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Day 428: Back on Two Wheels

Day 428: Back on Two Wheels

So here I am, sitting on a leather sofa, wearing nothing but a robe while I wait to see how the photos came out.

Ummmmmm, I probably should back up and explain this one.

Earlier this week, I switched to a new place on Airbnb.  To say that this place is remote, would be… well, accurate.  It’s about a 30-minute ride out of town, including a decent stretch on a dirt road through the jungle, halfway up a mountain.

There’s no cell service, and due to an unfortunate vehicle accident the day before I arrived, the phone and internet service is currently knocked out, too.

And on a clear night, I’m pretty sure you can see Camp Crystal Lake just over the hill.

Anyway, my new host was kind enough to give me a ride out to the place, and on the way down he casually suggested I rent a motorcycle.

Ooh… now there’s an idea!

A couple of days later, I located a rental place in town and picked up a Veloci Xeverus Pro 250.

jajaja Wheeeeeeee!  I missed this feeling so much!  Wheeeee — oops; that guy wasn’t watching where he was going.  Wheeeeeee!

Actually, riding around Puerto Vallarta is quite safe.  Traffic is a little chaotic, but it’s not that much worse than what I’m used to in the US.  Plus, the traffic laws are much looser here, which makes it a lot safer for motorcyclists — we have more options to get out of dangerous situations.

The roads are in awful condition though.  In the downtown area, the streets are paved with cobblestone, which makes the bike go a little… wandery on me.  And the non-cobblestone streets are so full of potholes and speed bumps that you’ve REALLY gotta pay attention to where you’re going!

Thank goodness I rented a dual-sport.  With shocks like these, I can roll over just about anything without losing control!

But enough about that.  You’re wondering when I’m going to get back to the incident on the leather sofa.

So, the moto that I rented is fairly new; in fact, the owner had scheduled its first maintenance session the following Saturday and asked me to bring it in first thing in the morning.  I didn’t mind; the first maintenance is VERY important for a new motorcycle, and it meant I’d get a freshly broken-in moto to ride around town.  Awesome!

Well, Saturday morning comes, and it is POURING down raining.  And I mean coming down hard.

You know how they say, “It’s raining cats and dogs?”  Well, this morning, the cats and dogs were getting squished by falling elephants and rhinoceroses.

Aw, man.  I don’t want to have to ride in that!

Let’s see, maybe I can call him and reschedule… oh.  Right.  No cell service.
Well, I can still send him an email… oh.  No internet.
Maybe I can use the land line phone to… oh you have got to be kidding me!


Fortunately, I had remembered to pack a rain poncho, so at least my upper body managed to stay dry.

Unfortunately, my lower body… well, we’re getting to that.

So off I go, riding through the jungle, out to the highway, and making the 30-minute ride into town.

I will say this at least:  Rainwater at high speed makes an excellent exfoliant!

Finally, I pulled up to the rental place and found the owner.  He seemed surprised to see me.

“Oh, I didn’t actually expect you to ride up in this rain!  Dude, I’m on the phone right now with the guy at the garage to reschedule the appointment!  You can come back next week if you… ummmmmmmm.  On second thought, no, that’s ok, we’ll just do it today since you’re here.”

Slowly, I disarmed the thermal detonator and put it back in my pack.

Now, if you’ve never experienced riding through a city with no sewer system during heavy rainfall, it is quite an exciting experience.

Well, ok, that’s not exactly accurate.  Puerto Vallarta does have a sewer system; it’s just often confused for the local roadways.

So off we go, each riding a moto.  Through eight inches of water.  With cobblestone at the bottom.  In heavy traffic.  Hoping that I don’t hit any potholes and flood my engine.

I actually rather enjoyed it.

No, really!  It was a fun challenge.

Ok, yeah, I was pretty much aware every second of how ridiculously, stupidly dangerous what I was doing was.

But once I got past that, I was really having a good time!

I just wish the water splashing against my shoes and up my pant legs wasn’t quite so… brown.


Anyway, we pull up to the garage, drop off the bikes, and the owner’s wife gives us a ride back to the shop in her vehicle.

When we get back, the owner offers to toss my clothes in the dryer.  Wouldn’t you know it, but they just happen to own a laundromat next door to the rental place.  Convenient.

The owner was even kind enough to let me borrow a robe to wear while I waited.

Which, you know, was nice of him.  I mean, aside from that being the decent (*rimshot*) thing to do, it probably would have attracted the wrong type of clientele to have me running around without any clothes on.

So while I waited for my clothes to dry, I sat on a leather sofa, wearing a robe, and pulled out my laptop to see (wait for it…) how the photos came out that I took the other day while I was riding around town.

Ooooooh!  See what I did there?  Oh, come on; doesn’t have a members-only section (yet), so I’d have nothing to do with those photos anyway.

Although I should mention that I am a good deal taller than the owner of the robe.  That morning, I gained a great deal of empathy (and respect) for women who wear miniskirts.

A few hours later, the motos were ready.  We drove out to the garage and rode the bikes back to the rental shop.

And then we rode right back over to the garage.

The mechanic had forgotten to reinstall the rear brake on my bike.

A few days later, I discovered that he had also forgotten to install a bolt attaching the heat shield to the exhaust pipe.

Ooh, it’s like a little game!  I wonder what bolt I’ll discover is missing next!  How exciting!

I guess I can see his point, though.  I mean, riding along a curvy coastal road next to a jungly mountain can be pretty boring….

Phoenix sitting on his new motorcycle rental
It’s not what I’m used to riding, but it’ll see me safely through the jungle.
Check out Five Years Abroad on Facebook for more photos from Puerto Vallarta!

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