ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Ride reports
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 04-07-2010, 07:01 PM   #46
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
Oddometer: 2,652
I had flown down to Costa Rica a couple years ago and ridden around on the backroads on a Honda 250 Tornado rental bike. I put quite a few thousand kilometers on that poor thing. Wore out a set of tires riding from the Nicaraguan border to the Panama border at every crossing, begging them to let me across. That's the problem with a rental bike. You can't leave the country with it. The best they could do is let me walk across the bridge to Panama at Sixaola if I left the bike at Costa Rica immigration. That bike needed new chain and sprockets, new tires and fork seals when I got back. Costa Rica has some rough country roads. But I LOVE Costa Rica. I don't know what it is about that place, and of course I stay away from the tourist areas. But the back country of Costa Rica is spectacular.

I headed to the capitol of San Jose for a wild ride through rush hour traffic before heading up, up, up into the mountains. Through the clouds where the road is over 8,000 feet for a sixty mile roller coaster ride on the Cerro de los Muertos (road of death) that takes you up to the pass at 10,000 feet. It is cold up there. I remember from last time. So I put on all my warm clothes at the gas station before heading up. After winding up through the clouds and fog the road broke out and you were looking down at the clouds swirling below. It was like being in an airplane. The sun was setting and lighting up the skies, and the clouds were turning peach and pink. It was AWESOME! Of course I didn't get a picture since there was nowhere to pull off on that narrow winding road. And then you drop straight down switchbacks passing semi trucks with Jake brakes blapping and the smell of burnt brakes in the air before you get back to the lower elevations. I think it drops more than a vertical mile in 20 or 30 kilometers. And it is warm again in San Isidro de General. After that chilly ride I took the turn off down to the warm beaches south of Dominical to spend the night.

I see a sign on the coast road down near Uvita pointing to an ecotourist place that rented yurts with wifi called Rancho Diandrew. PERFECT! Only problem is, it's dark out, and has just been raining, and the road is red clay mud, and it is STEEP! It was only 4 kilometers to the place according to the sign. But MAN, what a muddy 4 km that was. I couldn't use the brakes since it was like grease.
And one steep downhill section had a curve at the bottom. But the little Sherpa is so low it made it with a dab or two. No way I would have kept upright on a big beast of a bike. Not with my weak skills. Once I get to the place I learn that Landcruisers got stuck last week when it was really raining.

The owner is a surfer. His Son Andrew runs the place. Andrew fixed me a pork chop and soup and gave me a beer. Now that's service! I was the only one there since they are getting ready to put gravel on the road and the graders have made it nearly impassable. In fact he thought I was fellow inmate Ziguener53 who lives down the way and was supposed to come up and fix their Landcruiser. Anyway, I highly recommend this place. It is way cool, with ocean views, stream with waterfall, swimming hole, next to one of the best surfing spots in central America for ten bucks a night. I think I'm in heaven. Minimalist touring is the shizzle!

I wake up in the morning to the sounds of the jungle. Howler monkeys groaning, parrots cawing. I spent the night in this tent that looks like it is out of the Arabian nights. A bit rustic, but they have nice cabins if you want to spend the money:



The rain clouds are starting to clear in this photo I took the next morning of the view from the tent
looking out over the jungle to the coast.



Andrew fixes me breakfast in the morning and a Toucan actually landed in the tree next to the deck. He invites me back on the return journey north, and I know I'll be back.

But for now it is Panama or bust. So I hop on the bike and slide down the hill to the highway. This is a picture of the road in the only flat spot I could actually get off the bike


JDowns screwed with this post 04-24-2010 at 12:19 PM
JDowns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2010, 07:21 PM   #47
TaZ9
Happy Adventurer
 
Joined: May 2007
Location: Northern Colorado
Oddometer: 262
This just keeps getting better...

Great photos and commentary. One of my daughters and her boyfriend are currently in Costa Rica hiking the back country for the next 6 weeks. Your photos give me a glimpse of what she might be seeing. I'm glad she inherited my adventurous spirit. Your journey on the Sherpa is amazing. It must have been great to get back home, but hard to leave the adventure behind. Thanks for taking all us Adv readers along for the journey.

Taz
TaZ9 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2010, 07:36 PM   #48
Thorne
Sherpa-ing around
 
Thorne's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Lone Pine, ON, Canada
Oddometer: 1,206
Great RR>........
__________________
I'd rather die living than live dying.


