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  #136  
Old 28 Sep 2011
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Hi Alex

Great trip report .. have followed it from the start.

I too have a wee strom... taking off going east in May 2012 for the start of my RTW trip.

Ride safe

Geordie aka Will
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  #137  
Old 2 Oct 2011
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Drunk man crossed paths with my bike at 90kmph (55mph)

I am in Azoques, Ecuador.

Yesterday, on my way from Quito the the Peruvian border all was well. UNTIL after lunch.

I was thirty minutes from the city of Cuenca when I had my third (real) accident, and what I consider to be a real pain in the ass. Or I guess you could say my fractured (very mild) collar bone.

I was going about 50mph down a straight section of newer road that runs parallel to the Panamerican Highway, and was riding very carefully as the little rain that had been falling had just stopped and the roads were a bit damp still.

The last thing that I remember is seeing a man on the side of the highway, standing there, waiting for me to pass so that he could cross the street.

Well, that man, aged 60 years old, and very drunk at the time, stepped directly into my path without any warning whatsoever, and with absolutely no option to avoid the accident, I impacted him head on.

I then woke up in the ambulance, on the way to the hospital with the man laying in the stretcher in the rear, where they confirmed my fractured collar bone, bruised knee, and jacked up thumb (swollen and strained but not broken)

The man on the other hand recieved substantial injuries including breaking all of his ribs on one side of his body, and was bleeding internally in his lung/s. His condition was stabalized by the time I left the hostpital. He was very gravely injured though, and in a coma the last I heard, though he should make it out alive.

My motorcycle right side case was ripped off, and the left side case was slightly damaged. The top case was fine. My headlight glass lense was broken, and my hand guards deflected upward. The front break line was severed I think, and the ignition button was not working when I tried it.

I was on Day 4 on the road since Bogota, and making great time, being careful and taking rest breaks often. I was just 10 minutes past lunch, and wide awake when it happened.

I am 2 hours from Guayaquil, the biggest city in Ecuador, and when all is said and done, I will transport the bike there, and consider my options. I am tired however, and may be ready to send the bike home from there (a port city and major airport) and call it a day. Maybe not though. I still have much to think about. All I really hope is that the man lives, as his daughter and wife were not in a good way when I saw them at the hospital.

Now I am at the police office. It is Ecuadorian law that traffic accident participants spend the night at the police station in a temporary detained position. I slept on the floor last night with my sleeping pad and bag, with a broken left collarbone.

In 3 hours I will have an audience with law enforcement and a judge, and after an investigaion, fault will be determined. All of the police officers have told me to worry about nothing, that the man was drunk, that I was in the right of way, not speeding, and had no accessible option to avoid the incident. I have been provided a lawyer for the audience, and proceeding case work.

I am physically and mentally well, but it will be at least 10 days off the bike with my broken collar bone. That, and the bike needs repairing.

Did I mention that I am tired of this?

EVERYTHING is very good however, given the circumstancese, and I am in very little pain ( Though I cant move left arm very well without straining sore muscles/bone).

Though I was being as prundent and careful as possible (and I mean that), and I am still healthy, it still happened.

I´ll write it again if you missed it before. I am tired of this.

Edit:

I just had an audience with the judge, my lawyer, and the other parties people. Now we wait while they investigate, and I can´t leave the country until the case is closed. Legally they have 30 days to do it, but it´ll likely take 2 weeks.

So I´m here for now.

Quayaquil is the largest shipping port on the west coast of South America as well. It may be time to have a friend collect the bike in Seattle while I continue on a bus.

I don´t know yet, and am going to spend the next few days sleeping, eating, and thinking about it...

--Alex
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  #138  
Old 3 Oct 2011
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Alex......really sorry to hear of your troubles......happy that your ok and praying for the recovery of the other.......if I recall correctly that's # 3.....I think your plan to continue by Bus is a good one........though you are young and heal faster than us old folks....your body needs rest and you have been pushing yourself .......send the bike home; as I read, this is what your senses are telling you. You can return next year with Kristi and complete the journey. I wish you the best on the legal side of things and a speedy recovery......will watch for your updates.

Hickery:
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  #139  
Old 3 Oct 2011
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Hickery: Thanks amigo. I am doing well now, and leaning towards this option as you read correctly. I really hope that guy is ok. I heal fast, but I´m tired of being broken. After Mexico, my hip lingered for 45 days. After Barranquilla, Colombia, my leg was busted, and took 6 weeks to get back to normal. Now Im looking at 2 more weeks. Thats, 15 weeks in 6 months.

