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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by WilderRider, Sep 6, 2012.
Time for a little catching up.
Yesterday was a full, fun day.
Class was a little longer because we need to make up time we lost with the the festival today. With the extra time, Billy took me on a field trip to the market. Not only could we talk, walk, and learn, but he was going to help me find a cheap costume for the Halloween party.
It is still fascinating to see all the things at the market.
I was looking for something easy and cheap. And I found it.
I negotiated the price from Q35 to Q20. About $2.50. And it worked great.
The party started at 8:00 and lasted until about 11:00. It was fun. Mostly it seemed an excuse to take pictures, but I had left my camera at the house, so I didn't get in on that. Plus it was rainy and dark.
There were about 40 people overall. Split between staff and students, pretty evenly. Plenty of Spanish spoken, but plenty of English too. I am the only American currently, but there are Aussies, English, Scotch, Canadians, Dutch, Swedish, Belizian, Chinese (Hong Kong).
Then today we went to the kite festival in Santiago. There were a LOT of people. We had to walk through narrow streets just packed. At one point I timed us and it took one hour to walk four blocks. Crazy.
But the kites (these kind are called Barriletes) were enormous and very pretty. Colorful.
You just hang out in the cemetery to look at them. Get right up on the tombs.
Unfortunately, these giant ones did not fly, contrary to my expectations. Nor did we fly our barriletes. I guess we are doing that with local Antiguans on Saturday.
Today it was back to class. But we snuck in a field trip to Hotel Santo Domingo, where apparently Bill Clinton attended a conference during his presidency. It has a neat courtyard and museums too.
A little gimmicky, but there is an indigenous person doing some weaving there too.
After that, we went to the jade museum for a tour. The "museum" is really just a jewelry store, but they do show you the process.
The best part is that it is free including the guide and actually goes into a lot of Mayan history. Of course, I did the tour in Spanish, but I was excited and amazed at how much I really understood. Even all the abstract concepts and history.
With a lazy Sunday morning I will add a few more pictures.
Here is the front entry way of where I am staying. It doubles as the garage.
Looking from the front of the car.
Yesterday was nice. Had my weeks laundry done for Q35. Then I walked around the museum at Hotel Santo Domingo. After a delicious lunch, I walked around town, but was exhausted so I came back, took a nap and did some homework. Despues, I had dinner then akbill from Horizons unlimited who was coming into town. Ended up meeting up with him, rtwpaul, motomon, and a few others at the main park.
But first, saw the procession. It started at three thirty, but it was fun to see it at night.
This was for day of the dead and lasted well into the night. I still heard it when I went to sleep at 11:00.
I did not stay out late. I am a lightweight at night. But I do like the mornings.
This morning was gorgeous. I had heard about this restaurant on the hill, from a few people. El Tenedor Del Cerro. There is a free shuttle from Hotel Santo Domingo that leavs every thirty minutes and they have a buffet breakfast on Sunday. All you can eat and coffee, juice (fresh) for Q90 including tip. IT IS WORTH IT. O Vale La Pena.
Of course the weather ,without clouds today, was perfect.
Looking down on Antigua.
My new housemate joined me. Freddy at our breakfast table. Volcano in the background.
The viewing area
The restaurant is to my right (the left side of the picture)
There are also many gardens with artwork to view.
Colorful horses for my daughter.
It was great food too. Bread, eggs made to order, glazed bananas, tamales, sausage, bacon, beans, fresh fruit, hash browns, fresh pear papaya orange juices, good coffee, all you could eat. Not bad for $11.
Busy few days, but not many pictures.
Did feel this, this morning. Not too bad in Antigua, but I guess there were some deaths. Freaked out the locals a bit too.
This week has been a little slow picture-wise. The big news was the earthquake noted above that happened on Wednesday. Not many pictures of that in Antigua because it did not cause much damage locally. Quite a few died a little further north, even though that was further from the epicenter.
But this week has been about finishing my classes which I did today. A little bittersweet. But this weekend I will leave and make my way to Honduras.
Before I leave I keep meaning to take a picture of breakfast. Here is Freddy getting served his.
Always some fresh fruit. Usually pineapple, papaya, and bananas.
This morning also included pancakes.
This afternoon we were able to watch a futbol/soccer game between our school and another. Our school was in blue.
Those Guatemalans really belt it.
Today, I finally left Antigua. It was fun to learn more and get some home cooking. The dueños were great people are too. Lico y Chiki
But I was ready to see some new places.
Well today I actually made it would over the border and into Honduras. My second" new" country of the trip. I decided to go north to Copn rather than ride through El Salvador. It was ended up being a good choice. Not only is the rod nice, it the section of Guatemala off CA9 is actually developing nicely. New shopping areas, etc. And almost no tumulos (as they call the speed bumps in Guatemala).
