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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Dylan.S, Dec 26, 2012.
Streets of San Cristobal.
On the way to the Guatemalan border I stop at a Oxxo ( the Mexican equivalant Seven Eleven) and buy a coffee. As I was sipping it outside at the parking area, a police truck pulls in and one of the officers start talking to me in Spanish. I answer him in English using Spanish words. When I wanted to know how long it takes to reach the border, he says about 3 hours. And then he take a look at my bike and says, "with your bike may be 1 hour". I then give him a light punch in his arm and tell him, "I know why you are saying that, so that you can give me a speeding ticket". At that he chuckles and raises his hand for a high-five and he gets a high-five.
Dearest friends of Mexico. I didn't have a good time in Mexico. I had a fantastic time! Thanks for all your support and your care. Alan, Alvaro and family, Ruben, Dulce, Alejandro and all my mechanic friends in Hermosillo made Mexico twice as good. I haven't had any bad experiences here though I was warned many times.
Good bye to you all and I'll see you very soon I hope!
Since yesterday late afternoon I'm in
Guatemala. The first impresion of the country was very positive. The visa on arrival was free (don't know if they charge that at exit) and the officials were very cordial and I did not have that strange feeling I usually have when crossing into unknown territory. After the formalities were done, you ride through crowded streets which have made very narrow by all the vending stalls on either sides of the street. They strech for about a good kilometer touching roof to roof. It's a viabrant place. Lots of colours, may be as much as in India. People seem to smile more than in Mexico and they wave at you as you ride by. The road leads you out of the urban area but it never seem to take you into the country where there are no people. I guess it's because of the high and steep mountains on either sides making the livable area into a thin stripe. In fact, it looks almost as if you ride through a canyon. Beautiful and impressive. I continue as the darkness slowly takes over its place, not knowing where I will be laying my head down this night. My eyes continuesly search for a suitable place to camp. But the terrain only seem to get worse & there are houses everywhere. But I'm sure I have not reached the best spot yet and I am calm and convinced that it's gonna be okay in the end as always.....
I survived my first night in Guatemala camping indoors at a fuel station. Got to know some locals to hear interesting stories and measure life from a different prospective.
Moses, the owner of the fuel station used to be a drug addict. That was until twelve years ago. At 14 years he quitted school and smuggled himself into USA and lived there in various states. Its during his stay in the USA he started consuming drugs. But after a few years he returned to Guatemala, and started changing his life. Now a God fearing man, has three children of his own and five adopted ones, a beautiful house and of course a prosperous business!
I started all this with nothing. With the right attitude to life you can achieve a lot says Moses. In those couple of hours I spent with them at their home, I saw a man and a family with determination. All the children were very polite and friendly. They wanted to know so much about my travels. The language barrier did not deter them from asking me questions. When there was a question, which I didnt understand, they did not give up until they found an answer to that particular question trying to make me understand by using more than hands and feet.
My journey further on was very pleasant. Undesirable road conditions on the previous day did not continue. Instead, there were marvelous scenic views on good paved roads, full of motorcycle friendly curves, riding through towns and villages and seeing the busy and daily struggles of the Guatemalans. There seem to be a shortage of public transport here. I saw people struggling to get from one place to another, literally running behind vehicles in the hope that they might stop or sharing a ride on the back of pickup trucks with pigs chickens ducks. Some of those vehicles reminded me of Arch of Noah.
But the people seem to be happy. They smiled a lot and they didnt seem to let their struggles weigh them down and walk around with long faces. Its so unfortunate that I have to rush through this country. It seems to offer millions of best photo opportunities. Every corner I take there is something to marvel at or something intriguing. Most of these are very subtle things. A woman carrying a child on her back including, what seems to be a couple of months shopping or men at work with their diggers in the fields labouring under the sun or to see a man dressed up as if he is on his way to work in an office but driving three donkeys laden with firewood.
Its a fascinating country. But I need to push on. There is a world waiting out there to read my ride reports of other countries 
Wish you all a nice day!
What a wonderful ride report! I'm sure glad serendipity brought us together last summer as both Charlie and I enjoyed meeting and riding with you and hearing some of your amazing adventures. My bike really wanted to tag along with you for a few more days, or weeks. I'm attaching a few photos taken while we were with you.
