Category Archives: Mexico

Proyecto de Pedaleo – Collaboration Mural

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This is one of my most favorite projects I have ever done. The murals that keeps painting itself…

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Baja California

The Inspiration: As many of you know, I am not a stranger to staying on peoples couches, floors, back yards of anywhere I can with a tent. My journeys have been filled with hospitable and beautiful humans who have treated me like a family member. Among the many Lupita and Gabino from San Quintin stand out to me as shiny examples of this. Parents to daughter, Stephanie, they have welcomed hundreds of travelers yearly who bicycle down the Baja Mexico. They took me in for almost a week!

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They are made me feel like I was apart of their family and took care of me in ways that parents would. I met them at a hard time in my travels and they made me feel that I was not alone. Lupita and Gabino have so many travelers stay with them, they made a guest book and started having people write entries. Then it turned into a map where people would pin where they started their travels from. The day that I first stayed with Lupita and Gabino they were full of excitement for me to mark with a tiny tack where I traveled from. They led me to a large map that was covered in plastic lamenant and many different colored pins all over the map of the world.  It was incredible to see these physical pins from so many people. Connecting the world to make it seem smaller and that we are all the same. I was so inspired.

I knew this idea would come up again. And sure enough, three weeks later I was able to make it happen at the “Casa de Cyclista” in San Ignacio, Baja Mexico

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The Process: I ask to use some paints from the surrounding neighbors in Mexico and many of them laughed at me and then watched me paint from the street. They had no idea why I would want to borrow paint from them. Sure enough I found green, blue and white. The only colors we found. It was enough though and after one day of sketching (I typically don’t sketch but figured I had to in order to get the world perspective right) that I was underway painting.

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How long: It took me almost 4 days to paint. I had a little helper with me who got me coffee, and sharpened my pencil. He also just watched in awe as I painted. He would even help me erase my pencil lines. What a beauty this little helper was!

The exchange: Free stay and food for the mural.

The Location: San Igancio, Mexico at the Casa de Cyclistas. Click here for the Casa de Cyclistas Website. Thank you to Casa de Cylistas and thank you to Lupita and Gabino, ustedes tienen un lugar especial en mi corazón!

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Bahia de Los Angelos, North Baja California Mexico

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This magical bay of Los Angleos, Baja California deserves a post of its own for the inspiration it left me and for the beauty and screnity of its location.

 

The past month since arriving in Meixico we have had one road the entire way. It is called the “One” and you don’t need maps and you don’t need to worry about getting lost. You can see it above in the yellow line. From the one there are many roads that lead to the sea of Cortez and they are a good 66-120 kilometers of a detour.   You can can also see in the photo above the one road and then where the pin is dropped. We didn’t want to miss out on all these beautiful places.

So we decided we wanted to hitchhike and not back track and with three bikes we knew we had to be patient. We see maybe one car every half hour but we were patient, ate lunch and waited about 1.5 hours before some cars came along. 2 cars, one with a man made trailor from half a truck cut in half already stocked high with things, and another suburban with a sailboat hitched behind. We were kindly offered a ride and put all our bikes on top of the trailor in the classic bike stack.

 

It was only 66 miles and unfortunately got to sit in the suburban and chat with a family from La, a father and two kids the same  age as my brother James (11) and sister Melina (14). They were on spring break (lots of tourists from the states in Baja). Anyways we arrive in Bahia and seeing the water truly make you appreciate it more and want to jump right in. But we had to find a place first.

Well as soon as we were packing our bags on the side of the road a lovely couple in a dune buggy came zipping by merrily and asked us what we were doing etc. They kindly and warmly offered their back porch for us to stay and it was a divine meeting! They were very excited to meet us and were just finishing up a week long stay there and did not mind if we joined them for the end of it.

The couple, from Lauguna beach, Don and Susie met when they were bike touring in the states. They ironically were going separate directions but ended up riding together for 4 hours. They didn’t get together till much later but it was a blissful meeting!

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Dons parents, Joyce and Wally were one of the first Americans to build a home in Bahia in 1972. Mind you there are virtually no houses in 1950 this town is relatively new. Anyways Joyce and Wally build a gorgeous home. Simple, filled with joy and love, and looking out onto the water. They used to fly their airplane down to Bahia LA and would sometimes bring chickens and apples and fruits for the local people.

