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Old 08-05-2011, 06:01 PM   #256
sion
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very cool RR...

any chance of seeing more pics of Rosalie?
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Old 08-19-2011, 12:42 AM   #257
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I'll return to Antigua later I think, I've got a few more funny, and a couple not so funny stories to share from there still. However I'm way behind since I've been working a couple of jobs since getting back to recover from the lack of student loan, which has finally been resolved, I should be seeing the money this month, fingers crossed!

I felt like Antigua was a turning point in my trip, and in sorting things out for myself, as a last minute change I decided that since I was moving on, I should get a haircut for aerodynamics and one less thing to bother with. The sensible option of going to a barber I skipped, instead I bought a rechargeable trimmer for 12$ at a market. After charging, and possibly a drink, I started cutting.




I shaved the sides which looked silly.



I then somehow forgot and shaved a big swipe right over the top, after the wore off I gave myself a goatee, and decided to finish the job. Naturally the shaver ran out of batteries and I had to finish my last errands looking like this.

People thought I was funny looking before!




Fanny Tuna.




12 hours of charging later the shaver just managed to finish the job before running out again, after lunch with my friend Gaby




We were off!


The plan was to head to Panajachel, via back-roads and after spending the night make tracks for Panama. As with most plans, it started off great! Beautiful sunny weather, the bikes running flawlessly, and the clarity of sight you only get with new unscratched glasses.

Our first situation arose before we even got off the main highways, we were pulled over by two police officers stopping every vehicle to inspect licenses and ask for souvenirs(their name for bribes)
I blame Stephen entirely for this, his bike must have been too appealing, the worst so far for me was police wanting to sit on the bike and take pictures!




After inspecting licenses and a few rounds of us pretending we couldn't understand the requests with no luck, they asked if they could have my camera as a souvenir. I'd brought along a few tins of little cigars for just such an occasion, and dug them out with an explanation of their quality( Muy bueno tabac, de Etats Unidos!) We settled for a cigar each, and a half-gallon of gas from my rear tank.
The trucks all lined up for "inspection" across the road from us.




Stephen busily wrecking my picture with his ugly mug!




Quick break




Back on the road, we were feeling great, having got our mishap for the day out of the way, we were making great time. We wound up through the mountains weaving through the traffic and smoke belching buses, and finally turned off on to a beautiful two lane road with no other cars, great views and questionable pavement.

After a few bumps, Stephens bike started to develop a concerning bounce with the back end bouncing high into the air on every bump, then continued bouncing until the next bump flung it up, and his rear tire started to slip frequently.

As soon as we stopped the trouble was obvious, his rear shock had blown up, and puked all its oil onto the rear tire.




These kids watching Stephen crawl around under the bike, best entertainment they'd had all day I bet.




From there we limped slowly into Panajachel to look for a hotel or a hostel.

After enough riding back and forth in the sun, I settled in the shade to roll a smoke while Stephen walked around to find a hotel. We ended up staying right across from where I'd been sitting. A tiny dirt pathway between two walls made for exciting riding, and we called it a day after unloading all our gear and carrying it upstairs.
Cute kid decided playing with Stephens tire was great fun, and I passed out a few candies from my saddlebag while Stephen broke out the rum and Avocados.


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Old 10-06-2011, 07:08 PM   #258
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After settling in to the hotel, we bought a few avocados, dug out a bottle of liquor from our saddlebags and made pasta with avocados and sauce, and had a relaxing evening sitting on the porch. The next day I spent most of my time lying around sleeping and catching up on homework. I was still having a bit of difficulty breathing, and feeling very under the weather.







The antibiotics I'd started taking in Antigua were making a dramatic difference but I was still exhausted. As a multi-use antibiotic, they were a great choice, I had bought them planning for South America as a prophylactic for malaria, as they had the least side effects, and were also the only malaria treatment that would do double duty to prevent and to treat it. Google suggested that their other main use was for treating pneumonia, and my lungs were clearing up relatively well. While I was lazing around, Stephen took his rear shock out and checked with some local mechanics to see about repairs.







After deciding it would be foolish to have it repaired locally when the parts and proper tools were unavailable, and considering that the shock was covered with a lifetime warranty, he contacted the manufacturer(Worx) and they shipped a new one out to him, that would arrive within a week thanks to our mutual friend Julian in Guatemala city and the shipping company he helped us with there.


