The Manosos Riders, my new family

Some people say location wont change your problems. Don’t move to a new city and expect it to solve your issues, they will follow you. And there is truth to that, you are you whether or not you are in the busy streets of Manhattan or the Amazonian jungles of Peru and part of you, are your problems. But I must say the step I took crossing that first border was a far greater step for me emotionally then I could have ever imagined, being in the broken place I was in at the time.

For over three years I had been planning this trip, if you want to call it that. I have debated about what it really is since I am planning for it to take a considerable chunk of my life. I haven’t decided what it really is so for now we will call it a trip and I’ll get back to that another time. Three years and I have finally opened this new chapter or started a new book perhaps. I recognize that it is not only my change of location that has had this positive effect on me but also the enactment of the biggest dream I have ever had.

Problems, I have them and most recently they have felt quite serious with the very recent loss of my partners companionship. With all the confusion, anxiety and anger I had; there was one thing that I knew. I knew I had to go on this trip, the border was calling me and I had to answer. I am a very devoted person, when I set my focus on something or someone, the rest of my vision fades slightly. Some say this could be detrimental but I disagree. Amidst the chaos that is our world, focus and intention for me are the light that guides me though, alas I lose myself. It makes sense that this dynamic would be the most prosperous one to me, so I support it in all ways I can.

Focus, that is what I had for this trip. And even with the shadows of doubt surrounding most every other area of my life, this one was clear. The moment I crossed that border, the moment the security guard waved me through, I got a little lighter. My problems may not be solved but at least now I feel I have the space to deal with them without feeling suffocated. Thanks for the strength universe.

Getting the logistics taking care of in terms of paperwork for entering the Mexico was exciting and challenging considering my Spanish is very poor. But with the help of some kind people I both learned a few words and made it though quite easily. Insurance came after, I went with three months coverage which was only about $130 from one of the shops right on the other side of the border. The past few days of riding through Texas were scorching hot and Ojinaga was no relief. Almost 110 that day and I had quite a large desert to cross before getting to Chihauhau. Some friends I stayed with outside of Dallas gave me this clever little cloth that stays cool when you get it wet. I’m not sure what its called but damn, it works miracles. I read it has somehow captures the water in the cloth and as it evaporate it cools it. Neat. Well anyway, I got my towel all ready, wrapped it around my neck and pulled my sweaty helmet on over my nap of dreadlocks and rode towards Chihauhau. Three separate people had told me not to take the 16, the route I was planning due to some security issue, which would have been the cooler route but since it seemed serious I got the message and went the other toll road.

Deserts have their own beauty. It is one of subtlety and solitude, much like my feelings at the time. And through its haze of heat and shifting tans I rode into the beginnings of my story.

Almost to Chihauhau and with the heat going to my head, I stop at a gas station to drink some water before entering the city center. With my towel refreshed and a cold drink in hand I set up outside the store and try to cool myself off. I’m not totally sure how long I sat there but at some point two motorcyclists rode up, a women in the lead. Her long blond and black hair fell over her tattered vest patched with Mañosos Riders proudly on the front, the man wore his long beard well along with an equally impressive vest. Immediately we start talking. The man, Alejandro knew some English, the women didn’t know any but that doesn’t stop the words from pouring out of her mouth in obvious excitement, which made me smile. Her energy was warm and fierce, her expression so genuine and feisty; what a women, already loved her. I put together as best I could what she was saying and Alejandro patched up the rest. We shares our stories and I find out they are a motorcycle gang based primarily in Chihauhau but have members all throughout Mexico and Kettzy, the badass honda riding chick is the only female rider in it! What are they chances of me meeting this amazing lady within my first few hours in Mexico. They invite me to ride with them for cervasas with the other members of the Mañosos, which I happily and quickly agree too!

We ride into Chihauhau, a bustling city with what seemed like a complicated road system, come to find out that the many turn arounds prove to be quite useful when turning left. We ride into this courtyard lined with restaurants serving delicious smelling foods and small clusters of people enjoying each other’s company. We set up and as time goes by and the beer bottles pile up so do the motorcycles. Hours later I am surrounded by countless motorcycles and their riders, it turned into an all out party! Everyone knows everyone, groups from all different motorcycle groups greet me and tell me stories or give advice, recommend a friend of their that I should stay with, as I’m taking down numbers and notes while learning bits of Spanish here and there. I learn a good share of Spanish curse words no doubt and hand gestures, that the remind me to use very carefully!

As evening rolls in the crowd of Mañosos riders is now a plenty, they invite me back to their clubhouse to continue the party into the night. I join the clan of riders as we ride like a storm through the city back to their home base. We talk and laugh and drink late into the night, the rain comes late as they say it always does at this time of the year and I stand in the mist looking upon all my new friends, on my first day in Mexico. This is starting off quite beautifully I think to myself.

I crash at Alejandro and Kettzy’s house and decide to stay the next day as well, I was invited to join the group in a ride up to Santo Domingo for a cookout and some sightseeing. Santo Domingo is one of the magic towns of Mexico, I learned that a magic town is considered a special town in Mexico. It is given that name for its beauty, historical or archeological significance, these magic towns exist all over Mexico. The rest of the day was spent riding twisty roads with the group and stopping here and there for cervasas, finishing at the club again for another evening with friends.

The next day I was to leave so I made sure to collect everyone’s numbers and say my sweet goodbyes. The next destination was a town called Creel up in the Sierra Madre Mountain range to the west, I already had a place to stay thanks to one of the riders, his cousin lives there.

I wake up early the next day to say goodbyes to Alejandro as he leaves for work, he is a pilot! Then I finish packing up my stuff and head out, Kettzy rides with me to show me the road I need to take but I don’t get far before I hear a huge crack below my feet, something is wrong with my bike, my chain more specifically, the first thing I think of is my strap! I pull to the side of the road and take a look, yep, my strap. And my favorite one at that! It was yellow and blacked stripped, always looked nice. I unravel it from my sprocket and think all is well, the I ride a few more feet and hear the clang again. I pull over and roll my bike forward inspecting the chain and what do you know, the metal of the strap hook has wound itself around one of the links in the chain. I pull out my flathead screw drivers and pry off the piece of steel, the chain looks fine so I hop back on my bike and head to Creel.

The ride to Creel is mostly more desert until you turn onto the state route 25 at the intersection at La Junta. I don’t know what it was, perhaps the angle at which I was now approaching the mountains or the way the wind was blowing, but it felt like I had just turned into something marvelous. The cool wind made its way down my hot and sweaty jacket, I rode and watched the storms brewing at the peaks of the glorious mountains. At one point I stopped to just watch them, lightening would streak sideways far across the sky, wrapping itself around the dark, clouded mountain range. The thunder rolled and shook the ground even from where I was, the sound coated the landscape heavy and lusciously with its booming brilliance. And I stood there, just one small person observing nature and its power taking hold of this mighty space before me. Whatever problems I had in my life, at that moment, melted into nothing.

Entering the mountain range began with the presence of the pines. Big, bushy and bright green pines lined the road to Creel, the smell filling my helmet with its delicious presence. Up and down, curve after curve I worked my way up into the mountains towards the magic town of Creel.

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