I Brought a pound of Tobacco back from the Amazon in the shape of a giant dildo. My friends found me in the Quito apartment bath tub snorting tobacco two days in a row with blood shot eyes. "It's like a bathtub. Has the jaguar called yet?"
"Yeah" said Drew. "He says he's waiting for us in chile ."
"is there anymore dried fish?"
Drew and I were famished and loopy from the new jungle diet. He was really coming down from the Amazonian high and I could tell he was struggling with a lot of the unknowns with our spontaneous style of travel. At the airport they weren't gonna let us on the plane because we needed a return ticket so I made up an elaborate story about being on a South American tour as a faux band called "The Death Ravens" which he said he knew. Nik was the vocalist, Me the drummer, Drew was the sound mixer and our manager JD was already in Santiago with our return tickets. Needless to say we got priority seating on that flight. We also got a workers discount and free continental breakfast at the holiday Inn Santiago that night when I told them I was visiting from the Anahiem branch.
Ducati Santiago, God bless them and all Italians, loaned me a black 2015 Ducati Diavel, which somewhat resembles the batmobile. Nik saddled up on a shiny red 2015 monster. It wasn't two minutes into having these bikes that Nik was up on one wheel at 80km/hr and Drew had his sweaty hands gripped around me holding on for his dear life. I could see Nik smiling through his helmet. Or maybe it was my own reflection. With our dopamine hit, we could breathe again. "See you tommrrow Drew! And thanks for taking our bags Dad!" and as quick as we got the keys, we were waving goodbye to Drew as he headed to the airport. "We already miss you!"
Needless to say, we were pulled over my Chilean police within the first hour for speeding. From experience, If you speak no Spanish and give them an American drivers license they'll eventually get so frustrated with you and let you go. This happenned all six times.
We approached the Swiss-German influenced border town of Portillo on an Empty tank. We were so excited to be on the road after two weeks of false starts, that I guess we forgot to fill up. I was mobbed by fans at immigration, being forced into taking a bottle of pink champagne, and it wasn't until I was shown a picture of Bryan Cranston in the VIP room upstairs that I realized they thought I was Jesse pinkman from breaking bad.
That afternoon we managed somehow to go 100 miles on Empty by coasting through high desert Andean landscapes. And not learning our lesson the first time, went empty again six hours later while racing a local gang of Argentina motorcyclists. Stuck in Nowhere, Argentina on day one. Freedom is a full tank. Something about this was so satisfying. The sun had just set and a farmer watered his crops in the distance.
Nik pulled up. And then one of the Argentinians. Then another. And another. Then the whole squad. Before I could process where I was, we were all sharing cigarettes singing "No mas Gasolinaaaa! Ducati no Gasonlinaaaa!" All the while two of the Argentinians, Leo and Vicente, had already sourced a hose from the farmer and was sucking gas out of his own tank and cyphining it into the Diavel. With a mouthful of gas, Vicente started asking us a bunch of questions in Spanish such as "Why are you riding these bikes to the bottom of Argentina? Where are your clothes? Why do you ride so fast in just t-shirt and jeans? Why does Nik have a pink backpack? And why does that guy look like the guy from Dragonball (which I later found out, Vicente and most of Argentinians are fanboys of)
We were shown unbelievable hospitality by our escorts to San Raphael that night and in return we showed our appreciation by giving them the bottle of pink champagne.
I almost forgot about Drew. And all of our gear.
"Drew, you almost here buds?"
"Car rental place doesn't have a car available for three days"
"Is this a joke"
"Where are you?"
"In Mendoza." I could hear humming in background. "Getting a tattoo"
"Well.. It's in Spanish"
His wife is gonna kill me. "What's it say?"
"Freedom is a full tank."