Alison’s Wanderland: the journey south : a solo adventure through the America’s

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by alison's wanderland, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. hilslamer

    hilslamer 2XRedheadedstepchild

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    +1
    #81
  2. eddyturn

    eddyturn Wannabe

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    Enjoyed listening to you on the radio show last night. Cheers.
    #82
  3. Fat Toney

    Fat Toney Long timer

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    Great report so far...:lurk
    #83
  4. alison's wanderland

    alison's wanderland Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the support! Good to know people out there are reading this :)
    #84
  5. alison's wanderland

    alison's wanderland Been here awhile

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    #85
  6. alison's wanderland

    alison's wanderland Been here awhile

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    Who needs GPS with a Police escort:

    It all started with a question to the woman at the counter of Hotel Molino, where I stayed for the night in La Esperanza, Intibuca, Honduras. Maybe I should blame Wikipedia for planting the idea – where ever I stay for the night, I try to find something interesting and worthy of time spent to check out.

    Here is the entry in question: “Parque de Bosque Enano (Dwarf Forest) – A short drive out of town on the road to Marcala, the forest contains can encounter over 500 unique dwarf trees that grow less than half a meter tall. Scientists still do not know exactly why this forest exists, but it's an interesting sight to see. There are no signs, services or designated areas; it is necessary to ask a local resident.”

    So, the woman pointed me to the Oficina de tourism, near the church and police station. I was just about to give up because I was frustratingly lost in the busy centro of town, when I pulled right in front of the station. I went in to ask for a map. They looked at me funny. I went outside and asked the woman for directions, she looked at me funny, then spoke into her radio. All of the Spanish I just learned went out my ear. Honduran Spanish is something else and I couldn’t understand what she just said to me so I stared at her blankly. She radioed again. Two officers pull up on a little 125cc dirt bike. Follow them, she motioned. I looked at her blankly. She couldn’t really be motioning for me to follow. What am I getting myself into? But I did. I watched as they turned down a dirt road, then down an even smaller dirt road, then a rocky, water worn dirt road. There were several points where I wondered if this was a good idea as I watched this tiny motorcycle carrying two small Hondurans and a very large gun, bounce along the trail. There was no way I could have found it on my own. They couldn’t even find it and ended up asking two local for directions until we finally found the location. It looked like little twigs sticking out of mounds, but that was it. They were very helpful in pointing out every tree once we got there, so I obliged and took pictures of most of them.
    [​IMG]

    The wind started picking up and I cold see rain starting to accumulate in the distance over town and heading our direction. The excursion of the dwarf forest was over and I wanted to head back before the dirt roads we just rode in on turned to a mud slick. I did not want to add picking up my fully loaded bike to my list of things to do today. So, we loaded up and headed back, slowly, and when I got to asphalt I honked my horn and waved and turned the other direction.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    The two full days I spent in Honduras were a great time spent motorcycling. Honduras has some of the best roads and worst roads I have ridden on this trip so far. Big sweeping, banked curves for miles and miles up and over mountain passes. Then some portions haven’t seen maintenance in years and dodging potholes the size of my bike became a very attentive game. It was worthy of a pass through, but not on my list of countries to visit again.
    #86
  7. alison's wanderland

    alison's wanderland Been here awhile

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    Here's some on the road excitement:

    Riding behind a truck full of pacing lions and cheetahs on a windy, rain wet mountain pass.

    [​IMG]
    #87
  8. HairBear

    HairBear I'm a Grandpa

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    Well now, there's somethin you don't see everyday!
    :*sip* Really enjoying the read, thanks
    #88
  9. oalvarez

    oalvarez Resident Raggamuffin

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    Gotta support the locals....subscribed!

    Safe and fun travels,

    ps: is it too late to become a "backer?"
    #89
  10. alison's wanderland

    alison's wanderland Been here awhile

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    I think I finally figured out what all the honking is about. I stopped by a little lake to take some pictures and eat an orange I bought at the market up the street. So many trucks honked as they went by. I think they are just as excited to be in Nicaragua as I am, so they use their horn to show their enthusiasm. I should really start using mine more…

    Anyway, the Isla de Ometepe… is amazing!

