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Old 05-01-2012, 10:08 AM   #226
TheReaper!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDowns View Post
Hi John,

I stayed in Xela (Quetzaltenango) Guatemala at:

Casa de San Bartolome
Angelina and Jorge are the gracious owners
N14 49.860 W91 30.755

I went to the dentist at:

Mario Recinos
N14 50.166 W91 31.260

I'm no dental expert, but I think it would have cost more than my whole trip to have all this work done in the states. As it was I paid 3250 Quetzals to fix every little thing wrong with my teeth, drill out and refill a dozen old worn fillings, fix a broken front tooth, and fill any little cavities and imperfections. About 400 bucks. And my teeth look better than ever.

My friend back home paid that much for X-rays and a filling. And then had to cough up 1200 more for a root canal when that didn't work. Cha-ching.

Arno says in his RR that he was quoted 25,000 bucks back in the states for the extensive work that Mario did for 2500.00. His ride report is: Bugmurders assault on South America. I met people that fly down just to have dental work done. It pays for the vacation. Riding down is better though.

Have fun,
John Downs
Nice report , I spent over 10K at the dentist in 2010 . I never gave leaving the country to have it all done a thought .
Smart move .

TheReaper!
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:12 PM   #227
Chiriqui Charlie
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John, I have a couch in Volcan Panama. Check out the thread in L America about a possible new ferry from Colon to Cartagena. I bought an XT250 couple months age, have 5000 miles in Panama and Costa Rica.
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:49 PM   #228
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Originally Posted by Chiriqui Charlie View Post
John, I have a couch in Volcan Panama. Check out the thread in L America about a possible new ferry from Colon to Cartagena. I bought an XT250 couple months age, have 5000 miles in Panama and Costa Rica.
Hola CC,

Thanks so much!. I will be sure to look you up. Look forward to meeting you. My needs are simple. Flat place to sleep inside or out. I will be passing through Rio Sereno again. Such a mellow border crossing. And the road down to Volcan is a fun scenic ride. You live in a beautiful area of Panama. I will be sure to get in touch with you on my way down next fall.

I noticed in the Latin America thread there is a mythical ferry coming. Hard to believe a cheap ferry crossing. Maybe it will actually be up and running later this year. I will keep an eye out for sure. But I'm getting to Colombia one way or another no matter what. Even if it's on the Pacific side in a series of cheap launchas with the bike wedged between cases of contraband cigarettes.

Anyway thanks!

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:52 PM   #229
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John it's good to see a new post here! I've been subscribed all this time in the hopes you'd start a new minimalist adventure and post up in this thread. I too am approaching 60 and have limited funds and dream of SA. I have three+ years left on the mortgage so that is my goal right now. After that anything is possible.
Hey Sourjon,

Good to hear from you! Glad you are still following along. You have the minimalist spirit and from the looks of your tool advice in previous posts you look to have the skills and practical knowledge necessary to keep a bike going through Latin America.

I went through the tip of Kentucky last October on my way to the Smoky Mtns in North Carolina. A local gal had a sister who bought a house near Deals Gap that needed some work, so I drove out on a mercy mission to help her sister out. Didn't make it to Louisville or I would have looked you up to say hi. Beautiful area of the country though.

Like you, I am sitting around itching to hit the road again. I am brushing up on my Spanish. I don't have money to take lessons or buy courses, so am studying free online courses. Another useful thing I have found is translate.google.com. Just type in the phrase and make your own flash cards. I don't need phrasebooks filled with, "please have the maid make my bed and draw my bath."

I plan to save money by camping. I need phrases like:

¿Es posible acampar en su terreno por la noche en mi tienda?
Is it possible to camp on your land for the night in my tent?

Or in the windswept Argentinean pampas out in the middle of desolate nowhere phrases like:

¿puede que el campo detrás de la gasolinera por la noche?
can i camp behind your gas station for the night

That sort of thing.

Another thing people enjoy seeing south of the border are pictures of where you live. I didn't have any last time. So I am making sure to get some prints to share with people. The people in town, friends and family, what your house looks like, pictures of local ranchers and cattle on the range outside town, pictures of corn fields, pictures of the local kids playing on the grade school playground, pictures of the local Bassett volunteer fire department and trucks and my neighbor volunteer firemen putting out a brush fire. That sort of thing.

