By Tim Notier
The States had proved themselves to be as amazing and hospitable as we could have hoped. We met wonderful people, saw nature in all of its glory, and shook some excess bugs out of our gear, the bike’s load, and literally out of our jackets and helmets.
A big shout out to the people who assisted us and invited us into their homes along the way, Dana Dahl and her husband William (where we almost declared legal residency because we stayed for so long), Paul Sprague (who insisted on paying for our hotel room for a night), and Jim Piatt, along with his fellow riders of the Pokka Dots: Brian Small and Ron Hess. Jim provided us with a pair of passenger foot pegs that miraculously fit (with a little grinding). We have now dubbed the bike “Peg-asus” because now she has wings!
There are too many people to thank individually, but we are grateful to every individual who provided kindness and assistance, down to just good conversations.
But now we are in Mexico, having made it all the way to Cabo. Once past Tijuana, Baja opened its window to the wondrous views it has to offer. The nights were spent at a variety of playas, each seemingly more beautiful than the last. Eating at small family owned stands, constant swimming in the Sea of Cortez, and reading books while we lay in our hammock is how we spent the majority of our days. It was true relaxation mixed in with random bonus gifts, including our Texan neighbor, Captain Gunner, letting us use his kayak-a-maran in the Bay of Conception and having a whale shark swim directly underneath us. A truly once in a lifetime experience. In the same bay, bioluminescence sparkled in the water as we swam at 4am. Everything seemed magical. Almost magical, with a couple scratches to the flawless facade.
The first of the mishaps was that my fork seal started to leak, it streamed down the fork with enough oil to splash onto my bash plate while riding. The wide collective knowledge of Facebook banded together on a post I listed, and confirmed how to easily remedy the problem at no cost. But I was premature in taking their advice, and sought out a shop to look at the seal. The shop that was “3 blocks away” turned out to no longer exist, and during my trek into the night in La Paz in search for the shop, we were pulled over for “speeding”. I paid off the bribe, as that was all that it was, and paid WAY too much money in the exchange for my license back. Lesson learned, I broke every rule I had created for myself: 1. No riding at night, 2. Don’t travel with excessive amounts of cash, 3. Wear all the gear all the time, and 4. Only give the International Driver’s License along with a photo copy of my real license to any “suspect” police officers. With the same leaking fork, we went back to the hotel with a lot less currency.
I fixed the oil leak the next day with the suggestions from fellow adventure motorcyclists. I cut a tool out of a plastic bottle, and then swept 360 degrees between the seal and the fork, removing the gunk that caused a gap letting a little oil leak. As of now, it worked.
The second scary moment was on Halloween; Marisa had been experiencing a massive amount of pain in her abdomen. She dealt with it as long as she could for days, taking pain pills but clearly in misery as she curled over on the bed moaning. Fearing the pain was greater than a UTI, we hailed a taxi to go to the nearest hospital.
The examination room consisted of a bed, covered in a used sheet that had mystery dried blood on it, and a grungy bathroom with a toilet that leaked when flushed. Someone else’s cloths were folded in the corner of the bathroom as Marisa had to change into the hospital gown.
Marisa was blinded by pain and wanted the suffering to just go away, so she did not notice her blood dripping down her arm where they were taking a sample, onto the sheet, then to the floor next to other splatters from pervious patents. But I was truly hoping that the talk about her appendix having possibly burst, and the surgery that would have to be performed if it did, was not the reason for her pain, because this was no place for a surgery. X-rays and blood tests would have to be performed, and I was told I could hug her, then to please wait outside.
As I sat outside and smoked half a pack of cigarettes over the next hour, the doctor finally waived me back inside. Marisa’s appendix had not burst, and she was feeling a lot better, possibly due to the drip of medication they were now feeding into her arm. To be sure she would remain comfortable, and to give her a second round of antibiotics, she was to stay overnight, and I was to take a taxi back to the hotel.
Once back at the hotel, I continued to text Marisa to get the play by play analysis. There would be a new doctor coming in for the night shift, and based on her condition, they would either let her come back to the hotel around 8pm, or keep her overnight. Eight P.M. came and went, then finally after 10pm, the good news was I could go pick her up!
For 2,500 pesos (which was about a hundred dollars, and much less than the bribe I paid) Marisa had multiple blood tests, an X-Ray, and had been treated with pain medication. A healthier version of Marisa was able to go back to the hotel with me.
Halloween had proven to be quite a scary day for us.
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