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Old 06-03-2013, 06:21 PM   #151
Rockwell OP
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The Accident

January 7 - January 14, 2012

When we left the beach, our first mission was to ride through San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador. It is known as one of the most dangerous cities in the world but it didn't feel scarier than any other city I have been to. We continued riding and planned on crossing the border into Honduras. It was really hot out and the stop and go traffic wasn't helping. It seemed that El Salvador had two types of drivers, very fast and aggressive, also, very slow and timid. I was told that obtaining a drivers license simply consisted of paying for it.


It was barely 4pm and we had already ridden through more than half the country. El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America but it is the most densely populated. We were riding through a city named Santa Rosa de Lima, and we were approximately 15 minutes from reaching the Honduras border. Rocky was annoyed. He had fought with the traffic all day long and I could tell he was frustrated. We were riding on a two lane highway and everyone was weaving in and out of oncoming traffic to avoid slower vehicles. Reluctant to pass into oncoming traffic, Rocky attempted to pass using the shoulder. It was a mistake he would quickly regret. A truck in front of us failed to look onto the shoulder as it pulled over, and he rammed into the side of us as we were passing.

The bike wobbled when we were hit and Rocky struggled to keep control from falling into a long, 3-foot deep, manmade ditch that ran along the side of the highway. His efforts were in vain. We landed in the ditch, but it was a good thing we did because we avoided hitting a steel pole. Unable to stop in time, we smashed into the 3-foot rock and concrete wall at the end of the ditch. The bike hit head-on and we were thrown off onto the driveway in front of us. It all happened so quickly. We jumped to our feet to assess the damage. Luckily, we were ok. Thanks to Rev-it for creating fantastic riding protection. There wasn't even a scratch or mark on our gear. The truck that hit us was quick to leave the scene and the police that rode past felt they had no business stopping. A small crowd of people circled around us as we began removing our belongings from the motorcycle and from the stream of raw sewage.

The ditch was created to collect rain and sewage. It was filled with leaves and litter, and possibly urine and feces, causing a foul odour and making it really difficult for us to gather our things. I will never forget that smell. We had fire ants all over us and they were eating small chunks of our skin. I have never seen so many ants in my life. We were still in shock as we sadly stared at our broken motorcycle. A man, who I assume was my age but smaller than I, spoke out and asked the crowd to lift the bike from the ditch. It was beautiful to watch as everyone helping us. The man asked us to wait as he went up the road to get his pickup truck. With everyone's effort, we were able to get the motorcycle onto the truck and we rode down the street to a home. We were introduced to Evers, his wife Dilma and son David. Their other son, Enrique, lived next door with beautiful wife Yolii and their son Samuel. We were told that we could keep the bike parked at Evers' house and keep all of our gear at Yolii's house, and we were invited to stay at Yolii's mother’s house.


Isabel is Yolii's mom and she lives a few blocks away with her son Didier and his wife Ximena who had just moved back home from living and working in the USA. We were glad they spoke English. It made things much easier. We arrived at their home and they did their best to accommodate us. We were offered everything from food, a hot shower and their own bed for us to sleep on. It was really kind how well we were treated and taken care of. We were completely exhausted but sleeping was almost impossible. My neck and back were sore and Rocky experienced an allergic reaction to all of the fire ant bites. He was ready to scratch his skin off. But complaints were far from our thoughts. We were happy to be alive and cared for.

Once morning came, our minds were racing. We were afraid to impose on our hosts, we were unsure of how to continue our trip and we wondered if we should ship the bike home or try to find a way to fix it, locally. Luckily, we weren't allowed to think too much about it because we were told that it was Sunday morning, and, when you live in El Salvador, Sunday is spent at the beach with family and friends. The invite placed a huge smile on my face. The beach was a perfect idea for the frame of mind I was in.


We packed up some things and had a family day at Playa Negra. Didier, his wife, Ximena, his mom Isabel and his sister, Yolii, with her son Samuel and Yolii's brother in-law, David, and his girlfriend, Milena, treated us to a day out. The sun was shining we were with good people. The ocean was warm and soothing on my muscles. We ate fresh ceviche, drank a few beers, swam in the ocean, relaxed on hammocks and played in the pool. On our drive home, we stopped in a city called La Union. The city center was packed with people. We all sat at a table and ate a variety of Pupusas. Pupusas are a thick, handmade corn or rice flour tortillas stuffed with cheese, refried bean and chicharron (cooked pork). There were also vegetarian options and some stuffed with shrimp or just cheese and salsa. They were very tasty. The only thing that could have made the day better would have been if Rocky wasn't so sad. He was devastated and there was nothing that could have helped his broken heart.