Views from the hotel porch













After dinner we wandered down to the dock and watched the sunset, while some local kids fished for what looked like perch.




The evening was finally cooling off to a nice comfortable level after the heat of the day.






Stephen contemplating some deep thoughts.





We discussed different options, as we were still both keep to ride together South, we both had a similar plan to burn up the miles to Panama relatively quickly and then continue at a more leisurely pace, as most people we'd talked to agreed that past Guatemala prices rose for most things, and that the riding wasn't quite as interesting. In the end I opted to wait out the week with Stephen and to wait for his bike, so we could continue together. I wasn't in a huge hurry to get moving as I was feeling so awful still.
The kids spent the day climbing over the bikes and playing in the courtyard, while the usual daytime customers of a Central American hotel furtively eyed me up as they passed by to a room, or to the shared bathroom on the way out. I avoided taking any pictures, despite the fascinating combinations of people, I wanted to ask them their stories. One of the strangest was a man wearing modern North American clothing, and a woman dressed completely in traditional local clothing, who was clearly older than the man she was with, something quite unusual from what I'd seen so far. They looked very unhappy to see me sitting there so despite my curiosity I didn't ask them anything.
I went to bed fairly early, and Stephen went off to hang out with a backpacker he'd met and a few locals for some drinks.


Waiting for the shock proved harder than expected, despite feeling ill and not feeling motivated to continue riding immediately, I began to get bored of being sedentary fairly quickly. Boredom led me to continue my new pastime of giving myself stupid haircuts, and I trimmed a different style of goatee to add some extra absurdity.










Different haircuts, and homework let me kill another day, and we both went to bed fairly early after another pasta and avocado dinner.





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Old 10-06-2011, 07:09 PM   #259
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sion View Post
very cool RR...

any chance of seeing more pics of Rosalie?
I'm sure there must be more, I'll check. Just to warn you, she's got a boyfriend. One my mom does NOT approve of. Neither do I come to that.
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:35 AM   #260
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*poke* Hey, long time no hear from, you still Updatjng this RR?
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Old 10-28-2011, 04:34 PM   #261
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Yeah, what's the news?

BTW, I love Antigua- got married in the yellow church in post # 247.
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Old 10-30-2011, 04:30 PM   #262
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What, an update a month isn't enough for you? Kidding, I am sorry about it.
The student loan drama has been ongoing, I am finally sorted out on everything except the interest they charged me, as of October. It only took 9 months(the last two of being promised it was sorted and would arrive any day), dozens of emails and 45+ hours on the phone to get it.
Not having money put me way behind on schoolwork, and I ended up with some rather unfortunately serious situations to deal with here in Vancouver.
To top it off, the laptop died again, and my recently resurrected desktop followed suit, after a reformat and two solid days work, I got it running again only to stick a molex power connecter together upside down, the other ends of it were plugged into a pair of 2 terabyte hard drives, containing my operation system, all of my caught up homework, edited photos for the trip report etc, and also their backups. In hindsight, having the main drive and backup on the same power connector was foolish. Starting to think I'm conspiring against myself to keep life challenging!

I'm now back up and running, if not caught up on homework, I have two photo shoots, one presentation and 3 books to finish binding for this week!
I've written one more update for you, and I'll be trying again to get them out on a weekly basis.



After haircuts and another day resting, I was feeling better, and starting to get restless. I'd run out of ways to entertain myself with an electric razor, answered all my emails and was finally caught up on my homework again. Still waiting for Stephen's shock, we spent our time eating and occasionally wandering around town. Stephen quickly made friends with some local girls, so he wasn't around as often. His shock was two days away, so I spent some time giving Aurora a good once over, and sorted a few loose ends.

I shot some pictures of some fairly common Central American solutions that would raise a few eyebrows at home.

First, the electrified shower, this is quite common here, instead of having a hot water tank, there is a heating element in the shower head itself, basically 120v wall current comes in, heats the element to the tune of 5.5kW on high, and the water flowing through the head is instantly hot.
They are a rather regular cause of death it seems. This one much like the one I experienced in the hostel in Antigua, gave me a good healthy zap, this time I recognized the flashing lights and headache for what it was and beat a hasty retreat. A nice hot shower with a chance of electrocution vs a safe cold shower is harder choice than you might think sometimes. Fortunately for me, this one quit regularly, and thereby saved me from the choice most of the time.
Reading through Wikipedia, it would seem that the problem occurs because wiring systems here often don't use an actual ground wire, while the head has a ground wire positioned between the electrical coil and the showeree, they are frequently not hooked up, resulting in the current traveling through the water and the now very awake human below.



