Finally a ride and how to save money (two bucks)

Dear friends and family,

I woke at 430, did my morning breathing, stretching and exercise routines and now sit to write.

I’m trying to capture the feelings I have with this day to be out in the heat and traffic and the unknown.

Lots of questions swirl around in my mind. How hard will it be?

Is it that dangerous in traffic early in the morning?

Will it be hard in the heat? Will my body hold up?

It’s eighty degrees at 0532 now, with not a sign of daybreak. Sunrise is predicted at 0607, and because I’m so close to the equator there won’t be much, if any, daylight time prior to that.

This is real time writing, in the thick of it.

Fear or anxiety or the planned discomfort of living close to my edge, facing the unknown?

I read Marcus Aurelius this morning about living each day as it it were my last. I don’t desire this to be my last, BUT I will pursue my dreams and aspirations as if it were.

The harder thing for me would be to not pursue these adventures. That would be depressing and I wouldn’t want to live like that. This doesn’t mean I need to take unrealistic risks, like saying , severe mountaineering at my age, but this mix of throwing myself into this unknown and frankly, uncomfortable position isn’t a choice for me, it’s the way I feel fully alive. Why not be fully alive till I’m not alive at all anymore?

Guess that’s why I’m here.

If feelings are generated top down, that is, created from the brain and sent to the body, as well as produced from the body and sent to the brain, ( just read a book about this called EVOLVE YOUR BRAIN) then I am awash in both. Is it hormones from my morning exercises? Is it my thinking and anticipation about the morning challenge? The answer to both is a yes. I guess I thought that feelings were something in the mind ( a mental thing) and not a physical thing. I guess the name “feeling” might mean that you actually “feel” something. Wow, at the age of 70 I …

I’ll come back to this in a couple of hours, “god willing” as the Stoics say…

I’m back already. I know,seemed quick to me too🙂

Found my way out to the main highway out of town, a total round trip of probably seven miles. Once I established that the bike was working and i could find my way to the main highway, I decided to save my legs for tomorrow and return to the hostel. I found there is a bike path that follows the highway as far as I went. No idea how far it will go as it does not show up on the digital map.

What did I learn so far?

  1. I’m glad I have a fat tire bike, as the roads, curbs and riding through garbage could have derailed a skinnier tire bike.
  2. I should remember to breathe, as I think i forgot for the first number of minutes
  3. The bike seems to be working fine after my re-assembly
  4. So far my watch is the first failure, it worked on the ride for exactly fifteen seconds and is now (permanently?) frozen. Ill let the battery run down and then maybe it will be like rebooting a computer. I hope so as i normally use this to track mileage to save battery power on the phone. Not a catastrophe, but a convenience if it works again.( NOTE FROM LATER: thanks to YouTube I was able to reboot it and get it working again)
  5. Wind: the trade winds are blowing here from the east. Will make it harder to go that direction, but coming back here will push me so I can look forward to that.

Being out in the traffic in South America again reminds me of a traffic story that I survived in Venezuela many years ago. 

Nancy had flown down from Boston to visit, and I thought that before we went off to our little town where the boat was, we would first enjoy the capital city of Caracas. Supposedly we could enjoy the high life there on our not so high income.  I was determined to seek good value as I think that is part of our family tradition, getting a deal.

The Caracas airport is thirty miles from the city. After she landed, we gathered her luggage and went outside to the waiting cabs and loads of private drivers in their unlicensed cars begging for you to go with them for a “deal”. The normal cab fee was the equivalent of three US dollars, but I negotiated with a private driver to take us there for one US dollar. Dad would be proud of me, saving two thirds of a fee!

We shuffled into the back seat of a mid-sixties Ford sedan, put the luggage in the trunk and off we went.

Must have been the time of day or day of the week, but the divided highway with six lanes on either side was mostly  traffic free. To get to the City you have to drive over a big hump of altitude. As we drove over this a misty rain started to coat the street that had probably not had any rain on it for many days, and with the heat and oil from old vehicles, the road became quite slick. Of course the driver was demonstrating his levels of testosterone by driving very fast and then felt his almost bald tires sliding to slide sideways on the slick surface. He rather unwisely hit the brakes hard, which instead of slowing us down, put us into a spin. First we hit the middle lane separating guardrail, which spun is in a 360 degree spin around, narrowly missing the semi truck roaring up behind us. It seemed like we hit the guardrail twice and then spun towards the outside guardrail and hit it a couple of times, finally coming to rest facing traffic, but off the highway on the shoulder. We both ducked down low in the back seat, since there were no seatbelts (and of course no air bags), to try to protect ourselves. 

Once we came to a rest, Nancy and I checked in with each other and felt we were not hurt, then  with the driver who was also uninjured. The car appeared to be totaled, as two wheels were bent inward and two doors and the trunk were folded in, preventing them from opening and all four corners of the car were bashed in.

We got out through the still opening doors and stood by the side of the road to assess the situation. I had heard that in Venezuela, when there is a car accident, that everyone goes to jail until the details of fault get sorted out. Not wanting to test this system, and because I was in an illegal taxi, I was determined to escape from here. 

The driver kept telling me to wait here as I asked him to try to get our luggage from the bashed in trunk. He refused to try to help me force it open with my hands. Maybe he thought he would stand a better chance in the legal system with a couple of gringos, I’m not sure. 

He said that we had made a deal with the money negotiation, so we were obliged to stay with him. I asked him “You said you would take us to Caracas, does this look like Caracas?” Followed by a truly ugly American “I paid you a whole ex number of bolivars (my one dollar equivalent) and you didn’t deliver” I like to think that it was the shock and stress of the situation that drove that outburst, and that I’m not really that obnoxious.

So I next grabbed a tire iron from the back floor of the car and proceeded to pry open the trunk. I prevailed, removed our bags and set them by the side of the road. What I could possible do next was still a mystery.

Then, out of the blue (or technically, roaring down the highway) came a limo with the name of a national chain hotel on the side. The driver spotted us, pulled over way ahead as he was going fast. We grabbed our bags and ran to it. As we got near, the back door opened and we heard in near-perfect English “Looks like you two need help, get in”

And get in we did. With no idea where we were going, we were clear of the accident site. Once safely away, the drive informed us of our risk of getting hauled away to jail. (I still find that hard to believe, but sure didn’t want to take any chances).

He took us to our hotel and dropped us off and sped away. No funds changed hands, he just wanted to rescue us. 

Sure am glad I saved that two dollars!

Stay tuned for more.

Sending love,


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2 thoughts on “Finally a ride and how to save money (two bucks)”

  1. Reminds me of some of the travails we encountered in the old days. I don’t want to travel like that anymore. Glad you still have that sense of adventure. Fun to read about in the past.

  2. How could I have never heard that tail of the “taxi” ride after all these years? Makes me think you have more stories sitting in that storage locker brain of yours than years of life 🙂 Be safe, and looking forward to how the first big ride goes.

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