But really the best part was that the border was nice and quiet. I was almost the only person there for much of the time. The officials were very nice. With all of that, I was able to make better time than I had planned.
Made it to Copan. Nice town. And for only 400 lempira I found a nice room, private bath, Internet, and again let me pull it right in. My room is right there on the left.
The town is nice.
And because some have expressed confusion about what a Tuk-tuk is, I finally got a couple pictures.
Today was a day off to enjoy Copan. First some coffee and banana muffins at the cafe on the main square. Then finding a bank to get a few more lempiras. Changed enough at the border for a day or two, but I needed a few more.
Next was to find a motorcycle shop to buy a turn signal (pide vias). Unfortunately, Lico broke off one of my nice LED ones helping me get my bike out of his patio. He very sheepishly told me sorry. What are you going to do? I am sure it would not be a problem in Honduras and most of Central America, but I don't need to give a cop any extra excuses.
In that vein, I ended up buying two to not draw attention to the one. Now I have a spare LED. They were only $9.00 for the pair. They actually look more stock.
After that repair was finished, it was time to visit the ruins. For $1.00 (L20) a tuk-tuk gave me a ride. It was $15 (L300) to get in. Not only do they have Mayan ruins, but macaws. They were very pretty.
One in the tree looking towards the ruins.
The ruins were also cool.
These had a lot more carvings than Palenque or Monte Alban.
Including some scary faces.
My dinner spot. It rained so everything was wet.
The empty chair kept making me think of my wife and wishing she was here.
Yesterday I left Copan. And I earned my adventure riding badge for the trip.
The road out of Copan is pretty and relatively easy to at least Santa Rosa.
Unfortunately, I did not listen when my GPS originally said to turn onto CA11. My paper map did not show a turn, but I realized it was wrong about 1km later. Instead of flipping around, I told it to recalculate, which it did with another turn onto CA11 about 18km later. Not that unusual here. I figured I would just get to see a different road.
The road was great for about 5km then changed to graded dirt. Fantastic, I thought. I'll get my dirt riding in after all. Plus I could see less seen villages, etc. It climbed up into the hills with pine trees. It went like that for 20km and I was riding about 50km on some fun dirt.
Then the road deadended at a village. I took a few tries, but could not find the road my GPS said was there. So I asked a couple locals and they told me it was possible to get to the town I was headed toward, but did not sound optimistic about the time. I asked another local, a motorcyclist, but he did not know that route and said I had to go back to where I missed the turn. Not encouraging. But the original gentleman I spoke to wandered over and then they conferred and agreed that the road did exist. And gave me directions out of town to find it. They were very nice and even offered to write it all down, but I declined.
Unfortunately, the road was much tougher than before. If I had been in the mountains of Colorado, it would have been the perfect road for the DR650. Certainly not impossible, but I was glad I packed light and was not taking a GS. There were lots of ruts, loose rocks, steep climbs and a good half dozen water crossings. I think there are also bonus adventure points for being in Honduras and taking a road you don't know.
It was like that for about another 20km. Unfortunately, that was about my speed too, so I took an hour to do those 20. Finally, I hit some more graded dirt and started to climb toward the next "city"
And origami Yoda is still here.
Another 20km of graded dirt and I hit Gracias. The town. Tarmac again and it was about 2:30. I figured I could make up some time.
Alas, it was not to be.
The pavement quickly turned into craters. Potholes would be underselling it. 80% were about 12-24 inches in diameter and 4-6 inches deep. About 5% were 12-18 inches deep and up to the width of the road. Needless to say, you had to watch it. Of course, that included the oncoming traffic that was serving all over to miss them too. Throw in fog with visibility of 100-150 feet and it made for interesting riding. Especially when my face shield fogged up.
Then when I was down to 36 km from the next town, another fun surprise. Apparently, some one decided to take the White Rim Trail out of Moab and put it in Honduras and calk it Central America Highway 11A. That's right another section of rough rutted roads, but this time telling me it is a highway. The constant drizzle made it more fun.
It was 5:00 by the time I made it to town. By then its name was ironic :LA Esperanza (The Hope). Not much to the town, but it was getting dark, and I was exhausted. I drove around trying to find a hotel. The first was closed, the second was full, the third no parking and FILTHY. Finally, after about 10 circuits and 45 minutes in the drizzling rain, I found an one. Secure parking, and reasonably presentable. No Internet, but the bonus of being the cheapest lodging of the trip $7.50 for a private room, bath and cable TV. Cheaper than the dorm rooms I had stayed in.
Only about the size of a closet though.