Thursday, February 26, 2009

I´m so SICK!

Damn....I got some serious food poisoning. I'm not sure if it was the reheated deep fried chicken I ate at some truck stop in some small Guatemalan town or what. But damn that messed me up. I feel pretty bad for my 3 roommates in the Shaloom hostel in Antigue. I was burping, farting and running to the bathroom all night! Oh well...

The last of Central America- Guatemala

A volcano erupting off in the distance as I enter Antigua

Roberto's House, El Salvador - Some village about 25 kilometers into Guatemala - 85ks
Some village about25 kilometers into Guatemala - Antigua, Guatemala 135ks

So...I just want to talk a little bit about the last 30 kilometers of the ride into Antigue. It was by far the hardest ride of the trip to this point.

As I was riding into the town of Escuintla I met this Canadian guy riding his bike, but going in the opposite direction. We both pulled over and chatted for a minute or two. He rode a bit in Mexico in the Yucatan with his sister. After busing it through the hills of Guatemala his sister decided to fly back to Canada but this guy wasn't going down that easily. He decided to continue the journey. He was going from Antigua to Santiago de Chile. After passing a few stories back and forth he was off. Before he left he told me that I could make it to Antigua BUT there was a BIG hill. It was about noon and he said it may take a few hours but the ride was uphill and beautiful.

I wanted to stay in Escuintla for the night before heading up the hill to Antigua. But after checking out the only accommodation in town, a rent by the hour love hotel, I decided to take my chances and get to Antigua as fast as possible. It was dreadfully hot and around 12.30 when I started to make my climb.

Looking back on the whole thing I probably should have taken a snooze at ¨Hotel de Eden¨ in Escuintla because this became one of the hardest days of the trip.

I already biked about 80 or 90 kilometers to Escuintla and the giant hills up to Antigua keep going for ever. was probably some of the steepest hills Ive seen so far. And really hot! The ride itself was beautiful! The winding road to Antigua had two erupting volcanoes on both sides. Every once in a while when I took a break I could see the smoke coming off the rugged looking mountains. It was inspiring!

A funny thing started to happen to me. Maybe it was pure exhaustion I'm not sure but my level of concentration was so deep. I was totally in the zone. I was climbing for about 2 hours at least. Straight up. Before the day begun I was a bit worried about travelling in Guatemala, I was nervous about the security of Guatemala city, I was nervous I wasn't going to hit my $15,000 goal. But when this mountain hit me I couldn't worry about that anymore. It totally left my mind. It was a refreshing feeling. I could only concentrate on the road. One Two One Two. I begun another mantra. If I had worried about any of that stuff I'm sure I would have lost the battle. Instead I sat back a bit further in the saddle and got into a good grove. Nothing was going to stop me!

At one point when I was climbing the hill...I had been climbing for about 45 minutes at least in one of the steepest parts I heard a big rig coming up from behind. He was probably only going a kilometer or two faster than me. I knew he was saying to himself, ¨how could this guy, with all this stuff be doing this if my rigg cant even climb it.¨It took him at least 10 minutes to catch me. When he was finally about to pass I threw out my arm asking him to honk his horn. I leaned on that sucker for at least 30 seconds. I was screaming, ¨YAAAAAA BABY....GIVE ME SOME LOVE...THIS HILL IS NO JOKE.....YAAAAAA¨. He leaned out the window and was yelling something back. Finally the truck passed and there were a long line of cars behind him. All the people in the back of the pick ups heard the horn, heard us yelling and everyhting. This started clapping and screaming and waiving their hats around. Everyone was getting into the fun. I had about 10 minutes of people cheering. I was laughing the rest of the way up. They saw I was struggling and were giving me whatever they could! I was a hilarious site!

I finally made it.

Antigua is a great place to get some rest for a few days!

Big Rigs carrying sugar canes. Watch out cause these guys are wild drivers!

Where the heck am I?
Ya baby...Guatemala...making some progress....

Peace, Power and Pedal

Cruising the coast of El Salvador

Roberto´s house in Barra Salada. Great spot right on the beach. I took a day off here and did a bit of resting and reading.

