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Old 02-24-2013, 11:35 AM   #181
Pete_Tallahassee
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"Kinda getting stuck in Xela for a while... "

So let's see her picture.

Great photos of the lake.
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:57 PM   #182
drifter dave
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Nice job riding around the lake! I didn't get to do that, scared off by the stories.

Quote:
What?!? You sold your dr350 for a KLR? That's so funny how the grass is always greener. I keep vacillating between keeping the KLR and getting the dr350. How do you feel about your decision after your trip? I read you RR. Looks like you made it about as far as me so far. Looks like I might not make it much further than you did
Well the DR's are great, but for what you're doing now, you have the perfect ride. I will never be happy until I have a bike for every purpose (that would be four bikes) Keep up the great RR,
Dorian

Ps - thanks for visiting my RR, I didn't get enough views for the amount of work it was :)
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:27 AM   #183
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Sorry for the delay and... more delay.

So I pretty much got stuck here and started living normal life "más o menos". I haven't been riding much so there isn't much to report but I know I have to at least catch up to Xela. This will be coming soon. In the meantime I'm living in Xela, hanging out, meeting many cool people, but getting the bike in and out of the school is a hassle, so I ride only once a week or less The monitor on my laptop has vibrated loose so only works intermittently, which makes any computer related task a chore. Sorry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NotAllWhoWanderRLost View Post
I'm glad to see your still enjoying yourself and having what looks like a great time! Thanks for sharing the amazing scenery around Lake Atitlán. It's a beautiful area and easy to see why someone could tend to hang out for a while...
Thanks Wander. It's been great and I'm enjoying settling down for a bit. I'll be here about a month total, then hopefully I'll cruise down into El Salvador for a couple of weeks and up to Belize for a couple of weeks on my way back north. Some of that depends on when work starts

Quote:
Originally Posted by PPCLI-Jim View Post
Great RR . I like the pics. I am laying In stocks to duplicate what you are doing and one of my upgrades from a Garmin 76CX is to a Montana so when I take a snap shot like yours others could know where I was Literally. IE all of the good places and all of the Bad places . I was wondering if there would be a thread / RR where someone used a Garmin Montana would post pics that also have the GPS data included. that way even without saving a massive track of 5000 + miles there would be a route .
Hey Jim, thanks for getting through it I bet there's a thread in the GPS section that does something similar maybe... My camera actually has GPS built in, but it sucks so much battery (even when off) that I don't use it It's a great idea though and you should pilot that program for others to imitate! Wait, does the Montana take pictures?!? I guess I could just waypoint my photos with the garmin, but it's so much work... You'll see Don't rely on the GPS to tell you where to go, you'll miss all the good roads!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete_Tallahassee View Post
"Kinda getting stuck in Xela for a while... "

So let's see her picture.

Great photos of the lake.
Oh Pete... Fine, I haven't been riding much, but here's a picture of a friend on our ride to the hot-springs (developed, but really nice) Great road, practically falling off the cliff (literally in some places) and beautiful views of the surrounding volcanoes. More to come when I catch up.



We also climbed that volcano in the background (at night during the full moon). Pretty intense!! New personal record for vertical gain over horizontal distance (and I hike for a living). More to come...

Quote:
Originally Posted by drifter dave View Post
Nice job riding around the lake! I didn't get to do that, scared off by the stories.

Well the DR's are great, but for what you're doing now, you have the perfect ride. I will never be happy until I have a bike for every purpose (that would be four bikes) Keep up the great RR,
Dorian

Ps - thanks for visiting my RR, I didn't get enough views for the amount of work it was :)
It is a lot of work! Thanks for the insight on the DR. I guess it's back to vacillating I'm stuck on the thought that smaller would be better, but I guess than maybe I wouldn't be able to pick up passengers which is one of the highlights of travelling I think.

...but maybe the DR can handle it

Well, back to studying... I think that my Spanish now is worse than before I took classes, but only because now I know how bad it really is
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Old 03-04-2013, 08:43 PM   #184
Stan Dalone
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What a great adventure your on bud!
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Old 03-05-2013, 08:24 AM   #185
Cal
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Was the volcano Santa Maria? On my weekend off from Habitat para la humanidad I hiked Santa Maria with a full moon,took a guide from the company Viajes Adrenelina. Good memories!!
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:25 AM   #186
fourthree
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Been a few days, hope you are just having too much fun to write! I know, computer problems, still hope you are doing well. Don't stop taking pictures, can always post later.
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:33 AM   #187
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It's almost time to hit the road again...

