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Old 12-03-2012, 05:46 PM   #751
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scootrider View Post
Senior Juan!

Finally caught up. Great entertainment and education. Love the masonry critiques, as I have done a fair bit in my day. Contributed to your 'kittie'.

Question: What's up with the flats? Are these punctures or is there something going on inside like spoke nipples chafing through the rim tape or something....Curious, because changing flats on either of my bikes would be much more PITA. I think your ride is prob one of the easiest types of bikes to do roadside repairs on no?

Am also following Dwight er, Kedgi. You guys are both great travel loggers, and the differences are interesting....Looking forward to when you finally meet up.

Thanks for doing all this, Phelps
Hi Phelps,

It's my pleasure. Thanks for the donation. It will go to the guides for the El Mirador expedition. It looks like it's on for day after tomorrow. 5 days of slogging through the jungle to see some awesome ruins. El Tigre is the height of a 21 story building. Pictures from the top will be due in part to your sponsorship. They say you can see Calakmul from the top. That is the honkin' pyramid I climbed on the Mexico/Guat border a couple weeks ago.

As far as flats, there seems to be a slight imperfection in the sidewall of my rear tire. None of them have come from punctures. The flats are all initially coming from abrasion in the exact same spot on the side of the tube 12 inches from the valvestem. Baby powder would probably help, but I forgot to bring any and I keep meaning to pick some up but haven't in the last 7000 miles. The other flats are from the cold patches peeling off in the hot weather running hard. It's no big deal. I'll be replacing the rear tire soon and in the meantime I get to change my rear tube every 1000 miles or so. The Sherpa with it's small tires is a piece of cake to change flats on. I'm getting really fast.

You live in a beautiful area of the country. At least it was nice a couple of summers ago when I passed through.

Scootrider goes on the gas tank. Glad to have you along as Chief Executive in charge of Granite Quarrying Operations.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:54 PM   #752
UtahFox
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDowns View Post
Headed out of the Austin area this morning after Señor ShizzMan fixed a delectable omelet for breakfast. But not before I had him sign the Sherpa gas tank.

Just up to this point in your RR and had to post. I'd love to follow in your tire-tracks sometime next year, but your trip is the next best thing! I love the signing of the tank, and would most definitely do the same - though you'll never be able to get rid of it. Easy for you in NE, but tougher for a city boy like me - guess I'd just have to keep the bike forever :) Also getting greeting cards made up in advance of a trip like this is a great idea too.

Off you go, I'll be following somewhere after you.
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:11 PM   #753
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Spent a lovely morning wandering around Tikal today. I had initially considered getting up this morning for the sunrise tour that Tricepilot mentioned, but the kids at the Los Amigos Hostel said it was a bust during the rainy season because of the fog and clouds. Something better done in the dry season in a couple months. They couldn't see anything. And indeed it was foggy this morning when I got there shortly after sunrise around 7ish. So I hung out and drank coffee until the sun burned off the fog.

Headed up the trail. Here is a giant Ceiba tree. This lovely English tourist was having her boyfriend take a picture and so did I. Gives an idea of the massive scale. My camera isn't big enough to catch the huge branches just above covered in epiphytic tilandsias. Looked like feathers. :



Beautiful maze of roots in the path:



A little Coati or Coata Mundi was rooting around for insects near the trail:



more coming…..
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:17 PM   #754
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I really enjoyed walking around Tikal. They are doing a nice job restoring the place. Here is an unrestored wall:



And you see how they are less cubist and more into rectangular with a horizontality. Here is a restored facade. It mimics the style of the original work:



Of course no limestone temple would have faces and edges this crisp after 1500 years in the jungle. But unlike most of the temples at Chichen Itza they let you walk around the temples and see the back side to get an idea of what they started with:



and the side they are currently working on:



and they have pictures of what they started with:



And what they've created:



Here is a picture of the restoration crew sitting on the base staircase they are restoring:



Nice work. The further you hike out in the jungle the less restoration work they have done. They are starting on the base and top of temple IV. This pyramid is huge. Here is the base they are starting:



This is the only pyramid they let you climb. On this staircase. Built to code. 7 inch rise 11 inch run so it has to zig-zag back and forth up the unrestored face with trees growing out of it up to the top:



