ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Ride reports
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 04-14-2013, 10:26 PM   #1
Cousteau OP
...seeking adventure
 
Cousteau's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Guatemala City / Washington, DC
Oddometer: 61
2 Wheel Chronicle - To Infinity and Beyond



Greetings! Well, after lurking around this forum for almost a year, it is now my turn to give back. I've received a tremendous amont guidance and inspiration from many here and some I've even had the privilege to meet in person. The list is quite long, but you can go to my website and see all the background and prep for this trip. I have there the background stories and some highlights of me meeting a few of the more distinguished Inmates.

At the time, I didn't quite understand why so many of these reports, even those who are being posted in "real time" often don't start until they are already on the road. I NOW UNDERSTAND PERFECTLY.

It is now day 2 of my adventure and I'm just now starting this ride report. The irony is oh so thick.

So here is some quick background and then I get right into the ride report on my next post. I'm summarizing a few months worth of writing and prep in a few lines, but here goes.
_________________

It's February 1997, and after turning in my last paper and brining grad school to a close, I hop on a train traveling from Brussels to Wurzburg, Germany. As I have a few hours to kill, I reach into my backpack and pull out a book my friend Massimo Piras had given me the night before the long journey. I had never heard of the author before he handed me the book, but Massimo insisted it was a must read. It turns out the book is "Investment Biker" by Jim Rogers - the epic adventure of Jim and Tabitha going across the globe on motorcycles, sharing their perspectives of what was then a new world order after the fall of the Soviet Union. The timing and unique lens that Jim presents, not only of the adventure, but of how he viewed the changes in the world was incredibly present for me as I had been a student of international relations for many years and I had just wrapped up an MBA while living in Europe's business and political center for the past two years.

Now, nearly fifteen years later, I found myself at a crossroads and thought to reep the fruits of these seeds I had been planted so long ago. Now is the time!

So since May of last year I started charting out my adventure. I started with reading this and other forums to exhaustion and where ever possible, having exchanges by email, phone, Skype or a few times even in person, with those who had done this type of long term traveling adventures. Those pearls have become invaluable to me.

I started with the route, deciding to start in Guatemala and heading south to Rio de Janeiro - sorry, I just wasn't that excited to go down to Patagonia nor did I have the time to be able to go that far. I think ending this in Rio will be just fine.

This was followed in looking into the bike. Everyone and their grandmother had done this type of a trip on a BMW and KTM. Great bikes, but I wanted to do something different. Also, I didn't have the ability to finance the whole trip by myself, at least not how I had envisioned it, so I wanted to try to get a few sponsors to help with some of the costs that would go into the trip - more on how the sponsors tie in later.

After much research, testing, and countless visits to not one, but six dealers across the region and in the US, I decided upon the Triumph Tiger 800XC. This is a relatively new player in the adventure market, but it is amazing how they have taken the best experiences and technology from the mature adventure market and integrated them into their new design.

... sorry, a short break in the story, my battery is running out. Will post more tomorrow and get the first couple reports up... unitl then...

April 22, 2013 - Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

So, after selecting the bike, like many of you, I did a massive amount of research. I do have to give special thanks to some of the more prominent members of the forum and who have just recently gone through their travels and reported on here. Radioman has just an amazing story to tell - simply part of ADV Royalty. Antihero throws a little Zen master while reporting on an amazing journey in what most would deem an unconventional selection for a bike, but he makes it look easy. John Downs whom I personally met a few months ago in Guatemala City. I don't think I've been a more easy going, well mannered, and just with an "all is right with the world" guy. Dylan Samarawickrama who is currently crossing the Darien Gap on a boat he built and is using his motorcycle to power the craft. I know myself and many others would deem their adventure for sissies in comparison to this chap. Fritz PORKANDCORN whom is doing a similar trip as we speak and is going from South to North. Maybe our paths will cross in Colombia. Orisin Hughes who is just a video-making Mongolian cruising legend.

I won't go much more into details here, as I know you all want to get into the ride report, so if you want to read the background on my story, just go to the webiste... there is plenty of fodder there. Enjoy the ride!
__________________
__________________________________________________ _________________
Adventure Bound
http://2wheelchronicle.com
Facebook
Twitter: @2wheelchronicle

Cousteau screwed with this post 04-22-2013 at 05:56 PM Reason: Photo didn't show
Cousteau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2013, 01:33 PM   #2
NitroRoo
Gnarly Adventurer
 
NitroRoo's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Charlotte, NC
Oddometer: 358
It has begun! Reuben from Competition Accessories checking in (and subscribed). Looking forward to following along
__________________
-Reuben
ZRX 1100
NitroRoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2013, 10:53 PM   #3
Cousteau OP
...seeking adventure
 
Cousteau's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Guatemala City / Washington, DC
Oddometer: 61
Day 1 - Guatemala to El Salvador

Had *chance to do some initial reflecting about the trip. You really don't have time to do much of it until you actually hit the road. The last few weeks have been crammed packed with work and getting everything organized.

