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Old 10-25-2013, 04:36 AM   #256
grahamspc
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You are a Canadian and you have never played euchre!!!!!!...I thought it was a Canadian pastime like curling and hockey..when I was at university in Waterloo Ontario-it was a daily pastime.....really enjoying your ride.
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Old 10-25-2013, 05:27 AM   #257
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You are a Canadian and you have never played euchre!!!!!!...I thought it was a Canadian pastime like curling and hockey..when I was at university in Waterloo Ontario-it was a daily pastime.....really enjoying your ride.
Apparently if you are from the center of the universe euchre is the game
Never played bridge either
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Old 10-25-2013, 05:25 PM   #258
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Day 61 Transit Day

Day 61 October 23 El Tunco to San Miguel


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Today was just a short 160km day to get me close to the border. I actually posted todayís photos with yesterdays post, oops.
I decided to find a nice hotel so I could get a really good sleep. I ended up in the Hotel Florencia, a pretty nice place for which I paid $49 for the night. Iím so behind on my sleep that I forgot to take any photos of the place or the brand new KTM Adventure parked out front.

I spent a while reading about border crossings and fell asleep pretty early. Tomorrow is a big day.
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Old 10-27-2013, 07:50 AM   #259
folknride
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I just got caught up with your RR. Your write up and photos are the best! Fantastic work!
We're just back from our Mediterranean trip - no moto sadly, just a big old cruise ship. Came back with a burning desire for a motorcycle tour of Spain. Are you in? (Now that you are fluent)
I (and many others) had a nice, and perhaps last of 2013, ride yesterday, as there is snow on the ground this AM.
Safe travels, as we all live vicariously through you.
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Old 10-27-2013, 08:45 AM   #260
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Originally Posted by folknride View Post
I just got caught up with your RR. Your write up and photos are the best! Fantastic work!
We're just back from our Mediterranean trip - no moto sadly, just a big old cruise ship. Came back with a burning desire for a motorcycle tour of Spain. Are you in? (Now that you are fluent)
I (and many others) had a nice, and perhaps last of 2013, ride yesterday, as there is snow on the ground this AM.
Safe travels, as we all live vicariously through you.
Thanks Ron,
I have been meeting quite a few Germans who all say that Europe is a great place to ride and very safe. Someday a ride there will be a reality.

I'm glad you had a great trip and I feel so sorry for you northerners right now
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Old 10-27-2013, 08:50 AM   #261
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Day 62 Border Lessons

Day 62 October 24 San Miguel, El Salvador to Leon, Nicaragua


First, a quick apology for the lack of photos. The last few days have really tested me. One of the reasons I wanted to do this trip was to be challenged and indeed the borders did a number on me. I'm not complaining, just making excuses. Don't worry my head will get back into the game.

What a day today was. I left San Miguel at 7am and by 8 I was being mauled by helpers at least 2km before the border. I was determined to cross by myself today and I told them all to go away. Eventually I needed help because I had a problem with the El Salvador immigration department. At least that was the story. The agent claimed that they had no record of me entering El Salvador and he even called the other border to get them to check. Of course I had to pay a fee of $11.00 (I got a receipt). By this time I enlisted the help of an English speaking helper who was translating for me. For all I know they are all in cahoots together including the Honduras immigration. The story goes on with Honduras immigration saying the problem from El Salvador is also a problem in Honduras. Iím starting to feel like the mark of all marks and just want to get the hell out of there. The helper and his two mates actually did help with regards to paperwork and copies and process. Despite the feeling of having ďsuckerĒ written all over my face I was pleased that they expedited the legit stuff and gave real advice about Honduras. Of course they claimed they had to grease a number of officials to prevent me from paying an exorbitant fine so including their ďtipĒ I paid $100. This border took 3 hours. Man, would I like to come back to Central America again and do the borders once more with the knowledge Iím gaining.

I spent the next 137km on high alert waiting for all kinds of checkpoints or shakedowns. This based on reading I had done. Of six military/police checkpoints that I encountered I was stopped once and only for about 30 seconds.

Honduras...or maybe Nicaragua, the day was a blur.









The Nicaragua border was cake! The only problem I had was I missed the Nicaragua immigration/customs building entirely and had to turn around to get my stuff done. I paid $12 for mandatory insurance, a few bucks for fumigation that they did not do, and $12 for a tourist card. I spent less than an hour at this border. I hope Costa Rica and Panama go that smoothly.
100km later I was in Leon at about 4pm looking for a hotel. I found a Hostal with private room for $20 and set out looking for food. I discovered Leon has plenty of hostals near the central plaza and a number of very old looking churches. It was getting dark by the time I found a hamburger stand in the plaza. Again few photos, sorry I wasnít focused on pictures today.
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Old 10-27-2013, 09:47 AM   #262
kalahari-k
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Borders

Well done getting through. One of the border challenges must be keeping your patience.....having some sort of constructive perspective. We become task oriented and effective in as many aspects of our lives as possible......then at borders we are a lot less effective and the process quite arbitrary, especially where you are now. It might be my undoing if I were in your position! I have enough trouble shutting my mouth at the Canada/US border.

