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Old 11-30-2012, 08:12 AM   #706
crashmaster
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Originally Posted by TUCKERS View Post
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
Yeah I hear ya. I'm probably lucky that I am still alive. Used about 247 of those 9 lives already. Not sure if there are even a couple people in this world that would wipe my ass. Heal up soon amigo.
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:33 AM   #707
MikeMike
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Originally Posted by JDowns View Post
I look forward to meeting you someday. You've got a way with words.

Saludos,
Juanboy
Meeting him? A la chingada con eso, Juanito, I look forward to RIDING with him! LOL!

You know, if you get enough crazy people together on one ride, nobody would ever know or care what "normal" is or was ever again.
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:26 PM   #708
FODcan
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Originally Posted by tricepilot View Post
As head of flight ops I am taking Vinny off the mission board for some well deserved R&R and I am taking his seat on the 747 even though the Boeing jet I'm qualified on is a wee bit older.
Nothing wrong with the older ladies, they will always get you home.
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:42 PM   #709
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Originally Posted by crashmaster View Post
Awesome.

Your FO is brand new to the jet and one of those wannabe top gun guys that is an instant expert in a new airplane, thinks he knows everything about everything and keeps shooting his watch down, maybe you can break him in for me.


The jet you will be flying is affectionately known as "Building 580." Its pretty much a flying emergency on the rare occasion that it actually gets off the ground on the first try. Also be careful of cheap Chinese Li ion batteries. You will be hauling metric shit tons of them and if they get upset, its going to be a very bad day.


P.S. I wont have a cell phone so try to stay out of trouble with the chief pilot. Remember, the good landings you can walk away from, and the great ones you can still use the airplane.
Everyone needs to work with a know-it-all once in a while. Makes you appreciate the guys that don't talk much. Hey, careful with that jet, some of us work on those FINE piece of machinery. Keep it between the lines and the BS write ups to a minimum.


John, appreciate all the work you are putting into this report. Heading down south has been a long time dream of mine. Sending some funds to keep the expedition going. Good job!!
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:05 PM   #710
rhino_adv
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Hello John

I have been dreaming of motoing to Mexico and Central America for several years now, and was not really sure how cheaply I could get by. You have shown me/the ADV community, it can be done with a minimum amount of funding. Your daily updates on your adventure are truly inspiring! The photography and commentary are spectacular! You Sir, are an awesome Moto-Journalist! I have sent you a donation to help out with expenses and keep these updates coming.

Ride Safe ,
Brad
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:56 PM   #711
MikeS
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Hola Juanito!

As one of your lurkers, I'm wondering if you upgraded the suspension and/or rear frame of your SuperSherpa. You're carrying a bit of stuff, with camping gear, tools, a spare tube, a computer, maybe one extra underwear.... but no swim suit, in order to keep weight at a minimum.

Thanks for your work keeping this RR going. I appreciate it a whole lot! I'm heading south again soon, and the Mayan area really fascinates me for a next trip.
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:39 PM   #712
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Had another great day of riding today. Nice weather. Friendly people. The Peten in northern Guatemala is special. Muy tranquillo.

Took off this morning from Tenosique and headed towards the Guatemala border. I went to zip up my jacket to leave and the zipper pull came off. It needed recrimping so these were my tools for a quick field repair:



The road is newly paved now all the way to the border which is only 40 miles away:



It skirts the low Guatemalan mountains passing through pasture grazing land and sugar cane fields:



There were also fields of these plants by the acre in rows. Wish I knew what they were:




This is what you see when you first get to La Ceiba at the border:




Ride past all the guys waving red towels. They are just there directing the local Mexicans that need to park and walk over to Guatemala to get cheap stuff. You ride a ways further to a brand new aduana and migration facility on the Mexican side. The far building is where you get your passport stamped out and the middle building was where the aduana guys were, even though the other building says aduana. The banercito office is inside the middle building to the left. The window where you get your bike permit cancelled is here:



Really mellow border crossing with zero tramitadors to hassle you. I recommend it highly as a great back door into Guatemala and the Peten area. Easy peasy. And once again, a tip of the helmet to OldPete for pointing me to the Romanian's ride report that got me over here. This border crossing isn't on Googlemaps or in my Guia Roji atlas so there is no freaking way I would have guessed it existed.

After exiting Mexico its off across the border where the Guatemalans have a truck and trailer set up just across the way:



You get your passport stamped into Guatemala in a shack slightly up the hill behind the little SUV in the center and then the truck on the right takes care of your temporary permit for the bike. The aduana guy was really nice. Reading all the names on the tank slowly. Scooter_Junkie_Girl. Que es? I had him sign the tank. Max Pix (aduana) Guatemala. He must be a photo buff.

