Welcome: Follow the Story of a Cross-country Unicyclist!

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uniOne Wheel, Two Continents

25,000+ miles (40,000 km) from Baltimore, through North America, Central America, and South America, Europe, Eastern Europe, Northern Africa, with plans for Asia Minor, and Asia (an additional 25,000 mi/40,000 km)
The ride has already broken the Guinness World Record for “Longest Unicycle Trip,” which until April 22, 2014, stood at 9,972 mi/15,955 km.

Sponsored by Kris Holm Unicycles. And by Dick’s Last Resort – “The Joint Yer Mama Warned You About!:”
All filming done on the awesome GoPro Hero 3 HD Camera. Be a Hero.

Raising money for Sy’s Fund, Greenpeace, and International Child Art Foundation. Click “Spead the Love” for more information about my charities.

Planning more charity fundraisers or the future – Half of all proceeds will go to those charities. The remainder enables me to plan further charity events and continue my journey!

Click “Donate” to spread the love!

Thank you!

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The trip, which began July 9th, in Baltimore, MD, has already spanned across North America and Central America, including 10 countries: U.S., Canada, Mexico, Belize, Gutemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panamá – about 10,000 miles (16,000 km). To find out what lead up to this crazy idea, click unicycling.

To follow GPS progress, look me up on Strava (updated every several hundred miles, must sign up for free Strava account)

Click here for the roughly planned route on google maps.

Breaking the World Record: El Salvador to Panama

El Salvador

This small country is only 270 km (168 mi) long from Northwest tip to Southeast tip. A few major volcanoes dot it evenly, with gorgeous but sizable hills in between. I crossed it in four days, not including a little rest day in San Salvador. I really learned to love plantains here. They use American money, which saved me the mental conversions, and beers were $1. These folks came off a bit more mild-mannered than Mexicans and Guatemalans. However, I did see an armed guard hit the top of the head of a drunk guy with his billy club. The blood came quickly and so did the legitimate policemen. We all stared.
So I was on a roll this first week of having recovered from my stomach infection, and getting from the border with Guatemala, through El Salvador and Honduras and into Nicaragua – 4 countries – spanned only 7 days!


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Honduras

I actually only spent 25 hours (one night) in Honduras. But it was enough time to be taught the difference between
Spanish’s formal versions of “you” (“voz” and “usted”). The older man behind the window and his little shop pointed at the men his age and used “voz,” then said I would use “usted” to address him because he’s “viejo” (an old man). I grinned and said, “Sí, viejito” (little old man). We all laughed.

Nicaragua

I crossed Nicaragua in 4 1/2 days of riding, not including a day of rest in León (to go volcano-boarding!!) and 2 rest days in San Juan Del Sur (thanks Alex and Lauren!). It’s amazing how geographically distinct these little countries are considering that the man-made borders are arbitrary and artificial. The Pacific side of Nicaragua is mostly flat, with the golden yellows of desiccated grasslands and farms. But the exception here (to the general rule of touring cycling, where the more hills and harder you work, the more beautiful the scenery) is that you are surrounded by amazing views of volcanoes and lakes to the east and the Pacific to the west.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica, just after crossing from Nicaragua

Costa Rica, just after crossing from Nicaragua

And as soon as I hit Costa Rica, the hills returned, scrunched up into the dense green warmth of the tropics. This country, while a bit more expensive, is also a lot cleaner (i.e. no burning rubbish piles) and a lot more modern. Four days of riding and I was arriving in San José, where I stayed at La Nave, a unicycle and circus store. I stayed to rest and ride the downtown area and surrounding hills, and I’ve made a video of these 2 1/2 weeks (see previous post: “Monociclos Ticos”). The generous folks at Unicycle.com Latinoamerica discounted the replacement of my rim, spokes (with extra set), hub, and pedals. I had had problems with the rim and spokes, leading to 5 broken spokes in a week.

