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Old 12-05-2012, 06:48 PM   #46
AK Smitty OP
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I really dont think that I can blame the tires at all. I am on my second set of Heidenau's and I am a huge fan. I wont be able to get them in SA so I will take the MT-21 down there.

I like to drag my toes in corners here and there also think a true knobby would too much away from my fun in the turns.


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Originally Posted by charapa View Post
Just a note:

I always prefer to tire on the knobby side. There are some great knobbies that run quite smooth on the pavement. That would have given you some more bite and maybe avoid the next (and there WILL be a next) fall

My favorite is the Pirrelli MT-21. Big knobs, alternating pattern down the center to run smooth on pavement. I ran them 10,000 km across Brazil (which is almost ALL pavement) until they were worn down. That's pretty darn good mileage for a knob on pavement.

The best part is that they come in almost all sizes and are made in South America (Brazil) and so are available in almost every large city! And less than $150 for both for a big bike!
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:03 PM   #47
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He mentioned another biker to me but didnt get specific. I will probably see him for a beer here in Antigua or I maybe spending one night in Guat City in about 6 days. I will let him know you say hello.

It must be these Guatemalan roads!!


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OK. Say Hello to Jose at Guatue BMW for me. Yup I went of the road in Guatemala in November last year....... spent 10 days learning spanish in Antigua also

He got my bike back and running and I am still riding.

Guess we have the learn the lessons the hard way :)

Ok ride safe so glad you are OK!
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Old 12-09-2012, 05:39 PM   #48
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Coban down day.

I had planned to try and get back on the road the day after the spill and just close a little distance to Tikal. I had my boxes straightened out, top box rigged on and braces re-attahced by noon. I was ready to head out but the weather was nasty looking and it really started rain right as I suited up. My gear was still pretty damp from the weather the day before and rolling around in the grass. I was really anxious to get moving but with bad weather all the way to Tikal it was the right call to just all it a day. Talked to another rider a couple of days later that came down from the North and he said it was pretty crappy weather.

I made the right call but I would now be on a tight timeline to make Tikal. I am meeting a friend at the airport in 2.5 days. So really just 2 days of riding from Coban to Tikal to Guat City. A pretty big push on Guat roads and I think I am over pushing hard. Cant see it all...

These two were hanging by my bike when I came out to mess with some gear.
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Pics from the roof of my hotel. I was hoping to just see one sunny break in the clouds


I didn't!

I decided before I crashed that I had to choose Tikal or Puerto Barrios. I really wanted to do both but accepted that I did't have time before having to be in Guat City.
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:31 PM   #49
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Coban hard ride all day Back to Coban!

So I decided that there isn't enough time to make Tikal. Pretty bummed about that but I feel it is the right call. I have today and tomorrow to ride and need to be at the Airport for the following day. It is doable mileage wise but with my recent events and unbelievable ability to get lost I decide to scale things back a little.

I am going to go to Sayaxche or Poptun to look at the ruins there and then make a U turn and head for Puerto Barrios. Then Puerto Barrios to Guat City the next day. That will put in the city the night before I have to meet my friend at the airport following morning. I think I need to be to the airport around 11 am, so I am not really considering that a riding day.

My plan did not work. My map (Guji Roji) of Guatemala is almost worthless and I thought I was in a different spot most of the day than I was. I pushed toward Sayaxche and took a left when I saw some big blue signs about ruins and other historical sites. I rode out this dirt road for about 20km and asked a couple of people about the ruins and everyone just looked at me. I think that I just didn't go far enough but oh well. I really felt like I needed to end up in Puerto Barrios tonight to make my schedule work. Had some fun on the dirt and decided that at noon it was time to head back south.

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I still am not 100% confident riding dirt alone in Central America. I don't know if I ever will be and I am ok with that. If I am pretty sure it connects back to pavement then I will go for it. But when the GPS stops showing roads and the map never showed the road at all I usually turn around about 30km into it.

It was still fun and cool to see people's looks at the bike. Also right after I took these pictures I picked the dirt road the ended up coming to a big fort looking structure that I thought was military. There were no signs indicating military and when I got near the gate there were 2 guys in street clothes with automatic rifles. I gave them the hand motion of I'll turn around and got out of there. Headed back to pavement and south to take the turn to PB.

