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Old 11-15-2012, 09:35 PM   #496
McKay
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Another armchair traveler checking in on this great report on a great adventure.
Im paying it forward and donated a day of PayPal travel funds for your trip.

Keep safe and please keep it coming!
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:39 PM   #497
SchizzMan
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Hey John,

Good to see that all is well with you and that your mode of travel is working out. It's very instructive for many of us to follow your RR. Sounds like it actually PAYS to ride your way. And that's a good thing.

When I close out my TVIPs the credit card company always reverses the foreign transaction charge so I end up paying just the permit fee to Banjercito. Your card should do the same.

Buena suerte,

JD
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Old 11-16-2012, 12:51 AM   #498
Klay
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Joined: Nov 2005
Location: right here on my thermarest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDowns View Post
As of yesterday I have been on the road for a month.

Since I am at the beach it seemed like a good time to add up what I have spent so far and report back how this paypal donation thing has been going so maybe you will have a better idea of what it takes to travel down here.

I charged all my gas and food coming through the U.S. for the first two weeks and that came to just under 300.00. Mind you, this is skewed low because I stayed with very generous ADVriders like Throttlemeister, Schizzman and Tricepilot who provided me with food and shelter. And the ranchers in Bassett gave me a place to stay and meals in southern Texas.

But I also spent 202 bucks on a spare clutch cable, new brake pads, spare oil filters and a new killer RK X-ring chain that is holding up really well. Thanks to Throttlemeister for that idea.

So around 500.00 including bike parts, new gloves, pawnshop camera and all the other odd bits for the first two weeks.

I don't know about the Mexico charges for the bike entry. They charged my credit card 356 bucks plus a ten dollar credit card handling fee. But I think I get back 300.00 when I leave the country. So figure 66.00.

And I have about 100.00 left from the 500.00 I changed at the border and that is the only thing I've been spending in Mexico. Yesterday I spent 484 pesos on food gas and this expensive place I'm staying in Puerto Angel. So around 400.00 for the two weeks I've been in Mexico. But once again this is skewed low due to the generosity of people like Arte in Reynosa, MikeMike in Veracruz and even Tony Diaz from Oaxaca. These folks have given me food, shelter and even gas.


So it looks like just under 1000.00 for the first month of travel. Mexico and Costa Rica were the expensive countries when I went to Panama last time, so it should get cheaper next month.

People have been donating money from around the world on this paypal thing. Who knew? There are a lot of people out in the world. It is currently at 1433.06 after paypal deducted their handling fees. Plus the 100.00 the nice lady gave me in Bassett as a going away present and the 40.00 a guy handed me at the Roll the Bones rally in Texas. That adds up to 1573.06.

So that means another month or so of travel than what I would have otherwise.

Now this donation figure is skewed high because of some generous large donations for over half of this amount. And by reporting this figure I imagine people at home will go WTF? and the donations may be 20 bucks next month. I don't really care. I will ride this pony as long as the money lasts and then head home and work for a living like a normal person and save for my next trip.

At least now I know how some of these people are out there for years at a time. I just assumed they were rich trust fund babies. Haven't you wondered how they do it? I know I have. Nobody ever reports this financial stuff back so I am making it my duty to do so. Along with GPS waypoints for good camping spots and how much stuff costs. I know that is some of the most useful info I pick up from other people's ride reports.

And I will donate to future riders who follow this idea. More money for the kickass ride reporters out there with the killer pics that keep me entertained in between rides. I'd rather read good ride reports and donate money than pay for cable TV. So I hope to encourage others to try the paypal route if you're poor and desperate like me. I'm no genius. If I can do it surely you can too. Mind you, if I were well off I would just write ride reports and be like a normal person. This isn't a get rich quick scheme.

I am just reporting the facts. And hope to encourage others that maybe they can follow in my tire tracks. I am also going to donate ten percent of everything ADVriders donate to this site since it seems like the right thing to do to help support the people who so selflessly keep ADVrider going. If it wasn't for ADVrider none of this paypal stuff would work. So I'm sending them $143.31 this month.

I will continue to report back money that comes in and goes out as this ride continues. I'm just as curious as you are to see what the future holds.