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Originally Posted by fourthree View Post
Been a few days, hope you are just having too much fun to write! I know, computer problems, still hope you are doing well. Don't stop taking pictures, can always post later.
Hi fourthree. Thanks for checking up! Sorry for the long delay. I have been having way too much fun and have gotten completely stuck here But now it's almost time to move on. 5 weeks is the longest I've stayed anywhere on my travels (All of them!!) and it's been really good. The computer is on and off, I just haven't been riding much. Will start the catch-up report in a bit...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal View Post
Was the volcano Santa Maria? On my weekend off from Habitat para la humanidad I hiked Santa Maria with a full moon,took a guide from the company Viajes Adrenelina. Good memories!!
It was, Cal! I went with Quetzaltrekkers. That's a new record for me for elevation gain over horizontal distance! (~1300m up over ~7Km) ...and I hike professionally Great non-profit and they throw really fun benefit parties!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan Dalone View Post
What a great adventure your on bud!
Thanks Stan, it's been really great. Didn't quite make it as far as planned, but that just gives me an excuse to come back next year

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete_Tallahassee View Post
"Kinda getting stuck in Xela for a while... "

So let's see her picture.
Okay Pete, the real reason I got stuck in Xela: Luzy...


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Old 03-20-2013, 08:38 AM   #188
woodly1069
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is that there what you call one of them long hair spanish dictionaries?
NICE!
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:50 AM   #189
0theories OP
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02/11/2013 – 02/12/2013 – San Marcos, and on the Quetzaltenango.

Playing catch-up...

At Hostel Del Lago.












Lake level is rising.


I spent a few days in San Marcos just chilling and hanging out with cool folks. After realizing that I wouldn't be taking Spanish lessons here, there wasn't much to do except relax and enjoy the sunshine. I did take a day trip to San Pedro to do some shoe shopping with a couple of girls I met. I didn't actually shop for shoes (choosing to go get coffee while they explored the stores), but the visit to another town was nice. A couple of days in the sun and I was ready to head further west, to Xela (Quetzaltenango) to find a school and learn some Spanish. Stephen recommended a good school right off the center so I decided I would try there first and see how it goes.

Trip to San Pedro.




The Honda Unicorn!!


Chicken Saint?


San Perdo Center.


Erin and Nicki.








The ride from San Marcos to Xela was pretty short, but beautiful. I had to climb out of the valley and the road was steep, narrow and very curvy, offering beautiful views. In some places the curves were so sharp that the chicken buses have to do a three point turn to make it around! I had no such problems :) I arrived in Xela after a couple of hours riding and checked into Miguel de Cervantes Spanish School (where I ended up staying for the next 5 weeks). Obviously I liked it, although I can't vouch for how much Spanish I actually learned. The people who work here are very cool and professional. I would recommend this school for any beginner or intermediate student. Accommodations at the school (I chose not to stay with a host family for several reasons, one being able to choose my own food) in a private room that ran 800Q ($100) a month or 250Q ($32) a week.





Mmmmm... coffee.




You can see the switch-backs...






Back on the main road.


And into the clouds.


Welcome to Xela!




After settling in, I went out to explore Xela a bit. It's a great little city that's easy to settle into. Everything I wanted or needed was within 6 blocks of the school including an extensive selection of great restaurants (local and foreign food), bars and clubs, a park and lots of coffee shops and cafes. After spending a bit of time in town I kept seeing familiar faces and running into the same people. Before long it was not unusual to meet up with people I knew wherever I went. I really enjoyed that feeling of “community” more or less after constantly being in new places and meeting new people.











