A few o’ the latest photos

28 04 2010
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Update from Mazatlán, Mexico

26 04 2010

Que onda guey!

I have new photos to share with you but I’m afraid I got some sand in my camera and it is not working at the moment. Here, let me steal one from somebody so I can at least show you  this delicious beach town, Mazatlán.

Mazatlán, Mexico. Photo courtesy of Travelpod.

If any of you are considering opening a hostel somewhere, this is the place to do it! Not a single hostel in town, just hotels with private rooms. There are plenty of backpackers, and we’re all looking for a cheap hostel with a shared dorm room. Pero no hay. I found a $10/night room at Hotel Lerma. For anybody coming to Mazatlán, that’s the cheapest room in town, and the closest you’ll find to a hostel.

I went to the largest aquarium in Latin America yesterday, then saw Fury of Titans in Spanish. City life has been nice for a couple of days but I can’t stay long in places like this; I find myself yearning for a campsite next to a river, or a relaxing night singing La Bamba with a family that is letting me camp on their farm for the night.

Sinaloa, Mexico. Sinaloa is a state. The actual name of Mexico is "The United States of Mexico." The landscape here looks like this. (photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

My camera should be fixed by tomorrow and then I’ll be back on the road! I’m not sure how many farms I’ll be passing though, because the landscape has changed from the lush jungle of southern Mexico to the desert beauty of Arizona. Looks like home! But I still have a few weeks left…

The plan is to cross the Mexico/Arizona border at Nogales on Saturday, May 15th. Hope to see you there! Bring your bike and we can go for a little ride…

Click here to support forest conservation in Paraguay or click the Firstgiving logo to the right. A big thanks to the anonymous donor for our most recent donation and thanks as always to everybody who has donated over the last 16 months!





EARTH DAY

22 04 2010

EarthDay.org

Happy Earth Day, Earth creatures.

Earth Day is a holiday that gives us the opportunity to pledge our support for the environment.

So, what will you do today (or all this year) to make the Earth a healthier place?

Click “comment” below and tell us!

(note: I glanced at some simlilar forums online and noticed a lot of people saying they plan to drive less. That’s okay, but I think we can do better. Driving less doesn’t help the Earth directly, it just hurts it less. Pledging to drive less on Earth Day is like pledging to flick fewer cigarette butts at your grandmother on Grandmother’s Day.)





The Domino Effect

21 04 2010

 

The Three Bikers of Baños

A fellow traveller, once a bus-traveller, writes: “A Change of Plans. On March 26, 2010 I left Buenos Aires, Argentina. I am heading back to Southern California. I am, however, traveling by bicycle.” Fantastic!

Then I found this on his blog MattSepulveda.com:

Argentina, where I was attacked by killer bees: “On, March 27, my second day of riding, I rode through a large swarm of bees. I didn´t even see it coming. I just felt one hit my arm, looked up and…while I wish I could say that everything slowed down and like Keanu in the Matrix, I dodged them all like a CGI acrobat, I don´t want to brag. Actually, I don´t even think I remembered to close my mouth. Hopefully that doesn´t happen again…” 

And the domino effect:

(Flashback to December of last year): “Later that night in the rooftop, self-serve honor-system bar, I started talking to this guy… As it turns out, Sam has been working with the Peace Corps in Paraguay for the past two years and is headed home now, on his bicycle. He is riding his bike to raise money to save the rainforest where he lived in Paraguay (www.rideforthetrees.com). He shouldn´t even have been in Baños but he had a problem with a tire and no where in town even carried the proper size replacement. So, he had been waiting for a few days for a replacement to come in from Colombia. For some, unknown reason I became curious. We talked for a while, he answered a bunch of questions and we ended up heading out for the night in a big group.

