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Old 04-21-2012, 02:48 PM   #406
BC Brian OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonic1c View Post
looks like a good time
Its going good.

And it is a good time.

When I get back we have to talk about building custom bikes for this kind of stuff. (seriously!!)

hasta luego, Amigo.
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Old 04-21-2012, 03:30 PM   #407
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I'm enjoying your RR and would also like to hear your thoughts of what you would do for a custom bike for Mexico touring.
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Old 04-21-2012, 04:19 PM   #408
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC Brian View Post
Its going good.

And it is a good time.

When I get back we have to talk about building custom bikes for this kind of stuff. (seriously!!)

hasta luego, Amigo.
Doesn't KTM already do that?


Just kidding, it seems like all the "adventure" bikes have serious shortcomings.
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Old 04-21-2012, 06:13 PM   #409
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC Brian View Post
...watching the world go by, visiting with locals and giving a few Canada souvenirs to children.

What are they going to do with a hockey puck?



Sorry, couldn't resist.

I really wish I had taken more gifts when I went down there. The kids are so appreciative. What kind of souvenirs are you passing out?
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Old 04-21-2012, 10:15 PM   #410
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC Brian View Post
Lets play "Spot the tourists".

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Old 04-22-2012, 09:12 AM   #411
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Day 55 April 21 262 kms Comitan de Domniguez to Quetzaltenango (Xela)

It was a short ride to the border, but I wanted to get away reasonably early as I has heard many scare stories of crossing into Guatemala. I got my bike out of the luxurious motorcycle parking they had provided.

Believe me, it is waaay worse in real life than it looks in photos


I headed off towards the frontera, not sure of what to expect. I stopped just before the border for fuel, and to load up with water and snacks, knowing that I could be in for a long wait. I got to Ciudad Cuauhtemoc and saw a sign that said Aduana (customs) I knew was still a little ways from the actual border, and it didn’t really look like it was set up for anyone GOING to Guatemala, but I figured better safe than sorry, and pulled in.



There was hardly anybody in the place, so I told a guy in uniform that I was going to Guatemala, and was this where I cancelled my permit for my bile. Yep, it was so. So 5 minutes later, my permit was cancelled and I was in immigration getting myself checked out of Mexico. Wow, that was simple. I hope it goes as good going into Guatemala.


I ride along the main road, and I see up ahead a bunch of activity, and beyond that the streets are decorated and lots of people around. It looks almost like some kind of festival. Looks like I have found the border. I pull in, looking kind of lost and a guy comes up and tells me he has to fumigate my bike for 12 quetzals. I tell him I have no quetzals, so he points me at a money changer, I get some quetzals at what I am sure was a GREAT exchange rate, he fumigates my bike ( sprays my tires with some kind of liquid), and shows me where to park for immigration. I go into immigration, and there are 2 people working and no lineup. Sweet. I get stamped into Guatemala, and the security guy points me towards customs so I can import my bike. I walk over, another security guy tells me I have to move my bike closer, so I go and get my bike and move it (about 30 feet).
I get in line for customs (1 lady ahead of me) wait for a bit, she is done and it’s my turn. I give her my papers, she has a photocopier, so I didn’t have to run around getting copies, she fills out a bunch of forms, I fill out a form, she hands me some papers and points me to the bank to pay my fees. The bank is right beside the aduana, and there is a bit of a lineup outside. (only 2 people allowed inside the bank at one time) I line up, another security guard in the bank points at me to come in ( I told the people in line “lo siento” as I went by them) paid my fee, went back to customs, get my papers, put my sticker on the bike and I was outa there. Total time at the border? Maybe half an hour. No hassles, no “helpers” trying to get me to hire them. The shotgun wielding security guard seemed to want me to get moving, so I never got any photos of the border.

I loaded up, and I was in Guatemala. Now to ride through the festival-ish town I was in. People and cars seemed to mingle in the street, there was music and people selling things and it was BUSY. I weaved and wobbled through the mayhem, and stopped just out of town for a break.

Hey, I am in freaking Guatemala.




I rode for a bit, and came up behind a line of traffic stopped on the highway. Uh oh, what’s this?



People were out of their vehicles, there were vendors selling food and drinks. Hmmmm. Might be here for a bit. I shut down the bike, and a machine gun carrying soldier walks up, points to me, and motions me to pass all the vehicles. Sweet, I can wait up front and see what’s going on. I get to the front of the line, pull behind the barricade they have set up, and I see an excavator working on cleaning up a mudslide. Crap. Then another machine gun wielding soldier motions me to go. I throw my helmet back on, don’t do it up, and away I go, through the mudslide. They had it cleaned up good enough for 4x4s or dirt bikes, and it was muddy, and there were giant, muddy mud puddles of unknown depths and questionable bottoms. But, hey, I survived the Big BC Trailie Ride mud bogs last year, how much worse could it be?

