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Old 06-29-2010, 04:21 PM   #1
flatmo OP
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In the name of science: USA-Nicaragua-USA

I’ll be leaving Lincoln, NE next Monday on a trip that will take me exploring different places in Central America. The purpose of this journey is to document the biology of several species of beetles I’m studying, some of them being still unknown to science. The plan is to stop in key locations in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. I will make my observations on the way south and ride straight on my way back.

Five weeks and a fixed budget are my limiting resources.

My train leaves soon.






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Old 08-15-2010, 02:53 PM   #2
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Bump

You have been seen back in the states, get typing.

Nice to meet you and wash your Strom.

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Old 08-15-2010, 03:33 PM   #3
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from one student to another, I'm looking forward to hearing about it.
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:17 AM   #4
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Day 1
I woke up with a headache, is never a good sleep when there is something exciting happening next day. The morning was cloudy with fog all over the highway, rain was just a matter of time. As I got closer to Kansas it started to rain softly. I love riding in the rain. Inside my helmet I was repeating my favorite lines from my favorite books and laughing at my own luck. See, I got this such-a-big-deal award that gave me total financial independence in my last year of studies. Plain and simple: someone else is paying for this trip no strings attached



I stopped in Great Bend, KS to have lunch. The thing when you're happy is that you become sloppy: I forgot to close my jacket's vents and was soaked. I was shaking inside the restaurant, cold, really cold. The rainy season in Central America is in its highest point, the forests are full of life and my beetles are flying around. If there's no rain the beetles can't break the soil chamber were they are. When still a larvae, they build a case in the ground made of mixed soil and saliva were the miracle of metamorphosis will happen. After about a mount a no-so-good-looking grub becomes a beautifully beetle. I'm after those beetles, I'm a beetle hunter.
After a bad meal I was again on the road. I had to stop and buy sweatpants and a sweatshirt since the only things I packed for my trip were a pair of trousers, two shorts, and a shirt. Most of the space in my bags was taken by the traps and books.



I was on the same road I was in last year when I went with Paola (wife) to Arizona. People complain about highways being boring but I like them. When all you have around when growing up are twisties a straight road is something cool.
Kansas felt long. Naturally, as soon as I got my new clothes on it started to warm up. At around 4PM I was bored of the landscape and my knee and shoulder started to bother me.



A New Mexico sign I was crying to see. Finally, 95 more miles. At round six I arrived to my destination for the day: Tucumcari, NM. Tomorrow I should be in Sierra Vista, AZ and stay with my friend Pat for one night.
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:42 AM   #5
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Sweet, keep it coming! Subscribed to this one months ago, glad to see it again.
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:47 AM   #6
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Taking a giant ride for your thesis and on a fellowship beside...

You lucky bastige. I hate your pharging guts.
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Old 11-12-2010, 01:31 PM   #7
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Day 2.
A miserably hot day. The landscape was very homogeneous through the entire day. This is a very interesting area with a lot of endemic species (unique to the area). Organisms (plants and animals) found in Texas and through the East Coast frequently stop occurring right here and are replaced by different species. One species of scarab living with pack rats and thought to be distributed from Texas to Arizona is in fact two completely different species. They look very similar to the naked eye (small and black) but are drastically different under the microscope. I still haven't decided how I'm gonna name the new one...

(Hard to make this report only about the ride!! Be patient with me )



My knee and my right trapezius are killing me. The knee problem is an old injury back from when I was into every manly sport. The trapezius thing is completely new. The only explanation for this new pain is the 2'' risers I installed before the trip. Bummer. The pain is sharp and it gets worse as I elevate the shoulder, bad presage for the trip.

When I got to Sierra Vista I was exhausted, but after spending sometime looking at Pat's collection I was recharged!

Two of the species from Pat's collection I hope to capture. The first known only from Guerrero (possibly new) the other one found from Sinaloa all through the Pacific coast to Guatemala (known):





The plan was to cross through Douglas-Sierra Prieta tomorrow. Pat mentioned Naco being closer and called to check if they would let a Colombian cross through there. Naco it is now!
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Old 11-12-2010, 04:16 PM   #8
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I wonder if this is the first time the word 'trapezium' has been used on this forum.
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Old 11-12-2010, 04:40 PM   #9
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It's as good a reason as any to go on a long adventurous ride
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Old 11-12-2010, 05:07 PM   #10
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Taxco is worth a stop if you're going to be in the mountains in Guerrero.
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Old 11-13-2010, 04:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by on2wheels52
I wonder if this is the first time the word 'trapezius' has been used on this forum.
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Old 11-13-2010, 10:20 AM   #12
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:09 AM   #13
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Day 3.

