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.