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Old 10-19-2013, 07:01 PM   #46
advFord OP
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Originally Posted by pceire32 View Post
Great report, great shots. I'm in !
What camera are you using ?

Thank you
I'm shooting on the Canon EOS-M (their mirrorless camera) basically it's the 7D sensor in a tiny body that takes EF-M lenses but with an adapter I can mount my EF 50mm and 18-135mm. Pretty happy with it so far. Usually I shoot on a 5D Mkiii but didn't want to take that big of a camera. This and all my lenses fit easily into my GL fandango tank bag.
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Old 10-20-2013, 10:48 AM   #47
Ben Carufel
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Originally Posted by advFord View Post
I'm shooting on the Canon EOS-M (their mirrorless camera) basically it's the 7D sensor in a tiny body that takes EF-M lenses but with an adapter I can mount my EF 50mm and 18-135mm. Pretty happy with it so far. Usually I shoot on a 5D Mkiii but didn't want to take that big of a camera. This and all my lenses fit easily into my GL fandango tank bag.
Interesting. I'm still formulating my plans for what to take to Alaska next summer. Since I ride a big boat of a bike (1150GSA) I have the luxury of taking a ton of crap. At the moment it looks like 2x 5D3, 1x 11-24 2.8L (if Canon announces it next month as rumored), 1x 24-70 2.8L II, 1x 70-200 2.8L IS II, 1.4x III and 2.0x III converters, and some other odds and ends.

I think I'm going in the "overkill" direction.
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Old 10-20-2013, 08:51 PM   #48
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Nice set up, Ben. I might rent some gear for when I'm in Patagonia but other than that I'm happy with this simple kit. I had plans to bring a mini boom, slider rail, and steadycam. still wish I had some of it at moments but I like being able to unpack all my stuff in just a few minutes and not spend an hour loading and unloading everyday at hotels/homes. I brought a power inverter to run camera/computer chargers off the bike but honestly I don't think I need it cause I'm in a home or hotel pretty regularly right now. Again maybe when I'm off trekking in Patagonia or remote places it'll come in handy but now it's just an extra piece of stuff.

I'll check out your work. Photography is kinda new to me, I've mostly done all video up until recently.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Carufel View Post
Interesting. I'm still formulating my plans for what to take to Alaska next summer. Since I ride a big boat of a bike (1150GSA) I have the luxury of taking a ton of crap. At the moment it looks like 2x 5D3, 1x 11-24 2.8L (if Canon announces it next month as rumored), 1x 24-70 2.8L II, 1x 70-200 2.8L IS II, 1.4x III and 2.0x III converters, and some other odds and ends.

I think I'm going in the "overkill" direction.
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Old 10-21-2013, 06:41 AM   #49
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Hidalgo del Parral to Durango and what I learned from a farmer

I spent the night in Hidalgo del Parral but other than walk a few blocks to grab a bite to eat, I didnít do much. I was pretty wiped out and crashed early. Iím traveling on a budget so I try to eat for under $10 a day. Luckily thereís plenty of great and cheap food available in Mexico.


Elote

Elote


Elote is corn on the cob prepared with chili powder, butter, sour cream, and cheese. Itís sold by street vendors and in established shops all over Mexico.(and in many cities in the US if youíre looking for it)


Another early start today and I was surprised with a delicious continental breakfast. Most hotels Iíve been staying at are basic and donít have many amenities Americans would normally expect. Itís an amazing surprise when the showers actually have hot water. Though Iím not really paying too much for them so I canít expect much.


Hidalgo del Parral is a small city and within 5 minutes I was out on the country road to Durango.


Riding as the sun rose in the sky

Riding as the sun rose in the sky


I hit the road just after sunrise and enjoyed seeing the countryside slowly revealed.


IMG_0209


IMG_0210


Hereís a quick backstory to the above photos of the horse and the beautiful road shot. I saw the gate and the mountains off to my right and so I quickly pulled over the grab a photo. I must have been more focused on the cool view than where my feet where I before I realized I parked on uneven ground and my right foot couldnít reach, over went the motorcycle. What a way to start the day. I was probably only riding for 20 minutes. Iíll just say my bike must have been tired. So here I am on the side of the country road with my bike on its side. Itís not just on itís side, itís on itís side on a hill sloping down.