Panamá

I left Costa Rica by way of the Atlantic side, making sure to get lost going uphill and, along another misdirection, doing 70 km (44 mi) of extra riding. Fortunately, I camped by a splendid river each night, and got into Panamá without issues. After a brief stop at the island in Bocas del Toro, where I met a group of cyclists riding with their 70-year-old capoeira master from California to Brazil, I continued to cross the mountains toward Davíd. The hills were intense, but the weather got brisk for a bit, and the nice folks at La Fortuna Hydroelectric let me stay in their Green Energy Exhibit at the visitor’s hut. I had found out that the french couple I had ridden with 4 months before in Mexico had stayed there as well only 15 nights prior! That gave me a good-version-of-spooky feeling. I paid an obligatory visit to the nearby waterfall, climbing through bramble and cutting my thumb open on a rock. It was a good day.

La Fortuna Hydroelectric

La Fortuna Hydroelectric

After expecting an ATM (the year is 2014..) in the town on the other side with only $2 cash (and not much more in the bank, to be honest) and finding the only one to be broken, I pressed on (with a lunch of chocolate milk and cold oatmeal). I was not smiling. After all, the moderately-developed town of a couple dozen thousand had no bank (it’s 2014!) and only one ATM. And it was broken! Moral is, I made it Davíd, having backtracked Northwest away from my eventual destination at the Panama Canal, and only due to this did I meet other cyclists (I would’ve been ahead, otherwise – get it?). There were the capoeira riders, who I rode with for one day, and also Kenneth and Joe, who continued with me for the following 6 days to the canal. Kenneth is Swedish, looks 27 but is actually 37, and has a white-blond hair and beard like a viking Santa Claus. He’s nice. Joe is an englishman, who naturally clashed with my Americanism (in the form of pronunciation “corrections” and general sarcasm). We shot the shit like good ole boys and drank a couple beers (under $1!) daily at a different river every day. I beat them on the uphills (for lack of weight and low-slow gears) and they beat be going downhill (coasting). And despite arriving in Panamá the following week (Semana Santa – Easter Week) with shops being either closed or not selling alcohol (which prohibited us from celebrating), we checked into the Panamericana hostel with good spirits. We were riding the route known popularly as the “Panamerican,” or “Panamerican Highway.” And I was to break the record at the Panama Canal, the “link between the continents.” This was significant stuff.

Four days later, I broke the World Record for Longest Unicycle Trip, which had stood at 15,955 km (9,972 mi), alongside the canal (between the two bridges, Centenario and Las Americas.)

Just after breaking the World Record.

Just after breaking the World Record.

It was raining, and I actually had to hail a cab to get the driver to film me, but obviously – I was pretty psyched. Pretty emotional too. After all, every little thing I had to deal with over the span of 41 weeks – weird, terrible, and stressfull – all those things culminated in this one, beautiful moment. I knew it would be just like any other day in my life, but the difference was this was built on the foundation of daily, daily, daily effort and emotion and strength and weakness. Clear days and sick ones, english and spanish, brief companionships and lots of alone time. This was it.
There have been many days when I have relied on myself – days where I light the fire under my own ass, so to speak. Physical and mental strength are self-taught. But a skill I have been developing, and come back to at the end of each day, wherever the hell I am, is gratitude. I am not doing this by myself, no one really does anything alone. We all have families or support crews or “guardian angels,” and we should say “thank you” every day. Aloud and with a smile.
So thank you to everyone who has helped me in any way. Thank you!

If you haven’t already – you can support the trip by donating! Scroll up to the Paypal button, it’s easy and I’d be super appreciative!  (Paypal button is below the trip description on the homepage.)

 

cary route

Two Videos: ¨Getting Through Central America¨ and ¨Monociclos Ticos¨

¨Getting Through Central America¨

Documents everything from leaving Mexico through to Nicaragua.

 

¨Monociclos Ticos¨

This video was filmed in Spanish, and documents leaving Nicaragua and entering Costa Rica, as well as the world of circus and unicycling in San José.
Este video se gravó para mostrarles mi viaje desde mi salido de Nicaragua hasta Costa Rica. Ademas, lo hice para promover al mundo de circo y monociclos, y la tienda de monociclos – Unicycle.com Latínoamerica, y de circo – Malabaristika, en San José, Costa Rica.

 

Visité el sitio web ahora! Descubre el mundo de monociclos!

http://www.unicycle-la.com/

 

Lo mejor calidad en monociclos (the best quality unicycles):

http://www.krisholm.com/

Belize, Guatemala, and Getting Sick

This is long and dramatic, so grab a cup of coffee. Or better yet tea, I hear it’s healthier. I get naked, I puke my brains out, and my unicycle falls apart. You’re gonna want to invest these next 11 minutes, trust me.

