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Old 12-20-2012, 07:27 PM   #976
JDowns OP
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Copan ruinas closed at 4 so I wandered over to the small town next door. It's gotten much more upscale since I was here last:



I had avoided coming here yesterday because of the end of the Maya Mundo coming up tomorrow. I figured it would be packed with the dreadlock crowd. It is. I ended up at Hotel Patty for 500 lempiras. Late in the day everything is full.

Nice live music in the zocalo. These guys were good:



But later in the evening an afro-caribe group really got the party started:



This place would be great if I were about 40 years younger.

The same stone masons that worked on restoring the ruins were over in the zocalo working at some point. Exact same freshly quarried stone and technique on the lower courses of this wall. The awful work above it came later from someone else:



I spent a pile of money today. 15 dollars U.S. to get into the ruins and 1445 lempiras for border crossing, food, gas and lodging. Or about $87.25.
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Old 12-20-2012, 09:36 PM   #977
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDowns View Post
The Super Sherpa is a 10 for my needs. There is no perfect bike, but...
Hola Juanito,

Great stuff. Been reading other ride reports the past few days, and can't help myself thinking how lacking the others are.

Anyway, I gots me a DR650 and a DR350 and have no idea at this point which bike I'll take south with me in a few years, but I gotsta say, every time I read your report(s) I keep thinking (MY) DR350 would be the way to go.

I am certainly very happy the way life has turned out, but when I look back I don't know why-in-the-hell I was in such a hurry to get buried in military service, college, career, marriage, and kids? Really envious of you and other young people like the 100,000 mile Sherpa gal who have chosen to live a true adventure. The other stuff I just mentioned certainly can wait.
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Old 12-21-2012, 03:41 AM   #978
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Good update. Did google Copan Ruinas...Fantastic! A reason to spend time in Honuras.
An electrition friend went down there several years ago to repair a 440v crane and stayed a couple years.

The sloppy work? Atleast they didn't paint the mortar yellow.

The dreadlock crowd like Oreos.

Juanito, gotta blog on that 6 year RTW Sherpa?
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Old 12-21-2012, 04:05 AM   #979
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Originally Posted by VooDooDaddy View Post
Hola Juanito,

Great stuff. Been reading other ride reports the past few days, and can't help myself thinking how lacking the others are.

Anyway, I gots me a DR650 and a DR350 and have no idea at this point which bike I'll take south with me in a few years, but I gotsta say, every time I read your report(s) I keep thinking (MY) DR350 would be the way to go.

I am certainly very happy the way life has turned out, but when I look back I don't know why-in-the-hell I was in such a hurry to get buried in military service, college, career, marriage, and kids? Really envious of you and other young people like the 100,000 mile Sherpa gal who have chosen to live a true adventure. The other stuff I just mentioned certainly can wait.
Hi VooDooDaddy,

Either bike will do. Most people take a big bike and a lot of stuff the first time they take a long ride. Nothing wrong with that. You don't need much if you're only going to South America and back. No more than a weekend camping trip really. It's hard for most people to believe that though.

Some folks need changes of clothes, multiple pairs of gloves, shoes and tools to do the top end plus gadgets and gizmos. Nothing wrong with that either. It's their comfort zone.

You strike me as someone who can travel minimalist on a DR350 with a light load. Don't get me wrong, the DR650 is a great bike, but a bit of a gas hog in comparison to smaller thumpers. Gas isn't getting any cheaper and for that reason alone, I prefer bikes that get good fuel economy.

There is subtle social pressure from family and friends in the states to get married, settle down and raise a family. Back 40 years ago you were thought of as a bit of a loser if you were a motorcycle vagabond. Not so much these days. Not that I care.

I imagine you are going through the stage in life everyone goes through realizing you're not going to live forever and wanting a little more excitement before you kick the bucket.

The best advice I can give is to be thankful for the family and friends you have. Easy to take for granted. When you look back on things in your later years it is the wonderful people you have met and great friends you have made that stand out.

And if you can take a few motorcycle trips here and there, so much the better. Even a weekend camping trip riding out in the middle of nowhere can do a world of good for a family man. You will get very little encouragement to take these trips from anyone but me and others like me.

Best,
Juanito
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Old 12-21-2012, 04:16 AM   #980
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Morning John,
don't forget the hot springs just outside of Copan. There couldn't be a better way to begin the new Baktun then soaking in the hot water
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:40 AM   #981
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Quote:
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You strike me as someone who can travel minimalist on a DR350 with a light load.
Yes, as I think I mentioned early in your RR; the Marine Corps taught me very well that weight = pain! I know how to travel fast and light, and wouldn't have it any other way. I saw this picture below in a recent RR concerning a 3 month trip through Russia, and thought to myself,..."Holy shit! Why does he need all that shit? He is never gonna make it." And he didn't. Too much weight, too top heavy...



To each his own I guess?