South of Sayaxche


What I thought was on my way to PB.
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But come to find out at the Y in the road I took the wrong turn! 100% my fault. I didn't find this out until after about 20 miles of dirt. I got to a guy with a hard hat and some cones across the road. I thought he wanted a 6Q toll, so I took out some money to pay. He actually was telling me they are doing blasting and the road opens at 6! 6!?!? Thats night! I have a chat with him over my map and he shows me where I am and it is not where I want to be. I suspected my turn was wrong but there are not a lot of signs in Guatemala to confirm such suspicions.

Now a decision; wait until 6 and ride a mountain dirt road at night in Guatemala or go back the way I came? Hmmmm No Decision! That breaks too many rules of logic even for me time to turn around. The problem with all this is now I have ridden all day and I am much closer to Coban than I am to PB. I guess I will be spending a 3rd night in Coban. I only spend 3 nights in places with beach and surf! But it is the right call. I get back to Coban at dark and I am beat without ever had gone anywhere. haha. I did see some cool Guat Mountains, but not Tikal or the Guat Caribbean which are really the two things on my Guatemala list beside Antigua. Guess I will just have to ride here again some day.

Checked my email before crashing and I had one from another rider. Michael from Australia that I met in Anchorage this past summer. He said he was going to use spot coordinates and swing by my hotel to say. We have quick chat since it is late and decide to meet for breakie tomorrow at 9am.
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:16 PM   #50
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To Guat City and BMW

So Michael has a great ride planned with most if it being dirt. I came through some of the route he is looking at and would love to ride it again. It was the ride I did the same day I wrecked and it was one of my best rides ever. He is adding some more dirt to it by heading south at Sacapals(or something close to that). He has to run to the ATM and I just agonizing on weather or not I can pull the ride off. The reality is that it is a full 2 day ride to Guat City on that route. I have already ridden part of it and I need to be at the airport tomorrow am.

Michael and I right before he goes on an epic ride ride and I get city traffic

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I make the right call and ride straight to Guat City. The first part of the ride is ok and then there is just lots of traffic and road construction. Decide to swing into the BMW shop and see if by chance they have a lock/latch for my left case since it is being held on by a ratchet strap(see above photo for mentioned cool ratchet strap).

I get to Bavaria Motors and you wont beleive it but they have a latch to attach the box to the frame!!! Woo hoo and the brackets that connect the mounting frame to the frame of the bike. Score!! Then Jose(who is the man) says we can thorw those on for you. Ok done! Oh and I know a nice hotel just down the road for $50. Done and done.

Here is the man! Also helped out Radioman on his ride/wreck through Guatemala. He loves work and ALWAYS smiles while he is there!! Thanks Jose



Now for the bad news. My luck is not that good. BMW decided it was a good idea to make one side case a 45 and one a 90 so the locks are not universal. Shame on BMW. Poor design. The guys at the shop jumped through their ass to make things happen especially Jose but the lock replacement just wasn't meant to be. Ive always wanted to fatigue test these ratchet straps anyway.

Took a walk through the Oakland Mall to see about getting a NorthFace drybag to replace my broken and also ratchet strapped on top case. Here is my day at the mall.

Damn good!!


No Beemers! Cmon Jose!!


Looks a little like some other brand I know


Bavaria Motors is the best I have been personally treated at any BMW shop. Jose goes above and beyond and I basically made it so he didn't get anything done the day I was there. Great guy and has now emailed ahead to other BMW shops to see if they have the part. Just great no, over the top customer service.

Picked the bike up the next day made my airport deadline and off to Antigua for 4-5 nights.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:32 PM   #51
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Antigua Photo Overload

I almost forgot to show the bike at the BMW shop that I may switch to if I keep throwing mine into the woods. I haven't seen the luggage set up yet but I am sure I can travel a little lighter anyway.



And since all 3 of my cases have some significant issues I need a duffle to keep my stuff in for the night. Jose lent me this. It is not BMW OEM. I looked like a damn bum in the BMW shop. Even the security guy chuckled at me.



