A page for the ramblings of Zack Sherman, the lead wanderer at Expedition recovery. This blog will include my travelog as well as more concise and targeted written pieces. Reviews and how to's on topics of adventure motorcycle and overland travel will be forthcoming as well.
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So tools under the seat might not be the best place
was good but fitful as one of the women in the sleeping room kept on her phone
for most of the night, seeming not to sleep or to care about the rest of us in
should have gotten up and got on the road quickly but instead was slow to get
moving. I talked with Montserrat for a little bit and got caught up on my
on-line work from my bunk. I dressed slowly and got all of my things packed
before walking down for the included breakfast. It was an unglamorous affair of
poorly cooked eggs with thin slices of hot dog mixed in, fried beans, and a
slice of white toast with butter. I wolfed it down quickly while answering
questions about the trip.
loading of the bike went simply enough, except that I forgot to fix the
windshield mounting before I had already fully loaded the bike, thus blocking
the tools I needed from access as they were below the seat.
got google maps programmed and talked to Cat for a moment before leaving the Wi-Fi
and heading out. I rode about 50 kilometers to a Pemex to see if I could borrow
the metric hex wrench I needed. The attendant excitedly said he did and led me
over by the office. He was excited to see my Alaska license plate and talked
with me about fishing and about hunting in our broken Spanglish. The hex keys
he brought were imperial and none were close enough to make work. It meant
pulling all my bags from the bike to access my tools under the seat. The repair
was quick and then I got the bike reloaded. The attendant was excited to get an
"Alaska money dollar", and though it was way more money than the lack
of actual help he gave, I happily handed him a US dollar. He was disappointed
and asked me for an "Alaska dollar" instead. I explained to him that
we use US dollars and he seemed slightly defeated, but not so much so that when
his mate asked to see the dollar he refused to hand it over.
rode on with a stop at an Oxxo for Yakult, a liquid yogurt, and some caffeine.
I rode on without issue until I noticed I had failed to align one of the windshield’s
well nuts with its mounting tab and was thus riding with only three of the four
mount points actually secured to the bike. I wagered it would be fine till I
stopped somewhere to borrow tools so I didn't have to disassemble the bike
was a mediocre hamburger at a Pemex with a Mexican energy drink and some
cookies I probably didn't need. While there, one of the trucks of adolescents
who had been running beside the road with torches was parked next to the bike.
They all swarmed the bike after I went in and I had to go back out to grab my
GoPro from the fender and my tank bag when I realized they were looking to me
to see if I was watching and screening my view of the front of the bike with a
unified wall of boys. After I retrieved the easy to steal bits they continued
to swarm the bike and I had to spend my time watching them like a hawk or risk
losing some of my gear to sticky fingers. Once they left I was able to relax a
bit and eat and start my days writing.
rode till nearly 4:30 when the phone mount had manage to loosen enough to be
moved by the wind, and upon slowing it would fall back forward and was now
fouling my steering against the windshield bracket preventing me from turning the
bars to the right. Add this to the loose windshield and I knew that I had to
stop or risk more trouble.
front of an Oxxo I drank a Monster and stripped the bags from the bike again to
get to my tools. I got the mount off, on in a new position I realized wouldn't
work, off again and finally back on in a good place. I attempted to use some red rescue tape to build up the bars to keep the mount from spinning. It worked for all of about 15 seconds. Apparently not a good use of rescue tape. With the tools exposed I
also used some electrical tape to build back up the well nut enough to tighten
down the last mount point on the windshield. In all I was stopped for a full
of the delay was due to being distracted by Wilbur, one of the urchins who
worked the slow down area for the truck inspection point. He carried an arm
load of USB cords for phones and other accessories and smelled heavily
of beer. He tripped my internal alarm for a second time that day. He was just a
little to attentive to when and where I was looking and where all my gear was.
I had to slow down my work under his repeated returns to question me and
eyeball my GoPro and the pile of gear and bags behind the bike. He finally
scampered off after a third visit attempt with friends when a few Mexican
soldiers arrives at the Oxxo for sodas and were interested in the bike. The
uniformed presence and my vigilance finally paid off as I got the last of my
gear put back on the bike and had a snack out of my bag.
was now pushing 5:30 and the sun was getting low behind me as I set off. A few
hours later I was riding after dark for a second time in as many days. I knew
all the advice I had been given said this was a terrible plan. I checked one
hotel but was not real impressed with the parking security and the 320 peso
cost. Plus I saw that I was still more than 900 kilometers from Cancun. I used
the GPS to see that there were hotels just 50 kilometers up the road and since
it was 7:30 I figured it wouldn't be an issue. Riding on I began passing hotels
and auto motels and decided I was still fresh enough to push on the 100
kilometers it said was the next batch of hotels.
gamble was certainly that, as the crazy drivers seemed to be growing in numbers
by the minute. In just about 140 kilometers I had two really near misses. I had
one semi make a pass in a blind corner coming straight at me in my lane. I was
lucky to have enough shoulder on the road and sufficient grip in the tires to
adjust course is and avoid an abrupt end to my journey. Just a little later I
had a truck cross through a gap in the median to make a U turn without much
safety room. It wouldn't have been a big deal except that he and I both saw the
teenager wearing all black clothes and riding against the flow of traffic on
the right shoulder at right about the same time. We both mashed the breaks and
he narrowly avoided the kid while I was just able to swerve to the left to
avoid his truck in the roadway. I was glad to have been looking ahead and
anticipating or I would not have been able to slow and swerve in time. If I had
been in a car there would have been an accident.
