MAZATLAN, Sinaloa, Mexico/GUADALAJARA, Jalisco, Mexico — My ankle is likely to see softball-size proportions by morning. But that’s no surprise as I’m historically prone to accidents that occur in preparation of something halfway significant.
There’s the time that I barreled into the bleachers and gashed my shin on the open edge of an uncapped end of a portable aluminum bleacher during WARM-UPS of a football game in high school. It gave the paramedics standing by something to do in pregame (they usually look bored), but more infamously, it initiated a lifelong theme for me.
Not to be outdone in college, two nights before my first-ever home college football game at Anderson University in Indiana, I was at an off-campus dance being a fool in a mosh pit I helped start. Well. I got pushed in the back at an odd angle and promptly went down hard on my right knee and produced a 2nd degree sprain of my PCL ligament. Later in life, when surviving the “arctic” that New Hampshire was in the winter of 07-08, I backed up with mucho gusto in the hood of my neighbor’s brand new Corolla with my F-150. A nine-foot snow bank separating the driveways of our townhouses had a part, but I remember feeling a bit restless that morning, and it wasn’t beyond me that maybe I gunned it a little bit too much without looking. Hey, spinning your wheels in snow and ice is one of the few pleasures of a New England winter. Not two months later I duplicated an identical automotive injury to my girlfriend’s (at that time) brand new Saturn Ion.
This time I laid the bike down in some stealthy gravel in the parking lot of a gas station after filling up and taking a nice long soda break. But I was looking where I was going. How could I not? Aside from contorting myself into some kind of freakish reverse cowboy riding position on my hapless German steed, there’s nowhere to look but forward. Even with head turned, you’ve still got peripheral.
No, my mistake was I wanted to show off in front of all the dudes I’d just drank two bottles of Manzana Lift with…oh you’ve never heard of Manzana Lift? I’ve got two worlds for you: Apples. Bubbles.
“Fucking owwww!” My ankle, now resting snugly underneath the dead weight of my left-side pannier…and the other 400-some pounds of my bike, started thinking for me.
Roll off the bike. Remove foot from gravel/aluminum ass crack. Roll over some more and look up at the sky for a minute.
Now of course, cue the frantic response team, some still with soda in hand.
I think they thought I took it harder than I did. They would not be the first to make that misguided assumption about me.
I got up. Promising. And I could walk, which meant I could ride.
“Esta bien?” Said one of them.
I hopped up and down a couple times for a response.
Now, let’s turn our attention to the bike. OK, nothing destroyed. Just a bent up aluminum pannier, which Strike Team Soda quickly converged on with the help of good ole Mr. Bigwrench who had just now dropped in on the scene. They didn’t have the right tool, but I did.
I unhitched my camping dufflebag from the back seat and dug deeply. Yes, my rubber mallet. At first, I started in on the pannier…but I must have been a bit shaken still because I couldn’t muster much of a swing. But they could, my new pop-drinkin’ buddies.
It took them about five minutes to pound everything back into usable form. Thank goodness I’d reinforced the luggage rack with steel back in Baja, or I fear my entire luggage system would have been much worse off.
The end result is that my left side now hangs a bit higher than my right. Symmetry seems to be a character flaw my bike is steadily shedding along this journey. At least it didn’t get sheered off like my left side rear-view mirror did in Baja.
After arriving in Mazatlan, well…this blog trails off. I hobbled around until I hobbled into a doctor’s office. He gave me two shots, a script and said I wouldn’t need to call him in the morning…or even in two hours because the pain would be gone.
It was. Hooray for modern medical science beyond icing the dang thing for two weeks.
Mazatlan was cool. I’d write more about it, but it doesn’t really matter. The pictures I took told the story better than anything I could write. Pristine, beautiful beaches and transcendental sunsets.
After Mazatlan, I rode to Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-biggest city, where I hung out with some cool Dutch girls, partied with some Aussie boys, learned more Spanish, made more bad decisions, and had lots of fun doing it.
I’m leaving tomorrow for Mexico City, which is large. The biggest city in the Western Hemisphere. Ooh. Ahh. So metropolisy.
Maybe I’ll meet more Mexican strippers.