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Old 12-20-2012, 06:19 PM   #76
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Yuscarn to Esteli aka the Canadian Smoke Screen

We picked a route to the border that was about 1/2 dirt and a small border crossing at El Pariso.

Mahai(one of the Canadians not originally from CA) took the lead and I was in the middle or the back all morning. The road was very dusty. Hence the Canadian smoke screen!!

Not the best pics but they have all 3 of us.
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Small creek crossing/ spot to fill up water truck.

DCIM\100GOPRO

Pawel (the other Canadian also not originally from CA)



A small sample of the smoke screen and the road/village soccer field
DCIM\100GOPRO

And the border!
DCIM\100GOPRO

The crossing took over 2 hours. Mostly getting into Nica but it was because we got the lady we needed on lunch break and then things just move slow. We all hung out BS'd and laughed. We are in no rush either. One pushy handler to shoo away but other than that all was easy and chill! Another handler and some truckers told us to get ahead of them in line. The guy took our paperwork and handed it to the lady told her our deal and boom that part was done. He never even indicated he wanted any money. I gave him and another guy and AK postcard and they were pumped.

The guys at the border that operate the gate and where you get insurance love the bikes! Some people are just stoked on the trip. We laugh with them get insurance shake hands and hit the road. Nica roads are great! Especially compared to Honduras.

Riding with the Canadians is a real good time. I have road with other guys on similar bikes and they struggle to keep up but Team Smoke Screen know how to ride and run the DR's hard.

We make it to Esteli expecting a nice chill night because it is Sunday and we were up late due to the little local festival in Yuscarn. NOPE not happening. Esteli is crazy and almost completely booked!!

It is the last night of some Horse Festival where all the best horses from all of Central America come. I don't know what classifies a horse as a "best" horse but these people are into it. When in Rome...

Here is preview picture or two...bad cell phone shots but you get the idea.

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Old 12-20-2012, 06:36 PM   #77
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Esteli to Leon

This Horse Festival thing is totally crazy! They set up make-shift clubs, not bars, clubs all around. There are horses dancing, yep dancing horses parading around the streets. Great street meat every where and beers for sale on out of coolers every 10 feet.

Here is one of the horses that was dancing to the music.

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I tried to capture the mayhem but you have to be there.


The horses walk the same area as the people. Horses are bigger than people and when a horse is coming you get out of the way. The people riding horses usually have a beer in hand as well. It is crazy. We saw a horse do a little spin move and kinda slam a young lady into a beer cart. Everyone just laughs including the lady. Total mayhem!! I tried to capture it but you just cant. I posted a couple of short videos on smugmug.

He wanted to know if this was a bull or a cow



These guys let us ride there horses just because we were gringos and they were drunk. No charge. Just people being nice and having a good time!



I told them I was gringo and didn't know how to ride a horse. Then pulled this cool move!



and this



Those guys just about fell over laughing. It was a very fun and unique night!! Off to Leon a little slow the next day.

It is a short boring ride so it all worked out.
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Old 12-22-2012, 07:37 AM   #78
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Looks like a great time.
Keep em commin.
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Old 12-25-2012, 05:14 PM   #79
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Leon and ride to Grenada

I was told to Leon not to miss Leon by many people. It is a cool historical city but by myself it would have been a one night stop. The Canadians and I ended up staying 3. I think I was convinced there was something more to it. Took a day to go to the beach and then checked out Leon.

4 bikes in the Hostel Lobby
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The other GS was a guy named Terry from OR riding to his place in Costa Rica.

Around Leon






I really liked this pic and mural







Ride from Leon to Grenada. Cant see it all because of the haze but this pic has everything that Nica has to offer. Volcano, big lake, mountains and thick green forest. Oh yeah and one sexy BMW.



Riding with others has been great but I have gotten in some bad habits like slacking on my journal and blog. I have also been taking less pictures. Time to get back in the rhythm of documenting this trip.
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Old 12-25-2012, 06:26 PM   #80
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Ride to Grenada and Grenada

Random town on the ride with the latitiude

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Pawel is quite the ladies man and as soon we stopped this lady came running up to talk to him. She was quite smitten with the Canadian.



Random street sign that I think means find a girl here and walk with her.

DCIM\100GOPRO

We only stayed one night in Grenada. Another cool historical city and I could have stayed longer but I was ready to get to the beach. The one night we stayed we just walked around and checked out the city. I liked Granda much more than Leon.

I am not sure Pawel would say the same. He got harassed by a cop that looked exactly like Lou Diamond Phillips. I am sure that Pawel is pretty tired of all my LDP jokes but I still think that it is hilarious.