Bus rides... At least you make good distances FAST, or they would be unbearable.


Until then...

I need a healed left collarbone, 21 plates of steak, rice, and potatoes (over 7 days), 2 liters of Orange Gatorade, and time to repair my motorcycle.

THEN I will make a decision on the next step. That is 10 days from now, at LEAST.

Potential processes include the following, in NO particular order of preference.

#1 Fix bike, continue south.

#2 Get bike to Guayaquil or Quito, send it home, buy backpack, and continue South.

#3 Bag it all, send the bike home, and fly home, see family and friends, and Kristi.

#4 Sell the bike if possible, and continue south.

As we see here, therein lies only a 25% of bagging it and going home.

--Alex
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  #140  
Old 3 Oct 2011
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Lousy Rotten luck

Terrible news Alex,

I've so enjoyed your daily blogs and hope you bounce back, mentally as well as physically, so that you can continue your great adventure.

Cheers,
DickyBeach
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  #141  
Old 3 Oct 2011
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Really bum news, but I'd love to see you sticking with the bike and completing your dream trip.

I hope the next ten days give you the resolve to carry on, as I suspect you may regret winding up back at home having left things 'unfinished' - I kow I would.

Fingers crossed for your legal position and the guy who stepped out on you.

Chin up!
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  #142  
Old 5 Oct 2011
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Alex....trust all is improving for you health, legal and mentally as you have been through a lot...........I see other readers urging you on.......I know that you won't be influenced by that but will sort this out for yourself........if you decide on completing this trip with Kristi next year I may have the opportunity to meet you and possibly ride part of the way. Should you go this route consider contacting the forum for members in the area....get the bike repaired...store it with a Horizon member and fly back with Kristi and her bike and continue the trip south next year.
Wishing you all the best...

Hickery
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  #143  
Old 6 Oct 2011
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Bogota,Colombia to Azoques, Ecuador

Wednesday, September 28th.

The Cranky Croc Hostel had run its course, and it was time for me to hit the road. The steed was saddled up with new panniers and top case, and ready to hit the road. Tom and Charlie were about 6-7 days of long riding ahead of me, and I had the urge to catch up.

With nearly new tires on the bike, new sprockets,a new chain, new oil and filter, I was set to go. And so the road burning began. I stopped on the side of the road some hundred miles later, grabbed a coke and a bag of chips, filled up with gas, and took a photo.




Another 100 miles or so, and I was hungry. So I hit up this road side Parilla, and stuffed face on grilled pork and potatoes. Awesome.



These guys spent most of their time trying to flag down other customers. When I arrived, a couple in a car left, and no one else arrived for the 30 minutes I was there.



Then for the next few hours, I hauled more ass to Cali, the destination of the day. With only a far away destination in mind, it made little sense for me to plan any of my nightly accommodations, and instead just stay at the first one that I could find.

Well in Cali, that doesn’t make the best sense. As I found my way into the outskirts of the town it was getting dark, and the first people I asked for hotel recommendations recommended that I get out of the Barrio I was in, and make my way towards the center. Well, I’ll take a locals advice any day when it comes to their city, so with their assistance and a 2-up police escort riding a Dr200, I was directed to the first less then shady hotel.

Well, as we’ve come to be accustomed to, this hotel charged by the hour, and was quite swanky in its own right. It wasn’t cheap but it was clean, safe, across the street from the police station, and had underground parking with a guard.



Well, that night, as I was making my way to the hotel in the middle of Cali, my Vapor Tech Speedometer abruptly turned off. Well, that doesn’t make any sense now does it? With little time to think about it during my police escort to the hotel, I forgot about it until the morning.

When I got to the bike at 7am the next morning ( I had paid for 12 hours, 7pm-7am), I realized my problem again. With no speedometer, or odometer, I was pretty inclined to find and fix the problem on the spot. And so I did exactly that.



You see these little guys? I brought them with me to specifically connect the vapor tech wires should I have a problem with their connection. Well they came into good use!



The power wires of the Vapor Tech had pulled loose from their one time use plug. I had to make new connections with the small gauge wire that I had to work with.



Well, to top it all off, as I was removing the plugs that held the wires together, the two power wires that were connected to my battery made a connection and instantly fried the ground wire into smithereens. Daaaaamn it.