To make it easier I pulled out my one saddlebag and my Giant Loop dry bag to lessen the weight. I grabbed the handle bars and got the bike just about upright when I lost my footing and slid down the slope. I sat there for a minute and ate a banana. While I was sitting there I saw a cowboy on a horse in the distance. I gave it a second shot and got the bike upright just as the cowboy approached. He didnít say anything but rode to the gate, hitched his horse and went to the farm. Had I not let the bike fall over, I would have missed the cowboy and this great scene. Things do work out, even if going through it is a pain (like picking up a loaded bike on a slope)


Apart from a couple miles of twists at the beginning and end, the road from Parral to Durango is straight. I didnít track the milage but I bet there was one straightaway that went 50+ miles.


On the road from Parral to Durango.

On the road from Parral to Durango.


I had my first minor roadside repair to do today. After stopping at a gas station to fill up I noticed some smoke coming from the left side by the muffler. My saddle bags had shifted and the muffler had started to melt the bag! I thought I took care of it at the gas station but 30 miles later I stopped to check and it had shifted back to touching the muffler.


IMG_7031


I realized I had forgotten to tighten the rear strap that keeps the bags from shifting forward. That should do the trick. I repositioned the heat shield on the muffler as a extra precaution and was off to blazing down the straight road.


Along the side of the road most of the way the fields were covered in these yellow flowers.


IMG_0214


IMG_0212


 


This old building sits along the two lane country highway.

This old building sits along the two lane country highway.


About 90km outside of Durango my low fuel light came on. I should have about 20 miles till Iím completely out. Though Iím not entirely sure so I slowed my speed to a nice cruise.


20 miles had passed and there wasnít a town in sight. But I did find a roadside fruit stand. I pulled over cause I figured if I was going to run out of gas, I should at least have something to eat. I walked up to the simple makeshift stand where wooden crates were filled with apples. I asked the man how much and he said they were free. Wow, free?! This guy was awesome. What an amazing example of kindness. I canít imagine life is easy as a farmer and here he was giving away his crop.


IMG_0221


I said thank you and he helped me pick out two good looking apples.


I left a couple pesos on the stand. I hope he didnít mind that. I appreciated his generosity and I wanted to give him something, pesos were all I had. The rest of the night I kept thinking of ways I can surprise people with kindness.


I asked him how many kilometers it was to the next gas station and he said 55km (which is how far away Durango city is) Well, Iíll definitely run out of gas if heís right. I keep a small spare fuel bottle that could probably get me another 10 miles so I poured that in. Honestly I wasnít all that stressed about running out of gas. I was hoping I wouldnít, but I had mentally accepted that it would probably happen and I was ok with it. I donít know if it was the kindness just shown to me or what, but I think if I ran out of fuel that everything would be alright. Less than 3 miles later I pulled up to a Pemex and filled up. Either my basic Spanish is really bad or he could use a hearing aid.


One thing Iíve learned so far is that people donít really know how far away places are and that they donít always know how to get somewhere, but theyíll tell you something. My advice: ask two people. 30 minutes after filling up I had no clue where I was as I found myself in the city of Durango. More of getting lost and about the great sights in Durango in my next post.

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Old 10-21-2013, 06:49 AM   #50
Dick Grodi
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long drive

I love to go on a long journey on my moto-bike. Whenever I feel tens in my daily life I found its solution by visiting a place of my interest. I will now also use pencil maker and paper during my tour.
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Old 10-21-2013, 09:12 PM   #51
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Joel, I still think I'm a bit crazy for doing this. Afterall, the DV Noob Rally in March was my biggest ride up till now. Have you spent anytime in Mexico or further south? Any suggestions?
hi dan, sorry for the slow reply. been busy riding and working.

since you're almost out of mex can't help you much...

you're doing good. glad to hear you got your start from the rally.

for now, all i can say, avoid riding at night. have fun and we'll be here keeping you company.
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Old 10-21-2013, 10:11 PM   #52
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Nice set up, Ben. I might rent some gear for when I'm in Patagonia but other than that I'm happy with this simple kit. I had plans to bring a mini boom, slider rail, and steadycam. still wish I had some of it at moments but I like being able to unpack all my stuff in just a few minutes and not spend an hour loading and unloading everyday at hotels/homes. I brought a power inverter to run camera/computer chargers off the bike but honestly I don't think I need it cause I'm in a home or hotel pretty regularly right now. Again maybe when I'm off trekking in Patagonia or remote places it'll come in handy but now it's just an extra piece of stuff.