I like your riding style very much and I think it has turned alot of people's minds onto the idea of traveling minimally, on a limited budget. Like you, I think too many people don't do their dream ride because they think they need a million dollars and a new 1200GS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDowns View Post
There is subtle social pressure from family and friends in the states to get married, settle down and raise a family
.

Yes, and I bought into it big time. I don't regret it, because I love my wife and kids, but I also like adventure and travel. Being a responsible adult and good father/husband means that I am basically staked down for at least four years until my youngest starts school...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDowns View Post
I imagine you are going through the stage in life everyone goes through realizing you're not going to live forever and wanting a little more excitement before you kick the bucket.
My problem is I have had an extremely interesting and exciting life: Marine Corps, 20 yrs of police work, roadracing Ducatis, scuba diving, etcetera,...and I want more! I have recently retired from police work and have started my own business which is going fantastically well. I want to keep evolving as a rider and a person, and a trip to SA is next on my bucket list.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDowns View Post
The best advice I can give is to be thankful for the family and friends you have. Easy to take for granted. When you look back on things in your later years it is the wonderful people you have met and great friends you have made that stand out.
I couldn't agree more. I am really looking forward to spending a lot of time with my two oldest sons doing MC trips to Colorado, Northern Arkansas, Moab, and the desert SW. And starting to entertain the idea of my oldest son going with me to SA. Me on the DR650, him on the DR350?
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Old 12-21-2012, 12:10 PM   #982
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Happy Trails

Juanito;

This is great stuff and I appreciate it! I sent you a little something to keep you riding and reporting. Keep it coming. You are truly inspiring and you got me looking at small dual sports and thinkin' hmmmmmmmm, I could do that.
Thanks!

Dave
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Old 12-21-2012, 03:43 PM   #983
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I spent a pile of money today. 15 dollars U.S. to get into the ruins and 1445 lempiras for border crossing, food, gas and lodging. Or about $87.25.
Hi John,

You made it nicely through the Maya end of days and so we get to enjoy more of your trip report "The Last Shirt You Wear Has No Pockets" they say. In following your trip I can see now the true meaning of this.

All the best,
Your fan from Hades
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Old 12-21-2012, 04:51 PM   #984
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Originally Posted by GuateRider View Post
Morning John,
don't forget the hot springs just outside of Copan. There couldn't be a better way to begin the new Baktun then soaking in the hot water
Hola Julio,

The power went out in Copan about 5 minutes before you posted this, so I took off for the Carribean coast. Ran into rain and doubled back and now I find myself in Nicaragua.

I will give Honduras it's due someday. The weather wasn't co-operating today.

Thanks for the suggestion though.

Saludos,
Juan de Nica
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Old 12-21-2012, 05:30 PM   #985
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Keep Rollin'

Jaunito,

Thanks for putting this trip on ADV for us to read. I've really enjoyed my "evening breaks" reading about your journey. I'd love to donate to your cause right now but my wife and I just had baby two weeks ago. She would skin me alive if she found out I donated to some dude riding a motorcycle through Central and South America.

However, your trip has shown me how simple a long distance ride can be and has got me thinking about how to do my own trip to Alaska in a couple of years.

Again Bro thanks for letting me live vicariously through you awhile.

-Mike
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Old 12-21-2012, 05:50 PM   #986
JDowns OP
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Originally Posted by Paratrout View Post
Jaunito,

Thanks for putting this trip on ADV for us to read. I've really enjoyed my "evening breaks" reading about your journey. I'd love to donate to your cause right now but my wife and I just had baby two weeks ago. She would skin me alive if she found out I donated to some dude riding a motorcycle through Central and South America.

However, your trip has shown me how simple a long distance ride can be and has got me thinking about how to do my own trip to Alaska in a couple of years.

Again Bro thanks for letting me live vicariously through you awhile.

-Mike
Hi Mike,

It's the thought that counts. If you are inspired to get on your bike and take a long ride my job is done. No need to donate money to an old man on the internet. Save your money for your bike trip. You have your hands full raising a family and finding time to ride.

Glad to have you along for the ride. Good riding friends are better than money. Hope to see you down the road someday.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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Old 12-21-2012, 06:00 PM   #987
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SparkyL View Post
Juanito;

This is great stuff and I appreciate it! I sent you a little something to keep you riding and reporting. Keep it coming. You are truly inspiring and you got me looking at small dual sports and thinkin' hmmmmmmmm, I could do that.
Thanks!

Dave
Hi Dave,

Thanks so much for your generous donation. SparkyL goes on the gas tank. And yes, I am proof positive that you don't need a lot of stuff and an expensive bike to have a ton of fun out on the road.

Not that there's anything wrong with being independently wealthy, mind you. The thing is, a lot of folks have other things to consider. Wife, family, job, mortgage etc.

But you can still fit in some fun riding time. You just have to be creative and determined. Nobody will do it for you.