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 So the house was constructed in the states by Joyce where she put the house together to make sure it worked properly and  then took it apart, loaded it in a truck and constructed it for a second time in Bahia. Such an amazing story I love it. The two of them seemed like a happy couple and really you could tell from the energy of the home. Unfortunately Joyce passed away last year and Wally 5 years ago but their legacy lives on. We even were fortunate enough to listen to some of their Cds!

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So we all agreed to stay one night, which turned into two, which turned into three! What a wonderful time. We took out the boat and got a wonderful tour of the islands around the bay. Beautiful clear water, tons of little islands, red rocks, jumping fish, white sandy beaches, and plethora of birds and sea lions! So many islands to explore and we even got to hike to the top of a little hill on an island to see an osprey nest. Papa Bob and Joe I always think about you two when I see any birds from our days birdwatching in the arboretum!

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So there were 5 of us, plus a dog, skipper that went whale watching. Susie made sandwiches and we got to see Finnback whales! So beautiful at one point we saw 3 of them right in front of us coming up to breathe at the same time. So beautiful they are the second largest whale! They can grow up to 90 feet long! The whale is long and slender, grey blue in color, They are super fast and can pass the fastest ocean steamship! They are not very fond of humans so the way that we would find them was to stop the motor, listen for their breathe which is easy to hear.

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I still can’t believe these amazing animals that are so large in size eat such small plankton. I also learned that some of the whales are now a generation away from the whales that were whaled and killed meaning that the new generation has no memory of fear of humans. We are meeting many tourists who actually take boats and pet the whales because they are so curious and friendly. While this is more about the grey whale, the finnbacks are not into people at all. The would always swim away from us but you could get close to see them breathe and then you could fell when they dove high and can swim up to 20 mph. What a lovely experience!

We are so thankful to have met Don and Susie. I have stayed with many people over the last 2 months and I never had a hard time saying goodbye to any of them as I wanted to continue the journey but for some reason these two have still been in my thoughts and I didn’t want them to leave! I will have to visit them in Laguna Beach!

Valle de Los circos -Socorrito to Catavinya

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Lanky waving Dr. Seuss cactus, bright liquid blue sky saluting, puffy cotton cloud drifting, excruciating intense heat riding, melted deteriorating pavement has been consuming my reality these last couple days. It’s been truly incredible but the desert has been challenging. It has been a couple of weeks since I have wrote, so this post is almost 3 weeks worth of travel. A lot, a lot, a lot of desert. So many cactus and so much dust and sunshine! No shade! Ah!

 

 

San Quintin was an experience I will never forget staying with the Gomez family for one week! they treated me like a daughter and really became my family! I feel so grateful for people like Gabino and Lupita!

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I ended up painting some hummingbirds in their kitchen and a little bike mural in the garage! Adley  and I even got to play a little concert for a family gathering!

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Leaving San Quintin with a new riding partner was by far the worst ride we have experienced yet! I have a new friend, Maud from France who is riding from LA to Peru alone. We decided to ride together and our first experience was in 107 degree weather and incredible side winds creating a tornado of dust and rocks and making it quite dangerous when riding alongside trucks and cars that block the wind and then suck you in near their wheels as they unblock the wind from you. We only made it 30 km when Maud felt sick and we paused on the side of the road. Here we were stopped by a green truck where a Mexican American Alejandro appeared like an angel.

  

 

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He offered us a place to stay for he night and maud and I desperately needed a place to hide away from the wind and heat. His house sits alongside the ocean and he provides us with food and beds and was so welcoming and amazing to us. He cycles himself and was excited to have us. We actually ended up staying 3 nights there as maud got better and we met some amazing friends on the beach. Some American boys from La traveling by van and surfing and two American girls who were road tripping and celebrating their 30th birthdays. We had a camp fire and swapped travel stories. So much fun and exactly what we a needed!

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So we were off on the road again and into the desert. We camped a couple nights in the desert and then I got sick darn it. Probably the same thing Maud had. Really traveling is amazing but it can be hard! I was so sick and riding a bike through the desert in 100 degree F heat, cooking on and in the sand, cactus camping and so badly wanting the comforts of a home when not feeling well. Not to mention we are not even close to being out of the desert, not even close!