San Salvador - Playa Tunco 50ks

The waves are crashing on the beach. Surfers are cruising by with their boards. I'm chilling in my tent under some palm trees. Its so nice to do nothing after a short day. This day is dedicated to my good buddy Kevin Davis.

Kevin...when you take your Central American surf vacation make sure you hit the beaches in El Salvador especially Coasta Del Sol, its just a bit south from San Salvador. I´ll try to get you that perfect picture of the perfect wave.

I made it a short day because I wanted to get to the beach early. This is kind of a touristy spot so I wanted to get a jump on things. I got out of my place in San Salvador around 8.30 and had a wild time cruising through the streets of San Salvador during morning commute. Sometimes I can´t help but bust up laughing at times like that. Never would I have thought that I would be dodging buses and coconut vendors in the streets of San Salvador on a bike!

Real quick...three super cute blonde's just cruised into the camp site with their surf boards. Tonight should be some fun! I need to carry a guitar or something like that with me...surfer chicks dig guys with guitars...hahaha!

So ya...streets of San Salvador...

The ride into Coasta Del Sol was cool because I got to go down the same mountain that I had to climb to get to San Salvador. Something like 30ks. On my way to the beach a red pickup truck stopped next to me. It was Roberto, the owner of the hostel that I stayed at in San Salvador. Super nice guy, he offered me a lift to Playa Tunco but I passed. No way was I going to miss this ride!

Finally I was about to get to the beach. I was something like 1 k from the Tunco, which is a surfers paradise. I had been waiting to get her for sometime and was super excited. Life on the rode in El Salvador has been a bit hard, lonely and kinda boring. So of course...I get a flat tire. I could see the blue ocean, I could smell it and I got a flat. TORTURE!!! At that point all I could do was laugh it off. Change the tire...and get tot he beach.

Anyway....I made to the bar for a cerveza....

Here I am in the back of Roberto´s truck. I got a super late start today because there was a reggea concert at the camp site I was staying at. So a bit tired and hungover I had to ride about 50 kilometers. It got a bit dark on me but luckily Roberto showed up with his truck! I got lucky because his house is in a super romet location hidden behind some sugar cane fields.

A picture from the ride along the coast in El Salvador. This was probably one of the most beautiful rides from the trip so far.
Playa Tunco-Roberto´s beach house 45ks
I started off the day hung over. I was hopping to take a day off at Tunco and get some rest. All I wanted to do was wake up with the sounds of the wave crashing on the beach. Instead I woke up to some El Salvadorians slamming hammers and nails. They were building a stage for a reggae concert directly next to my tent. At 8am. AHHHHH!!!! I need some sleep.

So aside from being hungover I woke up and there was this dude in my tent stealing my change. I started to yell at the guy. His eyes were red as hell. I'm sure he was drunk and stoned. All my stuff was laying out, my IPOD my camera I think my wallet to. But he was going for the 73 cents that fell out of my pocket. He said something like he wanted to buy a cigarette or something. I abandoned the Spanish and cussed him out with my best East Bay tone. He got the point and kinda ran outta there. Good morning!!! hahaha!

The ride from Tunco to Roberto's house was about 45 kilometers and probably one of the most beautiful rides of the trip so far. It was damn hilly but it hugged the coast and the ocean. Nothing but amazing ocean views and dramatic cliffs. The scenery reminded me of the coast highway in California. On top of that there were about 5 tunnels that I had to go through. One was so dark and long I had to get my headlamp out of my bag and strap it on. Without it I would have been screwed!

This day is dedicated to my cousin Josh. Hes a meteorologist for the United States Air Force. He currently lives in Germany but is stationed in Iraq. I'm sure it can be hard out there and I'm sure its tuff being away from family and friends. All I can say is get home safely and soon...I miss you cousin! He´s been an inspiration to me on many different levels.He´s actually the one that first told me about Plan. When I was looking at NGO´s to work with he sent me an email about Plan. He told me that he was now sponsoring a child trough Plan and that they are a great organization. It´s kinda crazy how one email can change so much of a persons life! On top of that Josh is a huge cyclist. We have crazy conversations about starting a company that includes cycling and charity work. Maybe one day it will become reality!