I have unicycled 13,984 km (8,740 mi) to date
When I began, from Baltimore, MD on July 9th of 2013, the World Record for Longest Unicycle Journey was 14,602 km (9,126 mi)
That would mean I’ve completed 95.7% of the record, and could ride the remaining 608 km (380 mi) in about one week.
Unfortunately for me (but fortunately for him – congratulations Samuel Johnson of “Love Your Sister” for recently breaking the record by riding around australia!) the world record now stands at:
15,955 km (9,972 mi)
Which means I am at 87.6 % of the record, with 1,971 km (1,232 mi) to break it.
I will likely break the record in Panamá or Colombia.

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And okay, not to confuse you, but from Colombia I will actually fly to Italy and loop through Europe before finishing South America. It has to do with a TV show that of course wants me to do something completely unrelated to unicycling. What the hell? When will they catch on?

But enough of the numbers!

I took the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula down from Cancún to a little town called Mahahual (pronounced mah-ah-WALL), thinking I could take a boat into Belize. Not so.
But, it was quite the spot!

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So, I backtracked to the main road and the next night I was camping next to a beautiful lake Bacalar. The next morning I was saying good riddance to Mexico and entering the small country of Belize. I suppose it can be a very good thing not to plan, because I was completely unprepared for this one. While geographically in Central America, Belize is actually considered Caribbean. They speak english and creole, have a mix of afro-euro-maya roots, with the remainder being people of latin descent and immigrants from asia.
Having just crossed the border at Santa Elena from Mexico to Belize, I already felt a different air about the place. Sure, the road was shitty, without distance markers, painted lane lines, or even reflectors. But the people, oh the people! My basically-uninformed expectation of Belize was that it was just another Latin American country. In fact, it is Caribbean with only traces of Spanish and Latin culture.

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Belize, Land of Many Races

“How yoo ride daht bike, mon?” Asked one of the Belizean border area’s taxi drivers, and it pretty much set the stage for the next 6 days. Yes, Belizeans like to party and smile and talk with strangers as much as Mexicans, but they are even more forthcoming, with more relaxed smiles and most importantly – reggae music. In fact, the whole of Belize seemed to bob and sway like the beats of a reggae song, even when no music could be heard.
Maybe I had just missed the English language – and melodic Caribbean english could not have been a better last-foray into my own language before the rest of the Spanish-speaking countries.
A man named Errol – at my very first food stop – came up to me asking about the unicycle. He ran an eco-tour business down the road, and in the direction I was going. He invited me to camp there. When I arrived 30 miles later (Belize actually still uses Imperial measurements..), having for the first time chewed on a freshly-cut cane stalk (which makes sugar, of course. Huge truckloads, all over Southern Mexico and Belize are carried pellmell with stalks falling off all the time. After I picked one up off the ground to taste it, a man stopped his truck just to tell me that I should take one of his fresher ones. When you chew the stalk, the juice squeezes out, and then you spit out the pulp.) the eco-tour place was dark. They had a palapa, under which I camped, next to the river, on which they give tours during the day. These guys had ice cold water and hot rice & beans waiting for me. I offered to pay, or at least help out with some tasks, but Errol refused, saying: “Nah mon, Ai jest like to help people out, yoo know? Your johrney seeyums reely cool, and ai want to meyake yoo feel comftahble, meyake shoor yahr havin a good tiyahm.”
I woke early, to another bright, hot, but sporadically rainy day in this tiny country. An abundance of open green spaces made me wonder if Belize was not experiencing overcrowding, as in so many other places. Regardless, I was appreciative of the seeming vastness, which melded seamlessly into the shoulder-less, demarcation-less road and back to the green of the other side, mostly uninhibited by any fences. My mind expanded into the space, excitingly, like a chip bag you’ve opened with too much force. And likewise, people’s smiles filled the gap of foreignness. Not just distant descendants from Spain and the Yucatan, but from Africa and England and Asia as well. A man handed me, from within his truck and without having been asked, a little bag of water to drink. Like a plastic pouch, and so I guessed you had to bite off the corner and just squeeze it? Anyway, under “Product of Belize,” it read, “Land of Many Races.”
I stopped at an Asian-owned grocery store and bought a root beer. I was crooning over the bottle, having been without real root beer for the three plus months I was in Mexico (the mexis way prefer good old coke).
When I reached Belize City, in which my friend who was volunteering at the Red Cross had arranged for a place for me to sleep (the guesthouse in which she was staying, actually) and who was out at the moment doing field work, I tracked down a welder and a seamstress. The welder, whose family had presumably descended from Africa, and perhaps some from the Caribbean, charged me only $20 Belizean ($10 USD, and he said “It’s because I want to help you on your way.” And where do folks learn this just-plain-natural generosity?) to weld a solid piece to replace my junky bolted mess-of-a-T-bar below my seat.