This uneasy feeling must easily be accepted or you will not have a pleasant time. These roads bring into the reality of death and peace. The cars pass now every 10-30 minutes and it’s much more tranquil of a ride.

You can enjoy the wind and the smell of the native plants that remind me of sage. Their scent fills the warm air. Here kilometer markings are signs of our progress and I count each one knowing that soon we will reach a town with water. We must bring enough water and food for a 3 nights stay. 10 liters of water adds a lot to the weight of the already heavy pack. I would guess my head now weighs 60 pounds.

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One day we were riding through the desert exhausted and with unbearable heat and flagged down 5 cars for water. 4/5 cars were American and gifted us water, Gatorade and one person even had Halloween bags of candy for us ha. People are very generous on the road. Then we continued 30 km more to the closest town Katayina where we were in awe of the change of scenery from desert nothing to huge giant boulders and enormous towering cactus. Here they call the town an oasis and there are petroglyphs still preserved you can walk right up to and a river! We took a whole day off and swam in the river and enjoyed the oasis while we had it. That was our first rinse in 4 days! While Maud, my friend and I were checking out the petroglyphs high up in a cave we saw from way below a tiny figure with a bike! Another cyclist!

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We met a 25 year old cyclists Cameron from New York who had just finished a cross US country tour this last year and is now cycling with us. How cool! And what a fun way to meet someone! We set up camp near the side of the 1 highway and then a Canadian motor bike slowed down near us and asked if we needed help. We replied no and invited him to camp with us. So from 2 to 4 we camped 2 nights and made some new friends! We shared meals together and had a fun sharing stories. Below is some of the petroglyph and the trailer that Ramon lives in who let us camp in his yard.

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As far as riding, we never know how many kilometers we will do each day, where we will sleep or who we will meet a long the way. Sometimes we meet people like Eugene whose grandparents created the town of rancho Calamata. It’s a town with the population of two buildings, 5-6 people, 20 cows, 3 horses, 20 chickens, 2 peacocks, 3 dogs and 1 kitten. The only have solar panels and make money from truckers and having a restaurant. Eugene continues to tell us the story of his father in 1925 who met the governor or Mexico who actually came to meet the father and telling him news that they were going to build a road through Baja. The father was not pleased and continued to tell the governor that he wouldn’t live to see the day that happened. Well a couple decades later and sure enough the road was built and the father was greeted by the governor again but this time with the first car he had ever seen in his life a ford from the states. He ended up driving the car and accepting that the road was built. Eugene tells the story with such “animo” or enthusiasm that it makes you want to make a film out of the stories he tells. What a crazy bunch of people in that town we spent one night there and he gifted us coffee and water which was essential for our voyage.

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Above, one of the things that really disturbs me while riding (and there isn’t much that does) are the crosses that are on the sides of the roads. They are quite a literal symbol of death with names, dates, and loved ones writings etc. showing how much they miss their loves ones. Most of the accidents are truckers and most of them are at night, but still they are quite the sight to be seen. Next to the picture above is Maud’s back trailer that was stuck in the mud. What a mess, we got stuck for a little bit but also long enough for me to take a picture!

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Here in the small “town” I met a French family a dad and two boys that were traveling around the world and were on their way to southern Baja to study the whales as there are many grey whales living in the southern part of Baja. The family was truly an inspiration as they travel together and had such an array of experiences and history I really enjoyed speaking with them. This is one of my favorite parts of traveling is speaking with people, especially other travelers and hearing honest stories and different perspectives on their view of the world. Just amazing!

Below is a picture of a tire store and the sign for the shop is made out of tires and is an elephant. Can you see it?

  
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Acampar y San Quintin, Mexico

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Mexico is special. 

It has such a deep part of my heart as the people I make connections with are real and present and loving. You can make friends so quickly , everyone says hello to you, and there is a way of life that is about family and living in the present moment. Most conversations I have are about family, food, and weather. I see smiles and honks all day long and best of all I love when we share food with people. The life is about sharing and caring and everyone is included. I really missed speaking Spanish.