But for now I think Throttlemeister is right. About 1500/month all in for travel if you add in border crossing, bike repair and the whole enchilada is a comfortable amount of money to budget for third world travel. 1000/month and you will be camping half the time, eating frugally and living like a monk. Of course, if you have 2 or 3 grand a month you can travel in style and eat like a king. Nothing wrong with that.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
Thanks for the breakdown on costs, and I agree with your approach. We can all help each other travel and experience in this manner.
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:23 AM   #499
DanielR
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Keep on truckin! This RR is invaluable. I'm proud to support it.
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:09 AM   #500
OldPete
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Another good post, thanks Juanito.

AirheadJohn? Well only one on the Super Sherpa. I had a R100RT at one time.

To others. Trice offered this teacher in one of his RRs... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLTlc...feature=relmfu


Best to ya,
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Old 11-16-2012, 08:36 AM   #501
Catours
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We're enjoying the report from Guatemala! Thanks, John.

If you make it to Antigua, be sure to come by Moto Cafe and share some stories with fellow motorcyclists, join us for a ride, or just have a beer!

Always great to meet ADV'rs.

Moto Cafe
6a Calle Oriente #14
Antigua, Guatemala
14°33'19.50"N
90°43'52.43"W

Safe travels!

Chris
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:32 AM   #502
borborygmus
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great ride. payed foreward a day or two. Regarding currency exchange, do we need to know which country you are actually in? ginger.(my dogs name)
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Old 11-16-2012, 05:14 PM   #503
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Buenos noches muchachos,

Just got in to San Cristobal de las Casas after another great and interesting day of riding. Stories and pictures coming soon. The internet is a little slow in Oaxaca and Chiapas and I need to go eat something.

Hasta luego,
Juanito
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Old 11-16-2012, 08:07 PM   #504
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Joined: Mar 2005
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I left Salina Cruz down on the Pacific coast this morning at dawn. I have been through this town several times before and it is kryptonite for me. I always seem to spend a couple hours wandering around this silly city trying to get out. This morning was no different.

I vaguely remembered you needed to go north to go south which is actually east when you get this far down the coast. So I headed towards the rising sun and hit a dead end on an overlook. Salina Cruz is a major oil offloading point so the oil tankers were all lined up far out to sea:



And the view down the coast to the oil storage facilities on the hillside:





Beautiful morning but I was trying to get out of this place. The downtown area where I stayed was actually a vibrant and lively place for being an industrial town and fairly clean with friendly working class people.

So I tried a second tactic on my next attempt to get out of town. I followed a taxi with Tehuantepec written on the trunk since that was the next big town towards where I was needing to go. No such luck. He wasn't going back to Tehuantepec. He was going to a large oil refinery to dump off some workers. I finally found a sign to Tehuantepec and headed straight north to get out of town. I stopped for breakfast here:



to bulk up and step up to my A game for the next 50 miles.
I liked the way they used sewer pipe as forms for the vertical columns and the place was wired Mexicanada style:



One of the windiest places on earth is the ithsmus of Tehuantepec. The Oaxacan mountains end and there is a large flat plain about 50 miles wide before the Chiapas mountains rise up. Through this gap the wind can be fierce. Every time I have been through here it has been howling. Except once. Coming back from Panama last time I came through here in the early morning and it was relatively calm. So I had a working theory that the wind builds in the afternoon and by evening like when I headed south last time it is howling, head snapping gusts.

Alas, my theory was dashed. I made the turn at Juchitan where it usually starts and saw the first row of windmills was standing still:



They obviously were waiting for the wind to die down because it was howling. When you pass a bus stop and the business man is standing there and his tie is pointing horizontal, you know its windy.

