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December 25, 2015

Removing the McAfee Virus

Posted by Rob Kiser on December 25, 2015 at 10:42 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

December 4, 2015

The Sea of Cortez - Looking Back

So, I'm back from Mexico. I wanted to jot down a few thoughts while they're still fresh in my retarded little mind.

1) South Park vs. North Park - I have never understood why they talk about "South Park". There is an animated tv show named South Park, and people talk about South Park hay, but I never understood what South Park really meant until this trip.

I assumed that South Park meant South Park County, as in the southern end of Park County. But, the problem is that South Park County is actually hilly/mountainous, with twisty roads through conifer forests. So, that meant that what people were calling South Park (County), - (Jefferson, Como, Fair Play, etc), was actually North Park (County). So, I struggled with this for some time.

Until I saw the map on the wall of the motel in Salida, Colorado. And, the map that I saw, on the wall, was old and faded and worn. Rubbed through in places by people tracing their fat fingers over the map, showed two large concentric meadows, labeled North Park and South Park.

Even now, as I search the intertubes, I can't find anything remotely close to that map in Salida. I'll check to see if I have a photo of it in my phone or cameras. If not, I'll call down there and get them to send me a picture of the map. It's truly enlightening.

2) Father Kino - So, while I was in Kino Bay, a decadent, remote enclave well off the beaten path, I heard the story about Father Kino. Now, apparently, there was a mine down south of here, where a Catholic priest set up/operated a mine where they mined gold/silver and his name was Father Kino. The funds that came from the mine were used to pay for the expenses of the conquest of the new world, although how and why Kino came to be named for him is somewhat of a mystery, as he never passed through this particular area, allegedly.

3) Mark has identified one of my cactus photos as a "jumping cactus". Yikes.

4) My understanding is that Guaymas has a large expatriate population, and that it's been around longer than Rocky Point (Puerto Peñasco). So, Americans were heading down to Guaymas as expatriates, long before Rocky Point was an established destination.

5) Kino Bay (Bahia del Kino) was better known to people who were surf fishing, as the fishing was better there than in Rocky Point (Puerto Peñasco).

6) Goat Tit Mountains - Both the Yaqui and Seri Indians considered the tetas to be sacred. The Yaquis named it, "Tecalai," meaning, Dragon's tongue. The Seri Indians named the mountain, "Stone Mountain." The name was changed to "Tetas de Kawi" ny the Spanish speaking settlers and is now called the Tetas de Cabre." Meaning "goats teats" in Spanish, which it is supposed to resemble the tits of a goat.

They recently had a guy do a tight-rope walk between the two peaks of Goat Tit Mountains. Apparently, he fell a few times, but had a safety cord, and lived.

Posted by Rob Kiser on December 4, 2015 at 8:18 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

December 2, 2015

Day 10 - Albuquerque, NM to Conifer, CO (Wed 12/2/15)

I am alive and well and resting peacefully in my bed, near Conifer, Colorado.

Starting Odometer: 35,855
Ending Odometer: 36,355
Miles Driven Today: 500
Miles Driven This Trip: 2,735

This is a map of where I drove today.

The motorcycle has been stuck in gear for days. The shifter is useless. Today, in Santa Fe, the clutch went out. So, imagine that you're driving a motorcycle, but it's stuck in 5th gear, and you have no clutch. So, that means, essentially, that you can't stop. At all. So, I limited my stops to gas stations that were level or on hills. Somehow, I made it back by the grace of God. I made it to the Twin Forks Restaurant, where I abandoned it. Steve and Robby were nice enough to drive me home.

I guess now that I have to go into work tomorrow.

OK. Here's the gun battle that Mac was telling me about at Rocky Point. Somehow I'd missed this: 5 killed in tourist zone gun battle at Rocky Point

Here's an article that talks about how dangerous the Nogales - Phoenix corridor is for drug smuggling: http://www.mensjournal.com/magazine/the-u-s-mexico-borders-150-miles-of-hell-20130103

Posted by Rob Kiser on December 2, 2015 at 8:26 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

December 1, 2015

Day 9 - Tucson, AZ to Albuquerque, NM (Tue 12/1/15)

I am alive and well and resting peacefully on Historic US Route 66 in Albuquerque, NM.