So back to the ride. It was a perfect day. Since I left a bit late I ended up racing the sun to Roberto's house. Luckily when I found the dirt road next to the small church that Roberto marked on my map I saw Roberto. I threw the bike in the back of the pickup and we made it to his house just as the sun was setting. The view from the back of the pickup with the sun setting over the sugar cane fields was something out of a movie. It was amazing!
The coast was amazing!

Gearing up for the concert with some friends and 18 year old Flor De Cana, rum!

Amazing sunset everynight.

Great little camp ground at Playa Tunco, El Salvador.

The perfect view!

¨One Love¨!

After some long and hard days on the hot and dry roads of El Salvador I finally made it to the beach! Time for a day off.

Almost there!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Help The People of Jalapa realize their dream...

The people of the community in the small village near Jalapa, Guatemala.

Existing area.

Existing Area

Existing classroom

Existing classroom

The Last Hill Before Home has taken a new direction.

The money that this fundraiser generates is going to a school construction project in a small village outside of the town of Jalapa, Guatemala. My contact at Plan told me that the community has had plans to build 2 new classrooms for sometime but they have not had the funds to do so. With the guidance of Plan and the generous donations that The Last Hill project raises the people of this community near Jalapa will be able to finally realize their dream of a clean and safe place for their children to learn and grow.

The existing conditions where the children are taught are completely unacceptable and unsafe. This posting has a few pictures of the existing school. Ive also attached some brief information about the village itself.

Its population is 3,000 inhabitants, with a literacy rate of just 50% in the adult population. There are two primary schools in the community. The largest (for which support is proposed) has three classrooms – two made of concrete block and one from adobe, with a capacity of 150 students. Due to student population demand, however, it is attended by 370 students and has 11 teachers, three of whom teach pre-school. The installations are inadequate for the children, who are taught in sheds made of corrugated roofing and in the hallway.

In the community, 99% of inhabitants belong to the Maya Pocomam ethnic group, although the majority no longer use traditional clothing and are losing the Pocomam language. It is characterized by skilled ceramic work, such as making clay pots and jars, and figures of angels and animals, for example. The group´s primary source of income is from agriculture.

These classrooms will be large enough to accommdate 20 students per classroom, and a total of 40 students will have suitable installations that are anthropometrically comfortable.

Will you help the people of this community realize their dream? Can you make a charitable contribution to the project and donate today...

Peace, Power and Pedal


Friday, February 20, 2009

The 1,000 person challenge

Hey everyone...

The Team at the Last Hill Before Home is trying to get 1,000 people to sign up for The Cause on Facebook. Join today and click on the link below!

If you are apart of the cause you can INVITE your friends as well. Currently we have about 275 people in the cause but Im sure we can hit the goal soon! Join and invite your friends today.

Theres going to be a few fundraising parties in San Diego, Los Angeles and of course in San Francisco. By joinging the cause youll be able to get all the current updates and information....

Peace, Power and Pedal!


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sensuntepeque - Land of 400 Mountains

Here I am with some of the kids in a small village outside the mountain town of Sensuntepeque, El Salvador. Sensuntepeque in the Mayan language means land of 400 mountains. Thank God I didnt have to ride my bike here. 400 mountains sounds like one exhausting day. The countryside, as you might guess is beautiful but dry. When the teacher told the kids that the family was from France they all let out a big ¨WOW¨, they were so excited to have visitors to their small village which seemed so far away.

The kids at first were super shy but after a few minutes and some free candy they came right around. I tried to talk to them but my Spanish was WAY DIFFERENT than what they are used to. So instead we played a bit of soccer and just hung out.

The day before my visit to this small community I met with Raul Pineda at the Plan main office in San Salvador, El Salvador. We talked briefly about some of the projects that they were working on and I had a chance to meet with the Plan staff in the main office. The next day we were going with a French-El Salvadorian family who sponsor a child in this small town in the north of El Salvador. The family from France were going to spend one of their vacation days to visit the child that they sponsor through Plan. The father of the family was born in El Salvador and moved to Paris some years ago to pusue his passion of music. For him it was a way to give back to his home country and for his wife and 3 daughters to keep El Salvador in their lives. It was a great opportunity for me to be with them as they visited the village.

