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Old 07-17-2013, 06:23 PM   #31
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Great RR, the burnt off clothes picture was funny as hell!!!!
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:12 AM   #32
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Eh? Riding Through The Fear: Esteli, Matagalpa & Laguna de Apoyo

Kelly went home. Despite us begging for her to stay and threatening to kidnap her, she returned to Canada and her work commitments leaving us feeling bereft. At least we still have micro-Kelly.

Regular size Kelly is much more fun - we miss her!

We spent that day doing laundry, planning our next move, and enjoying Reyna's amazing hospitality for one last night. Phil had been up at 5am to drive Kelly to the airport, so he had some sleep to catch up on as well.
The next morning we set off back up to Esteli to see our friends Ivan and Priscilla and meet their children Lara and Teo.

Ivan, Lara and Teo ©Priscilla


Lara and Priscilla

We had stopped there our first night in Nicaragua, but arrived late and left early, and didn't even get a chance to see the kids. They welcomed us back and we became instant friends and playmates with Lara. Teo is an incredibly happy and well behaved baby.

These are two awesome kids

Priscilla is a wonderful photographer. She took some very fun pictures of Phil and Lara.

Lara is thrilled with the giant monster ©Priscilla


Brave monster goes after the scary giant ©Priscilla


Nurse/Vet Phil prepares for his patient ©Priscilla


Phil puts his nursing skills to good use. Anti-tick shot for the dog

Ivan and Priscilla told us all about Costa Rica, which is where they are originally from, and fed us mangos from their tree, which Phil managed to fall out of the next day.

Phil enjoys a mango from the tree in beautiful lighting ©Priscilla

Despite spending so much time at his mum's house, we had never actually met Salvador (Salcar on ADVrider). He and his friends Bruno, JD and Fabricio were riding from the Caribbean back to Managua, so we arranged to meet them in Matagalpa. As we entered town we passed 4 men on motorbikes going the other way - it was them! We pulled a u-turn and followed them into the hotel parking lot. We'd all arrived in town at exactly the same time. We had barely parked the bikes and met everyone when a Honda TransAlp with two riders pulled up. Oliver and Heather who we'd met on the beach in Las Penitas!

Arriving at the Matagalpa Inn

We did some tough negotiating at the hotel, which was much posher than we would normally stay in, and by agreeing to not use the air conditioning we got a room for $30US including breakfast.

JD and his rubber ducky mascot

Salvador had just finished his trip through Africa and had lots of stories to tell. We all went out for dinner and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. JD, a fellow Canadian, very generously bought our dinner - Thanks JD!!!

The whole gang: Bruno, JD, Oliver, Heather, Fabricio, Salvador, Phil and me

Oliver and Heather will be meeting up with a friend from Wales in Costa Rica, and provided us with a hope of getting a battery for our star-crossed GoPro. We ordered one to be delivered to their friend and we're hoping that it makes it in time.
The next morning our short but sweet motorcycle party was over, everyone went their separate ways. The staff at the hotel were extremely helpful and hopped in their car to lead us to a place down the street where I could change my oil. It turned out to be a small hardware store, which seemed to have everything we could possibly want.

Oil change in front of our favourite shop in Matagalpa

I upgraded to 20W50 oil from the 15W40 I have been running. We also bought replacement fuses, a new tire pressure gauge, Nicaragua stickers for our boxes and a socket set to replace the one lost in my stolen bag. I changed my oil out front while chatting to one of the guys who works in the hotel and Phil did his long overdue "doohickey" adjustment. (Very easy to do, except that his crashbars prevent him from accessing it and so he has to loosen them, and his skidplate, just to loosen and re-tighten a bolt.)
We were ready to head South again, and after debating the pros and cons of going the opposite side of Lake Nicaragua and over a boarder crossing that we knew would involve one of us taking a bus into Costa Rica to buy insurance, we decided instead to make a second attempt at reaching Laguna Apoyo.

Laguna Apoyo

For a popular tourist destination, Laguna Apoyo is very difficult to get to. Despite internet research, when we got to the village of Catarina, and the viewpoint they have there looking over the Laguna, no one seemed to know how to actually get down to the shore. We bought a few mangos from a roadside stall, and I pulled up a website on my phone. It said there was also a road down from a nearby town, Diria, so we rode there to see if we could find someone who knew the way.
In the town square I asked a couple of ladies about the road down, they agreed that there was a road down, but expressed concern about the road conditions and whether we'd make it down on our bikes. My heart dropped at their suggestion of it being a difficult road. I hate difficult roads.
A male friend of theirs came over to see what the gringa on a motorcycle wanted and told me the road was straight ahead and that we'd make it down "no problema".
Note to self: Always listen to women when they express doubt over road conditions. Men don't know what their talking about.
We rode on about a block to where the road forked. I wasn't sure which way we needed to go, but a man on a motorbike who looked about 100 years old told us that it was straight ahead, a 4km road and that he could make it down on his bike so we'd be fine.
I started giving myself a pep talk. "It's only 4km." "It can't be that bad." "Just stay calm."
We rode through the parking lot of a lookout point and the road became two brick tire tracks. Better than just a muddy track, but still less than ideal. Especially when navigating steep, tight turns where the mud between the two tracks had been washed out.