Soon, the bike looked like this.



And I had walked across the street to the ferreteria, bought some speaker wire, and was back in the workshop (garage).



Check out the ground wire!! It fried its coating from the triple tree to the battery. Ugh.



In no time at all however, my new speaker wire had battery contacts wired to it, was routed, connected, secured. The Vapor Tech was back in the game. It only took me 1.5 hours. Damnit.



Thursday September 29th, the next day was up into the mountains, and it was awesome. The roads were great, the traffic was light, and I was making good time.



The bike was doing well also, and I was having a great time. My new luggage was great.

From Cali, I made it all the way to the border of Ecuador, and found myself in a bit of a predicament. It was about 5pm, and about to get dark, and the border system was down. Yep, it had been down since around 11am, and there was a pile up of people to prove it.



So I tried to import my motorcycle. However, as I wasn’t able to yet secure a stamp for myself, I too wasn’t able to import the bike. However, the Migration officer was familiar with these kinds of situations, or so it would seem. There had been a couple of Argentinean bikers that had arrived before me, and he told them the same thing. The border system would likely not fix itself soon, and I was better off riding 5 minutes into Tulcan, the Ecuadorian border town. There, I could spend the night and return in the morning to import both myself and the bike.

Well that sounded better than sitting on my ass and waiting, as many of these people had been doing for the past 8 hours. So I did exactly as suggested, got on the bike, headed into town, asked a few directions, and found a cheap hotel that immediately offered the front hallway as a parking lot for my bike. Deal.



Friday September 30th, the next morning, I was ready to get my bike imported, and get my passport stamped. So I packed up the bike and hit the road for the short hop back to the border. On the way there, I passed by a hotel with large bikes parked outside, and henceforth met the Argentineans.

They were 4 in total, two men and two women riding a late model KLR650, and a Buell Ulysses 1200. The men had ridden solo from Argentina to Colombia, where their wives met them, and they were riding south to where the women would fly to Santiago from Lima while the men would continue the ride home.

I stopped and asked them if they were headed back to the border for the same reason I was. They confirmed, but also told me that the system was still down. They had called and asked. Well. That sucks. See you guys there I guess then? Yep.

Back at the border, it was a waiting game that sucked 3.5 hours from my day. A copy of my exit stamp from Colombia, and a copy of my passport home page (secured from a copier across the street for 10cents a piece) were necessary to manually enter me into the country for a temporary 10 days, which I had the opportunity to increase in Quito if I had the urge. The same went for the bike. Well, that’s fine, I’m hauling ass anyway, and won’t need more than 3 days if all goes as planned.

Well, after getting the paperwork finished, I asked/invited myself into the Argentinean group, and we tore ass out of the border. The Argentineans made traffic look like a joke, and were weaving their 500lb+ motorcycles like mini dirt bikes. Riding with them was a hustle to say the least, but on the open road they slowed through the corners, and keeping up on my DR was no problem.

As it was already nearly noon, Quito was the goal for the day. From Quito, which was only 3-4 hours away, Cuenca or Quayaquil would be a 7-10 hour ride. With luck I might even make the border, a claimed 14 hour bus ride, or 9-10 hours via Google Map.

On the way to Quito, one of the wives made sure we stopped for a photo along the way of a life sized statue of a Mammoth. And so we did. Here I am with the guys.



Along the way, I had been fiddling with my fuel mixture screw, and after a bit of fussing about, my bike was eating miles for breakfast. That was until I saw three huge bikes parked along the side of the highway, one of which had an American license plate. Two Suzuki V-Strom 1000’s, and a BMW F800GS were parked in series, and there were two guys smoking next to their bikes, drinking a , waving me down.

Well those Argentineans were hauling so much ass that I decided to stop and see what was new and met these guys! If I’m not mistaken ADV’er Captbb is on the far left riding from Alabama on his F800GS.



I was hungry and they were eating lunch. They invited me in, and I had a plate of food too. They had seen the Argentineans haul ass passed the restaurant, and had been wondering where they were from.

Turns out that two of the guys are permanent residents in Colombia, and are of the retired type, while the other Captbb, is on a ride south from Alabama.

Thanks to ADVrider and HorizonsUnlimited, Captbb had already read my ride report. Aaaaawesome.

Well. After lunch, the three guys headed north for the Colombian border, and I headed south for Quito. They told me I would make it there before dark no problem, and so I did.