Here is a picture of the El Salvadorian family, The French family, the Plan staff and you can see me in the back.

The family in this small village were more than welcolming. They had ballons set up for the kids and a giant meal with chicken and a local soup. The families exchanged gifts and stories. There home was on top of one of these mountains in this dry area. From the school, where the kids go, to the house it was about a 30 minute hike over rivers, rocks and through yards of other people living in the village.

Here is a picture of Raul and the mother of the family. She told us that during the horrible war in El Salvador her husband was killed and she was left raising the children. The brother of her husband also had children and was left alone after the war. They decided to move in together to be able to support the 4 children. I didn´t know much at all about the war in El Salvador from 88-90 until I visited the country itself. It left many people dead and many people living in poverty. Today people try to get bye by sticking together.

Visiting the family, seeing their home and sharing stories was truly a humbling experience. These people literally have nothing. 6 people live in a room that was no bigger than my living room in San Francisco. probably something like 20x20. The parents slept in hammocks and the kids slept on old ratty mattresses atop wood plank beds. They have only a few change of cloths and they depend on the farmers and the criops that they grow for food. Life seems so fragile up here but still there spirit was amazing. They were so welcolming and served us up a huge meal. They still told stories and jokes and their mood was upbeat and happy. The kids were shy but they loved the fact that total strangers came from so far away to visit them.

This guy is cool! He was the nicest man. When we arrived to his house he made sure to give everyone the biggest bear hug. He is obviously an older guy but man he had a strong hug. Im not really accostomed to getting a hug from a guy I never met before but he was sure not going to make sure everyone didnt feel welcomlmed.
I took this picture on ur 30 minute walk up to the families house. This is in one of there neighbors houses. Its a stove they use for cooking...outside!

I could tell Raul truly loves his job. Here he is talking to some of the girls at the school in the community.
Here the teacher is passing out some candy that the French family brought for the kids. Im not really used to 35 kids all jacked up on a sugar rush. About 10 minutes after this shot these kids were running circles around me on the soccer field. Those guys were seriously good!
I took this shot when we first got to the school. This cute kid is checking out all the strangers as we came up the giant hill.

A farmer bringing in some seeds to his house.

A typical house in the community.

A view of the mountains from the walk up.

Crossing a creek as we got up to the village.

After the ride in the truck it was another hour and a half walk up another dirt road to get to the village. The French family is in front of me. I dont think the French teenagers were used to this at all. Much different than Paris, huh? They were hiking in sandals as well and not prepared for the dry and hot weather.
Heres a shot from the front of the Plan truck. We had to take this seriously rugged dirt road for about 30 minutes. We were seriously in a remote part of El Salvador.

The Plan Program Office about a 2 hour drive from San Salvador and another hour from the village that we were visiting.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Taking a break in San Salvador

National Library San Salvador

Zacatecaluca- San Salvador 55 ks

So here I am. About to enter The Capital of one of the most dangerous countries in the world. By myself, on a bike, armed with only a Texaco gas station tourist map. Sometimes I think I must really be crazy.

I was hoping for a short 55k day to San Salvador, but guess what? San Salvador is in a valley in a mountain range. So here I am again slowly going up this giant mountain desperately trying to get into San Salvador as fast as possible. The road into town was nice and big but that only invites bigger trucks and crazier bus drives. On top of that the side of the road was LITTERED with sugar canes. Just my lucky day I guess. I wanted to get off the road. After about 4 hours of slowly cruising up this beautiful mountain range I made it to the city.

Going into the city was crazy. The road turned into a major highway with overpasses and everything. I felt like I was entering San Francisco from the south on 101. After a few twists and turns I found myself in the center of town. It was seriously busy and everything around me was screaming stereotypical Central America. Reggeaton was blasting out of every other booth, grand churches on every corner, people trying to sell me crap everywhere I looked. After getting lost in this overwhelming street market I asked some cops where my hotel was. They gave me a few directions and the next thing I new I was cruising through city traffic all geared up on my bike. I was being safe and had no worries but this seemed crazy!

