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Old 10-06-2008, 06:58 AM   #316
ChangoGS
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Location: En la mesa del rincon en Metz France
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Thanks for the report and pics of familiar places and some not familiar.
I am changing my regular point of entry into Guate.

Yep !!!!! Been shocked many times by these things.
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Old 10-08-2008, 03:40 PM   #317
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I was looking through some old pic's from my phone and ran across this in a file from a couple of years ago. Parked in the lot behind the police station at Cal Poly, this wasn't yours was it?
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Old 10-17-2008, 01:01 PM   #318
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supaparty
Isn't the vibe a bit different when you're heading north? Even going through new parts of the same country, it's somewhat weird to say goodbye to a county...and places where you swear you'll come back with a hoard of friends (Roatan comes to mind), realistically how many years is that going to take? "Home" is overrated!!!....stay on the road as long as you can!!!
Yeah, it's sad! When will I come back, and when will I come back with a motorcycle? Who knows

Quote:
Originally Posted by BeachBum
I was looking through some old pic's from my phone and ran across this in a file from a couple of years ago. Parked in the lot behind the police station at Cal Poly, this wasn't yours was it?
Nice FJ55! But not mine. I bought mine a couple years after graduating, so it never lived in the Poly lot.


I had a long spell with poor internet access, but now I'm back in Mexico. More pictures and stories coming soon!

Jeff
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Old 10-19-2008, 09:53 PM   #319
Mario Shi
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Great Report

This report is truly inspirational. Thanks for sharing. I someday hope to visit my home country (El Salvador) by way of bike. Damn work.
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Mario Shi
1985 CH150D
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1989 XL600V TRANSALP
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Old 10-23-2008, 10:21 PM   #320
Mendo
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One of the best reports on here! Gets me fired up for my trip to central america.
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Old 10-25-2008, 05:25 PM   #321
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChangoGS
Lol, that pic brings back some memories.
Not sure of the point of them really, they never seem to heat the water more than a few tenths of a degree above cold anyway..
Maybe not a problem in central america, but in the Andes around 3000m, it can get freezing cold... sweet jebus...
(however, if you have a calientita to warm you after the shower, then you quickly get back up to 37 degrees )
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Old 10-27-2008, 06:50 AM   #322
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My favorite ride report by far! Much better than my own yet-to-be-published two-week ride from LA to Burning Man to Northern California backroads to Oregon and back home. Which, by the way, was about a week more than wifey normally allows.

caktmrider screwed with this post 10-27-2008 at 06:55 AM
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Old 11-03-2008, 10:52 AM   #323
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Costa Rica: Closing Thoughts

[I forgot to add this earlier]

Costa Rica is the Disneyland of Central America.

Because of pre-arranged plans made with Guille, I spent more time in Costa Rica than any other country except Mexico. In retrospect, I wish we had chosen somewhere else; I would have preferred three more weeks in Guatemala or Panama. It's not that Costa Rica isn't fun, it's just not quite my kind of adventure. Too safe.

I have mixed feelings about the country. On one hand, Costa Rica has the best preserved rainforests in all of Central America. While everyone else seems to be cutting down trees as fast as they can to make farms and pastures, the Ticos caught on early that it's better to harvest the tourists instead. Costa Rica is *beautiful*. Unfortuanately it's also a victim of its own success; tourists are everywhere and prices are high. Even the out-of-the-way roadside restaurants charge what I would consider San Francisco prices! Don't play the game of "find the most expensive restaurant in town" here.

Speaking of restaurants... it seemed that the fancier the restaurant, the more bland the food. It was generally hard to find spicy food in Costa Rica. I don't know if this is a Tico preference or merely pandering to the tourists. Most restaurants offered only two hot sauces, both fairly tasty but neither actually spicy. My palate rebelled.

Costa Rica needs to re-issue a new currency and drop a few zeroes.

Ticos are super-friendly. This is a big plus.