Here is Pawel and LDP(Lou Diamond Phillips)



The Canadian boys talking their way into Pawel getting 2 tickets!!!

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I am taking the pictures from where we pulled the bikes into our hostel. Pawel is where we parked on a one way street. So we basically drove across the street to pull into the hostel. But technically we drove about 10 meters in the wrong direction. LDP never came directly out and asked for money but that is what he wanted. He didn't see Mihal and myself so he didn't say a word to us. Even the front desk lady at the Hostel came out to talk to LDP. But he held his ground. One ticket for going the wrong way on a one way and the other for an illeagal U-turn. Total BS but what are you going to do. The fine was about 25 US and he went to the policia later to get it all sorted. More to come on that!!

Granada











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2 of us off to San Juan del Sur tomorrow with a stop at Apoyo a crater lake.
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Old 12-29-2012, 04:56 PM   #81
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Apoyo crater lake

So two of us off to Sun Juan b/c when we went that afternoon to the cops shop to pick up Pawel's license LDP had not turned it in. The next day Pawel went in at 10 as instructed and still no license, come back at 2. Mihal and I decided to ride to San Juan and Pawel could catch up. He went in at two and nada! We arrived to San Juan with an email that said he would be staying the night in Granada. He talked to the police chief and assured him that tomorrow it would be there.

Apoyo Crater
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We ran across WorldVets or something like that. We stopped and talked to them for a while. It is very cool what they to. They are trying to make a difference in the pet population in some of these countries. A lot of them are students.

Here is one of the patients





And some if the people at work





I think this pic captures it all! Traveling by moto is hard and no for everyone! Beer gear and a swim! Pawel we are very worried about you getting you license back. The stress was barely tolerable



And yes I am still bronzy!

Arrived in San Juan del Sur on a Friday. What can you do you have to go out. I was walking down the street and looked at this guy. I thought man that looks like my buddy Chad. Nah can't be. Hmm that looks like his wife Jamie. Holy Sh*# it is! Small world to run into friends from the great white north.

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Old 12-29-2012, 05:21 PM   #82
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San Juan del Sur

I did forget to mention we ran into some crooked cops on the PanAm from Apoyo to San Juan. There was a long conversation and after some discussion I said we either go to the bank now to pay the fine or to the police station. I was very direct once they asked for money. They said 20 each. I knew they meant US dollars but I agree and asked for our licenses back(mine just an AK state ID and Mihal an international drivers license). Once they were back in our hands I looked at Mihal and he knew we were leaving no matter what happen. I held up the 40 cords(equal to a dollar or two) high in the air for all the people driving by to see. The cops did not like that and told us to get out of there. Score one for the gringos! No gringo tax on that one!!


What a great place San Juan del Sur is! I love the size of the town and all the beaches near by. We spent most of our time at Maderas and I really dig this area. A little more gringo than normal and busy due to the holidays but still a great place. I will be back here sooner than later.

Maderas beach

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Beach in San Juan del Sur





San Juan sunset



We met this married couple on a Triumph. They were riding to Colombia on their honeymoon. They were awesome. Both so positive and full of life!! I feel like a jerk b/c I am blanking on their names right now. He made the boxes himself and they were all character with the bike and gear. This trip can be done anyway and I loved the style with which they are doing it. What a great start to life together. I think our paths will cross again in Panama or Colombia.



At one point we figured out that their were about a dozen ridders all in San Juan on Christmas. We should have had a biker Xmas dinner. It was great talking bikes travel and life with all of them. Everybody has a little different outlook and style to it all. I know I will cross paths with some of the again in the coming months.

More Maderas







Surfed for a few days and the ways were really just slightly above my skill level. I got a lot of practice at being in the washing machine. Still had fun and got in some condtioning for my next attempt.



after 5-6 nights in San Juan the Canadians and I head to Ometepe. Pawel got his license back the day after Mihal and i left. He had a difficult time with the one day of being separated. He did say it was a great exercise in practicing his Spanish and patience.
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:46 PM   #83
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Ometepe

It was nice to get away from the festivities of San Juan for a few nights. The holidays give a lot of excuses to go out and have beers. You also start to know everyone in a small town like that. All travelers in this area are hitting the same hot spots.

Ometepe, as is the theme with many other places I could have stayed another day or two. Would have been good to hike one of the volcanos but I got feel for the place in two night.

on our way there.