Thorne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2010, 08:22 PM   #49
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
Oddometer: 2,652
So I head off to the final frontier of Panama. I had read on here that the Rio Sereno border crossing up in the mountains was the tranquil place to cross. So I headed back up into the mountains following the lovely back country roads to the border. As I neared the border past Sabalito there were no signs, so I stopped at a store a mile past town and found out the turn was there. Then the road took a Y at a school and the kids said to take the gravel road to the left. A few miles down a rough gravel road you get to the actual border. The guy at Costa Rica immigration was totally kicked back. He said if I returned back to Rio Sereno on the return trip I could just keep my bike papers open. So no charge to stamp my passport out. All I needed was a photocopy of my passport which I got from the grocery store around the corner. Panama immigration was across from the store. There were no guards or gates like at more formal borders. It was totally casual. In fact I was the only person there until Jacques from France showed up. He had just walked 500 miles from Yaviza the length of Panama. He was a bright eyed middle aged Frenchman who liked to walk. He was heading to Mexico.
There was no cost to enter Panama. But I had to get mandatory insurance from a lady around the corner for 15.00, Oh yes, they had to spray the bike for 1.00. Which they never did since I asked them not to. But I paid the dollar. And they use American money in Panama. So no money changer hassles. It was the easiest border crossing yet.
So I hop on the bike and head down a FABULOUS road toward Volcan. This road is nothing but curves winding around the lush mountains with fresh pavement.



So I head down the road. It is bliss. Best road in Panama yet. Wait. I just crossed the border. What do I know. So I get down to Volcan and a police truck coming towards me motions me to pull over and I keep riding. But they whip a u-turn and chase me down. Turns out the border had radioed them that they forgot to give me back an important document and I need to come back and get it. Mind you, I haven't been stopped once yet and this breaks my record. I just look like a local on a little bike and have been waved through every checkpoint so far. Oh well. The record is broken. But at least they weren't stopping me to give me a ticket or something. So I head back to the border and get this important document that noone ever looked at the whole time I was in Panama. It is my temporary import paper for the bike. So now I had it. They appologized for the inconvenience. Nice folks, really. Just doing their job. So I head back down the best road in Panama. But it is still rainy season in southern Costa Rica and eastern Panama. And it starts POURING down rain. I pull under the cover of a bus shelter to let it pass.



It is normally dry season in March, but this year is an El Nino year, so its still raining in the afternoon. So I wait until the rain eases a bit and take off down the hill to the Panam highway at David (daveed) and head down the road before calling it a night at Santiago, Panama.

JDowns screwed with this post 05-08-2010 at 05:45 PM
JDowns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2010, 08:50 PM   #50
shadman
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Houston, Tejas
Oddometer: 128
Awesome!!!!!

I am absolutely jealous, and wondering if I can use that dentist excuse on my wife, just kidding. I live in Texas and have wondered about taking my DRZ400 this far south, but time away from 3 young kids is always the issue. Can you, at some point nearer the end of your great report, give us a recap and maybe a map of the route and days it took to complete your journey? Please!!!!!!



Pedro Norte
shadman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2010, 09:11 PM   #51
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
Oddometer: 2,652
The next day is sunny and warm as I head down the road. After Santiago, the road becomes a four lane freeway . Panama is wonderful. The people are friendly. Gas is cheap. Pretty nice country in my book. They use American dollars so that makes it easy. And a coke costs 35 cents. The prices are half what they are in Costa Rica.

I continued through the sugar cane fields down the freeway. A lot of straight line riding in this part of the country. And finally come to the Panama canal and cross over the bridge of the Americas.



Further along the way I was dropping into Panama City only to see people driving at me on the wrong side of a six lane freeway with their emergency flashers on. I threaded through five miles of stopped traffic on the freeway to a road block with protesters wearing hardhats, waving flags and chanting slogans. There were hundreds of them and they were totally blocking a six lane freeway. It was WILD! So I ride up to the blockade and the dudes ask me to turn my motor off and I do and they cheer, and the one guy gives me a flag and lets me wave and they cheer, and then as I hand him back his flag and they start another chant, I start the bike, whip a U turn, jump the curb into oncoming traffic riding down the shoulder on the wrong side of the freeway until I reach a point where I can hop the curb and get back across the grass median strip onto the right side of the freeway and it is smooth sailing. But that was only the first blockade. Heading through downtown Panama City there is a massive traffic jam, so I thread through traffic only to find another major roadblock with flagwaving hardhat dudes. It looks like Ill have to whip a Uturn, but just then the little cab in front of me hops the curb and I follow him DOWN THE SIDEWALK and drop down into oncoming traffic on a oneway street to the left. The little cabbie dude has his emergency flashers on and I tuck in behind him as we ride the wrong way down a one way street across three lanes of traffic, hop the curb onto another wide sidewalk going down a street blocked with traffic and drop back down on the other side of the striking workers where it is smooth sailing. I LOVE riding in these wild central american cities.

