2WC Part Deux - Looping the Isthmus

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Cousteau, Apr 9, 2014.

  1. Cousteau

    Cousteau ...seeking adventure

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    Guatemala City / Washington, DC
    Hello Everyone,

    A good friend of mine, Alfonso Perez, whom I met last year while riding in Ecuador on my first adventure told me that I'd know I'd been bit by the Adventure Bug if before I had finished that trip, I was already planning my next one. Well, I must confess, I got bit... a bit old vampire size bite. I am hooked! :wings

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    Last August on the beach near Ubatuba, Brazil

    So, I'm off to my next adventure, and this time I have company. Yessbell, my wife, will be riding with me as we make something that resembles a loop around southern and central Mexico. We'll be coming out of Guatemala where we live, making our way up the Pacific coast, up towards central Mexico (Oaxaca, Puebla, Mexico City, Queretaro, San Miguel de Allende, and back south towards Veracruz, Chiapas, and back home.

    When do we leave you may ask? Well... TODAY!!! I only have a couple of hours to finish packing and get the last few tidbits taken care of. I've included here a few fotos from my last adventure. Enjoy!

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    Up in the Andes

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    Dessert in Peru near Lines of Nasca

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    Riding the Sacred Valley two-up somewhere near Cuzco, Peru

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    Dry High Desert near Potosi, Bolivia

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    Waiting in line for gas in Chiquitania region, Bolivia

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    Entering Paraguay
    #1
  2. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,465
    Wow! Looks like a great trip you have planned! I'm always interested to know how long you think you will be on the road, and how travelers arrange to take time off from their "real" lives to set off on the ride.
    #2
  3. Cousteau

    Cousteau ...seeking adventure

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    Guatemala City / Washington, DC
    Blader54 - I'm not sure there is a specific recipe for being able to take time off. For the last trip, which was 4 months long, I did plan to be detached at work the previous 9 months, training some of my staff, delegating everyday tasks to others, and giving everything sufficient time to test that things would continue to work in my absence. That said, I am self employed, I have a small boutique consulting company, but this was the first time since I had established the firm 13 years ago that I stepped away.

    The one lesson I did come away with from the 4 month trip though, is that as much as I prepared, I still needed to stop and work in different locations for a couple of days throughout the trip. My suggestions from what I've been able to see, specially in reading some of the other ride reports on here, is that many folks tend to be self-employed in some way and have the type of job that with a laptop and a decent enough Internet connection they can stop and work, taking a short pause in their adventure. Sometimes it's even a welcome pause because the body does need a little time to recoup from all the riding.

    Antihero on here that did an amazing cross-country loop on a Ducati Pinagale is one such rider, but in summary, there is no perfect scenario.

    For this trip, which will only be a little over two weeks it was a lot simpler. Easter week is usually very slow, so I just took a few days before and a few days after which will likely be of no consequence.

    As so many have said before me, my suggestions is to not think about it too much, or at least don't think of it as a roadblock but rather of just one more thing to work through, and get and the bike and set off on your own adventure, long or short, it's all good. Some amazing experiences can be had even on shorter adventures.
    #3
  4. Cousteau

    Cousteau ...seeking adventure

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    Guatemala City / Washington, DC
    So crossing into Mexico from Guatemala, which I’ve done probably a half a dozen times, is usually a simple affair. Not so this time around. Just as a little background and context – I am a dual-national holding a US and Mexican passports. I would obviously enter Mexico on my Mexican passport, which I did, but about 30kms into the country you get to a checkpoint and get a temporary import permit that allows you to take your “vehicle” further into Mexico.

    Well, as it turns out, if you are Mexican, you can only enter with a vehicle with foreign tags past this point if you can show foreign residency, which I did using my Foreign Residency document from Guatemala. Well, that wasn’t good enough for General “Malacara” as I’ve decided to name this particular bureaucrat that I was dealing with at Banejercito – the place where you undergo this process. He wanted me to get some kind of stamp put in my passport from Immigration Ministry back in Guatemala City (mind you I’m about six hours away at this point). I ended up going over the customs directly, who were incredibly kind and ran it up the foodchain, but came back with the answer that it was up to Banejercito.

    Now, knowing full well I wasn’t going to go back to Guatemala City for this, we thought of giving my wife a power of attorney and have her import the bike… nope, that wouldn’t work because she doesn’t have a license and the bike is not in her name. My last resort was to go back to the border, go out with my Mexican passport and come back in, to my own country, as a tourist on my US passport. As I was about to go back to get back on the bike, I saw General Malacara and held up my US passport and said, “it’s a pretty sad day when foreigners have more rights in one’s own country than citizens do, I’ll have to go back to the border and come back as a US Citizen…” to which he replied “Oh, you have a US Passport, you should have said that in the first place, we’ll get you settled right away.

    Now his guy was just wanted to be a huge pain in my arse, because as soon as I get handed the permit… what does it say next to my name in the nationality box – “Mexican” Dammit!

    By this time, it was 1pm, three hours wasted and we had to ride the rest of the day in scorching heat. I’m tired now, so I’ll fill in the rest of the day in my next posting, for now I bit you a good night…. and sorry, no pictures of Malacara – no pictures allowed at this facility, so you’ll just have to picture this piss ant bureaucrat in your mind’s eye.
    #4
  5. Cousteau

    Cousteau ...seeking adventure

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    Guatemala City / Washington, DC
    https://www.facebook.com/2wheelchro...6826361699938/654986394550599/?type=1&theater

    After leaving the customs checkpoint right as the sun reached its appex, we headed towards the town of Arriaga in what has to be one of the most extreme heats I had yet to experience – possibly with the exception of riding in Honduras towards the town of Choluteca where I think it hit 41C, but that was an anomaly never to be repeated in this lifetime. Today was simply brutal. After just 90 minutes of riding we had gone through the near 3 liter (100 oz) of water in our camelback and the sun was just beating us into a pulp, so I pulled over at a gas station to get out of the heat, eat something and replenish fluids.

    We each sipped on a large gatorade as I refilled the camelback and ate a couple of sandwiches with pulled chicken and wickedly delicious jalapeño peppers. We just sat back and relaxed for a good 45 minutes waiting for the sun to withdraw its awesome human roastisory powers. Ironically, we were just about 10km from Arriaga, but it’s doubtful we would of made it without one of us getting a heat stroke.

    From there we took a sharp left and headed towards Ventosa, a region known for its constant and high winds. Going over a smallish hill, a massive dessert valley that looked like something the Mars Rover would have sent back to earth – a huge spans of yellows, reds, and maroons sprinkled as far as the eye could see with hundreds if not thousands of wind turbines.

    This is Mexico’s largest wind energy projects in one of its poorest states – Oaxaca. We had to ride probably 20 to 25 degrees off vertical to combat the push of the wind, but it was absolutely worth it, as off in the distance, we got to experience one of the most amazing sunsets, watching the sun go down between two mountains that rose out of the floor of the valley, directly in front of us as we rode, quite literally, into the sunset.
    #5