The one thing that I came away with is that although I will obviously will be busy have the adventure of a lifetime, it is not like the rest of the world also stops. That will also mean that I cannot disconnect entirely, as part of the time, I'll have to keep an "eye on the store" as it were - I run a consulting practice in the "real world" - but now back to our regularly scheduled program.

So, as this is crunch time these last few days, one doesn't really have time to reflect on what this is going to mean, so today I had a few moments of helmet time to look back at the prep and forward to the next few months.



One of the things that hit me today was as I was waving goodbye to my wife, who will be joining me further down the road towards the end of the trip, was that this trip is really for me. I know I'm documenting it through a ride report and I'm recording video as I go along and so forth, but in the end, this trip is for me. There was no parade, no fanfare on the departure, and there probably won't be much on my return. That's not to say that there aren't people out there that care about me and will miss me, but this adventure is just for little ol' me.

The day started with a not entirely restful night - have had several of those for about a week as the launch date was getting closer. I headed out of the city and the bike felt terrific. I had not ridden with 100% of all the gear before today, although I was riding around the last few days with nearly 85 to 90% of the stuff as I was running last minute errands. I did do a review of all the crap I'm taking on Thursday though and was able to get the kit down a bit more.

The bike displayed excellent power even with all the gear, and the Givi Trekker luggage system is just cherry. Single key, sturdy, and just works! I know that maybe it sounds like a commercial, but you have to give props where they are deserved.

The border crossing into El Salvador was the easiest I have ever done. For some reason, crossing the border between Guatemala and El Salvador, something I dare say I've done at least thirty times, is one thing consistently - always different.


Sometimes you have to stand in a huge line on both sides for immigration and customs and on the other extreme, sometimes you are just waved through as if you're crossing a checkpoint. Today was just one line, got the passport stamped and was given a little piece of paper that looked like a 4 year old had made an attempt at cutting a square. I actually went down to the immigration office in El Salvador, as I had done just a few weeks ago, but no, now you just hand the piece of paper to *the guy on the bridge and voila, you drive on through into the country.



It was now around 10AM and the warrior needed food, badly. A few kms after the border is this place called "La Choza" and they have great pupusas.

On the odd chance you don't know what these are, these are these thick corn tortilla patty stealthily stuffed with just about anything along with cheese. You then top them off with a cabbage-based slaw and a tomato sauce. These are meant to be eaten with your hands and it's quite messy, but that's half the fun.



I also too the chance while they were warming up the grill for me - pupusas are usually a meal for breakfast and more often for supper, that's why it was off - to swap out my Klim jacket for the Slider mesh jacket. It was already near 30C when I stopped to grub and climbing, so I wanted some cool breezes coming across for the rest of the trip today. I also swapped out the headphones for the SENA headset as for some reason one of the earpieces was having some issues. I'll take a look at it more closely in the next few days to see what was going on, but tunes and BT phone service are key to have working while on the road.

So, after I was done with the feeder bag, I strapped everything back on the Tigger (that's the nickname I had given the bike in case I'd forgot to mention it), and started her up, but wait, it didn't got that smoothly. Tigger kept conking out, I had to keep the idle above 2K RPM or else it would cut off. Fortunately, I had read that this had happened to other Triumph Tiger owners, so I wasn't entirely shocked, but I had hoped that this little cherry of an experience would somehow manage to skip me. Mind you, and I was only 200kms into a 15,000 kms trip. Then again, if something is going to fail, better it be early rather than later, right?

So, having this little issue, I decided to scrap the planned itinerary to go down to the coast and just headed for San Salvador. That was my endpoint for the day anyway. As I headed towards the city, I had a few fun filled "oh sheize" moments as the police in El Salvador like to put control checkpoints out in the middle of nowhere and completely oblivious as to the road geography. So, on at least three separate occasions, once off of a blind curve, the little cone S shape design they make you go through at low speeds so that they can check you and and decide if you are the lucky winner that gets the prize of getting pulled over. These checkpoints would normally not be an issue, but having to quickly downshift to keep the revs up while breaking in the "spur of the moment" although not technically impossible, just doesn't rank up there with the top 10 things I like to do on a bike.