    <a href="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/26325358_NFDDXH#!i=2278715121&k=CbvM8N6&lb=1&s=A" title="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug"><img src="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/i-CbvM8N6/0/M/20121130_KLR-Adv-South_1992-M.jpg" title="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug" alt="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug"></a>

    Stopped by Café Compestre for the best food on the trip yet.

    <a href="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/26325358_NFDDXH#!i=2278717370&k=vDpq7Cn&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/i-vDpq7Cn/0/M/20121201_KLR-Adv-South_2076-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>

    Then stayed at a permaculture farm hostal.
    <a href="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/26325358_NFDDXH#!i=2278720174&k=zdxwVTS&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/i-zdxwVTS/0/M/20121202_KLR-Adv-South_2130-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>

    <a href="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/26325358_NFDDXH#!i=2278718594&k=TvCNZDV&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/i-TvCNZDV/0/M/20121202_KLR-Adv-South_2124-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>

    <a href="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/26325358_NFDDXH#!i=2278717985&k=FFGNGQt&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/i-FFGNGQt/0/M/20121201_KLR-Adv-South_2086-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>

    Hiked around some Indiana Jones looking terrain.

    <a href="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/26325358_NFDDXH#!i=2278716434&k=zPXxK85&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/i-zPXxK85/0/M/20121201_KLR-Adv-South_2054-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>

    Only explored for two days but wish I had at least a week there…

    <a href="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/26325358_NFDDXH#!i=2278718864&k=h8fxKRJ&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/i-h8fxKRJ/0/M/20121202_KLR-Adv-South_2154-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>
    #90
  11. alison's wanderland

    alison's wanderland Been here awhile

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    Yes, It's too late to back the project, but I will put something up on my website for options. (Once I have some time off the road) Thanks for the interest!
    #91
  12. alison's wanderland

    alison's wanderland Been here awhile

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    I had pulled into Nuevo Arenal, Costa Rica an hour shy of sunset, and 45 miles from my destination, but there was something I couldn’t pass up. A visit to a German bakery that felt a little too much like a slice of home. Then, I just didn’t want to leave. The delicious coffee, a fresh slice of apple strudel and cats that warmed my lap all kept me there Luckily, the friendly owner, Tom, has a place I could stay in the back.

    <a href="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/26325358_NFDDXH#!i=2279358505&k=RVJmCSD&lb=1&s=A" title="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug"><img src="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/i-RVJmCSD/0/M/20121203_KLR-Adv-South_2209-M.jpg" title="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug" alt="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug"></a>

    <a href="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/26325358_NFDDXH#!i=2279358647&k=5N5kkD2&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/i-5N5kkD2/0/M/20121204_KLR-Adv-South_2535-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>

    The next morning I stayed too long at the lake, got (really) lost on the way to my intended destination of Playa Dominical for the night and needed to find a place again as the sun was setting and ended up paying more than I wanted for a room on the beach. Overheated from riding, being agitated with my inability to ready maps and my choice to not carry a GPS with me, and in a rush so not stopping for needed meals during the day, I dropped everything in the room, stripped off my gear and headed straight for the Pacific Ocean. The warm waves melted away the stress of the day. I swam in reflected rivers of gold until the bright pink sun returned the water to a purple night.

    <a href="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/26325358_NFDDXH#!i=2279358800&k=HkKvdhm&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/i-HkKvdhm/0/M/20121204_KLR-Adv-South_2600-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>
    #92
  13. alison's wanderland

    alison's wanderland Been here awhile

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    <a href="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/26325358_NFDDXH#!i=2279365865&k=fkMzM5j&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/i-fkMzM5j/0/L/20121206_KLR-Adv-South_2701-L.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>