Not my favourite sight

3.8km down the road forked with three unappealing options. Phil went down the most likely looking one and came back up moments later reporting a tree across the road. He checked out the one on the right that looked pretty overgrown, and reported back that it was also impassable, that left us with option number three. It was starting to get dark.

Jayne and the giant mud hole.

Phil rode down road number three, and I reluctantly followed, stopping at a giant muddy puddle after some rough, hole and rock filled sections. Phil showed up again shortly after, reporting that this road was one that I would not like, seemed to connect some private properties, and did not appear to go down to the lake.
After having explored all the options, Phil decided that the first one he went down with the tree across the road was the one we needed. He went on ahead and by the time I reached the fork again, I decided to just leave my bike there and walk down to the tree. Phil was having none of that and went back up and rode my bike down the hill.
When Phil said there was a tree across the road he wasn't joking:

No bikes getting through

There was no getting around THAT tree!
We pitched our tent on the road on the other side of the tree in the last moments of daylight. A short walk down the road revealed that yes, this was indeed the road that led to the lake shore.

Our middle of the road campsite.

We decided that what we needed was a campfire, and Phil pulled down a couple of dead trees for the purpose. The tree that had fallen on the road was still too fresh to burn well.
In the morning I woke up and wandered down to the lake to find Phil writing in his journal on the peaceful lake shore.

Phil wasn't in the tent when I woke up - this is how I found him

We went for a swim and ate our remaining mangos before packing up to head to Costa Rica.

Morning dip in the Volcano Crater


Wildlife watching us pack up


Who's beard is longer?

This is when the trouble started. I rode my bike up the steep rocky, horrible hill (what Phil calls "a technical section") to where the roads forked, but stopped when it was still too steep to keep Cricket upright. We slid backwards before going over.

Not happy about right now.

Phil helped me pick her up and then he headed up the hill. I always feel very shaken after dropping my bike, and I was not looking forward to the 3km climb out of the lake crater. I talked myself into it and reluctantly started up the slope. I hadn't gone 10 meters when I dropped Cricket again. This time Phil was long gone, so I started unpacking my stuff to make the bike lighter so I could pick it up on my own. Except I couldn't. Every time I got it part way up my feet and the tires would start sliding down the hill.

At least the tree canopy is beautiful

By the time Phil realised I wasn't behind him and had walked down the hill to find me, I was a tearful mess. We got Cricket back up and loaded, but I was really not happy. Phil rode my bike up a few hundred meters to where the road flattened a little, and I took over from there.
Phil decided to follow me up the rest of the hill. He wasn't impressed at how slowly I rode up, although he did say I had very good balance, because he couldn't stay on the narrow bricked tire track at my speed as well as I did. I managed to get up the rest of the road without dropping my bike again, although there were moments where I was very close. Accelerating out of those moments was all that saved me.
As always when riding offroad, I hated pretty much every second of it. It is on those rides that I fantasize about trading my bike in for a vehicle with four wheels, and make plans to find other riders for Phil to go on offroad adventures with while I stick to the tarmac. I feel tremendous pressure to go with Phil because he loves it so much, and I don't want to leave him to go on his own with no support if something goes wrong. Still I find it impossible to convince myself that I'll enjoy off-roading one day if I just keep doing it.
Isn't it enough that I'm riding my own motorbike across two continents? Most women wouldn't even consider doing that. Do I really have to love offroad as well?
I've thought about this issue a lot. When we were riding up to, and in, Alaska, we rode on a lot of unpaved roads (the Top of The World Highway comes to mind). When I was riding those roads I didn't hate it, I didn't panic, I didn't get worried, and shaky and miserable. It's only since after The Crash that I've had those problems. And I wasn't even driving when we crashed.
I think it's possible, likely even, that having a concussion, and no memory of nearly a whole day of my life has caused me to intensely dislike riding roads in bad condition. It first surfaced in Arizona, where I nearly ran over another motorcyclist's head on the Oso Road, and it has been an issue ever since.
It's not that I don't have the knowledge and skills to navigate these roads, I've taken lessons, and I usually get over the rough sections unharmed. I just simply do not enjoy the process, and have no desire to put myself through it.
I think it's like people who are scared of heights, they know they will be fine, but they panic anyways.
I don't know how things are going to progress on this front. I'm not doing this trip to be miserable, but I also have no desire to hold Phil back. I certainly will be taking the paved route whenever there is one, and hope to find other riders to go with Phil on offroad adventures when the opportunity arises. We'll work something out.