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The job was incredibly well-done, as was evident by my massive grin. I paid him $30 and we shot the shit for a little while. I left and stopped by the seamstress. Clearly Latina, but with creole-accented english, we spoke half spanish half english (and either way, I only caught every other word – bless her heart.) She charged me $14 BZD ($7 USD) to install a “zip,” as she abbreviated it, and a strapped clip to reinforce the bag’s zipper area. I gave her extra for solid work and we said goodbyes, she with a somewhat high, raspy voice, which didn’t say “smoker” as much as “talkative and hardworking.”

Hot and sweaty triple flat fix in Belize

Hot and sweaty triple flat fix in Belize

So, expectations many times just pop up, mentally speaking. And you should just leave them be, maybe examine them to see if they’re worth a damn. Don’t become attached, or – god forbid – enamored with these early opinions. They are bound to change. But maybe don’t research everything before you jump into it – maybe just go in, prepared for anything, and let yourself be surprised. I wish Belize was bigger, so that I could’ve ridden for a spell as long as my three months in Mexico. I was only blessed with six days there. That’s life.

On my way out of town, I got a puncture (which turned into three) after only five kilometers. A man from across the way offered help, and I said that yeah, sure a bigger pump would be great. He stood patiently while I dismantled the wheel, patched the tube and reassembled it all. Meanwhile we shot the breeze a bit. His english was clear. I asked him if he had a family and he shook his head. “No. My lady I had she died a few years back. Poor circulation. Didn’t want them to take the feet, so she died of blood poisoning.” His eyes were bittersweet and I could feel his crumpled acceptance of it. I said I was sorry, and he sighed and looked out: “That’s life.”

Guatemala

And Getting Sick

I entered Guatemala with a painful lightheaded feeling, a burning stomach, and peeing like watery coffee despite every attempt to stay hydrated. It may have been food from Belize, but I’ll just go ahead and blame it on Guatemala, since it got way worse upon arrival. Riding became very difficult because of the dehydration and pain, so it took me 3 days to go as far as I could on one good day.

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I reached Flores, in the northern state of Petén. I went straight to the hospital, and basically stumbled in. I looked up the word for lightheaded in Spanish – mareado. It also meant giddy, which I was not, but I knew they’d sense the context. The bathroom was disgusting and had no soap, but the nurses were great and the IV fluids they gave me came out of sterile packages, no doubt. I was diagnosed with a bacterial infection of the stomach. The hospital visit was free, unlike it would have been in the more “developed” US of A, and the meds were under $10. I rested two days in Flores, met a fantastic group of fellow travelers, and we all went to a big rope-swing across Lake Petén Itza. It included jumping naked out of the tree. Well, only I did it, really. They took note of my tan lines.

I rode another two and a half days before taking another two off, this time in beautiful Rio Dulce. The hostel was in a swamp inlet of the wide river, only accessible by boat. One of the days I went to a hot springs (like $5 with buses and all) that had a hot waterfall! At this point, I’m thinking, time to get back to the grind – I’ve relaxed/indulged/recovered enough. Not so.