    I was warned by a motorcyclist ahead of me to pay attention to the speed limits in Panama. I was watching the speedometer, knowing there were Policia with radar guns lurking in the shadows of overpasses and trees next to the road. The freeways in Panama are 4 lanes wide with pull off shoulders again, and keep going in a straight line for miles. I saw the signs drop from 100kph to 80 kph, but my speed didn’t drop quickly enough. There was an officer under the walkway splitting the difference between traffic directions. He pointed to his eyes, pointed to me on my motorcycle and pointed to the shoulder, motioning for me to pull over. I wasn’t going that fast, he can’t be pointing at me, I thought, I am just going to keep riding and pretended like I didn’t see him. I looked at my speedometer and made sure I was going 80kph (about 50mph) along the highway. I am not speeding, what’s he really going to do? Minutes went by and I thought I had evaded being pulled over since, me not going very fast, wasn’t getting very far away from him. I guess he was bored because in my rearview, I saw the white motorcycle pull up behind me flashing his headlights. So I finally pulled over. First thing I do was remove my helmet, and put it (with camera) pointed at me and his motorcycle. Even though it was not on, he stood in front of the motorcycle, away from the lens. I flashed a smile, waiting for him to tell me what I did wrong. He was not happy I was going 94kph in a 80kph zone. I smiled and said in broken Spanish I was slowing down. He asked for my licencia, I gave him a copy. He said he motioned for me to pull over, I pretended I didn’t see him. He asked for my passport. I pouted. He asked again pretended my Spanish than it really was. He asked again. I handed it over. He said I was going to have to go to Panama City to pay the ticket. I said I didn’t have time. I was catching a boat to Colombia tomorrow. He said pay it when I get back. I said I am not coming back; I am headed to Argentina. He said I would have to pay it today. It was only $50. I explained that is an entire days budget and pouted some more. He asked how expensive a ticket in California is. I lied and said I don’t know because I have never gotten one. He asked how long it would take me to get to Argentina. I said I would be 6 months on the road. He asked if I was traveling sola. I said yes. He asked how big my motorcycle was. I pointed, it was the same as his, 650cc. He said policia will give no ticket. Consider it a regalo navidad. I got my translation book out to look at what that was. A Christmas present. I said thank you and shook his hand. I started my engine and rode a painfully slow 80kph all the to the Panama city.

    <a href="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/26325358_NFDDXH#!i=2279372584&k=HCS8jVk&lb=1&s=A" title="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug"><img src="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/i-HCS8jVk/0/L/20121206_KLR-Adv-South_2732-L.jpg" title="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug" alt="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug"></a>
    #93
  14. Nice_Rumble

    Nice_Rumble Long timer

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    :lurk
    #94
  15. alison's wanderland

    alison's wanderland Been here awhile

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    Day 1: (Dec. 7) We were supposed to meet at 9am at the Carti loading docks, about 1-1/2 hours east of Panama City. We (met another solo female rider Deb at the hostal) intended to leave at 7am, but my KLR decided to have starting issues (i.e. didn’t have the juice to want to start in the morning). With the aid of a jogger passing by, we tried to gain enough speed on flat ground to bump start it. That didn’t work. Unfortunately, we were in a business district and no one was interested in helping. So Deb, dug into the plastics around her GS650 to get to the battery. A jump start worked and off we went an hour late. There was no stopping until we got there, not even for fuel which I would be running really close to empty by the time we got there.

    <a href="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/26325358_NFDDXH#!i=2283819215&k=tvw7j2w&lb=1&s=A" title="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug"><img src="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/i-tvw7j2w/0/L/20121207_KLR-Adv-South_2735-L.jpg" title="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug" alt="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug"></a>

    We hurried on the road, watching for Panamanian police. We can’t miss the boat! Passing miles of traffic due to a protest blocking the road, we finally turned off on the twisty asphalt road through jungle terrain to Carti and caught up with 4 other motorcycles. Relief set in, they were going to leave without all of us.

    <a href="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/26325358_NFDDXH#!i=2283819042&k=FbtDrtt&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/i-FbtDrtt/0/L/20121207_KLR-Adv-South_2759-L.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>

    At the dock we all lined up and waited our turn to have our bikes hoisted aboard:

    <a href="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/26325358_NFDDXH#!i=2283834942&k=qPKPG73&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/i-qPKPG73/0/M/20121208_KLR-Adv-South_2975-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>

    <a href="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/26325358_NFDDXH#!i=2283834768&k=jsm84CC&lb=1&s=A" title="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug"><img src="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/i-jsm84CC/0/M/20121208_KLR-Adv-South_2980-M.jpg" title="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug" alt="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug"></a>

    <a href="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/26325358_NFDDXH#!i=2283834998&k=4PDPG6b&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/i-4PDPG6b/0/M/20121208_KLR-Adv-South_2984-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>



    Then loaded our selves for an evening stay with Kuna Yala locals on a nearby island.

