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Old 03-24-2012, 10:18 PM   #61
Hamon OP
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Joined: Dec 2007
Location: BC, Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Island_Rider View Post
Love the report!

Where in BC are you coming from? I'm on BC plates too...

Keep the updates coming, subscribed.
Thanks for the comment!

I`m from Abbotsford, although I grew up about an hour east of there. Been a BC boy for my entire life, and before I hit Guatemala, I was convinced that I lived in the most beautiful part of the world.. I still am pretty convinced but Guatemala definitely struck a chord with me.

I found a hotel in Frontera, Tabasco, Mexico, for the night, which has an internet cafe literally 10 steps from my room. Tomorrow morning will most likely bring more updates... That is, if my itchy feet let me stick around past the 9am opening time.

Hamon,



out.



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http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=485653 <- Inuvik 09: KLR650 and DRZ chronicle
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Old 03-25-2012, 11:25 AM   #62
Hamon OP
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Itīs hard to believe that I left Guatemala nearly a week ago. Some parting words and shots:

First off, Iīm glad I stopped. This is a common sentiment Iīve learned along this trip, that the best times Iīve had have been when I pull up short of my intended goal and savour the scenery and people rather than rushing past in a blur. Maybe thatīs why Belize was slightly uninspiring to me, but alas, I get ahead of myself.

Itīs tough to make out any highlights in Guatemala. They were all highlights:

The views from Earthlodge,


Yes, the orange glow is in fact lava spewing from Volcan de Fuego.



The riding terrain,




(I took the cases off to get up these steps at Earthlodge)

The people,


Evan, aka, kta, with his well-sorted XR600


Ricardo, a philosophy professor from Guate City


Bailey, Christian, and Sarah, travelling Guate in different ways


A fellow rider in line for a construction site: his 125 had a punched out exhaust which put out several times the noise of mine.


Machete-wielding workers at Tikal, who addressed me as Barbe, or beard, and really liked my boots for some reason.

The diverse scenery throughout the country,


Somewhere close to Rabinal


The hostel in Lanquin


The road to Lanquin


Flores


and again, Flores.

and the varied wildlife.







Guatemala stuck out to me as a country of richness and diversity, although the years of war and violence have definitely left their scars, especially on the people. Theyīre a bit reserved, especially in the more rural areas, but once you break through that shell of nervousness and fear, you can see how big their hearts really are. Again, as in Mexico, Iīm amazed at the poverty that can be seen in a country that seems so rich in resources. I know that this country will find success, itīs just a matter of how long it takes. Moreso, I truly hope that success can be found without completely commercializing the population. The culture and heritage found in this country is truly unique and valuable.

Two notable mentions in the next post: Semuc Champey and Tikal
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Old 03-25-2012, 11:48 AM   #63
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Semuc Champey, what can I say? Wikipedia doesn`t say much, so I`ll try to do it a bit of justice.

70km east of Coban, Guatemala, in the heart of a river valley, a natural wonder like few I`ve seen is lurking. Semuc Champey. First off, the road to get there is incredible. The first 50km are beautiful paved twisties, winding along the sides of mountains and through small mountain villages. Just be on your toes for potholes and tumalos. They`re concentrated in areas, but can rear their ugly heads at any moment.

At the turnoff for Lanquin is where things get fun. A hairpin turn onto a steep gravel road makes you realize that this trip isn`t for everyone. The road varies in condition depending on when the grader was last through, but typically is made up of dirt and gravel in pretty good shape, at least when I went through. This winding road drops you deep into humid rainforest, which fills the lungs and the soul (and may have helped cure my chest infection). Lanquin meets you 10km into the gravel, and is an excellent place to set up basecamp.

Semuc Champey is another 10km south, and was one of the most fun portions of road Iīve taken on this trip. Itīs not exactly pleasant, and has a few hills that would be challenging on a bigger bike. If Iīd been on my Vstrom, I probably wouldīve still taken it, but would have ensured that my skid plate was up to the task. I forget what the cost for the park is, but itīs a pittance for what you get.

Dense jungle trails build the anticipation until you get your first view:



Itīs a combination of waterfalls, stepped limestone pools, and a gushing river flowing underneath:







Itīs tough to explain, but how I understand it is there`s a limestone bridge overtop of a river that travels underneath. The limestone bridge has been formed into small pools due to 3 creeks feeding onto the top of it, and these creeks eventually drain into the main river at the end of the terraced pools in the form of a waterfall. With this explanation, maybe this picture makes more sense:


This is the view from El Mirador, a viewpoint some 1000 feet above Semuc Champey.

Probably the coolest thing about Semuc Champey is that these pools on the limestone bridge are swimmable! I canīt say enough how amazing it was to think that as I splashed in these clear, comfortable waters, there was a raging river not 50 feet below.



A definite highlight of Guatemala, and I`m glad I took the time to see it. If you want a bit of extra fun on the bike, you can continue on this road to Rio Dulce. I`ve heard it gets muddy, but it would be a great experience!



Two thumbs up for Semuc Champey. Hank agrees!

Hank also liked Tikal. I did as well, although I have this aversion to tourist locations. I always have to tell myself, they`re touristy to begin with because they`re awesome. Tikal did have its charm.













And in my relaxed wanderings, I found other cool happenings too.





Those were a couple spots that definitely stuck out to me in the tail end of my journey in Guatemala.

Iīm pretty sure Iīll be back. Hopefully sooner than later.

Belize is next! More stories than pictures.
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Old 03-25-2012, 12:18 PM   #64
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After Tikal, I made a beeline for the Belize border. The road was simple, with 3 gravel sections. In the second, I made the mistake of following a truck in. It reminded me of times on the Alaska highway where I drove more by faith and fear than I did by sight. In any case, I made it through the short section unscathed, and as the third section approached, I was in a similar position behind a car. He had the same intention as I, not wanting to follow another vehicle in, and as the speeds climbed, we hit the gravel side-by-side at around 110-120km-h. This game of chicken, although a rush, was at the top end of my comfort level, and I breathed a (clear) sigh of relief as he backed off the hammer and drifted into a billowing cloud behind me.

The Belize border was great. Guatemala was easy to get out of, (migracion, aduana, stamp from security for my vehicle leaving) and Belize easy to get into (fumigation, immigration, customs, and then the purchase of insurance from a dealer about 200 yards from the border crossing). Darren, from Georgia (I think??) was just passing into Guatemala on his DR650.



I had chatted with William, a German bicyclist, at Tikal, who had recommended a place in San Ignacio to spend the night: J&R guest house.



John, the J in the name, was home, and quickly ushered my bike down a narrow path into a safe parking location. He was incredibly generous and hospitable, and as I settled down with a shower (after the pipes got reconnected by the crew working out front), I got the sense that a person could easily spend a long time here. I was in rough shape, though, and ended up sleeping from 3pm to 6am the next day, at which point I was ready to get back on the road. Although I didn`t experience all that J&R guest house has to offer, I was glad for the comfortable and hospitable stay!

Belize, as I mentioned prior, was largely uninspiring as I burned through the 200 or so km from border to border. Being near the Caribbean, it`s quite flat and windswept. Nothing grows very high, and what does will probably soon be knocked over again.



The northern section was filled with sugar cane, which lined the sides of the road from trucks such as this:



You could almost smell the molasses in the air.

Corazal was my only stop. When the sea looks like this,


you can`t help but spend some time.

As I rode into town, the proliferation of Chinese food restaurants was very apparent. What the heck, why not have Chinese in Belize?

I pulled in front of one that looked pretty vacant (alright, it was 11:45), and asked a guy across the road if this place was any good. He thought for a second and said, "Follow me! Iīll take you to a better one."

Well, so far my experiences of following people had worked out for the best, so what the heck! He led me to another Chinese food restaurant, and although it too was empty, the constant in-and-out of take-out customers left me with a much better feeling about the joint.



The best part of this restaurant wasnīt the food, however. Iīd broken my main jacket zipper in Coban 2 days ago and was thinking about a way to get it fixed. As luck (or providence, or whatever you want to call it) would have it, a gentleman walked in with a measuring tape wrapped around his neck. Of course, this struck me as odd, so as we made small talk, I asked him about the tape. Turns out he was a tailor with a shop just 2 doors down! Although he didnīt have zippers, he said if I could find one at the corner store, he could get it installed that day. Well, after my meal, thatīs where I went.

The corner store was so typical of Central America. You could barely move as you walked in for all the stuff piled to the ceiling. I inquired about a zipper and was brought over to a set of bins by a helpful young lass. As she piled junk from one pile to another, she reached into a large Rubbermaid tote to pull out the exact zipper I needed. I donīt know why we even have organizational systems in Canada and the States. This way works just fine!

Back to the tailor I went, and an hour later, I had this.



Total cost: $3.50BZ for the zipper, $5BZ for the labour. In USD, that comes out to a cool $4.25.

Although I didnīt stop to smell the roses in Belize, I left with a rosy feeling about the place. In Canada, this wouldīve cost 10 times that amount and taken 25 times the amount of time (I should know, Iīve had a similar repair done on another jacket already in Canada). Sometimes I donīt get the discontinuity in prices and times, but thatīs just me.

It was off to Mexico then. Belize was easy (immigration, pay my $30BZ tourist fee, then customs to release my vehicle), and the plus side at Mexico was that everything was in the same location, more or less. Migracion, get my tourist visa, then over to the Banjercito to pay for my visa and my temporary vehicle import. The only hassle was to walk 2 blocks to get my passport and other info photocopied (passport, visa (both sides), vehicle title, and driverīs license, if youīre curious). I was through the border in about an hourīs time, rode for another hour, and ended up in Felipe Carillo Puerto, Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Another stamp in the passport, some more unforgettable experiences.

Mexico will have to wait. I gotta get moving.

From the Gulf of Mexico,



Hamon and redbike.
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http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=485653 <- Inuvik 09: KLR650 and DRZ chronicle
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:31 PM   #65
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Great report, and you seem to be making the most of your travels. If you come through San Miguel de Allende, PM me and the first beer's on me.
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:13 AM   #66
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Great report, and you seem to be making the most of your travels. If you come through San Miguel de Allende, PM me and the first beer's on me.
Thanks man! I'm actually already in Tampico and am heading up out of the country tomorrow morning, but the offer is greatly appreciated!

I'll take you up on it next time I'm down!
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:58 AM   #67
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Now where were we... Ah yes, Mexico!

The Yucatan: Endless roads and ancient civilizations

I hit the ground running when I made it onto the Yucutan peninsula from Belize. It's easy to make miles on these long, straight roads. For the life of me, I didn't even take one picture of the roads, because nowhere in Quintana Roo or Yucatan did anything striking pop out (at least, not until a settlement appeared like an adobe oasis). I'll describe the roads as this: thin strips of asphalt through dense, inhospitable underbrush. The trees don't grow tall here, which surprises me given the rainfall that seems to come through here for half the year.

As usual, the traffic is the same as everywhere else in Latin America: extreme on both ends of the speed spectrum. Not long after you pass the typical small pickup truck, loaded to the brim with workers and spewing thick blue smoke from sacked out cylinders, a car, van, tour bus, etc. will whiz past you at 150km/h. They cut in fast, sometimes, it seems, for the sheer thrill of it, while other times it's to avoid a potential fiery catastrophe closing in fast in the opposite direction. For the fast ones, it seems life is cheap. When the common wage for most hovers between 10 and 20 pesos per hour, in "first world" terms, it is.

The popular ruins were first on the list: Tulum and Chichen Itza. It happened to be Spring Equinox time, so things were especially crowded. I got parking at Tulum for 60 pesos,



caught sight of the parking lot,





and realized this place wasn't for me.

The Disneyland vibe of Tulum carried forth to Chichen Itza. I'm sorry, but I don't even have pictures from the parking lot there. If I wanted to be herded through queues, I'd have spent my time off going to movie theatres or maybe trying my hand at being a steer in a feed lot.

Ancient culture attempt #3 was much more successful, but unconventional. Here's Izamal!













A gigantic monestary (or nunnery, or something) crowns this yellow-painted town. Just a couple blocks away, in the middle of a residential section, a mayan ruin rests, with nobody but a weed-whacker wielding local keeping it company. There are no parking fees here, no main entrances, turnstiles, or gates. Heck, at the pyramid, you can hop off your bike on any ol' street, hike your way up, and see for miles. It may not be as glamorous as some of the other ruins, but for me, it was perfect.

Of course, I checked out a couple more on my way down. Quick run-down:

Uxmal











For me, the iguanas made Uxmal what it was. The ruins were awesome, the carvings were outstanding, and the tourist traffic manageable, but the constant rustle in the rubble of these scaly dudes was uniqe. Sure, other places had 'em, but not at the concentration that I found here.

Edzna







At Edzna, I got there early and shared the entire site with one other party: a group of 5 Mexican women, out for a Saturday morning expedition. The silence was broken every so often by uproarious laughter, which, y'know, was more than welcome compared to the constant din of conversation found in so many other places. Heck, I even got a kiss from one of 'em!

I'd asked for 2 pesos after I took a photo of them, but the kiss was all they could spare. Ah, such is life... Hah!

A couple stories in the next post.
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http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=355243 <- BC to ON and back: KLR650
http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=485653 <- Inuvik 09: KLR650 and DRZ chronicle
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:46 AM   #68
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Visual feast ah!
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:48 AM   #69
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As mentioned, a few places stuck out to me along the way. It's been a bit of a slog back to Texas: 300-400km per day, which doesn't seem like much, but the topes take a toll. Just ask my rear shock... Again, I get ahead of myself.

Hopelchen

I'm sure anybody who's been through this area wouldn't even remember Hopelchen, but to me, it was a little slice of home with a zocalo and without spoken English. It was oil change time, and this quaint farming community seemed like as good a place as any to get it done. Not only did native Mexican folk live here (who'd've thunk, in Mexico of all places), but a fairly large Mennonite population was present here too! That's right, overall-wearing, head-covering, sausage-making Mennonites! I would've fit right in with my plaid shirt and jeans, except the men preferred to stay clean-shaven and spoke not a word of English. Spanish, sure, and German, absolutely, but English was as foreign as Mandarin for most.

After securing a hotel room (I think this one cost me 160 pesos and was worth every penny), I sought out a shop for an oil change and found one run by the aforementioned Mennonites. Quick and easy, the oil was dropped, the filter was checked (I run a washable filter) and deemed okay, and I had enough time to pop open the air filter. Ah, it wasn't bad, even after over 10,000km, but it was worth a cleaning anyway. A bit of gear oil, and it was back in the bike. Now, to get my Caribou case luggage rack back on..


Damn.


Double damn.

The crack looked to be an easy fix, and the guys at the shop recommended a place just down the road. Thanks guys!



Down the road, I met Raphael Ramirez.



For 30 pesos, he welded up the crack and gave me a washer to dissapate the energy a bit more. There was nothing to be done about the bolt here (I guess they don't have extractors in this land?) so that would have to wait. Before I left, though, I spent another hour with Raphael, talking in slow, methodical Spanish, about all the important stuff in life: brands of motor oil in Canada, work, family, and the price of watermelon. He was the one that filled me in on how much most folks in Mexico make per hour, and even in what seemed like an impoverished land, he gave me a delicious fruit which seemed to be made of sugar.



The name escapes me now, but it was quite something. We parted ways and that feeling of warmth and contentment that creeps up every so often permeated the moment. What a place.

As I lingered over some smoldering tobacco, I took in a Friday night in Hopelchen.







These are the nights that make this ride worth it.





Cruising the Gulf

The rest of the Gulf of Mexico was a mix of beaches,











sun, rising and setting,





and awesome hotel parking.





Sunday night was a fiesta in Coatzacoalcos.





Man, these folks know how to party. So much so that the music left my ears ringing, and that old-man nature left me glad that my hotel was a few blocks away.

And finally, getting off the beaten track and taking the "other" road to my destination allowed me to discover twisties,



river crossings that would never be tolerated in Canada or the States,



and picturesque coastal scenes with the locals.







Tampico

And so here I write from Tampico, a city that nobody (from Canada to Guatemala) has anything good to say about. I, on the contrary, don't mind the place. Sure, it has a bit of a rough vibe, the people don't smile and greet you like in smaller towns, and there are places in town (like my evening lodgings) that are downright dirty,





but sometimes you have to look past the grime.



The morning comes, and beauty is found if you're willing to look.





As with this journey so far, you find friendly folks everywhere if you greet them with a smile. Granted, some of these friendly folks are also drunk, but they sure are happy to talk.

For now, that's how the story goes. A few hundred kilometres gets me within striking distance of the border tomorrow, and thus concludes Latin America for me. It's been a trip, not always easy, but very rewarding. I'll admit that the last few days have been forward-thinking: excited for the next leg of the journey that takes me up into the States. Before that, though, I look wistfully back at a minute sample of the things that make Latin America so incredible:

-the vibrance of life: from the brightly colored buildings and clothes, to the melodious language, to the assault on the eardrums of chicken buses and taxis in the streets
-the generosity of people: for the supposed poverty, these folks know how to share. Sure, there are those who try to beg, but the majority would give you a plate of food in a heartbeat if you looked like you needed it.
-the landscape: from mountains, to beaches, to jungle, to desert, no matter where you go, (other than perhaps the middle of the Yucatan), you're going to find jaw-dropping vistas within a couple hours.
-the history: the native folks, Mayan and Aztec, that lived here before the Spanish, had a lot of things going for them. Even in Canada, it's rare to see such amazing monuments of thriving civilizations as found down here. Whether this is because they had the material more readily available, or what the case is, I don't know, but it sure makes for an interesting lesson in ancient times.
-the food: okay, I'll admit, there was a time that I didn't want to see tortillas or frijoles for a few days, but overall, the depth and variety of food in Mexico is mouthwateringly delicious. I'll be glad to have a few more salads and veggies though, but the markets are still full of 'em!

And as a parting note, there's one thing I won't miss. Topes, tumulos, or sleeping policemen, depending on what country you visit. I can see why vehicles get so thrashed down here, and my shock will agree.



It waited until 500km from the US border to start its weeping, but these roads have taken their toll. It's a good thing that North Carolina and Rick from Cogent Dynamics are along the way on my route up to New York! This baby needs some love.

From Tampico,

Hamon,



and redbike,



out.
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http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=355243 <- BC to ON and back: KLR650
http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=485653 <- Inuvik 09: KLR650 and DRZ chronicle
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Old 03-28-2012, 12:21 PM   #70
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Great update Trav -

I think you've inspired me to start putting more effort into photos. You've been traveling to-and-through many of the places I've been, but your photos are so much nicer. I'm going to steal a couple....

Have a safe ride up through the states. Cheers.
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Motorcycle Tours in Guatemala
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:47 AM   #71
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The rest of Mexico (Tamaulipas) was a push to get into Texas. The roads were flat and open, and farming prevails through here. It seemed to be mainly corn.





My last meals of Mexico were found at true "the place" type places. I've mentioned what "the place" is in other ride reports, but here's a reiteration:

"The place" is the spot in town where the real work gets done. It's where the truck drivers, the farmers, the construction workers, and the older, retired locals all come together because they know the food's good, the coffee (if applicable) is hot, and everybody else is going to be there too. As towns get larger, "the place" is tougher to find, so I tend to stick to the small towns, where you can tell "the place" by the number of pickup trucks out front.

For lunch, "the place" served enchiladas and carne.



And for supper, in San Fernando, just a block away from my hotel, "the place" was dishing up tacos: the total price for my filling meal of 3 tacos and a coke was a whopping 35 pesos.



Speaking of San Fernando, my first impressions of this town could be put in one word: Sleepy. Everything was closed, there was hardly a person moving about, and it seemed like a ghost town. Now, I'd rolled in at around 6pm, just as the sun was going down. It was a typical week day, and in every other town, this would be when people walk around and get some fresh air. My conclusion was that nobody lived in San Fernando.

I was mistaken, as the next morning as I rolled out of town at 8am, the main streets that had once been the perfect scene for tumbleweed now teemed with people going about their daily business. Farmers were buying fertilizer, tiendas were selling more of their soft drinks and dry, pre-packaged snacks, and the smell of breakfast wafted across the main street through town.

There was such a dichotomy between night and morning and the only thing I could think was that people shut themselves in their houses at night in this area. It wasn't long ago that the drug cartels ran these areas, wreaking havoc and subjecting the locals to violence and terror that had obviously left its mark. The police and military have since moved in, but to me, there still seemed to be signs of fear.

Back to the evening before, the ghost-town vibe continued with me only finding one hotel in town, and they wanted 550 pesos for a room. Well, I simply could not stand to pay that much, so they gave me a cheap room,


for a cheap rate.

At least the parking was good.



I spent the evening drinking beers with Texans who were down here on work in the oil field. I learned more about the oil industry in the 3 hours I spent with these guys than I have in the rest of my life. Whether it was setting up drilling rigs or the idea of pre-drilling wells just to leave them sit as investments, these guys knew oil. It was a fantastic night and a good way to re-introduce me to the USA, which would happen the next morning.



A hundred miles lay between redbike and the border, and the ol' girl quickly and happily lapped those miles up.

The border was pretty simple: get them to check my VIN on the bike to cancel my TVIP, then return my tourist visa to Migracion.

That was Mexico. 20 pesos toll for the bridge, and I was gone, leaving not much more than a few scattered pesos along the way and a slight haze of oily exhaust from redbike. Texas was next.
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http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=355243 <- BC to ON and back: KLR650
http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=485653 <- Inuvik 09: KLR650 and DRZ chronicle
http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=762691 <- 3 months of moto fantasticity
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:49 AM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kta View Post
Great update Trav -

I think you've inspired me to start putting more effort into photos. You've been traveling to-and-through many of the places I've been, but your photos are so much nicer. I'm going to steal a couple....

Have a safe ride up through the states. Cheers.
Steal away! Make sure they don't have any KLR in them though or you may lose some street cred.

Where are you at? Make it outta Guatemala yet?
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http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=485653 <- Inuvik 09: KLR650 and DRZ chronicle
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:42 AM   #73
Hamon OP
I just like riding
 
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: BC, Canada
Oddometer: 289
Texas: Home of beef, oil, and incredible people.

I rolled across the Rio Grande and into an easy border crossing to get back to the USA. Immediately, the roads got bigger (better is subjective, as I found roads in Mexico to be very good), the traffic flow got faster, and the signage more distinct and descriptive. My first stop was actually a shopping mall where I visited a bank, and shortly thereafter a Wal-Mart in Kingsville where I picked up the netbook I type from now. I figured this was a good time to pick up something with Wifi capabilities, as I wasn't sure internet cafes were going to be as prevalent in the States as in Latin America.

After an evening of readjusting in Kingsville, I hit the road at the stroke of 11am and started my way up to Sinton, which is a small podunk town that was only supposed to be a highway junction location for me. I figured since there was a machine shop in town, I'd see about them extracting my bolt from my luggage rack. They couldn't help, but they recommended a mechanic at a tire shop. Off to the tire shop I went!

The mechanic from the tire shop couldn't help either, but it just so happened a guy changing his oil there had some buddies that rode Harleys and he thought they may be able to work a fix. So, off I go, chasing this guy in a Suburban through Hinton, only to have a loud-ass Harley swing in from the oncoming lane and join the escort to this guy's place.

Well, redneck would be the only way to properly describe this cluster of trailer parks, complete with one running Harley,



two in various states of repair,



and an electric Harley trike owned by the main guy, Ron "No Way"'s mullet-modeling three-year-old.



The next three hours consisted of us talking bikes, drilling, tapping, waiting, tapping to a different diameter, buying a new tap, and finally celebrating the fix with a couple beers. As I rode away, I couldn't help but break out in laughter at the absurdity of the whole situation. "No Way" and Tom, "Crazy T," join the rich tapestry of stories that have been woven along this journey, and I wouldn't have it any other way. You meet the most amazing people on a motorcycle.

I dropped once again towards the coast and for the first time in a long while, I set up camp.



I realized that my wallet wasn't going to like me very much if I continued to stay in hotels and motels, so the tent was (and is) going to see a lot more use in the days to come. The spot I chose for my first night to camp in the States wasn't exactly ideal, though. There had been a lot of rain here over the past couple weeks and now, with the warm weather, the mosquitos were nothing short of atrocious. I developed a system out of necessity where I doused myself in bug spray the night before, made breakfast stinking of Deet, and then showered right before hopping on the bike (after loading it up, of course). This seemed to make a less-than-ideal situation at least tolerable.

The view from the state park was across one of the many lagoons that dot the Texas coast.



For the last 50 or so days, I've been blessed with little to no rain. I think in those 50 days, I've seen around 15 minutes of rain (somewhere just outside of Merida in the Yucatan). Well, the storm clouds were looming, so out came the rain gear.



Which, an hour later, was put away, after never being used. Turns out the clouds packed more ominousness than they did actual fluid. As I got down to Freeport, I rode the beach for about 10 miles, which was a nice change of pace.



I cruised along at slightly higher than the 20mph speed limit and the bumps and jumps took their toll... As I crossed onto Galveston Island, something about my backrest was amiss.



I'd lost my top drybag and the contents held within:
-rain liner for my riding pants
-rain liner for my jacket
-second pair of rain overpants (Frogg Toggs: I was using some Aerostich ones)
-bungee net
-2 pairs of gloves

As I stood there, contemplating whether to go back, I realized that none of the stuff I'd just lost was really going to affect the rest of the trip. I mean, sure, the bungee net would have been nice, as would the warmer pair of gloves. I could do without them, though. Knowing this and coming to the conclusion that it was just stuff was a really liberating feeling.

As I thought more about it, I could probably drop both side cases and my top dry bag and still have a heck of a trip. Sure, it would cost more, as I'd have to stay in hotels along the way, and I'd be wearing a lot of the same thing every day, but it still would be possible. Losing this small amount gave me a lot of perspective on how much unnecessary crap I was taking with me. Granted, it was useful crap, but unnecessary nonetheless.

Anyway, back to riding. Galveston did nothing for me, so I hopped the free ferry,





ate a meal of deep-fried avocado topped with shrimp and mahi-mahi,



and pulled into Winnie, TX, another small town somewhere in Texas, with a cheap motel and a grocery store nearby. Those are my prerequisites, just so I can get some dairy and fresh fruit/veggies for the night and the morning.

The next morning was Sunday, and it'd been a while since I'd visited church. I did a bit of sleuthing and found one that fit the bill.



Without going into too much detail, let me just say this. I learned a lot about the grace of God through the people at this church. Their generosity, hospitality, and all-around joy was readily apparent, and the love that was shown by them to me, some undeserving, unshaven, tired-looking rider, that just popped by for a simple worship service, was nothing short of inspiring.

I can't express this in any other way, and for those who don't believe, maybe it gives you something to think about: God is working in this congregation, and that goes way beyond what happens on Sunday mornings. Their attitudes show the love that was originally demonstrated through Christ, and although they're not perfect people (none of us are), they're on a good path.

I'm not trying to evangelize, but I do find it important to voice what I believe. God has worked in incredible ways on this trip, and my experience this Sunday morning is simply another reflection of that.

The flags they had out front reminded me of home too.



And soon enough, I was reminded again that everything's bigger in Texas. Look at these friggin' bridges!



The land underneath stretched for miles. From my lunchtime friends, they informed me that rice was a big crop 'round these parts.



And that was Texas. The things I'll take from my journey there are: the largeness of the landscape and the largeness of people's hearts in this great state.

But, where I'm typing from now is just a bit east. The landscape is slightly different:



although some of the flora carries over,



we're in Cajun country now.



Already had my first meal of crawfish last night, and who knows what today brings! It'll be a brief visit of Louisiana as I'd like to get up to NC by Wednesday or Thursday, but I'm gonna take what I can get of this fine state while I'm here!

From the navigational cockpit of redbike,



Hamon out.
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Two wheels and half a brain.
http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=355243 <- BC to ON and back: KLR650
http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=485653 <- Inuvik 09: KLR650 and DRZ chronicle
http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=762691 <- 3 months of moto fantasticity
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:52 AM   #74
madeouttaglass
The AntiHarley
 
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Joined: Mar 2009
Location: California bound but stuck in NY for now
Oddometer: 3,404
FWIW- I sometimes stop at a McDonald's to use the free WiFi while traveling. You can find it at most all of them.
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Our ride across the USA on a Ural Gear Up- http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=781149

Escape from NY- http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=955520
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Old 04-02-2012, 07:45 PM   #75
jpadge
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Hamon,
I had to join the site after reading through your journey. It was great having a couple of beers with you in San Fernando Mexico. It was a great pleasure hearing all about your journey it really makes me jealous. I would love to take that much time out of my busy schedule to enjoy life that much, but the drilling rigs need me. It was good to hear you made it in to Texas ok. I hope you got your deposit back.
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