I'm sure I missed out on many things in Costa Rica, but only one thing comes to mind: Given a few days, unloaded motorcycles, and several conspirators, it would have been fun to *try* to get all the way around the Nicoya peninsula in the rainy season. This would require quite a lot of beach traversal and several scary water crossings but it would probably be the most fun you can possibly have on two wheels.

I hope this doesn't sound like I'm disparaging Costa Rica - it's hard to have a bad time there, especially if you have lots of disposable income and relatively short vacations. But there are a lot of other places I'd like to return to first.
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Old 11-03-2008, 02:09 PM   #324
Deedub
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Bring on the pictures!

Fascinating and well written report, I've been lurking from the begining. More pics of hot south of the border women is always appreciated!
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Old 11-03-2008, 02:54 PM   #325
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Granada Is Delicious

It was back to Granada for a few days of relaxing, eating, and planning. All I have is pictures of food.

This restaurant really did look like this, candles *everywhere*. It gets my vote for the best restaurant in Granada. Sadly, I don't remember its name:



A couple seafood dishes from the aforementioned restaurant:



Different restaurant... lots of meat:

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Old 11-03-2008, 03:00 PM   #326
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deedub
Fascinating and well written report, I've been lurking from the begining. More pics of hot south of the border women is always appreciated!
Sadly, my charms do not work as well on the southerners as they do on the norteñas... but I'll see what I can do
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Old 11-03-2008, 03:06 PM   #327
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Nicaragua: Closing Thoughts



I liked Nicaragua a lot. For one thing, it has one of my favorite cities in Central America: Granada. On a lake, great architecture, lots of great restaurants, big marketplace, budding nightlife. It would be a fun place to get an apartment for a month, although it might be a little bit *too* tranquilo to keep me much longer. I recommend it as a vacation destination to everyone. It helps that Nicaragua is inexpensive, second only to Guatemala in this respect. You can live like a king here even on a modest budget.

I don't know how much more Nicaragua has to offer the tourist outside of Granada. Isla Ometepe is beautiful; you can catch a passenger boat there from Granada or a vehicle ferry from a little town about an hour away. The Pacific beaches were pleasant but don't stand out to me in any particular way. I'm curious to know what the Caribbean coast looks like but it's impossible to reach by land vehicle. Someone told me that the beaches are nice but you have to watch out for land mines. Gulp. The other major cities of Nicaragua, Leon and Managua, lack the beautiful colonial architecture of Granada.

I missed out on the Corn Islands in the Caribbean. We had planned to fly there but the airline (singular) was booked up and we didn't want to wait around a few extra days. I've heard mixed reviews but it's hard to argue with cheap fresh seafood and clear Caribbean water.

I will come back to Nicaragua with my dive gear.
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Old 11-03-2008, 03:35 PM   #328
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Need More Tools (always)

The KTM-provided wheel-nut wrench is a piece of shit:



Consequently, my only tool capable of attacking the wheel nut is my large 10-inch vicegrip pliers. I was never quite satisfied with how tight I could get the nut, though.



The last stretch of the ride from Jinotega to the Honduran border at El Paraiso is beautiful, pristine asphalt laid on a twisty mountain route. I had a blast pushing the bike hard, leaning waaay over in high-speed turns.

At the Honduran border I found a shop that sold wrenches. After a half-dozen tire removals with the vicegrips, it was time to get a proper tool. When I reached down to size a candidate against the wheel nut I found it FINGER LOOSE.

My new best friend:

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Old 11-03-2008, 05:16 PM   #329
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Trapped in Tegucigalpa

That's pronounced "tay-goosey-gal-pah".



The idea was to cross into Honduras, spend a night in the capital city, and ride to the La Cieba the next day. From La Cieba we could catch a ferry to the Caribbean island paradise of Roatan.

It didn't work out that way.

We made it to Tegucigalpa just fine, and after some difficulty managed to find a decent enough hotel in the embassy district. Tegucigalpa is not a pretty city, nor is it inexpensive, nor is it a place that any of us wanted to be, so we were looking forward to getting up and riding out the next morning.