Once on top they have built the top with reinforced concrete lintels over the doorways and begun building stairs down from the top. This is looking straight down from the top. Really steep, seems like a straight dropoff into the abyss when you're standing at the top:



This gal from Israel was striking a pose at the top of temple IV for her boyfriend to photo:



Then her friend got in on the act. That's an almost straight drop off two feet over. I wish I was that flexible. You don't see this kind of stuff in Nebraska much:



Nice view from the top of temple IV looking out towards III and V sticking out of the jungle:



I visited the restoration area behind temple IV where they are making stair stones:



and slaking lime in pits to mix with sand to use as mortar to approximate the original:



I thought this temple was interesting. They started the staircase at the top and seem to have taken too steep of an angle and had to go around the base rock by the time they got to the bottom:



Anyway, I won't bore you with more pics of ruins. I took a pile. But i think they are doing a really good job of restoration and thoroughly enjoyed my time at Tikal. Highly recommended.

I headed down for some lunch after wandering around for hours all over Tikal. Guaterider posted that I should go check out more ruins up the way. I am uploading those pictures and will be back in a moment with more afternoon explorations. And let me tell you, it was an adventure. My thanks to Julio for providing me with a great afternoon of sliding around on muddy roads and getting lost in the jungle on single track looking for ruins. It doesn't get any better than that in my little world.

Stand by…..
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JDowns screwed with this post 12-03-2012 at 07:40 PM
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:29 PM   #755
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I really wanted to do that!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDowns View Post
It will go to the guides for the El Mirador expedition. It looks like it's on for day after tomorrow. 5 days of slogging through the jungle to see some awesome ruins. El Tigre is the height of a 21 story building.
Oh man, I really wanted to do that the last time I was down there. I thought it had to be done from the Mexican side . Looks like I'll be following in your footsteps once (many times) again

Should be entering Mexico in a few days!!
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:38 PM   #756
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 0theories View Post
Oh man, I really wanted to do that the last time I was down there. I thought it had to be done from the Mexican side . Looks like I'll be following in your footsteps once (many times) again

Should be entering Mexico in a few days!!
Hi 0theories,

I'm just doing the research and development for your entertainment. I will report back what I find. Too bad you're not down here. I have been reading your ride report. I like your style. You'd make a great jungle slogging compadre. Hope to see you down the road.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:31 PM   #757
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Guaterider posted at noon that in Tikal you can get a permit to ride up to the ruins at Uaxactun (Wa-shock-tune). So I asked the guard at the gate to Tikal and he pointed me to this yellow building over the way:



and here is the nice Guatemalan fellow writing up my free vehicle permit to ride north of Tikal past the barrier:



It only took a few minutes. Name, license plate number, drivers license number that sort of thing. They just want to make sure you make it back out. You show the permit to the guards and they raise the gate and you ride up past Tikal weaving through all the tourists and hit this cutoff:



What could be easier? The guard said the road was poco despacio (a little crappy). Now when a Guatemalan says that, you know you're in for some fun. It turns out that they just laid down a couple inchs of clay. And it rained hard last night. Now this would be a piece of cake on a dry day and you could rip down the way through the ruts:



and hopefully by the time you ride down here it will be the dry season and this road will be packed and dry. There was nobody out here. It really felt like I was riding into a lost world. These guys who were fixing a washed out culvert were the only people I ran into:



I squeaked by on the right. I don't know if you've ever ridden on slick clay, but it means a very light and steady throttle and virtually no braking. This was the worst hill. I stopped to see if the guy who slid sideways into the ditch was okay:



It was Francoise's car. The Quebecois I went to dinner with last night in Flores. Small world. He was nowhere around. He had mentioned something about a rainbow gathering of the tribes he needed to go to . Something about them averting the Mayan apocalypse I think. Anyway, it didn't look like he averted the apocalypse on this road.