The weird thing was that as I was finally making into San Salvador and was already dreading driving through the city trying to keep the revs up in stop and go traffic and knowing full well that the bike would conk out constantly, I was incredibly happy when as I hit the first slow down, the problem went away just as quickly as it had appeared. For those of you who have not read about this little issue, this happens sometimes when you have significant changes in altitude and it takes the computer some time to adjust to the altitude and control the fuel mix. I went from around 4,500 ft to basically down to sea level... at least I hope that was it.

When I arrived, my friend Sara and her daugher Dani were there to greet me. Of course the first thing they wanted to see was me, right?



I'm heading to Tegucigalpa tomorrow to meet a good friend and on Monday I take in Tigger to the local Triumph dealer just to have them check it out.
__________________
__________________________________________________ _________________
Adventure Bound
http://2wheelchronicle.com
Facebook
Twitter: @2wheelchronicle

Cousteau screwed with this post 04-17-2013 at 11:00 PM
Cousteau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2013, 11:03 PM   #4
Cousteau OP
...seeking adventure
 
Cousteau's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Guatemala City / Washington, DC
Oddometer: 61
Day 2 - El Salvador to Honduras, sweating to the oldies

This morning I headed out to Honduras via San Miguel, the second largest city in El Salvador. I've been using Google for charting out routes and then for dealing with city driving I use Waze, but I think this morning Waze didn't have his coffee and it had Tigger and me riding all over San Salvador trying to find out way out of the city. On a plus side of things, I did get a chance to ride through the new express lane that crosses the entire city. It's pretty fantastic, at least on an early Sunday morning. It felt quite a bit as being on 95 around Miami, this wide 6 to 8 lane highway that cuts across the entire city, smooth concrete and only a handful of cars out and about.

As the morning got going the temperature started to rise, and by about noon I got to the Amatillo, the border with Honduras.



Being in full riding gear, as soon as I stopped I started sweating profusely. I asked what the temperature was and it was around 39C (97F). Also, just for the experience, on the Honduras side, I decided to get an "expediter" to help me out with the paperwork. They were all excited about the big bike and of course wanted to know all the standard questions... where was I going, how fast does it go, how much was it, etc? I waited in a little airconditioned fried chicken shack while the two lads ran around in the scorching heat making the rounds.

For some reason Honduras continues to be the most difficult border crossing in all of Central America, even when you have plates from the region. Once we were done, I walked over to a little shop and bought a SIM Card and a large bottle of water to refill my Camelback. By this time I had already downed about 80 of the 100 oz the thing holds. So, I get all my paperwork back and start to get on the bike, and so the boys now want to get paid... and the price starts at $15 as they had to do about 20 minutes of running around. I didn't have the cash on me as I had waited to go to an ATM and get lempiras and so I gave them all the cash I had between Quetzales, Lempiras, and USD, about $9 and walked to the back of the bike and pulled out a box of granola bars. I think they were happy with the trade.



For the next two hours I rode through what has to be the most inhospitable place on the planet I have ever been. The temperature go to above 41C (106F). From what I could determine the heat had destroyed what I assume was once smooth asphalt as it was all cracked and you could hear and feel through the bike the roar of the road through the tires as they rolled on.





I usually travel with my visor down with just a small 1/4 inch crack to let a little air in. It was so hot that the air that was coming in was burning my nostrils. Oddly, something that has never happened to me before, when I closed the visor and the helmets air-vents I actually felt that my breath was cooler than the air outside. Talk about being your own personal airconditioning.



 



Then, about after about two hours of this torturous terrain I started to clim and could feel the temperature cool a little. I then made it into Tegucigalpa where I stopped at the iconic Yip supermarket to say hello to my friend Carlos' family, they own/operate the store and to ring Joaquin to meet up and go get me out of my wetsuit.



Joaquin arrived on his roaring Harley with his son onboard, whom I then followed with much anticipation in the direction of a cold shower and fresh clothes. After my transformation back to being a human being, we headed out for a bite to eat. Mind you, up until that time, around 2:30, all I had was a granola bar and about 150oz of water, warrior needed food, badly. We then went out to eat a bit of steak at Hacienda Real - if you haven't been to one of these, I highly recommend the Lomito Perez -*succulent*juicy tender steak - it did the trick.

After "linner" we headed back to the house around 6:30 and the household started to wrap up the weekend and get ready for Monday. Kids started bathing, eating supper, and slowly the house grew silent. Joaquin and I hung out on his dinning room table chatting a bit as we both worked away - me on my ride report and he was putting some final touches on a proposal his team would be presenting later this week.