Phil and Jugs do yoga as we pass the viewpoint on the way out

In this case, we made it out in one piece, and we were on our way to the glorious beauty of one of the wettest countries in the world - Costa Rica.
Just had to get over the border first.
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:51 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UltiJayne View Post
As always when riding offroad, I hated pretty much every second of it. It is on those rides that I fantasize about trading my bike in for a vehicle with four wheels, and make plans to find other riders for Phil to go on offroad adventures with while I stick to the tarmac. I feel tremendous pressure to go with Phil because he loves it so much, and I don't want to leave him to go on his own with no support if something goes wrong. Still I find it impossible to convince myself that I'll enjoy off-roading one day if I just keep doing it.
Isn't it enough that I'm riding my own motorbike across two continents? Most women wouldn't even consider doing that. Do I really have to love offroad as well?
I've thought about this issue a lot. When we were riding up to, and in, Alaska, we rode on a lot of unpaved roads (the Top of The World Highway comes to mind). When I was riding those roads I didn't hate it, I didn't panic, I didn't get worried, and shaky and miserable. It's only since after The Crash that I've had those problems. And I wasn't even driving when we crashed.
I think it's possible, likely even, that having a concussion, and no memory of nearly a whole day of my life has caused me to intensely dislike riding roads in bad condition. It first surfaced in Arizona, where I nearly ran over another motorcyclist's head on the Oso Road, and it has been an issue ever since.
It's not that I don't have the knowledge and skills to navigate these roads, I've taken lessons, and I usually get over the rough sections unharmed. I just simply do not enjoy the process, and have no desire to put myself through it.
I think it's like people who are scared of heights, they know they will be fine, but they panic anyways.
I don't know how things are going to progress on this front. I'm not doing this trip to be miserable, but I also have no desire to hold Phil back. I certainly will be taking the paved route whenever there is one, and hope to find other riders to go with Phil on offroad adventures when the opportunity arises. We'll work something out.
Hi Jayne,

I understand every word you talked about here. I was facing the same kind of issue while riding with Andi. We have to find any opportunity for Andi to go on a ride with some other guys to enjoy "riding", otherwise, he will gone mad just riding easy bits and riding with "slow wife". I have to say, sometimes I wish I still riding, but the stress caused for Andi because he worries about me is not worth it. There is always plus and minus while doing a huge trip like this. Our new approach is we settle down at one place and do a few day trips, maybe sometimes Andi will go with others and I will just chill out at basecamp. I'm sure you will find a balance between Phil having fun and you enjoy your time too.

Looking forward your next report

Cheers
Ellen
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Old 07-21-2013, 11:49 PM   #34
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Eek Contains 4% of the World's Biodiversity and at Least Two Canadians: Costa Rica

There was a sale the day we left Nicaragua. 1 litre bottles of 7 year Flor del Caña rum for 238 cordobas ($9). We bought two.


As we were in a shopping mood, we stopped at a ferreteria (hardware store) and Phil bought a machete for $4. He came out to show it to me, debating buying a fancy leather sheath for it.

That's not a knife.

When he told me it was only another $6 I told him to just buy it. Our budget can stand it and he'd been talking about buying a machete since Mexico!

The guy on the bike is jealous of Phil's new machete holder


While Phil decided how to attach his new purchase to his bike, I chatted with the oldest lady in the world. She was sweet until she started asking for money.

Laden with rum and a huge knife, we stopped in Rivas for lunch and a boot shine. (Gotta love these inexpensive, time saving services in Latin America, available wherever you happen to be sitting.)

Happiness is shiny boots

While waiting for our pizza, and having our boots shined by a very jovial Nica, I felt the guy at the table behind me shifting his chair into mine. The tables were packed pretty tightly on the sidewalk, but when I looked back at him he had his arm draped very unnaturally behind his chair. I gave him a withering look and passed Phil my riding jacket, which until then had been hanging on the back of my chair.


Shortly afterwards the two guys left, without ever having ordered anything. As soon as they left our ever accommodating boot shining man told us he had kept his eye on those two for us, because he was sure they were trying to rob us.

This was after the scoundrels left.

Glad I trusted my instincts and moved my jacket!


Phil hadn't realised all this was going on and was disappointed he hadn't had the opportunity to confront the would-be thieves. He has sworn to chop the pinky finger off anyone he catches stealing from us. It would have been an interesting first use of his new machete!


