Well, its been a little while.. haven’t had a lot of internet for this last stretch of Mexico – disconnected, unwired, slooowwwed right down - concerning myself with important things like wind direction, building fires, oil changes or where to fish for dinner.
So yeah, where to begin?
Seem to remember writing about the loss of my sidecar rig, which hurt, whilst conversely gaining some of my best mates to adventure with, which was epic. Seems so long ago.
Grown a beard since then. Makes me smile – so much awesomeness in the last few months, got everything we hoped for – and more.
Mexico. Mehico. Mehico.. what a place.
Sometimes so barren, it feels like Mars.
Photo: Alex Doseff
And then sometimes it’s like being illustrated into a Dr Suess’ classic. Trippy and beautiful desert forests, endemic with hardened thorns, adorned with exotic blooms.
Man that place is heartbreakingly beautiful – awe inspiring like anywhere I’ve ever been – one of the most mystical for sure.
Then when I look back and consider that I got to spend that time with some of my best mates – that’s what really makes it.
Riding solo prior to then was awesome, and I loved it – love the aloneness, the isolation, vulnerability and independence – but there’s something about sharing experiences with people you love that makes it special.
Yeah, I reckon...
We sat and watched the bush telly for hours every night..
When you remove something as dogmatic, mind-numbing and intrusive as a television from your daily life, it opens up the time and curiosity to ponder ideas outside of daily distraction and easy entertainment - even allows you to know the people around you a little better. There's definitely some great television out there, and perhaps i'd be a smarter fellah if I bothered to watch the box now and again...
On the other hand, there's something about the instinctual hypnosis of a dancing flame that opens up deep conversation - sometimes topics that we don't dare arouse in a modern social setting. Religion, politics and God(?) forbid, even pondering the meaning of life. The warmth and comfort opens you up, and the stars above allows your imagination to soar - instead of being smothered and confined to 7 minute blocks of cooking competitions between commercial breaks.
Someone once mentioned to me that the fire (obviously important to many human evolutionary traits) was crucial to our intellectual probing, imagination and creativity etc, because historically our natural predators feared and avoided the flames. And since the time when we learnt to control it, were able to turn our backs to the cold darkness and potential predators, hence the luxury of sitting together around the flames to share our experiences of that day, or the next. To tell stories and learn.
Either way, whether you get deep about it or not, campfires are cooler than TV because you can roast marshmallows.
We rode and camped every night, doing it everywhere and anywhere we fancied – real freedom.
Met some top Mexi mates too, Memo, Pablo, Perry and Dean the Kiwi. They had dogs. I like dogs – almost adopted a couple already.
So many expanses of true wilderness, as far as the eye can see.
No one to tell you what to do, no national park entry fees, no ridiculous rules and regulations to adhere to – just an all-engulfing landscape and your own insignificant sense of wonder.
It feels good.
Each vastness hammering its way into your soul – depleting the engendered and desperate claw at the acquisition of crap not really needed.
You figure that out pretty quickly on a bike in the desert.
Real camping. Real adventure. Real living.
Real skies. No city obscurity.
My little (giant) brother Damo and his girl Kara even came to visit – somehow navigating a tiny hatchback hire car through the vicious roads of the rocky desert – awesome to see them again, and even better when they surprised us all by announcing they were getting engaged… Huh?! My little bro? ha.. so stoked – I love those guys so much.
On one of the nights I made some traditional Baja tattoo ink from the native Agave plant. Also found some driftwood, carved a coconut, grabbed a safety pin for a needle and a little while later started doing a few tap-tap tattoos. It’s Mentawai style tap-tap, but seemed quite fitting here in exotic Mexico.
Photo: Alex Dossef
Oh yeah, and the surfing?
We scored… all time. Everything from long points, to A-frame beachies, to heaving tubes..
But somehow I managed to erase the majority of surf shots whilst transferring them to a hardrive.. gotta love it when that happens. Still have most of the video though... but you’ll have to wait for that.
Here’s just a couple of tasters..
Photo: Alex Doseff
The bikes proved themselves 1000 times over. I love the KLR – whether bombing along on the open roads or climbing gravelly and eroded mountain passes, they handle it all reliably and doggedly. That's not to say we didn't have days of carnage with dropped bikes, injured bodies, dinged boards and pure exhaustion - yeah there was plenty of that...
My single wheeled off-road trailer has been one crucial element that has made this trip possible for me, after losing the sidecar I originally thought the trip was done for (I need more space than most), but when I got in touch with Trail Tailrealised there was still hope.
And more than hope – this thing has doubled my space capacity and absolutely killed it through the last 4000 miles – the harder I ride the better it performs. Even though there was a small learning curve initially, I can now fly through the twisties or hook it up a gnarly gravel hill, no dramas.
The Givi top box and panniers also have proven themselves time and time again, whether river crossings, pouring rain, gnarly wind and dust, they keep all my fragile filmmaking equipment safe and sound. There’s also been a few occasions where I’ve been a little concerned to leave my gear on my bike outside whilst I slept, and the quick release removal of boxes has made it possible to keep things that bit safer.
As you can see I’m pretty loaded down, and I’ve been questioned about it by a few adventure riders. I’ve thought about cutting a few things back, but then quickly slapped myself – there’s no way I’m not surfing, or spearfishing, or filmmaking, or photographing, camping or cooking. And then add in all the necessities that even most other riders carry like tools, spare parts, water, clothes, first aid, spare fuels, maps, etc etc - yes, you are definitely loaded.
Funny thing is, there hasn’t been anywhere the bike hasn’t made it to yet – even in Baja.
The spearfishing has been great in Mexico too, so satisfying to catch your own food, to know where it’s come from and to feel good that it’s reasonably sustainable with no bycatch - taking only what we can eat.
The thing I love about spearfishing is that you’ve got to put yourself into the hunt, immerse yourself in the ocean, and become a predator. There’s no sitting around daydreaming waiting for a catch.
You work for it.
And there’s always the chance that when you’re wrestling a large, bleeding fish in a murky rivermouth, a 30 minute swim from shore, that the man in a grey suit might just come along for a look.
And he always comes from behind.
That chance of becoming the hunted. I think it’s just that bit fairer…
Hmmmm.. what else?
Oh yeah, we swam with whale sharks too – a dream come true for me…
And of course, before I go I should most definitely introduce you to H.
H is short for Heather, also known affectionately as Boma. She’s real groovy I reckon. Used to run an urban farm called Yummy Yards in Vancouver, British Columbia, and when we met was halfway through selling it. Rather convenient I guess - as that freed her up a little…
H likes surfing too…
Photo: Alex Dossef
H also likes spearfishing...
She climbs a hell of a lot better than me…
Also basically has an encyclopaedia’s worth of plant and permaculture/farming stuff in her head - which I think is pretty cool..
This is H on her first real day of riding her new bike (having never rode a motorcycle in her life til she met me!), we’re almost at 3000 metres elevation, after riding for 5 hours from sea level through some of the twistiest roads i’ve come across since Alaska or BC…
And she nailed it like a boss.
A big thanks to Rev'It for making Heather an ambassador to test out the latest and toughest adventure motorcycle apparel.
...that was a long one, thanks for sticking it out. I may as well leave you with a shot or two of where we are right now, beautiful San Cristobal De La Casas - plenty of indigenous tradition, great architecture, cool climate, strong coffee and towering mountains to keep us riding for days. Just did an interview with some Zapatista proponents about how to live outside of the western capitalist model - love learning about different ways of life...
We're going to steal away from the ocean for a couple of weeks through Guatamala - if you've got any suggestions, drop us a line..