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Old 03-20-2013, 09:52 AM   #190
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Originally Posted by woodly1069 View Post
is that there what you call one of them long hair spanish dictionaries?
NICE!
That would be the less than flattering way to call that there But yes, it's a label that could apply. Although my Spanish still sucks
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:50 PM   #191
Apple Jam
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Originally Posted by 0theories View Post
............Note to self: drink water every time you stop.
When I did the OBDR two years ago,
I was one of seven that did not use a Camelback.
I carried two gallons, but I could not drink it AS I rode.
Somewhere between Christmas Valley and Riley.....That really sucked for me.
I carry my old green Mule, now.
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:03 PM   #192
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When I did the OBDR two years ago,
I was one of seven that did not use a Camelback.
I carried two gallons, but I could not drink it AS I rode.
Somewhere between Christmas Valley and Riley.....That really sucked for me.
I carry my old green Mule, now.
Yeah Apple Jam, I brought a camelback with me, but just the bladder, no backpack I thought I would just keep it in the tank bag and drink from it that way, but it didn't quite work out too well. Kind of annoying to get that hose in and out of the tank bag. So I didn't do it too often... Next trip it's all about the hydration pack!
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:32 PM   #193
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02/16/2013 – A trip to the border

I spent a couple of days in Xela taking classes and exploring the city. When the weekend rolled around it was time to take a ride over to the border and get my paperwork straightened out. Since I crossed the border via river at a place with no aduana, the bike wasn't actually legal in the country (although I didn't have any trouble). It was also a good excuse to do some riding and loop through the western part of the country, which I haven't seen before.

Xela.




I rode west and slightly north out of town towards Ostuncalco. The city gave way to valleys with farmland occupying the steep, sandy hillsides. It's hard to believe that anything grows on that terrain, where the soil looks dry, dusty and inhospitable. After passing through Ostuncalco I cut south (and west) through Colomba and headed for a border crossing at Tecum Uman where I though there was an aduana (I was wrong). The road through the mountains reminded me of why I was here. Curvy, narrow and sometimes steep, it was a pleasure to ride, especially being surrounded by coffee plants most of the way through the highlands. I dropped significant elevation on the way south, and by the time I came out on the main east-west highway (CA2) I was hot and sweaty as I've gotten used to wearing long-johns while in Xela.

Heading out of town.


Sandy farmland.














Curvy roads.


Don't turn too wide, it just drops right off...








I reached the border at Tecum Uman only to discover that there was in fact no aduana there despite what I read on the internet (or perhaps there was but I couldn't find it and the nice trucker who gave me directions sent me up the road to the next crossing). Since I was making a loop out of this ride anyway, it wasn't out of my way to head north to Talisman, where an aduana was guaranteed. The climate in this part of the country is very different from the mountains around Xela. Hot and humid, this was much more like what I was expecting during my visit to Central America. Before long I was at the border and inundated with the sights, sounds and smells of a typical border crossing (read: not very pleasant).





Since all I had to do was check the bike in, it didn't take long to wade through the paperwork once I managed to explain what was happening. The border agent didn't seem bothered by the fact that I've been in the country for several days without proper paperwork for the bike. He did seem pleased to hear that I've had no problems due to that fact. A swell guy all in all who only made me run around the minimum four or five times to get all the photocopies and signatures I needed to be legal. About an hour and a half later, with my new Guatemala sticker on the windshield along side the much larger Mexico one (I didn't check the bike out of Mexico and kept the sticker for the way home), I took off once again to head back to Xela via a different road.



Checkpoint.




This beauty will someday become the elixir of life...










The route back took me more or less straight east via the GUA1 through San Marcos (not the La Laguna one) back to Ostuncalco. It was a twisty, curvy, narrow mountain road with some very nice views of the valleys below. About a third of the way back I encountered my first police checkpoint in Guatemala, where they were stopping everyone (not that there were many people on the road). Lucky me! I pulled out my very fresh paperwork and handed it over. After a brief, friendly chat and a cursory inspection of my documents, I got a smile and a handshake and was on my way. As I was pulling away, I saw the police running to pick up the orange cones and speed away in the opposite direction. Something serious must have happened to the west. The rest of the ride back was uneventful. I'm sure glad I got that paperwork taken care of before I hit the checkpoint.

San Marcos (?)


Snake hands! (cultural significance? no se)




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Old 03-22-2013, 09:41 AM   #194
drifter dave
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What a fantastic place.
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Old 03-22-2013, 04:38 PM   #195
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What a fantastic place.
It sure is Dave! I'm mining your RR for places to hit on my way back north. I'll be seeing some of Belize, then cutting across the Yucatan (south of it) and up the east side of Mexico for a bit, before cutting back over to the west. Any amazing spots I should absolutely not miss? Thanks!

Everyone's suggestions welcome!
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