It could be inappropriate, but is it acceptable or worth considering photographing (cell phone) some of the border paper stamping etc? I imagine not, especially if there is some sort of collusion going on north to south. Probably better not to be 'right' and just pay the various 'taxes' as you go through.

Vancouver is having an Indian Summer which ends in about 3 days according to the forecast. Your postings will be more and more enjoyable very soon as we sit here in the gloom. I'll probably even wish I was at a Honduran border by February! Is the DR650 still running like a top?
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Old 10-27-2013, 10:18 AM   #263
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Originally Posted by kalahari-k View Post
Well done getting through. One of the border challenges must be keeping your patience.....having some sort of constructive perspective. We become task oriented and effective in as many aspects of our lives as possible......then at borders we are a lot less effective and the process quite arbitrary, especially where you are now. It might be my undoing if I were in your position! I have enough trouble shutting my mouth at the Canada/US border.

It could be inappropriate, but is it acceptable or worth considering photographing (cell phone) some of the border paper stamping etc? I imagine not, especially if there is some sort of collusion going on north to south. Probably better not to be 'right' and just pay the various 'taxes' as you go through.

Vancouver is having an Indian Summer which ends in about 3 days according to the forecast. Your postings will be more and more enjoyable very soon as we sit here in the gloom. I'll probably even wish I was at a Honduran border by February! Is the DR650 still running like a top?
It the end of the ordeal it was just me and the three guys standing on the highway. Me wondering how far I could press them before they got hostile. I decided not to find out.

The DR is almost perfect. It developed an oil leak which I have 95% concluded is the countershaft oil seal (front sprocket shaft). I have a seal retainer installed due to a nasty DR habit of expelling the seal all together. Obviously the retainer does not prevent leaks. I have sent an email to a Costa Rica Suzuki dealer inquiring about availability and await their response. At this point it's not a dire situation but one I'd like to correct.
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Old 10-27-2013, 10:32 AM   #264
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Day 63 Island Hopping

Day 63 October 25 Leon to Myogalpa

Last night I made an audible and changed my plan a bit. Instead of the beach today I decided to go to Ometepe Island. Itís the worldís only volcanic island in fresh water. Formed by 2 volcanoes, it looks like an hourglass from above. The island is home to many hostels and hotels catering to backpackers, hikers, and eco tourists.

First I had to get there. I fully expected nothing but good pavement today but the dual-sport gods smiled upon me. I was very surprised when the perfectly good highway turned to crap. And then it turned crappier. But on the DR it was a blast. From potholes and broken pavement to narrow one lane sections there was a bit of everything. It was hard packed most of the way but there was soft sections as well as some muddy areas to traverse.



Odd looking concrete structure at the entrance to a small town



I stopped to look at my GPS just to make sure it wasnít leading me astray again but it was a legit highway. It turns out that there is also a highway to the north that also goes to Managua. Perhaps thatís the road most of the traffic takes because this road sure didnít look like a major thoroughfare. Eventually the pavement improved and the fun dirt ended so once again I had to follow speed limits.



When I arrived at the ferry I learned that I had a two hour wait. To kill the time I found some lunch and a 1 litre Victoria Classic to sip on.



Loading the ferry was like fitting together a jigsaw puzzle. Onboard there was one large truck, 2 small cars, and a bus. Skelly got sandwiched between a car and the bus with the help of a worker the size of a sumo wrestler. He picked the back end up and swung it into place right up against the cars bumper. The bus pulled up so close I had no way out so I had to hold my breath and squeeze to get past the truck beside me.







Proper Moto tie down technique



Underway, the buses suspension flexed so much it almost touched my bike with every wave. And with each swell, the alarm of the little car let out a wail. VIDEO



The ride was windy and if up front quite wet until we were on the leeward side of the giant volcano.





A fun looking strip for all you pilots








After disembarking the ferry at Moyogalpa I quickly found the Hospadje Soma for $10 tonight.

Tomorrow Iíll ride around the island and then take the ferry back to the mainland with San Juan del Sur my destination.
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Old 10-27-2013, 10:56 AM   #265
davidbrundage
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Originally Posted by DRRambler View Post

Tomorrow Iíll ride around the island and then take the ferry back to the mainland with San Juan del Sur my destination.[/SIZE]
There is a place just south of San Juan Del Sur called Playa El Coco. I passed through and stayed at a nice little spot called Lug's Place. The owner is a chef from Canada I believe and cooked a seriously impressive dinner. The best part, in my opinion was avoiding the huge party scene in San Juan Del Sur. Then leaving there, just keep heading south, and there is a nice dirt track that leads from the coast back to the highway where you'll cross into CR.

Excellent report, keep up the good work!
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Old 10-27-2013, 12:00 PM   #266
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CR Border

Be ready for CR, you will need a lot of patience.

There should be no hidden fees and you dont need a helper but they have 2 aduanas that you will have to run back and forth between for copies and stamps. It was the second most painful process next to Panama.

Issues at Panaman were related to power outage and lazy insurance dude so cant quite blame the process. CR process just isnt logical or fluid.