After demolishing a "family size" pizza, we took ourselves and our shiny boots to the Costa Rican border at Peñas Blancas.


Our pockets were still full of Nicaraguan Cordobas, so we decided to spend them on gasoline. Except there wasn't a gas station to be found anywhere in the small border town.


Not to be deterred, we discovered the man at the corner store, who sells 850 litres of fuel a week, from various 1 gallon containers. He happily filled our tanks and accepted all our coins and remaining Nica currency.

Nicaraguan Gas Station

Jayne's Guide to Crossing the Nicaragua/Costa Rica Border:

When entering the border keep left. Don't follow all the big trucks, the uniformed man at the gate will send you back. Once you go the correct way, a man will ask to see your bike import docs and will sign and date them. This is a "sign" of things to come. You will need 5 or 6 signatures on your doc before you are allowed out of Nicaragua.



Phil's view of me getting our first signature

First take your passports to be stamped out. On the way to the counter you'll pass a lady in a box wanting a dollar for local tax. The man who stamps your passport will want a form filled out and two dollars. (Both payable in Cordobas, or if you've spent all your Cordobas on gas, US dollars are accepted.)

Where the magic happens, passports on the right, everything else on the left

After getting our passports sorted, I was at a loss for where to go next. So I asked a lady selling insurance. She said I had to find the customs man. When I asked her which building he was in she shook her head and looked around the crowd outside. Turns out the customs man doesn't have an office. You just have to find him wandering around.


Luckily for me, my lady spotted him coming out of the washrooms, and sent me to go catch him. I hesitantly asked him what I needed to do to export our motos. He smiled and took our paperwork, asking where we parked the bikes.

Happy Jayne while customs man inspects Cricket.

I walked him over to the bikes. He was like a disheveled pied piper, as he inspected the VIN numbers on our bikes, more and more people gathered around, trying to get his attention. He studiously ignored them while he stamped and signed our paperwork. I asked him where I needed to go next and he said I needed to see the policia. Deja vu as I asked where I would find the policeman and he started looking through the crowd. Turns out that, like the customs man, there is only one policeman, and he hides in the crowd too!

Can you spot the policia in this picture? Hint: He's wearing the blue shirt.

Studiously ignoring the growing gaggle of people trying to get his attention, the customs man walked me back over to the building and found the policeman chatting up one of the insurance ladies. Customs man provided our paperwork to the policia to sign and stamp before showing me the line to stand in for our next signature. What great service!


This final queue was nearly my undoing. All the other signatures had been quick and easy, but this line was moving glacially, and I was melting from the extreme heat. I made friends with the fan hanging from the ceiling, and after what seemed like years, I finally collected our last stamps. I think this lady was cancelling our import permits, but I never found out exactly.


The man at the gate counted the signatures on our documents, and let us through into Costa Rica.


There should be a word for the exasperation one feels between borders. You are stuck in no-man's land and you know that in order to go anywhere you have a long, tedious process ahead.


Entering Costa Rica wasn't bad. There was no line for "migracion" to get our passports stamped.

I've since learnt that sometimes the queue for migracion takes up this whole space and more... We were lucky.

Across the road there is a man in a box. He wants you to fill out a form and give him a copy of everything. License, title document, passport photo page, stamp they just put in your passport and insurance.

Talking to the man in the box

Unfortunately to buy the insurance you have to drive about 500 meters down the road and take an unmarked road to an unmarked window in an unmarked building. There you buy 3 months insurance for $30, get some copies made across the parking lot, then drive back to the man in the box. The insurance and the copies (10 for $1) were the only things we had to pay for.

Buy insurance on the left, get bike import docs through the door on the right

Give box man your copies, which he will check and give back to you with a slip of paper. Then drive back to the unmarked building (I think it does say Aduana over the door you are now looking for).


Give the people in there your stack of papers, and they will give you your bike import doc.


Leave a sticker on their window for prosperity.


Realise that your Nica SIM cards no longer work and you can't call your couchsurf host.



3 hours later - Freedom!

Welcome to the country with 4% of the world's biodiversity but only 0.3% of it's landmass - Costa Rica!
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Old 07-22-2013, 07:12 AM   #35
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Laguna Apoyo

We were taking to the lake by Aaron on a big van with his family and had great time there. It went through from one of his friends private property. I think we were very lucky.

This where we came down to the lake

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Old 07-22-2013, 02:47 PM   #36
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Phil/Jayne, glad you guys decided to co-blog on this site.

It's been how many miles since you visited us in Ventura? I'm actually interested in a tire report, as it is now time to replace my own. By the way, traded the 1200GS for an 800GS - much more off road oriented.

