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Old 05-21-2008, 12:27 AM   #1
nailit2em OP
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Kansas City to Costa Rica May 08

Ok here is my first thread. I have read many others and have learned that I am not as crazy as I thought I was when I dreamt this ride up. I have picked up good riding tips, routes, hotel information and even new friends through this site. Now I hope that I can give a little back.

Here is the plan in a nutshell. There are three of us going on this trip. Dane left yesterday to spend some time with relatives in Tx. He is riding a BMW 1150 gs. Larry and I are going to trailer our BMW Dakars to San Antonio early thursday morning. We will then cross into Mexico at Pharr on Friday. We have roughly 11 days to get to San Jose Costa Rica to meet our better halves who opted to fly down. My wife has ridden many miles with me on my other bike and even to the Arctic Circle from Fairbanks on the Dakar but she wanted nothing to do with this trip. We will spend 6 days in Costa Rica seeing the sights and then turn around and head home after getting the ladies back on the plane. The plan is to be home by fathers day. If we are not home by then I would probably be safer in Mexico where my wife can't get to me. I intend to post some pictures but I have not had a chance to play with that yet. So we will see.
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Old 05-21-2008, 06:00 AM   #2
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Sounds great! get some pics up
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Old 05-26-2008, 04:35 PM   #3
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US-Based Latin America Rider Rally

Looks like you all will now qualify for our rally. Bananaman came up with the idea of getting together with all the Latin American riders and having a rally.

We're leaning towards August in the Black Hills region.

More details and you can put in your 2 cents worth if you'd like: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=344315

I'm looking forward to your ride report. I'm assuming you are down south somewhere right now.
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Old 05-26-2008, 08:16 PM   #4
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short update

We have made it Guatemala city. The internet is hard to find in the places we have been. I have been keeping notes and taking pics to update later. We have been riding 12 to 14 hours a day and I think a beer and food is calling. will update soon with some details and lessons we have learned.
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Old 05-26-2008, 08:31 PM   #5
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Old 05-27-2008, 07:12 AM   #6
Nata Harli
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nailit2em
We have made it Guatemala city. The internet is hard to find in the places we have been. I have been keeping notes and taking pics to update later. We have been riding 12 to 14 hours a day and I think a beer and food is calling. will update soon with some details and lessons we have learned.
I found that internet cafes are almost impossible to find in Guatemala City, unlike almost every where else. In fact, most people don't even know what you are talking about when you ask where an internet cafe is.

But, just down the road in Antigua, I found the best internet cafe I've ever used - The Funky Monkey.
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Old 05-29-2008, 04:32 PM   #7
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Are you guys in Costa Rica already ?
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Old 05-31-2008, 10:03 AM   #8
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San Jose

We are in San Jose. I have notes from every day and I will get detailed info out when I get a chance. It will take me some time but I have some good stories. We have had the weather I had expected and then some. I can now say that I have ridden in a hurricane, Alma was her name. We rode almost the entire length of Nicaragua in the worst rain I have ever been in. The positive side of it was the polica did not bother us at all! Yesterday Dane got stopped by the policia in Costa Rica. Something about a helmet law in this country. We recieved a little break from him after explaining we had similar backgrounds. We then went to the coast and of course the rain continued. Dane got familiar with red clay, water and tire traction. The only damage was a turn signal and a scraped up arm. Larry got pictures before he helped him pick up his bike. I have ridden the last two days without rear brakes. The pads are down to metal. At the BMW dealership now getting parts. I was going to put them on myself but for 20 bucks they are washing my bike, it needs it, and putting on the pads. I said go for it! So far this has been a great trip. I promise that pics and more details are to follow. It has been hard to get internet and time to type.
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Old 05-31-2008, 10:05 AM   #9
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Old 05-31-2008, 10:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nailit2em
We are in San Jose. // We have had the weather I had expected and then some. I can now say that I have ridden in a hurricane, Alma was her name. //
Way cool! I didn´t think you would do it in 11 days with the storm. ´Way To Go´ you guys! cavegirl and I are stuck just south of San Jose because a bridge is out on the Pan American highway due to the storm and the mountains have landslides blocking them. We hit a 3 mile long line of semi trucks standing on the road before the road block. We almost had to camp outside with the truckers. Anyway, I look forward to hearing your stories about your ride down


