it was the right move yesterday. I’d still much rather prefer small towns and having spent 2 months in the sticks Buenos Aires was quite a shock but I made it into the city unscathed. I feel very safe walking around and enjoy the people I have met so far. Granted I am just here to get out of South America but the fact is I am glad I’m here and think I would have missed out had I shipped home from Ushuaia. I just wish I would have decided to come here two weeks ago. I have a special post planned for tomorrow. Be excited. Be very excited. Okay that might be an exaggeration. But I’m sort of giddy about the prospect.

(oh and some pics from the a few sunsets on the drive north, ushuaia, the flatness that is ALL of southeast argentina, enjoy)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

OK ESN:0-7341800

This thing might be getting a lot of use soon. I am lost (in a good way) in Bolivia, Chile, Argentina or Paraguay
Nearest Location: Uzcudun, Argentina
Distance: 4 km(s)
Time:04/20/2008 01:42:14 (GMT),-66.1391&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Thursday, April 17, 2008

This took much longer than I planned.

Yoda: Try not. Do, or do not, there is no try.

John Keating: They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they're destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. [the students lean in] Listen, you hear it? [whispers in a raspy voice] - - Carpe - - hear it? - - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.

Joe Hurley: I don't know. Not thinking about the past or the future. I don't know it's difficult to explain, maybe impossible.

David Labraccio: Yeah, dying is quite that way.

Nelson Wright: Today is a good day to die.

Lester Bangs: Aw, man. You made friends with them. See, friendship is the booze they feed you. They want you to get drunk on feeling like you belong.
William Miller: Well, it was fun.
Lester Bangs: They make you feel cool. And hey. I met you. You are not cool.
William Miller: I know. Even when I thought I was, I knew I wasn't.
Lester Bangs: That's because we're uncool. And while women will always be a problem for us, most of the great art in the world is about that very same problem. Good-looking people don't have any spine. Their art never lasts. They get the girls, but we're smarter.
William Miller: I can really see that now.
Lester Bangs: Yeah, great art is about conflict and pain and guilt and longing and love disguised as sex, and sex disguised as love... and let's face it, you got a big head start.
William Miller: I'm glad you were home.
Lester Bangs: I'm always home. I'm uncool.
William Miller: Me too!
Lester Bangs: The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we're uncool.
William Miller: I feel better.
Lester Bangs: My advice to you. I know you think those guys are your friends. You wanna be a true friend to them? Be honest, and unmerciful.

Stella: The world is what you make of it, friend. If it doesn't fit, you make alterations.
Paden: I'll drink to that.

Mel: How long before we stop?

Terry: Eight hours!

Mel: Da-D-Damn! I gotta go to the john!

Romeo: Then do it. Quit fucking around

Charlie: When I first met you, you were larger than life. Look at you. You're not going to be happy unless you're going Mach-2 with your hair on fire and you know it.

Marty: What about all that talk about screwing up future events? The space-time continuum?

Doc: Well, I figured, what the hell!

Red: Goddamn it, Andy, stop! Don't do that to yourself! Talking shitty pipedreams! Mexico's down there, and you're in here, and that's the way it is!

Andy: You're right. It's down there, and I'm in here. I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.

(much later in the movie)

RED (Narrator): Get busy living or get busy dying. That is goddamn right.

Angel Stripper: Fate! There is such a thing as fate, but it only takes you so far. Then it's up to you to make it happen.

Alex: Initiative comes to thems that wait

Claire: I want you to get into the deep beautiful melancholy of everything that's happened.

Sean: Son of a bitch... He stole my line.

So I stole a bunch of lines from movies. Some good. Some bad. Some awful and obscure. (I would be beyond impressed if someone knew ALL of these WITHOUT the help of Basically I’ve lost my mind and would rather quote others than type myself. I’ve shaved my head again and am still rocking the Frenchman appearance if that is an indication of my normalcy. Tomorrow I’m cleaning the car, buying more car insurance since mine is expired, and heading north to Buenos Aires. I am done waiting for people to do their job. 3 weeks of waiting and still no quote thus I’m headed to a larger port. Over 2200 miles but I expect to arrive there Monday sometime. Some of you may be tempted to use the word ‘heroic’ right now about me for taking on such a task. Yeah let’s roll with that. It sounds good. The quotes above are relevant to my mindset, or continuing adventure or just a nice long distance inside joke with friends. I alternated colors to distinguish the movies.

These are not the droids you’re looking for.

move along,


Monday, April 14, 2008

Gallery Update

I forgot to mention last night that my Gallery has been update with every country but Mexico. Enjoy.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

still here

And what has the waiting done to me? Well apparently shaving my beard into some sort of French stash and goatee was a good idea. I broke out my puffy coat due to the cold. I had to change hotels. Watched 4 days of Masters and 3 Sox/Yanks games so the week of waiting wasn’t miserable. It’s raining and cold. Doesn’t seem to be changing. I have no hope it will happened this week either. If I don’t have a shipping date by Friday I’ll get on the road and head north. Still torn on Buenos Aires or Arica, Chile. One will be cheaper to ship the other will be cheaper to get to. $2.20 for gas in Argentina and $5 in Chile. I’d get to see some more of Argentina which would be nice but at the same time I’d rather not live off a credit card for an extended amount of time.

The waiting has really broken my spirit. And not just the waiting but the lack of control. I wrote a few weeks ago about how wonderful it has been to spend a portion of my life living decision by decision and doing what I want. Now I’m stuck here, going on two weeks, unable to do anything while I wait for others to do their job. It’s frustrating, it’s tiring and frankly it pisses me off. That was how I felt Tuesday when I got passed off from the guy who gave me hope last Friday to his little helper whom I sure will do nothing to get me home anytime soon. In the mean time a boat came and went and my truck is still outside filling up with water. So there have been no updates on my blog, I let emails sit for 8 days with no reply. The fact is I’ve been here and I’ve been broken. Two weeks ago I was sad that my trip was over. I didn’t want to be home. I wanted to keep going and see more of the world. The waiting, and sitting, complacency and lethargy have done one significant positive thing. Changed my mind.

Right now I’m excited to get home. I’m looking forward to being back in the desert, out on the golf course with my friends, sitting at the Training Table on Thursday for a nice long lunch talking Cruisers. All those things I missed, then forgot about, are becoming exciting for me again. Fountain drinks and water out of the tap. Long conversations. More than anything that is what I’m looking forward to. I had a cab driver who spoke English the other night. I think I scared him with how much talking I did. I’m not just excited for the talking part either. I can’t wait to have someone talk to me and I understand all the words. I love to drive. I love being behind the wheel. Right now I’d take a cramped window seat on a Delta flight over a 3k mile road trip to Buenos Aires in a heartbeat. I caught up on email tonight and got this attempt at a blog written. I hope to add some more this week and if the clouds ever rise above 1000 feet I’ll go get some pics of the snow and changing leaves. Until then enjoy the fact that I have a mustache right now.