Lone Ridin' 15 Countries: California to Argentina

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by cycleTown650, Jul 4, 2016.

  1. cycleTown650

    cycleTown650 Been here awhile

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    The Santa Liticia farm has also a hotel on the farm and exports coffee to Starbucks.

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    After the farm, we went to a local coffee grower who had his own Cafe/restaurant called Cafe Entre Nubes, this place was magical. It was a coffee grow with a huge garden and hammocks. If you ever cross into El Salvador, check this place out.

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    The owner Daniel spoke great English and gave us the full experience by explaining and showing how he grows, roasts, and makes coffee.

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    #81
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  2. cycleTown650

    cycleTown650 Been here awhile

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    The v60 process for full flavor, Daniel is really passionate about his coffee.

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    After a fresh brewed espresso and a coffee, I was ready to take relax and take in the vibe of this place.

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    An awesome coffee experience thanks to Daniel at Entre Nubes Cafe.

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    #82
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  3. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    I'm a fan of Osmand which also works with offline open source maps. The free version includes 10 states/countries to download. I paid a few bucks for the + version so now I can add or remove any country in the world as needed.
    #83
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  4. cycleTown650

    cycleTown650 Been here awhile

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    In the evening, we headed to the annual festival down the street in Ataco called Los Farolitos de Ataco which happens every September 7. The timing for us visiting the festival was not planned at all so it was great news to us that it was down the street.

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    Local bands, food, and dancing was all there.

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    And did I say this was all free?

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    #84
  5. cycleTown650

    cycleTown650 Been here awhile

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    Coming back down the mountains Google maps once again failed me and took us down a rough road which disappeared quickly. I should have turned around right then and there but I went down a little further down a small hill. As we were going down, both tires started to slide on the slick wet clay we were on. Not being able to control the bike any longer, we both fell to the side at a slow speed. No one was hurt and the bike was okay. Seeing the the path narrowed even more further up and got rougher, I tried turning the bike around and climbing the small little hill that threw us off the bike. The clay road was so slick that I was having a hard time just keeping my front wheel from slipping out. Kathy then went over and talked with a local boy down the road who saw us drive in to see if there was another way out. The boy agreed to help me check out the path further out to see if I can maybe roll the bike down to the main road. As I was walking down this narrow path, my feet slipped out under me and I landed on my ass. As I got up and headed back to the bike, it started to pour down heavily on us, at this point I knew I was in for one hell of an adventure.

    Once I got back to the bike, I knew I had to drive it out somehow. With Kathy, the ten year old boy, and his mom pushing the bike, I started to give throttle while working the clutch, pushing the bike, and working the front brake to prevent the bike from sliding down. With the rain pounding us and the bike falling over multiple times, it took us almost one hour to get the bike up what seemed to be a small little hill. Exhausted, I profusely thanked the mom and the kid and gave them $20 dollars for the help. On we went back to Santa Tecla, soaked wet to the bone with and hour and a half to ride.

    Before leaving El Salvador, I wanted to check out the volcano at The Parque El Boqeron, great decision.

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    We ended up hiking down into the crater which took us an hour and a half down and about the same to come up, the hike is not for the faint of heart. We paid $25 dollars for a private tour which was well worth it and was a memorable experience.

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    The following day, yesterday, I headed for Leon, Nicaragua from Santa Tecla, El Salvador to cross the notoriously difficult Honduras borders. As I got to a late start to the day leaving Santa Tecla at 9 AM, I made it to the El Amitillo border at noon. To my surprise, there were not too many people there and I exited El Salvador quickly and breezed right through the Honduras border with the whole crossing taking about an hour. I could push the bike too hard in Honduras as the pot holes there can swallow up a bike. Once I got to the Honduras exit border at Guasaule, I was processed out fairly quickly without any complications or rip off fees that many complain about. As I crossed into Nicaragua, I saw a big line that was taking a while. While speaking with the Aduana officials, the power went out because it started to rain heavily. After fifteen minutes, the power came back on and I proceeded with processing all my paper work. As the official who was processing my paper was not so helpful, a trucker stepped in to help me out. Total time to exit Honduras and enter Nicaragua took two hours which was the longest time I have spent at any border so far.

    Wanting to get to Leon before dark, I pushed the bike and the speed limit. I eventually had to drive in the dark and heavy rain for about 40 minutes with every single light on on my bike. Not having anything booked in Leon, I asked a local for the closest hostel and he was kind enough to ride his bike with me in the pouring rain.

    I will be staying in Nicaragua for at least a week and then head down to Costa Rica and Panama so I can eventually board the Stahlratte on October 19 which I hope they still have room for me as I have not reserved anything. The owner is now doing a ten day sail from San Blas to Cartagena for $1450 which is kinda of expensive. Not sure if that will be too much time on a boat, has anyone done it yet?
    #85
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  6. cycleTown650

    cycleTown650 Been here awhile

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    I am going to have to check it out. Have you compared it against Maps.me to see if Osmand is any better?
    #86
  7. toy4fun

    toy4fun GET out of the way

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    Note to self...park bike next to pole or concrete abutemant so hit and run driver dies at scene:y0!
    #87
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  8. THRASHED

    THRASHED Moving on Up

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    #88
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  9. TwoWheelsOneJourney

    TwoWheelsOneJourney Adventurer

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    Yes, my ride report is woefully behind but I should be caught up with the first 13,000 miles of my ride from Alaska to California in the next week. I hope to wrap that up before I cross the border. It is under my same name, on the same Epic Rides forum as yours.

