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November 30, 2015

Day 8 - San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico to Tucson, AZ (Mon 11/30/15)

Starting Odometer: 35,064
Ending Odometer: 35,411
Miles Driven Today: 347
Miles Driven This Trip: 1,791

This is a map of where I drove today.

I'm riding north, towards Nogales and I see another american on a motorcycle.

"I don't see a lot of Americans down here."

He tells me there's a large expatriate community down in San Carlos. He's riding a Kawasaki, heading north, towards Tucson. Same as me. Says his name is Mac. So we ride together.

"I will stop at the last Pemex station to fill up. The gas is more expensive down here, but my motorcycle runs better on this gas. It doesn't have all that tree-hugger nonsense they add in the United States."

So at some point, we stop for gas and stock up with Jumex and I buy a praline from the counter. Delicious.

The nice thing is that Mac has a plan for crossing the border, which is nice.

So when we get to the border crossing, we go for the crossing outside of town, not the main crossing. We wait in line for about 30 minutes, catching up.

He's telling me where the cheap hotels are in Tucson. To exit on Congress and double back for a Motel 6, etc.

The thing about being in Mexico is that I don't know what the road signs mean. I'd forgotten about this. Or I thought I knew what they meant. I didn't. I knew what about 1/2 of the signs meant.

"How did you get from Rocky Point to Kino Bay?"

I tell him the route I took.

"Then you crossed one of the most dangerous stretches of Mexico. That's all controlled by the drug traffickers. They had a war out there at Rocky Point a few years ago. They were shooting at the Federales and everything."

What did they do at Rocky Point?

"Well, the federales sort of encircled them, and kept the tourists pinned in so they were safe. And they had to make runs to bring in food to them. But I think right now, they have some new bosses in the cartels. And they're trying to figure everything out. IT's settled down a lot now."

"Sort of like a detente?" I clarify.

"Yes. Exactly."

"Now," Mac continues, "The road you and I are about to take - from Nogales to Tucson - is the main route for smuggling drugs into North America. Once we get across the border, there will be a secondary checkpoint about 30 miles up the highway."

"Yes...I saw something similar just north of Lukeville.." I offer.

"Yes. The same."

"Every year, there are 600 unsolved murders on this stretch of road."

As we slowly roll closer to the border, it occurs to me that I'll need my passport.

I guess I'll need my passport. You have your's out?

Yep. It's in my jacket pocket Mac says.

I reach into my tank bag and immediately produce my passport.

How's that for organizational skills? I ask.

"Pretty good, I'd say."

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 30, 2015 at 7:42 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Mon 11/30/2015 Day ?

I'm in San Carlos. Today, I will leave for Tucson, Az. I will cross the border at Nogales. Problem with charger. Can't recharge the laptop for some reason. Still have iPhone though, and it works if I have wifi.

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 30, 2015 at 9:17 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

November 29, 2015


I'm in San Carlos, in the Mexican state of Sonora. There are no words.

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 29, 2015 at 4:46 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Day 7 - Bahia Del Kino to San Carlos, Mexico (Sun 11/29/15)

Starting Odometer: 34,855
Ending Odometer: 35,064
Miles Driven Today: 209
Miles Driven This Trip: 1,444

This is a map of where I drove today.

Today, I'll try to make it down to San Carlos, Mexico.

The problem with these little beachside towns is that, you start drinking with strangers at night, and some jackass always has to say something like "Oh....if you like this place...you should see San Carlos..."

And there you have it. Next thing you know, you're rolling down the road again, searching for the next little vacation paradise down the coast.

Probably this will be the extent of my wandering, as I have to return to the U.S. at some point.

But my stay here in Nuevo Kino has been pretty decadent.

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 29, 2015 at 9:55 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

November 28, 2015

Day 6 - Bahia de Kino, Sonora, Mexico (Sat 11/28/15)

Update: I am alive and well and resting peacefully in the Casa Blanca motel on the shores of the Sea of Cortez in the town of Bahia de Kino, in the state of Sonora, Mexico.

Starting Odometer: 34,845
Ending Odometer: 34,855
Miles Driven Today: 10
Miles Driven This Trip: 1,235

This is a map of where I drove today.

So, I'm reasonably sure that I can never leave this place. Haha. Just kidding. I know I have to leave. But it's sure been a nice little place to hang out. I decided to spend another night here because I can't imagine finding a more secluded white sand beach that's any better than this. I can drive my KTM on the beach. Drink on the beach with open glass bottles. If this isn't paradise, it's not far from it.

And, I'm sitting here at the bar, drinking my margarita, thinking how clever I am for finding this place, when a couple of Americans come in. This older couple. And he starts telling me that, if I think this place is nice, then I should see the next place down the coast. It's down just past Gauacama.....I think it's called Santa Rosa? Or something like that.

These two Americans..I ask them...how did you find this place? Like, in my mind, we're in the middle of nowhere. I've never heard anyone say the words "Kino Bay" in my life.

But, apparently, if you lived in Arizona, back in the day, back before Rocky Point really took off, some people would bypass Rocky Point in favor of Kino Bay, as the surf fishing was better here, apparently.

So, it was however many hours to get to Rocky Flats, and for a few hours more, you could get to Kino Bay. In theory, anyway. I sort of feel like it took me a LONG time to get here.

And I woke up this morning and I was like...yeah...trust me I'm not leaving this place. Not today, anyway. It's too nice a place to run from.

So, I get up and start moving around noon or so. And decide I'll walk down he beach. So I slather myself in sunscreen, and start walking down the beach wearing a bathing suit and a t-shirt. And 2 cameras. And it's just spectacular. Soft sugar white sand beaches. California Pelicans, and other birds I can't quite identify.

Gentle waves crash on the beach. This is the Sea of Cortez, of course.

And we're surrounded by mountains.

The owner of the hotel, John, comes by. And we talk for a bit. Apparently, they have two seasons here. The Mexicans come here in the summer. And the Americans/Canadians come here in the winter.