?Donde esta el departamento de bomberos?
Where is the fire department?

is always good to know. Others have had luck pitching a tent in the local departamento de bomberos. Who knows? Rural Latino firefighters might get a kick out seeing pics of our local redneck rural firetrucks.


Survivalist tips from the road are more interesting to me than pictures of cathedrals. So I am planning on reporting back on useful ideas for minimalist travel. What works and what doesn't. The good, the bad and the ugly. If I can make it to South America anyone can.

Best,
John Downs
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:02 PM   #230
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Originally Posted by AugustFalcon View Post
Hey guys, knock it off, sixty ain't old! In August I will arrive at 70 and I am still looking forward to giving South America a try --- just waiting for the dog to die. Then I'm going to find a cheapass way to take that ride.
Hi Jack,

I think it's important to let the younger guys with mortgages, families and less riding time know that there's light at the end of the tunnel. Believe it or not, you will have decades of great riding in your later years if you care to.

Best,
John Downs
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:20 PM   #231
Lee C
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Good luck John you can and will do it
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:21 PM   #232
Sourjon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDowns View Post
Hey Sourjon,
Survivalist tips from the road are more interesting to me than pictures of cathedrals. So I am planning on reporting back on useful ideas for minimalist travel. What works and what doesn't. The good, the bad and the ugly. If I can make it to South America anyone can.

Best,
John Downs
If you ever get this way be sure to holler. I like the way you think about things and will be following along here until I can get there in person.

John
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I would rather be riding an imperfect bike than waiting around for perfection. --JDowns
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:39 PM   #233
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Nice report John. Hopefully we will see you somewhere in SA, we plan to leave in September. I too am pushing 60 and will hopefully celebrate my BD somewhere in Argentina. You are invited to the party ...

p.s. This note is mostly a self gratification to get subscribed to this thread.
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:48 AM   #234
Chiriqui Charlie
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John,
No need to sleep out in the rain, the couch is actually under a roof! And believe it or not, even the bathroom is inside!
If I knew when you would get here, I would meet you in Sereno and ride down the hill with you. That road is one of the local "dragons" and we have more like it here in the Highlands. You really should take a day to tour the area.
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:51 AM   #235
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[QUOTE=JDowns;18582475]To all you folks out there that dream of taking off south someday but are young and think you don't have the funds necessary, this ride report is for you. And for all you folks out there who are older and don't know how you can take off from work for a long trip into foreign lands, welcome to my world. I am living proof that where there's a will there's a way. If you can dream it, you can do it.

I have been dreaming of riding to South America for years. I made it to Panama and back. At the end of the road in Yaviza Panama I was so close to South America I could almost taste it. Alas, the Darien Gap isn't going away any time soon. And I didn't have the funds to cross over and back by sailboat with my bike.

I still probably don't. But that's not stopping me. I am pushing 60 years old and have decided it's time for a hail mary and am heading out next fall to see if I can make it on a shoestring budget. At first I was thinking of flying down to Chile and buying a cheap Honda CGL125 to ride around on. I'm not proud. I'll ride a girl's bike that gets 90 mpg if that's what it takes. But it only cost me 700 bucks to make it to Panama last time from Phoenix. Looking into roundtrip airfare on kayak.com and dinky Honda costs on Chileautos.com I quickly realized it would cost more than riding to Panama and crossing the Darien on my Kawasaki Super Sherpa.

It's South America or bust. I am taking a tent this time since that will save 10-20 bucks a day. On my last foray, I was traveling fairly frugally but still ended up spending almost 50 bucks a day not counting Guatemalan dentistry. I hope to lower that to 30-40 a day. Camping can be tough in Central America. I don't care. I have learned more Spanish and am fully capable of humbly asking farmers if I can set up my tent for the night. I know nothing of couchsurfing.com but will be figuring out if that is a possibility. And if anyone has a place to set up a tent in Latin America I am a licensed contractor and have helped tile countertops in Costa Rica, remodel kitchens in New Zealand and paint houses and help out along the way in my travels in exchange for room and board. More than anything I enjoy meeting fellow riders.

