Bellingham to Brazil, not coming back

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by PorLaTierra, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. jdfire17

    jdfire17 Adventurer

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    NW WA
    Can't say most of us don't wish we were on an adventure like yours. Great pic's. Looking forward to the next update.:beer
  2. Nc987

    Nc987 Adventurer

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    Feb 17, 2012
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    Bellingham, WA
    From a fellow northwesterner (Bellingham actually) I couldn't agree more. Well said.
  3. Tightline

    Tightline Adventurer

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    Nov 14, 2011
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    Phoenix, AZ
    Great quote from Sterling Hayden!

    I'm buying the book and riding more!
  4. LS650

    LS650 Adventurer

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    Mar 10, 2009
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    Victoria, BC
    I've been thinking along the same lines myself a lot lately. I think I will subscribe to this RR.... :ear
  5. tah1800

    tah1800 Been here awhile

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    Mar 8, 2006
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    314
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    Colorado
    All gassed up. Let's go Ryan.

    :lurk
  6. PhilzLeads

    PhilzLeads Goin' mobile

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    Jul 29, 2011
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    Location:
    Peoples Republic of MD
    So Ryan, Where are you ? Did you use that $20 for Tequila? If so, does the Rotax run on it? ..........:rofl

    Curious for some updates.......:freaky
  7. Big Ron

    Big Ron Adventurer

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    Jackson Hole Wy
    Ride safe!

    Ron
  8. BMWORBUST

    BMWORBUST Banned

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    Ontario, Canada
    This is a great thread.
  9. bosco

    bosco Raybanned

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    Location:
    Atop the Bakken
    El bumpo

    :ears
  10. PorLaTierra

    PorLaTierra Por La Tierra

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Madrid, the coolest city on the planet.
    Hey hey I will update in Guatemala. I am in Chiapas, Mexico at the moment. I dont have a computer so I have to upload photos and update in internet cafes. These international keyboards are a pain in the ass unless you want to right in Hebrew, French and Spanish all at the same time!

    Good riding here in Chiapas, lots to explore and its cooler in the mountains which is refreshing.

    Stay tuned!

    -Ryan
  11. flaldrider

    flaldrider Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
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    45
    You are providing an excellent ride report.....keep up the good work and enjoy the ride.

    I just subscribed to the thread and made a small donation to keep you going.

    Flaldrider
  12. ItchyFeet

    ItchyFeet Too young to resist

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    66
    Location:
    Heading South - Guatemal now
    Dim the lights and start the show.
    :lurk
  13. D-Stylz

    D-Stylz Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    153
    Location:
    Eugene, OR
    I'm loving the RR. My wife is wary about me heading into Mexico, so I'll live vicariously through you. Just dropped a 10-spot on your Weary Traveler account so eat (or drink) well! :beer

    Safe travels!
    :ricky
  14. TK-LA

    TK-LA SoCal Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2010
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    573
    Location:
    Southern California
    I'm very familiar with Brazil, so if you need any suggestions on destinations, big city or small village, hit me up

    Fun report:clap
  15. PorLaTierra

    PorLaTierra Por La Tierra

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    129
    Location:
    Madrid, the coolest city on the planet.
    So I am very close to updating with fun things for you to read, got all the photos ready just need to spend a few hours in the cafe.

    But first I need to locate a new battery and a voltage regulator. It looks like the VR is dying and I think I ruined the battery when the water got low then I left the key on.

    The battery will hold a charge for a day or two, riding a little each day, then it gets too low to start the bike and the solenoid buzzes and wont close. Then I have to recharge it.

    So I think I will get a new battery and my dad has offered to send me a new VR. Anyone have any suggestions for recieving a package in central america? I think Guatemala city should have the battery I need but I will have to locate a shop. Its semana santa so It might be a bit tricky.

    Saludos, and meanwhile, I will update with some good stuff from Mexico to Guetemala.
    Ryan
  16. 1200gsceej

    1200gsceej Long timer

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    Apr 30, 2007
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    1,438
    Location:
    San Francisco Peninsula
    Your apartment building photo is stunning.
    And the photo of State Street is not shabby either.
    The former made me think of Edward Hopper's The Nighthawks. But also of something else that is just not coming to me now. Anyway, they could be printed, framed, and sold. Just my $0.02.
    I've not looked ahead yet for other photos, but I think you've got a good eye and I'm looking forward to it.
    Have a great trip/life!
    -ceej

  17. PorLaTierra

    PorLaTierra Por La Tierra

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    129
    Location:
    Madrid, the coolest city on the planet.
    Hey Airhead Wrangler, thanks for the quote man, its true. Many people cant go but have the money, than their others who have nothing to lose but cant afford to take a trip. I choose to live simple, work hard, and save money (kill your television, read books, cook at home etc.). Living simply at home, I can live simply on the road and travel a lot until the day I end up with a kid or something. Then that kid better learn to ride quick cuz hes gonna be an adventurer too! Your right, if I had stuck around saving up money and "moving up in the world" or whatever I would have probably never left. Stuck dreaming. I left a little unprepared but I dont think I would have had it any other way.

