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Old 10-16-2013, 06:48 AM   #226
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Yes, thanks for the update......I was about to ask for my money back!
Sorry I just spent your money on a cerveza! Thanks for keeping tuned in.
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Old 10-16-2013, 06:50 AM   #227
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Mexico Storm Flashback

Here is the video I have been trying to upload for the last 4 weeks.

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Old 10-17-2013, 04:45 AM   #228
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Storm footage was incredible...are those kind of travel problems frequent on that highway or is that a rare occurance.
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Old 10-17-2013, 05:49 AM   #229
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Nice job on the storm video. What did you use for in-helmet recording?
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Old 10-17-2013, 09:20 AM   #230
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Storm footage was incredible...are those kind of travel problems frequent on that highway or is that a rare occurance.
I don't know for certain but I would guess in the rainy season it is possible to happen in these mountains anytime. However this was during the unusual circumstance of two storms converging and there was a lot of rain in a short time.

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Nice job on the storm video. What did you use for in-helmet recording?
I have a Drift HD with an external mike mounted in the chin bar of my Shoei Hornet. One of the main reasons i chose the drift was it has a port to plug in an external mike. At the time of purchase it was one of the only brands that had it. Two problems with this camera are 1) you must turn it on before recording (unlike Contour which has power and record in on button) and 2) Knowing if you turned it on or not is problematic. The good news re this problem is drift has an optional red L.E.D that plugs into the usb port on the camera so you can see the status of the unit. I also have this L.E.D. on the chin bar
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Old 10-17-2013, 10:55 AM   #231
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and 2) Knowing if you turned it on or not is problematic. The good news re this problem is drift has an optional red L.E.D that plugs into the usb port on the camera so you can see the status of the unit. I also have this L.E.D. on the chin bar
This is my chief issue with the venerable GoPro (even the new Hero 3 Black). Your chin bar LED is a nice fix.

I've made the Oaxaca - Puerto Escondido run. When I did it, it was blue skies and butterflies. Your day made for a better video story.
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Old 10-17-2013, 11:39 AM   #232
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Day 50 Guate! Guate!

Day 50 October 12 San Ignacio to Sayaxche 171km


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Note: it was so darn hot today that I just did not want to stop and take photos.

I had hoped to get going earlier, but the air conditioning was so nice I didn’t want to leave. I did manage to hit the road by 9 and was at the border by 9:30.
There were money changers everywhere and boys running around trying to get my attention. A young guy was waving his arms to tell me where to go so I followed him. This border is actually quite simple but I decided to let this young guy help me. Belize immigration charged me $37.50 Belize to exit and stamped me out. Through a door and over to customs where the officer gave me a odd look and said, “your vehicle import stamp is not valid for exit to Guatemala, did you tell them when you were coming in that you planned on exiting here?” “I most certainly did! I told them I was just transiting to Guatemala via San Ignacio (Cayo) and needed only 2-3 days”. “Well, this stamp indicates that you intend to exit Belize into Mexico, not Guatemala”. “Oh no, is this a problem?” “It could be but I can fix it, don’t worry about it.” WHEW! So fellow adventure travellers, remember when you enter Belize be very clear about your intentions and destinations.

Then back to the bike and the swarm of money changers. I changed all my Belize money and bought 277 Quetzales (3.5 Q for $1BZD). The young boy was now waving his arms “follow me, follow me”. We went past a building that looked like a car wash but I knew it was a fumigation area and that motorcycles did not need to pass through it. Past the giant car wash we stopped at fumigation and I paid 20Q for a cursory spray and a receipt with my license plate number on it. The man didn’t understand my bad Spanish and got the number wrong so he corrected it by hand and initialed the changes.

