My 15,000 mile/24,140 km ride to Central America was full of excitement and hardship. From the accidents to the good times, it was an amazing trip overall. Along the way I encountered bugs, cows, monkeys, machetes, donkeys, volcanoes, coconuts, mountains and much more. It was a hell of a ride from Boston Massachusetts to the Panama Canal and back alone in 60 days. Some people call it the ride of a lifetime. I call it just another ride in Madeleine’s life.
Mexico City, among the many cities I traveled, is loaded with oil covered metal speed bumps that would cause inexperienced riders to drop their bikes. Not to mention the tight city traffic where you must ride your motorcycle at crazy speeds while riding the white and yellow lines in very tight spaces in between car traffic. This tactic of riding is designed to scare motorists. They don’t want to hit a motorcycle rider in Central America. You must ride crazily; competing against local motorcycle traffic as their small engines are used for daily commutes to do all sorts of business. Your goal is to stay alive. You also want to get out of large cities as fast as possible; it took us 6 hours to ride through Mexico City. My lungs were screaming at me because the air is full of black diesel soot from the vehicles since it is a country that does not maintain air standards. At the end of the day of riding, you shower and see all the black soot wash off your body, just imagine how much is in your lungs!!
We came across a type of bug, which urinates in your eye that caused us great pain, while riding at night in a rain forest. Read more. Who would ride in a place like that? Yes, Madeleine Velazquez would and did!! Not all was painful; it was quite a sweet experience to stay in a resort in Nicaragua where the spider monkey is the boss while it dangles around screaming at the guests telling everyone to stay away from her mansion. Waking up in the middle of the night with ants crawling on you at the hotel in the rain forests. My tour guides were freaked out the next day, they were not used to waking up like that either. I figured, hey, I am in one of the largest rain forests in the world, what else can I expect. It was also fun riding up a clay mountain being both full of excitement and scared at the same time, worrying if my bike slid off the ledge down the embankment. When my crazy cowboy guide lost control of his bike and almost fell over the cliff, superwoman (Madeleine) had a chance to demonstrate her strength by lifting a thousand pound motorcycle in order to ride back down to safety. Read more.
Roadside vendors taught me how to use a machete to peel the coconut skin off for the refreshing coconut water, which quenched my thirst. The coffee is truly amazing, particularly in Mexico at 5 am where the women sit providing workers with “arroz con leche” which translates to rice with milk. They have these large buckets of coffee and they put their hands in it to fill up your cup. The sight of this made me uneasy, but when I tasted it, it made me want to go back for more. I learned the true meaning of what is offered by the locals versus what is served at the restaurant. There was an abundance of fresh fruit that complimented my nutritious diet of Snickers and Gatorade. Just don’t eat too many guavas, as the seeds will haunt you for days to come.
The ride back home in the United States and Canada did not offer much visual stimulation and danger as riding south of the US border. The only advantage was that I could understand the currency. Too often while in Central America, I could not figure out how much to pay for items. Too often I would reach into my pocket, grab a bunch of coins and just say, “take what you need!!” Riding through the Black Hills of South Dakota did offer a reminder that my huge white and black helmet combined with my riding gear resembled a donkey. It also gave me a sense of safety knowing that the National Parks are well maintained and help would be provided to a girl riding her motorcycle alone in the dry desert of the Badlands. The fear of breaking down in a desert in the US and Canada was not present as it was while riding in Mexico alone seeking safety across the US border with a busted motorcycle. Not to mention running away from tornadoes and rain storms as they followed me throughout the middle part of the US on the way home.
All of these amazing experiences riding my motorcycle alone created a deeper passion to ride. I cannot get enough of riding my motorcycle, so stay tuned for my next riding adventure to Alaska. Perhaps the ride to Alaska will allow me to wrestle a bear or ride a moose. Visit my website, www.missrider.com/.
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