So I practiced my Spanish slang while getting blown sideways. Mierda! and getting my helmet snapped by the gusts. Chinga! until I finally reached the same overpass in the middle of the windfarm area that I stopped under last time to get out of the gusts and take a break. The wind wasn't quite as bad today as that night because the hum from the wind hitting the girders wasn't as deafening. I finally made it to the protection of the Chiapas mountains and took a break at a Taller de Vulcanizadora (tire shop) located under a big shady Monkeypod tree. I got to watch Jose Luis finish changing a semi trailer tire cave man style. Here he is getting ready to reef on the lug nuts with his handy cheater bar:



Air tools are for wimps:



Jose Luis said it takes him about media hora ( half an hour) to jack up the trailer, undo the bolts, switch out the blown tire for the spare and tighten everything back up. He gets 100 pesos ($8.00) which is pretty good wages for Mexico. Here is his 10 ton bottle jack and 6x6 wood block that is his hydraulic semi trailer lift:



Check out the nasty cracks in the sidewall of the spare he just installed. You should have seen the tire he took off!

The guy driving the truck came back from lunch and paid his 100 pesos and was off down the road with his 18,000 kilos of corn. Probably going to a milling company to make cornmeal for my breakfast tortillas.

It was quite hot down in the coastal plain. Probably mid 90s. So I decided to head into the mountains of Chiapas and turned up 190 libre. What a great winding road for the first 30 miles or so:




Fresh pavement, nothing but curves. It eventually flatened and straightened off into the distance:



I hit the large city of Tuxtla Gutierrez (Toost-la Goo-tee-air-ez) and got on the free road to San Cristobal de las Casas up in the mountains. Towards the edge of the Toostla town I saw a sign pointing up the mountain to Cañon del Sumidero. Ever heard of it? There was a road you could see zig-zagging up the mountain.

As you may know by now I love canyons and am a sucker for switchbacks, so I hung an izquierda and headed up the way. After a couple miles there was a Caseta de Cobra (toll booth). It turns out this is a national park and there is a 27 peso entry fee. No problema.

The road winds straight up the mountain quite high with beautiful vistas out over the valley below. I stopped at every mirador (vista point) on the 22 kilometer ride to the top. Here is a shot from the first mirador looking at the mouth of the canyon:



I won't bore you with all the pics. This was the best mirador. The next to the last one that had a stone retaining wall that dropped straight down 1000 vertical feet when you looked over the side. You better not suffer from vertigo if you want to hang over the edge and get this picture. That is a tour boat down there with ten rows of seats 4 wide so probably 30 0r 40 feet long with twin outboards cutting the wake down there. You have to squint to see it. It gives some perspective as to how honking big this canyon is:



There was a foot wide ledge where the weeds are coming from in the bottom of the picture and someone had to stand there with a 1000 foot drop behind him and finish the joints on the stone retaining wall. I hope Jose de los Brass Huevos was wearing a safety harness and not just holding his cousin Roderigo's sweaty palm while he hung off that ledge.

Anyway, like the Grand Canyon, pictures of scenery this big don't do it justice. You'll just have to check it out for yourself. Cranking up and down the newly paved switchbacks was worth the 27 pesos. The stunning views were icing on the cake:



Up at the last mirador they were enlarging the visitors center. These boys were laying tongue and groove pine flooring. Low man on the totem pole was hand planing down the rough spots:



the others were staining the beams a rustic dark walnut. Pine is like candy for termites in the tropics so I don't think this place has much chance. The boys couldn't talk much because the foreman was over at his card table makeshift desk off to the right scribbling down numbers with a serious look on his face and making like he was busy.

Not sure what the story is here:



but not far down the road I felt the rear end go away in a hairpin and had a similar story at sunset:



The road is nothing but curves on the way to San Cristobal but quite narrow with a drainage ditch on the uphill side and a cliff on the other side so I had to ride the flat a couple miles to a wide spot in the road with a beautiful sunset view:



Here is the handy Walmart cut down battery powered pump getting the rear tire up to 20 PSI :



so I could ride down the twisting road in the dark the final 30 miles to where I am now. I found a cheap hotel in the funky historic part of town. I like this place in the dark. The lady said I could stay if I could fit by the 2 foot wide space between the Jetta and the wall:



So I took off the saddlebags and squeaked through to park in front of the two cars stuffed in the lobby.

Probably hang around here tomorrow and change oil, patch the pinhole in the tube and take a gander at this seemingly charming colonial town. Today I spent 474 pesos or $37.92 on gas, food entry fees and lodging.