Last August AKCharlie and I rode down to Valdez and caught the ferry over to Whittier and then rode back home to Homer and Anchorage. As we rode down the Glenn Hwy, somewhere near the Matanuska Glacier, we pulled over to take photos and met Dylan. We were headed the same way so we decided to ride together. We "wild camped" at a pullout south of Glennallen. I was extremely impressed with the "traveling kitchen" that Dylan built in his top box. WOW! This is Dylan, standing near his pop-up tent.
The next day we rode to Chitna, to visit the fish wheels on the Copper River. Dylan chatted with a man and his family who were cutting up fish they caught in their fish wheel. They even gave us two (whole) fresh, delicious, Copper River Red Salmon.
Dylan, standing sort of in front of my bike, took photos of this lovely waterfall outside of Valdez. (You may notice the Nome sticker on my bike. Yes - my bike and I flew to Nome and had a fantastic trip and wrote a report.)
Using the fresh Copper River red salmon, and other ingredients, we prepared a feast worthy of a 4-star restaurant. We had salmon pasta primavera. What a great way to end an amazing day!
This is my bike, Soquili, parked next to Dylan's bike. I think they did a little "male bonding" during the ride as my bike said it really REALLY wanted to continue riding with Dylan as he rode out of Alaska. I told my bike someday we'll ride down to the Lower 48.
Dylan - I'm glad you are still enjoying your journey and I hope financially you can make things work out. I'll subscribe to this thread. I couldn't find you on Facebook. The Alaskan Granny Gone Wild is sending a warm hug <HUG>and positive thoughts your direction to help brighten your days!
Having dinner and enjoying time with another adventurer and his beautiful wife in Antigua, Guatemala
Yes, she is lovely.
So much in so few posts. Dylan? Do you have a blog? If so, i'd like to read it.
Now back to the Laos video to view it again... Well done.
my website which I have not updated since I entered South Sudan (that's about 2 years ago) is
My stay in Guatemala was very enjoyable but it was also very short. However, unexpected invitation from another biker extended that short stay by one more day. David, a Mexican American who now lives and settled down in Antigua asked me to visit their home and spoilt me with generosity by taking me out showing me the beautiful historic city and of course with good food and a soft bed. The walks through the town were very refreshing. Though Ive had the chance to visit a few historic cities in the past couple of weeks, Antigua must be the most impressive of them all.
But then I heard the road calling me once again. There were two possibilities. But either way I had to go through Honduras to travel further down south. There was a direct route to Honduras or go through El Salvador. I had heard lots of negative reports about El Salvador. Some of those reports painted the gateway to hell and that fed my undying appetite, to go for the more challenging option. So I headed towards El Salvador through the city of Guatemala. The ride through Guatemala City was a piece of cake comparing to other major cities. Dont forget, Guatemala City has four million people living in it. I was surprised by how flashy it was. It was nearly as good as a city in a developed country. The only annoyance was the amount of black smoke emitted by busses and trucks. Actually, ever since I left Mexico, the pollution caused by traffic was horrendous. It was difficult to ride behind a truck without getting blackened (in my case you wont notice it so much anyway.
I reached the El Salvador border after dark. As soon as I arrived there three men in civil cloths started to delegate me. Stop here they said before I could ride close to the immigration building. Without knowing who they were, I started obeying their commands. Then it occurred to me that these couldnt possibly be any government officers. So I demanded their identification and promptly one of them handed me an identity card. Probably with the hope that I wont take a good look at it. But It said something about touristico and from there onward I started to ignore them and rode the bike to the Immigration counter. But one of them started following me saying that he could speed up the process. But even without speaking Spanish, it took me less than 5 minutes to get through the border.
I wasnt really relieved yet. Because now comes the bigger hurdle crossing into El Salvador. Upon entering they handed me a form to fill. They wanted photo copies of my papers which I didnt have. I was struggling to fill the form because I hardly understood it even with the help of my dictionary. But then a customs officer who walked by saw me and ripped the form out of my hand and started filling it for me. My first thought was, he is a very unfriendly man. But then he even walked into an office and made photo copies of my documents free of charge. In the end all the customs and immigration officers turned out to be super friendly even making jokes, some of which were pretty inappropriate about ladies. The best thing of this border crossing was it did not cost me a single cent. Free visa for me and permit for Bruce also free.
