Get ready for some serious Lucky Jonas stuff!
The day after I wrote my last blog, things could have ended pretty quick. I was on my way to Rick, an ADVrider host, to check out a problem I had with my steering wheel. On the way there I was riding pretty stupid with my phone in my hand for directions, as my GPS abandoned me. I hit something on the road, put away my phone immediately, looked back to see what I hit, and at that moment, my front wheel went flat in like 2 seconds…. I was going all over the road going something between 70-80 kilometres an hour. I don’t know how I did it exactly, but I managed to stop the bike without crashing, on the left of the two lane highway. I got myself in safety, totally shaking. I was really afraid some car would hit my bike, as it was really dark. I phoned Rick to tell him what happened and he said he would get a trailer and come and pick me up. 30 adrenaline minutes later he showed up and we fixed the front tire at his place. Speaking of luck!!!! That was a close call… (unfortutently I forgot to take a picture of Rick… 😥
I stayed a few days longer in Scottsdale Arizona waiting for a spare part, at Mallory’s place. She took me out in Phoenix to a few bars, swimming pool, we went to an aquarium in the desert, I mean, living the good life! Mallory insisted on paying almost everything, so lucky me, AGAIN! Dia also showed up in town for a Harley-Davidson meeting and she invited me for a tour at the MMI (Motorcycle Mechanic Institute). That sounded interesting. Guess who gave us the tour? Thats right, Rick, the guy that helped me out a few days earlier with my blown out tire. This was pretty funny.
Chris and Beth from Scottsdale.
Mallory and me
After my time in Phoenix it was time to hit the road again and I set sail for Palm Springs. I’ve found another ADVrider host, a Canadian couple that travelled half the world on their bikes and their son was playing in the Belgian Volleybal team. What a coincidence! Wonderfull people and really cool stories. On they way there I rode trough the desert which was gorgeous and passed trough Joshua Tree (yes from the U2 album) where Rancho de la Luna is located, the famous recording studio. Unfortunately I couldn’t visit it because a band didn’t want to be interrupted. Pussies! Anyways, after staying in Palm Springs I headed north again to Yosemite National Park. After a night in a hostel, having another mechanic had a look at my steering wheel (couldn’t figure it out), I rode trough Yosemite park which was astonishing… I mean, twisty roads in the mountains and all the autumn colours you can imagine. This was one of those moments where I thought “God was on something really good while creating this”. El Capitan was the sublime final of the park where I had dinner before heading to my campsite spot, provided by my next ADVrider, Bill (story coming up).
On the way there I helped a round the world biker from Czech Republic who ran out of gas, so we sipped some from my bike. Strange enough he didn’t want to camp with me for any reason, but thats totally fine. I found my campsite one hour before dark and had just enough time to pitch my tent in the forest. Bill told me there was a bar only 20 minutes walking from the wild campsite. I headed over there and the bartender asked me which room I was staying in. I told him I was camping in the forest. He looked at me like “are you serious?” Yes, why dear sir? “Well there are bears around, we saw one the other day, you should be really careful. Me: turning pale. Him: ” aah, you’ll be fine, just hide your food in the trunk of your car. Me: I don’t have car… Him: “thats ok, just hold your bear spray close” Me: euuuuuuuuhhhhhhhh, no bearspray dude…. Okay so three beers later I took up my courage and walked back in a pitch black forest with my torch and Bob Marley blasting trough the speakers with ‘don’t worry about a thing’. I fell asleep pretty easily and when I woke up in the morning there was a layer of ice on my tent. It was damn cold! But no bears that night. I know, boring ending right?
After Yosemite I made my way to Bills house and rode trough agricultural ‘Merica which made me think of home. I haven’t got off my bike yet or Bill had opened a beer already for me. Bill had to work so I relaxed in their chicken garden (they had over 12 chickens and absolutely loved them) and sat down with his wife, Annie. Annie said I looked tired and she had something for me, edibles (like weed cookies). Marijuana is legal in California and when in Rome… speaking of feeling welcome. Schlomo was also living at their place and Bill and Schlomo were manager consultants.