It starts with reading ride reports. You are doing important recreational research and development.

Muchas gracias amigo,
Juanito
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:17 PM   #988
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Honduras gets a bad rap from a lot of travelers. I think it's main problem is that it is just south of Guatemala and Southern Mexico. Guatemala has some of the best mountain riding in Central America and plenty of interesting sights and places to wander around. And then you cross the border into Honduras and nothing much jumps out at you.

And yet the rural areas are like a step back in time. Honduras is the poorest Central American country with the worst roads, so it has that going for it. Weaving around the potholes and missing pavement on the minor backroads is like what Southern Mexico and Guatemala was like years ago. Not much traffic in rural Honduras until you get near the capitol of Tegucigalpa. And the people drive like I remember Mexico used to be. Weaving around all over the road to miss the potholes. You have to pass way left to avoid the sudden swerves of the car or truck you are passing. I saw four serious accidents in Honduras today. That's more than I saw in all Mexico and Guatemala.

I didn't take many pictures today. From Copan Ruinas I headed towards San Pedro Sula over towards the Carribean. Rolling green hills and winding roads with potholes:



It started spitting rain by the time I stopped for breakfast of roadside pupusas. Soon there was a wall of clouds off in the east:



It started really raining. Washed the bike nicely and cleaned my boots. I thought about cutting through the mountains south, but the dirt roads around here are red clay and slicker than greased you know what when they're wet:



So I headed south on paved minor backroads:



Stopped for gas and had a nice chat with Señor Pistol Grip Pump who was guarding the pumps. Not sure if he was taught where to put his left hand while chatting when he attended the gas station guard academy. Gas in Honduras is 22 lempiras per liter or around 4 bucks a gallon:



Wound up and down through pine forests. Stopped and checked the elevation a couple times. Between 4-5,000 feet at the passes. Just a lot of pine forests up here:



It's mellow riding the back roads in Honduras. Laid back vibe. Not much traffic. Lots of horses and people walking. Similar to the Peten north of Tikal. With subsistence agriculture and humble housing. Turned onto a brand new 4 lane freeway that wasn't here 2 years ago for the last 50 miles or so dropping into Tegus. Eventually it ended in construction mud with a light drizzle:



The highlight of the day was following a Red Cross Ambulance that was splitting traffic like Moses. Made it through construction traffic in record time following this guy through Tegucigalpa until he turned off. I have to think that being an ambulance driver in the third world would be a total blast. It sure was fun following him.

Stopped to get gas before the Nicaraguan border. Cute gas station attendant:



It was dusk by the time I got to Las Manos. Only took about an hour filling out forms and getting stamped in. Easy border crossing. I forgot to get any pictures. 60 lempiras (3.00) to leave Honduras and $12.00 U.S. to enter Nicaragua. You're supposed to get insurance in Nicaragua. I left in the dark and slipped by the border guards behind a gas tanker truck. I've never been checked for insurance past the border so we'll see if this comes back to bite me down the road. Research and development.

Stopped at a really nice hotel in Ocotal down the road in Nicaragua. 312 cordobas (13.00) for a nice room with shower and wifi. Park Hotel, on the main drag just past town.

I spent 490 lempiras, 12 dollars and 337 cordobas today on food, gas, lodging and border crossing fees. Around 50 dollars or maybe 51.

23 cordobas to the dollar here in Nicaragua.

Buenos noches,
Juan de Nica
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Old 12-22-2012, 12:52 AM   #989
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Wonder why they never built a road... sounds so much like 18 Century but then again NYC is almost same, nothing however small changes here without millions of dollares being spent. I didn't imagine cheaper alternatives to crossing Darien gap than spending over 3 or 4 hundred..
As a kid growing up in Oregon, not far from I5 I daydreamed about traveling the length of the Pan American Highway. I think I remember seeing expected dates for it being entire and complete back in the 70's....

There are different issues. One is that a lot of that region is really truly honest swap. Much of a highway would need to be supported on pilings driven who-knows how deeply. There is a fair amount of seismic activity in that region, so that needs to be factored in as well.

Other issues is that the region is also in two national parks, one in Panama, the other in Colombia, the border is in that swamp...

Add to all of this that the Darien Gap has been found to be a huge reserve of biodiversity, and of "critical importance" to the migration of many animals. Whether you are into environmentalism at all or not, it becomes a huge political issue.

I've daydreamed of an elevated highway, allowing traffic but managing not to impact the environment much...but that is likely unrealistic and definitely not likely to happen.

Sorry for the 'hijack' John, didn't see this being answered. Your ride report is a daily highlight, especially on these snowy days!
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Old 12-22-2012, 02:45 AM   #990
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Juan, there is an armored truck behind the gas station guard.

Void, youtube daring the Darien, a Chev Corvair crossed it with alot of help in the '60s.
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