Like...John comes and sets up these two outdoor patio heaters, and when he leaves, I turn it down as low as it will go.

Now...to talk about what Mexico is like. For people that haven't been here. It's like this.

Imagine if civilization ground to a halt, and all construction projects just halted, for no discernible reason, midway through completion.

Imagine if dogs walk the streets alone, unafraid.

Imagine if, instead of a license plate, you just taped a $ in place of where your tag should be.

I don't know how or why it is this way. But a large portion of Mexico always seems to be abandoned. Unfinished. Decrepit.

You know....I mean....I'm drinking tequila, looking at the place across the street thinking...I could buy that place. I could do this. I don't need to go back to the United States.

So...I'm driving down the road today, and, for some reason, I can't get my bike to change gears. It's stuck in like...2nd gear...and this is a bad feeling. This is nightmare fuel.

Like...granted...it's not like I'm about to die, but then again, if I can't get the bike to change gears, my joy-ride through Mexico is about to come to a grinding halt.

Like....I can't change gears. WTF is going on?

Now, if I have to be honest with myself, then I've known there was a problem since Chambers, Arizona. That was when I couldn't get the gear shift to work right. And I looked down at it to see what my foot was caught on. And it was the shift peg.

Now, I don't understand how the shift peg works. And by that, what I mean, is that I don't consciously understand what my left foot does that makes this journey possible. Like, if you type at a keyboard, it's fairly well documented that most people don't know where the keys are on a keyboard. It's in a sort of rote-memory stored area that's different than the conscious level. And, people have to look at the keyboard to find the letter, even though they can type 60 wpm.

So it is with the shifter. I could not tell you what my left foot is doing or why, only that I don't have to think about it.

And now. it's not working. And it's not the fault of my left foot. I can't change gears. Something is majorly fucked.

So, I pull over on the side of the road.

I'm in Bahia Del Kino.

And I stop, on the side of the road, and begin to think. Maybe this is something beyond repair. But then again, maybe the shift peg is just loose. And, I look and reach into the gook in the bottom of the engine. And I find that, as one might imagine, the shift peg is loose.

Now, I reach into my Givi case on the back of my bike. This is what it is for. It holds my tools. I pull out my socket wrench set. It's missing the extension, but other than that, it's complete. And I figure that the nut is about 8mm. Turns out it's 10mm. Close enough. So, now, I have the socket wrench and socket. But the extension is missing. And i need it. So I root through the rest of my tools in the Givi case and find it. Now, I just tighten up the shifter, and I'm rolling again.

Now, I'd like to point out that, for all of the people second-guessing me at home, get in line. For everyone thinking "I could never do that", you're right.

I'm not a mechanic, by trade. But I was able to repair a problem in a 3rd world country on the side of the road, and keep going

Like...that's the best feeling in the world. I'm not a mechanic. Never claimed to be. But I can fix minor issues, and keep rolling.

Now, I get to the PEMEX gas station which John has assured me has 2 functioning ATM's. It' has none.

And now, there's a guy here on a Honda...125cc? dirt bike, with a chic on the back. He has a $ for a license plate. I dunno why, but somehow, he figures out that I need an ATM and a hat that says "Bahia Del Kino".

Like...I couldn't make this shit up. I guess I told him that. In broken spanish. But somehow, the dude figures this out.

So first, he takes me to an ATM. Sure enough, there's an ATM. And we wait for the chick in front of me to finish her transition. Eventually, she leaves, defeated. And it the machine gives me something absurd like $1,500.00 in Pesos. We both use the same currency symbol. THat's not confusing at all, is it?

So now, I follow this guy and his chic through the parts of Old Kino (Kino Viejo), and he stops at a tourist shop. And his chica goes in to make sure that they have a hat for me.

And they do. And she comes out.

And now, he tells me to park, across the street, directly in front of the store, so that my bike will be safe.

And I go in to buy my hat.

And I'm wondering what I owe these people, right? Like....what's the deal here? Do I owe you a kidney? Or a $20.00?

And instead, when I go in to buy my hat, they just drive away.

And now, I feel bad. Like... for being suspicious of their motives. They were as pure as the driven snow.

And now, they're gone and I never got to even thank them. They took me to an ATM, and to a store that sold me a Kino Bay hat. And they left without me even saying thank you.

Like...that's what Mexico is like that people don't get.

Thats the sad part.

It s that people don't grasp how freaking cool everyone is down here. It doesn't come through on the news at night.

THat's not the stories you hear.

But that's what it's like.

And so, I'm driving around old Kino, and I find them again.

So, I stop and talk to them for a bit. They take some shots of me on the KTM. I drive it onto the beach, drop it, and he runs over to help me stand it up, which is nearly impossible.

Uno...dos....tres! And we push up as hard as we can. We do this at least 3 times. And I'm begging the chick with the camera to take some photos. But I suspect there are none.

But, like, who the fuck cares if you dropped the bike? It's all part of the adventure. A photo of it in the sand would be perfect. But the strangers helped me get it upright.

And this is not the message that America gets about Mexico. And that's sad. Because the people down here are the sweetest people on earth.

And somehow, we miss that in the translation.

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 28, 2015 at 4:57 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

November 27, 2015

Day 5 - Caborca to Bahia da Kino, Sonora, Mexico (Fri 11/27/15)

Update: I am alive and well and resting peacefully in the Casa Blanca motel on the shores of the Sea of Cortez in the town of Ciborca, in the state of Sonora, Mexico.

Starting Odometer: 34,538
Ending Odometer: 34,845
Miles Driven Today: 307
Miles Driven This Trip: 1,225

This is a map of where I drove today.

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 27, 2015 at 4:53 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

November 26, 2015

Day 4 Gila Bend, AZ to Ciborca, Sonora, Mexico (Thr 11/26/15)

Update: I am alive and well and resting peacefully in a luxurious inn in the town of Ciborca, in the state of Sonora, Mexico.