Then you go to the trailer on the left and pay 160 quetzals and you're done. Well the boys sprayed some water on my tires for fumigation and wanted 20 Mexican pesos so I got rid of some change.

It is a good idea to get rid of your old currency at the border. I had checked the internet last night and the official rate is .60 quetzals to the peso. And there was a tuk-tuk driver willing to give me .58 so I changed the 550 pesos I had left for 320 quetzals. He also would have given me 780 quetzals for a hundred dollars. I should have taken him up on it. That isn't a bad rate.

I forgot to get gas in Tenosique and there isn't any at the border. I had only gone 80 miles and it's maybe 100 miles until the first gas station. But I didn't know so bought a gallon from this guy right across the border:



Gas is 35 quetzals to the gallon for regular or a little over 4 bucks a gallon. It is sold by the gallon instead of the liter in Guatemala. And prices vary by gas station unlike Mexico where it was 10.72 pesos/liter pretty much everywhere I went.

They have paved the dirt road all the way to Tikal so it is an easy hundred mile ride from the border. It even has signs and painted lines and everything:



You ride along the big honking' border river for a while off in the distance:



and wind up through the hills. These guys were the main traffic for the first long ways:



Tractors pulling sacks of corn. Looks like a corn shucker on the back. Lots of orange mud on the road.

I stopped a lot along the way. Lots of cool shacks. I like their creative construction techniques. A shack and a 4wd. What else do you need? Well okay a dirt bike is missing from this picture:



Some board and batt with tin roofs:



They were drying frijoles in the sun on tarps on the side of the road:



At first I thought it was coffee but too low in elevation for that. Coffee needs at least 1500 ft elevation to do well.

Lots of good looking Mayans on the side of the road. This gal was cleaning frijoles. The picture was better before she stood up and smiled:



I like this 500 dollar house. Post and beam, horizontal 1x12s and a thatched roof. Done.:



Stopped for lunch here:



Pollo asado, arroz, frijoles y tortillas harina (bbq chicken, rice, beans and wheat tortillas). She was cooking away on a stove made from a sawed in half 55 gallon drum set on concrete blocks. That girl can cook. Here's what I had. Muy sabrosa (very tasty) 20 quetzals (2.40) with a refresca:



The road continued to curve through limestone outcrops. Almost looked like southern China:



Stopped at the only bank in northern Guatemala in a small town and got the same rate the tuk-tuk driver would have given me. Changed 300 bucks for 2340 quetzals. Now I'm set for taking on El Mirador. This guy across the street looks like he could be from upcountry Kona Hawaii coffee growing country with this rig:



Finally arrived at the town of Santa Elena just before the tourist town of Flores near Tikal. I find it's cheaper to stay in a small town away from the tourist crowds. Finally found a nice hotel with a parking lot in downtown with wifi for 100 quetzals (12.00). They were coming in from a sunset balloon ride down the way when I rolled into town:



Anyway, nice place here. Hotel Classico Peten. Hot showers, TV, internet and a nice receptionist:



Not sure what tomorrow holds. Maybe go check out the ruinas at Tikal. I spent 60 pesos and 346 quetzals today or around $45.32 on gas, food, lodging and border fees.

Buenos noches,
Juanito
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JDowns screwed with this post 12-01-2012 at 11:24 AM
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:57 PM   #713
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Sounds good, let's go!
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeMike View Post
Meeting him? A la chingada con eso, Juanito, I look forward to RIDING with him! LOL!

You know, if you get enough crazy people together on one ride, nobody would ever know or care what "normal" is or was ever again.
Hi MikeMike,

I'm with you. Normality is over rated.

Saludos,
Juanito
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:04 PM   #714
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FODcan View Post
John, appreciate all the work you are putting into this report. Heading down south has been a long time dream of mine. Sending some funds to keep the expedition going. Good job!!
Hi FODcan,

Appreciate it. It's generous people like you that allow me to spend the money and visit some of these off beat places and report back what I find.

It sounds like you are in aircraft maintenance. Glad to have you aboard as Chief Executive in charge of fleet maintenance. If the engine blows on the Sherpa I will be calling on you.

Muchas gracias amigo,
Juancan
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:09 PM   #715
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Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhino_adv View Post
Hello John

I have been dreaming of motoing to Mexico and Central America for several years now, and was not really sure how cheaply I could get by. You have shown me/the ADV community, it can be done with a minimum amount of funding. Your daily updates on your adventure are truly inspiring! The photography and commentary are spectacular! You Sir, are an awesome Moto-Journalist! I have sent you a donation to help out with expenses and keep these updates coming.