I got up when the sensation of needing more sleep. My new helmet is very noisy and is not helping with my tinnitus. Crossing into Mexico took 5 minutes. I went through the US side without being stopped and gave them my I-94. The Mexican side was empty at 7AM and nobody or nothing stopped me. I stopped anyway and a security looking man approached me. He checked my bags and directed me to the immigration office. The immigration officers were sleeping when I got in. They were a bit confused to see my Mexican Visa (Colombian passport) but stamped my passport anyway. Bike immigration, I was told, was done in Cananea, a town at about an hour from Naco. As I got out of the immigration office I noticed my tank bag dripping water, great. All important stuff, including camera and computer got wet. I should've known this was not a thing for me, a respectable brown man doesn't stick a tube in his mouth and suck through it.

After asking someone at a gas station in Canenea were the Banjercito was I arrived to the little office. The office was next to a kindergarten and was still closed. Kids were playing and the air of the morning was deliciously warm. Inside the office after several calls and looks of confusion the lady said I had to go back to Naco and get your tarjeta de turista, no importation permit can be given without one. Alright, I was officially in Latin America again! go here, go there, make a copy, come back tomorrow I know em' all. During the entire process she looked very confused, calling Agua Prieta to make sure she was doing the right thing. I should've crossed there.

Back in Naco I was received by a new group of people at immigration. "Lines" was looked like the man in charge. Lines was about 52 and had a head the size of the room. His face was crossed by thick, deep lines, and he had the look of someone that is eternally pissed and confused. Great. I explained the situation to him and judging by his face it was like if I speaking in a different language. Every couple of words I said he interrupted with an angry "QUÉ?!". He took my passport and looked at EVERY single page and every single stamp. Looking for what I still don't know, curiosity I guess. He had this attitude that he was making me a favor. Someone from a room inside, a gringo looking man, ask me to come in by moving his index. I explained the situation to him again: Colombian need visas to enter Mexico, no tarjeta de turista is required with a visa. More looks of confusion. I will be damned. I was asked to wait outside while the had a little meeting to think. Hard thinking and calls to Agua Prieta occurred. The finger again. You gotta pay this bla bla bla... Back to lines. Now this man was filing that little form that is the tarjeta de turismo like if it was his first time making sure the shape of every letter was right and reading all the instructions. I was loving it. After paying the $260 pesos in the bank I was again on my way to Canenea.

"You need a letter from the university staying you are in vacations" said the lady in Banjercito. Never heard of such a thing. I guess I could be a school fugitive. Face of I-don't-give a-damn from the lady. Luckily I had a letter in English from the University related to the trip and that was enough. The letter she did not read, the letter was about something completely different, but the letter she took. The permit was $35 dollars.

(Before leaving my advisor gave me a letter stating the purpose of the trip. He put a golden star at the end saying it will make it look official to people looking at it. That's how we lost our last some centuries ago, apparently still works)

Imuris was at about one hour, or at least that's what I was told. The road is full of curves and traffic. After trying the famous carne asada of Sonora I was on my way to Hermosillo. The goal was to get to Álamos but with the delay at the border it wasn't gonna happen. I kept pushing through my shoulder pain until I got to Guaymas, 3 hours away from Álamos, 3 hours that lines and others took away from me.





I found a hotel for $250 pesos and went looking for food. There was a Zumba class going on right in the zócalo. It felt amazing to be surrounded by people again, this place was alive.









I tried some tostadas for dinner with couple of different aguas frescas. Tasty stuff.







I was in northern Mexico.


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Old 02-08-2011, 08:31 AM   #14
ruedaloca
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Good places to find those strange bugs... You can find many of them.
I like to see them and i'd like to know more about them, but I'm not a biology man, and that science area doesn't have the best development over these regions.

Excellent idea to enjoy a motorcycle ride with your insterest or job, perhaps.

Enjoy !!

Any help you need, you're welcome !.
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:02 AM   #15
flatmo OP
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Gracias Daniel,
I finished this trip in September of last year. El Salvador was a pearl in my trip and I did not even get many beetles

Hmm, pupusas....




Quote:
Originally Posted by ruedaloca View Post
Good places to find those strange bugs... You can find many of them.
I like to see them and i'd like to know more about them, but I'm not a biology man, and that science area doesn't have the best development over these regions.

Excellent idea to enjoy a motorcycle ride with your insterest or job, perhaps.

Enjoy !!

Any help you need, you're welcome !.
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