Nir parking his motorcycle. It fits!



Escape Attempt #1:

While packing up, I discovered my rear tire inexplicably flat. I inflated it and the pressure seemed to hold, but nevertheless Gavin and I spent several hours trying to find 1) a new inner tube and 2) an open llantera. Since the day happened to be the Honduran independence day, NOTHING was open. After wasting the morning and a good part of the afternoon in this futile pursuit, the tire pressure seemed to hold, so we said "fuck it" and pressed on.



Escape Attempt #2:

Tegucigalpa is a hard city to navigate. Really hard. This is partly complicated by mountainous geography and partially complicated by the fact that all maps of Honduras, both printed and electronic, were drawn by crack-smoking monkeys. Furthermore, the directions given out by locals are purely speculative since none of them actually leave the city. I'm fairly sure that Tegucigalpa grows because nobody can figure out how to get the hell out.

The consequence of this is that after several conversations with locals, a lot of pushing buttons on the GPSes (loaded with two different map sets), two heated arguments between Gavin and I, and an hour of riding a gigantic loop around the city... we found ourselves almost exactly back to the point where we started. Fuck.



Escape Attempt #3:

We finally - FINALLY - found the route out of town... and in one rather steep section my chain starts slipping around my long-ignored and near-smooth rear sprocket. Crap. I already have the chain tensioned tighter than I would rather, so rather than risk catastrophe we return to our lodging from the night before, hanging our heads in ignominious defeat.



So... there is only one motorcycle shop in Tegucigalpa that so much as recognizes KTM as a brand of motorcycle and they needed weeks to find a new sprocket. My old sprocket with a mere 2k miles of wear was sitting in San Francisco. After a couple desperate phone calls to friends, that little chunk of metal was in a DHL box and on its way south.

If I had known how much trouble this would be, I would have taken my chances over-tensioning the chain.

Nobody in their right mind ever wants to ship something to Honduras. This country is fucked up in the way that I've read Soviet-bloc dictatorships were. Can you imagine a whole country run by the most petty, insecure bureaucrats you can find at the DMV? The border crossing experience is a stroll through the park compared to shipping something in. After five days of sitting around, nearly $100 in shipping, customs, storage, etc fees, and a mad race all over town before it all closed for the weekend (you can't pay everything at one place, they only do that in civilized countries like Guatemala), I finally had my fucking sprocket.



I dealt with the frustration by tearing into large chunks of rare MEAT:



Escape Attempt #4:

Our bikes all running properly, we headed north along an obscure but more or less direct route to La Cieba. In a little town an hour and a half up the highway, just as the road turned to dirt, Chi Chi (as Nir's KLR was affectionately named by her former owner) BROKE IN HALF.

There are two bolts that hold the top part of the subframe to the rest of the bike. Most likely, one had broken a long time ago - and now the second one broke.



Poor Chi Chi!

We found replacement bolts, but the local talleres couldn't extract the old ones. A local with a pickup truck drove us back to Tegucigalpa, arriving at the motorcycle shop just in time to have the bolts extracted and replaced. I followed the truck back, Gavin pressed on. At least one of us would make it out to warn others: Stay away from the event horizon of Tegucigalpa!



Escape Attempt #5:

Success! That very night, after the bike was fixed... even though it was dark, we decided we are NOT going to spend one more night in Tegucigalpa. We made a run for it. Despite darkness and rain, Murphy wasn't looking this time, and we made it to Comayagua about an hour to the north.
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:11 PM   #330
VampyreMP
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I hate you

You are having way too much fun and I'm stuck in Northern Michigan staring at 6 months of snow and ice!

I found your RR tonite and read all of it. Yours is truely an adventure. I'm digging your writing, photos and can't wait to see what comes next. I did a similar ride through Mexico and loved being reminded of some of the places we had in common.

I've never seen a sprocket even remotely worn as yours. Good job! Be safe and keep it coming!
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