Starting Odometer: 34,251
Ending Odometer: 34,538
Miles Driven Today: 287
Miles Driven This Trip: 1,205

The sun is setting and I'm looking for a room for the night in the town of Ciboria, Mexico. You've never heard of it because it's not a big tourist destination. Just a town I have to pass through on my drive down through the mainland of Mexico. 150 miles ago, I was in beautiful Rocky Point, drinking beers with strangers. Now, I'm lost in a 3rd world slum at dusk. This is not where you want to be. This is a bad feeling.

When I say I'm in the slums, imagine dirt roads, disheveled people shuffling about, devoid of ambition or morals. I've been lost in slums before. It's never fun. I keep back-tracking and then taking different paths, looking for the sign that says "Rich White People This Way", but I can't find it. I can't find anything.

Every turn I make, I try to keep straight where I'm at. See, for some reason, I don't have the GPS maps of Mexico. And I rely on them pretty heavily in the U.S. Now I'm in a country where, when the people talk, they don't make sense. I have no GPS maps. And I think I mentioned it's getting dark, right?

It didn't need to be this way...at lunch, I was sitting out on the deck at some cool restaurant and bar in Rocky Point, basking in the sun. I introduced myself to a group from Flagstaff, and we sat and drank Dos Equis in the warm sun, peeling off clothes and the time went on. It was decadent. Anyone with a brain would never have left that place.

But then, there's me. See, my plan wasn't to move to Rocky Point. Just to check it out. So, after I've had a few beers, I decide that I'll try to make it down the coast a little further. Maybe to Point Lobos, for instance.

Of course, without the GPS, this is a little tricky. And then, for some reason, I don't understand the people down here when they talk. Like...in my mind...I was fluent in Spanish. But in reality, I have no idea what they're saying, as it turns out.

After consulting a map in a Pemex gas station with the attendant, he convinces me that, if I want to go further down the coast, then I have to go to Ciboria. Which is hard for me to grasp, but undoubtedly true.

And, as it turns out, it's about 150 miles
So, I headed out for Ciborca.

Now, the roads so far have been marvelous for the whole trip. The road to Ciborca is something less than marvelous. Far less. So I'm rolling across this broad desert. It reminds me a lot of Baja california. Some parts are cacti and desert. Some parts are grassland. Always, in the distance, mountain ranges say 20-30 miles away. And you're just sort of rolling through this unimproved desert.

There are a few sections where the land is irrigated, but I'm not clear what it is that they're growing.

I can't read the road signs, because they're not in English. Some of them I remember. Some I don't. But I do know which ones mean "speed bumps" (hint: TOPES). And also I now recognize the signs that indicate a dip in the road that would, in theory, allow water to cross were it ever to rain.

So, that's about the extent of my comprehension of the traffic rules, adn I just open it up and I'm running 100 mph towards Ciborca because, let's be honest....Mexico is a lawless land.

There's some sort of secondary check-point. The guy asks to see the title to my bike, which I provide him. He also wants to see my VIN number. Verny unusual in my experience, but I show it to him on the bike and he lets me go on my way. So, I'm racing east towards Ciborca, across these enormous swales that allow water to cross, and then I we get into the pothole section. These are pretty bad potholes. Big, deep, wide...so that anyone with any sense would slow down, but I just sort of scoot over to the right a little and keep racing at 95-100 mph towards Ciborca.

Just as I enter the town of Ciborca, I see a Pemex station and pull in. Ask them to fill it up. All they have is verde. OK. Good enough. Aks there where a hotel room is, and they say about 1 km back down the road is a hotel, I just passed it.

So I go back west 1 km looking for a hotel, but the only place I see looks more like a gated condo community. It really doesn't look like a hotel/motel. So I driving through the slums of Ciborca, trying to find a hotel/motel, but am not successful. Plus, every turn I take makes me wonder if I'm going to be able to find my way back.

Now, I'm toying with the idea of driving back to Rocky Point, or driving down to Point Lobos. Either way will be a 2 hour drive in the dark.

This really sucks. Being lost, in a 3rd world country, at night, with no place to go. And not being able to speak their language. THis just sucks. Maybe I'm getting to old for this.

I decide to go back and plead my case with the guys at the Pemex station.

"Donde mi hotel?" I ask.

This time, they tell me the name of the hotel, which side of the road it's on, and how far it is. So now, I deicde to give it another go. I have nothing to lose. So I drive to where they told me, and there, sure enough, is the place. It's called Eternia, as they indicated. But this place looks like a gated condo community. As I'm rolling through the parking lot, my front wheel drops into a massive hole in the driveway. It should have been covered with a metal grate, but this is mexico. We're doing the best we can. I'm not sure if it damaged the wheel or not.

I stop for a while and observe them. I see a woman come out.

As it turns out, this is a hotel. And a fairly spendid one at that. Each room has it's own covered garage. Of course, it's pricey. They need $40 a night for it. Ouch.

I check in and get a nice warm shower and climb in bed for the nite, sick, exhausted, and glad to be alive.

Steveo: I didn't miss Rocky Point. It was spectacular. I has having internet access issues last night. :P

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 26, 2015 at 6:15 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

November 25, 2015

Day 3 Chambers, AZ to Gila Bend, AZ (Wed 11/25/15)

Update: I am alive and well and resting peacefully in a motel by the railroad tracks in Gila Bend, Arizona.

Starting Odometer: 33,880
Ending Odometer: 34,251
Miles Driven Today: 371
Miles Driven This Trip: 918

Like, I dunno what's wrong with my brain. Somehow, I plan out my daily ride and I think "Sure...going 500 miles is no big deal." And somehow, last night I came up with a plan to drive from Chambers, AZ to Rocky Point, Mexico, going through Flagstaff and Phoenix, which is not the most direct route, and somehow I missed that there was a high wind advisory for that route. And it wasn't the most direct route.