I'll check out your work. Photography is kinda new to me, I've mostly done all video up until recently.
I'm the opposite -- have been doing commercial photography for almost 12 years, just starting to mess with video since I switched from a medium format digital system (Phase One/Contax) to the 5D3's last year.

I came up with a good solution for the photo gear -- it all fits in a Pelican 1520 (I think?) which is mounted on a locking Touratech top case mount. Even the tripod fits in the Pelican, and I put Footman loops on the top of it so I can strap a medium Ortlieb drybag on top of it yet still open the top of the Pelican to get to the photo gear quickly. I'm going to put a weatherproof SAE socket in the side of the Pelican as well as on the rear of the bike so I can plug a little 6" SAE male-male pigtail between the bike and Pelican to charge what's inside (laptop, camera batteries, GoPros, etc.)..

Anyways, we'll see how it all works out.

Loving the report so far!
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Old 10-21-2013, 10:23 PM   #53
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Subscribed and jealous...
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Old 10-21-2013, 10:42 PM   #54
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Thank you for the story of the guy with the apples, giving back even though he didn't have much himself. Generosity is a wonderful and powerful thing.
It makes everyone feel good !

Ride safe !
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Old 10-21-2013, 11:59 PM   #55
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Great job Dan.
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Old 10-22-2013, 08:00 AM   #56
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Durango, Mexico

From the outskirts of the city I could tell Durango would be the biggest city Iíve been to on the trip so far. This morning while I had wifi at the hotel I mapped out how to get to where I was staying so I wouldnít get lost. That plan got thrown out the window as soon as I found the road closed and I was sent on a wild detour completely throwing me off track. I tried going down a few streets to find ones I knew from the map but with no luck as streets didnít always (or usually) have street signs. I passed by a Walmart that looked like it just set up shop in the neighborhood and was ready to, you know, provide great jobs for people and always have low prices. I did find it helpful to get directions though.


There was a women standing in the parking lot and asked if she knew where the street was. She didnít, but she said to wait a minute and her friend might know. Her friend arrived a moment later and said to follow him, itís on their way and heíd point me in the right direction.


We left the giant Walmart parking lot and made our way through the busy streets. Durango has a street system that for some left turns you drive on the left side of the road for a block or more. For a traveler it makes no sense. The car I was following pulled to the side and said this is the road I was looking for and to just keep going ďderachoĒ (straight, which should not be mistaken for ďderachaĒ, which is to the right). I found the cross street I was looking for and my destination. In front of the home I was staying there was street sign and I quickly realized why no one knew the street I was asking about, I had been saying the name of the street wrong.


The center of Durango is the historic district which has been revived in recent years to become an enjoyable area with a pedestrian street with cafťs, cantinas, theaters, art galleries and artesian shops.


IMG_0227


Dotting the city streets and skyline are many old churches, each with their own style.


IMG_0230


IMG_0226


Catedral BasŪlica Menor. Durango Mexico. Built 1695-1713

Catedral BasŪlica Menor. Durango Mexico. Built 1695-1713


The city center was bustling with people many of whom were enjoying a unique kind of street entertainment Iíve only seen here. Lining the plaza were two dozen small decorated boxes on stands. Each box was decorated in their own way and had two small holes and headphones. These were mini movie theaters. Filmmakers would make short animated films and people come by for a minute or two of entertainment. If youíve seen this elsewhere let me know what itís called.


IMG_0231


IMG_0232


My host for the night in Durango was Chantal, yet again a wonderful person from Couchsurfing. Born and raised in Durango, yet she has traveled and worked all over the world and shared the stories of her experiences. Coincidentally she is a graphic designer and works on a print publication that is distributed in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, cities near where I live. As soon as the sun went down the skies opened up and the rain poured down. This has become all too familiar. We checked out a few great local bars and a taco shop. You can never get enough tacos.


IMG_0243

All the new and cool places use reclaimed wood in the decor just like all the trendy spots around the US. This bar had great house music too.