After the formalities were done, I stopped at the next city and had something to eat. People were very friendly wherever I went. I begin to notice prettier women than elsewhere. I think I should correct myself there. I notice more frequently pretty women than elsewhere.
Around 9p.m. I started looking for a place to camp. Again I found a fuel station to overnight. After a pleasant rest, I started riding early, towards Honduras. But my riding didnt last long because of a puncture in the front tire on a busy road without a shade. I had an inner tube put in. So there was no way fixing it quickly as you could with a tubeless tire. But fortunately, I had done some modification so that even with a puncture, I was able to pump it up and ride a few kilometers to a desirable place to work.
After about five kilometers I found a shabby looking tire repair place. So I stopped there and did most of the work myself. Because, the workmanship I saw there was not worth mentioning. But I was able to impart some of my knowledge to the workers. At the end of the day, it cost me two dollars for the repair but the next bikers who goes there will certainly get a better quality service.
Back on the road I notice there were signs of police check points. Until now I have not been stopped by police to check my papers. The last police check point where I had to dig out my papers was Sri Lanka. But then again, according to other travellers, central and South Americas are notorious places for corrupt police. As I was closing towards San Salvador I see a road block and a few officers were waiting for their victims. They had found one already. I see a car parked on the side and one of the officers was already at work checking. The best thing to do in such situation is to slow down. Then I notice all of the officers are females and without an exaggeration they are pretty. I scream inside. Stop me! Stop me! Stop me PLEASE! But they simply stare at me with a hint of arrogance and let me pass. Damn! Dont they see that I ride without insurance? Dont they see that my bike got a defect blinker? What about the worn out front tire? I am thoroughly disappointed and continue my journey towards Honduras
It was a pleasure to host you in Guatemala and that you came away with such a positive perspective. We had a fantastic time hearing your adventures and your future plans. Simply incredible! I'll leave those who are reading in suspense, but let me say that it's like nothing you've ever seen or read on ADV. I can' wait to hear about how you cross the Gap. Be sure to post details of your build and as you go through the process ... and of course as you go down the Amazon... looking forward to your anaconda steak dinner :dg
Also, please let me know as soon as you have your paypal button up on your blog as I want to be sure to see you complete your journey and love reading your adventures.
Once again congratulations on your more than two and a half years of travel. You certainly made a believer out of me and I can't wait to be publishing my own adventure here starting in April. I hope our paths cross once again as I start to head south.
Safe travels and remember... shinny side up!
Wow what a journey so far Dylan. Bravo!
Enjoyed reading your RR.
Sending you lotsa good karma to keep the dream going.
Safe travels, thanks for sharing.
Respect man !!!, will be following you all the way.
I put some funds in your Paypal gas tank fund to get you a little further down the road and maybe you can splurge on a nice meal before you start on the reptiles.
Dylan about to devour some amazing Macademia pancakes
I don't know about statistics. But Honduras must be one of the poorest nations on this planet. Large majority of the houses that saw were just small huts. But the smiles they wear are priceless. The little two fairies showed me how it's done.
Repairing a flat tire. Though I was able to trot along to a tire repair shop, I ended up doing 80% of the work. The work quality was extremely poor and they worked carelessly. A biker who didn't have a clue about repairing a puncture, wouldn't have gone too far before getting the next. But, the boys learnt some invaluable lessons from me about tire repairs which came with a two dollar payment.
Nobody wanted to show their faces to the camera. The illegal goods in the hands might get them a criminal record was their fear. Exotic lizards were sold to motorists at the roadside by these youngsters in Honduras. May be you might be quick enough to condemn what they do. But try to see the reality of things! When food is a scarcity and you have to put up a fight for survival, saving wild life isn't on the top of your agenda.
As I rode along those rural areas of Honduras, kids stood at the road side and stretched their hands out, begging gesturing that they are hungry. I began to ask myself, is it necessary to burn so much fuel and ride around the world when so many kids are left out there for begging?
When I came out of the immigration office, I see the bike fallen down to the ground. After picking up I notice the reason. The side stand is broken and it was ready to be packed in one of the panniers. Next few stops before the repair, I had to park the bike using walls, lamp posts and big rocks.
Good thing it did not break while you were getting off the bike trapping the left leg.
An IT tech friend from Guyana told me that the north east corner of SA is quite poor as it is so remote.
I'm working my way through your blog, well written.