This is now almost a month since we have been riding. We left February 6th and have been non stop going! We are currently in San Quintin, where the dot is below.

   

I am sure by now we have done over 700 miles not quite sure just an estimate. I’m most surprised so far at how many homes we have stayed in! Such generosity that we have encountered.

Half of the weight that I carry is from food. We have a whole kitchen with us from spices to stove to pots and pans and then of course fruit and tortillas and avocados and cheese! I do miss the protein bars we could so easily access in the states. Traveling by bike outside  the Us is totally different in almost every single way. You don’t really have bike lanes here, food is different and you never have to pay to camp and the people are moree likely to let you sleep at their homes.

From Ensenada we rode 43-45 miles and arrived in a small town called San Tomas  around 5:30pm after wine tasting!  (My idea) Adley and I agreed that we would not bike after 4:30pm from now on as the drivers get crazy and that is also the peak hour when people get off work. Not worth it to ride we also hear daylight savings is coming this week so we will have another hour of riding!

Once in San Tomas we started asking around for a place to stay. We asked a 25 year old doctor who worked at a social services building if we could put our tents up in his yard. He responded “si perfecto, hágalo pues!” Later we found out he was super bored and somedays works 36 hours and delivers babies after being asleep and the women would wake him up ready to give birth. Pretty crazy stories and an amazing guy, super young for that sort of responsibility alone. He let us sleep in the storage room. We cooked him dinner.

The next day we camped after riding 35-49 miles at a random spot. Below is a typical camping experience. This place was just off highway 1. We are usually in bed usually by 830pm and up at 7am. I am a fan or writing in my journal and I’ve been learning tarot cards as well. So I like to do this at night and meditate. 

In the morning we usually make oats and fruit for the morning and then are off.

 

My tan is getting better and better. My face as well is half tanned from sun glasses and helmet.

 

Here is Adley and moon last night arriving in San Quintin where we have a warm showers host. They cooked us dinner and breakfast let us take a shower (after three days ) and have wifi and a warm bed! So appreciative of the little things what luxuries they are! Here lupita and gabino live with their children and two chihuahuas. It’s a beautiful home and they have hosted over 170 cyclist in 1.5 years! Here is a map they have in their home! The dots below in the map are the different places cyclists have come from. One guy that stayed here is traveling by unicycle!!!! I couldn’t believe it all the way to Argentina!!! And another guy by foot running!!!! All the way to Argentina! There are wonderfully more crazy people out there than I expected! Such a nice surprise and inspiration ! 

 

  

I will meet my future riding friend Maud from France hopefully here. She is on her way to Peru and we met on this cycling website warm showers. I am in no hurry and enjoying all the time I have on my beautiful bicycle! 

Tijuana, Playa de Mision y Ensenada, Mexico

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Never had I experienced that type of cycling as what I did in Tijuana! I’ll explain…It was an amazing city despite what many people say and I had a great time there thanks to our hosts and my cycling buddy Adley.

  

The ride was crazy from San Diego to the border maybe 15 miles of an easy ride. We took a ferry and loved chatting it up with the captain.

After the ferry you pass a couple of navy bases and it feels almost like Armageddon. There are US planes with people jumping out of them with parachutes, helicopters everywhere and guys and girls running through obstacle courses. You hear gun shots practicing  in the background and it feels almost scary.

Anyways we cross the border after exchanging money and are sent through a whirl wind of people. We pass the hundreds of people trying to get back into the states, an incredible amount of people! I couldn’t believe it. Apparently Mexico is one of the most visited borders in the world.

I received 6 months of visit from Mexico and then we were off. We had friends Liz and Elvis who live in downtown Tijuana so we were off. The problem now is that we don’t have GPS so we were sent to the streets  to ask people for directions. From experience most people you ask for directions they tell you anything they can and typically it’s not the right way. If they don’t know something they still tell you a way. There is a need to not just admit they are wrong.

After an hour of searching we found the house had an amazing time with Liz and Elvis who had experience bike touring in Europe and were just incredible people. Great conversations, good food, and wonderful hosts.