We will be heading through San Jose tomorrow with luck. If ´you all´ are interested in hooking up give us a PM with your destination plans tomorrow

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Old 05-31-2008, 10:46 AM   #11
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Ah yes, central america during the wet season. Look forward to the entire report!
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Old 05-31-2008, 04:58 PM   #12
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If you hook up with the Cave people, give them my regards. And you can tell me how they are doing when you get back to KC.
I'm in OP.
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MX '06 http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=176637

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Old 06-23-2008, 02:29 AM   #13
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Day one and two

Ok we are back now and I have the time to work on this. Larry and I left KC at about 7am on May 22nd. We had loaded our bikes up the night before and all I had to do was get in the truck and ride along. This was good since I had worked all night and got off at 6am. We made it to about Emporia Ks when we first stopped to check on the bikes. Larry's bike had fallen over onto my bike but did not do any damage. Larry's bike would do this at least two more times on the way to San Antonio. My bike came loose once and rubbed a spot on his plastic. We figured out that the wheel chocks let the front tire move to much so we devised a plan to fix that on the way home. We got into San Antonio at about 9pm. Not much excitement driving 14 hours in the truck other than knowing we were about to get our vacation started. We met Dane at the Hotel. He had ridden down a couple of days earlier to see some relatives in Dallas.