It wasn’t too bad! It was slippery, the mud was deep, the bottoms were soft. I got mud all over my boots and pants. But I stayed up. It wasn’t nearly as long as the BBCTR mud bog, but it brought back fond memories J

Muddy bike


The riding was great. Through steep valleys, the pavement was mostly pretty decent, because they weren’t letting anyone else through the mud hole, I had very little traffic passing me ( they drive fast here)

I stopped for a couple of breaks and to look around.




I got to Xela, had a look around, figured out where I was and where I was going. Talked to a shotgun packing security guard at a McDonalds (really? At McDonalds?) confirmed where I was going with him, and got to el Centro. The people here are really helpful and friendly. There wasn’t much parking in the main square, but there was a bunch of small bikes parked in a no parking zone, and a couple of guys moved their bike to give me room to park. I visited with them for a bit, then I wandered around, found my language school and found a decent hotel next door for about $15 a night.

View from my hotel


Later on, I went for supper, and finally got my fried chicken.


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Old 04-22-2012, 02:15 PM   #412
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Great pics, Brian! Very happy to see you back on the road!

That's quite the, uh, "dedicated motorcycle parking".
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:33 PM   #413
BC Brian OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RecycledRS View Post
I'm enjoying your RR and would also like to hear your thoughts of what you would do for a custom bike for Mexico touring.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChevalDeFer View Post
Doesn't KTM already do that?


Just kidding, it seems like all the "adventure" bikes have serious shortcomings.
hmmmmm...... I'm not thinking "Better" adventure bike. I am thinking "Different" adventure bike.

Sonic1c owns Sonic Cycle in Williams Lake and builds radical but rideable custom Harleys. He once built a show winning,"custom" bike with a lenghened single sided swingarm from a VFR mated to an aftermarket softail frame, loooonng inverted front end that started life on a YZ250 with a turbo off of a ford probe.( he called it Frankenstein) plus other cool stuff.

He is currently building a twin turbo 440 dodge chrysler coupe hot rod and a custom hot rod style bombadier spyder. (I have been thinking adventure spyder, too)

So I am thinking something different for travelling. Even more differenter (?) than travelling by Buell :)

Maybe a sit up type bike starting with an old FXR or a Dyna, keeping traditional lines, but with suspension and steering angle type stuff to handle rougher roads better( not to mention topes....)

Maybe aluminum panniers, but built to resemble a cross between square box panniers and harley bags, only bigger.

Pretty hard to out do whats already out there. Just thinking about something a bit out of the ordinary. People are doing it with sportsters, maybe its doable with a big twin.

Just a thought. First I have to see more of the world, get home, get a job, buy the wife something nice, buy the wife another nice thing, then sit down and see if its doable. ( maybe in that order :))
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:50 PM   #414
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roostre View Post
What are they going to do with a hockey puck?



Sorry, couldn't resist.

I really wish I had taken more gifts when I went down there. The kids are so appreciative. What kind of souvenirs are you passing out?
Hockey? I am not sure if they have enough police here to handle the rioting

Seriously though......

I have a bunch of Souvenirs with Canada flags on them ( cheap the weeks following Canada day) I have pens, pencils, playing cards, stickers,stick on tattoos, little lapel pins,bigger lapel pins, key chains with a compass on them, little knives. Stuff like that. I have a few swiss army knives that I will give out to anyone who really helps me out ( haven't needed any big help yet ( Knock on wood))

I give them to children I have interaction with, or if they are there when I am talking with their parents. The kids selling trinkets and gum etc love them. I don't buy the gum, but give them a present from Canada. If possible, I ask the parents if its OK first.. So far the parents have been pleased and make sure the kids thank me, sometimes in English. The best was the family with all the little girls at the Hotel in Gurerro Negro. It was fun.

There was a little boy in Puerto Escondido who didn't have enough pesos for his coke, so he asked me for 1 peso. I gave him a peso and a pen and a few stickers. He was shy about it, but thanked me over and over.
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:59 PM   #415
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockyDS View Post
Lets play "Spot the tourists".

We do stick out in a crowd

I am finding the locals are more open to visiting with me if I am :

A: on my bike. or
B: Not in a tourist town.

I think that if I am on my bike or in a non-tourist area, I am an oddity and people want to say hi and see what I am doing and where I am going.
In tourist areas I think I am just another tourist wandering around with a camera, and they are used to it.