Cam
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:17 PM   #37
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...
If you are in Nicaragua, I highly recommend a stop in at the Bigfoot hostel. It's cheap (6$), and they run an amazing trip to slide down the Cerro Negro volcano. You might die, but you'll have had a blast on your way out. Oh, and ride to Leon on the old "highway". I recommend that too.

...
It looks like fun and definitely something I would consider.. what is the name of town it is in? Sorry if I missed it..
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:05 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cam805 View Post
Phil/Jayne, glad you guys decided to co-blog on this site.

It's been how many miles since you visited us in Ventura? I'm actually interested in a tire report, as it is now time to replace my own. By the way, traded the 1200GS for an 800GS - much more off road oriented.

Cam
Hi Cam!

As you know we put Avon Gripsters on when we were in California. (Well Phil kept his Kenda on the front but that's a whole different story.) Phil recently changed his rear to a Continental TKC. I'm still running the Gripsters, but will need a new rear soon.

We've ridden just over 18,000 km since we stayed with you in November.

Lighter is better for off road every time!!

Hope all is great!

Jayne
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:07 PM   #39
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It looks like fun and definitely something I would consider.. what is the name of town it is in? Sorry if I missed it..
The tours are all run out of Leon, Nicaragua. Although apparently if you drive out to Cerro Negro (the volcano) you can rent boards there yourself. We had a lot of fun doing it with a group.
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:12 PM   #40
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Talking Live Like You Are Dying: One Year on The Road

It was one year ago today that my brother Phil and I packed up our motorcycles (Kawasaki KLR 650s) and left Vancouver heading towards the Arctic Circle.

Blown away by Jayne's first ever full day of winding roads. Canada July 2012

It's been a long ride - 10 countries, over 40,000 km, 10 tires, dropping the bikes well over 50 times and one very hairy brother later, we find ourselves in Panama (about halfway from the Arctic Circle to the Southern tip of South America, our goal of Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego).


We thought we'd be there by now!


Not only have we ridden the bikes 39,000 km or so but we've driven a 1979 GMC pick-up 3850 km, flown to Mexico (twice for me) and taken several ferries.

Phil and Jayne on the road (literally) in Esteli, Nicaragua in June 2013. Picture taken by our friend Priscilla. (Bike on the right isn't one of ours)

While riding through the lush Costa Rican rainforest last week my iPod decided to play me the song "Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw. This, combined with the death this week of my Auntie Rosie, a close family friend who had a huge impact on my life, have made me think.


I listened to the song over and over as I rode, recalling the past year and a half. Mentally reviewing how I went from turning down a vice presidency in an international corporation in London, England, to spending more than a year riding a motorbike from the Arctic Circle to Patagonia.


It was the best decision I have ever made.

Phil and I yesterday enjoying some Panamanian mud on Isla Bastimentos - July 24th, 2013



It was not easy to leave my whole life. Learning to ride a motorcycle, quitting my job and selling my apartment were easy compared to saying goodbye to a decade of close friends and colleagues. Not to mention getting rid of 10 years of accumulated stuff.


Looking back, I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

Christmas Day 2012 in Mazatlan, Mexico

Whilst many people look at our journey as some kind of extended holiday, a break away from reality, the truth is this journey has become our reality. This is our life now. At some point we will move on to the next stages in our lives, where ever that may be, but we have no set "life" to return to. The world is our oyster and the possibilities are endless.

The tropic of Cancer (5th time we crossed it) Mexico, January 2013

This journey has fundamentally changed who I am as a person. My priorities have been transformed, and my outlook could not be more different than it was a year and a half ago when I decided to start this trip.

The Arctic Circle - Alaska, August 2012

Seeing the world as it really is, instead the media's portrayal of it, has given me great faith in humanity. The world is not a scary place that we should all be fearful of. Mexico is not full of dangerous people out to rob and kill us all; it is full of wonderful, warm souls who are full of life and love. As are all of the ten countries we have travelled through in the past year.

Pyramid of the Moon, Teotihuacan, Mexico, September 2012

I have made an effort to stop distancing myself and really connect with people.


I have become committed to loving people - new friends, old friends, family and strangers - to not hold back for fear of being hurt or becoming too involved or because I won't be in the same place as them tomorrow or next week or next year. Talking to, and smiling at, strangers has become a policy.

Chichen Itza, March 20113


The vast majority of people are good, generous, welcoming, creative, loving and interesting, if you just give them the chance to be. This is something I learnt from my Auntie Rosie - she was one of the most generous, welcoming, creative people I have ever known, and when I was a child she showed me the value of those traits. Unfortunately I grew up and forgot their value - until this trip brought everything back into focus.