Antigua is a very nice town and we went a little Gucci on the Hotel but what the hell you only live once. Also since I would be taking Spanish for a few days for 3-4 hours a day we looked for something with a pool so my amiga could get the full effect of being out of AK. It was -5 when she left!!

The place was Qunita de Flores. The people are amazingly nice and the landscaping is like a postcard. Here we go... Antigua slide show

Quinta de Flores-working my photog skilz



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crazy flower




Me looking all bronzey


The volcano





Antigua
This directly conflicts with my Eddie Bauer and J Crew modeling contract so lets not pass this one around
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The pictures of Antigua got a little out of control. We had a little photo contest so there are a lot. Go to smugmug in my signature line at the bottom for more.

I took about 10 hours of Spanish School. I am now fluent! Not really but Allyjandra(sorry about the spelling) was awesome! We had a lot of fun and laughed a bunch. School was as fun as it ever has been. Not including the registration fee it was about 15 bucks a day. I went with Sevilla and would highly recommend them. If I can pull off another big trip I would love to do a minimum of 2 weeks here but 3 or 4 would be great. It really starts to pull things together. Also Antigua is not a bad city to be stuck in. Figure out where the typico food is and eat bfast and lunch for very cheap and then maybe splurge a little on dinner.

Maybe a little more Antigua next then Panajchel
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:06 PM   #52
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Antigua wrap up

Some local tunes
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Water comes out from her boobs!!!! Inappropriate!


Cathedral


Painter dude that wanted in on all the photo action


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Some great local food and cheap!!
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View from Cerro de la Cruz, a short hike on the edge of town.




Played marbles with these kids




Kids in other countries are still like real kids. They play in the dirt and run around outside. No iPods or PS3s glued to their faces 24-7. Other places have so much less than the US monetarily but seem to be richer in life and family values. As I write my blog I think that all the high speed development in technology causes us to lose something far more important.



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Surprise!


And the end of Antigua shots except for...

Michael from Australia that I mentioned earlier showed up in Antigua for 2 of the four nights we were there. We went to dinner his first night and then out for some beers. We had good chats about moto travel and life perspective. I try to learn from those older, wiser and more traveled! The second night we met up again and ate street vendors. This was a lot going on for the Birth of the Devil Day I think it was. Other countries holidays are always interesting.


The crown ready for the birth of the devil!


The devil doing his thing


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Old 12-12-2012, 06:17 PM   #53
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Ride to Panajachel

So I accidentally took the road that people said not to take and it wasn't safe. Maybe not safe but totally awesome ride!! At one point the road was one lane with a 3-4 foot dirt mound in the middle and guys doing all the construction by hand!! It was crazy. Sorry no pics of that.

Then you get scenery and roads like this with no traffic!!
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Road I wanted to take but I didn't not sure where it even went to


Then this


and
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Shortly after this there was a bridge out and I had to do a small river crossing. It was a blast. I have the go pro footage for it but I need to do some editing. We will see when I get to that. I also got some great footage of the road.

DCIM\100GOPRO

First view of the lake...damn impressive


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And this lady walked by me while I was taking pictures. Very common scene in Guatemala
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:40 PM   #54
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Panajachel and Lake Boat tour

Got to Pana and as with most tourist towns you have to deal with the vendors and kids asking for money. One little guy came up to me and asked to shine my shoes. I was wearing flip flops sooooo...

The he just asked for money. I said no but told him he could shine my moto boots the next day. Told him to meet me at the same spot tomorrow. We never set a time but I figured I'd run into him. Then about ten minutes later I feel a different little kid tap me on the arm. He has kid number one in tow. "He ask me what time tomorrow?" The ABC's(Always Be Closing) of sales! I like it and say you know what meet at the spot at 3 today and you can bot shine my boots then.

These too little dudes worked way harder than I expected and my boots looked great at the end of it. We all laughed and had a good time. The older one was teaching the younger guy and they kept switching boots.






I like this pic because the kids are smiling


Pictures don't do it justice but my boots looked great!