Mezcal glass

Mezcal, a distilled alcohol made from the maguey plant, similar to the agave plant.

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Old 10-22-2013, 11:35 AM   #57
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...... said this is the road I was looking for and to just keep going ďderachoĒ (straight, which should not be mistaken for ďderachaĒ, which is to the right).
You sure they weren't saying "directo" instead of "deracho"? Not trying to be critical or question your Spanish speaking abilities, but I didn't learn the difference between "maricon" (a very flamboyant gay person) and "malecon" (a boardwalk/drive by the ocean) until someone corrected me through this site. I can't imagine what the locals were thinking when I kept asking them where the flamboyant gay person was when I really just wanted to get to the boardwalk.... , Typically if someone is telling you to go straight, or you want to tell someone to go straight, "directo" is the word. Of course, slang differs from region to region and "deracho" may very well mean "straight" in durango. Just food for thought.

Loving the RR! You are an awesome photographer and a great writer! I'm so jealous of you right now! Wish I was back on the road.
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Old 10-23-2013, 05:49 AM   #58
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Fastest route from Guatemala to Nic

Does anyone have advice on the fastest route from Guatemala to Nicaragua?
Nothing against Honduras or El Salvador. Isit fastest to go through El Salvador and the western tip of Honduras or go entirely through Honduras. With border crossings do you think two/three days is enough time just to transit through?
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:37 AM   #59
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Does anyone have advice on the fastest route from Guatemala to Nicaragua?
Nothing against Honduras or El Salvador. Isit fastest to go through El Salvador and the western tip of Honduras or go entirely through Honduras. With border crossings do you think two/three days is enough time just to transit through?
I don't know about staying in Honduras the whole way; however, I do know that Honduras had some of the worst roads of the trip for me. El Salvador's roads, by comparison, where much, much better. El Salvador also uses the US Dollar, which makes things nice as far as currency.

You can certainly make it all the way across both countries in two days.....in fact you could probably do it in one day if you have smooth border crossings and you feel like riding really hard..

I would think that taking the Panam (Hwy 1) through El Salvador and then the western tip of Honduras would be smoother (and therefore almost just as fast) as staying in Honduras the whole way. I just remember whole sections of road collapsed off of hillsides and potholes big enough to swallow bikes in Honduras.

Whatever you do, choose the small border crossings off of the main roads and then link back up with the main roads after you cross. The smaller borders usually have less helpers and less traffic.

Why are you skipping through both countries? That's one of my biggest regrets on my trip. I had to fly through central america after my buddy got hit. You're going to miss the Copan Ruins in Honduras and the amazing beaches of El Salvador. Plus you won't get to meet Mario in San Salvador! He owns a moto shop and he loves meeting advriders! He'd probably even take you out to dinner and give you some good advice on where to ride. He let me stay at his coffee plantation! Great guy.
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Old 10-23-2013, 08:46 AM   #60
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Let me tell you I got hook on you RR, I had big plans to take off in about 6 month on my own trip but now is a fact is not going to happen for at least another year, besides some sections of the UTBDR and some weekend riding, now I find myself as an spectator of other people's dreams and I really enjoy it. Last RR I followed was Ulyses ( Hi there ), I'm usually a silent subscriber, but in this case I felt the need to contribute a little.
Here we go.

derecha = right
derecho = straight ( "deracho" not such word in spanish )

directo = when giving directions it could mean "the shortest way to get there"
but you are going through different regions and many countries, you will learn not all spanish is the same or means the same in different countries.

You already figured out my skills, so let me know if I can help you with anything.
Ride safe


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulyses View Post
You sure they weren't saying "directo" instead of "deracho"? Not trying to be critical or question your Spanish speaking abilities, but I didn't learn the difference between "maricon" (a very flamboyant gay person) and "malecon" (a boardwalk/drive by the ocean) until someone corrected me through this site. I can't imagine what the locals were thinking when I kept asking them where the flamboyant gay person was when I really just wanted to get to the boardwalk.... , Typically if someone is telling you to go straight, or you want to tell someone to go straight, "directo" is the word. Of course, slang differs from region to region and "deracho" may very well mean "straight" in durango. Just food for thought.

Loving the RR! You are an awesome photographer and a great writer! I'm so jealous of you right now! Wish I was back on the road.
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