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4-23-2010 One of the most EVENTFUL days of my LIFE!

Soon after falling asleep in my hammock at the gas station, I was awoken up by someone kicking my hammock. It was Nian. He and Dave were almost all packed up and ready to hit the road. Turns out it wasn't soon after falling asleep, we had slept for almost 5 hours. It really felt like I slept for 5 minutes! I was so tired! After a few minutes of disorientation I was ready to roll. We loaded up gas station goodies and Energy drinks and we were off! The gas station we had camped at was somewhere between Arriaga and Tonala Mexico. The three man motorbike crew rode maybe twenty minutes North West. There we came to a fork in the road. The GPS had us going almost completely west but road signs and directions we had gathered from the gas station wanted us to go North. I stopped and contemplated the decision. We had been told that the toll roads were the safest way to get through Mexico and the signs ahead of us said that the toll roads were to the north. So North it was. Little did we know we were about to take one of the biggest detours of our trip!

From Arriaga heading north we took one of the most amazing mountain roads winding up through the desert of Chiapas. It was just barely light and kind of foggy. As the sun came up this scene was exactly how I had pictured Mexico as a child. Desert and deserted but gorgeous all at the same time. Our three man wolf pack rode in formation, as fast as we could, through hair pin turns, going up the mountain side. All I know is the area around Terra e Liberdad, Mexico was breathtaking!

When we arrived at the top of the mountain there came another fork in the road. We looked at the basic GPS map, looked for signs that would lead us to Mexico City, and finally asked for more directions. Dave asked some old man but didn't trust him so he asked a couple guys walking down the road side. For some strange reason both people told us to head back East towards Tuxtla Gutierrez. An hour or two later we found ourselves in the middle of Tuxtla Gutierrez. Its a huge city laced with 1st world stores, walmarts, fountains, and other interesting stuff. We stopped at a stoplight and the guy selling news papers on the side of the road caught my attention. He had huge piece of wood with all the major news papers attached to it. Every one of them had pictures of a lady that had been brutally murdered. I got a sick feeling and was bumbed out for the next few hours.. Ehh.. I hate that! As we rode out of Tuxtla Gutierrez we paid a toll and asked the lady which way we needed to go to get to Mexico City. She told us to continue on the highway we were on. We pressed onward. Suddenly, the green oasis were were driving through turned into pine trees and jagged mountain passes. We climbed to over 8100 feet of elevation and our bikes that were jetted for sea level didn't like it! I had my bike pinned at full throttle and was only going 50-60 kms. Our bike were Sputtering and choking from thin air until we coasted  into San Cristobal. I was absolutely frozen as well! It blows me away how many times we have gone from blistering hot to Bone Cold temperatures!
In the Mountains near San Cristobal
In San Cristobal we got gas and hit the mall in search of a map. Not buying one right off the bat in Mexico was a major mistake. We got our map in the mall and as we walked out to our bikes we asked a security guard where we needed to go to get closer to Mexico City. He pointed us North Eastward and we headed out of town. We were supposed to take the main road down past Zinacantan. Somehow we ended up in the middle of a bunch of indian villages in the highlands near San Andrés Larráinzar.? The roads were almost perfect for road bikes. The next 4 or 5 hours of riding were all hairpin turns. I drug my footpeg like 5 times. That's quite an accomplishment when it sits almost a foot and a half off the ground. We were lucky because the roads were actually really nice. The views from up there are indescribable.  Sheer green mountains with farms cut into them. Cliffs everywhere, laced with rivers, and dotted with mall humble homes. There were indian farm ladies, wearing goat wool skirks, leading goats everywhere. We only saw a couple men. We figured that they were in the fields.