I have never wanted to visit San Salvador. I probably would never have wanted to come here but this ride has taken me here because of Plan. You know what? San Salvador is actually a pretty cool place. Tons of cool churches, some great markets and even some cool historical districts exist in the city. The people are also SUPER nice and want to make sure that my visit to the city was going well. They are well aware of the sterotypes that people have about them. Everyone says that El Salvador is so dangerous, but the people are friendly, the sights were pretty cool and it was great experiencing this city.

Finally after getting lost for about 2 hours I found my hotel. A cool little spot near the national stadium.

Anyway...I made it. I have a meeting with Plan El Salvador set up for the next day. And then after that I get another opportunity to visit a community in a rural part of El Salvador. This will be my second visit to a community in El Salvador. Im excited for another amazing opportunity to meet the people of the village and see there way of life.

A beautiful church in the middle of town with some orange juice vendors waiting outside.

The cute OJ vendor....I think I went back twice cause she was charmed by my horrible Spanish.
Street vendors selling everything.

Check out the ladies carrying stuff on their heads. I havent seen this in a while.

Peace, Power and Pedal


A day in the life

6am- Wake up call. Hit the snooze.

6.05- 2nd wake up call. Hear other people in the camp or hostel or cheap hotel ruffle around probably a bit peeved cause I'm waking them up.

6.30- pack everything up. Get legs all lathered up with Vaseline or whatever I got cause its going to be a long day. Put bags on the bike.

7.00- Breakfast. In broken Spanish I tell the girls at the local cafeteria that I'm riding my bike and I need a big breakfast. They don't understand what I'm saying but somehow it all works out. Rice, beans, eggs, plantains and of course Central Americas finest cafe. Get my strech on while Im waiting for my food. Ignore crazy looks from truckers and contruction workers as I do yoga in the diner.

7.30- On the road. All ready to go. The first 8-10 kilometers are usually pretty tuff but after that I get into a good groove. I try to ride to about 11 or 12 before getting lunch. Usually Ill take a few different breaks to stretch or get water or whatever.

12pm- Lunch time. I try to find the local spots. My theory on local restaurants is this... One, if no one is there don't eat there. Two, if locals are there than that's a good choice. Three, if there is an English menu then the place is overpriced. Four, if there are any grandma´s in the kitchen than I found the jackpot. Central America is all about rice, beans, pollo con salsa and a ton of water.

1- Back on the road. usually by this time I only have a few more hours left in my legs.

3- Start looking for a hotel. Hopefully by this time I'm getting close to a city or town or whatever. If I get on the rode by 8 and ride till about 3 I should be in the 100 kilometer range.

5- In hotel by now. Throw all my stuff on the ground. Lay on the bed and just stare off into the distance. Days like this are long and exhausting. At some point I crawl into the shower. Most days Ill try to do a bit of writing or reading before heading to an Internet cafe or whatever to shot off some emails.

8- Dinner. Guess what? Beans, rice, chicken, plantains and a bit of water. For desert...aaahhhh yes...the best part. I have no guilt what so ever when it comes to desert. I can eat whatever I like. Some days Ill get some flan at the restaurant and then on my walk home Ill stop to get some ice cream. Its a perfect ending for a long day.

9- Off to bed!!!! Get ready to do it again the next day!


Save The Date...Saturday, April 25th

I hope to be back into San Francisco on Saturday, April 25th.

I invite everyone and anyone to ride with me on my last day. Details will come as the time gets closer but let me just say that its going to be an amazing day! Well probably start somewhere in Pacifica and end at the Golden Gate Bridge.

Also...Save the date because were going to throw a big fundrasing party in one of San Francisco´s top locations! Its going to be a good one!

Peace, Power and Pedal!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Time for a reflection...

Barra Sallada is a perfect place to do a bit of reflecting. Its a small little beach community miles away from any town. The beach is probably 10 miles long and not a person is in sight. I took a long walk down the beach and listened to a bit of music. David Grey, Hed Kandi, Santana and my fav Miles Davis. It made the walk all that more prefect. As I'm writing this I'm chilling under a palm in the shade just watching the waves roll in. The beach time is exactly what I needed.