Day two we got up at about 6 am and took the truck and trailer to the San Antonio Police Departments Central station. Larry had contacted a Sgt. there so that we would have a secure place to leave the truck. We met the Sgt and he showed us where to park. As we were unloading the bikes and loading them down no less that five other officers came by to see what we were doing. They all pretty much had the same opinion. That we were fkn crazy. A couple of them wanted to go along. We got everything around and were on the road by about 8am. It was getting warm quick. We hopped on I-37 and headed south. It was windy and did I mention it was hot. We had to stop twice for gas on the way down. We were cruising at a pretty good pace when we, I, saw a Texas Ranger pull from a side road. I found out that my brakes worked real well. He looked at us as we went by. A few miles down the road he passed us, still doing 10 over, and waved with a smile as he went by. We stopped at Pharr for our last "American" meal. You know fast food Burger King. If we had only known we would have skipped it and got some real good food in Mexico. Oh well live and learn. We got to the border at about 1 or 1:30pm. We were flagged over into a vehicle check area after crossing the toll bridge by a customs officer. He checked the left side case. Just so happens that this was the case I had most of my wife’s stuff packed in. She was flying down to Costa Rica to meet us as well as Larry's girlfriend. I would almost bet he said something in Spanish about women’s clothing and hygiene products and no woman with us. I smiled and nodded my head thinking to myself how do I say I am not a cross dresser in Spanish. He then directed us to the Aduana and Migracion offices. We had already done the paperwork for the bikes on line so that was half of the paperwork. We were learning real quick that our lack of Spanish was going to be a problem. Our first encounter in the office was with two grumpy old men working the Migracion desk. They did not smile, grunted, and forced the stamp down on the Passports with about 200 pounds of pressure to ensure it worked I guess. They told us that we needed to go pay at the bank window. At least that is what we think they said by translating their hand gestures and a few words that I understood. I went first since I had done most of the research on how the border crossing thing went. Dane went to another window at the same time. I am not sure what happened but all I know is that I got done a lot faster, 5 minutes or so, and Dane got his first taste of copy fees, a whopping 25 cents. I smiled at the woman behind the widow that helped me and said Si a lot and smiled some more. I guess a smile goes a long way. I then went back to the grumpy old men and gave them my receipt. When I was finished an older lady walked up to me with her daughter and started talking to me in Spanish real fast. I did not have a clue what she was saying. Her daughter who was about my age spoke English and told me that she thought the grumpy old man that helped me told me to go get some copies. The three of us walked back up to him. Armed with my first translator he told us I was finished and did not need to make any copies. I talked with the daughter for a few minutes and thanked her for her help with a smile on my face the whole time. It was nice to see people so willing to help. That was not the last time we would get unsolicited help on this trip. I then went to the bank next door to the Migacion office and exchanged $180 at a 10.19 rate. Larry and Dane got finished a few minutes later. We got on the bikes and headed into the unknown. Just past the Aduana office we were met with our first military checkpoint. We got waved through without being checked. I had the GPS on and was using it to navigate us to Hwy 97 towards Aldama, our first stop. Dane jumped ahead of us weaving in and out of traffic. I was trying to read the GPS and keep an eye on him. Well, we missed a sign and our turn. I was messing around with the GPS some more and we made a u-turn and got back to 40 Hwy thinking it was what we needed. No! Wrong again. We stopped and asked directions and used GPS. About 15 minutes later we found Hwy 97 and started south. 97 Hwy was far better than any of us were expecting. After getting passed by cars doing well over 70 mph we loosened up and started to pick up our speed. About 15-20 miles in we came to a military / Aduana checkpoint and got waved through. The road was straight with a full lane each way and a half lane on the outside for passing. Very nice! Still hot as... so we stopped for some Gator Aid and water about an hour south of Reynosa. Very nice station much like back home. Again not what we were expecting. When we got to Hwy 101/180 we were flagged over at the military checkpoint. You guessed it. My wife’s case was the one they checked again. I was the lead bike and was the only one checked. Larry and Dane got waved on by after they checked their paperwork. After he checked my paperwork he wanted to talk about my bike and gave a thumbs up. I said Si and smiled a lot. It had worked so far. As we were leaving a second military guy smiled and waved as we drove off. Shortly after the checkpoint the GPS told us to turn off the main hwy we were on to go to San Fernando. Later we would learn that this was a mistake. We stopped for gas just before San Fernando. When we got into town we got lost. GPS not good at all. Well maybe it was the operator translating what the GPS was saying. We started through town and were on the right road when the GPS said we were going the wrong way. We were also being followed by the local Policia. They had been following us since we got into town so we pulled over and made a u-turn. The Policia continued on. The GPS went nuts again. We took a dead end street and made another u-turn. Took another street and finally stopped at a small store to ask for directions. Well this would be our first Spanish lesson not to mention cultural lesson. I think we made the woman mad and she did not help us at all. We did not know how to say road or street in Spanish. We would learn those words before this trip was over. Well we got back on track and the original route we had taken was the correct route. We got back on 180 shortly after leaving San Fernando and made a left turn toward Aldama. I was a little frustrated about getting lost but I figured it was going to happen sooner or later. Little did I know what was ahead of us. We made some good time and figured out we could drive at a good pace. The roads were much better than we had expected. We stopped about 30 minutes from Aldama and took some pics of the sunset over the mountains. There was a haze over the mountains that added to the sunset. We got back on the road so we would not get caught out after dark. We made it to Aldama and even though Pilot warned me about the Una Via Calle (one way street) I still went down the wrong way. We made a quick u-turn and got on the right street. We stopped two times to ask directions to the Hotel, Pilot suggested this Hotel as well. I did not right down the name in my notes and I don't have the map with the name on it. I will put it in later. We got a room for the night with three beds for $40. We then went to look for food and internet since our phones did not work. I had changed services so that I would have service on this trip. Big lesson learned on that topic. I may get into it later. Found a tacoria with some good food. The owner helped us out, he spoke a little English. His friends and some of the locals looked at us funny and laughed when we asked the lady who brought our food to take a picture (If I can figure it out I will get pics in later) We then found an internet cafe and most importantly, beer!!! We went back to the hotel and sat outside our room and reflected on the day and enjoyed the nice evening. We were pumped up and ready. We were in Mexico and the trip had begun!!
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Old 06-30-2008, 09:21 AM   #14
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Pics of Day one start of day two





Getting ready to leave San Antonio, notice a nice clean bike




At the Mexican US border



Just north of Aldama Mx, sun setting over mountains





Hotel in Aldama, Very nice place to stay



Me leaving Aldama



Dane, AKA crash, leaving Aldama, take note of bike for future ref.
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Old 06-30-2008, 09:32 AM   #15
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