I keep cruising east of Panama city. I'm not sure how far I'll get. I have seen the pictures of red clay rutted mud on the road to Yaviza with ADVriders standing next to their wallowed bikes covered in mud with their hands on their hips. But I figure what the heck. Maybe a little Sherpa can make it to Yaviza a little easier than those big ADVpigs. It is only another 180 miles, and according to my map, only the last 90 miles are unpaved. How hard could it be?

So I keep cruising and waiting for the good stuff. And it never comes. IT"S PAVED THE WHOLE WAY! And nice paving at that. So a lot of straight line riding through mowed down teak forests. I have to stop at two mandatory check points where they write down my passport number. I get to the end of the road as the sun is setting.

I MADE IT! ON A FREAKIN' 250!



After I take this photo a drunk dude comes across the street and wants to be my guide. No thanks, this place is a bit edgy. I ride down the street into town and it is crowded with folks. I was thinking about staying the night but it is a little too wild west border town, so I head out back the way I came. It starts pouring down rain, so lucky the road is paved I guess. After 50 miles I come to the first gas station, and the nice man tells me it's dangerous to be out at night. And directs me to the nearest guesthouse in Torito. I head there and get a basic room for 6 dollars. There is no distraction out here since no TV or internet. So the guesthouse folks are sitting out in front of the place shooting the breeze. Really nice folks. A couple from Venezuela that can't stand Chavez. And a nice man from Chile who is the rep for the dairy and drives around Panama visiting his dairymen. He went to Calpoly San Luis Obispo for a 9 week course on dairy equipment maintenance about 20 years ago and doesn't remember much English, but by now I am getting better at Spanish conversation. Enough to speak simply. And then everyone goes to bed. Quite a pleasant day.

JDowns screwed with this post 05-15-2010 at 08:52 PM
JDowns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2010, 09:27 PM   #52
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
Oddometer: 2,652
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadman
Awesome!!!!!

I am absolutely jealous, and wondering if I can use that dentist excuse on my wife, just kidding. I live in Texas and have wondered about taking my DRZ400 this far south, but time away from 3 young kids is always the issue. Can you, at some point nearer the end of your great report, give us a recap and maybe a map of the route and days it took to complete your journey? Please!!!!!!



Pedro Norte
Hi Shadman,

I will try to give a full recap at the end. As for a map. A lot of the roads weren't on mine. Glad you're enjoying the story.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
JDowns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2010, 10:10 PM   #53
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
Oddometer: 2,652
I got up the next morning before the sun and rode down to a grass thatched cafe sort of place out in the Darien. It was dark out but the locals were eating breakfast. There were two little Kuna Indian women cooking up grub, so I ordered what the guy next to me was having. Eggs, fried bread and some sort of pork product. Pretty good eats. $1.60 with coffee. Actually, the nice man sitting next to me paid for my coffee.

It's getting light out as I head out down the road. I come to a log scaling station and park behind the teak log trucks.



I have noticed lumber mills with Danish flags on the side of the road. So this is one place where Scan design furniture must be coming from. These logs are HUGE.

I walk across the street to the Kuna Indian man and watch him scaling logs. I think he said it is coming off tribal land, so sort of like casinos on reservations they are benefitting from gringo consumerism. He seemed happy about it. And proud of his tribal heritage with his tribal hat and embroidered tribal badge. I don't think I'll be buying anything Danish though. Except pastries of course.



He shows me how big they are in diameter. 160cm. Like five feet in diameter. And there are more trucks pulling in. That's a lot of boat decking.

I get back to Panama City and it's too early for any decent striker to be out waving a flag, so it is easier to make it through town. Just head toward the skyscrapers and after you pass them, keep the skyscrapers in your rear view mirror. That was my method, and it worked like a charm.

My rear tire has 10,000 miles on it and is a little thin in the teeth so I stopped in David (daveed), and asked at the gas station where a llantera tire shop for motos was. He didnt know, so I flagged down a cab and paid him 2 bucks to let me follow his cab to a motorcycle shop. It was a Yamaha shop where I bought a Shinko 244 for ninety bucks. YIKES! But the one I bought in the states for 40 bucks made it 10,000 miles, so I was stoked that they had the tire in stock. Anyway I whip out my tools and take off the rear wheel and two cops pull up and are insisting on HELPING me. I dont need help changing a tire, but what are you going to do? So of course they leave and I go to air up the tire and they pinched the tube. But they were such nice guys and all, so I get another tube and limp to a gas station where I can work in peace. But soon the gas station attendants are bringing over a milk crate for me to sit on and standing around watching me. And then a guy pulls up in a car and jumps out with a screwdriver and a pair of pliers in case I need tools. These folks are so NICE. But I tactfully avoid their help, although one guy insists on holding a tire iron.

