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Old 11-28-2012, 08:19 PM   #121
Redhed
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Glad to hear you had a positive experience at the Honduras border, and I hope it goes well at the other end. Watch out for potholes and "helpers".
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:02 AM   #122
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Originally Posted by RexBuck View Post
I'll send you an email Donnie. I'll be pretty slow for the next couple of months so we may have the opportunity to hook up.
No worries, we understand. If you're still in Copan, you should find Gererdo at ViaVia Hotel/Restaurant. He's big into motorcycles and knows a lot about the area and routes. Tell him Chris from CATours sent you and you'll be dealing with a friend. In any case, keep enjoying the adventure!
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Old 11-29-2012, 10:33 AM   #123
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Rex, loks like you´re traveling pretty fast!

Justin and Cory caught a bug yesterday, so we are staying in Semuc Champey for another day to let them get better. We are heading to Tikal next, but after that, we are unsure.

Justin and I were thinking of hitting up Copan in Honduras after Tikal, do you think it´s worth it? Or should we just jet down to El Salvador?
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Old 11-29-2012, 03:41 PM   #124
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Great adventure. I'm right behind you starting mid January.
I really appreciate all the info you are posting as to names of hotels and procedures when crossing borders.
Anytime you can mention prices helps me plan ahead.
Thanks
That's a good idea Pete, I'll try to keep that in mind - it's a good idea. I have benefited from details of others trips so I need to put that in when relevant.

Have a great trip. You have a lot of fun ahead of you.
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Old 11-29-2012, 03:42 PM   #125
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Glad to hear you had a positive experience at the Honduras border, and I hope it goes well at the other end. Watch out for potholes and "helpers".
Potholes are never good, helpers are usually not good.
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Old 11-29-2012, 03:45 PM   #126
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Rex, loks like you´re traveling pretty fast!

Justin and Cory caught a bug yesterday, so we are staying in Semuc Champey for another day to let them get better. We are heading to Tikal next, but after that, we are unsure.

Justin and I were thinking of hitting up Copan in Honduras after Tikal, do you think it´s worth it? Or should we just jet down to El Salvador?
It is a smaller ruin site but somewhat unique - I enjoyed it.

The border was muy tranquilo and going this way saves a couple of border crossings. However, I have not been to El Salvador so don't know what I missed out on and am unable to compare the experiences.

Hope Justin and Cory get over their bug . . . did it have anything to do with a bottle or gravy?
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:23 PM   #127
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Nov 22 Copan Ruins

One of the first confusing things you figure out here is that the ruins are called Copan while the town is called Copan Ruinas – I think you can figure out the translation, go figger!

The ruins was a major Mayan city from roughly 400 AD up until the 9th century when it was abandoned. Successive rulers would add temples and many times build over existing temples. These ruins are particularly known for their carvings.

Entering the ruin site, you are greeted with lots of Macaws – turns out they raise them here then ship them way out to the more remote jungle.





Some Agoutis come in and help themselves to some easy food below the bird feeders




There is a whole field of these large, intricately carved statues.








This hieroglyphic stairway contains over 2000 hieroglyphics in 65 steps and recounts much of Mayan history. The canvas awning is permanent to protect the carvings from the weather.





The main temple has an intricate tunnel system that you can wander around in





The temple you can see from the surface was the last of 4 temples, built one on top of the other by successive rulers. At one place in the tunnels, you can actually see the side of the previous building. There is an amazingly large space between the two







Many of the temples retain their shape, probably with the help of the root systems of some pretty old trees.











I liked this guy – called “Cabeza del Anciano" (Old Man’s Head) – might have to make it my avatar for awhile.





The field with the sloped floor on the sides is what they played a game on. In the foreground is one of the dozens of alters. I’m guessing that these games probably resulted in some players losing their minds . . .








This is the remnants of the “Royal Residences” – there are actually family units scattered throughout








Back in town, putting a receptacle in the wall is just a waste of money, particularly if it is 220




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Old 11-29-2012, 05:25 PM   #128
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Nov 23 Into Honduras

Headed south from Copan. Saw some pretty organized agriculture




Stopped to check out a ditch and notice these interesting dirt piles all over the place. These were about a foot high and kind of flat on top in a Jetsons sort of way. Have no idea if bug or animal created these, just thought they were cool.




Coffee drying in the sun on a concrete slab. Coffee is a big crop in Central America and they make a good cup a joe.