I left Panama City with my buddy Mike just over a month ago. So much has happened, so much has been done and so much is still to do.

It seems like yesterday when Mike and I were left off on the side of the road near the Bridge of the Americas outside of Panama City. The shoulder of the road looked all messed up, big rigs were flying bye and that was the first time Mike and I had ridden with cargo bags on a bike, holy crap...that was scary! hahaah! Ill never forget the wide eyed look on Mike´s face when he saw the traffic whizzing by. I'm sure he could say the same about me. It was such a wild time really. So many nightmarish thoughts crossed my mind. Crazy drivers, bad road conditions, Panamanian gangsters if there is such a thing, flat tires, bad weather. I was trying to play every scenario out in my mind. I wanted to be prepared.

Then Mike and I hit the road. We got into a great groove. The people were overly friendly, the drivers respectful for the most part and the weather perfect. We ate great food, found hidden beach spots, explored unpaved roads and met people from all over the world.

We learned a lot about ourselves and the trip. Take it one day at a time, be positive, listen to your body, ¨small chunks¨ we would say but most importantly have fun. We also hit certain milestones with fundraising. We reached $1,000 in donations in what seemed to be no time. Even though fundraising was going well I was and still am overwhelmed with how much we still had to do. Its another huge mountain to climb...and well get there. I want to succeed because the village near Jalapa, Guatemala is in need of building a school fit for the kids. I want to hit the goal for them.

Mike...Hes a freakin champ. He was so pumped up about this trip. At first this trip was about a wild adventure. He came, we rode and hell ya it was an adventure. One cool thing happened to Mike along the way. He started to see and understand that this trip was also about charity work and giving back. Now, back home, Mike is working on a fundraiser party when I get back. He´s working on corporate sponsors but most importantly he´s making sure that I'm still fit physically, mentally and spiritually to get this done!

Costa Rice was about the mountains. It was a turning point for me. The mountains through San Ramon and La Fortuna were insanely big. They were the biggest challenge of the trip so far. It was one of those things where I knew, as I was riding through the steep mountains, that if I could do that I could do anything.

Nicaragua was about getting to know Plan better. Plan, an organization dedicated to helping children, is a grassroots organization that truly cares about the kids. I got to meet with Horacio Torres the inspirational Director of Nicaragua. I also got to meet the people at the local office in Somoto, Nicaragua. Most importantly I got to meet the communities of people and kids in the nearby areas. I heard their stories of challenges and accomplishments. I heard their stories of hopes and dreams of a better future. It was all a first for me. It was moving but overall it was so overwhelming to learn that there are thousands of people living in these conditions. Thousands of kids living on $1 a day. They have dreams just like we do back home. It was an eye opening experience because there is so much work to do.

Honduras and El Salvador has been all of the above. Hours of cycling per day, visiting villages in remote areas and taking some time to visit some beautiful villages in some cool little hidden spots. I´ve had the chance to meet the people that Plan helps in these small villages and also meet people and tourists from all over the world. I love having the chance to tell people about these experiences. It´s so much fun, for example, to have an opportunity to tell a surfer from Australia what life is like on the bike or what life is like in a small community in Somoto. But Honduras and El Salvador has also been a bit of a drag. At times I get a bit lonely and bored, I guess its beginning to catch up to me. Sometimes I would go for days without anyone to talk to.

Looking forward there is so much to do. The donations have slowed down a bit but that was to be expected. Soon it will be time to turn the energy there. Raising $15,000 is not going to be easy. The money is going to a school construction project in a small community near Jalapa, Guatemala. The village has a literacy rate of just 50%. They have something like 400 children and only enough space in the school for around 130. The conditions are unsafe. They desperately need help. I hope to be successful...for them. In a few days I´ll also be able to visit this exact community and the child, Medardo, that I sponsor through Plan.