As a tip for their hard work my friend bought them two large OJ's and I got a plate of papa's fritas. They were stoked!! Saw them a couple more times during our two days there and they were all smiles and waves. Its a different world and life to truly work your whole life. I mean these kids are out hustling for money on their own at the age of 5. It was great to laugh with them and give them a snack for a treat. The food is theirs and was gone before they got home. They dont need to share that with whomever gets the money they made. Its a tough life but kids still smile and laugh even as they are trying to make a living.

Lake tour pics. We did a 3 stop boat tour tour of Lake Atitlan. It was cool but lots of vendors to deal with and people selling stuff.

My life is very hard
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Traditional boat and a person doing laundry


Market at Santiago


Not a lot to these boats. Amazing that they even floated! Even more amazing that each one of these is chained and locked up.




Indian face in the mountain. Take a pic and then turn it 90


After a couple of days in Pana back to Guat City for a night to get my friend to the airport in the am. Also have planned to have dinner and drinks with Jose. I will be leaving Guat in the am heading for Copan Ruins.
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:06 AM   #55
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Great Action AK! Looks like you're having a blast.
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:30 AM   #56
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It is an experience of a lifetime for me. I am in a great rhythm and mind set now. The road does have its high and lows and I had a tough day a couple of days ago. Those days are what make the good ones great.

Thanks for following along

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Great Action AK! Looks like you're having a blast.
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Old 12-13-2012, 02:08 PM   #57
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Keep 'em coming
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Old 12-13-2012, 06:55 PM   #58
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Copan attempt 1

Had dinner and drinks with Jose from the BMW shop. We had planned to meet at Frontabella Mall. I hear mall and think no problem because my friend wants to get Guatemalan coffee before she heads back to AK. We look at the mall and they only have one place that has it and it is generic mass produced stuff.
Jose shows up and says why didn't you mention something the grocery store is the place to get that.
Us - Oh well can we go early in the am?
Jose - Nope wont be open.
Us - Ahh the heck with it no big deal.
Jose - Why don't I just hope on the bike and go get it? It will take me about 20 min.
Us - No, not necessary. Its ok.
Jose - You are not leaving without Guatemalan coffee. see you in 20-30 min.

And he is off. We thanked his profusely before he left and when he got back. He response was its just what Guatemalans do! No biggie. So far I agree. Between him and the two guys that helped me fix my bike roadside I have nothing but good experiences with Guatemalan people. I make sure he gets a free dinner out of the deal but I was already going to pay before the coffee gesture. Don't tell him that.

Another great guy is the Owner of this Hotel. If you need to stay in Guat City this place is clean, nice and has secure parking. He is not far from the BMW shop and loves bikes. He has 2 BMW's himself. It is 50 bucks a night which is cheap by Guat City Zone 10 standards.

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Friend in a cab to the Airport. I do a little packing and hit the road before 8:30. Heading for Copan ruins.

Ok time for some reflecting and feelings:

So as I get to the open road after some traffic jams I start to think about the past 2 weeks and have fast they have gone by. It wasn't long ago that I was in Mexico hauling ass for the border. I think about friends and family and how their lives continue on and how mine changed so drastically. Even though it is only for a brief period; this is now my normal. New towns, new people (that I struggle to communicate with) and miles upon miles of roads with my thoughts and music. It doesn't always sound glorious and there are times that it surely is not. That is to come because today was one of the non-glorious.

Now after that reality check I love what I am doing! I do miss people and felt that a lot today. I think it all set in because up until today I had deadlines and people around me. I rode with Julio for 2 days and then knew I would probably cross paths with Michael and then had a week long vacation from my vacation with my friend from AK That has to be some new level of relaxation and state of mind. Also meeting Julio and hanging out with him for the day. For the past 2 weeks a solo trip through Central and Part of South America wasn't that solo...until today! I almost felt this was starting my trip again. Some of the same excitement and anxiety were present as when I have started other trips. For a guy that has become pretty damn good at solo travel and really enjoy it, I haven't done much of it yet this trip.

