An Ending with Quite a Few Horrors
First of all, thank you all! For the many kind messages, your understanding, the encouraging words and the support. We were very happy about it!
Unfortunately, I can’t tell any cheerful stories today – because the three of us haven’t been doing very well in the last few weeks. But before we get to that, I’ll start where I wrote the last article: on a very special farm in the North of beautiful Baja California.
Dunes, sea cucumbers and the afterlife
It is exactly 15 minutes from our front door to the beach. You walk across a lonely field to get to the dunes. Then comes an empty, wide sandy beach. Here you meet no one, only the wind.
Our constant companions: Teddy and Boruca, the shepherd dog of our landlord. In the meantime she already sleeps in front of our front door, not to miss when we go out. Then she chases the rabbits, Teddy chases her and we watch them.
For one month we have rented a place at the sea cucumber farm. Here is a lot of peace and quiet, a coffee machine, a few blankets and the world’s best walks. A perfect setting to think about our future life.
We had to let go of the dream of traveling the world. The phases of grief – we’ve been through them all: From the initial repression, to the anger and the futile attempt to negotiate. Then the despair. This was necessary so that we could reach the acceptance. We return to Germany and that’s okay. Finally.
We don’t yet know where we will live and work in Germany. Before our trip, we have pulled down all our tents and will be starting from scratch, so to speak. In the middle of a pandemic. What a challenge!
How do we get across the Atlantic?
But one thing at a time. First, we have to get ourselves and the Tigers to Germany. None of the existing options really appeals to us. Until THE solution comes up: we can send the motorcycles with the Stahlratte von Bremen across the Atlantic.
The old sailing ship has already taken us across the stormy Caribbean Sea. The upcoming Atlantic crossing is due to the sad circumstance that the Stahlratte is being sold to a new owner in Europe. After decades of bringing motorcycle travelers from all over the world across the Darien Gap.
We were incredibly lucky to be able to experience the last Colombia-Cuba-Mexico tour on the legendary ship. And now maybe the last great adventure? Sounds fantastic!
It would have been such a nice and happy ending if the Stahlratte didn’t sail to Spain. But with the ever-changing pandemic rules and an old Tiger that doesn’t fulfill German inspection requirements anymore, we can hardly ride through Europe.
So we decide for a RoRo shipment from Veracruz to Bremerhaven. As soon as the Tigers are on deck, we will fly ahead with Teddy. So that we are back in Germany for the summer.
Blown away and having to deal with a sick Tiger
We leave Boruca and the sea cucumbers to embark on the last leg of our journey: Down the Baja and again across Mexico to the port city of Veracruz. Actually, we just want to get it all over with as relaxed as possible. But unfortunately, from this point on, bad luck doesn’t leave our side.
On the very first day of riding on the Baja, Moe’s Tiger starts to sound like an old tractor. Great start! We had considered making a detour to the Copper Canyon. Now we have to go straight to the workshop on the mainland. A service is long overdue.
Let’s just enjoy the Baja – after all, we are here at the perfect time of year. Well, at least that’s what we thought. Apparently we are very unlucky with the weather. During the day it is unbearably hot and at night we freeze terribly. Although the three of us wrap up in our sleeping bags with all our layers of clothing, the lumpy down doesn’t want to keep us warm anymore. In addition, there is permanently such a strong wind that we can’t enjoy it anymore.
During the trip, the wind forces are a challenge, especially for Teddy. In the open tank bag he is too exposed to the wind. We hope that we will soon be able to offer him a better refuge and decide to leave the beautiful Baja by the quickest route. It is better if we take the motorcycles to the workshop and look for more relaxed circumstances on the mainland.
The missing kilometers to the recommended workshop in Guadalajara are definitely not relaxed. The condition of the Tiger worsens so much that Moe’s engine dies every time he pulls the clutch. That’s fun when riding through the chaotic big city traffic.
It’s a great relief when we finally drop the bikes off at the workshop. Thank God, we made it! Disillusionment sets in when we learn that we would have to wait at least four weeks for needed spare parts such as air filters, seals and steering head bearings: not an option for us. The motorcycles are nevertheless sent through the service and initially run better than before.
The frustration comes a few days later, when we have to fight on our onward journey again with problems, about which the workshop has then probably not properly taken care of. Whew!
The main thing is that we are healthy
This is all depressing, but the most important thing is health. As long as we are well, we don’t want to complain.
So it’s almost ironic when shortly thereafter I get sick from an ice cream and struggle with food poisoning. A few days later, Moe has also eaten something wrong and can’t leave the toilet.
After all, we have just moved into a room with its own bathroom. In the following days, however, we have a few longer stages on the Tigers ahead of us. If that ever goes well.
Bribery? No, thank you!
But what kind of problem is a missing restroom compared to the hours-long confrontation with corrupt police: exactly, none at all! We know this when we find ourselves in exactly such a situation. In fact, we had hoped that we would be spared this unpleasant experience in Mexico. But this time we don’t get away as easily as in past encounters with the police.
The two policemen have chosen us as their victims and create a real good atmosphere. They threaten us with the whole repertoire, from towing to the confiscation of my Tiger. We pretend to understand much less Spanish than we actually do and try to act calm. “Just pay the fine and you’ll be allowed to ride on immediately,” the policeman points out to me several times on his translation app. Yes, that would suit you.
We have vowed never to pay bribes. Even if it is annoying: we cannot and will not be indifferent to this and support a system under which everyone suffers. Just because we are impatient.
It feels like an eternity, but in the end we are rewarded for our consistency and get the win in this rigged game.
And that was not everything: the same evening we are standing in front of closed gates. The host of our accommodation is suddenly no longer reachable. Exhausted, we sit on the street as the sun sets. Now what’s to come next?
On the smallest
After we had to look for shelter in the next flophouse, the absolute low point follows directly the following morning: When we pass the open door of a laundry while walking, suddenly a pit bull comes running out of the ambush.
So quickly and so unexpectedly that Moe and I have no chance to intervene in time. Bingo – he has already grabbed Teddy’s rear end and bites hard. I only realize the situation when Teddy screams for his life and rush towards the pit bull without thinking. Fortunately, he soon lets go of Teddy – otherwise this could have ended quite differently.
While Moe carries the shocked Teddy home in his arms, the owner of the pit bull slowly comes trotting out of his store. “You need to take better care of your dog,” I call out to him, stunned – whereupon he hits the poor devil with a pole. Who’s surprised that this dog is aggressive!
The next few days are the worst: Teddy suffers and we suffer with him. That it had to hit the little one so hard, of all things, brings me to absolute despair.
The time has come
I don’t know what the universe wants to tell us with all this. I only know that it is high time for us to leave Mexico.
After a few days, the mood gets a little better with Teddy’s recovery. Nevertheless: all this really didn’t have to happen at all! Now we are only one day away from Veracruz, then we can start the shipping of the Tiger. We are already curious about what will go wrong.