The following day, Evers invited us out for lunch. We joined him and his son at a restaurant named La Mariscada de Pema, where we were able to taste an award-winning soup called Sopa de Pema. It was a seafood chowder that tasted absolutely amazing. Evers told us stories of life in El Salvador. He said that we were very fortunate to have had been helped by the right people. Most neighborhoods in the area are run by gangs and had we crashed in sight of them, we may have been robbed or taken advantage of. He said that gang activity ran rampant and he expressed a lot of concern about extortion. If gang members believe that you have money, they would do anything to take it. Evers said that he would love if his sons could live in a place as safe as Canada and he respectfully mentioned that he would not be opposed to his son marrying a Canadian just for the purpose of citizenship. Sensing that it was a hint, Rocky was quick to say that gay marriage was legal in Canada and he wouldn't be opposed to helping out. That put an quick end to that conversation.


After a lot of thought, we decided it was best if we shipped the bike home by sea and take a flight home. It took days to make all of the arrangements. We had called many shipping companies and encountered many problems. Something as simple as receiving a call back was extremely difficult. But, what really made me frustrated was trying to obtain a police report. We went to the police station but we were told to return at different hours or different days, numerous times. Finally, I just about snapped and began taking names and recording all of the officers badge numbers. I told them I had all of their information and that since they were unwilling to help, I was given no choice but to visit the embassy. That worked quite well. We left that day with a police report and we were told that we would have to bring it to a police station in the city La Union to have the papers certified.

The following day, Rocky and I took a bus to La Union. This bus ride was the most unique experience of our entire trip. I wish we had brought the camera. La union was at least an hour away and the drama on this bus was fascinating. Hah! I don't even know where to start. Vendors kept walking in and out of the bus at each stop. There was a man dressed as a clown trying to collect tips for being dressed as a clown. There were adorable children with straps and belts that held goodie-bags and they were selling the candy. There were women wearing cute lace aprons with hot trays of food and they sang songs of what they were selling. A man, wearing a suit and tie, stood at the front of the bus talking about medical conditions for a very long time. He eventually walked up and down the aisle selling individual pills, that could have been anything, and people were actually buying them. We were so confused watching the craziness everyone else found normal.

Once we finally reached La Union, the police station was easy to find and the officers were helpful. One problem was solved and there were more to be addressed.


We finally came in contact with a company willing to ship the motorcycle. Still, it took a few days to get quotes and answers. It was a very stressful time but, during those days, Isabel, Ximena and a neighbour helped by hand washing all of our belongings so that we could travel home clean. Everything we owned looked better than new. They also helped us with phone calls and translations to make all the arrangements possible. The company that would be shipping our motorcycle was located in the city of San Salvador, and Didier found somebody who would rent us a pickup truck and take the motorcycle, Rocky and I into the city. I'm not sure what we would've done without this amazing family.

It was 4am and we were ready to head out into San Salvador. It took a few hours to finally reach Comca Shipping Company, but that was just the beginning of our day. We said goodbye to Didier, Isabel and Ximena and thanked them for everything. We will forever remember and be grateful of their friendship.

At Comca Shipping Company, Rocky and I spent most of the day taking the bike apart and making it as compact as possible for the crate that was going to be made for the shipment home. The employee we had dealt with told us not to bother removing the fluids from the bike. They offered to drain the bike at no cost if it was necessary. We provided photocopies of all the documents, the police report, permits, and the motorcycle ownership and we were given a receipt with a summary of expenses and told everything was ready and the motorcycle would be shipped within two weeks. Rocky and I had booked a room at the Sheraton and we were given a ride the employee of the shipping company whom we had dealt with. It was a bit past 5pm when we got to our room and as we sat to relax for a moment. I noticed the concern on Rocky's face as he stared at the receipt we had been given. The paper had no real information on it. The price had the word estimation printed beside it and a few things had been scratched off and penciled in. It wasn't very professional and Rocky thought it seemed questionable. We also had no proof of having left the motorcycle in the possession of the shipping company. We called a taxi and rushed back to Comca to get proper documentation. As we ran to the door, the building was closing for the night and we approached an employee on their way out. Luckily, he was the owner. He invited us in and was also surprised of the paper we were given. He expressed that it was odd and he would make sure to give us proper documents and a guaranteed price. This gave us comfort and we were able to leave with some peace of mind.