Once again following the waving boy across the street to Guatemala immigration/customs in the same building. Two people in line so immigration was fast but customs was another story. There was nobody in line and the man started checking my documents, driver’s license, registration, and passport. All good now go get copies of all these things around the corner. Drenched in perspiration, I tell the boy to watch my bike and set off to find the copy shop. No sorry we are closed, try around the corner. No sorry we are also closed, you need to go over the bridge into the village. Um, that village is in Guatemala and I haven’t cleared customs yet. I ask a guard “can I go there and return”? He answers yes. The customs dude is expecting me back and he still has my registration so I go to tell him the situation. The kind man takes pity on me and says he will make copies for me in their office, no problem. He walks on crutches through a door and returns a moment later copies in hand. An invoice is prepared and I need to go across the room to the bank and pay 160 Quetzales. Once that is done I return to the counter but the man is not there. A guard advises me that he’ll be back soon so I wait 5 minutes and he appears. I sign a few papers and he gives me a document along with a windshield sticker. I am permitted to be in Guatemala for 90 days. I now realize that the fumigation paper is still incorrect so I ask the men in the booth to correct it please. It’s my fault for giving him the wrong plate number so I offer to pay but they say de nada and reprint the receipt.

Woohoo! I did it, I’m in Guatemala and it only took me 1.5 hours.



I paid the lad 20Q (about $3) for a job well done and set off into country number 4.

Part of the road from the border to Flores





The rest of the day was hot but I enjoyed the ride to Sayaxche. There were a few sections of hard packed gravel but overall the roads were decent. To get to Sayaxche from the north there is a ferry across the river which cost 5Q. It’s amazing watching the ferryman manoeuvre the huge barge with only a 75hp Yamaha outboard motor.

An young entrepreneur on the ferry



The ship's Captain



How to drive a ferry video



Sayaxche is a messy littered town but has its charm. There are shops selling everything you could need within a 3 block radius of the hotel. I wandered around a bit and bought a sim card for my phone and some snacks. It rained heavily for a while and now it’s just plain hot.

My hotel room had an interesting arrangement



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Old 10-17-2013, 11:53 AM   #233
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Not sure why but my google map embed didn't work and I can't seem to edit the post so here it is repeated.


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Old 10-18-2013, 04:03 PM   #234
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Day 51 Smooth and Rocky Roads

Day 51 October 13 Sayaxche to Semuc Champey 180km


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Skelly in her spot at El Hotel Nuevo Amanecer





The day started in a light fog but it cleared quickly and I leisurely rode the first 130km on smooth new tarmac.

Beauty eh? Smooth new pavement







There was a short detour



Then abruptly the pavement stopped. For the next 50km I navigated hard pack dirt and rocks.



It took me two and a half hours to grind my way through it mostly in first gear but never out of second. I couldn’t believe my eyes as a small 125cc street bike passed me like I was not moving. Buses and large trucks plied the road between villages as if it were any other highway. In many places the highway was only one lane wide with steep grades. It was tiring but a lot of fun.



It may have been a rough road but the scenery was pretty darn good.






Eventually I arrived at pavement but quickly turned off it to keep going to Lanquin another 11km away. This last stretch was rougher and narrower so I decided that once in Lanquin I’d stop and not proceed by bike to Semuc Champey.

The short 11km road to Lanquin




As I searched the town for a hotel two guys waved me to a stop and offered to help me find a place. They also verified for me that the road to Semuc Champey was not good with all the rain. I followed their truck to El Retiro, a hotel/hostel. After checking in I inquired about shuttles to the park and discovered I’d need to find a bus. Just then my two helpers showed up again and offered me a ride to the park so I jumped in with three others and away we went. An hour later after a very bumpy slippery ride they dropped me at the park gate. Not knowing how I’d get back to town I decided to make this a quick visit.



The river and pools are really pretty. With the jungle and it’s noises all around the setting is perfect. I would have liked to swim in it but I really didn’t want to spend too much time there.



Walkway to the upper pools









After the 5 minute walk back to the gate I found a few people who looked like they were waiting for something. I confirmed they were indeed waiting for a collectivo (bus) which turned out to be a pickup truck. We climbed in the back and had a very crazy ride standing and holding on for dear life.







In Lanquin I jumped out, paid the driver 20 Quetzales and walked to my hotel where I had delicious falafel for lunch.



Not my hotel



The Hotel Retiro


My Thanksgiving dinner was a delicious Thai buffet for 55 Q. Now I’m stuffed and tired thinking about the 11km rocky road tomorrow.
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Old 10-20-2013, 08:11 PM   #235
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Day 52 Ever Changing Plans

Day 52 October 14 Lanquin to Antigua 271km


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I truly was not feeling it today. My stomach was echoing what it did in Mexico and I was still mentally thinking about the bumpy road. I’m not sure why I was feeling so negative about the dirt. Perhaps because my tennis elbow was expressing itself or I just didn’t feel I had good control of the top heavy machine. I opted for a hearty breakfast of French toast and coffee to fuel me for the morning.