The next three days I hit rock bottom. I was only riding half of my usual daily distances, and more than half the time between stints of only about 15 minutes of riding, I was bent over or sitting down, just panting and sweating a malodorous sick-person sweat, convincing myself through gritted teeth that I should push on. It was dire. I wouldn’t say It was desperate, though. Maybe only a tinge of the same desperation a drunken person like half-jogs, sweating through his shirt, stumbling in the general direction of his apartment at the end of a long night. Of course, the meds didn’t allow me to drink, so I had no excuse. I stopped eating – I couldn’t stomach it, or stand the smell of cooking. I drank gatorade and other electrolytes, and oddly, coke sat quite well with me. I bought some potato chips, thinking they were basic enough, and with calories. And then up that next I hill, I vomited it all up..
It was one of those “Fuck it” moments, and I was actually happier, having emptied my stomach onto the shoulder of the road. The next day, I took a few buses to meet a friend, we took a bus to the beach, and I took 5 days off in total, before bussing back to where I left off. I ate healthy food and forgot all about the oh-yeah the broken goddamn spokes that I had to deal with before and during my sickness? Worst timing ever! Only one in 7 months, and now like 3 in a week? But anyway, it was history because I fixed them and was at ease. Oh and it had rained every day while I was sick – EVERY DAY – so much that my sleeping bag and tent, and everything else got to reeking of mold.
But! The infection passed, I was all smiles and skinny-dipping in the ocean and once again enjoying the occasional beer. I bussed back to my starting point and unicycled almost 50 miles (76 km) the first day into El Salvador, and 84 (134 km) miles the next, taking me here, the capitol: San Salvador. El Salvador is my 6th country, with Honduras being my next and 7th. Until then! Hasta luego!

Mainland Mexico, Part 2

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    We left off in Cuidád de México, where I headed towards the coast and the city of Veracrúz (which, upon arriving, meant I had crossed from Atlantic to Pacific and back to the Atlantic [Gulf of Mexico].) After getting sick for Christmas (but luckily being taken care of by a nice Mexican family), I reached Veracrúz in time for New Year’s.  I had the idea to entertain in the streets and hold a sign which read “10 Pesos Per Photo” – and though that’s only 90 cents US, it added up to enough for the hostel and snacks.  Of course, I had to drink too much, and found myself vomiting out the window of a taxi.  I usually don’t drink like that, and that was a first – a very un-classy first.
The route thus far.  Obviously it is not exact - I have used bike trails, gotten lost, and doubled back a few times.

The route thus far. Obviously it is not exact – I have used bike trails, gotten lost, and doubled back a few times.  From point “U” to point “X” was the leg of 14 consecutive riding days.

Mendoza family from Guadulpe Victoria, Puebla

Mendoza family from Guadulpe Victoria, Puebla

     Speaking of firsts, for the First Day of the Year,I began a leg of the journey towards and into the Yucatán Peninsula.  It was was a first for most consecutive days – my new personal best for most consecutive days of riding is now 14, with the average daily distance being 100 km (62 mi).  But because it was all flat, I arrived in Cancún a lot less tired than I would have imagined.  Which was fitting, because I have spent almost 2 weeks working every day for accommodation and crappy entertaining pay $4/day.  Point is, Cancún was not a vacation for me, and has made it into my Top Ten Least Favorite Cities of the trip.  I am writing from Playa del Carmen, this being my final week in Mexico.  It’s been a goddamn adventure, but I’m ready for Central America and maybe making some money somewhere? Anyone with suggestions, go to my contact page and email me, or message me on Facebook.
Lunch by the river in the Mexican state of Tabasco

Lunch by the river in the Mexican state of Tabasco

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I suppose this means I’ve officially completed one continent: North America.

Collecting fresh coconut water while camping on the beach.  The best things in life are free.

Collecting fresh coconut water while camping on the beach. The best things in life are free.

And unless you subscribe to the usual belief that Europe is a separate continent, I have 5 more. (It’s Eurasia, kids.). Though, I don’t know about riding Australia or Antarctica.

I want to thank all of my supporters!

Specifically:

the generous people of Mexico
the Mendoza family from Guadulupe Victoria, Puebla.
Hostel Ka’Beh
Theresa C
Chris S (again!)
my cousin Libby
Keith M
TJ and Lilly
The distance thus far:
12,457 km to date
14,601 km world record
85.3 % of the record
2,144 km left!
(7,786 mi of 9,126 mi)
1,340 left!
Start the countdown!
    So, for anyone not on my “Unicycling the World” page on Facebook, I have decided to actually unicycle the world, not just North and South America.  That being said, I have also decided not to create any more fundraisers, since the record will be broken within the next month.  I will not turn down donations through PayPal, of course, but the idea is that once the record is broken, despite that the journey remains arduous – it will be my choice.  It will be my responsibility to continue to find work to support the trip budget.