Our hotel room was beautiful and our bed was especially comfortable. It was a great place to stay but very boring in comparison to the places we had slept, in the past months.

Our flight was booked and we took a taxi to the airport early the next morning. Times were a bit tough at the airport. Our luggage wasn't practical for flying and we were asked to throw out all of our spare bottles of oil, lube, cleaners, and coolant. We gave it away to somebody dropping off their family. They were happy. We were also told to throw out our fuel tanks and camp-stove fuel container because they smelled of gas. I refused. They cost too much money to discard and they were empty anyway. I suggested cleaning them out in the washroom with soapy water instead. The lady told me I could try that, but I would have to run to avoid missing my flight. Rocky waited at the counter as I grabbed the fuel tanks and fuel canister. I ran through the airport ignoring everything but my current mission. As I opened the doors into the secured section before reaching the bathroom, six officers stood in front of me and stopped me from entering. It wasn't until I saw their expressions that I realized how crazy I must have appeared to everyone as I ran through the San Salvador airport hugging a bunch of gas tanks. I just stood there for a moment and I laughed. It was funny and a little awkward because I wasn't even sure of how to explain myself in Spanish. I began to speak but it was my smile, along with a good old fashioned wink that did the trick.

At last, we had everything ready, cleaned, packed, stowed and we were boarded. I was horribly sad how our trip came to an end but I was looking forward to everyone and everything I had missed while we were gone.



Anxious to get to the border before the dark of night, we were run off the road into a sewage ditch after attempting to go around a slow-moving vehicle. Attempting to pass on the shoulder of the road was my first mistake, and my second was assuming that the driver would check his mirrors before pulling off the road. The driver, once he realized that Paula and I were both OK, was quick to drive away and have nothing more to do with the situation.



Seeing the bike in the ditch, the police drove right by with little concern. Several of the townspeople helped us pull the motorcycle out of the ditch. One came with his pickup truck and took us to his friend's place, where we were given a place to stay. Never underestimate the goodwill of strangers.



The next day, we went back to the scene of the accident.



The family who gave us a place to stay took us to the beach the following day. It was Sunday, and Sundays in El Salvador were for lounging at the beach and swimming in the ocean.



Ximena, Didier and Paula enjoyed the coolness of the ocean water. Depressed over the previous day's events and the state of the motorcycle, I remained pensive, relaxed in the hammock and took photos.



Yolli & her son, Samuel, bathed in ocean.



Ximena was originally from Colombia. She had met and married Didier while they were both working in New Jersey.



Isabel was Didier's mother. She offered us her home in our time of need.



Isabel's husband had gone to New Jersey to work. She had not seen him in person for years. Unable to travel to The United States, she would talk to him on the internet every night.



Our extended family in Santa Rosa de Lima



In The Family Room



After peeking between its legs, Paula informed the family that their cat was actually a male, and not a female as they had thought.



After about a week of making arrangements, we found a shipping company that were willing to ship the motorcycle back to Canada. We rented a pick-up truck to take us to the shipping company in San Salvador, where were began disassembling the bike.



Paula, seen here, is pretending to work on the motorcycle.



Since the total shipping cost was based on both weight and volume, we disassembled the motorcycle in order to minimize the cost of shipping it home.



The bike was going to be shipped to New York by sea, and then trucked to Toronto.



The cost for the shipment, from San Salvador to Toronto, was roughly US$1,200.

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Old 06-05-2013, 02:39 PM   #152
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So bummed about your accident. Thanks for the time to RR
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Old 06-05-2013, 03:37 PM   #153
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Yikes... I just found this thread and am only on page 2 but thought I'd post how great it's been so far only to see on this page a crated-up bike eerily similar to the one I saw in mint condition on page 1! Glad you two are okay! I'll be following along.
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Old 06-06-2013, 04:47 AM   #154
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Great ride report.....

Thanks for taking the time to do this very interesting RR. It's been a real joy reading it and I'm still not done.