Cancun, Mexico, March 2013

Aside from the obvious benefits of seeing the world and not being a slave to a mundane routine, I have been richly rewarded for getting out of my comfort zone and going on an adventure.


I has been an intense and amazing experience to travel with my brother. I have never spent as much time with any single person as I have with Phil over the past year, and it has been really special to deepen our already close relationship. I trust him completely, and it has been a joy to witness his personal development. He is an incredible man, who I am extremely proud of.

Waiting for the ferry to Cozumel, Mexico, Easter 2013

When people meet us and realise that we are siblings, they have one of two reactions: either they wish they could do such a trip with their sibling, or they immediately say that they could never travel with their brother or sister. I am so fortunate that my only brother is also my best friend.


I've made so many new friends this year. All of our best memories are about the amazing people we spent time with, much more so than the places we were in. We keep running in to friends we have made along the way, and it is always a joy to see a familiar face. One can never have too many friends.

With Alex and Ida. Oaxaca, Mexico, March 2013

I have fallen in love with many of those amazing people, and out of love with a couple. This process really makes me feel alive - the highs and lows of love are the basis of everything, and I can't wait to keep experiencing them.


I've been reminded over and over how important, and possible, it is to live sustainably. Solar power, composting toilets, building and decorating using recycled materials - using less water, less electricity, creating less waste... It's all possible, and being done, and results in a better world. We can all reduce our impact.

With Erik and Tanya, Lake Peten, Guatemala. May 2013


The world is a glorious and multi-faceted place. Experiencing new cultures, cuisines, architecture, geography, customs and traditions has been incredible.


We've seen how the world is growing ever smaller, brought together by technology. Even a 12 year old girl in a remote village in Guatemala knows how to use a smartphone. Her family often huddles together around the laptop and television.

Lola, Magda and Javier enraptured by the laptop. Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, May 2013

Communicating is key. Learning Spanish has been invaluable. Whilst we are far from fluent, we can hold a conversation and get our point across. There is nothing more frustrating than having a language barrier with someone you are staying with, dealing with, or simply sitting beside. Me encanta hablar espanol!

With Real-size Kelly. On top of Volcan Masaya, Nicaragua, June 2013

Money is not as important as we all think it is. Clearly we all need to eat and have a roof of some description over our heads, however we do not need much else. Living on less than $30 a day for a year has not been nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. In fact we've spent significantly less than that. This is thanks to the incredible generosity we have experienced, with so many people inviting us into their homes free of charge, as well as our policy of not buying "stuff" and eating as cheaply as possible.

With the Wandering Walters, our Costa Rican family. Nuevo Arenal, July 2013

The community at couchsurfing.org has not only saved us hundreds of dollars, more importantly it has brought us into the homes of local people, given us the benefit of local knowledge and an intimate introduction to the culture and customs of the areas we've been staying in. We have been adopted by new families in every country we've passed through.

With Francisco and our El Salvador family. June 2013

Despite all these rewards, not every day is easy. We face new challenges every day and overcoming those challenges is an important part of the journey.

Phil and Cricket with only one tire. Valladolid, Mexico, March, 2013

In the past year we've had to overcome the crash in Alaska,
my dislike of riding offroad, breaking down on highways, love, broken bikes, being pulled over by the police, flat tires and stolen bags.


Sometimes I feel homesick, I miss my friends and family, or I just want my own bed. There have been moments when I felt like giving up, or trading my bike in for a 4x4. Those moments soon pass however, and I go back to being brave and adventurous.

Two up heading North before The Crash. Alaska, August 2012

Phil and I have developed a motto over the course of our journey - "Do It Now!" This applies to everything, from sending an email when we think of it, to changing the oil on our bike.

Finca Lilo, Near Biolley, Costa Rica, July 2013

My "one year in" message to you is this:


Now is the time, don't wait. Embrace a new reality.


Travelling the world on a motorcycle might not be your thing, but there's something you've been dreaming of.

Art Car at The Burning Man festival, Nevada, USA - August 2013 (unknown photographer)

Push through the fear, the fear of change, the fear of failure, the fear of getting hurt. There will be moments of intense panic, but they are only moments, and pale in comparison to the love, the adventure, the amazing people and places, the happiness, and satisfaction that you will encounter EVERY day. Even if your dream is small (ie. going to that beautiful town you've never been to two hours down the road for the weekend). Do it now! However I do recommend wholeheartedly to dream big.

The Grand Canyon, USA. October 2012


You can do it. Let go of all those excuses you're making. Your job? Quit it. Your kids? Take them with you. Your house? Sell or rent it. Money? You don't need as much as you think you do.