Entering into the city, I saw the KLR650 on the side of the road, waiting for the Buell. So I pulled over too. Turns out they were looking for directions to the Quito Hotel, where they had reservations. Well, that sounded like a surefire way for me to find the center of a city with well over 2 million inhabitants, so I followed along. Sure enough, after 20 minutes of riding around the perimeter of the city, the Argentine guys asking every other taxi for help, they brought me to the first sign that I recognized, 6 de Deciembre.

The first hostel that Kristi and I stayed at on our first day in Quito over a month ago was on the corner of 6 de Deciembre and Joaquin Pinto. The problem being, 6 de Deciembre is miles long and I had no idea which side of Joaquin Pinto I was on. Oh, yea, and at the time, I didn’t quite remember the name of the cross street. However, when I saw the sign, I gave a quick wave, and took off.

30 minutes later after a lot of looking around, I caught a glimpse of the road side store that fed me for the 4 nights Kristi and I spent in Quito. Just like that I was home for the night.

I had found the Vibes Hostel, and my dorm bed for the night, with secure bike parking, and my favorite food stand on the corner. Done.



Saturday September 31st, found me awake early in the morning, looking at directions to get out of Quito, and if luck would have it, passed the Peruvian border the same day in Piura. I followed the signs for Sur de Quito, quickly found the way out, and was well into the day before I knew it.

Hours later around 10am, I was up in the mountains, and the temps had never really warmed up. I had left my rain liners in from the night before and was glad of it. My heated grips were turned on, and I had zipped my jacket fully to my pants (3/4 zip versus 1/4 zip). This would come in handy later.

Along the road south, I kept seeing dirt roads up in the mountains that looked inviting. However, I had places to be, and I didn’t feel like being sidetracked. So I passed them all except one.

Right to the side of the road was a hilltop tower with an access road, so I hit the brakes, dropped a couple of gears, and ripped up it, fully loaded… And then started sliding backwards… Damn, it was a lot steeper than it looked. Well, the ground was dry, and with little effort I had the bike parked on the hill for the photo.

Here is a view to the south.



And the hill I made it part way up before realizing it would be foolish to keep going. A fully loaded Dr650 with Pirelli MT90 tires (more street than dirt) didn’t really fit the scene well.



And a view north, from where I had came.



Well a while later, it was about 11:45 and I was hungry, so I began looking for the next appetizing road side restaurant. Furthermore, I was closing in on Cuenca, with about 30 minutes to go before I arrived. I decided that rather than stop for lunch in a city of 500,000, I would stop early and blow right through the city. The border to Peru was only 5 hours away, and I could make it before nightfall. Saweet.

Well, that looks appetizing!



And so it was! For less than $3.00 I was munching on roasted pig and choclo, sipping a cold coke. Ecuador is cheap, the roads are good, and the people are nice. I like this country! See the skin that had been sliced off the side of the pig? The woman was slicing the hide into squares, trimming the fat that lined the inside of the skin, piling the squares onto plates, and serving them to some of the customers whom munched away happily. Roasted pig skin didn’t sound as good as roasted pig meat, so I let them have their fun.

I considered going for round two of mister pig, but instead, hit the road. I kind of wish I had, come to think of it, but hind sight is 20/20 right?





30 minutes later. I hit the man. You’ve read the report. He was drunk. He walked out in front of me at the last moment, and KaBloohey! I creamed him. Luckily, he’ll survive, as will I. I walked away (more or less) he was stretchered away. I was lucky I tell you. He was not. Damnit.

That man, lunch, and the roasted pig, were the last thing I remembered before the next thing I remembered. An Oxymoron you think? Only kind of, as about 20 minutes passed between that those two times.

When I “woke up” I was getting into an ambulance. I had my tank bag slung over my right shoulder and my laptop bag in my right hand. I was blindly following directions, speaking only in Spanish, and asking way too many questions. They informed me later that when they had arrived, I already had my tank bag and laptop bag in my hands. Apparently, I collected my most important belongings while “out of commission” and had managed to secure my passports (American and Canadian), money, camera, and laptop. That is what I call a success.

Then I was getting out of the ambulance, walking into the hospital, sitting down on a chair, and generally being in the way of doctors and nurses. Then, people started crying, and I was the subject of tearful questioning.