Gary "Oldone"

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Old 06-06-2013, 06:17 AM   #155
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The good thing about the accident is that neither of you were injured. You could have been badly hurt or even killed. It must have been sad and painful to have the trip end this way, so soon, after all the good adventures you had. Now you have passed through that time and are getting ready to set out again! Good for you! Looking forward to reading "Part 2", and thanks for posting the whole of "Part 1". Really enjoyed the writing and photos.
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Old 06-06-2013, 09:35 PM   #156
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Thanks guys. Paula is really glad someone reads it. Most people we know only skim through and look at the pictures.

One day left to prepare, and we still have so much to do. If worst comes to worst, we will be leaving on Sunday, but the plan is still to head out on Saturday.

We'll continue to post in this thread since I consider this to be a continuation of the original trip.
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Old 06-07-2013, 06:00 AM   #157
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Also reading your posts, please keep up the good work. Looking forward to you hitting the road again soon.

Cheers
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Old 06-07-2013, 07:37 AM   #158
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Hi R & P,
Can't speak for anyone else but I've read and enjoyed every word. The photos are excellent and both together make a fab RR. Wow, the next phase of this journey is about to start! Very cool! Glad to see you'll be continuing this thread....I think you have hit the nail on the head...this is the same journey. Looking forward.....
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Old 06-07-2013, 06:48 PM   #159
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I am enjoying reading your RR, too.

Don't want to "me too", but if you're wondering if anyone is reading, yeah definitely!
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Old 06-07-2013, 07:45 PM   #160
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Looking forward to more of this one. You do a great job of telling the story through the lens as well storytelling. Travel far my friend!
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Old 06-11-2013, 02:09 PM   #161
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Hey, all right! I'm all caught up just in time for part two of this adventure. That was a lot of reading.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockwell View Post
... Paula is really glad someone reads it. Most people we know only skim through and look at the pictures.
I must admit being monetarily distracted from reading on page 9
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Old 06-19-2013, 07:43 AM   #162
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdubbin View Post
Hey, all right! I'm all caught up just in time for part two of this adventure. That was a lot of reading.

I must admit being monetarily distracted from reading on page 9
Hahaa...don't worry. Everyone we know clicked that link - even my sister-in-law.
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:26 AM   #163
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Back In Canada

January 14, 2012 - Fall of 2013

It was mid January when we had reached Toronto, Canada. We were immediately reminded of the freezing cold winter. We had contacted Rocky's brother Jason and his wife Andrea to pick us up from the airport and we were extremely excited to see them and their sweet daughter, Madelyn. We had asked them to tell nobody of our arrival, I didn't want my mom to worry and I thought it would be a great surprise for everyone.

First, we stopped at Tim Horton’s for a coffee. Not because it has the best coffee, but because it runs through every Hamiltonian's veins. When we finally arrived at Rocky's moms house, she was definitely surprised. We visited with her for a while and I could see in Rocky's eyes how much he had missed her. I was eager to show up at my moms. When we knocked on my mother’s door, her confusion and shock was obvious. My brother wasn't home, but when he arrived, Rocky and I hid and jumped out as he walked past. At first, he was frightened and then he was shocked to see it was us. I had fun surprising everyone!

Maybe it is a little crazy but what I missed most, was my cats. Mama is 17 years old. Belle is 13. I missed them so much that while we were on the road, I actually cried - few times. It broke my heart to abandon them, especially in case their age was to get the best of them. I realize that I risk sounding like a crazy cat lady but I don't care, they really are my best friends. Rocky and I joked a lot about buying them a sidecar, little helmets and leathers to take them with us. I had left them for a few weeks in the past but never for a few months and in a strange house. I was really happy to see them and I am sure that they were happy to see us as well. While we were away, we tried to Skype with them a few times but my mom put an end to that. She said that they shit all over the place immediately after they were online with us. Now that's love.

The comfort of being home with family, friends and pets, felt amazing but I was struggling to adapt. We had experienced a very strange distortion of time. I assume it was from having had lived a lifetime of memories in such a short period of time, while it was as though, time in Hamilton, had stood still to us. It was also difficult living in the 'meantime'. The bike hadn't arrived yet and all we could do was wait. So, we stayed at my moms, and waited.

After a few weeks went by, waiting for a response from Comca Shipping Company became frustrating. After a few phone calls, we eventually received an email requesting we sign over power of attorney so that they could sign for us as the motorcycle crossed the border. They hadn't even shipped the bike yet!? They said that they couldn't ship the bike until we signed a legal contract stating we were liable for any additional charges that may incur. Once they had our signed permission, they would have a KTM mechanic drain all the fluids and the motorcycle would be shipped. But, why should we have to pay that when we were willing to do it ourselves but were told not to because they would take care of it at no charge if it were necessary? I explained to the guy that signing the contract wasn't possible. Not only would we not pay to have any fluids drained but also because we only had a 3-month visa to keep the motorcycle in Central America. If the motorcycle wasn't shipped out of the country in time, we would be responsible for paying a fine of approximately $100 per day. They already had the motorcycle in their possession for almost one month, we did not trust they would send it out on time since they had promised us it would only take two weeks but lied.

I felt as though we were being bullied. We gathered all the documents necessary and took a 45-minute drive into Toronto to visit the Salvadorian Embassy. I explain everything to the Consulate Officer and Rocky insisted on a Contract Clause stating we are not responsible for draining fluids or Expired visa fees. The Consulate Officer completely agreed. I then called Comca and placed them on speakerphone. I explained that the contract would be signed and sent but a Clause had been added. He responded by telling me that the contract would not be accepted. It was at that moment that the Consulate Officer introduced himself to the conversation, and the contract was quickly accepted.

In the meantime, Rocky was working at his previous job. I on the other hand, quit my last job because my boss was a douche-bag. I absolutely loved working there but I had no intentions of returning. Instead, I accepted a job offer at a b**k. And then I realize that I would rather have worked for the douche-bag. But, to avoid being jailed for bad mouthing a large corrupt corporation, I won't get into it. At least it gave me some money to move out of my mom’s house. Rocky and I rented out the basement of a nearby house. It was huge, beautiful and affordable but living in the basement sucked because I felt claustrophobic. Regardless, I enjoyed the privacy and we were renting from an amazing family. I was glad to have met them.

Being in Hamilton was bitter sweet. I wasn't ready to be home, but, being in Hamilton meant that we were able to share or be a part of some important moments. We attended many birthday parties I was glad that I didn't miss. My mother turned 60, my half brother became a teenager at 13 and my half sisters had her sweet 16th birthday. I am also happy to have been home for a few births. And, unfortunately, death exists alongside life, but I was glad that I was able to attend my friends funeral and properly mourn her passing. We were able to spend some time getting to know my little nieces and nephew. My sister, Maryline, and her husband, Denis, have raised the sweetest little human beings.

Within the first two months I must've gained 10 lbs. We craved everything we had missed and we ate everything we had craved. The simple convenience of having a pantry, a fridge and a stove was incredible. Rocky learned how to make the best pie I have ever eaten. That definitely helped shape my figure. There were so many different meals and restaurants we had missed. The only place I avoided eating at, was Subway.

We also attended a few concerts. Twice, we were able to watch Romi Mayes and Jason Nowicki, who we originally met in Medicine Hat Alberta during our first couch-surfing experience. Speaking of couch-surfing, Alex, the Canadian we had met in Mexico and beyond, had surfed our couch on his way home back to Montreal. It was really cool seeing him.

It is easy to get comfortable in any lifestyle that holds such strong relationships. But, it wasn't enough to keep me in my bubble. I fantasized over all of the memories and anticipated being back on the road. Almost every day I would catch myself wishing the day was over. That never happened while we were on the road. Life is meant to be lived. It doesn't feel natural to ignore the beauty of this planet by sitting behind a desk day in and day out while wishing for the weekend to arrive. I need to get back on the road to continue building this newfound relationship I'm having with Earth.




We arrived back in Canada at the Toronto Pearson International Airport on January 14th, 2011. We had only told my brother and sister-in-law what had happened and that we were returning so that we could surprise the rest of our families. They were pretty shocked to see us.



We were greeted with a warm welcome from our families and friends, and the bitter cold of winter. Just a few days before we arrived back in Canada, we read Facebook updates from our friends about how they were experiencing spring weather in January.



Paula's friend, Giovanni, threw a big house party. We spent the following day relaxing and walking in the snow in his back field. Giovanni is a man's man - a sort of suburban cowboy - the Marlboro Man if he smoked marijuana and e-cigarettes. And a super nice guy.



With the realization that we wouldn't be continuing our trip until the following year, Paula, Mama, Belle and I got an apartment together. Belle and Paula are seen here relaxing in our comfortable, new pad.



Mama is the elder of the two cats. She was a farm cat that Paula got from an ad in the paper when she was 17. They have been together for the past 16 years, and are almost inseparable. Leaving Mama and Belle behind to go on this trip was very difficult for Paula. It was amazing to see both Mama and Belle again after returning home. Mama has a very unique personality and temperament. There are very few people that Mama tolerates and she doesn't take any shit from anybody. Paula told me a story about how Mama once had a stare-down with a dog and won. But, if Mama does allow you into her little world, it is a very privileged and special experience.



After a night out at Hess Village, a local group of patio bars, Paula ended up sleeping next to the toilet. She ignores my advice to stay hydrated when she drinks alcohol, and she inevitably ends up paying the price and praying to the porcelain.



In August, we went camping in Six Mile Lake Provincial Park with my brother, Jason, his wife, Andrea, and is daughter, Maddy. Jason is a master carpenter, taking after my father. Also like my father, Jason enjoys a cold beer or twelve, and that's just before breakfast.



Paula - while camping in Six Mile Lake National Park



My sister-in-law, Andrea, helps my niece, Maddy (not "Mady") wash the camp dishes. Andrea works for the City of Burlington. She is a great mother and wife, who somehow is able to put up with my brother.



We first met Alex in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico. He was back-packing from Canada to South America and ended up staying with us and several other travellers. Coincidentally, we later just missed Alex in Chetumal, Mexico. He had just stayed with our host, Maria, days before we had arrived. While in Guatemala, we received a message from Alex saying that, if we saw him at the side of the road, to stop and say hi. The next day, we were leaving Peten, Guatemala and we saw two pack-packers walking along the road. Amazingly, it was Alex and a friend. After we returned to Canada, Alex came to stay with us at our apartment as he was passing through Canada on his way home to Montreal.



Mama loves any human food she can sink her teeth into, but she especially loves chocolate, despite it being toxic to cats. She loves butter, hot Italian sausage and even pickled jalapeño peppers. Mama must have been down-wind of the chocolate & almond treat we were eating.



Since we were renting a basement apartment, we sometimes took Mama and Belle to the park to get out of the house for some fresh air. They would have a long winter cooped up in the basement. Belle is a very polite and well-bahaved cat. She's also very nervous but is forced by her love for a good tummy rub to make friends with people.



Paula and I went to Niagara Falls to meet Paula's friends, who drove from Rochester, New York, to celebrate Paula's 33rd birthday.



Paula showing off the tattoo that she had modified and retouched a few months earlier.



Paula with her "bestie", Tonia, and her boyfriend (you can barely see the top of his head) Mike, owner of the famous Perri's Pizza franchise.



The Hangover Part II



At the end of August, Paula and I went on a trip to Pennsylvania with Paula's father and his family.



Paula In Pennsylvania



Paula & her half-sister, Bianca



Paula's father, Nelson, & his wife, Carmen



Paula's half-brother, Bruno, reminds me of a younger version of Jim Carry.



Bianca, Paula's half-sister, balances her brother's zaniness with her much more calm, cool and reserved personality.



The Three Stooges - Bianca, Paula and Bruno



We randomly bumped into Paula's friends and former employer, Dan, who lives and works in Pennsylvania.



After returning home, Paula and I both had a new appreciation for our city of Hamilton.



Sun Setting On The City



Paula, Brandon and Giovanni (in the background).



Before we knew it, the summer was over and autumn had rolled around.

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Old 07-28-2013, 11:56 AM   #164
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Trip Expenses & Statistics

August 20, 2011 - January 7, 2012



Budgeting
In order to travel the distance and for the amount of time we had planned, it was important to maintain a strict budget. Food, lodging, parts and repair expenses, along with fuel costs and efficiency were monitored and recorded. The expense data on this page represents all expenses up to the point where we got into the accident. After the accident, an additional CA$1,250 was spent on a flight home, CA$1,310 was the cost to ship the motorcycle from San Salvador by sea, and CA$150 was spent on a hotel on our last night in El Salvador. These expenses were not added to the total cost shown below since these costs do not represent normal travel expenses.



Lodging

Of all our expenses, the least was spent on lodging. Paula and I did as much stealth camping as we could. Neither of us could justify spending $30 at a campsite to sleep outside. Near the end of the day just before dusk, we would begin to look for a suitable and discrete place to set up camp. This turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip. We found some strange, interesting and often breathtaking places to pitch the tent. We camped next to lakes and rivers, at the side of the highway, in public parks, in parking lots.

After several days without a shower, and when we needed some time to rest and recover, Paula and I contacted couch-surfers. Couchsurfing.org is a social network for travellers and like-minded people who are willing to open up their homes for people who are on the road. A host offers a spare bed, a couch or even a floor to sleep on. The website and hosting is completely free of any charge and is based on reciprocity, and the goal of making travel more easy, affordable, and accessible, while encouraging lasting personal connections with people from all walks of life all over the world. Though the benefit of free accommodation is appealing, neither Paula nor I could imagine the trip without the couch-surfing experience that resulted in the life-long friends that we made through it.

When we weren't couch-surfing or camping, there were a few times that Paula and I were taken in by complete strangers. Stranded by the rain in Durango, Colorado all day, we were offered a place to stay by the manager of a Subway sandwich shop. While in Page, Arizona, a stranger at a McDonald's, who was waiting for his girlfriend to get off work, offered us a place to set up our tent where they were staying.

Food

We kept food costs low by often (too often, according to Paula) eating at Subway sandwich shops. We usually opted for a $5 foot-long, which we both split, and glasses of water. At two dollars and fifty cents per person, it was an extremely inexpensive and relatively healthful meal. We often frequented Subway for their $3 breakfasts as well. As much as we ate at Subway, Paula can no longer stomach even the smell of passing by a store.

Groceries stores were a good option as well. Limited in space and not having any sort of cooler, we weren't able to carry a lot of food. We did often stock up on nuts, dried fruit, trail mixes and beef jerky. Apples and bananas were also an inexpensive and nutritious snack. We also carried an MSR stove and camp fuel with us, but only used it once to heat up some pork and beans and a can of Spaghetti-Os.

When staying with family, friends and couch-surfing hosts, meals were usually provided. If we stayed more than a few days with anyone, Paula and I would like to buy a load of groceries and cook for everyone.


Fuel Prices & Efficiency


When it came to fuel prices, for the most part, we were pretty much at the mercy of the greedy and corrupt oil companies. There is the idea that the earth's natural resources should benefit all people, instead of mainly benefiting a relatively small number of large, multi-national corporations who, in the quest to maximize profits, destroy the environment, engage in price-fixing, lobby against renewable sources of energy, and influence governments who create wars, under the veil of spreading freedom and democracy, in order to secure access to oil resources.

Despite being relatively oil-rich, we, in Canada, pay much higher fuel prices than in The United States. Canadians always find it funny when we hear Americans complaining about the price of gas. I'm sure Europeans feel the same way about all North Americans.


During the entire trip, we filled the motorcycle with a minimum of 91 octane. The highest price for fuel was CA$1.77 per liter (US$6.82 per gallon) between Banff and Jasper, Alberta, Canada. I expected higher than average fuel prices in this area due to its relatively remote location. At CA$0.78 per liter (US$2.82 per gallon), the cheapest fuel prices were in Chiapas, Mexico. Over the course of the entire trip through Canada, The United States, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and El Salvador, the average price of fuel was CA$1.10 per liter (US$4.14 per gallon).

Fuel efficiency was monitored by noting the distance travelled between fill-ups, when the fuel light came on, and how much fuel was added since the last fill-up. This would result in a number for fuel efficiency that could be extrapolated using the tank capacity in order to determine the tank range. These numbers varied significantly depending on what type of riding was being done (highway, city, off-road, etc.).

An excerpt from the spreadsheet created to record, calculate and monitor fuel efficiency and costs:



Expense Distribution

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Rockwell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2013, 03:48 PM   #165
Blader54
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Joined: Jul 2012
Oddometer: 980
Rocky, I'm sure I will just be the first of many to thank you, not only for sharing all this data but for doing so in a way that is so easy to follow and understand! Questions about mileage, fuel costs, food and lodging expenses seem to come up over and over again in the reports of long distance trips, and I'm sure the info you've put out here will help many of us plan our future rides! Thanks so much....looking forward to seeing you continuing your journey!
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