In the morning we were off by 11 and that’s when the chaos started. No bike lane and a major highway. Add in an element of being lost and we were in a crazy situation. We figured it out quick but there was a good six miles that I didn’t even change gears or think about how hard to was to ride up the hills because I was so concerned about the cars. This is a different ball game and the way the cars were driving was a wake up call to always give the right away to the car and always assume that they don’t see me. I’ve never riden like this before!

But all was fine and safe. We made it though to playa de mission almost 40 miles where we were lost again looking for a biking hostel. Those 40 miles seemed like 80 because we were just riding so hard.

We were searching for a place to sleep when suddenly we were honked at by a white Subaru that (in english) asked us where we were going. It was a woman and her friend and she invited us to stay in her guest house. It was getting dark so we jumped at it and came to a huge house on the hillside complete with food a bed and comfort all over it. Warm showers and a delicious meal later we were in biking heaven.

 

  

The next day we rode 10 miles to Ensenada when we got pulled over by a “green angel” who told us we were not allowed to ride on the toll road and that we had to go around through a mountain in order to get to Ensenada. We pleaded with him to give us a ride as we weren’t allowed to continue and he agreed to take us to enaenada. I was so happy because I really didn’t want to go around.

We arrived in Ensenada, fixed out bikes at a local bike shop and ate with some hilarious people who reminded us of cartoon characters and had a great time.

  

 

We stayed with a friend of glorias, daphne and stayed 2 nights as a storm hit and we didn’t want to ride in the rain! She had two children and seven and we had our hands full playing with them and being special guests in the house. We left her house just a half hour before another big storm hit. We made it out in time and even had time for some wine tasting at the oldest winery in North America San tomas!

 

Dana Point, San Diego and Ocean Beach

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image I love this part of California. Great bikes lanes, gorgeous roads and just endless amounts of cycling. I really love it. South, south, and more south we go! Off to Dana point where we stayed with a family in the hills who had 3 dogs and a very interesting story to tell. We found them through warm showers and they gave us a place to stay and a warm shower and even cooked us dinner. What a lovely experience.

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They were a couple from Houston and love to tour. They just moved to California for the husbands job which involves helping dismantle a nuclear waste site that is near the ocean. He said it takes about 30 years to do. When they retire hopefully in 5 years they want to bike tour and pretty much live on their bikes. Super nice family.

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The next day we rode about 45-50 miles to Encinitas to see my family…Amy and Matt and the kids (5 total!!!) and get to spend time catching up with them and getting to know each other all overs against. It was so great, we had dinner together and we took the golf cart out the kids and i got some snuggle time with their two puppies who are adorable. What a great nights sleep!

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 Sal gave Adley and I the grand tour where we saw the property including the wine cave (above), that we says is haunted. We saw rabbits and dogs and horses and a swimming pool! Truly a unique and beautiful house. Maddie let me sleep in her bed and Adley slept on Sal’s floor! I loved it!

Next we were off to the San Diego Ocean Beach farmers market to perform on the street. We said goodbye to the family, saw the kids off to school and were off! Beautiful warm sunshine and a lovely day in front of us!

At Ocean Beach it was an actual gig and they help us get set up with a whole sound crew. I had my first solo back up singing experience and we just had a ball! I ran into a girlfriend I met back in mazunte Mexico last year when I was getting yoga certified. Small world! Here is to growth, new challenges, new perspectives and letting go of worry. Too many times do we plan ahead or think about yesterday when the moment is here. To live now. To be content, thankful and full now. Tomorrow off to Mexico tomorrow!! Dont know if I am ready for it yet, California went by so quickly!

  

*all of these posts are posted a week after it happened! We are currently in san quintin Mexico but blogs take time and internet! Love you all!

Mexico Flashback

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Here is a photo from a friend of mine who is still in Mexico and he just it sent my way.  Uno is his name. It gives great perspective and look into the Lumerian Embassy Mural I painted in the Yucutan in May. As winter, rain and cold are approacing in Seattle, I am thinking a lot about travelling again. Maybe a Mexico Bike Touring trip?! More painting and perfoming to come! However here in Seattle I am now working on a project for Couth Buzzard Books up in North Seattle, Greenwood area and also working on some new pieces for my upcoming show at Ballard Kiss Cafe in January. More to come!

mural for Mexico