At this point, I'm very close to death. Not from the motorcycle....from exhaustion.
Going over 300 miles in a day on a motorcycle is a huge deal. Anyone that says it isn't is a fool, a liar, or worse.

I wake up this morning in Chambers and, for the first time, I decide I don't need to wear two pairs of gloves. I've checked the temperature forecast. It's not supposed to b all that cold. And, although there are shorter routes, on the interstate, the speed limit is 75 mph, and the cars are all going 85-95 mph, so it seems like maybe taking the interstate makes sense on some level.

So I head out of Chambers going west. Temperature seems tolerable. What could go wrong, right? About the time I get to Holbrook, 18 wheelers start flashing their lights at me, presumably warning me of some dire emergency ahead. Ahead, I see dust clouds crossing the desert. The wind begins to blow in great gusts, the worst I've ever encountered in my life. A smarter person would have pulled over. But no one ever accused me of being overly bright.

Like....the wind is blowing so hard, that I take the GoPro off of my helmet. It would seriously make my neck bend in an undesirable manner. I adjust the GPS so that it's as low down as it will go. Then, I lean over on the bike, with my chin touching the GPS. I have to lean the bike like 10-20 degrees into the wind. I'm going west, and the winds are from the south, so I'm leaning the bike to the left about 10-20 degrees, and gradually I move my head out from behind the windscreen, as the bike is leaning too far. So now, my head is poking out to the right of the visor on the high side, as I race down the interstate I-40 westbound at 80-85 mph.

The gusts threaten to blow me off the road. I can't believe that 18 wheelers are not blown over. I'd stop, but there's really not any place to stop. There's no shelter. The sides of the road are flat, and mostly a sort of sage-brush grasses.

And now, an enormous something comes darting out in front of the motorcycle and I'm going 90 mph with a death-grip on the handlebars and it's crossing the road right in front of me. About the size of a dog or a small deer and I've only got a second to react and I just decide to hit it, because dodging it would be suicidal. As it turns out, it was the first of many countless tumbleweeds.

But if you've never had one pop out in front of you it would scare the daylights out of you and I promise you people have crashed trying to dodge them.

Just east of Flagstaff, the winds die down and I start to think that maybe I'll live. Only, now we're climbing again. Apparently Flagstaff is a ski town...who knew? So now, I'm freezing cold again. Somehow, I went west when I should have gone south, obviously. Now, I'm freezing cold again. And I really can't even use my arms at this point, because I've just driven the last 100 or so miles fighting for my life against the winds.

I stop somewhere in Flagstaff for lunch and gas. The other people are wearing ski hats and gloves. It's freezing cold. There are no words. I think it was like 46 F.

God as my witness, I never saw a single motorcycle on this journey so far except for I saw a KLR 650 with a desert take some time (I think it was today, but I'm not certain).

People see that I'm riding a bike and stare at me like I'm an alien in a spacecraft.

So, after lunch and gas, I roll out south, heading towards Phoenix.

After about 40 miles, as we steadily drop in altitude, the trees fade away to desert, and the air warms, and I start to feel like I might live to see tomorrow.

I was supposed to meet my buddy Robert in Phoenix, but I'm a day late getting there and he's already gone back to Lake Havasu.

So I decide to just make a run for the border. I'll roll across the border in the dark and I'll be at Rocky Point, Mexico when the sun comes up.

But somehow, I get down to Gila Bend, AZ and it's solidly dark. We're close to the border. It's shady down here. Like, you know that there's a lot of untowardly transactions going on down here. Who knows what they're into? Prostitution? Drugs? Smuggling immigrants?

I've been running well over the speed limit all day. Now, I'm so tired I don' think I'll live. In Gila Bend, I stop at a gas station and ask a stranger walking by for directions to Rocky Point. He tells me how to go, but slowly it dawns on me that I really don't need to cross the border into Mexico in the dark.

I have a long history of surviving 3rd world border crossings and, as a rule, I never cross in the dark.

Plus, I'm not clear how far it is to Rocky Point. I think it's further than I'd assumed. So I pull over, check into a no-tell motel by the railroad tracks. She claims it has WiFi and warm water showers.

The water is lukewarm and the wifi is spotty at best. It does have flies though, so there is that. The temperature gauge at the office says it's something absurd like 72F. Like, finally, I've driven out of the snow, it seems.

Every night when I get to the hotel I want to die. I'm sick as a dog. I've basically lost my voice. A
I convinced myself that Rocky Point was only 60 miles south of Phoenix. Now I suspect that's not correct.

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 25, 2015 at 7:19 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

November 24, 2015

Day 2 - Salida, CO to Chambers, AZ (Tue 11/24/15)

Update: I am alive and well and resting peacefully in Chambers, Arizona.

Starting Odometer: 33,462
Ending Odometer: 33,880
Miles Driven Today: 418
Miles Driven This Trip: 547

Here's a map of where I drove today.

I sleep in because it's freezing cold outside and I don't want to lose my hands. I've sort of loosely planned on crossing over Wolf Creek Pass at noon, as that's about the warmest part of the day. So, that's about all of the planning I've done really. I might stop in New Mexico. I might try to go to Phoenix. I don't really know. Playing it by ear.

At about 10:00 a.m., I put on every stitch of clothing that I brought and then venture out Into the parking lot. I have to fix a few things on the bike before I ride today. I adjust both rear view mirrors which is mind-numbingly complicated, but I get them both set properly. Also, I adjust the left bark buster so that it's higher up, and also the clutch handle. Both of these come up because the morons at RPM had them adjusted so far down that the bark busters weren't blocking the air from hitting my left hand.

Also, I adjust the clutch because I didn't like the clutch point they left it at.
Clean the mirrors, the headlight. GoPro case. Helmet visor.

Reset all of the clocks. The 3 Canon cameras. The 3 GoPro cameras. The clock on the GPS. And the clock on the motorcycle. I'm not saying I changed them all, but I checked them all and changed them if they needed changing. One GoPro thought it was 2014. None of the Canon cameras were aware of the time change. Ditto for the KTM.

