If it was easy, it would be a vacation, not an adventure.
This is my mantra for when shit goes wrong, mentally laughing about “that time I found myself lost at night criss crossing through the city of Guadalajara”. I mentally place myself in the future where this is already a funny story, and decide that it doesn’t end in my finding the wrong neighbourhood and ending my adventure on a ballistic note.
Gibraltar? Guevara! No, something Italian-esque; all I can remember is it sounds garbly. The name of the street I’m looking for, at night, alone in a strange city in Mexico on a bike that is threatening to burst into flames. Everything was going fine until we got to the toll at the city limits. Turns out I’ve not properly put Lost back into working order and idling by the car wasn’t an option; the temperature needle steadily crept up towards Kaboom! until I realized there was no way to avoid catastrophe apart from speeding ahead and getting some air-cooling action. I pass the toll, and the motor chills out but I know it’s only temporary. Another, more diligent owner might just turn the bike off. But this biker knows it took a boost to get running and doesn’t want to shut down – it can be surprisingly hard to get a boost. Or not surprising, considering the multitude of schemes people are warned to avoid to keep from getting hijacked on the road. I’m fairly certain there are more permutations of the story where someone is robbed for stopping to help like a good samaritan than actual instances, if only for the volume of stories.
The needle shivers its way higher and higher, I give in and turn off to wait for my escort as I have no idea where I’m going.
Time goes by.
Annnnnnd the car doesn’t pass.
Or did it already pass?
Now I’m lost with Lost and its dark and getting darker. But I remember, Garbly street. They live near the university. I ask a tow driver where the university is and if I can get a boost – I get directions and a runaround between the toll staff, a security guard, and the tow driver until some kind soul stops to say hi about a half hour later and solves my most immediate problem by boosting the battery so I can go play marco polo with a half-remembered address.
Okay, 98 problems to go… I ride in the general direction of the university and the city centre, which was easy to see from the hilltop toll station. It occurs to me several times that this is madness, but that’s been the modus operandi from day one and has worked out stellar so I just keep criss crossing streets, avoiding missing manholes in unlit intersections, blazing through what clear stretches I can find to cool the engine. It’s a give and take game where I have to balance my need to keep moving with my desire to not be lost amongst the feral city dogs and other predators of the night when/if Lost throws in the towel and leaves me pushing her uphill in search of… what was that street called again?
Ah HA! Garibaldi, I spot it, and it just feels right. I’m at least seventy percent sure this is the street. The last two times I thought I found it I was wrong, so the odds are in my favor.
It ends, and I go back up the parallel one way to do another pass and just as I turn around I hear a shout. I turn, and lo and behold, my new friend Iris is waving me over!
Totally how I knew it was gonna go down.
I ride up my first flight of stairs (but don’t tell them that) into the courtyard of their lovely colonial group home to some impressed faces. I give my best “do it all the time” smile and get off the bike to greet everyone, we figure out what happened and I get set up in my friend’s room with my sleeping pad to end the day once again thankful for my seemingly infinite font of dumb luck and with a kiss and a promise to dear Lost; I have one thing to do in town and it’s get her fan fixed!