Mainland Mexico, Part 1

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We left off at the (near) southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula.

I then took the ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan, which on the mainland Mexican state of Sinaloa, at the end of November. Thank you to my Mazatlan host, Diana! Hope to see you in Guatemala! I met french cyclists Florent and Marjo on the ferry and continued to ride with them for the following few days. They were riding from Alaska, and plan to continue to Chile. Very similar to my route, so I really hope to see these folks again. They taught me how to live a little cheaper by getting free water and cooking more meals. Thanks guys, and I hope to ride with you guys again, soon!

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The same day I parted ways with the french cyclists, I hit the mountains.

I’m talkin like volcanic-formed mountains, not the wimpy tectonic-formed Mountains of the US and Canada.

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I tried to receive a package in the mountain city of Tepic, but it was stuck at customs in Guadalajara. After a quick detour to the coastal town of La Peñita de Jaltemba, close to Puerto Vallarta, I rode through more dramatic mountain terrain to Guadalajara, to get my package. Guadalajara has the second largest Book Expo in the world, but of course almost all the books were in spanish. When I called DHL to find out about my package, though, I found out – in Spanish, of course, because even “pressing number 1″ did not get me an english-speaking agent – that it had been AUTOMATICALLY RETURNED TO THE US.

The worst part was that it was my birthday that day, December 5th.

I guess the bright side is that I’m 25 now? That means… um, I can legally get a hotel room in Massachusetts, or rent a car in some states. Anyway, at this point, I was accompanied by spanish cyclist Sandra, who taught me lots of good and pure Castilian spanish (but sorry, I refuse to speak with a lisp.) She joined me for a good week and a half. Believe it or not, despite that she was riding a bike (as in 2 wheels), I had to wait and/or slow down for her 90% of the time. Sometime after Guadalajara, on my way to Santiago de Querétaro, a few important things happened:


—I was using longer crank arms. That’s the part to which the pedal attaches. Increased size from 127mm to 137mm. The part, along with a new tire, with shipping, cost in the hundreds of dollars (fortunately this package DID arrive.) Ten millimeters might not sound like a lot, but it means less torque and therefore an easier and more controlled ride. Mounting, controlling, and riding hills became that much easier!

—The terrain got flatter, thankfully. From days of relatively low 60-80 km (40-50 mi) back to 80-100 km (50-60 mi)

—I bought a slingshot. That’s right – and it was only 15 pesos (barely over $1). This will bring me unlimited joy, I’m sure. I got it to deter stray dogs.

—I tried fried crickets, with salsa and lime! It didn’t make me queasy, but I just wasn’t a big fan. It was like fried cardboard, but with little legs and such.

—Thanks to the generous donations from my lovely fans, I have been able to buy some new gear. -A new camp stove (to cook meals more often and ultimately save money.)
-My third tire, from Coker.
-My third disc rotor (for disc brake).
-My fifth pair of riding shorts.
-My second pair of riding shoes (my big toe could touch the ground.)
-One pair of pants ($5) to replace my beat-up gym pants.

—I got the incredible pleasure of borrowing a unicycle (24in Muni) from my newly acquainted Mexican friend, Raziel. We went off-roading outside of Mexico City.

(pictures of dinamos muni riding)

So I’ve made my way from the capitol of my country to the capitol of Mexico, our neighbor, and as of reaching Mexico City (where I am currently resting), I have ridden:

10,517.65 km (6,573.53 mi) TO DATE, which is exactly 72% of the World Record.

States, Provinces, and Districts so far (24):

Maryland, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, New York, Ontario, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sinaloa, Nayarit, Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacan, Hidalgo, Mexico (State), Distrito Federal (Mexico City).

For anyone wondering or worried – Mexico is not as dangerous as the American media would like to claim. As long as you stay out of certain neighborhoods, you’re generally fine (which is true of almost any place in the world, even the US.). I keep my eyes open just in case, though. To be honest though, I feeler safer and more welcome in most of this country than the US. Asking for directions/water/place to camp usually results in a full-length, friendly conversation, and sometimes more.