I start Spanish School tomorrow, for 2 weeks. That should help with interacting with the locals......

BC Brian screwed with this post 04-22-2012 at 07:07 PM
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:06 PM   #416
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoSlow View Post
Great pics, Brian! Very happy to see you back on the road!

That's quite the, uh, "dedicated motorcycle parking".
Thanks SoSlow

Yeah, about that.
The parking lot for the hotel was 2 blocks away, and there wasn't really anywhere out front to park the bike,unload the bike and leave the bike while I humped stuff up to the room. They had Valet Parking ( for real) But neither they nor I was comfortable with them taking the bike. The bellhop ( for real) was helping me, and looked into the gate for the garbage dump ( I mean "dedicated motorcycle parking") while I was starting to get unloaded. I figured with the panniers off, I should be able to get through their little gate. The gate had a huge padlock on it, so I felt pretty safe, but the bellhop did suggest I put the panniers in the shed.............. just in case :)
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Old 04-25-2012, 07:42 PM   #417
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Great Ride Report!
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:33 PM   #418
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Hey Brian!

How are the Spanish lessons going?

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Old 04-26-2012, 08:13 PM   #419
Turk34
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Hi Brian,

Great Adventure, perfect documentary..I am taking really good notes from your trip...

Wish you the best..Safe ride.....
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Old 04-27-2012, 06:34 PM   #420
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Day 56 through 61 April 22 - 27 0 kms Quetzaltenango (Xela)



For the last while I have been staying in Xela (pronounced Shayla) and attending Spanish School. I felt that my spanish was passable ( barely) but I wanted to get some instruction so I would be able to interact more with the locals. For the last 5 days, I have been taking 6 hours a day of instruction, and the main thing I have learned is that my spanish REALLY sucks. J I have been learning a lot, and the people at the school are terrific. The school is a “total immersion” school, and part of that is staying with a Guatemalan family, immersing yourself in Guatemalan culture and eating local food. Total cost per week for school and room and board? About $185 a week. (Yes, I said “week”) The food is simple fare, but really good. The homes do not have internet, so my updates have been lacking …………………………..

They offer programs of 4, 5 or 6 hours of classes a day. I took the 6 hours a day program, which is a bit much, but I am learning lots J


Classroom

When I am not in school, I spend quite a bit of time studying (School at my age seems a bit harder than when I was a young, know it all punk) but I have found the time to look around a bit.

The streets are filled with little motorbikes. Most are pretty modern, but there are lots of old bikes running around.



I have seen quite a few bigger bikes, like a few BMW R1200R type bikes, a few relatively big sport bikes, and even a Ducati Monster, but they are few and far between.

I needed to pick up a few things I had forgotten to bring with me (like, really, how do you forget underwear?) so I headed off for the local walmart, and on the way there I walked through a huge open marked.


One of the big sellers there is used clothes, donated from Canada and the States. While it was probably available, I wasn`t about to look for used underwear at the market.

2 blocks from the market is a big, modern mall.


They didn’t have as many people there as the market, but they sure did have prices!

Things are priced a bit differently here than at home. In Walmart, I found a package of 2, fruit of the loom , mens underwear, grabbed a bottle of water and headed for the cashier. The young fellow in front of me had a 26er of vodka and a small bottle of some kind of cooler or something. The cost of my items was almost exactly double what his was. It’s a good place to be if you like drinking vodka and going commando J

Part of the package with the school is daily activities, where one of the instructors takes the students on a field trip in the afternoon. We went for a trip to Salcaja, which is famous for 2 things. The oldest church in Central America ( possibly) and homemade fruit wine. The church was built in 1526 and was open to the public.





After the church, we stopped at a local house with people kind of milling around the front door. We rang the bell and a lady let us in, and we went upstairs to check out the loom.



They hand make the cloth that the locals use for the traditional clothing the women wear.


Thanks google images

It is apparently pretty labor intensive and quite expensive by Guatemalan standards ( I didn’t ask how much)
We went down stairs, and there was some wine and some fermented fruit out for me to try. I had some fruit, and holy, did it taste strong of alcohol!!! Then I tried the wine, and it was actually quite good. I bought a big bottle of it (40 quetzals($5)) and away we sent on the chicken bus back to Xela)


Thanks again Google

It’s pretty interesting here. I notice a real mix of the traditional and modern worlds merging. Like I see women dressed like they have for generations, walking down a rural road, with a load of firewood balanced on their heads, while talking on a cell phone. Or a beautiful old colonial building in the town square, with a McDonalds in it.



I am here for another week, in a home with no internet, so my updates may be a bit sporadic for the next while J
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