Thursday, March 26, 2009

Break. Breaking-points. Break-ups. Point-breaks.

Slow weeks. Lots of time and little space to cover. Parker was to meet his Dad and Sister in Zihuatanejo on the twenty second, giving us 5 days to travel 160 Kilometers. Slow moving, almost too slow. Break time.
The road out of La Placita was harsh. Up and down steep, jagged shoreline. Riding which reminded me more of the Oregon Coast than of anything we'd seen so far in Mexico. Camped nights on some beautiful beaches. Always taking the time to wash of the days sweat and dirt in the cool sea before setting up camp for the night. Watching the sunrise almost over the ocean (I forget that at some points, even though we're following the ocean, we're now heading more East than South). Still at just 40 kilometers a day we'd start late and end early.
The night before reaching Zihuatanejo, we scouted out a campsite just beneath a giant highway bridge in the bed of a small trickling river. Woke in the morning surrounded by cattle, strange, leathery beasts that looked more akin to a sacred Indian animal than to the big, clean, black and white Holstiens of the American west. Turns out, they heard these cattle along the riverbed to higher pastures every morning, and we were right in their path. Great thing is, nobody really seemed to care. The cowboys just nodded and waved. The cows sniffed at our bikes and moved on up the river. I got up and made coffee.
In Zihuatanejo we were able to get into the apartment that Parker's dad, Stan, had rented a little bit early, the night before his arrival. After a wild chase around town, we finally found the building and were let in by the caretaker. Incredible. Beautiful airy apartment, almost completely open to the ocean side. I know i'll lose a bout a billon "punk points" for this, but it was great. After nearly two moths of sleeping on the ground, cooking on the ground, reading, writing, relaxing on the ground. We had it all. Kitchen, tables, chairs. Things taken forgranted. Immediately ran out and bought a bunch of fruit and vegetables. Made a huge dinner of all the freshest things we could find. It's funny what you miss when you carry your life on your bike or your back. I almost hugged the refridgerator.
The next day, Parker's dad and sister arrived. We met them with yet another huge, homecooked meal, making the most of the kitchen at our disposal. It was fun to meet Parker's family, to see where he'd come from and to see them together. It was great. Definitlely made me miss my family.
And then the news came. I got an e-mail from my brother, Anthony, saying he was sick of reading about my fun and wanted to join it. He'd be in Acapulco in 7 days and could I meet him at the airport? Yes. Of course! I'd be there in a week.
After a few nights more in Zihuatanejo, checking out the towns, enjoying the luxury of a roof over head and a cold beer at arms reach, I decided to go check out a small surfing beach about 40 kilometers back to the North. My Dad had told me that some friends of his, Rick and Jan, were staying up there and I should go look them up. Having plenty of time to make the 230 kilometers to Acapulco to meet my brother I figured why not? Maybe get some surfing done too...
Jason and I rode out of Zihuatanejo after a brief goodbye to Parker and family (they'd invited us to stay when we passed back though). Climbing the steep accent out of town, Jason Pulled along side of me.
"I think I'm just going to go to the airport. Go back to Alaska."
This had kind of been a running joke with him, but this time it sounded different. Something had broken inside of him, and I could tell. I stopped riding.
"You're serious this time."
"Yeah, I'm just over this shit. I'm over touring."
"Honestly Jason, I'm sick of hearing just how over it you are."
"I know, and you shouldn't have to be party to my drama."
And that was that.
It was an uncerimonious goodbye, though we both held back tears. We hugged on the side of the road, split up some gear that we'd been sharing, and went our separate ways. As he rode away, I called after him.
"Oh yeah, and Jason?"
"The airport's back that way."
"Shit. Really? Thanks." He turned his bike around and headed down the right road.
I'd been feeling that Jason's heart wasn't in this thing all the way from the get go. He often seemed distant, joked about jumping the next plane, spoke often of Alaska and going back, sometimes downright admitted how road weary he was. Then he'd brighten up, get really stoked on life and the trip and the beauty of it all. Then a few days later he'd be bummed again. It was starting to wear on my own spirits, but
reguardless, we were in this together. We had fun together, and helped each other along, cooked for each other and played music and sang songs and part of it all was that we put up with each other when things weren't going well. He'd just reached his breaking point, and we both knew it was time.
There's a lot I didn't say to Jason, but this is not the time or place. I'll just say this, in case you're reading.

I hope you find what you're looking for.

Saladita. Not quite the surfers paradise I was hoping for, but pretty damn close. Unlike most Mexican beaches as pretty, Salaladita is not lined entirely with Palapa restaurants and tourist shops. There's two small restaurants (purportedly owned by two sisters) and some large, but not incredibly gaudy houses. Enough undeveloped (though still private) property to squat on, and a nice, long, peeling Left that breaks from about three or four hundred yards out all the way to the beach. Not perfect, but good enough for me.
Spent the last two days lounging under a palapa, reading books, drinking beer, and surfing. Looked up my dads' friends and dropped in on their vacation for a while.
Now I'm back in Zihuatanejo. Probably spending one last night here with Parker and his family, then heading out of town. Alone for the week. Likely be spending my birthday alone on some desolate mexican beach (29 on the 29th this year). Crazy. I'll build myself a giant cake in the sand and surprise myself with a tube of "Chokis" (the mexican version of "Chips Ahoy" and my favorite Mexican energy bar substitute). Then on to Acapulco, my brother, and the south. Ever south. Wait, no, make that East......

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