Note, I'm a few days behind on the posting, so tomorrow I'm actually going into Costa Rica.
__________________
__________________________________________________ _________________
Adventure Bound
http://2wheelchronicle.com
Facebook
Twitter: @2wheelchronicle

Cousteau screwed with this post 04-17-2013 at 11:09 PM
Cousteau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2013, 09:15 AM   #5
Cousteau OP
...seeking adventure
 
Cousteau's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Guatemala City / Washington, DC
Oddometer: 61
Day 2 - Racing the sun and protecting the watermellon

A huge orange ball is all I see in my rear view mirror as the sun starts to make its decent, letting me know that the time left of daylight is nearing its end. It's been a long day on the road, having to deal with scorching heat, bombarded pavement, and the*nuisance* of a misplaced driver's licence. Chinandega, my next stop for the evening is about 70 kms away and I have about 35 minutes of light left.



I'm riding through some of the most spectacular landscapes I've seen thus far on the trip. The land seems lush with greenery, and the golden hughes coming off the horizon at this time of day are incredible. I want to keep stopping to take pictures and take in this magnificent time of day, but I have an uneasy feeling about riding after dark.



The road itself is in fantastic shape, putting the road on the Honduran side to shame. Even at the border the officer had jested that one of the current presidential candidates in Honduras was the previous Transportation Minister and should be ashamed with leaving infrastructure like that is now looking to become president. If those are his roads, I really don't want to find out what his government is going to be like.

My main concern is the livestock. There are few fences and I have already passed at least two small groupings of cows and goats, one being managed by a young boy and the other completely on its own. The land is almost completely flat and the curves are gradual, but cruising at 100+kms/hr is no longer an option, so I roll the throttle forward and take things down a notch. This too lets me take in the views.

About an hour later I start to roll into Chinandega and hit my first bit of traffic. Apparently a pickup truck had rolled over on the side of the road and the multitude had already started to assemble. The police was already on site, standing around, and letting the crowd just poor over and take over almost an entire lane of traffic, which of course, was why there was a slowdown.

I then pull into a small shopping center and pull out my phone and call my friend Enrique, who is my host of the night. I've known Enrique now for about 15 years - WOW 15 YEARS. I met him through some friends while working on a USAID development project with the vice-ministry of property. The agency I had worked with was responsible for resolving and compensating cases of property that had been confiscated and nationalized by the Sandinista government in the 1980's. Enrique and his family had been one of the affected parties at the time, having land and equipment.



A few minutes later Enrique arrived. It was good to see my old friend. We had lost touch over the last few years and he had always invited me to his home town in Chinandega, but until now I had not had a chance. We popped into the Rostipollo, a local restaurant chain, and put back a few frosty ones while we figured out or next step. It also gave me a chance to cool off a bit and step away from the heat, though the temperature now seemed cool compared to the scorcher I had driven through earlier in the day.

I then followed him into town and parked the bike in a lot near his house in "downtown" Chinandega. Mind you, this is a small town. We then loaded up his SUV with my gear and drove a few blocks over to his house where I was shown to my room and made a quick presto-change-o into my civvies. As I walk out of my room, Enrique calls me over to his office where he's pulling together a small armament it seems, putting a hand-gun and munitions together in a case.

"We've got to run a quick errand before we go out to dinner" he says. Wow, a quick errand??

We're not in Kansas anymore, are we Tigger?

On one of Enrique's farms where he's growing watermelon, he's been hit several times by some locals stealing at night the crop as it is nearing time for harvest. His care-taker had called to say that he was alone, had no food and that the "invasores" were back. Getting out there to scare off the vagrants needed to be taken care of quickly. I hoped in the Land Cruiser and we headed off. A few blocks away we stopped at a local food stand to pick up some grub for the farmhand - a big plate of chicken, gallo pinto (rice and beans), fried plantain, and some salad. Man did it look good. The whole plate was only $2.50 - incredible.



We rode out to the farm on the outskirts of town and parked in the middle of a mango tree grove. There we stood a small knoll,in the dark, with the headlights shining up into the branches. Out of the darkness came some*rustling*and two figures emerged - the farm boss and a small boy with a machete that was twice his size.

The conversation went something like this.

Enrique - "I got an urgent call from the farmhand, he told me that we had those vagrants here again, he wanted the gun to scare them off and he mentioned he hadn't eaten"

Farmboss - "I got here a little while ago and I went over the hill to check on things and things look alright now"

Enrique - "Ok, sounds good, I've got some food for the caretaker, get him fed... *and keep me posted if anything else happens"

We then headed back to town, picked up Enrique's wife and sister-in-law and headed out for dinner. This is what life is actually like in these rural small towns in Nicaragua... par for the course.
__________________
__________________________________________________ _________________
Adventure Bound
http://2wheelchronicle.com
Facebook
Twitter: @2wheelchronicle
Cousteau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2013, 09:32 PM   #6
Cousteau OP
...seeking adventure
 
Cousteau's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Guatemala City / Washington, DC
Oddometer: 61
Day 4 - Centuries past, Aunt Nelly, and the Bugfest

Chinandega is a*wondrous*place.*I've been feeling the normal accelerated pace slowing here, allowing me to appreciate the richness of the small things.