Waiting for our "ferry"



we loaded our bikes on the top of this thing, using a plank. It was totally sketchy and awesome. And to everyone it is no big deal.







The pictures will always remind me of experiences like this but will never truly capture the moment for those who look at them. Pushing those bikes across those wood planks was priceless.

from the mainland to the island



Barrage of volcano pics















A ride around the island almost all dirt.



Ometepe local



the team


waterfall hike



The last pic of the three amigos. It was a teary sunset for the Canadians! It might have been the best 11 days of their life getting all my wisdom and entertainment! Haha jk We all had a great time and thanks to Mihal and Pawel for all the laughs. See you in Colombia





We made sure to catch a legit ferry back to the mainland. Once on the small boat is an experience twice is just a lot of work and increasing the odds of your bike ending up in Lake Nica



you can pretty much do whatever you want in Nica. Like hangout on the loading ramp of a ferry while in the middle of the lake.





Again the hard like of an adventure motorcyclist.



Off Costa Rica for me and back to San Juan for Team Smokescreen after a farewell brunch in Rivas.
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Old 12-29-2012, 08:41 PM   #84
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Big Toniiiiiiiies

I see you're done slacking on the RR, now that the smoke screen has dissipated. Pete and Willem are still going strong. Off to the taco truck. Later!

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Old 12-29-2012, 08:57 PM   #85
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Subscribed!!!

thanks for sharing!!
I will be following along with the rest of your ADVenture!


Brad
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:33 PM   #86
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To Tarmarindo Unplanned

Hit the border and exiting Nica was a piece of cake. Took about 45 min. It would have been less if my Spanish was better. Ended up with a helper and told I had zero money. He said no problem and still helped. He actual did help too because at one point I had to find a certain dude wandering the parking lot. I ended up tipping him a couple of dollars.

Entering Costa Rica was a nightmare. Somewhere between 2.5 to 3 hours. The first guy I got would not stamp my passport until I processed the bike. I go to the Aduana he cant do anything until passport is stamped Back to get passport stamped and a bus load of people just beat me there. Insurance office, 2 aduanas and immigration and I am finally done. At the second aduana some people waited so long they cheered when the guy came back from lunch. None of the waiting was a function of how busy the border is but of people not giving the right info or being where they were supposed to be. Oh well I am in CR.

I wanted to head east and ride to the mountains and around a lake, but it was black skies that way and it was starting to rain on me. Change in plan off to Tamarindo. No pics because I saw nothing to take pic off. Its a smaller version of Cabo in Mexico. I was lucky to find a room and it was nothing special for 75 a night.

I was out of there the next day. On my way out of town I went around a guy at about 20 MPH because he was driving like a total jackass. All over the road and erratic braking. Guess who was parked on the side of the road when I made my illegal double yellow line pass. Old Jose Law!! he waived me to pull over. I wanted to keep driving but they have guns and I don't.

A long conversation takes place and I give him a bunch of amigos and por favors. He asks for my passport and I tell him know. I tell him I only show it at borders and there is no reason why he needs it. Just like cops in the states he gets all pissed off because he knows I am right and doesn't like being told the law. He gets his little computer ticket maker our and starts typing feverishly. I ask him to calm down and show him a color copy. This seem to cool him down. I keep telling them I am leaving CR tomorrow and wont be able to with a ticket. Boat to Colombia blah blah. None of it true. But I know a ticket on a Saturday and right before a holiday this will quickly turn into a week ordeal. His partner writes down all my info on a blank sheet of paper and asks how much do I pay now? I say I have very little money and go to my stash where he cant see what I really have. I thought I had a 20 and a 1 but I reall had 2 20's. Oh well 40 is cheaper than another night in this town. I think he actually wanted 25-30, but as far as I know so far crooked cops dont make change.

I was irritated but it was over and I made sure we ripped the paper with all of my information written on it to shreds. Off to Samara. No pics of the ride. I only spent one night in Samara but really liked it. San Juan del Sur is still my number 1 but Samara is a great second.

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Finally talked to Eliza from Maine doing the trip solo. I have seen her 3 times but this is the first we got a chance to talk.


Off to Monte Verde tomorrow for this:

http://www.monteverdeextremo.com/
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:21 AM   #87
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What a great RR and pics! I admire your sense of adventure and zest for life. Ride safe. I'll keep reading!

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Old 01-01-2013, 10:36 AM   #88
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Thnaks for the positive feedback. Always good to hear. The only issue my zest for life makes me want to quit my job!!! But I need that to feed my zest!!!

The age old predicament of people that like to travel for extended periods of time!