This is the place I bought the tire and this hot little number is selling new for 1200 bucks. You could fly to Panama and buy one of these Yamahas and ride it home. Just a thought.



Soon Im off and in the hills where the border is closed. It turns out that the time is different in Panama. Who knew? And daylight savings time ended last week. Now they tell me. So I am way late. But they have a nice place to stay in Rio Sereno. It is made out of teak. Yikes! Teak floors, teak trim, teak doors. It is beautiful wood though.

JDowns screwed with this post 04-18-2010 at 08:29 AM
JDowns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2010, 10:27 PM   #54
Timmer
Beastly Adventurer
 
Timmer's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Burien, WA
Oddometer: 2,313
Very nice report. I'm loving the minimalist approach to the ride. When you come back through Nicaragua, be sure to go up to the Masaya Volcano just south of Managua. It's a nice twisty ride up to a parking point RIGHT NEXT to the edge of an active volcano.
__________________
Tim in Burien, WA
'05 R1200GS '03 F650GS
'08 WR250R
'03 Wing
'01 ST1100
Timmer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2010, 11:01 PM   #55
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
Oddometer: 2,652
After riding my Super Sherpa for two weeks I decided to take a break for a couple days heading back from Panama. So I headed back to Uvita, Costa Rica which is paradise, and was my favorite place between Arizona and Panama. The owner of the guesthouse there had invited me back for Saturday softball with the locals. So I decided to drop by. The road up into the jungle to his place was still being worked on and the recent rain combined with the road grader had turned the red clay to gumbo. There was so much mud caked to my wheels that the friction made braking unnecessary on the steep downhills. I arrive to find the place deserted. So I spend 15 minutes cleaning off the gumbo. As I finish cleaning the bike, the nice neighbor lady drives up and offers me a ride the few miles down the hill to the softball game.

You bet!

And off we go, sliding down the hill in her Toyota 4wd the few miles to town. They're choosing up sides. Mind you, I haven't put on a mitt since little league over 40 years ago. And I'm wearing my only clothes (being a minimalist) which consist of black jeans, black tee shirt and Sidi riding boots.

So they put me on first base. My first at bat I hit a line drive that scores our first two runs. HOLY COW. It's like riding a bike. The skills may be dormant but they never leave you! It was a fun game that ended in a tie. It was fun snagging wild throws at first, getting some hits and meeting the locals from Uvita.

I ended up spending a week in Uvita. Going to the waterfalls and leaning back into the force of the water as it pounds your shoulders is good therapy for a minimalist tourist. Eating home cooked meals on the terrace overlooking the jungle with views out to the ocean below. I'm not sure why I left that place.

I even ended up tiling the neighbor ladies Kitchen counter. I was invited to a neighborhood potluck dinner and met all the local American retirees. Nice bunch of folks. And the neighbor of the lady who gave me a ride to the softball game wanted me to come look at her ugly concrete counters and give her advice on what to do about them. So the next day I rode up and checked out her cool little tropical hideaway.



What a relaxing peaceful place. So I look at her ugly counters and suggest that I could tile them for her if she promised to fix me something decent to eat. So we hop in her truck and head to town. We pick up the neighbor who is a Viet Nam vet on disability who needs to go to town and get some groceries and head down to Uvita. It turns out that this guy has a tile saw. Holy cow! I was going to cut them cave man style. So we go to the lumberyard and look at their samples and nothing is in stock. So we go outside and look at the piles of tile in the corner of the yard and see what they really have. She picks out a terra cotta colored floor tile she likes, which I can make work with a little effort, and off we go. I find out that sanded grout is con arena (with sand). So I'm learning a lot.

It is pretty easy job and she's happy. I make do with what I have. No bullnose so I improvise. And she's a good cook. I had fun.



Mind you, the last job I did was tiling seven bathrooms in a 5000 sq. ft. fantasy log cabin on a huge buffalo ranch in Nebraska out in the middle of nowhere owned by a guy in Pennsylvania who was going to fly his tile guy from home on his lear jet until he met me.