I had decided that my destination of Xela today was too ambitious. Either many more miles of dirt or 500km of pavement, neither was appealing to me. So Antigua was the goal at only 270km.

The road out of Lanquin




After the 11km of dirt to get to the crossroads I checked my tire pressures and discovered that my front tire was at 30psi. This is well above the 25 I use for pavement and way above what it should be for dirt. This explained something about my control issues.

Back to pavement






My odometer rolled over 10,000 Kilometers today!



Eventually my enthusiasm picked up again and the rest of the ride was fantastic.



Guatemala City freeways flowed well and the road down into Antigua was a thrill. By the time I arrived in Antigua I had decided that I would find a school here and skip Xela all together. Unfortunately I can’t take in the whole country but Antigua is a pretty cool little place. I found the Moto Cafe and CATours which is a popular stop for adventure riders coming through. A very friendly Jose greeted me and offered his help to find a school and hotel.

The Moto Cafe at CATours



Hotels and schools are everywhere so it didn’t take long to select a place for the night and by 4:00 I had also booked a week of Spanish starting tomorrow at MesoAmerica Spanish School.



More on Antigua and the school in the next post...
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Old 10-21-2013, 07:17 PM   #236
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Nice to stop for a week I think - maybe see faces more than once and get to know people a bit, and the town. Have heard Antigua is a very nice town. Good luck with the Spanish!
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Old 10-21-2013, 07:39 PM   #237
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Nice to stop for a week I think - maybe see faces more than once and get to know people a bit, and the town. Have heard Antigua is a very nice town. Good luck with the Spanish!
It was a nice relaxing week. Good to get moving again though
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Old 10-21-2013, 07:42 PM   #238
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Day 53-56 Leanin' the Lingo in Antigua

Day 53-56 October 15 to 18 Antigua Guatemala

Yesterday when I booked the classes I discovered that the school also has rooms on site for rent. The price includes breakfast, so for $15/night I moved there this morning before classes commenced.

Skelly's cozy parking spot safe inside the school.




Standard shower equipment in Guatemala. 4000watt water heater




Today was the first of 5 Spanish lessons each 4 hours long. After breakfast I met my teacher and we began.



She spoke little English so I was forced to communicate speaking Spanish. She quickly established what level I was at and we discussed what she thought she could cover in 5 days. It was really quite enjoyable and we had some great conversations through the week. Each day started at 8 and concluded at noon. This gave me opportunities to walk the city and explore.





The first afternoon I found a wonderful hamburger at the MotoCafe. Because I am a Burgerholic, this was the first of three during my stay in Antigua. After lunch I went back to the school for a quick siesta and then back out on the town. While enjoying a bowl of soup I encountered Siggi and his wife in the cafe. They were on the same Tikal tour as we were and are studying Spanish here for a few more weeks.



Interesting doors everywhere



The next few days repeated the same routine except on Wednesday I met Troy and Martin for lunch and then for dinner. Antigua is one of those places that funnels travelers together almost forcing them to meet. It was a fun reunion and we expect to meet again in Nicaragua or Costa Rica.

Troy



Not Martin



Laundry wash basins






Earthquake damaged church



Antigua was a cool place to spend 6 days and I can’t say enough positive things about the school. Of the 70 schools here it is somewhat unique because it is owned by the Guatemalan couple who run it and they live in the school. In this city most businesses are not owned locally. If you are ever in Antigua please look them up, they will treat you like family and welcome you into their home. They rent rooms to non-students too. http://mesoamericaschool.org/

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Old 10-21-2013, 08:23 PM   #239
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Very cool trip. I'm enjoying your report. Thank you for taking the time to take pics and write.
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Old 10-22-2013, 05:13 AM   #240
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Very cool trip. I'm enjoying your report. Thank you for taking the time to take pics and write.
I'm glad you are enjoying it. Thank you for taking the time to read it
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