One guy chased me down in his truck 5 minutes out of town screaming, “Sir, your numbers! Your numbers!” He was waving his credit card and pointing, hanging half his body out his truck window. He was trying to say, “You forgot your credit card! It’s locked in the ATM.” I ended up speaking better Spanish than his English, and he offered me a ride back into town! Once the bank agent retrieved my card from inside the ATM (I’m a goddamn idiot), and I rode back to the same spot to reset my GPS, I was on my way. Crazy Mexicans, I gotta love ‘em.

And speaking of crazy, I’ve been kept awake at night by roosters (in every single place I camp), as well as people yelling, trying to sell their wares on the street. Not to mention, since Mexicans use EVERY chance they get to celebrate, being woken up several times a few nights in a row by what sounded like gunshots. A guy later told me it was people celebrated with fireworks. This was – not joking – throughout the night, at least once or twice EVERY half hour.

It’s bad enough being a pale-skinned gringo,

the addition of the unicycle means that – without fail – EVERY person I pass stares out at me, unabashedly. I can only guess it’s culturally accepted, because not one person has seemed to feel bad about staring at me, eyes locked and with silly smile.

These people are pretty excited though, you have to hand it to them! They probably think I’m some famous guy, and cars will literally come to a dead standstill in the right lane of the highway just to take pictures/video. Lots of folks actually pull off to the side, get out of their cars, ask for me to stop, shake my hand, and then get pictures WITH me (when I’m in the mood, of course).

While I was riding with Sandra, from Spain, two cops in a federal patrol car put their lights on, and slowed down next to us as we rode. I was worried we were on the road illegally something. No, of course they just wanted to see what we were about. They asked us about our journeys, while their lights signaled the huge line of traffic stacking behind them to pass them. (Of course, it was a two lane highway, one each direction, so they basically had to sit. You know they wanted to honk – but no-way-man, not with those federales). They were our unofficial escort for like 3 kilometers, going only 15 kph. We eventually pulled off and did photos. When we resumed, they gave us directions over their loudspeaker and bid us farewell! Funny, flattering, and only slightly ridiculous (there should be one word for all that.)

If you don’t already know – you can donate by scrolling up from this post to just beneath the overall trip description – click on the PayPal “Dontate” button and fill out the stuff. Thank You!!

 

The Baja Peninsula

Ooohh yah, that thing.  Yep, that's the Baja.

Ooohh yah, that thing. Yep, that’s the Baja.

The Baja California Peninsula is one of the world’s largest peninsulas. It basically stretches from across the border from San Diego, in Tijuana, Mexico to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Though it was originally not part of my plans – I’m glad I’m able to say that

I rode the Baja.

And in just over 2 weeks! While I only rode to just past La Paz, not the full length to Cabo – I only shaved off less than 50 miles (80 km) or so. The peninsula stretches almost 800 miles from top to bottom, but the road zig-zags (as well as ascending and descending endlessly) for a total of over 1000 miles (1600 km). I rode 970 miles (1550 km), riding 15 days, and resting 2.

This is the beginning of the middle leg of my journey! Almost in Central America! For those of you who haven’t seen it yet – I have a fundraiser going for replacing my gear. I’m wearing out my parts! At least check out the super cool video I made for it.

Unicycle Guy Needs Batman Gear

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I met some cool Canadians (aren’t most Canadians cool?) in the first week, and rode with them on and off for several hundred kilometers. Two sisters and a friend, with their parents to support them down the Baja (They had ridden from the Portland area, down the US Pacific coast, unsupported). Needless to say, it was workout for me, with my 80-pound rig, keeping up with their unloaded bikes! But we had fun racing, and battling dehydration and 18-wheelers. I should mention – the Transpeninsular Highway had no shoulder, constant truck traffic (though they usually gave way and waved smilingly), and lots of half-assed construction zones from hell.

In less than 1000 miles, there was an elevation change of 1000s of feet. Except for maybe 3 days of mostly flat riding, it was perpetually hilly. I did quite a bit of walking-and-pushing.

Halfway through, I got food poisoning from Guacamole. Lesson learned: don’t eat uncooked foods. (This was the reason for the first rest day). I spent a whole night vomiting into a bucket in the house of some strangers I had just met. Something tells me they would not have taken me in if I had shown up at the door ALREADY vomiting.

This next week, I’ll be taking a ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan, on Mainland Mexico. From there, it will be several more weeks in Mexico, before continuing on to Central America.

Wish me luck!