With Jen and Sean. Tobacco Caye, Belize. April 2013

Phil and I are a year in to The Ultimate Ride and I'm pleased to say I don't know when it will end.

On top of Cerro Negro, before sliding down the volcano, Nicaragua, June 2013

In conclusion, I can but echo Mr McGraw.


Love deeper, speak sweeter, give forgiveness you've been denying. I hope YOU also get the chance to live like you were dying.
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:48 PM   #41
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love this. thanks.
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Old 07-25-2013, 05:54 PM   #42
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great post Jayne! I remember going through a lot of the same types of emotions, aha moments, panics, worries, and pure moments of joy... life is too short not to chase your dreams.
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Old 08-03-2013, 01:50 AM   #43
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Tires

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cam805 View Post
Phil/Jayne, glad you guys decided to co-blog on this site.

It's been how many miles since you visited us in Ventura? I'm actually interested in a tire report, as it is now time to replace my own. By the way, traded the 1200GS for an 800GS - much more off road oriented.

Cam
Hey Cam!
Tires: We ran the Avon Gripsters all the way from your place in Cali to Costa rica. about 13000km of the top of my head. Jayne still hasn't changed hers yet. That's what I was running in the sand at our sand course and it ran alright.
I'm now running a Continental TKC 80, a bit more of a knobby tire. I predict more dirt road once we cross the Darien. But already I can tell it won't be lasting anywhere near as long. To be expected.
That's all rear tire talk.
Up front I still have the same Kenda I've had the whole trip, all 40000kms. It's nearing the end, but I just want to see how far it can actually take me.

Hope you're getting the chance to play with your new toy lots!

Phil
edit: I now see Jayne has already replied. I was only off by 5000km...
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Wump screwed with this post 08-03-2013 at 01:54 AM Reason: Missed Jayne's reply
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Old 08-05-2013, 06:48 PM   #44
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Cool2 Farming Rocks: Liberia, Costa Rica

I have never seen ducklings like the three we saw swimming all alone across the stream. Fuzzy and black with bright yellow patches.

Where is their mother?

When they started climbing up the cliff on the other side, and kept tumbling down again, we decided to rescue them. It wasn't very difficult to catch them, keeping them safe however turned out to be an impossible task.

Jennifer with her duckling

Our first stop in Costa Rica was the small city of Liberia. We'd arranged to stay with a guy called Stephen but hadn't been able to confirm what day we would be arriving. Our Nicaraguan mobile numbers stopped working the second we crossed the border, so our first stop in town was to buy Costa Rican SIM cards. The equivalent of $4 got us a chip and call credit that lasted us our whole stay in Costa Rica.


It turned out that that evening Stephen was out at a boxing match, so we arranged to meet him the next morning and checked in to the dorm at Hotel Liberia. We parked the bikes in their secure parking area and managed to get unpacked just before the skies opened up. Good thing too, because when it rains in Costa Rica, it pours.


Stephen and his girlfriend Jennifer came by the hotel in the morning and we all immediately hit it off. There was a soccer game playing on the TV so we stayed for a couple of hours. Steven was brought up in the USA, but spent a few years in Spain, and now lives in Liberia, and part-owns a farm just outside of town.

Stephen and Jennifer in the sports bar

While we were watching the game, I got a call from another couchsurfing host I had been in touch with - William from La Fortuna. He was very keen to host us, and we agreed that Phil and I would head to him after we left Liberia. I promised to contact him for his address and directions before we headed over.


In his emails to us Stephen had suggested that we could camp on his farm. Phil and I had had a discussion about the likelihood of there being drinking water available there. The availability of drinking water is an element of our travels that has taken on much more importance than I had imagined when we started out. We were so used to always being able to drink out of the tap, that when we hit a run of five countries where you can't drink the water (from Mexico down to Honduras), carrying enough drinking water with us became a central focus.


I was convinced that as it was a farm, they had to water the crops, and so must have water. Phil joked that "they might just farm rocks". We had a good laugh at that. Who farms rocks?

Rock farm

You can imagine our surprise when Stephen told us that the main business they carry out on the farm was, yes, a quarry. He's just started planting some corn and other vegetables, he has a few cows and he's built a pig pen that currently only has a few chickens in it, but primarily they are providing all the rock and sand for the expansion of the highway to San Jose.


We spent the afternoon watching Spain play in another soccer match, while eating a huge pile of barbequed meat. Unfortunately Spain lost, and it poured again, but we were dry and a good time was had by all.

Stephen and the girls with their pink girly cocktails.


Before Phil learnt that Costa Ricans bring you an empty bottle of whisky and then fill it from a big bottle.


We stayed at Stephen's apartment that night, playing frisbee and jenga, and all piled into his truck to go to the farm the next morning.

