Motorcycle Diaries

South Easterm Native Plant Nursery


The Road -


Some more pics from Cape Breton. Click to make ‘em bigger!


Me and Ms. Trixie


Twisty roads… shame they were all paved.


Just south of a town called Cheticamp there were about 100 people all standing in a semi-circle. I though it was a concert or maybe church of some kind. I had to stop. Turns out it was a scare crow farm…


More boring road shots


Mountains on the interior of the Cape


The geek and the whale


And the road rolled on….


I call this one Cleat with Stone and Sea Weed


The end of another day. I looped half the island on the Cabot Trail and made it back to Upper Gulf Shore on the mainland. Camped on the beach. Too many miles and not enough time to drink it in.

More tomorrow.

So I’m dusting off the blog. I figured it was OK since I’m posting pictures from another motorcycle trip. This one is Asheville to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

Here’s the map of the ride.

And pictures with minimal words. Click the images to see them full size:

I left Asheville in a rain storm that followed me for about three days.  Oddly, I never had to pack up in the rain… musta been my good karma working for me. I didn’t start taking pictures till I got to Camden, Maine. Here’s my camp just before it started raining. Again.
Motorcycle Camping in Camden State Park

I was trying to work while traveling and libraries were a great place to get free internet and not feel like you were taking up space while not consuming enough from the coffee shop. The library in Camden was REALLY nice. I sat in there working and pretending I was at my rich uncles summer home.

Here’s a view from the library window:

veiw from library, Camden Maone

From Camden I kept heading North, to Deer Isle where Maria was taking a workshop at Haystack. We found a great Hostle on the isle. Dennis built it all – from harvesting the timber, to the granite foundation and post-and beam structure. The building is based on a Dutch style from the 1680′s. I was in awe of the woodwork. It was totally off the grid with solar panels, water was hauled from a spring and the toilet was of the composting type. Dennis was working on a wood-fired hot tub while we were there.

deer isle hostle

Deer Isle Hostle

Inside Deer isle Hostle

The kitchen

Joined beams, Deer Isle hostle

Check out the joinery!

Deer Isle Hostel

Maria and Dennis


The Evolution of Wheeled Carts


I named the V Strom while on this trip – Miss Trixie, ’cause shes a bit of a road whore that loves to be ridden hard. Average of 80 mph on the highways and responsive as all get-out – in contrast to the more philosophical KLR, Deseao. She has a cruising speed of about 60 mph.

lobster dinner

Can’t go to Maine in July without eating in a Lobster Pound.


Whats a lobster pound? This. Wood fired. Good.


or a visit with my people.

From Deer Isle I went up to Bar harbor where my brother in law, a painter, was having a show.


Joel painting the the Steeles Gallery


Kayaking with my sister Denise in Acadia National Park.

Some artsy photos:





That night the Steeles put me up and feed me a fine repast.


Dinner with the Steeles

From Bar Harbor it was a full day to Nova Scotia


The end of a really long day.


Camp in Caribou Provincial Park.


The beginning of the Cabot trail in Cape Breton.


View on the Cabot Trail.


More views from the trail.

Ok… Thats enough for tonight. More later.


Guess the states and win a prize!



And two concerts, one in camp with a great light show with a great light show! And the other behind my hostel.

Click for the full photo gallery

It started the week before as a trickle. An email here and there asking not just for information, but for accurate information on when the bikes would arrive in the port of Altamira on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. When we booked the shipping container we had been told it would take three to four weeks for the voyage, and after three weeks, we were told the boat would be a month late. Now, no one could say for sure if they would would arrive on the 29th of April as promised, or the 31st like the Hamburg Sud website had listed.

One thing we did know for sure, we needed another customs agent. This one charged us $350 USD per bike to do the paperwork. By this time I was too worn down to fight so I just laid back and counted ceiling tiles while they did their business. And there was a lot of business. The bikes arrived on the 31st and two 12-hour days later, about 25 letters, 50 stamps and a good sniffing from a German Sheppard,  I was riding out of the final customs check ON MY MOTORCYCLE!

Here’s a photo of the happy reunion:

Deseo and me in Customs

I spent the night on the beach with Mike and his friend Mat who had driven down from Minnesota to collect the last two motos and the next day rode to Monterrey to meet Roberto and his girlfriend Gabby. Roberto, Gabby and I planned to ride Copper Canyon together.


I know that Mexico and the crime has been a central issue in the US news lately, but until we arrived in Urique in Copper Canyon, I hadn’t seen even a hint of the problems. From the top of the canyon the village looked incredibly tranquil, but things were different in town. As we pulled in, the main street was blocked because a little Cesna was landing – and on every corner of the 200 person village there were military police dressed in black and M-16′s on their hips.

Three days before we arrived forty people, Narcos, marched into the village wearing masks and carrying guns. They kidnapped 12 people and took 5 trucks. After a day, they released 9 of the 12 and assassinated the remaining three. Of those three, two were people fighting the traffic of pot out of the valley and the third was an informant for an opposing cartel. The plane was actualy the mayor of the town and his family. Because of threats against his life, the mayor only moves via plane. And remember that this is a town with a population of 200 people – how can they support that? I think there may be a deeper story…

Our experience in Urique was amazing. We camped in the yard of the sweetest family – Grandpa, Grandma and two of their six granddaughters.

Dawn in camp:


And the family doing what they do, Grandpa playing, the kids singing and Lola making tortillas…


Grandpa, who’s name is Chiro, suggested that we go down to the foot bridge over the river where there is a sandy beach for a picnic – GENIUS! We bought a pollo asado and started walking. I loved the scene, dusty cars driven into the river to be washed, teenagers sloping in mud. A peaceful day playing out… until. Over the hill, accelerating fast, a truck flew into the riverbed. Tires spinning and throwing sand and rocks into the air, the truck did doughnuts around the muddy teenagers until a boy spilled out. He started fighting with one of the muddy boys, the the two crews pulled tire irons and threatened and postured and pulled while the girls all cried and screamed. And it occurred to me that is was the same play in micro that had gone on it town with the narcos, and the same theme that has driven so many Westerns. Small, peaceful Mexican village threatened by a few violent assholes from the outside. Over and over, we never learn.

The foot bridge over the river:



From Urique, we rode back out to Creel where we spent Easter Sunday


Click for the full photo gallery


click for the full gallery

This weekend I went to a bullfight in Irapuato Mexico. We saw five matches and I hate to say it but I liked it. It was ritualized and majestic bloodsport. Roman.

After the match we had a beer in one of the tents and watched everyone stream out. A guy with with a shock-box asked us if we wanted to play. We passed but the table next to us said yes. The object is to all hold hands and then two people grab what look like metal jump-rope ends. The guy with the box starts turning up the juice. First one to let go looses.

I could hear the testosterone sizzling.



Go to a Mexican basebell game. Keep your eye on the ball, cause the fouls come flying in fast and hard and if you aren’t quick enough the ride to the hospital is long and slow. There were two close calls in the stands and three players beaned in our 9 innings.


Drink rooftop beers while watching the moon rise over the city.


Stroll the laberinth of tunnels under the town.


Go to a roof-top BBQ above a mescal bar in Valenciana. Cuidado con mescal. Es suave y fuerte….


Or listen to a little Bach played on violin and cello in a dive bar on a Sunday night.

Girl selling silver in the Jardin de Union

Girl selling silver in the Jardin de Union


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