No more schedule just me and 4 more Central American countries. Hmmmm and lots of time to think. Think about how I didn't feel like I was headed in the right direction, literally. Hope I am not GPS effed again, yep I am. I try to adjust and correct to encounter a road closure due to blasting, second one this trip already. You know what guess I am not meant to see ruins this trip. Lost severely on the way to Copan and wrecked on the way to Tikal. Heck with it I am going to the beach! Monterrico here I come. The beauty of what I am doing. If something isn't working stop doing and adapt. The beach is not a terrible plan B.

I thought I took a couple of pics of the ride but they are MIA or I did not actually take them. I was happy with my choice to go to the beach but also frustrated with another GPS mis-hap and not getting to Honduras today. Then as I got to the coast and what I thought was Monterrico. Nope I am at Monterrico II which is a river town and not much there.

My nice short riding day is now a full day and still a couple hours from being over. I am exhausted, dehydrated and grumpy. Off to Monterrico via Puerto of San Jose. I get done riding at 4 something and could fall over. Got to bed late the night before and didn't sleep well knowing my friend needed to be up early for the taxi to the airport. Found a place for the night and threw on board shorts. A jump in the ocean always put things back in perspective. And it surely did. This was my view shortly after my swim.

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And my hotel. Q100 about 16 bucks. Pretty basic but it didnt matter at that point and bfast was included. The family that ran it were very nice.


Some may read what I have written and think here is this guy living a dream and he is complaining. There are no complaints. I have wanted a trip like this for a long time and I appreciate every minute of it. I only wrote this to show that there are good and bad days on the road. Anyone that says everyday of a long road trip is all roses is either one of a kind individual or on the good meds(legal or illegal)...please let the rest of know what it is! I had a tough day personally and navigationally. Brutally long and taxing. That is all part of the journey, highs and lows. I will do my best to include them all in my report.

After a swim and apprecation of the scenery I just chuckle and say if this is as bad as it gets then that is pretty awesome. Some rest and a new plan for tomorrow (sans GPS day) and it is all good.
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:24 PM   #59
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Well Said!

Following along for awhile. Did not like the crash, but the rest was good!
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:33 PM   #60
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Copan attempt 2

Just an FYI the bugs at sunset in Monterrico get a little aggressive.



The bad iphone pic does not do justice how bad I got eaten up. They seem to disappear after about an hour of feeding frenzy.

So part of the reason for the route I chose was to avoid El Salvador. Nothing against the place but nothing I really had a burning desire to see and I liked the idea of one less border. I looked at the map and came up with a plan. If the mapped failed me then just take a right and head to El Sal. After El Sal border crossing decide weather or not I still want to see Copan. Solid plan, a good nights sleep and good attitude...I am now unstoppable!

Other riders going through CA take this little piece if advice. If you are near the turn for Port of San Jose and are thinking about calling it a day in an hour or two anyway got to Monterrico! Stay the night there. A cool little beach town and then take the river ferry to Monterrico II. It is about a 25 min boat ride that puts you about an hour or more South from San Jose and about 2+ hours if you were to drive back around from Monterrico.

Here is one of the ferries. It made my trip start to feel pretty damn authentic all of the sudden.

I wish the pictures did it better justice.


Yes that is a full size Ford van full of people on a hand made wooden boat.


Leaving Moterrico


River wildlife and scenery



Some guys fishing. One guy would splash the water a bunch to scare the fish into the net. The other dude would slowly make the net opening smaller and smaller.







8am and things are looking damn good










Some scenery on the way to Copan. I did end up using the GPS about 75% of the way into the ride. It appears that there a lot more paved roads in Southern Guat than my map tells me. Some of the roads that didn't connect on my map were great roads!







And yes I made the border



Less than a mile form the border the Honduran rains have effected the road.





I came into Honduras with heavy overcast then drizzle then pouring ass rain! I said the hell with the rain gear since I had less than 5K. Bad choice. I went to a hostal and they were out of private rooms. Oh well the guy also owns the place next door and its 35 bucks for the night. Very nice and pricey for where I am but I am cold and wet so once again time to splurge. I hope this doesn't become a habit.

View from my hotel.



My first meal in Honduras


Finally some ruins tomorrow!
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