Starting Odometer: 35,411
Ending Odometer: 35,855
Miles Driven Today: 444
Miles Driven This Trip: 2,235

This is a map of where I drove today.

100 miles before noon.

So, last year, when I was driving up around the arctic circle, I met a lot of other cyclists. And I realized that I could go further, and see more places, if I didn't lay around in bed in the motel all morning. My new plan was to get out of bed, get rolling on the bike, and try to get in 100 miles before noon.

And it actually works out really well for me. So, as a rule of thumb, my goal is to ride 100 miles before noon. Then, you have 200 more miles to do in the afternoon, and this gives you some time to stop, eat, take photos, etc.

However, now that I'm riding in winter, the days are shorter. So, it's harder to get in the miles, as it's freezing cold at night. So, you sort of have to plan on driving during the warmest part of the day. Say, from 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (or whenever the sun sets).

There's a lot of reasons not to drive at night, not the least of which that all of the heat goes straight up and Colorado is very cold at night, this time of year.

So today I got up and started rolling pretty early. My goal was to go east on I-10, staying as far south for as long as possible, and then run due north up I-25.

My theory being that this will be the warmest route.

So this morning, I got moving pretty early...between 10:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. I think. And I hit the interstate going east and running between 85 - 90 mph. So I managed to put in 100 miles before 11:30 a.m., which is rare for me. And then, at 12:00 noon, I hit 150 miles. I was so proud of myself. 150 miles before noon.

But what's so nice about that is that, when I stop to gas up and get a bite to eat, suddenly I'm not thinking about going to Las Cruces today...I'm thinking about Truth or Consequences. Or Socorro. Or even Albuquerque.

So, basically, I just pack away all of my gear, and just run balls out all day, stopping only for gas or food. I run about 90 mph pretty steady. And, as I head north, I'm watching the sun. And my plan is to keep it pinned until the sun sets. Because I want to get back to Colorado. I've been on the road for a while. It would be nice to get back and see my daughter. I keep blowing past town after town and the sun is still up, so I keep rolling and finally I'm like...ah hell....I'm going to Albuquerque.

Now, riding a bike for me is not something I'm even aware of, really. I just sort of pin the throttle and hold on. After several hours, my shoulders get sore. My legs get cramped. So I end up driving down the interstate at 90 mph, leaning on the seat with my legs stuck out behind me like superman. I drive with one hand. Anything to relieve the cramps that set in.

I dunno why I'm still alive. I really don't. But I swear to you that I drove 90-100 mph the entire time I was in Mexico.

The Great American Desert is a timeless place. You sort of sail through this vast flat expanse, surrounded by distant mountains. And no much changes. Sometimes the ground cover is dried grass. Sometimes dirt. The cacti change from region to region. But mostly it's just like you're driving through this surreal landscape.

By the time I get to Albuquerque, I'm pretty sure that I'm going to lose my hands. I do this exercise where I squeeze the handle grips with alternating fingers, to see if they still have any sensation left in them.

I count down the minutes as the sun drops closer to the horizon.Let's see....it's 60 miles until Albuquerque, but I'm going 90 mph. 60 is 2/3 of 90, so I should be there in 40 minutes. And so it goes.

At the southern end of Albuquerque, I see a motel and I pull in, glad to be alive.

Now, there are a few stories I haven't relayed yet, which I'd like to, seeing as I have a little time to catch up. I've been so sick, and so exhausted, over the last several days, that I've spent all of my down time sleeping, and not done as much note taking as I'd liked to.

That Night in San Carlos

In San Carlos, I wandered across the street from my hotel to a seaside bar - I couldn't tell you the name of it. But it has stunning views of the bay there, surrounded by mountains, islands, etc. To the west, are two prominent vertical peaks.

Now, the couple next to me and I start talking, and it goes like this:

Bill: Were you down here for when the guy did a tight-rope walk between those two peaks??

Me: Huh?

Bill: You see those two peaks right there? That's called Goat Tit Mountain. And this guy just did a tightrope walk between the two peaks like two weeks ago.