 



 





 

The town was established in the late 18th century and even today there are hidden jewels throughout the town. Behind some of the rustic looking streets are some incredible ancient homes of this tropical land, some dating back nearly 300 years. I visited one owned by my friend Enrique's Aunt Nelly.



 



This lovely lady lives in one of these amazing homes. Behind a nondescript wall down a side street is the entrance to a long overhang with the layout of several sitting rooms that overlook an internal courtyard with abundant vegetation. This was at one point one of the first universities in Nicaragua and also served as Seminary. This property was once the size of an entire city block, but little by little parcels were sold off. One of the larger southern corners of the property was donated in early 1900 to the Church where the church of San Antonio was built.



 

Ms. Nelly in her own right has had an incredible life filled with adventures. At age 20, mind you this is in the early 1950's, she left Chinandega for Mexico City with her younger sister of 15. At the time Mexico was in it's Golden Age of music and cinema where young Nelly had a chance to rub shoulders with some of the more prominent artists like Agustin Lara.

She returned to Chinandega and married an American*crop-duster by the name of Leon Willer, a man with a great entrepreneurial*spirit, but often got into ambitious projects that were simply outside his reach. He ended up loosing a significant part of the family's savings in a land-tilling deal and Ms. Nelly had to then take the reigns of the family holdings. She turned out to be a savvy business lady and kicked off a long and fruitful tradition of a matriarchal business.

Later that day, we went out to have lunch on the coast to the port town of Corinto. This is the point where locals take their boats out to go deep sea fishing. We enjoyed the cool breeze coming off the surf and while we put away a few frosty Victoria's and an amazing fish filet. Surf's up!



We then made our way back to Chinandega, packed, changed and I headed to Managua. I was having such a good time, that I actually left a little late. Headed out around 3:45 by the time I made it out of town. About an hour and a half later, as dusk was upon me, I went through a bug storm of biblical proportions. There were coming at me at such a rate that in a matter of a two minutes I could no longer see through my visor. They even made it into my helmet through the airvents. I had to stop to clean the visor, which I did it with the eyes closed *as they swarmed all around - they were going into my ears and my nostrils. I had to keep blowing air out used water from my camel back as I smeared the dead carcases from my visor. After a few miles I did what it says on the shampoo bottle - rinse, and wash again.

I made it into Managua and met my friend Marissa who had made arrangements at an inexpensive hotel, dropped the gear, took a quick shower, and we headed out for a bite. Had some amazing Carpaccio to wrap up the night.
__________________
__________________________________________________ _________________
Adventure Bound
http://2wheelchronicle.com
Facebook
Twitter: @2wheelchronicle
Cousteau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2013, 09:43 PM   #7
Cousteau OP
...seeking adventure
 
Cousteau's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Guatemala City / Washington, DC
Oddometer: 61
Posting a little behind

Currently made it into Panama today - 400+km today from San Jose, CR to David. Headed to San Carlos tomorrow, then onto Panama City, and load the bike on the Independence on the 24th.
__________________
__________________________________________________ _________________
Adventure Bound
http://2wheelchronicle.com
Facebook
Twitter: @2wheelchronicle
Cousteau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2013, 07:28 PM   #8
Cousteau OP
...seeking adventure
 
Cousteau's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Guatemala City / Washington, DC
Oddometer: 61
It's never like in the movies

Well, although I am enjoying immensely the adventure, the part about sharing this with others is not going as planned.

The picture I had in my mind, as from what I had read others do, was to start early in the day, stop around 2ish, have a bite, explore, and then have a few hours to write, reflect and get my ideas down about what I've been up to. Well, getting going in the morning has not been as easy as I thought because either I'm tired or simply pulling all the gear together and get moving is taking longer, so instead of heading out around 7ish, it's closer to 9ish. Then tack onto that checking the bike, finding gas, and plugging all the gear up for the day up - charging batteries, camera, phone, etc.

Also, the riding is taking longer than expected as I am not riding terribly fast plus the roads in many of these countries are simply crap. At one point, a stretch of about 70kms in Honduras near the border with Nicaragua was so bad that instead of taking me a little over an hour, it was closer to 2:30. It looked like it has been carpet-bombed. Some of the craters were a 1/2 meter deep. You go into one of those and your trip is over.

I'm now at my good friend's Victoria's house in San Carlos, Panama, about an hour and half outside of Panama City. It's one of these sleepy little towns that's all of six blocks long by six blocks wide and a small central park. My plan is to hang out here and chill for a couple of days and catch up on my writing and finish the intro... so hang in there... many stories are on there way...

