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Old 11-29-2012, 05:07 AM   #691
JDowns OP
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Had a restful day hanging out in Bacalar yesterday. The weather in Belize doesn't look good. So my current plan for today is to double back and head down to Guatemala. Belize will have to wait for another day. You can't see everything on a single trip. I have only scratched the surface of Mexico riding 4000 miles all over the place in the last month. And Mexico is so close to home it is an easy place to travel.

I am still looking for this dangerous Mexico everyone talks about back home. I sure haven't found it. I'm still looking. All I have found is friendly helpful people, lots of great mountain riding leaning into curves, interesting historic towns, ruins of ancient civilizations and beautiful tropical beaches. But I will be back to Mexico many times more hopefully so maybe I'll find the dark side someday. Not this trip though.

OldPete was kind enough to send me a PM with a link to post #206 on this ride report:

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...810189&page=14

Looks like a fun back way to Tikal. I think that is where I'll head this morning. So I checked out the exchange rate today and it is around 8 quetzals to the dollar. Which is easy to remember. A quetzal is worth about 12 cents or 50 per cent more than a peso.

The currency hasn't changed since last trip two years ago:



the green 1 quetzal bill is worth 12 cents, the brown and purple 5 quetzal bill is worth 60 cents, the red 10 is a buck 20, dark blue 20 is $2.40 and the maroon 100 quetzal bill is worth 12 bucks.

You don't want anything bigger than a 100 in rural Guatemala when you change money. Also they are really picky about ripped and slightly torn bills in Guatemala so you have to check every one people hand you in change and give back the ripped ones or you will have a hard time using them.

The coins look like this;



The coins in Guatemala are much easier to tell apart than the Mexican peso coins. the one Quetzal is worth 12 cents but I just think of it as a dime even though it's bigger than a quarter. The 50 centavo coin I think of as a nickel. The 10 centavo is a penny and anything less I don't care about.

So as soon as this place gets unlocked its time to book out of here and see what the jungles of northern Guatemala look like. I doubt if I'll make it too far since it's 300 miles to Tikal with a border to cross.

more later….

Saludos,
Juanito
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Old 11-29-2012, 05:45 AM   #692
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Glad #206 was of some help Juanito. I like quiet crossings into Mexico.
I haven't crossed since 2000 and really liked Tecate but I was told it did close for awhile.
Guess they had to build it up after The HSA of 2002. Used to be just a big phone booth. It is reopened BTW.

I'll continue to forward any current info I read as you have little time, like hours, to read RRs.

Best Regards,
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edit: This is in the background as I read jungle rides. It might relax you at night... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOBzSxFK8E0

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Old 11-29-2012, 07:56 AM   #693
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I like your stone mason outlook on architecture. It sets this report apart from others that have traveled the same places and took pictures of the same structures. Your more focused on the details most don't even notice. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 11-29-2012, 05:20 PM   #694
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I like your stone mason outlook on architecture. It sets this report apart from others that have traveled the same places and took pictures of the same structures. Your more focused on the details most don't even notice. Thanks for sharing.
Hi gbacque,

Glad to have you along and nice you enjoy my unique perspective on travel.

I try to throw in information that I would find useful if I were reading this report. But I do tend to go off on tangents.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:47 PM   #695
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Buenos noches mi compadres,

I left Bacalar over on the Carribean coast of the Yucatan this morning and rode west through Quintana Roo, and Campeche. It was a long and rather straight ride. After 170 miles I stopped for gas in the lovely town of Escarcega (Ess-car-SAY-ha). As I pulled into the Pemex station the back tire pulled to the side. Yikes! another flat. Well not really flat but getting there. Very fortunate to happen in the biggest city along the way. So I aired it up and whipped around to see if I could find a better tube than the cheap chinese spare I bought in Bacalar a few days ago. There was a repuestos de moto shop just down the street with a V-strom parked out front. Not a sight you see often down here. He had a heavy duty Kenda for 230 pesos. Still Chinese but I figured the patch job Joaqin had done lasted for several hundred more miles than mine did so it was time to splurge on a decent tube. And no doubt riding like hell in a straight line on hot sunny straight roads all day and pounding over the macho topes of Campeche hadn't helped the poor patch out too much.

Tires and tubes are waaaay expensive in Mexico. Not a great country to get caught out. So I paid the equivalent of $18.50 for the tube and it almost tapped me out, I had been planning on making it to the Guatemalan border on my last few hundred pesos. Hah! Fat chance.

So I rode down to the nearest Cajero Automatico (ATM) and withdrew 1000 pesos figuring that I would have to spend the night somewhere since dicking around and changing the tube had cost me an hour.

I continued on another 150 miles through the states of Campeche and Tabasco. Just inside the border of Chiapas I turned towards Guatemala on state road 203. A two lane patched paved road typical of backcountry Mexico. I looked in my Guia Roji Mexico road atlas this morning and this road I'm on turns to dirt and ends before the border according to them. So apparently it is a recent improvement with a relatively new aduana and banercito at the border in El Ceibo. I'll find out tomorrow..