A couple hours into the mountains we stopped at a waterfall and asked for directions. We were eating a snack when Nian realized that we hadn't showered for a couple days. Sooo he got naked and jumped in the river! haha I also washed up and we got back on the road. After making great time going down hill and making a few scary passes on a two lane mountain road we finally made it out of the mountains and back to somewhat of a main road. We were somewhere around Teapa. From there we rode north towards Villahermosa. The road going north was super hot and full of banana groves. It was nice to be back on flat ground though.
 Dave Riding through a Small Mountain Villa
A couple hours to the north and we were just outside of Villahermosa. We were all out of gas and super dehydrated. We fueled up and sat in the air conditioned service station for more than half an hour! It was honestly unbearably hot! After a good break we got back on the road. On the road towards Cardenas was pretty slow going. We hit some traffic and when we finally got back on the freeway. Dave didn't dare go over 80kms for fear of blowing up his bike. So I rode on the far shoulder trying to get some shade from the trees planted in the median. I was miserable. Between Cardenas and Coatzacoalcos we got stopped at police and military checkpoints like every 50 kms. We were stopping at our 4th check point when our whole trip took a MAJOR TURN!
Random Military Checkpoint
Ever since our first check point in Mexico we would act like we only spoke English. The cops would yell at us asking for documents and licenses. We would give each other confused looks and say, "You speak English? English? Inglishesh?" They would more confused than we would and keep yelling at us in Spanish. We played it off super dumb even though we understood more than 90% of what they were saying. haha Finally, most of them would give up and just let us go after 5 or 10 minutes. At this particular stop it was all military and they weren't nice. After like 20 minutes and me showing them all the moldy clothes and junk inside my pack they were going to let us go. They weren't happy about us not having Mexican driving permission though. As I was tying everything up Nian leaned his bike over and put his exhaust pipe on my bare leg!!! I screamed as it sizzled my flesh! "NIANNNN! OWWW! FREAK! YOU JUST BURNED THE CRAP OUT OF ME!" Nian said, "oh sorry dude." No more than 30 seconds later he leaned his back over on me and once again scalded my leg with his Exhaust pipe!! "GOSH DANG IT NIAAANNNN!!! OWWWWW!!! AHHHH!!! Now I was livid! For the last few hours driving slow and high temperatures had been building up frustrations. After the second branding on my leg instead of saying things that I would regret to Nian, I just grabbed my bike, push started it, and rode off down the road in a fit of fury! I rode maybe 20 minutes and stopped. I waited until I could see them coming a few Kms back and started riding again. I could see them in my mirror every few minutes but I was still a little upset so I stayed out front. I passed through two construction zones and stopped at the next fork in the road to wait for them. I took off my shirt and waited like 20 minutes for them. I sat there for more than 20 minutes. No riders passed by. So I rode a couple kms back to last gas station. They hadn't seen the guys, so I got gas and started riding backwards down the edge of the freeway. About half way back to where I had last seen them I got stopped by some cops, hassled by those cops, and they made me got over to the other side of the freeway to keep going back. I rode almost all the way back to the military checkpoint looking for them. No Nian and Dave. So I got back on the freeway and headed out as fast as I could! About 10 kms back towards where the cops had stopped me there was a short portion of road construction. Suddenly, the semi truck that was directly to my left decided that he needed to make a sharp left hand turn and that he didnt have enough room to make his full turn. So.... he came all the way over into my lane and forced me OFF THE ROAD into the gravel. I Slammed on my back brake. My break lever bottomed out. My back breaks were COMPLETELY GONE OUT! Now I had two choices, keep riding off the side of the road and slam into a cement barricade or hit my front break in gravel. It was pretty much a toss up so I decided to hit the front break. That of course sling shotted me to the ground! Right next to a turning semi trailer mind you. I felt the sting of road rash all along my left side. I looked to the right and right next to me were moving semi trailer tires. As fast as I hit the ground I hopped back to my feet and grabbed my bike, almost before it even stopped sliding. I pushed my bike off the road onto a sidewalk type thing. By this point I'm cursing myself out loud while thanking God to be alive in my mind. Keep in mind I had my shirt off trying to get some relief from the intense heat, so my shoulder and side were pretty roughed up. I used one of my water bottles to wash out my road rashes and put my shirt back on. I had broken another mirror and bent my shifter pretty bad. It took me a second to get the bike back together. As soon as I did, I was back on the road trying to catch up to the boys. Another 5 kms down the road and the same cops stopped me again. They hassled me some more but they hadn't seen any bikers go past. They let me go after some good convincing.  I got on the road going as fast as I could to catch up to the guys. Right then, I had a thought come into my mind, "YOU'RE GOING THE REST OF THE WAY HOME ALONE!" Then I thought, "Why? No that's silly, I'll find the guys soon.