I also notice that the MacBook air updated to the new IOS X El Capitan installed last night, probably after I fell asleep.

I don't know why I haul all of this garbage around with me...I swear the computers and cameras are more trouble than they're worth. So, yeah...I upgraded my IOS in a sleazy motel room in the dead of winter in Salida, Colorado. Not sure why, but I did.

Now I take off. It's cold, and as I drive south, it starts getting colder. Gradually, I realize that we're climbing, and it's getting colder. Nice.

And I do wonder, of course. Why am I doing this? Where am I running to? What am I running from? The truth is that, I don't know. I just get restless. No matter what I'm doing, I always get stir crazy and, afraid I'm missing something, I decide I need to leave the country on a motorcycle. And for me, it works. It's a chance for me to get out of my little box, look around me for a while, and then go back to my home in the Rocky Mountains, assured that I won't die without seeing "so and so". At least, now, I can say that I've been there. Done that.

Also, I don't think that I (or most people) really ever grasp their true potential. People hold back, for various reasons. We all do. We're all afraid to take risks. Afraid of dying alone, of being destitute, of getting let go. We're afraid to start our own companies, because we're human. Because we can imagine, very clearly, that things could go wrong. And they could go wrong very badly.

But it's not like having a house and lots of money in the bank is any better. I know people that saved their whole life for that future day when they'd retire. And then they didn't live a year after they retired.

I don't like lying around in bed doing nothing. But it's easy. It's comfortable. This is a concerted effort to do something different. To get out of bed, and go for a ride.

And what's oddly counterintuitive, is that what we need the most is seldom what we want. No one truly "wants" to be cold. No one with any sense would drive across the continental divide in the dead of winter without heated hand grips. But no one can appreciate a warm shower so much as the man that just came in from the cold.

I've never been this way before, but it's a beautiful ride. Then I see some buildings I recall. So I have to rethink my position. I have been this way before. Wendy and I went to Santa Fe this way one time.

After I clear a small pass, I'm in the San Luis valley, which is just stunning. Really impressive mountain range. I shoot some with the DSLR's and some with the GoPro.

And part of me wants to strangle Steve for making me come this way. And part of me wants to kiss his toes. It's certainly the best view. It's stunning. Cold, but beautiful.

Just before I get to Del Norte, I'm so cold I have to stop. I pull in for an early lunch, and to thaw my hands. This store has some gloves for sale though. They're only $1.29, so I buy a pair of knit gloves and wear them inside of my other gloves so they work like a liner, basically. This is a great improvement.

Now, I head west up and over the continental divide at wolf creek pass. So cold I think that I'll die. There's snow on both sides of the road, of course, and I'm freezing.

I should make clear here that there's plenty of room for self-doubt on these journeys. Like, few other people are doing them. (I know some people that are, but as a percentage of the general population, the number of people riding motorcycles across timezones into foreign countries is fairly small, I have to think.)

Roll down the other side of the divide. Giant ice cycles hang from vertical cliff faces. Colder than the north pole. There are scenic turnouts, but I'm just rolling downhill searching for warmth.

I got to Gallup, NM, and the sun had set, but I figured I'd push on...get across the border into Arizona just so I could say I made it to AZ. But the sign says the next town on I-40 west is Holbrook, AZ - another 70 miles. I'm not wanting to ride 70 miles in the dark on the interstate, but I don't want to turn back either.

I'm not sure what the calculations are for wind chill at 75 vs 95, but I'm running in the 90's on I 40 heading west, hoping for a miracle. Hoping for a little town to pop up unannounced. And not too far into AZ, I see a little "no tell motel" and pull off for the night. I could have pushed on, but I drove 400 miles today. That was a good day. And it's too cold to drive any more tonight.

Now, when you're crossing the continental divide in November on a motorcycle, you're dreaming of a hot shower. (I never saw a single other motorcycle in Colorado, and several people commented on the fact that I was driving one. My motel room last night had a ski rack in it so...yeah.)

And when I check in, I get a warm shower. And it's nice. I turn it up so hot that it's about to peel layers off my skin and I stand in there for an eternity. It feels good. I need this after a long day on the highway in a Colorado November.

Then dinner - in this case, a microwave burrito from the gas station attached to the hotel. I'm not proud. I'm not a food snob. I've been eating a lot of burritos. They're fast, cheap, readily available at the gas stations.

Then, in the room, the rituals begin. Everything has to be charged. And all of the photos and videos have to come off of the cameras, into the laptop. Then, they're deleted from the cameras. Then, they're copied from the laptop to the 1TB external drive, and deleted from the computer. This is the way it has to be. Everything has to flow in a neat, orderly fashion, or you lose photos. If the dates are wrong on the cameras, you'll never straighten it out.

So that's what I'm doing now. My little pathetic didactic ritual of charging cameras, phone, laptop, and moving data.

Only now, when I connect my camera, it doesn't launch iPhoto. In a panic, I realize that the fucktards at apple have done away with iPhoto, the only App they ever had that was worth a shit.

Now, the new app is just called "Photos", and of course, it's incompatible with iPhoto. And of course, even though I deleted all of the photos out of my iPhoto library, it still takes up 400 Megs because the idiots at Apple are so fucking stupid.

And Photos can't update my existing iPhoto library because it's too large and would take too much space. (It's empty, fucktards).

So, finally I delete my iPhoto Library files through Finder. Now we'll see what happens.

OMG. I think it worked.

Import all new photos.
Delete items after import.
5 items successfully imported.

The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer.

For some reason, it's not happy about this memory card. But when I stick it back into my camera, and connect the camera to the MacBook air via a USB cable, it works fine. And imports a bunch of photos. Nice.

OK. Now, the GoPro. I hook it up and it launches Photos.
Import all new videos.
Delete items after import.
10 items successfully imported.