    With respect to the Stahlratte, you may want to contact Ludwig soon as to arrangements for 19 Oct. I just made my reservation with him for the 21 Nov crossing and grabbed one of the few remaining spots. That 10 day trip in October is much different than the short passage and it looks like the next one after that is 14 Nov. You can reach him at info.steelrat [at] les-raisting.de. He does have a helpful overview PDF for motorbikes, but it is again for the short trips not the 10 day passage: http://www.stahlratte.de/prices-discription-pana-carta-biker.pdf
    #89
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  10. advFord

    advFord Been here awhile

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    hmmm I don't want to speculate but who wants to bet wether Juan's niece will continue to make appearances? :-D Enjoy the journey! Love that you're connecting with local families. It's the best way!
    #90
  11. Stahlratte

    Stahlratte Sea Gypsy

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    Panama/Colombia, sometimes Jamaica, Cuba, Mexico
    If it is too much time on the boat depends on your travel preferences. If you are one of those riders that get nervous if they can't ride their bike for a few days I guess this trip is not for you ;)
    But for a lot of people it is a nice diversion after spending a lot of time in their motorcycle gear...
    On those tours the boat goes more along the coast via Sapzurro/Colombia to Cartagena with a few stops inbetween instead of going directly across. Part of that is a quite remote area where you will hardly see other boats.
    Hope that helps... However, have a great trip:)

    Mod edit; Vendors stuff in Vendors only. Vendor use PM please.
    #91
  12. cycleTown650

    cycleTown650 Been here awhile

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    Funny you mention that, the bike was actually parked next to a telephone pole, they just missed it by a foot or two. At least they were kind enough to leave their license plate for the cops and insurance.
    #92
  13. vicmitch

    vicmitch Been here awhile

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    El Salvador was a most pleasant surprise for me as well on my similar trip, Lack of much tourism makes the locals happy to see you.
    #93
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  14. advFord

    advFord Been here awhile

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    @cycleTown650 what's the latest? Too much costa rican rum? Buen viaje!
    #94
  15. cycleTown650

    cycleTown650 Been here awhile

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    haha, I have been adventuring Colombia and broke my bike on some gnarly mountain road. Going to do an update tomorrow.
    #95
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  16. cycleTown650

    cycleTown650 Been here awhile

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    So I decided to push my timeline to catch the Stalhratte for the September 23 date as I did not want to spend 10 days on a boat and I had no interest to explore Costa Rica as it was super touristy and almost USA expensive which was not in my budget.

    In Leon, Nicaragua I took a break from adventuring and passed on the popular sand boarding the local volcano. I headed for Managua and did not find too much to do there that interested me other than the volcano crater lake near by which made for a fun motorcycle ride up as it was all dirt roads.

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    While in Managua, I attempted to see Volcan Masaya at night as it's one of three active volcanoes in the world where you can see the magma up close. My first attempt failed as it began to rain heavily with a thunderstorm.

    While waiting in line, I realized my running light had just burned out. Great, that meant I had to ride back to Managua with my high beam on and auxiliary LED lights in heavy downpour.

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    I then hit the road for Laguna de Apoyo for some days of relaxing at the lake, what an amazing place. On the way there, I made my second attempt for Volcan Masaya, with great success.

    In this hole, was mesmerizing magma that just kept boiling and sounded like ocean waves crashing on shore. Everyone had to point their vehicles the other way for a quick escape in case the volcano burped. What an awesome place.

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    Once at Laguna de Apoyo, I was having such a great time that I forgot to take pictures. While there, I met a great group of local guys who were there on there five day holiday weekend who I went out in Granada.

    These guys know how to have a good time.

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    #96
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  17. cycleTown650

    cycleTown650 Been here awhile

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    The next day, while I was checking my next destination and looking over the map, I realized that if I waited for the October sailing on the Stahlratte, I would have to spend over a month in Costa Rica and Panama. Hearing how expensive and gentrified both countries were, I decided to make the six day ride from Laguna de Apoyo, Nicaragua to Panama City to catch the Stahlratte as I wanted to spend that time in Colombia instead, glad I did. Costa Rica was beautiful to drive through but I found it really expensive and out of my adventure budget.

    After spending a night in Costa Rica, I headed for the Panamanian border thinking it would be simple to cross as the country is well developed, man was I wrong. The border crossing was a big pain in the ass as I had to go from one office to another for various little things, making this the most complicated border crossing I had ever gone through. After almost three hours of wasting my time, I headed for Panama City stopping at David for a night.

    In Panama City, I had five days to just chill out and catch my breath. First night, I got connected with locals, who took me out for food and drinks.

    Ratno and his wife, thank you for showing me around your city.

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    Panama City was all business...

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    as this was the first Latin American country where I found the central park empty during the day.

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    I did check out the Panama Canal not just to say I did it but because I really did find the whole thing an impressive engineering feat.

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    #97
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  18. cycleTown650

    cycleTown650 Been here awhile

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    Fully rested, I headed for the Stahlratte a day late as I didn't get the memo to arrive the day before departure.

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    Not even nervous about my bike hanging like that...

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    The whole process of bringing the bike on board was quick and painless and I was soon sitting and eating breakfast with the rest of the group. After breakfast, we headed for the San Blas Islands for a tropical adventure.

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    We all got a chance to meet the local Kuna people who came on board to sell us seafood or just hang out.

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    #98
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  19. strictlyJDM

    strictlyJDM Adventurer

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    Great RR so far! im having a good time keeping up. Envy the trip as I will do a ride down to SA one day!
    #99
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  20. Trip Hammer

    Trip Hammer It's not the years, it's the mileage

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    Kick ass! Really enjoying this:photog.
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