Stopped at a roadside restaurant and the ladies were making these – deep fried, kind of like pockets filled with potatoes. Add a little of their local Chili Sauce - which is awesome and you have a pretty good lunch.





Stopped at D&D Brewry – who ever thought of putting a brewery in the jungles of Hondurus?
The place was packed mostly with backpackers – must be about 25 of em here. Apparently people come here to do all sorts of things from looking at waterfalls, birds and other stuff to fishing and hiking. Nothing that struck my fancy at the time.

Were out of rooms and offered me a room in another hotel a few minutes down the road. Would have to walk back here for internet and food so, opted for the dormitory. It’ll be me and 3 other guys. 120 Lempiras - $6 . . . ka ching! Turned out one guy took his bed to another cabin, one guy didn’t show so, turned out to be me and one other young guy from the Netherlands . . . double ka ching! Quiet as a mouse – I think he was too scared of the grumpy old guy in the corner to make any noise.

The dormitory through the trees




This little guy decided my laptop case was being underutilized





Beer was ok, food was filing. Strange bunch of beers they made. Porter was ok, others were generally too fruity for my tastes, but the kids seemed to like them.

Nice group of kids here – bunch of US Army folks who are training Honduran officers at a neighboring base. Had a good chat with one young couple, Eliza and Dustin who want to do some moto-travelling later on. Most of the other folks were from all over Europe.

RexBuck sighting at the Brewry




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Old 11-29-2012, 07:48 PM   #129
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I just finished your Mexico by Geezer report. That was a very nice one as well. Oaxaca & the surrounding area seems like a great place to spend a few days.

Thanks & I'm keeping up with ya....
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:08 PM   #130
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I just finished your Mexico by Geezer report. That was a very nice one as well. Oaxaca & the surrounding area seems like a great place to spend a few days.

Thanks & I'm keeping up with ya....
Hey, thanks for coming along on both trips. Yes, Oaxaca is a very neat city - it is a nice combination of upper end stuff with a lot of traditional and local culture. If you ever get a chance to be in the area, it is a worthwhile place to spend a few days. And if it isn't obvious, Zipolite remains one of my favorite Mexican beaches.
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:43 PM   #131
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safety shots

Hey Rex
I dug the temple shots, but mostly I enjoy your keen photographic eye as applied to various flagrant electrical and building code violations, such as the transformer in mexico and the honduran 220V "junction". You are looking happy and dirty, which is ideal. Keep on havin' fun and safe travels
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:48 PM   #132
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Hey Rex
I dug the temple shots, but mostly I enjoy your keen photographic eye as applied to various flagrant electrical and building code violations, such as the transformer in mexico and the honduran 220V "junction". You are looking happy and dirty, which is ideal. Keep on havin' fun and safe travels
Gary
Safety as we know it generally isn't as evident in these countries and doesn't seem to bother people that much. I think people take a bit more responsibility for their own safety than just assuming everything is ok. I still think some of the concoctions they come up with are hilarious.
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:26 PM   #133
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Nov 24 Last day in Honduras

Rode over to the coast today and stopped in Choluteca so I will be fairly close to the Nicaraguan border to cross it first thing tomorrow.

Beautiful country and really nice highway. Good condition with almost no potholes which surprised me after the warnings from both of the Aduana people I had talked to when I entered Honduras. Really rugged mountains interspersed with very productive valleys. They seem to have a number of larger farms that are fairly sophisticated.

Still a lot of small mountainside farms. This gives a good idea of the steepness of many of these small farms. I have seen mountainsides like this farmed everywhere from Mexico on. This is all hand work and must be very tedious.





Lots of roadside markets many times with one or two types of fruit piled up









Amazing the number of people selling these ceramic vases and figurines.





The orange sellers were interesting. They would each have a number of these lines of bags of oranges and the effect was a never ending stream of oranges. I wonder how often a bunch of these got run over?





Was making pretty good time through Tegucigalpa, the main city in Honduras and all of a sudden the traffic stopped. It was a massive traffic jam in the afternoon when people were going home. Motos seem to have a bit of latitude in Latin American countries and just kind of make your way up. I figured this traffic jam added an hour to my travel time but it would have been at least two hours if I had waited with the other traffic



Arrived at the first hotel I had identified in Choluteca – they wanted 1400 Lempiras – after paying 120 last night, 1400 just sounded like a lot of money. Finally found the Paradise Hotel – 700 L ($28), good wifi, good parking and screaming hot water.
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:34 AM   #134
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Nov 25 Into Nicaragua

Got an early start so I could hit the border while it was still cool and hopefully less busy.