I will start a new ride report when the time comes, but for now am continuing on in this thread since it is the only one I've written so far.

Hope to see you down the road
Positive mental attitude, the most important bit of baggage you can pack. That said, camping gear can be cheap and light and solves the sundown problem of 'where will I sleep?' Thumpers can be had for under $2k, all over the place. Go to Campwhere, $5 app lists 10k public campgrounds in the USA and Canada, I use it all the time when trying to hit a $50/day target. Gas, lodging, food are the constants and you can't do much about gas, other than move less. I make breakfast, Jetboil oatmeal and espresso, thus eliminating the bother of gearing up only to dismount a mile away for breaky. Saves a few bucks, too. Stay out of bars and coffee shops. A cup of Starbucks is a gallon of gas. Consider shipping to SA from Miami or Houston, not as expensive as you may think. Discussed on ADV before.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:35 AM   #236
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Originally Posted by jfink View Post
Nice report John. Hopefully we will see you somewhere in SA, we plan to leave in September. I too am pushing 60 and will hopefully celebrate my BD somewhere in Argentina. You are invited to the party ...
Hi Joe,

Thanks! I will keep in touch later this year. Hope to meet up with you in South America. You make becoming a sexogenarian sound like fun!

See you down the road.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:18 AM   #237
Chip Seal
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Travels!

John,
Good to see you posting. You have a tent? LOL I thought you were the original roll up in blue tarp guy.
That is when you stop.
Took two of us to get John off his beemer in 2006. He pulled into our motel in Cedarville after riding nonstop from Guatamala.
John is always smiling. He doesn't know a stranger.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:20 AM   #238
MrBob
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Loving the thread and your approach to moto travel John. I financed my 4 month ride through Mexico in the mid-70's by saving up 4 unemployment checks and buying my Norton using a student loan. And I did receive quite an education.
I've downsized to a KLR 250 and am busily making it more reliable and flexible. What a great bike. What kind of revs is your Sherpa turning at highway speeds? How much weight do you figure you're carrying while on the road?
Also, how are you able to get your hands on tools when helping others with remodeling projects while far from home? I've been a carpenter for 28 years and still love helping people with their projects.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:21 AM   #239
JDowns OP
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Originally Posted by Chiriqui Charlie View Post
John,
No need to sleep out in the rain, the couch is actually under a roof! And believe it or not, even the bathroom is inside!
If I knew when you would get here, I would meet you in Sereno and ride down the hill with you. That road is one of the local "dragons" and we have more like it here in the Highlands. You really should take a day to tour the area.
Northern Panama is paradise. I look forward to meeting you and will be sure to PM you when I'm near. I intend to visit my friends in Uvita, Costa Rica. They have satellite wifi, so will be easy to let you know when I'm coming. I really miss that area.

My sisters birdwatching friend called me and asked me where to go in Panama and I told her Boquete and Volcan! She e-mailed me last month from Rancho Diandrew in Uvita to let me know that she had a wonderful two months exploring western Panama and the Osa Penninsula. That was my favorite area in Central America.

Thanks again.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:44 AM   #240
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Originally Posted by Chip Seal View Post
John,
Good to see you posting. You have a tent? LOL I thought you were the original roll up in blue tarp guy.
That is when you stop.
Took two of us to get John off his beemer in 2006. He pulled into our motel in Cedarville after riding nonstop from Guatamala.
John is always smiling. He doesn't know a stranger.
Hey Roger,

Good to hear from you! I still remember freezing through the Black Rock desert and how happy I was to see a bunch of familiar beemers parked at a motel in Cedarville. And yes, I was frozen to my bike and needed chiseling off to dismount. Fun times. Thanks for all you have done for me over the years. Not the least of which was pointing me to a hot shower so I could thaw out that day and feel my feet and hands again.

People come and go but motorcycle buddies are forever. I will be heading out to Oregon in July to paint my sister's rental house. Will be sure to look you up and say hi.

Thanks again.

Best,
John Downs
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