of the days fun also included reaffirming my choice to wear full motocross
boots for the ride. While moving passed a line of stopped trucks by use of the
dirt shoulder, I had a three or four inch diameter stone get thrown free by the
front wheel and hit just above my ankle on my left leg. I let loose a torrent
of foul language in my helmet and fought to keep the bike up in the loose dirt
and rock shoulder with my left leg throbbing and ripped backward off the foot
peg. It hurt like hell, but could have broken my lower leg if they had been in hiking
boots rather than the heavily armored Sidi motocross boots I have been riding
in for almost ten years.
calls aside, it was a smooth and beautiful trip, even at night. I made it to
Ciudad Del Carmen and then spent the next 45 minutes going to all the large
hotels with Secure parking to check prices. At my last of five stops the price
was still higher than my first stop had offered me and I told the clerk that
and began to gear up. She smiled, held up one finger and began to write down a
number on a slip of paper. It was 590 pesos and beat their closest competitor
by 160 pesos. I smiled, nodded back, and handed over my credit card.
room was on the fifth floor so I unloaded all my bags from the bike and left it
in the drop off area to run my bags up. I saw my dirt and sweat streaked face in
the elevator mirror and thought it deserved a photo so I snapped a few with my
phone. The room was small but well laid out and I dropped my bags and took off
my riding jacket and armor before heading back down to park and secure the
I was settled into the room I realized I needed to eat. I had seen a few
restaurants nearby and chose to not even change out of my riding pants or boots
before walking down. The nearest one was another of the same Portuguese
buffets that Montserrat and I had eaten at in Leon. I went in and asked the
cost for one. At 320 pesos I had to say no, plus without company what fun would
such a place be. I walked down to the next spot, which was, of all things, an
Irish-pub chain restaurant blaring Metallica over the speakers for all to hear.
spanglished my way into knowing I could sit anywhere and ordered a water as I
looked over the menu. When the waiter came back I asked about the burger
special of the day and he told me that it was the printed price, but that the
regular burgers were "double". I figured I was hungry enough for a
double cheeseburger from a chain joint so I said sure and also ordered 8 wings
since they were on sale. The food arrived bagged to go and off I went.
And there were two of them!
at the hotel I unpacked the food and realized the error of my communication. I
hadn't gotten a double cheeseburger, I had gotten two of the largest burgers I
had ever seen! On the bright side the wings were almost inedible, so I didn't.
Plus the whole meal was only $160 pesos including tip, or about $7.75 US at the
ate and talked on-line while I worked on getting a video edited and uploaded to
YouTube. Sleep was slow in coming as I was fairly over caffeinated but when it did
I crashed hard.
It is with a heavy heart that I say good bye to my best
friend, and my director of moral support.
Woden was an amazing dog who came into my life and
brightened every day of it. He believed with all his heart that he was a person
too and just couldn’t figure out why he didn’t get all the same privileges that
rest of the people got.
He entered this world on February 9th of 2012 and
came home to live me with me in Alaska on April 14th of 2012.
His first day in Alaska was spent with me on the gun range
where he seemed drawn to the smell of all the instructors, despite a lot of
very eager police recruits wanting to see him.
He started out as the only dog of the house but came to
share the space with his begrudging mentor Mop, the old man of the house who
made sure to show Woden who was boss.
Woden ended up at his peak weighing the same 185 pounds as
his father, Zack Sherman, and was always willing to play and wrestle. Like his dad, he had a knack for jujitsu and
was great at avoid…
Leon Mexico Zero kilometers ridden. Coming back to Leon from Portland left me feeling out of
sorts. The weekend had been incredible, but the passionate kissing had broken
past a barrier I had kept in place for many years. While I was a police officer I felt a need to
retain some amount of a moral high ground and thus had stowed away my prior
instances of living in polyamory and being promiscuous. That was naive of me, but it was my reality
nonetheless. While there had been some involvement in open relationships since
me departure from policing, this was my first straying from the very serious
and committed relationship I am in with Cat. In addition, it felt like I had
done wrong by Montserrat as well. Even
though she had been in a relationship when I left, the feelings were clearly
there and I felt like I had committed a large betrayal to Cat and a small one
to Montserrat even though we were not together. One of the first things I did on
returning was to talk to Montserrat about the …
Hopkins, Belize – The Funky Dodo
Zero kilometers ridden.
While Aaron and I had both planned
to move on today, a rest in this little hippie oasis that was The Funky Dodo
seemed to be the answer we both needed.
Ed must have thought so too as he moved from his hostel up the road to
join us at the Dodo.
It had been nice to sleep in a bit
and I was looking forward to a shower. As I joined the land of the living I
asked Christine how the showers were.
“Great, nice and warm” was her
She had apparently gotten the first
batch of water from the sun warmed tank.
I got the freezing cold water being dropped from the shower head as it
was pumped from the well. It wasn’t my first cold shower of the trip by any
means but it left me lots to rib Christine about as we walked up the street to
get a breakfast of liquid yogurt from the shop.
Once Ed got all checked in it was
time for a walk to the beach at the center of town. We took some photos before wander…