I normally am 5'10''. By the time I walked back to the bike I was 6'2'.:



Okay, I'm exaggerating. Here is the Sherpa getting Washocktuned:



Eventually I came to a sign for the ruins pointing down a jeep trail:





the road split into three and I took the center path:



It went down a steep hill and through a mud pit. I took the left track. A wide bike wouldn't have made it I don't think:



It turned to muddy single track. I followed it for a few kilometers even though I knew this probably was the wrong way. Nothing better than single track through the jungle out in the middle of nowhere in my book:



The trail kept going and eventually I turned around in a wide spot and doubled back. Took the right hand path this time and it led through the jungle on a single track eventually that led to this ruin. Really lost Mayan world feeling out here. I didn't see any observatory that Julio had mentioned so I wandered around. Seemed like a big flat area that used to be a city square of some kind:



more pics loading. Stand by….
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JDowns screwed with this post 12-03-2012 at 08:45 PM
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:11 PM   #758
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Here is the Sherpa getting Washocktuned:
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:35 PM   #759
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Wicked

Hola John,
I really enjoyed your RR about this afternoon so far . Even if I don't know you personally, but I suspect that at the end you found your way .
I was tempted to post some pics of the real Uaxactun , but I'm sure yours will be better !
I hope you are still down there by the time I get back , so I can buy you a few Gallo and you can tell me your Uaxactun adventure .

Julio
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:35 PM   #760
JDowns OP
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I wandered around this lost city out in the jungle for a while. You could see that it was surrounded by mounds that used to be something manmade with a few stones sticking out here and there:



And someone had mixed up some lime mortar on this tarp to stabilize the stairs at some point in time:



Pretty trippy place. Eventually I rode back and took the left hand path:



And ended up here:



And by golly there really were a bunch of rainbow gathering of the tribes people out here. They had serapes laid out with peace pipes in a big circle and were camping out here in the middle of the jungle. Big ceremonial fire of some sort. Lawn chairs in a circle like a Quaker meeting on acid. They didn't want me taking pictures of their little layout. I can respect that. But you can get an idea from this photo looking across the acropolis to the far temple:



Anyway it is a cool set of ruins. Here's the astronomical observatory:



Lots of original stone work with faded carved designs:



Somebody had done some work to the upper observatory but this staircase looked original:



Loved this pyramid with what looked like huge carved stone jaguar heads. You can't see them too well in this picture but they are 8 feet tall and quite imposing. I can picture them covered in plaster and painted up. Must have looked fierce back in the day:



And this huge jaguar head on the backside with what looks like a tooth necklace. You can see the slitted cat's eyes staring through the centuries of time. I like it.



I was crimping the rainbow stylers, so I fired up the bike and headed back down the road. It was raining on the way back so you can imagine what it was like. I felt lucky to be alive by the time I got back to Tikal.

I decided to pack up my tent when the guy told me it was 50 quetzals to camp at the palapa. I'd rather spend 50 more and live in the lap of luxury back in Santa Elena at the Classico Peten. Besides I need a shower.

I dropped by Los Amigos on the way into town over in Flores and found out that 4 people want to trek up to El Mirador the day after tomorrow. With Carlos the guy with the good vibe. So I told him I'm in. I will check back tomorrow. I asked him if I could get by for 250 and he said mas o menos (more or less). That is Guatemalan for 280. Still it should be interesting. I will report back what I find.

I spent 325 quetzals today or about $42.25 for food, gas, lodging and the 20 dollar Tikal entrance fee.

Buenos noches mi amigos,
Juanito
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:49 PM   #761
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Glad those boots are getting put to good use

You waiting for the seas to get real rough or something

Looks like you are getting caught up pretty well in CA.
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:57 PM   #762
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
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Originally Posted by GuateRider View Post
Hola John,
I really enjoyed your RR about this afternoon so far . Even if I don't know you personally, but I suspect that at the end you found your way .
I was tempted to post some pics of the real Uaxactun , but I'm sure yours will be better !
I hope you are still down there by the time I get back , so I can buy you a few Gallo and you can tell me your Uaxactun adventure .

Julio
Hola Julio,

Thanks so much for the great recommendation! I had a total blast today getting lost in the jungle and sliding around on the wet clay. It's what puts the ADV in ADVriding!

And yes, I hope to meet you and Luisa. It sounds like you'll be home for Christmas. That's only a couple three weeks away. I should still be in Guatemala. I'll make sure to drop by and thank you personally. Anyway I really need a Guaterider firme on my gas tank. Once you have relaxed in Oaxaca and hit the beaches on the coast it isn't far home.