Schlomo, Bill and Annie
One of Schlomo’s clients for example was Samsung, I mean, these guys were high up. We all had the edibles in the afternoon and we were dancing in the kitchen preparing dinner. I felt at home with these people! My sleeping place was in Annie’s yoga studio. I went with Schlomo to San Francisco leaving the bike at Bills place and we took the train. Marie, a friend from Belgium and Pieter’s girlfriend (the awesome friend I have that travelled with me the first three months) left me a note in Belgium that said ‘only open in San Francisco’. Apparently Marie had left a note in the toilet of a restaurant downtown San Fran for me. I retrieved the hidden message under a layer of paint and this was truly awesome. Thank you very much for this Marie! You rock! Schlomo and I discovered THE CITY and did all the touristy stuff and ended up in a Belgian beer bar. I was aching for a Chimay Bleu. The owner of the place also had some beers brewn by my friend Jorre in Belgium so we got along well and I had to taste some Belgian beer I never even had in Belgium! Can you imagine? Schlomo also brought an edible, just because, you know… So we had the great idea, after 4 belgium Trappists, to do Lombard Street in San Fran. Famous for the movie ‘Bullit’ and we did a stretch of the car chase scene. This was magical and incredibly funny for some kind of reason! Back at Bills house I attended my first Yoga class by the way, which seemed like 10 minutes but lastet 1 hour and half. Thanks Annie, Bill and Schlomo! You were like family to me.
Terri-Ann Tibetts of the universe, the crazy lady (This is a compliment Terri-Ann) from Moab texted me she was in San Francisco as well and I could stay at her place if I wanted. Bullocks, here we go again! So I rode over the famous Golden Gate Bridge ( a milestone for me on my trip) and headed to see Terri-Ann. It was good seeing each other again and this time I discovered San Fran on a bicycle (Yes, it was heavy and steep) and we went bar hopping. If there is one thing Terri-Ann Tibbetts is good at, its bar hopping. We ended up in a bar where they had karaoke with live piano. Schlomo joined the party later and after being swarmed by gay men, dropping Terri-Ann on the floor while picking her up, and arguing which way to go in the car we arrived at the place and had the afterparty. Lucky me. Again.
After leaving San Fran behind me I was ready for Highway number one, which follows the Pacific coastline down and is absolutely fabulous. I made it to Santa Cruz, yes the place known for O’Neill and felt immediately like I wanted to stay here. I had a poster in my bedroom growing up, so this was pretty cool for me. I contacted some couch-surfers, tried Tinder to find a place to pitch my tent (they all deleted me after I asked my fair question) but no luck… Later I found out that pitching your tent with a girl has a double meaning. Oepsie Daizie. I thought ‘fuckit’ and was about to camp outside town when I actually thought, NO! I would like to stay here, so I’m going to book a AirBNB. I filled in all my details and was about to hit the ‘confirm’ button when a guy walked up to me and told me how cool my bike was. I pulled on my dirty boots and asked him if he knew a place where I could stay… So Kevin invited me to his RV (like a big mobilhome) and this dude builds his own guitars! And he had Belgian beers! Luck me, Again, I know.
Kevin wanted me to phone my parents so he could talk to them and see if I as legit (seriously Kevin?). We got along great as we shared the best common interest on the whole planet called Music. I stayed 4 days (or was it five?) with Kevin, we went paddling on a surf board in Santa Cruz watching seals, sea lions, sea otters and a breaching humpback. FROM A SURFBOARD, IN SANTA CRUZ! Kevin took me every night for dinner, and insisted on paying for everything. I know, lucky me, again. Kevin, you’ve been a bliss, I loved chatting with you and I love your ego you handsome Devil!
In between I met Kendra, a Harley girl who did Roller Derby in an earlier live and was freekin’ cool. We went for a really nice motorcycle ride to see some elephant seals, walked the boardwalk, strolled the beach and did some other fun stuff. Dudes and Dudinesess, I loved every second in Santa Cruz!
