Leaving Chicago Behind

This entry is part 13 of 34 in the series Latin America Series
09/01/2010 – Chicago, USA

I left for Chicago from St. Louis. I planned on tying up loose ends and visiting family and friends. After a week I grew really tired of the city. I regurgitated the same story of my travel plans to friend after friend. It was monotonous and disingenuous after a while.

Chicago brings with it a lot of old baggage. I was in a bad place mentally when I lived there. Moving to Phoenix was a futile attempt to change my situation for the better by simply changing scenery. In any case, I am in a better place now, but the habits and mindset of my old self felt like it was creeping back, and I wanted to get the hell out.

P9114840Before heading south to Mexico I would take a detour to Minnesota to visit my sister and two nieces. I haven’t seen them in a couple years. Considering I had 20,000 more miles, a 500 mile detour wasn’t all that much more.

09/11/2010 – Minnesota, USA

It was great to see my niece Autum. She is five years old and has grown up so much since I last saw her. I saw the state of their computer and felt compelled to fix it up. New OS, and a clean slate. No child should grow up in a home without internet in this day and age.

Today was Beth and I’s one year anniversary. On 9/11, yes. Terrorism brought us together. Tomorrow I leave and head south. I will be zig zagging down through the Mississippi river.

09/12/2010 – Mississippi River

P9124845I broke down two miles from my sister’s house. The tire stem on my rear tire’s tube had ripped off. I suspect that my tire pressure was too low causing the tube to sag, and under the centripetal force, shift and rip. It was a Sunday, and a lot of bikers were out. I tripped my KLR on it’s side to do the repair. In an hour and a half more than a dozen people stopped, thinking I had crashed. Their generosity was amazing, but it soon became annoying while I tried to focus and work. With each car or motorcycle slowing down to stop I had to shout, “FLAT TIRE! I AM OK! THANKS!”

P9134903I stealth camped on the Mississippi and woke up to the sunrise, casting thousands of sparkles against the water. I made a bee line to St. Louis where new tires, chain and sprockets were waiting for me. Two miles from my friend’s place my chain rolled off the rear sprocket. The chain was a tangled mess but I managed to sort it out and limp the two miles. Just in time for a new chain.

I spent the next few days replacing my tires, chain, sprockets and doing some electrical work. It proved to be a good exercise to see what tools I was missing in my tool tube. All the breakdowns, and repairs were easy to perform in the states. Just as I planned, I wanted to get the bugs out here, so I can be more prepared in the more difficult climates and areas I was to encounter in the future.

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  • http://www.bikerclothesblog.com twitch

    Wish I could do what you’re doing on your travels. I know what it’s like not seeing family for a long time. I’m in Singapore and my brother and niece are in Canada and other than rare skype chat I haven’t seen them for about 4 years now.

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