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Originally Posted by jguerin77 View Post
What a great RR and pics! I admire your sense of adventure and zest for life. Ride safe. I'll keep reading!

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Old 01-01-2013, 11:16 AM   #89
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Samara to Monte Verde

I really wanted to stay another night in Samara but no more rooms anywhere. The hostel that I was at offered a hammock but when I drank a beer on the beach the night before the bugs totally killed me. The harsh reality is that I need to keep moving. There is so much to see and do. So off to Monte Verde for the zip line. The ride west of the Pan Am was pretty standard only one photo stop. The ride east into the mountains was twisties, the dirt and amazing views. Even though CR is much more expensive than Nica I wish I had more time to ride here and do some zip lines rafting and jungle hikes. It is a really cool place. My list of places I will be back to is getting long haha. It is now a list of places I will try to get back to. I have actually considered not going to South America and really seeing more of Central America. But no can do. Colombia has been a desire of mine for a while and I really want to spend some time there. Colombia is in a really cool place in their development. If had just one goal on this trip I would have to say Colombia is it.

Crossing the Rio Tempisque

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Getting into the Mtns. That is the ocean way in the back ground

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Tried to capture how the sun was on that on hillside. Beautiful green lush country side. Lots of farming all through this area. Also a change in the weather. Raining and 60's from sunny and 90's just an hour ago.

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The good part of the road. I rode this for about 20 miles and then the same out another direction for about 30 miles in the am.

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So I have a hotel res in San Jose for new years eve and I am also meeting another rider there. I really wanted to do the zip line and arrive in Monte Verde about 130. Check out a couple of hotels and notice the last tour for the zipline I want is 2. Time to make it happen. Get a room reserved at the tree hotel call Extremo hope back on the bike at 145 and boogie to the zipline. Change right in the parking lot and bam zipline time! Its a 3 hour tour and to do it in the am I would not have been able to do the ride I wanted. I would have had to take the PanAm to San Jose and I try to avoid that thing like the plague.

Here is the link to the zipline place again.

http://www.monteverdeextremo.com/

All I can say is wow!!! It was raining and blowing about 30 MPH. Me "Es Bueno" All the zipline guys "Si es muy bueno" This place blew my mind and almost made me pee my pants! It was so windy that on some of the lines they sent us double to keep our speed up!! Some of the lines are several hundred feet over the valley. More than once I asked my self why I get myself in these situations and actually enjoy it. The two highlights were the Tarzan swing and Superman zipline.

I was very apprehensive about the Tarzan and warned people there would probably be some very loud F bombs. There were!!! Lots!!! I liked the idea of a pendulum swing but I thought they would start with rope basically tight, nope. They shove you off the platform and you drop about 20 feet before the slack in the rope is gone!! That was MFer number one and that was directed at the guy that literally pushed me off the platform, and laughed. I was all strapped in and just needed a second to get set/courage. The guy running the swing set up was behind and I thought helping me with the rope and showing me where to stand. Nope! He was done with all that he was getting set to knee me in the ass and there I go. MFer number 2 when I swing out over a canyon looking down several hundred feet. Then mostly woo hoo and holy F after that. I don't think I swear that much and I have reached my monthly quota in about 5 seconds. I do love things that get the adrenaline up and make me hesitate and the swing was all that and more.

The Superman zipline is damn cool too. After the Tarzan swing it was a piece of cake. Except they dont tell you are going to come into the landing area at about mach 3 and a guy with a rope and metal stopper on the zipline is going to stop like a you are in a 30 MPH car accident. Gotta love Central America and their get it done attitude.

Sorry to be so wordy but I needed to try and capture the adrenaline a little.

The view at the end of the day

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Old 01-01-2013, 11:45 AM   #90
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Monte Verde to San Jose

Up and on the road about 830. 30 plus miles of off road then the non PanAm way to San Jose. Great view and more endless green jungle and farm country. Also way better weather than the day before. Windy but no rain. Ill take it.

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The lake





These guys on the road.





A cool jungle river. The water was brown due to all the heavy rain.

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Typical day on a CR jungle road



The other end of the lake





Random towns amazing plaza





If you make the ride south I highly recommend getting off the PanAm. You will see mainly tractor trailer trucks and crooked cops on that thing. The road around Lake Arenal and then a drive by the Volcano.

Now in San Jose and celebrated New Year with these characters.

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Sam on the right Keri on the left. The couple honeymooning on the triumph. Wilhem in the middle on a Vstrom.

Off to Zapote tonight and the RR up to date
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