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Old 07-23-2014, 06:14 PM   #301
Travelbugblues OP
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Good question! I'm working on a book, so might head somewhere cheap to work on it. Maybe back to Colombia? Such a great country. Maybe somewhere else. Or maybe the wanderlust won't be gone yet, and I'll fly to Vietnam and buy an old Minsk

What do you guys think would be the ultimate adventure? I've loved this trip, but besides the danger factor, Central America just isn't as adventurous as those fabulous South American Andean mountain roads.

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Enjoying the report! Are you able to import that bike to the US? What kind of adventure will you undertake once this one has concluded?




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Old 07-23-2014, 06:15 PM   #302
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Import the bike? Hmmm... I have no idea. Can someone else help answer that? I didn't exactly plan out this trip, including what happens when I get the the Texan border in a few weeks.


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Old Yesterday, 08:44 PM   #303
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It was time to move on from El Salvador, and say goodbye to my Finnish travel buddy and friend, Jaakko, a seasoned traveler in his 8th year of adventures. Yes, 8 years on the road! Hes spending more time in El Salvador, while I was ready to put more kms under my wheels and head for Mexico. For the record, it is possible to go 2-up on a CGL125! His backpack was strapped to my bag, and off we went. The seat is so long on the CGL that it was surprisingly less cramped than you'd expect, and the bike held the same speeds as when just with me. What a great little bike! We got up to 35km to the liter, which for two people, plus bags, is fabulous.

Id already traveled to Guatemala on 3 separate occasions, so it wasn't that important to me to see more of it. Or so I thought... My Couchsurfing host in Antigua, the owner of the OX tour expeditions and the Base Camp Hostel, convinced me to stay another night and try my hand at mountain biking. He had a group of 4 Australians going out the next day, and although it was an intermediate course and I have never mountain biked before, nor even used a bicycle in nearly a year, he was pretty sure Id be fine and even love it, having extensive motorcycle and dirt riding experience. And right he was! It was an awesome experience Id highly recommend to anyone who likes scary single track dirt while bombing down insanely steep hills full of roots and ruts. Just dont expect to have a foot brake, which I did actually try to find on one occasion, slamming my foot down and thinking (shouting in my head), "why cant I stop?!!" I loved the downs, and was able to keep up with the boys, but the ups were fucking god-awful for someone who has lost all cardio endurance. Thought I'd die. Would still highly recommend the experience (and tour operator and associated hostel) to anyone going through Antigua, Guatemala.





Two days ago I rode out to Coban, "narco territory- please don't go there! Listen to us this time, Elisa!!!" as my mother calls it. Unfortunately (for her, but fortunately for me) I didn't receive her email until I was already there. It was a fairly nice little city, and the ride out there wasn't bad at all, even going through Guatemala City, which I expected to be a shit-hole. It was nicer than I remembered, and the route fairly straightforward. The main attractions near Coban are the Semuc Champey pools and caves. The pools were beautiful, but I wasn't as impressed as some of the other travelers I met, who spent $120 bucks to take some shitty guided tour out there instead of just taking a bus to Coban, and then two more shuttles to Semuc Champey. One tour consisted of 35 people all crammed into a tiny bus for 10 hours, when the capacity was only 20, a double room with only one tiny bed, no lock, and missing a whole wall...

The real attraction for me was the cave tour near Semuc Champey (1km before the pools). I had been hearing about it for the entire length of Central America as a "must see- don't miss it!!!" experience. And what can I say...? Well, it was FUCKING CRAZY! Beautiful, but total madness. You swim through a dark-ass cave with nothing but a candle in one hand, which obviously means you only have ONE HAND TO SWIM WITH. There's a rope for some of it, but girls in tiny-ass bikinis, shrieking in the dark, have hogged and submerged it so far into the dark depths that you might as well just swim one handed, lame-doggy paddling your way to some jagged rock. Meanwhile, boobs and ass are waggling out all over the place (luckily for them, everyone looks sexy in candle light and cellulite is mostly hidden). None of the girls have two free hands to fix their TINY ass bikinis, meaning they're pretty exposed for much of the journey. They're also covered in mud and dirt, ruining those nice new white near g-string bikinis, since, well, we're in a dirty cave. Some of you, dear readers, would love this tour. I, for one, had to grimace and try and get myself into a good mood and learn to laugh at it (which I did), figuratively plugging my ears to the shrill screams of the sorority sisters (actually, they were nice Israeli girls, who are notoriously loud travelers).

The guide, some young dude who's only real asset was being able to keep his candle from going out (and being able to control a boner that must have been there, given all the boobs and butts he was 'helping' to guide over the rocks), must adore his job. He guided us up and over jagged ledges and through keyholes, strong currents and waterfalls so strong that the girls bikinis were actually torn from their flailing bodies.