Bicycle innertube plumbing, complete with patch.






Stephen and a friend of his who's name I've since forgotten went off to the lake, before they left during a discussion of the benefits of various supplements and exercise regimes I learned from his friend that there was a gym in town, for some reason this really surprised me, I was tempted to go see it just to take a picture, but decided to stick to my rule of avoiding gyms as they often lead to exercise and healthy living.
That night they came back into town fairly late to go out drinking with a few girls they knew, and I was called up to fill out the ranks. We started off at a loud, dark and noisy bar, normally something I'd appreciate, but bad music with the obnoxious strobing laser lights quickly chased us out. We settled on a quieter second story bar with cheap rum and cokes, Stephen's friends insisted on paying, so I feel twice as bad for forgetting his name! The girls unfortunately got in a rather silly argument at this point, and one of them took off for her hotel, I left to walk her back, when she got there she insisted on laying out her side of the story instead of turning in. No matter how obviously I was trying to leave to go back for my drink. Her story was that the others were not contributing their fair share to the evening, since she had driven them all the way from Guatemala City. Her friends had paid for her hotel and her drinks, and she was driving a car her boyfriend had purchased for her, so I wasn't overly sympathetic to her plight, and her insistence that she would be justified in leaving. Realizing she was fishing for me to convince her to stay for her friends, or to agree with her so she would be absolved for leaving, I got fed up. I'd had enough of dealing with this sort of behavior a long time ago, I told her it was her decision and that as she had the keys in her hand she should choose and act on her decision instead of having a debate. I went back to finish my drink and went to bed early. As soon as I woke up I knew I was leaving the next day, I had gotten too settled for too long, and that evening had been the last straw. I loaded up most of my gear, and made myself a lunch for the next day.
Stephen and I decided we would meet up down the road in Honduras and then head south. We had one last day around the hotel and I turned in early.





In the end, we never did meet up again. Stephen stayed in Panajachel for Semana Santa, a big celebration, which I managed to skip entirely by being on the road, I think he may have met a lovely local girl or three who helped convince him, he was very popular with the Guatemalan girl's. Passing through Escuintla towards the border with El Salvador, he was taken out by head on collision with a taxi and a slide into a drainage ditch.







Fortunately he and Oscar both survived, though Oscar was in need of a fairly massive repair job including a new front end.










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Old 01-13-2012, 03:47 PM   #263
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Whoops, sorry folks, I forgot ADV was down when I posted my last update everywhere and it didn't make it on here!
My blog is still down, as it keeps getting hacked, passwords emails etc scrambled, and currently sitting at 20, 000 comments to be sorted deleted(haven't found an alternative yet to manually doing it so it's slow going)
Also discovered my image gallery resizing software SUCKS. I've gone to uploading the lightroom exported jpgs and linking them directly in the gallery, no more watermark, but sharper image. I'll deal with people using my pics without rights rather than leave a crap quality image. The aesthetics of my (in)ability with a camera aside.
Here we go:

Contrary to popular belief, I haven't abandoned you yet, life just keeps throwing new nails on the road for me when it comes to getting time to write.
On the positive side I've finally landed a job, and got my student loans all sorted as of a few weeks ago(just in time to never get them again since I'm working more hours than they'd accept now!)
There's some negatives too, but they're boring, so without more blathering, it's time to get back on the road again!
I got up fairly early, made a delicious sandwich, of the finest kraft singles and no refrigeration required meats product with a heap of pepper to make it edible and loaded up to ride out. Nice winding road up and out of Panajachel, I decided to shoot a day in the life type set in case anyone was curious, more pictures less words.







After loading up I headed off in a a best guess direction for the main road. After the first dead end in a town down the road, I returned to the bridge leading out from Panajachel and tried again, only to be told the road I was on had been taken out further ahead by some natural disaster. Three hours after leaving Panajachel I made it off my third attempt on a dirt track that headed straight towards the main road, and onto the highway again. In theory it was a 20 minute drive from town. With no signs that I could correlate to the maps people had drawn me, three wrong tries was about standard for me. I managed to make it back with only one tip over, two smoke breaks and a stop to mess about with my ipod.


After finding my way out to the main road I celebrated by bolting half my sandwich with these two taxi drivers and the girl they were chatting up before hurrying on to make up for lost time.




