Too Much Stuff!


After completing a three month trip through Mexico on motorcycles a couple of years ago, I vowed to be more prepared in everyway-suitable vehicles for the terrain, better command of the language of the country to which I was traveling and many less things to pack, unpack and repack. Well, two outta three ain't bad, I guess. 
Our vehicles are suitable-two BMW F650s (dual sports). Not really trail bikes and not really street bikes. They can handle rough pavement without repercussions. This I can testify to after hitting a pothole as deep as a small pond-the bike kept on going. It handles off road to some degree. If not loaded, it can manage a fairly sandy, dusty, loose gravel road well. But it is still a more than 400 lb. bike empty, so it doesn't do steep, loose gravel well. Knowing that the bikes are somewhat limited and cannot handle a rough trail we usually ask about conditions before attempting a road. I have always found it amusing (after the fact) when we ask non-riders how a road is and they reply "Its rough, but you should be able to handle it on a motorcycle." Why do folks think that everything is easier on a motorcycle? There is no reverse, there are only two wheels (not four) and there is the need to balance the bike, the load and the rider.
One downside to the 650 is its tank size. Its can go about 200 km which is fine on a main highway where gas is abundant but limited on a back road. When traveling off the beaten track, gasoline is not as plentiful as in Mexico (diesel is far more common) so we are constantly monitoring our mileage. More on the merits and faults of the 650 as the trip progresses.
After three weeks of Spanish, I can order food, ask questions, name objects and tell you where I'm from. Certainly not conversational but more Spanish than I knew 5 years ago. Thanks to Mike's knowledge of language, we are fairing a lot better than if we came to this continent without basic Spanish language skills. I feel comfortable enough that if I ran into some difficulty by myself, I could obtain help. And if my Spanish fails, I can fall back on that universally common female trait of tears (feminists stop cringing!) I really recommend some language education before visiting a foreign country. It will make the trip more enjoyable and you won't feel like a complete outsider.
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