The highway turned from the nice pavement I had been on most of yesterday to the frickin face of the moon. Potholes and more potholes, potholes in potholes. Everybody dodging them - looked like a giant pinball machine sometimes with cars, trucks and buses all weaving back and forth. The folks in the other lane wanted to be in our lane and everybody in our lane wanted to be over there. Most buses and some trucks wanting to maintain speed snaking back and forth – looked like a choreographed ballet going on in front of me. Turned my camera on and got a little bit of this stretch.



Have to say the rumors I had heard about Honduras corruption, both at the borders and at police checkpoints proved to be unfounded in my case. The Honduras border folks were reasonably efficient, courteous, friendly, did all the paper work themselves and did their best to help. I came across 3 or 4 police checkpoints in Honduras and was waived through all of them. In fact, so far, the only checkpoint I have been stopped at since Mexico was one in Guatemala where the kid was more interested in talking about my trip and looking at my bike – didn’t ask for papers nor to look in luggage.

Stopped to dig out some documents I realized I would need and didn’t have readily available and realized I was already at the border as money changers and helpers descended on me.

The Honduras Aduana and Migracion were real straight forward . . . stamp, stamp, stamp, stamp and I’m on my way.

Changed my loot over – got a half assed rate. After my exit stuff is completed, I get rid of all the currency I have left from the previous country and convert it to the next country’s currency. Money changers are good for that and are handy. I always check the rate before I leave so I’m not negotiating blind. This is a website I use to easily convert between any two currencies.

Now across the bridge to Nicaragua. Trucks are backed up on the bridge and I notice a girl further down on the bridge waiving at me. Not much traffic the other way so sprint down to her and she wants to sell me insurance. Now I know I have to get insurance so I stop. Here I am parked in the middle of the only lane where people/cars/trucks/busses can get from Nicaraugra to Honduras in this neck of the woods, digging out my documentation so she can issue my insurance certificate. Took a few minutes - good thing nobody was going to Honduras that morning.

First stop is to get the bike fumigated. Cost $3. They spray some apparently nasty stuff on the bottom of the bike and the bottom of the wheels. What that is supposed to do is beyond me but you can’t get in if it ain’t done, so it gets done.

Find Migración, lots of passing my passport around and laughing (I didn’t understand what they found so humorous but I think it was something like “Hey Raoul, look at this guy’s picture – must have been his prison picture”) Lots of filling out forms and typing on the computer. Finally pulls out a small booklet of press through forms and goes through a huge routine of finding the next unused page and sticking the cardboard in exactly right. Writes about two things on it, tears the top one off and then picks up an even smaller pad and does the same thing. Pay him something like $26 which pretty well cleans out my Cordobas (Like 650 Cordobas) I got from the money changer. He hands back my passport and the two pieces of paper he labored over. I ask him if he is going to stamp my passport and he says no, they will when I leave. OK then.

Go next door to the Aduana to check in my bike. Stand in line for a bit, finally hand my documents to the lady, she fills in a couple of forms, stamps them, hands me one and that’s it. Don’t have to pay anything? Nope. OK, I’m outa here before they change their minds.

And, I’m in Nicaragua.Total time, 1 ½ hours. Easy peazy.

Nicaragua is noticeably different than Honduras. Firstly notice a few volcanoes – the first one must of just had sex because it looked relaxed and was having a smoke.






The biggest thing I noticed was the number of three-wheeler peddle taxis and the number of horse drawn carts. Certainly fewer cars around.









Was getting hungry so stopped at the edge of Leon to see if I could score some street food. Saw a bunch of ladies with tables set up but whatever it was they were selling didn’t get my drool reflex stimulated. Walking back to the bike and some guy from across the street hollers at me in English. I go over to say hi and ask him where I can find some chow and he says not here and invites me to sit down with his family and gets me a Coke. He could speak a little English which worked well with my little Spanish. Nice people – Daniel is on the left.





Was stopped on the side of the road and these three kids appear to check out the bike.