I unplug the cable from the GoPro Hero 4. It doesn't yell at me about disconnecting it improperly, for whatever reason. The Hero 4 shows that it has 0 photos. And the battery is fully charged. Which is hard to imagine. It died on me halfway through the trip today. Though I have 2 more, so I could have swapped it out, if I were more organized. Tonight, I'll make sure I charge as many GoPro's as possible.

Checked the date/time on the GoPro. It's within 2 minutes of being right. Deleted all files on the GoPro using the GoPro menu. Turn it off. Plug it in. I'm not clear how I can tell when it's fully charged. It cut out on me about halfway through the trip. This website says:

"When you plug it in the light will turn on and when its charged the light will turn off."

So, mine still has a red light on it, so it's not fully charged, apparently.

I hooked up my other GoPro Hero 4 though, and the red light went off on that one, and it has an LCD display that shows a USB icon, and a battery that fills up with little black boxes and then erases them. So, it looks like it's charging, but it doesn't have a red light indicator. Hmmmm.

OK....now the old GoPro Hero 4 is flashing alternately between a fully charged battery icon and an AC plug icon. Not clear what this means either. (This is the one that didn't have the red light on.)

OK. The one with the red light on it did go off, eventually. Interesting.

Finally figured out what the problem was. The other one was turned on. Once, I turned it off, it also had the red light, indicating it was not fully charged. Doh!

OK, so now, ostensibly, I have all of the photos off all of the cameras, and all of the cameras are charging. So now, let's see if I took any photos that are half-decent...

OK. Here's a video of Allie crashing my $2,000.00 drone into a pine tree:

I posted some photos from the trip today on Facebook. It's harder for me to share them on PeenieWallie, unfortunately.

OK. So, the GoPro videos I exported yesterday are at:
\documents\GoPro Videos 11_23_2015

Oh, for the love of God. I'm trying to find my videos in the new Photos app that replaced iPhoto. These jackasses sorted the videos in with the photos and there's no way to separate out the videos that I can see. You just have to hunt through hundreds of photos looking for a little camera icon. Freaking morons.

OK. I was finally able to hunt down my 10 videos from among the hundreds of photos. Good job, Apple. Well played.

I exported them to a new folder:
\documents\GoPro Videos 11_24_2015

Now, to import them into iMovie...isn't this simple?

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 24, 2015 at 6:13 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

November 23, 2015

Day 1 - Morrison, CO to Salida, CO (Mon 11/23/15)

Day 1 - Morrison, Colorado to Salida, Colorado (Mon 11/23/15)

Update: I am alive and well and resting peacefully in Salida, Colorado.

Starting Odometer: 33,333
Ending Odometer: 33,462
Miles Driven Today: 129
Miles Driven This Trip: 129

Here's a map of where I drove today.

I'm running late for my court date at 9 AM in Gilpen county. So I'm speeding in the same county where I have a court date I have expired license plate's probably don't have insurance. Next sentence

Some idiot has rolled his minivan on 119 somehow just south of black hawk

Court is a nightmare. Everyone is guilty you can tell. A dozen convicts in prison orange jumpsuits. Wearing handcuffs. They're all guilty judge knows it. The pigs know it. Just the dregs of society. You could kill everyone there and society would be better off.

I'm here because I drove my motorcycle up to the Moffat Tunnel this summer. but I've been dragging this out for too long. I want to get on with my life.

One guy stole poker. Chips at a casino Johnny Z's.

People on probation that drift around but don't register. People who's stated goal is to open a checking account, get their license reinstated. People that don't own property. They look like someone you might see at a bus stop, or maybe panhandling down on east colfax.

People with tattoos and bleached hair. Faces of meth, parading around the courtroom waving unlit cigarettes. Like stray dogs darting furtively before an earthquake.

One guy in the convict box is wearing a bulletproof vest. Straight out of silence of the lambs.

This guy's insurance made a payment of restitution of $39,000.00. Lord only knows what he did.

They make we want to strap an uzi to a drone and start killing strangers by remote control.

Hang on. Hold the line. We've got a new DA. And she's not wearing a ring. Now, I have a new goal. I have to throw myself at the mercy of the DA and the ask her on a date. Tall, thin, blonde. Young but not too young. We may have a winner here.

I'm as sick as a dog. I caught it from Jen because Chick Fil A can never get the drinks right. I want to go home and die but the Baja is calling me.

People are here in court that are in jail in other counties. This guys in a grey and white jumper, handcuffed and shackled. And leaves here tone shuttled back to jail in Douglas county.

But I'm not supposed to leave the country. I could drive to the gilpin county courthouse blindfolded.

I know the judge. I know the guy at the metal detector. It's easily the most relaxed courtroom I've ever been in. People whisper and talk. I use my cell phone. No one ever says anything. They did make me take my hat off.

People claim they make $2,000.00. People with multiple warrants, and no income are a flight risk and they get large bonds.

My throat feels like it's on fire. I'm coughing and sneezing. Finally, I check in with the court clerk. And the DA calls me back.

"Do you have an attorney yet?"


"Why not you were supposed to get one by now."

"I want to do deferred adjudication."

"Ok. Just wait right there."

A minute later she returns with a form. "Sign here and here. No criminal charges in 6 months and it goes off your record."

Presently, the judge calls my name and I approach the bench fiddling with my iPhone.

"Didn't you see the sign that said 'no cell phones'"

"Yes, your honor."

So, basically, I said I was sorry and that I'd never do it again and they let me go. So long as I stay out of trouble for 6 months, it goes away.

But I'm not sure what sort of "trouble" they're referring to. And it's not like I'm good at staying out of trouble. Let's be clear about that.

But she did say I could leave the country. So I've got that going for me.

By the time I get home, it's after noon.

And I fiddle around for a long time trying to get all of my gear together. I think I left about 3:30 p.m. There's so much snow in the driveway I can't get up it. So, I cut down through Jonathan's yard, and somehow I don't crash it in the deep snow and ice.

Go by Kate's and she comes out and snaps some photos of me. These are the "before" photos.