Lae me know if you want any additional info but it is reall just grin and grind it out process.

Enjoying the RR makes wish I was back in all those places. ~ 10 months and counting before my next big multi-month push.
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Old 10-27-2013, 02:05 PM   #267
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Originally Posted by davidbrundage View Post
There is a place just south of San Juan Del Sur called Playa El Coco. I passed through and stayed at a nice little spot called Lug's Place. The owner is a chef from Canada I believe and cooked a seriously impressive dinner. The best part, in my opinion was avoiding the huge party scene in San Juan Del Sur. Then leaving there, just keep heading south, and there is a nice dirt track that leads from the coast back to the highway where you'll cross into CR.

Excellent report, keep up the good work!
I rode to Playa el Coco and did not see Lug's place but enjoyed the ride both directions. In hindsight this was good because it has been raining here a lot and I'm not in the mood for mud

Quote:
Originally Posted by AK Smitty View Post
Be ready for CR, you will need a lot of patience.

There should be no hidden fees and you dont need a helper but they have 2 aduanas that you will have to run back and forth between for copies and stamps. It was the second most painful process next to Panama.

Issues at Panaman were related to power outage and lazy insurance dude so cant quite blame the process. CR process just isnt logical or fluid.

Lae me know if you want any additional info but it is reall just grin and grind it out process.

Enjoying the RR makes wish I was back in all those places. ~ 10 months and counting before my next big multi-month push.
Thanks for the tips. Slow and steady, step by step, and I'll make it through.
Where are you going?
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Old 10-27-2013, 04:46 PM   #268
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Thanks for the tips. Slow and steady, step by step, and I'll make it through.
Where are you going?[/QUOTE]

Plan is to finish what I started. Last winter was Mex for about 10 weeks then did all of Central America Colombia and Ecuador for about 4 months.

Next winter about 6 months for the rest of South America. I hope. A lot can change between now and then, but I am setting up to quit my job so we will see. I am pretty focused so right now I believe it will happen.

One of my many mantras to quit work:
Bob 1 "So I see you've been missing a lot of work lately?"
Peter "I wouldn't say I've been missing it!"

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Old 10-27-2013, 04:58 PM   #269
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Originally Posted by AK Smitty View Post

One of my many mantras to quit work:
Bob 1 "So I see you've been missing a lot of work lately?"
Peter "I wouldn't say I've been missing it!"

Office Space
Classic!
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Old 10-27-2013, 07:23 PM   #270
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Day 64 Circling the Volacano

Day 64 October 26 Isla Ometepe to San Jaun Del Sur

The rain, not roosters woke me this morning. This entire trip I have not started a day in the rain (I think) so I was not impressed. It stopped coming down at about 6:30 so I quickly loaded up and headed out.

My room mate





The exit from the hostal is a medium uphill grade with two concrete strips for vehicle tires to roll on. It is steep enough that the bike would not stay put in neutral while I opened the steel gate. In order to go through the gate I needed to ride off the little ramp and over some paving stones that are covered in wet moss. Guess where this is leading...yes, I dropped the bike. First time the whole trip! However I managed to pick it up without unloading anything. Iím glad I didnít bring the V-Strom.

I headed out northbound to circumnavigate the big volcano. The paving stone road ended and turned to dirt which lasted across the entire northern side of the island.





I reached paving stone again at Altrgracia. It was a great little ride but the clouds covered virtually the entire volcano most of the trip.



The road crosses the airport runway






By 8:30 I was back in Myogalpa having a breakfast of granola and yogurt.

I approached the boat docks to a extremely loud drum and brass band. Trying to get information when you canít speak the language or even hear is great fun. I finally figured out that I was to pay on board the boat and it was leaving right now so get your butt in gear. First I had to pay a 10 Cordoba tax (about 30 cents). This ferry had only one car and another bike plus some foot passengers so no stress about the tight squeeze this time.



The crossing was calm and relaxing.



Ferry No. 3



I recalled seeing a car wash yesterday so I began searching for it. The bike has developed an oil leak so I wanted to clean all the grime away so I could see where it is coming from. The lad at the wash did a great job and Skelly is gleaming once again. Later in the day I determined the leak is from the counter shaft seal. This is a common DR650 leak so before I left I installed a seal retainer to prevent a blow out but I did not pack a spare seal (more on that later).




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The ride from Rivas to San Juan is really short so I was in town by noon. I decided to ride north of town to check out a waypoint I had saved called the Castaway. Unfortunately I turned around because the road was getting sloppy and the weather these days is quite rainy.



I did not want to get stuck out there so I tried south of the town to check out another waypoint called Lugz Place.



Good thing I got the bike washed today!



I couldnít find it so again turned around and eventually found a hostal with great secure parking , wifi, and A/C for $25/night.

Panorama photo, click to see full size image









Two German riders on BMWs arrived shortly after me and we compared border crossing stories. Itís nice to talk to someone who has also had the same troubles.
After inspecting the oil leak I researched the part number and sent out a few inquiries. Weíll see what comes up tomorrow.
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