There always seem to be people staring at me and the bike as we travel down the road. Some wave, some smile, most stare, lots of cars, little motorcycles, trucks, buses will honk at me. Central Americans love to honk their horns – it can mean any one of the following: I’m coming through; I’m here where you can’t see me - don’t run into me; Get out of my way idiot and; Hey dude – cool bike . So, when you hear a honk you have to quickly run through the list meanings to see if you might die shortly or just pissed someone off or, need to accept a compliment. Usually the latter.

Got out of Leon and traveling to Managua on what is supposed to be the Pan American Highway and it just turns to crap. Worse potholes than that last stretch in Honduras and it eventually got to the point where it was just gravel road. I’m thinking I’m going to be screwed as I planned on a little dirt road to bypass Managua and if this is supposed to be the main highway, then that bypass will surely be no more than a goat trail. Maybe I missed a turn off and this is an old road. All the maps just show this is the only road but they have been wrong before. Very little traffic which is weird, just a few trucks. Then it got a bit better.

I had heard that Managua is a big city (1.4 million) that is kind of seedy and had some real crooked traffic cops. So I found a shortcut that bypassed the city. It was only about 15km of dirt road – started out rough and got rougher. Glad it wasn’t raining or it would have been mud. This is a better part





Came around one corner and here is about 5 roads coming together with a nasty stretch up a little hill and some guy walking down right where I had to go. Thought I would ask him to make sure this is still going to take me to the highway. I don’t think he had any teeth cause all I heard was muh muh muh muh – ask again and the same. Finally asked him some yes/no questions and figured out I was on the right track.

Got up to the top of this little crappy piece and here is a guy with an ice cream cart selling ice cream. It was frickin surreal - one instant I'm concerned the road will peter out and the next here is a street vendor. Thought I was in some Rod Serling movie. Got to the highway fine.


Entering this one town and come across what had to be the ugliest piece of art decorating a town's entrance. Must have been a gift from the Russians when they were hanging around this country a lot.





Rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. Arrived at Hotel California in Rivas on Lake Nicaragra – decent place. I’m the only one here. My bike in front of the room






Pig out at Ena's





Went down to the beach at about 7:30 and grabbed dinner. As I’m finishing up the people running the restaurant come over to ask me where I’m staying. The Hotel California is a couple of blocks away and they kind of freak out and tell me that is a dangerous walk at night. I try to tell them no stinking thief is going to want to mess with this – don’t you know I am RexBuck? They shake their heads, close their restaurant for the night and walk me to my hotel. Pansies! (Umm, thanks folks)

There is kind of a hostel hotel a couple of doors down from Hotel California with the backpacker crowd. There always seems to be someone with bongo drums, the sound of which travels for miles. I wonder to myself, why do people with bongos (or the bigger drums they also beat on with their hands) think that is somehow music and anybody else in the world wants to listen? Many times you hear some pretty good musicians jamming and some idiot with bongos is screwing the whole thing up. Talentless idiots! Just sayin.
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:19 PM   #135
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Nov 26-28 San Juan del Sur

Hotel California was a great place but it was not the relaxing time I was looking for. The somewhat erratic internet coupled with the fact I’d have to eat my dinner by 6 or so to get back before the witching hour encouraged me to seek alternatives. I’d heard that San Juan del Sur was a pretty neat if not touristy beach town and was nearby.


So, I did what will probably be my shortest day of the trip – 30km to wander over to the beach. This is a nice little touristy beach town with a surfing element although I understand the surfers have to go to a nearby beach to find great waves. A lot of language schools around to complement the nice beach.


Stayed at the Hotel Gran Oceana, a pretty decent place a half block off the beach. Well maintained with nice pool. $50 a night.





Mostly veged here, trying to catch up on a few things, not the least of which is goofing off. The beach









The obligatory sunset







The obligatory "good beer" overlooking the beach







Had this decent sized suspension footbridge connecting the nicer houses in the north end to the town







Good selection of restaraunts with lots of seafood, if you like that sort of thing. This was really tasty (except this beer)





Ceviche . . .hmmmmm







Had a bit of an impromptu parade calling attention to child sex abuse





Talked to some ex-Pats living in Costa Rica who come up here every 3 months to stay overnight and then get their 90 day visas renewed. Some of these folks have been doing this routine for years.

Stuck my head out of the hotel on the third day I was here and I find another 800GS and a V-Strom parked across the street. Couple of young guys from Massachusetts, Stefano and Leo are doing a fast trip to Brazil




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