Head out of town with the sun low in the sky. If I had a brain, I would have gone south of I-25. But Steve bullied me into taking US Highway 285, which is more scenic. But also colder. But the internet said the road was clear, so I hit it.

Even with all my winter gear on, I'm about to die on Kenosha Pass it's so cold. I pass a road pirate sitting there. I'm going over the speed limit but, for whatever reason, he doesn't come after me.

I'm so cold that I decided I'll just spend the night in Fairplay. Walk in and talk to the guy behind the counter at a gas station. Dude....I think I'm going to lose my hands. Do you have anything for me?

No. But you can run them under hot water in the back if that will help.

Can you give me a couple of plastic bags? That might help.

So, he gives me so plastic bags.

How far is it to Buena Vista?

About 30 miles. But dude...when the sun goes down, it gets insanely cold out there.

Yeah but I can be in Buena Vista in 30 minutes.

"Yeah, if you're like a time traveler or something,"

Apparently he's so stupid that he doesn't understand the mile-a-minute rule. The other girl behind the counter looks at him like he's retarded.

What's it like in Pagosa Springs? I ask.

I've never been there, he replies.

I try to put the bags on my hands while I'm on driving down the road and nearly die. My mirrors aren't adjusted right and the steering head bearing are loose so the bike wobbles badly.

The sun very low on the horizon. GoPro working intermittently. Hands freezing even in North Face ski gloves with plastic bags around them. Smarter people have heated handle grips. I am not smart.

I'm sick as a dog. And freezing cold. At Buena Vista, I decide to press on to Poncha Springs, hoping for a hot-springs scenario.

At Poncha Springs, the sun has set. It's dark. My entire body is raked with spasms and shivers. I'm already sick. Can't hardly feel my hands. I no longer trust the wet spots not he pavement. I pull into a gas station at Poncha Springs.

the girl at the gas station explains that there are no hot springs per se, unless you want to hike to them in the dark. But at Salida, there are places with hot tubs and saunas where the water is piped down from Poncha Springs.

This seems too good to be true. I dream about swimming in an enormous heated pool. But when I find a hotel in Salida that says "Hot Tubs" and "Sauna", etc., I pull in, check in, and then realize that I've been had. They're under construction, you see. We don't have these things like the Hut Tub and Sauna.

Never mind. In short order, I'm indoors, out of the cold. I turn the thermostat all the way up. Strip down and jump into the shower. It's so hot it nearly scalds me and I start to think that maybe I will live until tomorrow.

Watching the Hands

The eyes watch the hands warily. They don't trust them. They know better.

When things go into the trash, the eyes watch the hands very closely to see what gets tossed out.

It's so difficult to keep track of all of the technology. The cables and adapters and charging cords. And everything has to have a place. If you don't, then all is lost. If you have something but can't locate it, you don't have it.

Conversely, if you think you don't have something, you might have it, so again, the eyes scour all of the luggage and finally locate a 110V to USB adapter. This is a life saver, as I have too many things to charge every night and the MacBook Air only has 2 USB ports.

Steve calls and I start trying to plan a route for tomorrow. Wolf Creek Pass into Pagosa Springs? It's possible, but it won't be warm.

I did not bring the drones on this trip. The reason? The reason is that whoever designed them - it never occurred to him that people would want to transport them. If I could pull the legs off the drone, and if the controller weren't so ungainly, I would have brought the drones. But they're really not designed to be transported. So I left them behind. Not something I'm proud of, but that's where we are. The only place I could have fit the enormous, cumbersome drone carrying case is if I replaced the gas can with it. And I'll need the gas can more than I'll need the drone. Now, if I had rotopacks, sure....that might work. But I don't have rotopacks. So....

For some reason, I can't import from the GoPro Hero 4 directly into iMovie 11.
Connect the GoPro Hero 4, turn it on, it goes into USB mode.
iPhoto launches.
Close iPhoto.
Open iMovie.
File - Import from Camera
It says "No Camera Connected - To import video, please connect a camera."

Like...wow...well played, Apple.

Now, I'll try do the same thing, but I'll put the MicroSD card into an SD card with adapter and plug that into a USB port on the Apple and see if it likes that any better.

That didn't work either.

I also couldn't get them to import into iPhoto using the MicroSD card adapter and the universal card reader. So, the only way that I can import the videos from my GoPro Hero 4 is to import them into iPhoto, which pretty much can't do anything with them. But then, you can export them from iPhoto. What a nightmare. Well played, apple. Well played.

I'm going to try installing this software from Garmin for MacBook Air and see if I can get it working:

OK. It looks like this is just an update, and they're selling the software. Thanks for that, Garmin.

So, it looks like there's an app called Easy GPS that works on the Apple.


So, I see that it's on iTunes, but I don't see in the App Store. And I'm honestly not sure what the difference is.

So, I successfully imported all of my GoPro videos from today into iPhoto. Not that I wanted to, but I didn't have much of a choice.

Delete them from your camera?
Yes, for the love of God. Please.

Now that the GoPro videos are in iPhoto....now I can view them, but more importantly, I can export them. Classic.

Select all of the GoPro videos. File - Export
Kind = Original
Filename = Use Filename

Create a new folder to export them to:

users/robkiser/documents/GoPro 11/23/2015

Click OK. Preparing. Exporting.

So, when we get through with this, we'll delete them from iPhoto also. So, in theory, they won't be in iPhoto, and they won't be in the GoPro. Fingers crossed.

Somehow, I downloaded BaseCamp for Mac. And it won't let me install it without upgrading my O/S to MAC O/S 10.10 or greater. See...this is why I hate Apple. Christ.

So now, I'm installing OS/X El Capitan, whatever the hell that is. And I'm so exhausted there just aren't words. I'm sick. I'm exhausted. I should have to be dealing with this shit on the road. Arrrgh.

So, it does look like it exported all of my GoPro videos, surprisingly enough. Hmmm. Now, to see if we can import them into iMovie.