Ride Safe ,
Brad
Hi Brad,

Thanks! Glad to have you along. I will be writing rhino_adv on the tank along with FODcan right under the signature from the Guatemala Aduana guy. Glad to have you aboard as Chief Executive in charge of Midwest Operations.

Saludos,
Juanito
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:17 PM   #716
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Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeS View Post
Hola Juanito!

As one of your lurkers, I'm wondering if you upgraded the suspension and/or rear frame of your SuperSherpa. You're carrying a bit of stuff, with camping gear, tools, a spare tube, a computer, maybe one extra underwear.... but no swim suit, in order to keep weight at a minimum.

Thanks for your work keeping this RR going. I appreciate it a whole lot! I'm heading south again soon, and the Mayan area really fascinates me for a next trip.
Hi MikeS,

I haven't done squat to the suspension or subframe. I like stock bikes that are cheap to run and don't put anything extra in a bike that may need to be abandoned south of the border. It's far cheaper to adapt to crappy suspension than to pour hundreds of dollars into a bike that is going to get the shit beat out of it.

The only thing I have done is change the main jet to 135, pilot jet to 20, added a 4 gallon XR650 Clarke tank I got off Craigslist and a sheepskin seat cover I zip tied on. Other than that the bike is bone stock. Easier to order parts for. I would rather ride the wheels off it than pour money into farkles. But there's nothing wrong with farkling bikes. I would just rather spend my limited money on gas and groceries.

Hopefully you can pick up some ideas from this report for your Mayan Safari. Glad to have you along.

Best,
John Downs
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Old 12-01-2012, 06:05 AM   #717
thepackrat
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there were two options for camping at Tikal when I was last there (8 years ago). You can camp just outside the front entrance walkway, and it was pretty cheap, although there didn't seem to be much security, or over at the Jungle Lodge (I think thats the name) you could ask about camping on their grounds. There was lots of wildlife around the campground too. Tikal was a cool place, but got busy during the day. Head in as soon as it opens, and before the hoards arrive on the buses. Enjoy.
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Old 12-01-2012, 06:25 AM   #718
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Originally Posted by thepackrat View Post
there were two options for camping at Tikal when I was last there (8 years ago). You can camp just outside the front entrance walkway, and it was pretty cheap, although there didn't seem to be much security, or over at the Jungle Lodge (I think thats the name) you could ask about camping on their grounds. There was lots of wildlife around the campground too. Tikal was a cool place, but got busy during the day. Head in as soon as it opens, and before the hoards arrive on the buses. Enjoy.
Hi Packrat,

Thanks! That sounds like a great idea. I will definitely camp up there. Although I may stay down here in Santa Elena for another day with the locals before heading up to gringolandia. Awfully nice hotel here. Sometimes it's nice when you first get to a country to sit and drink coffee and watch the locals walk by and kick back for a day. I forgot how much I like Guatemala. It's coming back to me now.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:24 AM   #719
kennyanc
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Location: Asheville, NC
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I am really enjoying your ride. I am furiously gathering info on the Yucatan, Guat, and Belize for a 6-8 week trip of my own in Jan/Feb. I will be following in your footstep a good bit of the way. Spent a week in Zipolite last winter but didn't get any further south. I want to spend some time in San Cris and visit many of the same ruins you have seen. Might even make it on up to Tulum and the Itchy Chicken.

Thanks for all the work you are doing to document your trip. I will be looking for that hotel in Santa Elena.

Kenny
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:27 AM   #720
tricepilot
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Best way to beat the larger groups of tourists at Tikal and to do a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the same time, is to hire the guide who wakes you up at 3:30 am and takes you on a hike into the park, way before it even opens to the public. Yes, you'll be hiking in pitch dark so bring a flashlight. The trails will be very slippery in places.

You'll climb to the top of one of the templos and sit and listen to the howler monkeys shriek in the dark as the day begins to dawn out of the mist. One by one the other tall templos focus out of la madrugada.

Did this in February of this year, and it was one of the best experiences of the trip.

Tip: Be patient. You'll be asking yourself - "what's the big deal, I'm just sitting here, like forever". Then you'll begin to understand. John will get it. Some fat tourist from Bayonne NJ, who couldn't make the hike anyway, would ask to leave before the show begins.

Tip: Be prepared with a decent raincoat and expect a passing morning shower while on top of the templo.

Tip: After you come down from the templo, you'll also be first on scene for all the classic spots at Tikal. Be prepared for morning photography capture.
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