I was the first to go through the dark waterfall, as I hate being trapped behind people. Not knowing it was common practice for the guide to wrap his arms around you, both holding the shitty thin knotted rope in your hands as he helps you 'walk' (drowned) your way across the bottom of the falls. The rope was in my hands, and as I felt his arms slide around my waist I said, "No, no! Voy sola". I go alone. "Sola?" he says... And he let me go. I had no idea the water would be so intense, no warning was given whatsoever, and I didn't even know how far I had to go or what I'd find on the other side. All I felt was the water pounding, POUNDING!!! me down, my still-strong climber hands holding firmly to that rope, my nose, mouth and eyeballs filling with water, my sports bra and yoga shorts struggling to remain on my body (thank god I have some fracking common sense and didn't wear my own tiny white bikini- it's a cave tour, for pete's sake! A cave! Why would you use a tiny bikini??). I made it to the other side, threw the rope back to the guide, and watched as he escorted the 4 boobie girls and 3 guys across the falls. After that, the guide started asking me to lead some of the girls through the dark, when he had to help someone in the back.

We were then sent swimming through more mirky-ass water, cutting up our feet, nearly hitting our heads on low rocks, and climbing up more dangerous shit. All with our shitty little candles. We jumped off ledges into the abyss (or at least me and 2 of the boys did. One of the boys was paralyzed with fear and stuck on the ledge for at least 12 minutes as we waited, patiently, for him to either come down or continue and jump. As I climber, I have no issue with climbing and have done all sorts of crazy things. But for non climbers, those rocks were slippery, had crappy holds you couldn't find in the dark, and one slip meant a possible serious injury.

At the end of the tour, he confessed to me how much he hated those kinds of girls, because they wouldn't stop screaming. He did, I'm sure, love their choice is adventure-clothes.

All in all, the experience truly was fucking crazy. There are no other words for it. Would I recommend it? Absolutely. Would I say it's potentially dangerous and very very poorly managed? Definitely. Would I suggest proper clothing? Yes!

I unfortunately did not have my camera, so this one comes complements of the World Wide Web.



The ride from Coban to Semuc Champey is roughly 50km of paved winding road with big potholes and zillions of dogs, and 20km of very bad dirt. I had the excellent idea to invite a Belgian girl to come with me, since she would otherwise have a 4 hour bus ride out there and back. She was one of the only solo-female girls with enough adventure to go out there on their own, instead of spend tons of money on a mediocre tour. She also had experience on the back of motorbikes in Southeast Asia, so I was pretty surprised when I realized she was the worse passenger ever. We made it out there, but I tell you, it was very difficult on all that dirt, two up on a tiny bike. I had given her the "sit like a sack of potatoes" talk, but to no avail. If I didn't already have a ton of off-road experience, things would have gone south really fast. I was so exhausted from the whole day's experience that on the way back, I had her take a local shuttle for 10km, back to the town of Lanquin. Although her shuttle left before me, I ended up waiting for her for 45 minutes, while having the worse cofffee of my life and talking to locals (tasted like flat, hot coca cola, or maybe hot iced tea). When she finally made it back we again had a little "how to sit like a bag of potatoes" talk, aided by some of the local crazy dudes who had come to sit- yes sit- on my bike. She promised to try and relax, and voila! The ride was both exhilirating and very fun. Man, nothing better than tearing it up on shitty dirt roads!























Two motor-palapas stuck to the barge/ferry propel it sideways-ish through the water.



This morning I left Coban in the pissing rain for the 260km ride to Flores, where I am now. I haven't had much time to sit and think/write for a while, so hopefully this entry makes some sense. More to come soon!









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Old Yesterday, 09:43 PM   #304
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A few more, compliments of the Finn, Jaakko:

Costa Rican bird:



Lunch:



More lunch:




The View:



Nicaragua, out to Ometepe island in the big lake









More Nicaragua









Leon, Nicaragua





Resting







El Salvador:





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Old Yesterday, 09:59 PM   #305
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Thumb *subscribed*

Okay, I'm in!

Got some matching up to, but am working on that.
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Old Yesterday, 10:20 PM   #306
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Thank you!!!!

Thank you SO MUCH to those who have donated to my travels, and those who have given moral support. I do not know how to contact people directly as PayPal doesn't seem to send me people's addresses (or does it say somewhere?) but want you to know how much it means to me. Jeff, Phil, John, Mike, Rob, James and Colby, your donations are so appreciated.

I've been meaning to write up a budgeting report again for those interested in the financial side, but just have to find the magic triangle of time, wifi and brain-power. It's there, in the works... I've lately tried dropping my budget to $20/day, which works well when I'm traveling slowly, or have picked up a passenger who helps with gas costs.

Even this far into the journey, the little CGL125 continues to blow my mind at how reliable it is. Sure, it's slow as shit sometimes, and I'm sure I'll get annoyed at how slow it is on the open roads in the U.S, but mostly, it has been a great choice, both in reliability and financially.

Big hugs!

Elisa

***I can now be found on Facebook (got an account just a few weeks ago), at my email elisarw@gmail.com

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That's a really nice thought! My Paypal is elisarw@gmail.com. Yes, pics are back- a friend updated my account when they saw what was happening.
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Old Yesterday, 10:22 PM   #307
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Thanks!

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Okay, I'm in!

Got some matching up to, but am working on that.
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Old Today, 07:00 AM   #308
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Laugh

Any general plans for Mexico? It is always a pleasure reading your reports. They go well on a pleasant Saturday morning with good coffee.

Ride safe!
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