Time to get the rubber burning again on Highway Number one towards the city of Angels. I’ve found a host on the amazing motorcycle network under the name of Conor. On the way to his place the road was incredible, cruising along the coastline of California. Can you imagine seeing whales blowing air in the air and seeing tumbling dolphins all from riding on a motorcycle? Well, I can now! Apparently Conor lived on a mountain overlooking the city of Goleta which was an astonishing view. Conor is an electrician but builds Choppers for a hobby. Pretty cool, indeed. I arrived to say hello and drop my stuff of before getting some dinner in town. On the way out, I put my bike in first gear without using the clutch, (thats what riding for 8 hours straight does with you). Off course the bike stalled, but I couldn’t start it again… I pulled it along the side and couldn’t figure out what was wrong… Off course Conor had a bike trailer (lucky Jonas, again) and came to pick me up. We tried to figure out the problem at his house, but my bike started giving an engine alarm code. This looked serious. Talking to Marijn in Belgium and mentioning the code I could get rid of it (thanks Marijn!), the next morning after some troubled sleep Conor found the problem. A piece of the battery broke off… Thank God! It’s only the battery! I took us some time finding the right battery but I could get on the road again without outrunning my American Visa. Thanks Conor for your hospitality and your help! I’ll never forget about this. Wish we had some more time together.
I took off to LA and ran into the big forest fires going on in California. It was pretty crazy. I just thought of riding trough it (I didn’t know how serious it was back then) and the police had just shut of the highway. Some detours later, seeing fires in the mountains, water-planes dropping their cargo on the fires, and a billion fire trucks later I made it into LA. I guess I took the most uncozy AirBNB in LA, nobody talked to each other, and I decided to go see ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. There was not much I wanted to see in L.A. but the Hollywood sign was one of them. Because I studied movies, this was kinda of a big deal to me. I rode the Hollywood hills, saw no one famous, took my picture and admired the sign for several minutes before making my way to San Diego, to meet with Darren.
Yes thats right, for those who actually read my blog, thats the Bodyguard guy from Wasteland Weekend. Darren rides an oldschool Land Rover (beautiful car) and picked me up on the beach in San Diego.
We went for beers the first night (it wasn’t the last) and did a bunch of fun stuff together. Marcus, one of the Germans I met in Alaska also was in town so we had a lot of fun the three of us together! Darren lives in a nice new apartment with swimming pool and hot tub. I did my maintenance on the bike with Marcus in the underground garage. As a true American Darren took Marcus and I to the shooting range, which wasn’t really my thing but definitely was a once in a lifetime experience and something I had to do still being in America. Damn those things are loud!!!!
Darren wanted to show me around Tijuana so he took me across the border. It was really interesting, as soon as you cross the border into Mexico everything changes! Fresh adventure. It took me some time to get the paperwork done and I had my first experience with the crazy Mexican traffic. Darren was a wonderful guy who not only booked me a room in a fancy hotel, hosted me for 7 days, drove me around and paid for most of the dinners (Yes, its totally true that a lot of Americans go out eating all the time) AND took me out in Tijuana. We walked trough the heart of Tijuana, had some beers in a Tarantino like bar and went to a crazy place he wanted to show me… A strippers bar. I didn’t really know what to expect, but as soon as I walked in my eyes didn’t know where to look. There must have been like almost 100 strippers in this place. Really, 100! I felt very unease sitting down and refusing a girl every two minutes to sit on my lap. This was cartel land (ow yeah, Darren had the great idea to watch ‘Sicario’ before crossing the border). We took a ride home to the hotel and well, here I am now, writing in a hostel in Ensenade, south of Tijuana.
Darren, I love you man, thanks for everything, and I’m happy you were a part of this trip ;-).
Writing all this makes me realise how crazy my life has been over the past few weeks and months. All this excitement has made me really tired and I’m aching for a place to recover my body and mind. I feel like a sponge under a continuous water stream. I need to shut off the water tap and let it all soak in, let it dry, so I’m ready for the next stream. I’m seriously considering doing my MasterDiver course or doing some work in a hotel because I have tons of video footage to edit. Also the homesickness starts to kick in sometimes, which I knew would be part of this trip. Living on an incredible high all the time, makes the normal feel deep. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for everyone and everything that happens to me and this is the trip of a lifetime, for sure!!!!!!
I paid 5 times for accommodation during my 90 days in the States, and yes, I am proud of that. I can’t thank everyone enough that hosted me, fed me, listened to me and drank with me. This one is for you guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By the way, I only met one Trump Supporter, and Americans are friendly as fuck. You are all welcome at my place friends!
I’m really happy to be in Mexico and (almost) ready for the next chapter! Almost six months on the road! I’m getting lazy on taking pictures but the movies have more footage!
The lucky guy.