Muchas gracias amigo,
Juanito Burrito
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:02 PM   #763
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Joined: Mar 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Throttlemeister View Post
Glad those boots are getting put to good use

You waiting for the seas to get real rough or something

Looks like you are getting caught up pretty well in CA.

Hi TM,

If people would stop donating money I would start riding faster like you told me to. Honest. I'll be posting ride reports from Colombia and Venezuela soon enough.

And yes, those boots you gave me are the bomb. Thank you so much. They are my only shoes. I will be hiking to El Mirador in them. I will bronze them and mail them back to you when I'm done with them.

Saludos,
Juanbota
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:03 PM   #764
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John:

thank you for taking us to places which we may never see with our own eyes. I like the way the ADVrider community can pull through for you with their expert advice to these out of the way places we know nothing about, and you are doing it with your fine, slowish style with detailed commentary and photos.

Seeing the Clay road would have made me turn back. I don't think my bike could make it but I am glad you managed to do it safely.

I am learning so much from your stonemason experience. I also liked the before and after restoration photos

ride safe, for us, the winter is just starting

bob
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:48 PM   #765
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Power has been out since last night so no internet. I was wondering why the ceiling fan was off this morning. I didn't remember turning it off. I went down to wander around outside. These boys were taking out the concrete slab next door with a 5 lb. sledge, chisel and prybar. I made the motion of a jackhammer and he smiled and said, "no hay":



It was Rolando and his brother Ramon next door building the church. They were putting the finishing touches on a low retaining wall. Nice work. Here is the church they are building.





Notice how the church architect didn't take into consideration the property lines when designing the flying wedge moderne angel wing on the right side. I asked what religio this was for since it didn't look Catholique. He said Nazarenas. I'll have to look that one up.

I went inside the hotel restaurant and had a hamburguesa con papas y coca:



20 quetzals plus 6 for the drink. Food is much cheaper in the countryside. Yesterday I had a meal just as filling for 10 quetzals and 5 for the coca. 4 empanadas for 5. I had two platefuls. She cooked them up as I waited. So it is better to fill up while you are riding through the rural areas.

After I finished my hamburger, I check on the boys outside. They had finished busting up the concrete and were tossing it in the 4wd Toyota to take somewhere. Hard workers.



I decided to get a long sleeved shirt for keeping the mosquitos at bay while hiking to El Mirador, so went shopping down the street for ropa (clothes). Specifically a camisa (shirt). Found a light green Banana Republic large long sleeve for 10 quetzals (1.30) from this place:



Was looking at the 100 quetzal shoe pile on the off chance they had a size 10. No way. Anything above an 8 or 9 is bigfoot in this country. Oh well, BMW motorcycle boots through the jungle for 40 or 50 miles it is then:



The hotel had no electricity, wifi, or water so I packed up and headed out. I went to get the Sherpa out of the parking down the street and they had blocked it off and were digging a 6 foot deep trench. I ended up riding under the backhoe arm to get out:



I rode over to the Los Amigos hostel and their electricity was out as well. Many of the backpackers had bailed and the place was really quiet. I talked to Carlos and he said there were 2 others interested and maybe 2 more. Hmmmm. I think that is Guatemalan for you will be waiting a few days my friend. If he doesn't come through by tomorrow, I'll ride up to Carmelita and camp at the trailhead and get up to El Mirador one way or another.

I was sitting out in the street watching women walk by on the cobblestone street in 6 inch stiletto heels and finally figured out how they do it. They walk on their tiptoes like ballerinas. The heels barely touch the ground. No wonder their calf muscles are so buff:



Since there hasn't been any power all day, all the banks, gas stations and cajero automaticos (ATMs) are closed. So I rode down the way through the Peten until I came to a town that had electricity. I think it's called Santa Ana. Anyway, went to a Cajero and withdrew 2000 quetzals to add to what I have for paying the hiking guides, got gas and dropped by this internet cafe to upload today's lesson.

You might not hear from me for a while. Time will tell. With me, no news is good news.

Saludos,
Juanito
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