    Hello all,

    I am currently in Antigua, Guatemala where for some reason my battery died and I have to fix some slightly burned wires coming from the Voltage Rectifiere and then figure out if its going bad or what. Everything is closed for Holy Week so I guess its time to update. If anyone knows how to recieve a package quickly in Guatemala, in case I need a part, I would love to know, it seems to be difficult.

    Here is what happened between the South of Mexico and Guatemala:

    Sunny beaches, border hassles, a landslide, my first break down, my first flat and my first collision with a car.

    and a product review

    I had been warned that the highway South of Manzanillo can be very dangerous at night. The coast of Michoacan is very desolate. There are dozens of beautiful untouched beaches, some with simple thatched roof accommodation and others with nothing at all, not a soul for miles. I left early and prayed I would not break down along the way. I passed many billboard signs advertising rewards for the cartel bosses but of course the faces had been spray painted over, suggesting that they were indeed hiding out in these parts with no intentions of being recognized. I saw very few cars that day, which made me uneasy, but I made it to Cuajinicuilapa with no problems. Try pronouncing that one! Then on to Oaxaca where I stayed for, I think 5 nights.

    My first real goal of the trip was to visit a beach. Mexico is hot, but up until now I had been sweating in my riding gear and had been dreaming of a place where I could just stay put for a while and hang out with my shirt off. It's worth the money to invest in good riding gear, it will save your life, but its not cool looking and I sweat buckets when I slow down to navigate big cities. The heat from other engines plus the buses spewing black smoke makes for an exciting ride but I am usually happy when I reach the other end of the city.

    I am now in Central America, geographically part of North America but as a region it contrasts heavily with its neighbors to the North, even with Mexico in many ways.

    Central America is a bridge between two continents. It's a colorful, mysterious, dilapidated old bridge, the kind I would suspect has a troll living under neath it. It's a totally different world.

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    Before you get too jealous I should probably mention that the first couple of days I was ruthlessly sick and I did not sleep, I couldn't eat and I could not stay off the toilet for more than 20 minutes. I was miserable. But I did begin to feel better and by the end of my 6 days on the beach I was feeling fine.

    This is a place only for those who can manage to find it, travel many hours by bus or motorcycle and stay in a rustic cabaƱa with a shared bathroom and a small dim light. If that sounds like enough comfort than you will be rewarded with some of the best beaches in the world.

    The Oaxaca coast is truly a magical place. There were dozens of places to eat and sleep. Below is a vegetarian restaurant that to my surprise was not expensive at all, same price as everywhere else (about $5 for the simplest meal).

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    As I rode further and further South over the past couple of weeks it got hotter and more humid with every day. With all my riding gear on, plus the heat from the engine I was ready for some cooler mountain air so I turned inland and cut through San Cristobal de Las Casas on my way to the Guatemalan border.

    When I started to climb into the mountains in the state of Chiapas the air began to cool. I must have road at about 55 mph for at least an hour, climbing steadily upwards the entire time.

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    Here I am at the top of the climb, almost to San Cristobal.

    I actually got hit by a car in Oaxaca. I was passing a truck on the left while it slowed to go over a speed bump. Mexicans love speed bumps, they are huge and they are everywhere. Any overlander traveling Mexico will tell you that the topes (speed bumps) are truly a menace. Badly placed and occasionally unpainted and unmarked, they constantly haunt me. As I went around the truck, a car slammed into the side of me, he was trying to pass me while I passed the truck. I managed to stay up, the tank bags and my pelican case absorbed the impact. I cussed and waved my hands which feels good and seemed appropriate but does very little to bring justice on the wrongdoer.

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    The tourists in San Cristobal began to disgust me. I guess I am a tourist too but I would never try and buy into some "authentic indigenous" culture. Do these people think they are seeing real live Mayans? All you have to do is hop on a local bus or stray off the main tourist street. Chiapas, as well as Guatemala is full of people who don't speak Spanish as their first language. We say Mayan but that is actually a general term for a number of different loosely related languages. Its very common to hear one of these languages being spoken and my first day in Guatemala I think half of what I heard was non Spanish. Real Mayans can be seen all over Guatemala and Southern Mexico, speaking their native tongue, perhaps high in the hills in a small village or at the mall into an iphone.