It was getting dark so I decided that I had better get to a hospital soon! The last time I crashed a motorbike in Mexico I got a bad infection, so I really wanted to get my road rashes washed out.  I rode into Acayucan, Mexico around 10pm. I rode all around town looking for a hospital but ended up going to an internet cafe instead. I sent the guys a message telling them to meet me in Veracruz. The guy that owned the internet place spoke some English. He gave me perfectly detailed directions of how to get to the local red cross station. I hopped back on my bike and raced over there. The Red Cross staff took me right in and got me all cleaned up! Whatever they used stung like crazy! It seemed to work great though. The fact that the whole visit cost 14pesos (just a little more than a dollar) was awesome as well!
Getting my wounds Scrubbed by a Red Cross Nurse
It as almost Midnight before I got out of the Red Cross. I headed back towards the internet place but I soon figured out that the streets were all one way streets and soon I was lost. I rode through the middle of the town, around a carnival and huge crowd of people, and ended up stopping at a pharmacy to get some more bandages.  As I was leaving the pharmacy I asked a couple people if they knew where I could use the internet. Nobody would help me. I was starting to get a little freaked out. It was super creepy there! I backed my bike back into the street and got ready push start it. Three young teenage kids walked out of the pharmacy. I looked at them and thought, "what an interesting crew. There's the tall skinny pretty boy with his hair slicked back. The funny trouble maker with tattered clothes, two ponytail looking things coming out by his sideburns should be, and his hat on upside down, backwards, and folded in half. And the mommas boy with a huge helmet on, shirt tucked in, and a cheesy smile on his face. After I had looked them over I got a feeling like they were sent to help me. They walked straight over to me and asked me what the heck I was doing?! They told me how dangerous it was where we were and told me that they would take me to the only internet place that was open and then to the freeway. The mommas boy and trouble maker hopped on a scooter and the pretty boy on another. They buzzed through the town while I followed close behind. As we got off into some neighborhood my mind kept going though scenarios. "Ok, if they try anything, first I grab my two foot Brazilian Jungle knife, then I take the biggest one first." and so on. Then the thought came to my head (for those of you who know who the Three Nephites are) "What if these are the Three Nephites sent to get me out of trouble?" I remember getting cold chills and having a super calm feeling come over me. Right then I thanked God for sending good people to always get me out of tight places!! The Three Amigos took me to an internet place. I checked my E-mail. Nothing from Dave and Nian. From the start of the trip the plan if we got seperated was always get on the internet and message a meeting place right away.  I was a little upset that they hadn't written me. I left the internet place and the Three Amigos were sitting out front watching my Bike and gear for me.  We jumped on our bikes and they led me to the freeway on ramp. I got off, thanked them for their help, and they rode off. As they rode away, I once again got the feeling like I was saved by the Grace of God.
Back on the Road! By now its after 1 in the morning.  I rode north towards Veracruz on one of the nicest freeways I have ever seen. There were very few cars and I could see every star in the sky! pretty amazing. I stopped for gas at around 2:30am There at the gas station I found a good guy that was more than happy to give me some advice. I asked him for the best roads towards the United States and where was the best place to spend the night. The guy said I had to options to get back to the US. Straight north up to Texas or North West to Mexico City, then up to Mazitlan, and then up to Arizona. He said that the Mexico City route was the safest and had the best roads. I figured Dave and Nain would go that way as well so I decided that would be my best route. The guy told me that if I went any farther than Orizaba that I would freeze to death so that's where I should spend the night.. I thought... Freeze to death? Its almost 3am and I'm still sweating.? haha I push started the Tornado and headed North. Two hours later and I was only about 50kms from Orizaba and I was soooo cold!! I shivered uncontrollably for the next 30 minutes, being super cold was probably the only thing that kept me awake. I got off the freeway in Orizaba and looked for a hotel. Maybe 5 minutes down the main road I passed like 20 cop cars and tons of cops running around a building with guns drawn and yelling! I rode past thinking, "What in the Heck is going on!!? What a crazy day!" I didn't even slow down until I was inside a hotel parking lot! haha The first three hotels were full. I finally found one that had an open room for like ten dollars. I checked in and limped my broken frozen self into the room. After taking one of the most deserved showers of my life I redressed my wounds and laid down. As my head hit the pillow I realized that I had to get back up and shut the blinds. The sun was coming up! It was almost 7 am!! I had been on the road for almost 26 hours and I was EXHAUSTED! Before laying back down, I realized that I would be ungrateful if I didn't Kneel my road rashed knees on the floor to thank GOD for still being ALIVE! I did so... laid down.. and was instantly asleep

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