    <a href="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/26325358_NFDDXH#!i=2283819294&k=SS5GvVp&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/i-SS5GvVp/0/L/20121207_KLR-Adv-South_2840-L.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>

    <a href="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/26325358_NFDDXH#!i=2283819214&k=zKkHJzd&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/i-zKkHJzd/0/L/20121207_KLR-Adv-South_2832-L.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>

    Day 2: After a not so relaxing night’s sleep sprinkled with singing, snoring and roosters, we all headed to the dock for transport back to the Stahlratte. The boat took us to another island for a day to swim in the crystal blue waters of the Carribbean.

    <a href="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/26325358_NFDDXH#!i=2283819423&k=GxwHBBp&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/i-GxwHBBp/0/L/20121208_KLR-Adv-South_2856-L.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>

    Day 3: Off to yet another island for more swimming and snorkeling and a BBQ on the beach later that evening.

    <a href="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/26325358_NFDDXH#!i=2283819724&k=Q3GzHc2&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/i-Q3GzHc2/0/L/20121208_KLR-Adv-South_3069-L.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>

    Day 4: Breakfast (which has been plentiful and delicious) started off by warning, enjoy what could be your last meal for a while since we are heading to open waters. In about an hour, we’ll see how many people are sick. And they were right.

    <a href="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/26325358_NFDDXH#!i=2283819710&k=K25PgGJ&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/i-K25PgGJ/0/L/20121211_KLR-Adv-South_3204-L.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>

    Sometime mid-morning, the ship stopped. Even though the 1903 vessel has sails, it usually motors along at 10 knots per hour when there is no wind. We sat adrift 10ft waves that rocked the boat worse than most of the crew had seen. There was something wrong in the engine room and with a bag full of tools, the crew asked, is there a welder on the ship? Luckily, one passenger, Paul, who happens to be one of two guys on board riding around the world, had a custom motorcycle shop for 17 years and could weld anything. This time it happened to be a boat engine. Several ship swayed hours later, the boat was back in action at half speed for the remaining 60 miles (about 10 more hours) to Colombia.

    <a href="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/26325358_NFDDXH#!i=2283819548&k=VvrCG6H&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://alisonswanderland.smugmug.com/Other/Riding-South/i-VvrCG6H/0/L/20121208_KLR-Adv-South_3050-L.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>

    Day 5: We all seemed to stir awake as the sun rose over Cartegena. The waters calmed as we neared the port and watched the slow sail to the dock. We loaded the dingy to shore and made our way to customs to import ourselves and find a room for the night.

    Day 6: Back to the ship to offload the bikes by dingy and head to customs for our motorcycles which took all day, seeing as how the officer decided lunch would be from 10-2.



    Then, we were set loose on the colonial city of Cartegena...
    #95
  16. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    I'm so envious that you got on the Stahlratte. Your loading process looks so much more legit than what we had to do on the independence.

    Did you make it out of Venezuela yet?
    #96
  17. Scott_PDX

    Scott_PDX Leisure Engineer

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    Awesome! Congratulations on making it to South America Allison!
    #97
  18. westerlywinds

    westerlywinds Two Wheels-Ride it

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    Just discovered your report. nice photos .:
    #98
  19. O'B

    O'B Long timer

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    Funny:lol3.
    #99
  20. alison's wanderland

    alison's wanderland Been here awhile

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    Jun 29, 2010
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    294
    Location:
    In the wilds of Colombia
    The crew was pretty versed in what to do. I imagine with a smaller boat made sea sickness worse too.

    I am heading to the border tomorrow in hopes of making it to Medellin for Christmas! Where are in Colombia are you?