Now, I try to import them into iMovie.
File - Import - Movies
Select all of the movies in my folder GoPro 11/23/2015
GoPro Videos 11_23_2015
Move files

It says the hard drive only has 32 Gig which is absurd, of course.
Optimizing video.
Time remaining 16 minutes.

OMG. I just walked outside to get the odometer reading off of my bike. Wearing nothing but a t-shirt and my underwear. It was so cold I went into spasms.

My iPhone says it's 36 degrees F but that just can't be. It's mind-numbingly cold. Lord God it's cold here. And, apparently, this valley that I have to drive down through tomorrow isn't exactly warm. I'm going to fillet Steve next time I see him. This is all his fault...somehow.

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 23, 2015 at 7:30 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

November 22, 2015

Leaving for Mexico

I'm getting ready to leave for Mexico tomorrow, so I'm trying to copy all of the files off of my MacBook air again.

Yesterday, I crashed my drone in a big way. It flew into a tree. And I have that video on my Macbook air. So, I want to keep some of my videos. But for the most, I want to copy everything off.

So, first of all, there only seems to be one iPhoto library this time.

File - Switch to Library - and there is only one: iPhoto Library (default).


Last night, I copied a bunch of files over from the MacBook Air to Simon. I now see those in Simon\_2015\Pictures. So, this is a good start.

I have copied almost all of the files and folders off of my MacBook air into the 1 TB external drive. Now, I just have to figure out what to do with my photos in my one iPhoto Library. I think that, instead of copying over the iphoto Library, I should export all of the photos as .JPG files. Otherwise, I don't think that I'd be able to see them in Windows.

I've been trying to get a lot of things taken care of, as it's really a lot when you start thinking about just taking off through a 3rd world country for 3 weeks.

Today, I went out and bought my 2nd drone - another 3DR Solo. The reason is because I crashed my only drone yesterday and broke 3 of the 4 propellers. So, I really just wanted to pick up about a dozen propellers, but this was easier. I just bought another drone exactly like the one I already have (I think). So, I now have 2 drones and 8 propellers. (Each drone comes with 6 propellers, 3 black and 3 silver. I had broken one already. Then I broke 3 more yesterday, so I was down to only 2, I think. Now, I bought 6 more, so I should have 8 propellers, though they might not be 4 black and 4 silver...I dunno.

I also picked up a new camera today. I just wanted a Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS USM , and I found one for $150 on CraigsList, so I was like...well good enough. But when I got there, the dude game me a Canon EOS 20D, and the Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS USM lens, and the battery, and battery charger,and camera strap, etc. So I was like....wow...that was a good deal for $140.

And I'm driving all over down the hill pulling my 3/4 ton M101-A1 army trailer with my KTM990 in the back because there's just too much snow at my house to unload the freaking thing. So I'm down the hill pulling this army trailer with no lights and a tag that says it expired in something like 2011 I think.

Get camera, drone, get hair cut. Come home and find Mark and ask him to help unload the KTM in the snow. But he comes up with a better way to unload it. We use his retaining wall as a loading dock. And it works like a champ. I roll the KTM out in deep snow, but manage to get it into the garage without crashing.

And now, I'm just running like crazy trying to get all of these tasks done before I leave the country because, I've told enough people that I'm going that now I have to go. Or you look like a liar,a fool, or worse.

Like....I've got the stuff that's really important. Once I got the motorcycle, found my passport, and pull several grand out of the bank in cash, I had everything I needed to go. But I want to also make sure I'm on top of my game with GoPro's, Canon cameras, lenses, MacBook, Drones, GPS, etc. Like....these aren't all requirements. These are all nice-to-haves, but It will make the trip a lot better if I can document with cameras and drones and GoPro's, etc.

And I'm digging through all of the things I took on my last trip to Alaska (I've been twice, actually). And I find all of these coins from Canada and it starts your mind racing. Like...I'm really going to do this. I'm going to be dealing in a foreign currency in a day or two.

I'm not supposed to leave the country of course. I should mention that. Have a court date in the morning and I'm not allowed to travel abroad, it seems.

But we'll deal with that when I try to get back into the country. For now, I'm trying to get out.

Fixed my microphone on my iPhone 5S so that it works for dictation.

But first, chores, chores, chores.

Now, to copy my files off of the Garmin Montana GPS:


So, I created a folder on s:\Garmin\2015.gpx. This is a 30 meg file. Now, I want to blow away all of my tracks on the Garmin.

OK. FInally, this guy explained that you can do it in DOS very easily.

So, I went into DOS.
del *.*

There was also a few in g:\garmin\gpx, so I deleted those as well.

OK. Also some in g:\garmin\gpx\current. So, I deleted those as well.

Christ. For the first time ever, I was able to delete my tracks from my Garmin Montana 600. Wow.... that was harder than it should have been.

Now, I'm checking the road conditions. I'd like to go US 285, but it looks dicey in Park County. So, that leaves I-25 and I-70. Both are clear according to this map:


OK. I-70 looks colder than I-25, so I'm taking I-25 south, to I-40 west. I'll go as far as I can go. Maybe I'll make it to Santa Fe. Maybe I'll make it to Phoenix. Who knows?

I finally open up iPhoto and start exporting all of my images onto a 1TB external drive, but it's slow as molasses. It's exporting something insane like 18,346 photos. Then, once they're on the external drive, I'll move them over to the 16 TB NAS.

I move all of the photos off of my CF cards and onto the 16 TB NAS. So, the CF cards are empty, at least.

And I copy the files from the Macbook Air and from the Canon CF cards and from the GoPro MicroSD cards so that you feel as though all your life you've done nothing but move files around the network.

And I've charged all of my Canon camera batteries. And the drones' batteries. And the Drone controller's batteries. And the MacBook Air. And all 3 GoPro's. And the GPS. And the iPhone 5S.

Like, the whole trip seems like all I do is charge electronics. And I'm not sure if that's good or bad.

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 22, 2015 at 10:06 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink