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Old 09-18-2012, 07:40 PM   #76
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Thanks to everybody who hoped I was getting better and this was the last of everything - READ ON (in a voice of doom)

headed to Puero Enscondido looking forward to a few days of lazing and relaxing in the sun, decided to heck with the budget and would head down the cuota (toll) road just to get down there. Now when I checked google map it showed cuota sections on both roads heading down, when I checked Guia Roji maps it showed cuotas on both roads and when I looked at itmb map it showed cuota on both roads. Guess what, there was no cuota on the road I went down and no I didn't miss the turn off. As a matter of fact it was a winding twisting road but with good weather it didn't matter it was kind of enjoyable, after a couple of hours I realized it was probably the most dangerous section of road I've ridden on this trip, I must have passed about 15 sections of road where they had just finished cleaning up the landslides that had occured. Got to about 30 kms to the end, came around a curve and there it was, a section of road closed off by landslide and people working at clearing it. No way forward and about 5 hrs back to the nearest hotel




I got talking to a German guy on a tourist bus who had been sitting for half an hour already, apparently as soon as the slide happened the people came from all the little villages with picks and shovels and started clearing it by hand, as the truck drivers arrived they climbed down and joined in.

they worked steady with no straw boss over them



until they dug far enough down that vehicles could start across if they wanted

the truckers who dug were the first ones across which seemed to me to be absolutely fair (and for the record I didn't dig, I would have gotten in their way)




now I should explain, the soils on this road appear to be a one partical size
silt, if you mix this with a small amount of water you will end up with an extremely smooth polished surface with a layer of slick goose snot over it. After the trucks had been over it it was also criss crossed with ruts. Now those that have ridden off road pretty well know whats coming. When it was my turn I stopped short of the mud, studied the situation, gave it some throttle and went like mad across, by my estimation I made it a good 3/4 or 7/8 across before crashing the front wheel into a rut, down I went with my leg underneath, I would say it took less than a second before they were lifting the bike off me but too late, I now have a sprained ankle and twisted knee but 1 1/2 weeks later it's feeling almost back to normal. Sometimes it seems life has it in for you but the recuperation more than made up for it. Got into Puerto Escondido just before sundown so grabbed a reasonably priced hotel 200 pesos on the edge of town

this is what I espied with my little eye in the morning


because my ankle was sore I parked my small backside under the palapa by the pool, sat and drank beer and skyped the ever faithful bride and made her commiserate with me about how tough my life is but finally hunger drove me downtown Puero to have supper

Puerto Escondido downtown in the heat of the afternoon



the restaurant I fixed on for supper


and the very pleasant lady who served me



I had a perfectly delectable mango pollo con arroz



the next day I went downtown by local pickup bus 5 pesos, I'll let Puerto show itself to you










forgot to mention when you order a meal you always get a dish of spicy fish as an hors d'oeuvres, very good too you can't even taste the fish



there's not much fish I like but I do like fresh tuna especially when doused with garlic which doesn't seem to be used much down here



met my neighbour one day but he seemed a bit standoffish and didn't want to talk



my last day there 16th September the hotel owners were up early and were starting to cook a mysterious pot of something but I wasn't sure what it was and am too painfully shy to push my way into things and ask



the end of the day and I was invited down to have some of the delicious soup they prepare every year on this day, I couldn't catch the name of it but the whole family tucked right into it



another sad farewell and I was off down the road to Juchitan de Zaragoza for an over night stop. This place convinced me I needed to get back up into the mountains again, just straight blinding heat

Next: On to San Cristobal de las Casas

Slowphil screwed with this post 09-18-2012 at 07:45 PM
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:24 PM   #77
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Hola mi amigos y amigas

first I have to admit I've been to San Cristobal de las Casas before and have a bit of a soft spot for it

so here we go:

after leaving Puerto Escondido headed for the small town that should be renamed "The Shoulder Of Hell" just because of how hot it is I stopped at a little road side cafe, the breakfast was pretty good but the young lady talked me into trying a "coco frio", she opened the bottom part of her freezer and took out a coconut with all the trimmings still on and proceeded to lop off the top with a machete and stick in a straw. I have never really cared for cocnut milk but I have never tasted anything this good or cold before I had it all through breakfast and it never warmed up

this is the only picture of that day and evening



one of the unsung workers who help keep us travelling




Posada in Bakkers book, yes it is very nice but a bit of a hoof to town but 5 pesos on the bus handles that



view of the room



and out the window



San Cristobal doesn't have the biggest fanciest or cleanest centro but it's still busy






actually the first thing right after breakfast is bike maintainance, I noticed yesterday it was taking almost the complete sweep of the clutch lever to disengage the clutch so adjustments had to be made




out of order but heres breakfast, wup sorry no breakfast picture but here's the womans cooperative where I ate



and the ladies who were running it that day



went to the artisans market, very eclectic collection of locals and foreign hippies selling their stuff, the picture doesn't do it justice, it's laid out like a hub and spoke and you can wander for quite a while in there



as you wander the towns of Mexico you get the impression from the endless graffiti covered walls and doors that most of Mexico is dirt poor but every now and then the door opens a crack and you get a quick peek of what really lies back there



this is one of the more colourful churches in San Cristobal, have a look at the sky behind it foretells the not too distant future


I liked the little yards and courtyards of the churches better than the churches themselves





in one of the markets this gentleman explained he was waterproofing the leather hats with oil before sale



here's a few odd pictures which defy a catagory, local police motorcycle



one of the many different shapes of guitars down here



a Scotty patiently waiting for his buddy



and these threads seem to descend into an orgy of food

another delicious sopa




supper tonight, I think it was called Mer y Tierra (stirfry of shrimp, beef, chicken and vegetables cooked perfectly. I had a piece of berry cheese cake for dessert but I scoffed that down before my mind said picture, it was awesome as well. The whole supper including two coffees was 90 pesos




now here is a really neat gentleman, I was sitting having a coffee and contemplating the universe when we struck up a conversation. We ended up hanging together all afternoon, he and his wife are contemplating retiring into Mexico and are down scouting out areas



if your down this way and recognize Stefan definitely say hello, your afternoon will be well rewarded

I mentioned I needed a new shirt to replace the ratty old t shirt I was wearing and since Stefan wanted one as well we ended up harassing all the local women and men selling shirts. We nickeled and dimed two of them down to 85 pesos each for the shirts, we had to have two of them because each only had one XL shirt, we then led a parade over to the bank so we could break 500 pesos bills, the sellers weren't letting us out of their sight let me tell you. Anyway THE SHIRT




anyway that sort of covers San Cristobal de Las Casas

Next: waiting to meet Ed who's been travelling two days to catch up
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:07 PM   #78
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Great pics !
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:12 AM   #79
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Pimping shirt Phil,but you should have picked up one of those oiled hats to go with it!
Keep the reports coming,great reading.
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:34 AM   #80
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Keep it coming !
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:45 AM   #81
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Location: Canoodia, eh?
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So....are you having fun yet or what?
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Old 09-20-2012, 08:41 AM   #82
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Sweet shirt.
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:11 AM   #83
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This shirt should help you blend in a lot more...



so you don't look like a tourist. NOT!

Great pics Phil.

YK
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Old 09-25-2012, 12:20 PM   #84
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Lookin good Phil
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:20 AM   #85
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Well, after a bit of a break here I am again. Ed was a couple of days behind me until San Cristobal de las Casas where he caught up, we've been riding together since, anyway everybody meet Ed



We decided we'ed head up to the Palenque ruins to have a look see since it was only half a day up there, on the way we stopped at the Agua Azul which I had read about 3 years ago, what the area is is a series of waterfalls leading into each other and they are absolutely gorgeous












The falls are gorgeous but the area around is a bit of a tourist trap, would I go there again, most definitely, it's worth the effort

On to Palenque
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:48 AM   #86
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Palenque is lowland jungle area, hot and humid, did I mention it is humid there? On the way up there from Agua Azul the day changed from sunny blue skies to torrential downpour, my camera which was in a waterproof exterior pocket managed to get saturated, the waterproof pocket actually managed to trap a small amount of water so the camera sloshed around for a couple of hours, when I took it out of the pocket the water ran out of it. Well a couple of days draining and 2 days in a sealed bag of rice managed to bring the camera back but the view screen is partially screwed up, Oh well, such is longterm travel, Ed was nice enough to lend me his point and shoot until mine came back.

When we got to Palenque we headed out to the ruins, just at the entrance to the park is a little area called Patchan which consists of small businesses running little camps with cabins, small restaurants and one larger restaurant. It's quite a different sort of area catering to backpackers and hippies who arrived and never quite left, did I mention it was humid there?
Everything was damp and or wet with rain happening every now and then all day. It was actually quite interesting, after supper we ended up at the big fancy restaurant, there we were in the middle of the Palenque jungle with howler monkeys screaming in the trees, listening to a live band play excellent latin american music on a high powered sound system, drinking ice cold beer with a big party going on all around us. It was a completely surreal experience.

Ah but next day, up early and off to the ruins
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:54 AM   #87
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The Palenque ruins are beautiful but they appear small in comparision to some of the other ruins like Mexico City and Tikal but that would be an unfair comparision because apparently 95% of the ruins are still buried in the jungle with not enough money to expand the site. They're still impressive though and on with the tour

The areas which are cleared are well cared for but it is a constant battle to keep the jungle back




maintenaince is a non stop effort



your not allowed to climb on a lot of the ruins as on other sites










The carvings on the exterior were quite ornate but time has taken its toll




have to go for a second will be right back
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Old 09-28-2012, 04:03 PM   #88
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Well, I'm back

I'm not too sure of the history of Palenque they didn't have much information posted around so if I sound kind of vague too bad but each of these buildings are temples dedicated to different rulers




they built aqueducts to carry off the streams and excess water that was around the site, part was uncovered but a large majority was vaulted and run underground
















We spent about half a day at the ruins and decided to head on to Comitan which was back toward San Cristobal but closer to the border and about an extra hours travel time

but as we we're packing the bikes back at the hut this lovely young senorita asked if she could have her picture taken on the bike, of course how could I say no



we left Palenque and after about an hour down came the torrential downpour once again, when we reached the turn to go to Comitan we decided discretion was the better part of valour and headed back to the hotel in San Cristobal which was 20 minutes away as opposed to about an hour and a half to Comitan, so ended a very soggy two days
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Old 09-29-2012, 04:25 PM   #89
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Next day, up and at em, we're off to the border with Guatemala but before that it's time for breakfast while we're on the road. Got to a little town and there was a woman cooking rotisserie chicken with breakfast advertised





the breakfast was excellent so we decided to hang around and wait while the chicken cooked and get some for lunch



we checked out a motorcycle across the road mainly because we were amazed at the ingenuity required to keep a bike running when you have very little money



the gas tank was gone replaced with a plastic bottle, the wiring had all been redone and the shock was off another bike but the guy sure made this thing move



all along the side of the roads you'll find people selling gas in small bottles in competition with the big gas stations, we stopped to get a picture and the guy said he was selling gas like this because it was his only way of making a few Quetzales



here I am getting ready to hit the road again



as we riding along had to turn around and get a picture of this church, most of it is strictly facade, the church behind is tiny unfinished concrete block





we stopped to have a drink at a store and ended up helping this young lady with her english homework



after finally getting through the border which I have to admit went smoothly after paying 160Q to clear the motorcycle we finally got our first view of Lake Atitlan where we were heading



the view is impressive but the road with a 45 degree drop into the town of Panajachel is slightly unnerving, couldn't get any pictures of it because there is absolutely no where to get stopped to try and get a picture



The time we spent in Panajachel was quiet but I'll start off with pictures of the Grand Hotel where we stayed. As you drive into the gates of the hotel there is a cobblestone courtyard surrounded by rooms which was nice but ordinary, we were in the second courtyard behind the first










I must have taken 25 shots of this tree before I was happy with the results

and of course the mandatory picture of me contemplating the future, I think I was singing a little ditty to myself when this was snapped, I do things like that you know



but enough of the hotel even though it was the most beautiful I have stayed at at 250Q a night for a big double room. While we were in Pana it turned out there were kids coming from all over Guatemala for spots competitions

We heard the band practicing for a solid two days for the parade


I kind of wish they had started the parade a little earlier so my pictures would have been better but such is life



next day they shut the main street of town down and set up a kids playground down the street



I know you are all as pleased as I am my camera is working well again even though the viewing screen is partially screwed up
Up next: On to Antigua
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Old 09-29-2012, 04:44 PM   #90
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Just for general amusement on the way to Antigua Ed and I figured we would try and get some shots of the TOPES in Mexico and TUMULOS here in Guatemala



there's not much space between my skid plate and the top of the tumulo, actually I slam down on the top of a lot of them



Ed doesn't have this problem, he probably has 2in more clearance on his BMW

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