“WHY?” “HOW?” And, “WHAT HAPPENED?” Were all part of the barrage. I just looked at them sadly, and replied that didn’t know. I couldn’t remember. The doctors and nurses soon pulled away the grieving wife and daughter, and I was left to try and remember what happened, and reason out why my left shoulder hurt the way it did, and why I couldn’t squeeze my left hand.



The nurses and doctor were very nice to me, and one spoke decent English as well, though we conversed 95% of the time in Spanish. I asked the young doctor (in his residency year) to take my photo, and the nurse jumped right in. I was glad she did.



Well, after receiving an X-Ray of my shoulder, being informed that my collarbone was fractured, and receiving a shot for the pain in my shoulder (that helped, but I didn’t really need), the police escorted me to their vehicle and we headed towards the police station.

After arriving, and sitting around for a bit, I was told to follow two guys, which I did. However, it soon became clear a few moments later that they were asking me to park myself in an open air cell that looked like it had never been used, was dirty with trash in the corner, and home to at least one rat/mouse that I watched scurry out of the door/gate as it was opened.

I'm not afraid of sitting on the floor, and I would have probably had a pet mouse by the end of it, but I was not really in the mood at the moment.

I looked at the two police officers in turn, and without even stepping into the room, the following dialogue took place.

“ How long am I meant to stay here?” I asked.
“A few hours,” they said.
I asked them the same thing again.
“Only a few hours,” they said.
“Are you being serious?” I asked.
“Yes, you’ve been in a traffic accident, and you are being temporarily detained for the night as per law,” one said.
“I'm sorry, but I am not staying here. And a NIGHT, my friends, is not the same as A FEW HOURS. I don’t care who you talk to, but I’m NOT SLEEPING HERE,” I said in no uncertain terms.

And that my friends, is how I ended up sleeping inside, on the floor, here. Had I not had my sleeping pad and sleeping bag, I would have been sleeping on the floor with only the blanket for comfort. I was lucky again.





A few hours later found me eating this meal, courtesy of the police officer who brought me food. Although, I’m fairly certain he made off with a couple bucks, as I gave him $6, and I’ve been eating the same meal for $4.5 as of late. He told me it had double meat. Whatever.



Well, the next day, I had a court hearing. Or as they call it here, an Audience. I showed up with two police officers, 30 minutes early, and there I met the prosecuting attorney. We waited for 40 minutes, and my public defender showed up, 10 minutes late, having ridden the bus from Cuenca (30 mins away) to get there. The lawyer of the other party’s family was also there along with the man’s son and nephew.

When my public defender arrived, I made a statement to the prosecuting attorney about what happened during the accident. He suggested that I speak it slowly so that he could type it down. I asked that I be allowed to write it down so he could copy it. And so that is what I did.

It went similar to this, but in more detail.

“I was riding the motorcycle. I saw the man on the side of the road. I thought he was going to wait for me to pass before he crossed the street, but instead, at the very last second, he stepped into my path. I couldn’t do anything about it, I had no alternative path, it was too late, I couldn’t avoid the accident, and I hit him. That was the last thing I remembered until I was sitting in the ambulance.”

My public defense attorney read it to the prosecuting attorney in turn, correcting my ample grammatical mistakes. After typing it up, he printed it out, I read it over, and signed it along with my attorney and the prosecuting attorney.

Next, it was right across the hall to the Judges chamber which we entered, and left after 5-6 minutes. The situation was quickly described to the judge, and I was informed that I was not allowed to leave the country while the pursuant investigation took place, which legally could take as long as 30 days, but which would rather take closer to two weeks.

Well, that was simple. Now I get to wait.

Well, the prosecuting attorney is a nice man and he offered me a ride, along with my attorney, back into town where he would help me collect everything from the police station where I had left it, and take me to a hotel. Well isn’t that convenient and very helpful. Thanks!

And so, after dropping off my attorney for her next appointment, collecting my goods at the police station, and taking me back to his house where his wife fed me (I hadn’t eat at all that day and it was now 2pm), he took me to a cheap hostel where I checked in, and made myself at home.



The Chicago hostel was my home for following two nights. The nights found me sleeping in a bed that was not very comfortable, and the days found me spending most of my time at an internet café 3 blocks away, eating food at a local restaurant, and using public restrooms as my toilet didn’t work. Why didn’t I ask for a different room you ask? Well. It just didn’t matter enough I guess.

The same day I checked in however (Sunday afternoon), I walked across the street to the Hotel Rivera to ask a few questions. The first of which was, “Do you have internet?” To which they answered, yes, of course. I asked the price. $20/night. Can I have a discount for 10 nights? Yes. We can do it for $15/night. Deal. I’ll see you in 2 nights. Thanks!

And so, two nights later, I was in a much cozier room, with a better tv, a working toilet, better shower, nicer bed, a table, a night stand, and wifi. The difference in price was $3/day, which I easily spent at the internet café anyway.



And so, here I sit, enjoying my wifi, (which unfortunately shuts off at 1am, slowing down my movie downloads, dangit) the convenience of a flushing toilet, cheap food around the corner, and as much Animal Planet in Spanish that I could possibly desire.

Oh the joy

All is well over here guys and gals!

Love you Mom and Dad!

--Alex
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Last edited by bigalsmith101; 6 Oct 2011 at 15:37.
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  #144  
Old 7 Oct 2011
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Alex

Another great write up (as usual), yours are normally the first thing i look for when logging in to the HUBB.
To say you have been in the wars is a bit of an undersatement, but hopefully you will bounce back (not literally i hope) from this latest mishap. Think long and hard over your path ahead: I had a similar choice when in Australia a few years ago (accident with a very hot bus radiator), i decided to go home and while i have been back twice since, there always seems to be a bit of regret that i didn't finish the first trip as intended.
Still onwards and upwards as they say, and i look forward to reading the rest of your trip however you decide to do it
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  #145  
Old 8 Oct 2011
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I think I must be one of several hundred who are really enjoying this blog. It's really bringing the Americas alive!

Please be careful out there though, three smashes so far and luckily no serious consequences, I'm sure you'll do everything possible to avoid the fourth!.. Good luck in your recovery and further adventures!
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  #146  
Old 8 Oct 2011
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Hey hey HEY!

Hey everyone! Thanks for the comments, and for following along with the Ride Report. Obviously no more crashes are planned for the continuation of this trip, and I do plan to continue riding.

Anyhow, this is how it's been lately.

Azoques, Ecuador, my home for the past week. How fun!

I've got some (count it 2) photos coming, and a little description of what this place is all about.

Turns out my hotel has a parking garage beneath it as well. So one of these days, I'm going to get my motorcycle, and bring it to me, so as to work on it out of the weather. I'm paying $1.50 a day for parking, which I don't mind. I can't yet ride the bike up to the parking lot anyway at the moment, but soon will be able to.

A little synopsis of Azoques to come.

--Alex
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  #147  
Old 8 Oct 2011
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Azoques, Ecuador in real time.

October 7th, Day 190

Oh the joy. I am glad to be laid up n a place like Azoques, Ecuador. Why, you ask? I’ll tell you.

Azoques, Ecuador is a small town in consideration, of about 28,000 residents in the ENTIRE surrounding area. A local man estimated 15,000 when I asked him…

I’ve been holed up in the Red building on the left, Hotel Rivera, since Tuesday, and it’s been just fine. On the corner, underneath the white building, you can see a corner store where I buy my Gatorade, and bananas, chips, coke, and whatever else I feel like eating. Just to the left of that is a Panaderia, (bread store) where I buy bread roles to munch on when I am hungry. Behind me nearly 2 blocks, is a restaurant that serves massive meals for less than $5.



Well, I walked up the street to my former internet café, and then, further up the street and all of a sudden I found myself in a town square, complete with a church on one side, and a statue in the middle. I’ll have to go back and read the statue’s plaque, I forgot…



After staring at the Statue, I noticed a post office. I might go back to send some post cards.

Then I went across the square, and saw two people with Ice Cream. Face to face marketing is what I call that. They were coming out of shop door, so I went in, and came out with my own ice cream. Over here, all the flavors are obviously in Spanish, so I stick with the ones I am familiar with. Fresa (strawberry) Vanila (vanilla), chocolate (chocolate), and other fruits, are the easy ones. They mixed ones don’t have the honor of being eaten by me.

Well, then it was down another street. I walk the streets in my R.E.I cargo shorts, a t-shirt, and my Peruvian alpaca sweatshirt, wearing white flip flops. NO ONE, in this town wears flip flops. NO ONE.

Most of the time people are looking first at my feet, and then, as I get closer, my head. More than half of the time, they will make a comment, a gasp, a giggle, or even ask a question. HOW TALL ARE YOU!? “Casi dos metros.” (Almost 2 meters) is the easy response. That blows their minds. I’m 6’6”, with the sandals on. 2 meters is 6’8”, which is close enough. Better (and easier) than saying, “Tengo ciento noventa cinco centimetros” (I have 195 centimeters)

Well, on the way back to the hotel, I stopped off at a different restaurant that offered chicken. I like the roasted chicken around these joints. It’s good stuff. Well, 3 of the police officers from the station were there, and recognized me. They offered me , but I politely declined. They asked me how my motorcycle was. I told them it was good. How is the man that walked in front of you? I’m not sure, I responded, but I’m fairly certain he lives. Well that’s good. Yes, yes it is.

Well, with a 1/4 chicken on top of a bed of rice with some French fries, I headed back to the hotel, hitting the corner store on the way. 1 liter of Gatorade, a bag of chips, a couple bananas, and a 20 minute conversation with the store owners sister (who may also own the store), and I was good to go.

Whoops, I forgot to stop in at the Panaderia for some (5) bread rolls. Try one with cheese in it, buy a 250ml coke.

The next events are nearly standard processs.

Spend less than $10 on everything. (Seriously) A 500ml Gatorade while walking around $1.00, The meal $3.25, the 1 liter Gatorade $1.75, the bag of chips $.70, the bananas $.10 (5cents each, as we are in Ecuador, aka, Banana Land) 5 bread rolls $.60, a coke $.50, and an Ice Cream $1.00.
Grand Total, $8.90.

Find my way up the stairs to my hotel room, open door, unload groceries/meal.

Set up the night stand to my left in such a manner that my half immobilized left arm can reach them easily. Sit upright on bed, turn on Animal Planet and hope this episode is in English. Begin munching on the chicken, downloading new movies to watch, and facebook everyone and their brother.

Special Events!

Remember that 10/7/11 marks 4 year anniversary of plane crash of twin brother and his friends.

Skype Kristi on her cell phone, talk to her and her mom, and my mom, as they are all at my parents house after having a walk together.

Email Dad.

Pass out.

--Alex
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  #148  
Old 10 Oct 2011
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A day in the life of Alex, here in Azoques, Ecuador. Oct 10th, 2011, Day 193.

Last night was spent eating a lot of these…



…While I watched some more of the famous Animal Planet, and downloaded National Geographic Documentaries. I really enjoy learning, and if I can be entertained while learning, well, I learn even better. Also, I downloaded the computer game, “Civilization 4” as I have been bored during the day, and watching T.V all day is impossible.

Somewhere in the middle of all the animal planet, movie/documentary downloading, and computer game playing, I went across the street to my new favorite restaurant, and picked up my $3.75 meal. “1/4 Chicken, on rice, with Fries.”



I figure this stint in “Isolated Confinement” (i.e. spending so much time in my hotel room) will give me a leg up when I “get out of here.” You see, I’ll be used to talking less, and when I talk less, more people tend to enjoy being around me! HAHAHA.

This morning I woke up to a dream that I was filling a toilet bowl to capacity while taking a pee. I reached out to flush the toilet so that I could continue peeing, and woke up needing to pee quite badly. So I took a pee, and then I took a shower. Consequently, in the shower, the road rash on my left knee (very minimal) decided to lose its scab. At least it doesn’t hurt!



Well, after the housekeeping staff here at the hotel finally roused me enough to get me the hell out of the room by: calling me on the phone, apologizing for bothering me, and asking me if they could clean my room; I finally got off my ass and went outside.

That’s when I got a wild hair up my butt to go check out my motorcycle. And so I did exactly that.

Overall, it's in great shape considering. There are only a few tweaked parts (namely the right side pannier frame/rack). The highlight was broken,(just the lens) but I might have already found a replacement at a local shop. The highway dirt bike (HDB) hand guards did their job, and really took a beating, but protected the hand levers, instruments, and handlebars as well. I installed a "fat" handlebar before I left (1 1/8" vs 7/8th") for the added strength, and heavy duty hand guards as well. They have really stood the test. I bought them all as part of a group by on ADVrider. Excellent.

2 blocks from my hotel is a "Taller de Soldura" (Welding Shop). I stopped in on my way back from the police impound lot (only 8 blocks away) and asked if they can weld Aluminum. They said yes. I'll be going back there to have them reshape my severely torqued right side pannier, and to have them pull out the bend in the right pannier frame.

The front turn signals were knocked off as well, but replacing them will be easy, as the mount for new ones is still there, and the wires are already accessible.

When my right hand guard got twisted upward during the accident, a bolt holding my auxiliary light impacted the banjo bolt of my front brake line where it connects to the brake fluid reservoir. Subsequently the banjo bolt was ripped out of the brake fluid reservoir. I'll have to get a replacement brake fluid reservoir from one of the many motorcycle shops around. The impound lot police officer attendant man suggested a shop right down the street (1 block) from the impound lot. I had seen it on my way there and noticed an Aprillia outside on the curb. Good news, it would seem that they work on both foreign and large cc motorcycles. The attendant referred to the shop as, "There is a motorcycle master just down the street." I’ll take what I can get.

Other than that, the bike supported me when I sat on it, felt normal in regards to suspension. Rolled forward and backwards with no obstructions, the rear brake worked, the vapor tech was operational, and it appeared to be in good shape.

The one thing I didn't do was bring my motorcycle keys with me, as I wasn't initially planning to go there. The first time I saw my bike (a week ago), the starter button didn't operate when I turned the key to the "on" position. However, I highly suspect the kickstand kill switch to be the culprit, as it had been slightly stuck a few times in the recent days before the accident. Either way, it wasn’t an issue of turning over and not starting. It simply didn’t even try. It should be an easy fix; here’s hoping!

Next step is to call my public defender lawyer, "Andrea", and ask her to create a release document so I can remove my motorcycle. Then, I'll park the bike under the hotel in the parking lot that is available to me here, and get to work on fixing the bike.

On my way back to the hotel, I went shopping for food. I won’t have to leave my hotel room again tonight. Excellent.

$7.85 later, and I was stocked up.



The other day, I ran out of Ibuprofen that the hospital had given me. They are 400mg tablets, of which I received 12 of. I was instructed to take one every 8 hours, no more. Well, I generally took one before going to bed, to facilitate falling asleep, and another when I woke up sore as hell. So they lasted over 6 days, as I only took them when I really felt the urge to. Well, the side of the box clearly states, take only under prescription, so I was unsure if I would be able to get more at the corner farmacia (pharmacy).

I just walked in, asked them what they had that was similar, the woman returned with exactly the same box, and asked me how many I wanted. “How much are they?” I asked. “They are $0.05/each.” She responded. I see… Out of curiosity, I asked what they had that was stronger, to which she replied, we have 600mg tablets as well, they are $0.35/each. Right…. I’ll take a box of the 400mg please. And so for $1.03 after tax, I had (20) 400mg tablets of Ibuprofen to outlast my stay here. I’m going back before I leave, as they likely won’t ever be that cheap again.

Off to call my lawyer!

--Alex
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  #149  
Old 13 Oct 2011
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Everettt, Washington, USA
Posts: 287
Broken Leg Update Photos.

While I sit in this lovely hotel, waiting for news about the traffic accident investigation, and calling my lawyer to ask about getting the necessary papers signed to release my motorcycle from the Police Parking lot, I have decided to post an update of the scar on leg where the Doctors in Barraquilla, Colombia cut me open, drilled 8 holes, inserted a place, screwed in 8 screws, and stitched me back together.

As of today, two months and nine days after the surgery, my ankle feels exactly like normal, looks normal, and performs normally. It's like it never happened.

EXCEPT for the awesome scar, and the fact that I can feel the metal plate under the skin. Check it out.


View #1




And here is View #2




Most excellent if I do say so myself.

Until next time! Ciao!

--Alex
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  #150  
Old 15 Oct 2011
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 10
Hi Alex,

I felt sick when I read you'd had an accident. I hope you're healing quickly.

For what it's worth, here is my advice:

#1 Fix bike, continue south.

#1 Fix bike, continue south.

#1 Fix bike, continue south.

#1 Fix bike, continue south.

That’s 100% Fix bike, continue south.

I'm a bit older than you (more than double at 53) and I know that the regret from not doing something is far greater than the regret from doing something and having it go wrong. If you don't finish your ride, it will haunt you. Go for it mate!

Apologies to your mum and dad for the above, but it's true. Dad rides, and he’ll understand. Hopefully he can explain it to mum.

I've just gotten to the end of your posts and now I don't know what to do. I want to just sit here at the computer and wait for updates, but that's just not practical. I’m looking forward to your next instalment.

Cheers,

Simon.
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