Another neighbor wanted me to tile his floor, but it was time to hit the road. I just might have to head back down there. You don't need a contractors license to work down there. Just show up and do good work. There are plenty of folks down there who have figured out a way to make a living.

JDowns screwed with this post 04-07-2010 at 11:09 PM
JDowns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2010, 11:49 PM   #56
ColininKodiak
(not in Kodiak)
 
ColininKodiak's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Tampa Bay Florida
Oddometer: 713
this thread is not helping me refrain from getting another bike. I'm really getting into minimalist touring and now I'll probably end up with another toy, thanks a lot (please keep going, I'm hooked )
__________________
2002 BMW R1150GS Garage Queen
ColininKodiak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2010, 12:07 AM   #57
pdedse
paraelamigosincero
 
pdedse's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2007
Oddometer: 1,124
I have a little 2 acre spot near Uvita...come time to do any tile work and I'm giving you a call!

Nice write-up, love the bike. Reminds me of my first bike, a '78 kl250 that I bought in 1982 for $750
pdedse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2010, 12:14 AM   #58
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
Oddometer: 2,652
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdedse
I have a little 2 acre spot near Uvita...come time to do any tile work and I'm giving you a call!

Nice write-up, love the bike. Reminds me of my first bike, a '78 kl250 that I bought in 1982 for $750
Hey Pdedese,

Nice bike! The original KL250. And yes, I'll gladly tile your 2 acres in Uvita. No problem. Will work for food.

Cheers,
John Downs
JDowns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2010, 12:45 AM   #59
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
Oddometer: 2,652
I left Uvita and drifted up through Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Just floating along with traffic. 50 mph is the speed limit in most of Costa Rica and Nicaragua. I didn't take too many pics. I did drop down into Granada to check out the place. Nice looking town square with nice looking carriages for a ride downtown.



And a nice looking cathedral



I like Nicaragua. The roads are nice. The people are friendly. I can see why so many retirees are moving there. Like Panama, it is cheaper than Costa Rica. I wanted to head inland, but all the roads over to the mosquito coast were one way in and out, so I kept heading north and spent the night in northern Nicaragua.

The next day I headed up through tobacco country towards El Espino border crossing. Lots of cigar factories up here. I hit the border and parked and a young kid got really excited to see my Super Sherpa. He went over and got his Sherpa and parked it next to mine.



His bike was SPOTLESS! With an aftermarket exhaust that sounded sweet. Here are the tramitadores hanging out at the border with my new Sherpa buddy in the middle.



I was the only one there coming through and was in and out in a half hour. Really easy border crossing. It is only 100 miles or so to the El Salvador border, so I headed that way since I missed this country on the way down.

I couldn't believe how nice El Salvador was. I don't know what I was expecting, but it was certainly more mountainous than I expected.

Here is a picture of a sunset and an El Salvador volcano.



I headed to the capitol of San Salvador. Quite a cosmopolitan town. It was getting dark and I pulled over and got some tacos and asked directions to the beach and headed down to La Libertad for the night.
JDowns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2010, 12:55 AM   #60
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
Oddometer: 2,652
So I hop on the Sherpa the next morning on the coast of El Salvador and head out down the coast. It's a beautiful day. Blue sky , warm weather. Sunday morning so everyones in church or hung over and the road has light traffic. The coast road in El Salvador reminds of Hwy 1 in California. Winding roads on cliffs dropping down to the Pacific.



The coast road is GREAT! curves and tunnels.



So I'm tooling along, minding my own business, and suddenly WHOOSH! A 650 Ninja passes me. And then 10 more sport bikes. ZOOM, ZOOM, ZOOM! They fly by leaning into the hairpins. Knees dragging.

So I do what comes naturally and twist my right wrist as hard as I can. WAIT! What am I thinking? I'm on a 250cc bike. So I hang with them while they keep it under 70 in the curves. But the first straight stetch, these boys light the afterburners, and ZOOOOOM! They are soon dots on the horizon. So I slow down. But MAN! What a squid rush that was.

Several miles down the road the boys are pulled over taking a break in the shade. So I stop and get a group photo of them and their kick-ass bikes.





I chat with them for a while and get their emails so I can send pics when I get home. They buy me some watermelon and we talk bikes. Hey, the one guy recognized my gas tank came from an Xr650L Honda since he has one athome. What a great bunch of guys! Motodudes are fun to hang with no matter where you are. And their girlfriends looked SHARP with color co-ordinated tight leather outfits that matched the bikes and high heeled leather boots. WOW! I won't soon forget the lady in red.

JDowns screwed with this post 04-08-2010 at 01:01 AM
JDowns is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 07:25 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014