My impressions on Central America... you may be surprised as to where you should consider visiting and wheree I suggest you may invest... Pitstop in Costa Rica for work and unexpected new friends... and my butt would be sore if only it would stop raining.

We'll be right back after these messages...
__________________
__________________________________________________ _________________
Adventure Bound
http://2wheelchronicle.com
Facebook
Twitter: @2wheelchronicle

Cousteau screwed with this post 04-22-2013 at 08:04 AM
Cousteau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2013, 09:15 PM   #9
blacktruck
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2012
Location: Middle earth
Oddometer: 168
Thumb Been there years ago....

Seems like a lifetime ago I was in Central America on a couple of military missions. I would love to go back through there again. Keep it up and let us all know how it's going. I loved the area when I was there. I hope to do a trip like this one day myself.
Thanks for sharing....
Ken
__________________
Anywhere is home
blacktruck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2013, 02:48 PM   #10
Cousteau OP
...seeking adventure
 
Cousteau's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Guatemala City / Washington, DC
Oddometer: 61
Glad to have you onboard

Quote:
Originally Posted by blacktruck View Post
Seems like a lifetime ago I was in Central America on a couple of military missions. I would love to go back through there again. Keep it up and let us all know how it's going. I loved the area when I was there. I hope to do a trip like this one day myself.
Thanks for sharing....
Ken
Hi Ken, thanks for following along. Central America is changing by leaps and bounds. I don´t know in which era your mission brought you to this region, but if it had to do anything with Nicaragua, you would not recognize the place. I've been coming for work to the region and I had only not been in Managua for the last four years and I actually got lost. If you have a chance, bike or no bike, I fully heartedly recommend you make your way down here.
__________________
__________________________________________________ _________________
Adventure Bound
http://2wheelchronicle.com
Facebook
Twitter: @2wheelchronicle
Cousteau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2013, 04:11 PM   #11
Cousteau OP
...seeking adventure
 
Cousteau's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Guatemala City / Washington, DC
Oddometer: 61
From Managua to Granada - a day or rest

Woke this morning in a reflective mood and started my day by checking the laundry. It still had a few hours to go, so I popped down to my office to start the day. Not a bad place to work.



I’ve been feeling a bit rushed through Central America. I had been waiting for the last of my gear to arrive into Guatemala and so I pushed back about six days my date of departure. I had about 11 days make to down to Panama to load the bike aboard the Independence. Normally this sounds like plenty of time to go the near 2,400 ams, but needing to average about 250kms/day on average doesn’t leave much time to take things in. In the end, I needed to leave without the last of my gear and get on with things. Lesson learned, just take off and get it shipped later – hind sight is 20/20.

Granda however puts you just in the right mood. Only a short 35 min ride up Carretera Masaya, I stayed at this little hotel off the main Calzada where everything happens, Hotel Jerico.



The whole vibe of the place screams just one thing – CHILL… and that is exactly what I did.

The last few days were long time in the saddle and even small movements of my shoulders, neck, and back were producing splintering pain. I check-in, dropped my gear, peel off my riding pants and jacket, pulled on some shorts and a T-shirt. Made a right at the hotel entrance and walked down about a block and a half. There I found my salvation – Cocoberry Spa – OH YEAAA!!! Walk right in and was offered a cool glass of water while I looked over the menu.

Aha! a mid-tissue massage, that’ll work. A minute later I was being led up a spiral staircase and left to change and get on the massage table face down. I think I must have been really tired, as the tenseness of the miles just melted away as her strong hands just went into my shoulder blades and next thing I knew, I awoke from a deep slumber. The masseuse whispered in my ear saying “Por favor dese la vuelta” – that was 60 minutes of pure bliss and physical renovation. Best $20 I’ve spent in a long time.

Next order of business, now that the body got some maintenance, the food bag. A friend of mine recommended Roadhouse Grill right up the Calzada. There I met “Rico Suave” – who you say? Yes, every town, and even more so those that are touristy, have a Rico Suave. Some of you may recall a video game called Leisure Suit Larry… well, this is the live version of this stereotype.

I walk in the door and he comes right up to me, shakes my hand like I’m his long lost friend and starts trying to guess where I’m from. After about the 12 attempt, I ask if he just wants me to tell him as this may go a whole lot faster. He then goes on to tell me that his daughter has a house in Baja… ok, and I’m interested in this little gem because why? This is followed by asking me if I’m interested in cigars… “sorry, I don’t smoke – anything” he then excuses himself and heads over to talk to these two blonds – obviously a much richer opportunity for a slickster like this. Here he is putting on his best game.