I'm not worried as much about getting run off the road or of bandits or whatever. Instead I'm concerned about hitting the goal I set. So many people have started to help with this fundraiser. Mike of course, Eric who helps with the marketing of the blog, Cyn who is going to contact Radio and TV stations, Cindu who helps with feedback on the direction of the blog, Chuck at Plan who coordinates everything to help me meet with the Plan people in Central America and Rob who is constantly on the look out with new ideas about biking and routing. Most recently my buddy Evan said he is going to help out with a fundraising party in LA. People really seem to care about this. They see that the cause is a good one. I'm sure it will all come together but I guess I'm just a bit nervous about it coming together. On top of that theres of course the people that have donated so far. When I first had this idea about the fundraiser I wanted people to get involved not because they had to but because they find it fun and rewarding. Its working! This has been such an amazing experience. to Guatemala and then Mexico. I can´t believe I'm already thinking of Mexico. I cant wait for some good tacos and a bit of tequila tasting!

Peace, Power and Pedal


Does that come with the Playboy channel?

About to get out of El Amatillo and Honduras!

Here is a picture I took of a beautiful sunset..somehwere along the journey. Todays ride is dedicated to my good friend Simone. Simone was travelling with her best friend Christina. I met the two of them in Santiago de Chile a few months back. We all went to the same Spanish school. After school I went my way and they went theres but luckily we kept in touch and did some more travelling together. We were lucky enough to go to Bolivia before heading to Peru. On top of that we all spent Christmas and New Years together. During this time I talked their heads off about this fundraising idea. The girls in many ways helped me form my thoughts and ideas about the event itself. Truly without them I would have lacked some serious direction. Thank you for the donation and dedication Simone. This photo is for you! I was thinking about you and your dedication along the route.

Simone wrote me an amazing email a little while back and I would like to share it with everyone. We both feel that inspiration lies around every corner.... Miss you Simone!

......So to my dedication, I`ve given it a lot of thought and as you
probably expected I can`t put it in one or two sentences. I`m going to
need to explain it in a broader sense :-). I`ve been thinking since I
am also travelling I wanted to dedicate it to something that has
become important to me through the trip and has changed my way of

When travelling through the world you get face to face with so much
poverty and hunger and pain and it really got to me. You see people
living in such basic conditions, who don`t have much and struggle to
survive. They work in order to get food and maybe a tiny place to
live. But still they are not resentful or depressed, they try to make
the best of the little they have and are content and often happier
than us coming from such rich countries. So my dedication is about
contentment and appreciation of what we have. Our mind often is so
occupied with unimportant things, eg looks, matrialistic things,
struggles that compared to what other people have to go through are
nothing. We are so rich, we get to travel (most people here not even
have enough money to travel around their country), we can explore the
world, we live in different countries, it`s all more or less easy for
us. Our lives are so centered around ourselves that we forget about
what the live of others is like that aren`t as lucky as we are. On one
hand when I saw all the poverty I felt so helpless but it also made me
feel ashamed of myself and how depressed and sad I often am and how
little I appreciate how well I`m off. So my dedication is to be more
content and happier but also not to forget about what I`ve seen when
travelling and actually sharing with others and helping others improve
their lives. What you are doing Aaron, gives people the opportunity to
help changing the world a little.

El Amatillo - Usulutan 95 kilometers

The plan was to get up early and get the hell out of this dumpy city. So I packed my stuff and got on the road as soon as possible. It was a Sunday and already it was hot as hell out. Luckily...because it was a Sunday not many cars were out on the road. So here I was...Honduras was gone in the blink of the eye and I'm in El Salvador. The plan was to go along the Pan American for a bit hitting towns like La Union and taking a more coastal route and get to Usultan. Again...for whatever reason my kilometers were off a bit. I wanted to do around 80 and I think I made a mistake on the highways and ended up doing at least 95.

The first half the day nothing exciting happened. Just riding. Pretty flat. But the sun was so incredibly intense. I was sweating like a freaking pig. I wasn't even going up any hills but still my pannier bags were covered in sweat.

Sometime later in the afternoon I met a few other bikers on the road. It was nice biking with some other people especially ones who looked like they knew what they were doing. On top of that from what the PEOPLE say El Salvador is the MOST dangerous country in the world. Yes, every security guard had at least 2 guns on them but it felt no different than the rest of Central America.