Buenos nachos,
Juanito
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South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=831076

JDowns screwed with this post 11-17-2012 at 04:02 PM
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Old 11-16-2012, 08:55 PM   #505
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
Oddometer: 2,545
Quote:
Originally Posted by McKay View Post
Another armchair traveler checking in on this great report on a great adventure.
Im paying it forward and donated a day of PayPal travel funds for your trip.

Keep safe and please keep it coming!
Hi Jeff,

Thanks so much! Appreciate the thought. Don't worry, this ride report is just getting started. I haven't even made it out of Mexico. You never know whats around the next corner on these deals. Today it was a beautiful canyon and a flat tire. Tomorrow, who knows? We'll find out.

Muchas gracias,
Juanito
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Old 11-16-2012, 08:58 PM   #506
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Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
Oddometer: 2,545
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizzMan View Post
Hey John,

Good to see that all is well with you and that your mode of travel is working out. It's very instructive for many of us to follow your RR. Sounds like it actually PAYS to ride your way. And that's a good thing.

When I close out my TVIPs the credit card company always reverses the foreign transaction charge so I end up paying just the permit fee to Banjercito. Your card should do the same.

Buena suerte,

JD
Hi JD,

Good to know. First I have to get out of Mexico. Might have to go to Quintana Roo though. I'd like to see where Lonerider spent the winter last year over on the Carribean as well. When I do get out of Mexico it's good to know the surchage is reversed.

Saludos,
Juanboy
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:07 PM   #507
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
Oddometer: 2,545
Quote:
Originally Posted by Klay View Post
Thanks for the breakdown on costs, and I agree with your approach. We can all help each other travel and experience in this manner.
Hi Klay,

Kickstarter for coots is apparently a viable option. ADVriders are the only sponsors you need it turns out. Not that I have anything against people who have made a name for themselves getting sponsorship of any kind to follow their dreams. It just didn't seem possible for schlubs like me.

I hope to encourage others to do the same if this appears to work out. It will be interesting to see.

Best,
John Downs
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:20 PM   #508
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Joined: Mar 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drmv62 View Post
great ride. payed foreward a day or two. Regarding currency exchange, do we need to know which country you are actually in? ginger.(my dogs name)
Hi Gingerdaddy,

Appreciate your kind gesture. I'm no financial genius, but it appears that paypal converts whatever foreign currency is donated automatically to dollars and it shows up in my account like magic.

When you sign up for a basic paypal account it is tied to a checking account that you send them and they deposit some money in it and withdraw it the next day in order to verify it is a viable account and you are a real person. Shortly after that you are allowed to put a paypal donate button on a website. In my case I chose a free blogger account since I had a gmail address. Once I put the johnthomasdowns.blogspot.com in my signature line on my ride report people started donating from around the world.

This seems too good to be true. But it is just that easy.

In order to access the funds you have to transfer them from the paypal account to your verified checking account and it takes a few days. Once they are in your checking account you can use a debit card from that account to withdraw money from any ATM around the world that accepts your debit card.

I haven't tried my debit card yet since I still have money left from when I crossed the border. But I did pay off the 500.00 I charged on my credit card with the money that was transfered from paypal to my checking account and it worked fine.

I will let everyone know how this works as time goes on. I hope others do the same so we can get more people out there on the road.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:25 PM   #509
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielR View Post
Keep on truckin! This RR is invaluable. I'm proud to support it.
Hi Daniel,

Thanks! Glad to have you along for the ride and appreciate the support.

Best,
John Downs
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:45 PM   #510
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
Oddometer: 2,545
Quote:
Originally Posted by Catours View Post
We're enjoying the report from Guatemala! Thanks, John.

If you make it to Antigua, be sure to come by Moto Cafe and share some stories with fellow motorcyclists, join us for a ride, or just have a beer!

Always great to meet ADV'rs.

Moto Cafe
6a Calle Oriente #14
Antigua, Guatemala
14°33'19.50"N
90°43'52.43"W

Safe travels!

Chris
Hi Chris,

I will definitely drop by Moto Cafe for a visit in Antigua. Thanks for the invite. Look forward to meeting you.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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