After some food, I went out walking for a bit and enjoying the town. It is simply amazing how much Granda has changed. I had first visited Nicaragua and Granda specifically in May 1998 – 15 years ago. It was a sleepy run-down town that had seen better days. Most of the buildings were in disrepair and the cathedral was in bad shape. Over the years when I worked in Nicaragua I visited Granada many times, and once even had the chance to go into a house of one of my colleagues whose family still lived in there. It was like stepping through time. I could honestly say that Granda was 15 years ago what Chinandega is today.









However, Granda has changed entirely, focusing on tourism. It is like Antigua with the added bonus that it sits on one of the largest lakes in the Americas, so large in fact that it generates waves and is rumored to have fresh water sharks. Touring through the “isletas” with a cooler of iced beers chatting away with friends is one of my favorite memories of Nicaragua. I’m so glad this town is being rescued and turned into not only a source of income for the local economy, but saving a piece of the past.
__________________
__________________________________________________ _________________
Adventure Bound
http://2wheelchronicle.com
Facebook
Twitter: @2wheelchronicle
Cousteau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2013, 04:14 PM   #12
Cousteau OP
...seeking adventure
 
Cousteau's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Guatemala City / Washington, DC
Oddometer: 61
From Managua to Granada - a day of rest

Woke this morning in a reflective mood and started my day by checking the laundry. It still had a few hours to go, so I popped down to my office to start the day. Not a bad place to work.



I’ve been feeling a bit rushed through Central America. I had been waiting for the last of my gear to arrive into Guatemala and so I pushed back about six days my date of departure. I had about 11 days make to down to Panama to load the bike aboard the Independence. Normally this sounds like plenty of time to go the near 2,400 ams, but needing to average about 250kms/day on average doesn’t leave much time to take things in. In the end, I needed to leave without the last of my gear and get on with things. Lesson learned, just take off and get it shipped later – hind sight is 20/20.

Granda however puts you just in the right mood. Only a short 35 min ride up Carretera Masaya, I stayed at this little hotel off the main Calzada where everything happens, Hotel Jerico.



The whole vibe of the place screams just one thing – CHILL… and that is exactly what I did.

The last few days were long time in the saddle and even small movements of my shoulders, neck, and back were producing splintering pain. I check-in, dropped my gear, peel off my riding pants and jacket, pulled on some shorts and a T-shirt. Made a right at the hotel entrance and walked down about a block and a half. There I found my salvation – Cocoberry Spa – OH YEAAA!!! Walk right in and was offered a cool glass of water while I looked over the menu.

Aha! a mid-tissue massage, that’ll work. A minute later I was being led up a spiral staircase and left to change and get on the massage table face down. I think I must have been really tired, as the tenseness of the miles just melted away as her strong hands just went into my shoulder blades and next thing I knew, I awoke from a deep slumber. The masseuse whispered in my ear saying “Por favor dese la vuelta” – that was 60 minutes of pure bliss and physical renovation. Best $20 I’ve spent in a long time.

Next order of business, now that the body got some maintenance, the food bag. A friend of mine recommended Roadhouse Grill right up the Calzada. There I met “Rico Suave” – who you say? Yes, every town, and even more so those that are touristy, have a Rico Suave. Some of you may recall a video game called Leisure Suit Larry… well, this is the live version of this stereotype.

I walk in the door and he comes right up to me, shakes my hand like I’m his long lost friend and starts trying to guess where I’m from. After about the 12 attempt, I ask if he just wants me to tell him as this may go a whole lot faster. He then goes on to tell me that his daughter has a house in Baja… ok, and I’m interested in this little gem because why? This is followed by asking me if I’m interested in cigars… “sorry, I don’t smoke – anything” he then excuses himself and heads over to talk to these two blonds – obviously a much richer opportunity for a slickster like this. Here he is putting on his best game.



After some food, I went out walking for a bit and enjoying the town. It is simply amazing how much Granda has changed. I had first visited Nicaragua and Granda specifically in May 1998 – 15 years ago. It was a sleepy run-down town that had seen better days. Most of the buildings were in disrepair and the cathedral was in bad shape. Over the years when I worked in Nicaragua I visited Granada many times, and once even had the chance to go into a house of one of my colleagues whose family still lived in there. It was like stepping through time. I could honestly say that Granda was 15 years ago what Chinandega is today.