I still don´t know what it was about our chat, but something planted in my mind, “Hey, you should do that!” And I was seriously thinking about it. So, the next day, I woke up after sleeping for four hours, rented a bike and took off on a 35 mile trail down river to the east. I had done the same trail on the previous trip, but on an ATV. I figured, let´s have this be a little mini-test to see if I am capable of this kind of thing. About twenty miles into the trip, the back wheel began shaking from side to side. “No problem”, I thought, “I can handle a little shaking, let´s see if it gets any worse…”. Well, after the next patch of gravel, the rear wheel began shaking rather violently. I had to stop. I quickly realized that I don´t know the first thing about bicycle maintenance. “Hmm, that may be something worth looking into if I decide to go through with this”, I thought to myself. So, I hitch-hiked back into town, feeling really excited about the ride I had just had, but with a creeping sense of doubt as to my ineptitude as an emergency bicycle repairman.

The next day Sam´s new tires had arrived and he was heading north to continue his trip back home. I decided to give it another try and joined him for the ride from Baños to Ambato some 25 miles away. At some point I asked him, “OK, I know that if I end up doing this it will be an adventure etc., but, given what you know about me, do you think I would be putting myself in unnecessary risk given my total lack of knowledge of the bicycle?”. He gave me an unequivocal, “No, it would not be taking a stupid risk, you can do this.

We ended up riding together for six hours, 90% of it uphill. As I turned back towards Baños and Sam continued on to Ambato, I felt uplifted by his endorsement, but in the back of my head that same sense of doubt was creeping, but now it was directed toward my physical capabilities.

Despite this doubt, the moment he told me I would not be making a rash decision, I knew I had to do this.”

The biggest risk is the naysayage, the dominoes that kill dreams, spouted from the mouths of people who call dreams impossible.

Hope you’re enjoying the ride, Matt! www.MattSepulveda.com

And for any students out there who have been inspired and want to do something about it, check out www.BikeAndBuild.org to ride across the U.S. with 20 other students while supporting affordable housing.





Update from Puerto Escondido, Mexico

18 04 2010

photo courtesy of ca2pr.com

For those of you wondering where Waldo is, I send you saludos from “Hidden Port,” Mexico in the Department of Oaxaca.

After riding across the Guatemala/Mexico border with slight knee pain I decided to cheat a bit by bus hopping through the mountains and down to the coast in order to make it to Northern Mexico in time to ride a couple of weeks with my father and then make it to my sister’s wedding on time (congratulations Chelsea!) (…and I promise I’ll make up skipped mileage in Arizona everybody!)

It is ridiculously hot here but I’m cruising steadily up the coast. As I mentioned during my days in Argentina’s scalding Chaco, 110 degree days are managable due to the slight breeze you get while cycling. The difficulty lies in the 90 degree nights, stuck inside a tent with no breeze, sweating puddles and then riding another day on a few hours of fidgety sleep. I can’t complain too much though; as the other volunteers and I discussed in Paraguay, we know this is temporary and we will soon be going back to air-conditioned homes.

I feel like I’m racing the sun. I’m moving northward as quickly as possible and I know it’s moving that way too, bringing summer from the southern hemisphere to the northern.

A huge part of me feels like the tour is already ending, but I still have a lot of work ahead of me. I’ll keep racing the sun and I hope you all will continue to support me, spreading the word on your blogs and facebook, and considering donating by clicking that FirstGiving link over there to your right.

Thanks so much everybody!





Aurora’s Climate Cycle

18 04 2010

Hey everybody (and especially Peace Corps Paraguay folks),

I got an email from a Peace Corps friend, Aurora, announcing that she’ll be participating in an environmental bicycle ride to support green education in Chicago! It’s called Climate Cycle, and here’s what she has to say about it:

“On May 15th I’ll be riding a 20-mile loop on Lake Michigan (well, not ON Lake Michigan —  next to it) to raise money for solar panels and green education  in Chicago Public Schools.

If you are wondering if this is worth your donation, I can tell you that I have met one of the students this program has benefitted and her enthusiasm inspired me to participate.”

The organization’s website is www.ClimateCycle.org and Aurora’s personal donation page can be found at http://www.firstgiving.org/auroralemieux

Terehoporaiteke pe kavajupiruari Aurora!





Give me a break, give me a break, break me off a piece of that Orangutan Finger

18 04 2010

GreenPeace’s newest feature, reminding us with bloody humor that we are paying the corporations to do what they do… which in this case is rainforest destruction.