Here is a brief account of traveling not on my bike this week:
We shoved my bike into my aunt’s car Monday morning and I rode with her into San Jose, she dropped me off at the Amtrak station on her way to work, about an hour before my train. This, I thought, should be plenty of time to pack my bike up, assuming I could get a box there. Some of their trains are set up for roll on bikes, otherwise you can check it as luggage if you are getting on and off at stations which allow for checked baggage. Assuming this, you may bring a box or purchase one from the station for $15. They charge $10 for handling, though I believe they generally ask for $20 for oversize items, so this is a deal? Anyway, I got to the San Jose station and confirmed with the guy that they had boxes, then got my things from the car. When I returned he proposed a route change that would have me get on a bus almost immediately, transfer to train in San Luis Obispo which does have roll on bike space. This would mean no charge for the bike, save my packing it up, let me leave an hour earlier and arrive in Los Angeles almost two hours earlier than I would have. When the bus came the driver asked where I was going to put the bike. I said I didn’t know, and he said he didn’t either, but then offered a spot that worked fine. The train was too easy to mention.
Once in L.A. I took the metro a ways then my uncle met me and we put my bike in the car for a short trip to his house. I biked around a bit, but stayed mostly in the western extreme of the city and Santa Monica and Venice, visited with my family and a friend I haven’t seen in years and prepared for this next leg a bit. I abandoned a few things I thought I could do without then got a box and took my bike far enough apart to fit into it. We got a ZipCar. Mike and Annabelle helped me haul what may on wheels seem like a minimal(ish) life through LAX. Checking in was relatively straight forward. A boxed bike costs $50 to check on Aeromexico, always, so I also checked a full pannier, which was free first bag. It is easy to hope for the best when the rest is out of my control, the bike will probably be ok, the box will probably hold together long enough and I will not be responsible for moving it from place to place for a few hours (in a box this is a nice break)- I did worry plenty up to this point.
I was having trouble keeping my eyes open even before boarding, and mostly slept until they started handing out customs, etc forms. I abruptly returned two borrowed hours on this three hour flight into Guadalajara yesterday morning. It was so dark still when I had gathered all my things and gone outside to look for a ride that I was surprised to learn it was almost 7am-well the dark and that the flight was scheduled to arrive at 4:45(I think it was delayed a little). A guy from the hostel I’m staying at had offered to come pick me up, but when I hadn’t found him and learned it was so late I dragged my things back to where the taxis wait. In broken Spanish and writing I conveyed where I needed to be. This was fine, and is probably normal. This is perhaps the first time I’ve taken a taxi alone. When I arrived at the hostel the guy apologized, he’d had car trouble and was still dealing with it (he’d sent me an email). I gave out most of my remaining US and Canadian cash for tips and taxi, which fortunately was ok, since I had some trouble getting cash out here. Been wandering and acquainting myself with the city a bit. My Spanish is improving, or at least I’m getting better at using the bit I know. Getting a decent amount of sleep last night, though it didn’t totally convince my body that dragging a boxed bike and most of my stuff separate from it was a distant past, definitely was helpful.
We had a great time seeing you in LA, Aryn. Annabelle adores the book you brought her and keeps asking about where you and your bike have gone! Enjoy Guadalajara and BikeBike.
You made it! Wonderful people, yes? What are you enjoying most? For me it was the kindness of the people, fresh tortillas, beans and fruit. Have a great time this weekend with the Bike Bike event!
Beer really helped my mastery of Spanish 😉
I don’t know how I will go on without tortillerías when I am not here.