However, Granda has changed entirely, focusing on tourism. It is like Antigua with the added bonus that it sits on one of the largest lakes in the Americas, so large in fact that it generates waves and is rumored to have fresh water sharks. Touring through the “isletas” with a cooler of iced beers chatting away with friends is one of my favorite memories of Nicaragua. I’m so glad this town is being rescued and turned into not only a source of income for the local economy, but saving a piece of the past.
__________________
__________________________________________________ _________________
Adventure Bound
http://2wheelchronicle.com
Facebook
Twitter: @2wheelchronicle
Cousteau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2013, 07:45 PM   #13
Cousteau OP
...seeking adventure
 
Cousteau's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Guatemala City / Washington, DC
Oddometer: 61
Catching up now...

Sorry for the long pause. I´ve been on a boat, the Independence, crossing the Darien Gap. I'm in Cartagena now and will do my absolute best to get everyone up to speed on the last week+ of activities... stayed tuned... the stories are going to be coming shortly. I'll leave you with this amazing sunset in the Islas San Blas during my crossing.

Cheers!

__________________
__________________________________________________ _________________
Adventure Bound
http://2wheelchronicle.com
Facebook
Twitter: @2wheelchronicle
Cousteau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2013, 07:49 PM   #14
Cousteau OP
...seeking adventure
 
Cousteau's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Guatemala City / Washington, DC
Oddometer: 61
Into Costa Rica

I left Granada early in the day and headed for the border with Costa Rica. The drive down was pretty spectacular, as I headed near the coast in Rivas. As I crested a hill, I was struck by an unending field of wind turbines.



Nicaragua is the second poorest country in Latin America after Haiti and they've had an energy crisis for the last eight years, with constant brownouts throughout the day. In Managua, the capital, these usually were programmed to start around 2 in the afternoon. The government even changed it's schedule to operate from 7AM through 1:30 strait through. This was setup as a measure for energy conservation, but also because of the crisis. During the peak of the energy crisis, there was even a generator ship stationed off of the coast feeding the electrical grid.

Today Nicaragua has a steady flow of energy as new energy projects have come online. Some are diesel generator dependent, but it's nice to see these massive wind farms off the Pacific coast.

As I kept driving through the fields of windmills, I also hit swarms of butterflies right as I got close to the border. Getting through the border was really non-eventful, with the exception that on the Costa Rican side I ended up having to go back and forth between two of the Customs offices and wait around for truckers to put through their paperwork. Basically I lost three and half hours going through the motions.



It was then getting late in the day, and I still had a few hours of riding before I got to San Jose, where Carlos and Carolina, my hosts for the next few days, were waiting for me to arrive. Right as it was getting to dusk, I started to climb from the coast through the tropical rain forrest, and rain it did. I hit a massive downpour and thought about pulling over, but for some reason, many of the highways in Costa Rica do not have shoulders, so I had to keep going - slow and steady. I finally came up behind an 18 wheeler and just followed the red lights as we made our way through the arching canopy that covered the road. The rain was simply merciless.

About an hour later, the rain dried and the temperature stopped as I continued to climb. Long lines of traffic started to form as heavy trucks were making their way up to San Jose. I passed most of these groups and rolled into San Jose around 8:30pm arriving utterly exhausted after an intense day of riding.

I tried to chat with Carlos and Carolina when I arrive, but I was just to tired to form complete sentences. Fortunately they were having a practice session with their church singing group. This allowed me to quickly eat the meal they had left for me and excuse myself to my room. I was out by 9:20pm and did not arise until the next day at around 7ish.
__________________
__________________________________________________ _________________
Adventure Bound
http://2wheelchronicle.com
Facebook
Twitter: @2wheelchronicle
Cousteau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2013, 08:45 PM   #15
Cousteau OP
...seeking adventure
 
Cousteau's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Guatemala City / Washington, DC
Oddometer: 61
A break from traveling and taking care of some work responsibilities

We have a business unit in my company that implements an ERP called Openbravo. We have several clients in Costa Rica and I thought to take a break from riding and go visit some of my clients.

In the morning after breakfast I pulled out the bucket and gave the bike a much needed bath.



Riding through the rain and muck the day before, it was time to give Tigger a wash. I then headed out to meet a colleague, followed by a lunch interview and finally headed out to meet my client, Laboratorios Faryvet, one of the largest producers a food and dietary supplements for livestock in Central America.



This was my first visit with them, so I got a tour of the installations. They are in the process of building a massive facility that will more than double their production capacity, and allow them to diversify to begin to produce dietary supplements for humans as well.

That evening I went back to my hosts home and we all worked a bit.



Carlos and Carolina were preparing their materials for a church retreat they would be heading to the next morning and I needed to catch up on some writing and picture editing. We had some great conversation and I had a late supper and headed to bed. The next morning I was off to David and crossing into Panama.
__________________
__________________________________________________ _________________
Adventure Bound
http://2wheelchronicle.com
Facebook
Twitter: @2wheelchronicle
Cousteau is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 06:14 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014