A bus headed to Escquintla, most buses here will have their destination at one end of their route painted on the side. Strange to think that a month later that was as far as Stephen got before that taxi redecorated the front end of his KLR.




Typical transport, I almost wish the taxi's in Canada looked like this!




An open van door beats a crappy air conditioner any day!




I hadn't slept all that well the night before, so I stopped for a coke at a roadside stand, while talking with the owners, a husband and wife this little guy was insatiably curious about my bike, and everything to do with me.




Wanna fight?




He quickly started appropriating my gear. First the gloves, then he moved on to my helmet.




He took a few pictures with my camera.




Ugly bastard, no wonder his mum and dad look worried in the background!




He decided that my coke looked very inviting, and snagged it when I turned to show his mom the pictures, much to her embarrassment.

This was yours ?




Transformers pose!




Sorry about your Coca



Might as well finish what you've started!




I'd never seen a rooster like this before.




Motorcycles are heavy!




After more than my usual share of wrong turns, I came through a chaotic T-intersection and back out onto some peaceful two lane. Excited over going the right way, without screwing up for a couple of hours I predicted I'd make it to the border without further mishap. Rolled through a police roadblock with just a wave.
Good music, a full stomach and a clear head, nothing could stop me! Up until we ran out of road.







at which point I did the only sensible thing, and settled down on Aurora for a nap.



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Old 01-13-2012, 04:09 PM   #264
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Still following along, still enjoying a great RR!

All the best, mate!
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Old 01-16-2012, 08:17 AM   #265
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So the trip ends at a bridge in Guatemala aye?
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Old 02-28-2012, 05:05 AM   #266
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As soon as I finished my nap I went down to explore what used to a nice road. I jumped over the barrier, and slipped down the first part hanging onto rots and digging my boots into the loose soil alongside the concrete edge.

Looking down



Turned out to be a sheer cliff, and I figured out just how poor of a choice it was, after jumping down about 8' to the ledge below couldn't go back up, I tried and fell back a couple of times before decided that despite the fact that I was still wearing all my armor I wasn't likely to be walking if I stuck the landing on my ledge I wouldn't be climbing anything again.

How far I've fallen



At least the supports were tough





I worked my way along the ledge and down the edge to the river to soak and cool off a bit. I went and had a good explore along, watching a guy fish who then walked over to watch me cool off in the river.













I backtracked and started asking people about the road, a truck driver suggested that I could look for a temporary bridge he thought was put there.

I backtracked a couple of times and accidentally passed through a group of police twice. Naturally they stopped me for investigations and questions and papers. Unfortunately for me, my tank bag let me down yet again. This time it was the side zipper. Instead of losing all my money, this time the side zip was open letting my cooking knife handle hang out. This led to a few interesting questions and some explanations of my lunch(avocado's ham and cheese).



Eventually I found it, and waited out the lines of semis crossing over. As with anywhere else there was construction delays or anything else slowing down traffic there was a few enterprising people selling food and drink.






I stopped to eat lunch on the bike and took a picture of one of my favorite traditions here. Carrying dangerous sharp objects in ridiculous ways on motorcycles. While not quite as good as the riders who carried a machete by holding the grip in their left on the handlebar while the blade stuck out to passing.







I finally made it to the border, and ended up in a chaotic mess of trucks, cars and busses. This was my first experience of real central American borders. I was waiting in line trying to see how soon I could get through it. Eventually a guy on a bicycle waved to me, and explained that I could follow him up the lines. The shear chaos of this is hard to explain, weaving between truck bumpers, inching around 4x4s and cars. I would likely have spent the entire day in the lines without him, so when he explained via sign language that he was a helper, I let him get me through, he saved me time again, finding a customs agent on a smoke break who could get my papers done up right away. He the told me to head through the incoming barricaded traffic to get around the slow moving outbound trucks. This was where I reached another I can't believe I'm doing this, and it's a good thing my mom can't see me. While trying to get in between a gas tanker truck and a semi that were parked with their back bumpers close to each other as they were diagonally parked.
I managed to get myself wedged in on an angle, bike leaned fully over to get the handlebar in and under the truck with my saddlebags caught under the rear fender of the gas truck, and my handlebar caught on the semi, couldn't back up, couldn't go forward. If either truck moved I'd be crushed by my bike or crushed between the trucks. I had to keep Aurora and myself upright by balancing on my left leg, while getting tools out of my saddlebag. I loosened off the left controls, was able to crank my left grip under and give her some gas. Tore up my saddlebag, chewed the left grip and took a good chunk out of my leg.

I made it through into El Salvador. After a couples hours Started riding along one of the best rides of the trip, ripping along a road that was a cross between the tight twisties along Crowsnest highway, with sharper cliffs and scenery to make the PCH look like a PG rated version of the real thing. No traffic, no speed-limits, and a low sun over my left shoulder with Corb Lund singing in my headphones

"They gave us student visas when we were over there/
They staged us out of Hondo al este del Salvador"

Corb Lund "Student Visas"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GM1RqWQ1gs


As the sun got close to the horizon I started planning to find a place to pull off and put up my hammock since I had just enough money left to keep Aurora fueled until a town that was supposed to be big enough to have an ATM.
I pulled into a tiny beach town, a few buildings, people walking all over and a couple of dogs with a gloomy looking beach in the dark. After accidentally going too far down dead end streets and starting to pick up on the unwanted gringo vibe I headed back to the beach, where there was a single sandwich seller with a small TV one customer and no refrigeration. I got a well cooked sandwich and started asking if it was safe to camp on the beach. The kind older lady running the sandwich shop chatted with me through my bad Spanish and charades. When I asked about setting my hammock up on the beach she immediately waved her hands around and yelled, when she cooled off she made me promise not to and she'd find me a place to sleep. She pointed me across the road to where a couple of troops were standing guard. I asked for directions and explained I was broke. They conferred with someone else and waved me in. They called their hefe(chief) and explained the situation to him to translate. He explained that there was a huge amount of gang activity in the area due to drugs, and that people who had learned to survive during El Salvador's vicious civil war would be ruthless in taking care of any concerns I had about money or continuing to travel afterwards. He offered to allow me to put my hammock up in the compound and the use of their showers. He explained that even though the wall was less than waist high, the gangs respected the barrier and that my stuff would be completely safe behind the wall. I parked my bike by a leaking diesel trailer and set up my hammock to toss and turn feverishly through another night of poor breathing and coughing up unpleasantness as the antibiotics hadn't finished getting rid of the pneumonia. Only when I'm on the bike at speed can I get enough air in my lungs to not be breathless all the time.

View from the hammock

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Old 02-28-2012, 07:48 PM   #267
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Cool

I've spent hours reading this thread, great pictures and ride report.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:22 AM   #268
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Hey everybody, sorry about the time lapse. I'll explain the delay in the next post, it's been quite a strange ride(edit:life off the bike) the last year. If I can find a way I'll be back on the road soon.

I think I've figured out a way to make the images clickable to go to a 1080p file I output from Lightroom, please let me know if it works! Before I left off I was noticing that the compression by the gallery software is leaving quite muddy images.

After dozing off and on all night I woke up in the garden, and got up trying to avoid stepping on the flowers. I got offered a shower, but it seemed that the water supply was limited, so I bailed on that.



El Hefe came to meet me, and see me off. It turned out to be a Navy or Coast Guard base. An amazing and kind man, we talked for quite a while, he talked about wanting to travel, but how his obligations kept him here. He was sacrificing his dreams to travel, to take care of the people he was responsible. It turned out he had family in Canada. That family member actually lived right near my room in Vancouver, just a few blocks away. Due to legal issues, they couldn't every cross the USA, either by air or on land. As a result, they hadn't seen each other in years, and he said they probably wouldn't again.

A sobering concept to think about on the road. What would make me give up the road, what matters enough to me to sacrifice this. Family? A kid? Would I then sacrifice that for others, for a country?
I left him my email, he asked me to look that person up, he would email me their contact information after I got home.
Unsettling way to start the day to be sure. Navel(Naval? :-p) gazing aside, it looked like it was going to be a bright day.
The man in charge.

They fed me in the cantina, beans and wieners for breakfast, and they refused to let me pay. Back on the road in the sun, put a bit of time in, then followed another turn off towards the water to go see the ocean. Rode out onto the sand, parked and walked out. I was still feeling a bit off from the conversation, and lack of sleep, so I parked my butt on the sand and watched the waves. Suddenly sleepy, I dug myself a hole and passed right out in the sun.

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Logbook for
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Old 02-09-2013, 06:01 PM   #269
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Great to hear you're still around and breathing, good news..

Know of chaps in both Thailand and BC, cx owners, that were following along with your report last year.

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