    Its good to be a responsible traveler. Be kind and open to everyone you meet, don't rush around taking photos without understanding what you see. Recognize that the world is changing and you should not look for anything in particular when you travel.

    Travelers destroy what they seek.

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    Crossing into Guatemala was a HUGE hassle. The guy took forever to process the paperwork for the bike. He told me I needed more documents. I told him this is all I have (I have everything I need) and that it has worked up till now. "Well Guatemala is different." Really? So Guaemala has it all together? At one point he was looking over the bike and, while staring right at it, he asked me what color it was. I wasn't sure what to say. "Orange, and Black" I said. Maybe he was color blind, I did not wan't to be rude but I it was very hot and I was sweating and getting frustrated, I held my tongue and continued to wait and sign forms in triplicate. The whole process took two hours (In Mexico it took 20 minutes). The picture below is the border crossing, the gate marks the line between Mexico and Guatemala. Does it look organized to you? Yep, Guatemal is different all right.

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    The roads into Guatemala are great. I followed a curvy highway through huge hills, right next to a river and everything began to look and feel different. After about a half hour of riding I came to a roadblock. Just up ahead a landslide had covered the road and taken out a couple of houses. I talked them into letting me ride up close to where the machines were working. My plan was to find a way around.

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    This was the detour, way to steep with all those loose rocks. I did not want to risk falling. I chose instead to wait a few hours until they cleared a path on the highway up above. I figured I could just talk to the construction guys and see if they would let me through first, as soon as there was enough room to pass.

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    The view was nice, the people were very friendly and very curious. I ate some fried chicken and waited it out. I chose a different city on the map as my destination because I would never make it all the way to Antigua at this rate. Many groups of people were fascinated by the bike and with my map. Maybe they had not seen a map of Guatemala? After the third time returning to my bike to find a group of kids gathered around studying the map, I just gave it to them. They were very excited.

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    And we're through! They let the other side go first of course, so I waited a bit more. At least it was still light out and I was enjoying myself, I don't know why but the whole thing was kind of fun. I felt bad about the families who lost thier houses though. Hopefully the community will lend a hand. So far Guatemalans had been very warm and friendly.

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    At rest in Huehuetenango

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    Excellent food at this place



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    In Antigua I met Carlos, another biker. He rode here from Miami on his Italian sport bike (Aprilia V-twin). Not usually the first choice for adventure touring but that didn't seem to stop him. We tried to climb volcan agua with our bikes but were warned dozens of times that thieves and bandidos are rampant on the path up to the volcano. We had been climbing up a rough dirt road when finally a local guy convinced us that its not worth the risk. We decided to go back to the last town where the pavement had ended to try and get some horses. Carlos talked with some people and they suggested we go ask the mayor (it was a small town). The guy at the municipal office recommended that we go to the local radio station, which was right down the street, and make an announcement. So we did, and while we ate breakfast in the comedor, a group of guys with horses showed up in front the mayor's office and we negotiated a price. After reaching an agreement we waited for a while and eventually got fed up waiting for the second horse and decided it was already too late in the day to start the ascent. It was not a waste though. It was a fun little side trip and we got to see a cool little town with zero tourists and very cool Semana Santa preparations. I did not have my camera but Carlos is an excellent photographer. The following pictures, and the one above, are his.

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    On the way back I got a flat! Carlos' bike was fine but my rear tire swallowed an enormous nail. Of course I punctured the new tube while trying to muscle the tire back onto the wheel. Thanks Carlos for waiting with the bikes while I went to a tire shop.

    Product review,
    Slime air compressor. Works great, but if the tube is not inflating, it might be that you (or I, in this case) have punctured the tube. It was the operator of the compressor that has problems, not the product. The thing goes slow but it works, I bought it at Walmart for 20 bucks and it attaches to the battery, excellent product to have on the road if you are running tube tires. Highly recommended.

    I have a lot more pictures on my website but its getting tiring keeping two blogs and on ADV I dont know how to disable the right clicking, sorry.

    I hope you all are enjoying the blog, more on the way as soon as I fix the charging problem.

    Saludos,
    Ryan
  18. linksIT

    linksIT nOObie

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    272
    Location:
    San Clemente, CA
    :clap Thank you for sharing I will be following your report, great stuff.
  19. Fronnzy

    Fronnzy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
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    335
    Location:
    Canada
    this is rad.
  20. woodly1069

    woodly1069 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,113
    Location:
    Louisville, KY...really too far from the hills!
    SAWEEEET! can't wait for more!