After turning onto 203 I hit the town of Emiliano Zapata after a few miles. Here's the bronze statue of E.Z. on the edge of town:



Land and Liberty. Sounds good to me. Nice friendly folks these Zapatista revolutionaries. Industrious too. They were tearing up the sewers and the detour took me away from 203 somehow. You need to take a right somewhere that isn't marked but I found it after not too long wandering around. The sun had set and it was dusk. This is the country road heading out of E.Z. at twilight. I lightened it in iPhoto so it would show up:



It headed along a huge river wider than a football field. At first I thought it was a lake. It got dark quickly on the way to Tenosique (ten-oh-SEE-kay). They have the road torn up so it was interesting riding. Hopefully it will be paved by the time you ride to Tenosique in the dark. The city is much bigger than i was expecting considering it is in the middle of nowhere. The prices for hotels are high though. I checked three and they all wanted over 300 pesos. So I chose the Luz de luna since that is what I rode in on.

There doesn't seem to be anything from the Guatemalan border through the jungle for the first 100 miles or so. I'll let you know what I find tomorrow. Hope to get an early start before the alleged narcotrafficantes are up and at-em. So far it looks like a neat, quiet, hassle free back door border crossing to Tikal.

Tricepilot PM'ed me that I need to man up and do the Indiana F'n Jones hike to El mirador through the jungle to the ruins northwest of Tikal. I think he's right. So my plan as of this evening is to go check out Tikal ruinas and then see if I can find a poor mans route to El Mirador. It's only 20 miles each way so not sure why it should take 5 days hiking on mule trails. I sure can't afford the 280.00 gringo price. But I think if I show up at the trail head in Carmelitas with food, water and gear I can find a local guide cheap and stash the bike for a few days. I'm looking into it this evening and I'll let you know what I find out.

The internet is slow as molasses out here so I will spare you the other photos of long straight roads that continue to the vanishing point.

Hasta mañana mi amigos de aventura,
Juanito
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:39 PM   #696
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Good job John.

Please don't ride after dusk.

You know in September I hit a cow in Baja and have two broken hands, no riding until next year.

Be safe. Be good to yourself.
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:56 PM   #697
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Good job John.

Please don't ride after dusk.

You know in September I hit a cow in Baja and have two broken hands, no riding until next year.

Be safe. Be good to yourself.
Sorry about your manos. No wonder you hate cows. I remember weaving around the black cows out on the highway for some evening warmth down south of La Paz. And yes it is not a good idea to ride at night south of the border. I don't recommend anybody try it. As for myself, well, riding at night is dangerous anywhere. It is dark 12 hours of the day down here. I only sleep 6. I'll try to dick around on the internet more and ride less at night.

Saludos,
Juan
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:30 PM   #698
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It is dark 12 hours of the day down here. I only sleep 6.
Juan

I love riding at night in Latin America. I get off on it actually. The fact that people say "you should never do it" makes it all the more fun. The most exciting was in Nicaragua riding in 7 hours of darkness getting to Managua. I almost got kilt about a dozen times, and it was fun! I saw shit there that would make Austin Vince cry like a little bitch.

Its not for everyone, but I love doing it and it keeps me on my game. What doesnt kill you makes your stronger right? Or what doesnt kill you just hurts really, really bad? Fuck all that bullshit that people tell you. Live your own life. Ride your own ride.

Good on ya Juanito. Cabron, you are livin the dream amigo. Que le vaya bien, puta!
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:06 PM   #699
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:52 PM   #700
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I love riding at night in Latin America. I get off on it actually. The fact that people say "you should never do it" makes it all the more fun. The most exciting was in Nicaragua riding in 7 hours of darkness getting to Managua. I almost got kilt about a dozen times, and it was fun! I saw shit there that would make Austin Vince cry like a little bitch.

Its not for everyone, but I love doing it and it keeps me on my game. What doesnt kill you makes your stronger right? Or what doesnt kill you just hurts really, really bad? Fuck all that bullshit that people tell you. Live your own life. Ride your own ride.

Good on ya Juanito. Cabron, you are livin the dream amigo. Que le vaya bien, puta!
Oh I'm a Daredevil, just a Daredevil with two broken hands. Do what ever you want...if you don't mind someone having to wipe your ass for a while
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Old 11-30-2012, 01:58 AM   #701
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I love riding at night in Latin America.... I saw shit there that would make Austin Vince cry like a little bitch.
I look forward to meeting you someday. You've got a way with words.

Saludos,
Juanboy
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:03 AM   #702
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Oh I'm a Daredevil, just a Daredevil with two broken hands. Do what ever you want...if you don't mind someone having to wipe your ass for a while
I hear what you're saying Señor Tucker. Believe me. I was trying to think of how many people in my life would wipe my ass. It's a short list.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:50 AM   #703
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Tricepilot PM'ed me that I need to man up and do the Indiana F'n Jones hike to El mirador through the jungle to the ruins northwest of Tikal. I think he's right. So my plan as of this evening is to go check out Tikal ruinas and then see if I can find a poor mans route to El Mirador. It's only 20 miles each way so not sure why it should take 5 days hiking on mule trails. I sure can't afford the 280.00 gringo price. But I think if I show up at the trail head in Carmelitas with food, water and gear I can find a local guide cheap and stash the bike for a few days. I'm looking into it this evening and I'll let you know what I find out.
Looking forward to an update on El Mirador. It's been on my list to do for a while now, need to make it happen soon.
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:16 AM   #704
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Looking forward to an update on El Mirador. It's been on my list to do for a while now, need to make it happen soon.
Hi Chris,

It should be interesting. Hopefully I can provide some useful information for your future travels over here. It's my job to get you out of the bar and over to this side of the country.

When it comes to motorcycle touring companies, research and development is where it's at.

Look forward to meeting you when I get over your way.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:20 AM   #705
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I hear what you're saying Señor Tucker. Believe me. I was trying to think of how many people in my life would wipe my ass. It's a short list.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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