So the hot afternoon started to sink in. I lost my friends and decided to take a break at a bus stop and grab a powerade. The bikers came out of nowhere and again our group was back together. They told me that I had another 10 kilometer mountain to climb before hitting Usulutan. Damn! I was getting super tired. Ok...Ok...10 more kilometers no worries. The mountain was massive and it was probably 40 degrees C out. Damn Hot! Finally made the top and it was a beautiful ride down. Well worth the climb. On top of that there was another impressive volcano in the distance. The breeze felt amazing...It was great to be alive. El Salvador was starting to grow on me.

The people along the road were super nice and friendly. Kids would scream and yell and giggle as they saw me pass. All the farmers, cowboys and truckers would also waive as they went by. Life was good. I got to the bottom of the hill. It was at least 3 in the afternoon. It was going to be nice to get off the road. The other bikers already made it down and we all shared a celebration drink. They got a big kick when they tried to pick up my bike and realized and crazy heavy it was. Then they said that I had another 30 kilometers to Ulsultan! WHAT THE HELL! Another 30k. This was turning into a bad situation. I was out of water, it would get dark in about an hour and a half, my legs were almost dead tired, I had another 30k, it was getting dark and I was in the MOST dangerous country in the world outside of a few in the Middle East or whatever.

Ok...ok...head down. Find the pace and get to work.

I saw a sign...yup 32 kilometers.

The road was supposed to be flat. It was in parts but in others it was a slight uphill...I hate those uphills.

Then the biggest downer hit...the afternoon wind starting to RIP down the road. This was going to be impossible. I was hurting all over. Here we go Caesar I shouted to my Bike.

After about an hour I started to get super frustrated. I started yelling at Caesar...COME ON! Everytime I changed a gear it seemed to skip two. This was turning into a nightmare. I started cussing Caesar out. Some kids looked on and probably thought I was crazy! COME ON CAESAR! The wind was so bad I felt like I wasn't even moving.

Finally after about an hour of hell I found a hotel about 10 ks outside Ulsulutan. I pulled in. I noticed something weired. All the rooms had a garage. This would allow anyone to go get a room without anyone watching who was in the car. IT WAS A LOVE HOTEL! My only option was a damn love hotel along routa 2. This sucked. I can only imagine what the rooms looked like. The owner of the hotel slitherd my way. How much for 1 day, I asked? He was appalled by my horrible Spanish and I was pissed that he had such a bad look on his face. This wasn't getting off on the right foot. How much MAN... COME ON DUDE THE SUN IS GOING DOWN! I said in Spanish. He finally understood me. $15 for the day. What The HELL! No way was I paying that much for the pan americano love shack. Or...he said looking to the right and then the left...$3 per hour. Look buddy....Caesar and I just got into a fight but theres no way I'm making love to my bike. He looked a bit confused. Ok...Ok...look man...does it at least come with the playboy channel...after all it is Valentines Day? He obviously had no idea what I was talking about. I laughed at my ridiculousness and got the hell out of there. That cheered me up a bit.

I finally got off the road!

The main church at Zacatecaluca.
On the way to Zacatecaluca I came across a massive truck that tipped over.

A beautiful church along the way.

My biking buddies taking a secong to catch their breath after a huge hill.

Usultan - Zacatecaluca 55 kilometers

I saw a stop light today. Strange thing.

I was in an absolute horrible mood. I had been doing some serious kilometers the past few days and Im dead tired. Just plain pissed off I guess.

My spanish sucks. Some kids tried to talk to me on this day and I literally lost everything. Im so freakin tired. the route has been broing. I ended up staying at a love hotel by myself on valentines day. that sucked. I was lonely. Nothing was going my way.

Zacatecaluca is a wild town. Its place that has a lot of people and NO tourists. Im pretty sure it was a rough place during the war in the 80´s and 90´s. A bit scary walking around the town atr night looking for an internet shop. I kida hid in my room. I just want this day to end.

Im looking forward to the beachs on Coasta Del Sol. I tried to keep that in mind as I drifted off to sleep.

Dry and Hot!

Some farmers waiving me on!