Me: Did he live?

Like, this is Mexico. Life is cheap here. People die every day and no one bats an eye. The entire country seems to be about as civilized as a pack of wild dogs on meth.

Everywhere you look, it seems as though civilization has come to a screeching halt for reasons no one can quite communicate.

Every failed housing project, every construction project ever started seems to have been stopped, at best, halfway through.

Stray dogs walk the streets. You get used to the smell of burning tires. In the desert, fires burn unattended for reasons one could only guess.

Bill: Yeah. He fell a few times, but he was tethered on, so he lived.

Me: Why do they call it goat tit mountain?

Bill: Well, see how they peaks sort of look like goat tits?

Me: So they do.

At this point, some little street urchin comes through the bar, selling trinkets. He has some type of wrist band. Somehow, I choose one and he slides it on my arm. It's a whale I think. But at this point, we've had a few margaritas, and I think the kids are got at spotting drunken tourists carrying $10K worth of electronics and focusing in on their targets.

So, at some point, Bill and his lady friend tell me that they have a condo just down the beach, and they're about to have dinner, and would I like to join them.

Now, this is where the kidney thieves operate. This is their home town. So, I think about it for a second, and then I say "Vamos!"

So, we walk down the beach. Bill came down here a few years back, and fell in love with the place. Like...who wouldn't? Beautiful beaches. No discernible laws. It's like the United States but without all of the pigs trying to line their pockets.

The cops down here aren't robbing people. Or, if they are, they're doing a piss poor job of it because I've only been stopped once since I got here - for speeding through a school zone - and the guy just let me go with a shake of his head.

So, we go back to Bill's place, and now it turns out we don't have any meat for the entree. So, we go to a little local grocery store and buy some type of meat - I'm not clear as to what animal it came from - maybe an iguana? So we leave with this bag of shredded meat, and then get back to Bill's, and the woman is making dinner.

Now, Bill and I go out back to watch the sunset, and smoke cigars. It's possible that we drank some more also. At some point, I sort of half-remember Bill driving me home (about 1/4 mile or so), and then I work up in the middle of the night, wondering if I'd lost my spleen.

I reached around for my back to see if my kidneys were still there.

Somehow, I didn't lose any organs that I'm aware of.

Then, I got up and headed towards the border at Nogales. This is when I met Mac.

As we get nearer to the border, Mac has this plan.

Mac: "We'll use this border crossing. We'll have to sit on our bikes for about 1/2 hour. Do you have any food or water on your bike? Because if not, we'll stop and get some."

Me: "Oh yes. I always ride with food and drinks on my bike. I've been stranded too many times not to."

But we stop for some extra Jumex anyway, because let's be honest, you can never have enough Jumex and you can't get it in the United States. My favorite, I think, is the Peach, followed by the Mango.

It looks like it will be possible for me to make it home by tomorrow night.

For the record, I should point out that I did return prematurely somewhat for several reasons:
1) The bike is not shifting properly. At this point, I just leave it in top gear, and use the clutch to get the bike rolling. Once I get up to about 50 mph, I can let out of the clutch, and the bike run fine.
2) My MacBook air, the lynchpin, the hub - the fulcrum of all of my technology would not charge in San Marcos. In retrospect, I believe that this was because of a short in the charger. But it's not like there's an Apple store in San Marcos. I'm reasonably sure there isn't.
3) Weather - The communications I was getting from Colorado was that they were getting pounded. So, because the weather is out of my control, and somewhat unpredictable, I wanted to leave myself a little bit of cushion so that I wouldn't get fired for not coming back to work on time.

OK. I'm signing off for tonight. I'm not as tired as I have been recently for reasons that aren't clear to me. I'm still sick as a dog. I have never set an alarm clock once on this trip, which has been nice. My plan will be to get up and try to get out early (10:00 a.m.) and try to make it back to Denver by dark.

If I can make it back in time, I will drive the bike straight to the repair shop down the hill and have them start working on it again.

KTM = Keep Throwing Money

Posted by Rob Kiser on December 1, 2015 at 6:23 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink