The big crack down, roadside cervesa and a visit from Mexican Santa.

By Emma;

It’s OK. Don’t panic! But do sit down for this news.

We are in a bit of a rut. Well, a large chasm to be more precise.

Yep it’s true, Falkor has developed a massive crack right through the frame and she has to be retired.

We are devastated.

The big crack. It runs 3/4 of the circumference of the frame, and there are 2 horizontal cracks at the coupling mount. Massive fail. Poor Falkor

The big crack. It runs 3/4 of the circumference of the frame, and there are 2 horizontal cracks at the coupling mount. Massive fail. Poor Falkor

Looking at the crack from underneath

Looking at the crack from underneath – eeek!

Before we bought her we did a lot of research and knew about other travellers experiencing frame fractures like this, but so special is the Hase Pino  that we thought it worth the risk.  Still, we are totally devo’d to make this discovery on our beloved bike. When Bren noticed the crack the other day, it was as if someone had died. And it kinda is! The Falkor we have loved and ridden nearly 6000km can go no further. We will have to disassemble her completely and have a new frame delivered to us from Germany (under warranty). Rip Falkor #1. Enter Falkor #2 – bigger and better than ever. Original running gear, brand new skeleton to attach it all to. Sigh.

We feel like this about our current situation

We feel like this about our current situation

It’s a real shame, but we are getting great support from Hase and remain positive we can overcome this setback. If only the frame can arrive in time to keep us on our Christmas schedule….

Cyclists haven - Casa De Cyclista

Cyclists haven – Casa De Cyclista

We are currently in the very groovy town of Guadalajara, staying at “Casa De Ciclista”/”The house of cyclists”. It is an awesome hostel type haven for touring cyclists, and an absolute mecca for making bike repairs. Every tool, part & expert is here, so in terms of bad things happening at good times, we have really hit the jackpot. Not only have we got a safe (and free!) place to stay and an address to have the frame shipped to, we have a new family of awesome locals & travellers who all understand our plight. In fact, everyone who is currently staying here, has had to pull their bike apart for the necessary repairs, so there is a lot of sympathy to go around. In the mean time, we are on foot while Bren is taking her apart, and we wait for the new frame to arrive next week. Fingers crossed!

Arriving on the mainland in Mazatlan

Arriving on the mainland in Mazatlan

So yeah, we made it to mainland Mexico! It was a 16hour, all-night-movie-blaring, over-air-conditioned, diesel-fume-filled-ferry ride from La Paz to Mazatlan.  And we are stoked to be here!

Meeting Kevin the Irishman on the ferry was a cool treat, and not just because he has a matching sandal tan.

Matching sandal tans. You gotta be cool to join our gang.

Matching sandal tans. You gotta be cool to join our gang.

Starting his ride in London, he has already cycled over 25,000km – and he still has another 25,000km to go as he makes his way south to Patagonia! Check out his blog; www.influenceanaudience.com.

PLUS we have just reunited with our beloved Aussie mates, Brenna & Joe (aka Branjo). Yay!

Em & Brenna

Em & Brenna

Joe & Bren getting greasy in the workshop.

Joe & Bren getting greasy in the workshop.

Remember how we met them on that dreadful windy day back in California? We are stoked to have the chance to hang out with them again and hope to spend some time on the road riding together. So it’s literally a full casa & non-stop action.

Bune, our very cool host in Mazatlan. Come riding with us Bune-chan!

Bune, our very cool host in Mazatlan. Come riding with us Bune-chan!

But you wanna know about the funny stuff from the last few weeks on the road right? Well get a load of this then.

So, we were camping in the yard of a hotel (of course) in a town called Acaponeta, and woke up early to get a good start on the days riding.

Camping in the hotel.

Camping in the hotel.

We had no water for the day but knew there was a town 8km down the road, so we set off on the toll road with the intention to re-fill our bottles. Of course, there was no turn off to get to the town and we found ourselves 30km down the freeway very hot and thirsty. I was not worried, but Bren was really quite stressed. It’s funny how we swap roles like that sometimes. Since my melt downs (yes, its now a plural happening) in the desert, I have come to find a certain peace within myself, accepting that you can’t always be in control or prepared, because something always happens out of your control and an unexpected solution always presents itself. Some people may call it God, or religion, but for me, it’s just faith in the universe and a belief that as long as you can remain calm and optimistic, all truly will be well. And some days are easier than others, but this was an especially easy day for me to believe. Sure I was thirsty, but I was not at all worried. I just knew something would work out and we would not come to any real trouble. But the morning did grow hotter and then a hill appeared. Hmm. We were sweating a lot too. But apart from choosing to ride back to where we started, there was no choice but to ride onward. So we started to climb this hill and saw that a truck was broken down. Perfect, a captive audience to receive my classic water-begging Spanish.

“tienes agua?” (Do you have water?)

This lovely trucker, Oscar it turns out, waves us around to the front of his truck while he pulls an esky/cool box from the truck cabin. As he opens it up and digs into the ice, he tells us he has no water, but produces 2 cans of our favourite Mexican beer, Tecate. It’s 9:45am. It’s really too early, even for us, to have a beer. So for a second, we resist. But Oscar comments on how hot we look and how cold the beer is, and even for someone with extreme tenacity, it is impossible to resist. You can take the Aussies out of Australia but, you cannot take Australia out of the Aussies! So we decide to share 1 beer between us. It is incredibly cold and refreshing. And it turns out, it’s light beer. So when he pulls out the 2nd can, well, it seems like a sensible thing to do. We stand around and chat in mixture of English, Spanish and charades, and naturally, open another beer. Oscar has us dipping our hats in his esky and bathing in the icy water, so while not consuming a single drop of water, we are thoroughly refreshed and ready to ride on.

We exchange email addresses, take some photos and pedal onward.

Oscar the trucker. What a legend!

Oscar the trucker. What a legend!

Good morning cervesa!

Good morning cervesa!

Another 20km down the road and the sun is a steadfast reminder of the drought we are in. The effects of the Tecate have worn off and stress has returned to Bren as he reminds me it is another 30km until we get to the next turn off and find water. I am still ridiculously calm about it all and suggest we stop under the shade of a bridge where I will commence the Baja routine of begging for water.

Within minutes, a truck pulls over and hands me 1liter of water. It’s an awesome feeling, having complete strangers understand your plight and offer you help. We skull the litre and I head back to the roadside to beg for more. A lot of traffic passes us but no one else stops, so after 20minutes of the begging dance, we mount up and pedal on. Within 4km we pass under another bridge and see this

A visit from Mexican Santa!

A visit from Mexican Santa!

“Stop Brendon!” I shout whilst leaping off the bike. There was no doubt in my mind that this gift was left for us. 2 bottles of unopened water & a note that translates as “ Happy travels friends”. Can you believe that! One of the motorists that had zoomed past my begging procedure, must have stopped down the road to leave this offering for us in the shade. It was like Santa had paid us a visit and he certainly had us on the “nice” list. I was completely overcome with emotion and totally elated. I felt like crying. It put us on the biggest high and my face ached all day from the uncontrollable beams of my smile. It takes someone pretty special to go out of their way to help total strangers and show such random kindness. This journey teaches us so much every single day about ourselves, our limits and our depths. And proof that the greatest risks offer with the greatest rewards.

The sign for the toilet. Brlliant

The sign for the toilet. Brlliant

Pinata anyone?

Pinata anyone?

Before starting this journey, I thought I was pretty patient, with boundless optimism and courage to take risks. I have since come to realize that there is so much further I can expand all of these traits.  But you have to put yourself out there and you have to never be afraid to fail. Some days are of course, easier than others, but the hardest days often show you the best opportunities.

The changing scenery of mainland Mexico. Amazing volcanos everywhere! Who knew?

The changing scenery of mainland Mexico. Amazing volcanos everywhere! Who knew?

The contrast of the green landscape from our dusty days in the desert

The contrast of the green landscape from our dusty days in the desert

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And it’s easy to take risks in foreign situations, making it even more important to actively seek out ways to put yourself on the line when you live with a comfortable routine. Whether it’s simply trying new food, a new way to communicate, making a start on a project or finding a new street to drive down, the important thing is that you try everyday to find a new way to challenge yourself; no matter how trivial it seems. Because the more you do it, the better you will get and before you know it, you are well on your way to becoming the person you imagine in your head.

For me, I am certain this is a life long commitment. One that I am so excited to embrace.

Our first puncture at 5698km. We challenge all other cycle tourists to beat those odds! Schwalbe tires are THE BEST!

Our first puncture at 5698km. We challenge all other cycle tourists to beat those odds! Schwalbe tires are THE BEST!

The colourful streets of Magdalena

The colourful streets of Magdalena

They other day we rode into a town called Yugo, about 45minutes before sunset. We needed to find a place to stay pretty swiftly and there was nowhere safe to free-camp. We saw a family sitting outside of their house, right beside a VW beetle. Bren stopped the bike, “you reckon they can help us?” he asks. He stayed with the bike while I approached them with my stunningly limited Spanish. Their smiles were so warm and they looked straight into my eyes with the compassion of someone I had known for years. Just by asking them if they knew a safe place to camp, they invited us into their house, offering us a bed and food. We fall in love everyday with people like this and the amount of love in their hearts. And just as we were leaving their home, we bumped into our brothers from Montana again! Serendipity!

We stayed with Karen and her mum. Wonderful people!

We stayed with Karen and her mum. Wonderful people!

In Tepic, we stayed with some wonderful hosts from the website www.couchsurfing.com. Gabriela & Pablo had travelled South America on their Harley and wanted to return the generosity shown to them by opening up their home to weary travellers. It’s so awesome to meet like-minded people and share tips and travel stories.

Our hosts in Tepic, Gabriela & Pablo

Our hosts in Tepic, Gabriela & Pablo

We were lucky enough to meet Professor Pepe from Tepic University, and got the chance to speak to his class about the TotallyTandem project and our fund raising for World Bicycle Relief. It’s just been one unbelievable fortuitous moment after another. And it’s so cool to think about how each of these situations are linked and all the tiny incidents that lead you to each opportunity.

in Tepic with Pablo, Bryce, Bremma & Professor Pepe

in Tepic with Pablo, Bryce, Bremma & Professor Pepe

All things TotallyTandem at Tepic University. Todo es posible!

All things TotallyTandem at Tepic University. Todo es posible!

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In Canada and the States, I was afraid to wild camp because there was the option of cheap camping in the State Parks. But in Mexico, there is not really an established camping culture and not many places that offer good wild camping opportunities. So we have had to be braver and more inventive. The other night, we even camped in a Church!

The Church in Magdalena.

The Church in Magdalena.

Camping in the Church. We fell asleep to the sounds of hymns and awoke to bell tolling.

Camping in the Church. We fell asleep to the sounds of hymns and awoke to bell tolling

Anyways,  enough reflecting. November is coming to a close and we are VERY excited to be pedaling south to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo and meeting up with our excellent friend from Tokyo, Kirsten (aka Kiki). We will spend a good 10days together celebrating Chrissie by the beach and doing lots of gossiping and relaxing. I am imagining drinks with tiny umbrellas. We will also be meeting up with Ken & Wendy, Aussies we stayed with in Baja, and hope that Branjo will come along too for a very Aussie-Saffa celebration. Just need that new frame to arrive and to re-build the bike….its gonna be an interesting week in Guadalajara…….

All well wishes for a speedy delivery of our new frame are welcome!

Falkor #1, last day on the road.

Falkor #1, last day on the road.

Hey, and check this out! Carmex Australia have gotten on board with TotallyTandem and offered us some support by supplying us with THE BEST BALM ever! Those who have met me for more than 5 minutes will know of my obsession with lip balm and my love of Carmex! We are stoked that they have come to the TotallyTandem party and know our lips will be lusciously protected throughout the journey with Carmex. Goodbye coldsores!

THE best balm ever!

THE best balm ever!

2 responses to “The big crack down, roadside cervesa and a visit from Mexican Santa.

  1. Love reading your travels……the frame will arrive and all will be well…..happy and safe riding and Merry Xmas and Happy 2014 from Moko and me

  2. Your stories never cease to amaze me or make me burst into laughter and end up with cramp in my chuckle muscle!!! :-) From a Mexican Santa to camping in a church ……what an amazing and inspiring story!! And Oscar sounds like a real Legend too!! :-) We’re always thinking about you guys and hope you get your new frame in time to get to your Christmas destination!! Have a few shots of tequila and some tacos for us!!
    HUGE festive hugs!
    Eddie, Sally, Jack & Ellie

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