Jenga Jennifer


Phil's light-up frisbee being put to good use in Stephen's parking lot

He gave us the grand tour of the farm, including the quarry, the pig pen, the dorm he's building to house WWOOFers (Willing Workers On Organic Farms), and his fancy new storage shed. It was during this tour that we came across the ducklings.

Phil demonstrating the future occupants of the pig pen


Farmer Stephen


New dorm building


Phil hangs out with a backhoe


Lost duckling

We took the ducklings back to the pig pen, and decided that it was too dangerous to put them in with the chickens. Those chickens looked mean!

Duck homes

We put the ducklings in the next pen along and tried to block all the escape routes, and Phil and Steven built them a log cabin to live in.

Duckling in his new bucket swimming pool

Back at the house, it was time to render beeswax. A friend had given Stephen a load of beeswax, but it was still sticky with honey, and had been sitting around so long that it also had become home to quite a few maggots. The chickens made short work of the maggots.

Maggot-rich beeswax

To clarify the wax, we boiled a huge pot of water, and then added the wax. Once it had all come back to a boil, we strained the liquid through cheesecloth. The water and melted wax passed through, while all the other junk stayed on top. The wax floats to the top of the water and solidifies there. Hot work!

Pouring boiling wax through cheese cloth

When we went back to check on the ducklings, only one was left! Two ducklings had escaped, leaving their brother all alone. Phil put him in his baseball cap and brought him up to the house.

Phil and the final duckling

It was about this time that the rain started. We thought it had rained hard the day before, but this was much, much worse. Poor Jennifer happened to be out walking around when it started and had to take refuge in one of the backhoes! Steven drove down to rescue her. There were some lightning bolts that struck very close to us. The thunder was incredibly loud, I almost jumped out of my skin a couple of times!

Jennifer and I helping keep some signs in the back of the truck before the rains came

We finished up with the wax, the rain eased, and then we looked in Phil's cap, which he had left on the table. It was empty. Duckling number three was gone. Basically we are the worst duckling rescuers in the world. We couldn't even manage to keep one of them safe.


When we got back to Steven's house, I sent William a text message to ask if it was okay if we arrived at his house the following afternoon. He called me back right away and was extremely angry. Somehow he had been expecting us to arrive that day. I tried to be calm and speak rationally to him, but he was convinced that we had just found something better to do, and had blown him off. He said he'd been sitting at home waiting for us all day and had been worried that we'd been in a motorcycle accident.


I apologised several times for the misunderstanding, tried to ask him why he hadn't called us to check, and to point out that there was no way we could have shown up, as he hadn't given us his address, but there was no reasoning with him. He was shouting so loudly that both Philip and Stephen could hear him clearly. He then told me that we were not welcome to stay at his home. By that point I had no desire to spend time with such an unreasonable, unpleasant person!


It's the only negative experience we've had in our year of couchsurfing, and it escalated over the next 24 hours, that evening William left a slanderous negative review on my couchsurfing profile. It called us "arrogant jerks who were ruining couchsurfing", said "these people are terrible people" and said "these are bad people, do not host them".

I was incredibly upset that a small misunderstanding had blown out of control like that, he had never even met us! Phil wrote a note to William, apologising again and explaining the situation, William wrote back a swear-filled, angry reply. When William realised that his negative review of us also appears on his own profile, he changed it twice, each time becoming less slanderous and closer to the truth.


I was very upset, but also had an overarching feeling of sadness, because obviously this man is leading a very unhappy life. He was so excited to meet us when I first spoke to him, for him to transform into such an angry, unpleasant being must have deeper routed origins. I hope that he works out his problems and finds a way to live a happier, more peaceful life.


Whilst I would have preferred not to have experienced that unpleasant episode, it did lead us to a wonderful family. Kim Walters accepted our last minute couchrequest and invited us into her home in Nuevo Arenal.


The next day we packed up our bikes, said goodbye to Stephen and Jennifer, and headed out to see more of Costa Rica.
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:40 PM   #45
Two Moto Kiwis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UltiJayne View Post

Whilst I would have preferred not to have experienced that unpleasant episode, it did lead us to a wonderful family. Kim Walters accepted our last minute couchrequest and invited us into her home in Nuevo Arenal.
Great write up Chewbacca and Princess Leia, sorry to hear of the bad couchy ...truly his loss to miss two great dudes.

A n d we can vouch first hand for Kim and family, outstanding people and great hosts .... they even provided a big powercut for us which was groovy cos it was pitch black ... and spooky quiet.

Now, about the ducklings

Ouwh and check this out bro



Competition is getting tight



See you soon guys

Luv to you both, Andi & Ellen
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