LoneStar's Adventure to South America

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by LoneStar, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,710
    Location:
    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    [​IMG]

    So the couple went in search of a new phone and to fax some information. I went in search of the mercado and boy did I find it. Antigua's mercado is like nothing I've yet experienced. Acres of everything in the world, stuffed into tiny, dark, narrow passages one can barely fit through. It was a maze and I have no idea how you'd ever pick a vendor or two in the place, or even find them again. I got overwhelmed and had to find my way out.

    As I wandered quickly down a side street, I heard someone shouting my name behind me. I didn't stop, assuming it was someone else but the voice got more intense. I turned around and walked back a few feet, only to find Greg, the American guy I'd met briefly at the La Mesilla border, behind a barred window. He was in a small gym working out and saw me walk past the window. We chatted a bit, but man that threw me hearing my name being called out.


    My heart was warmed as always, seeing how much Texas has influenced the nations of the world. They even built a replica of The Alamo here.
    [​IMG]

    When I returned to Casa Elena, the couple were playing with a new phone and downloading maps.me to be able to use it as a GPS. One of the bikes had a flat front tire so we pulled it and swapped in a new tube. Doesn't sound too interesting but when you consider that I don't speak French and he doesn't speak English, we both defaulted to Spanish. Since neither of us really speak Spanish or understand it, it was even more interesting. I defaulted to a "Marcel Marceau changing a tire" routine which seemed to help.

    I told his wife that I was having enough trouble with Spanish, and now having French thrown into the mix has really tossed a wrench in it. He will say something to me in French and I answer in baby talk Spanish. Somehow it feels satisfying though, as if I'm having a real conversation in a foreign language.

    They're still waiting for paperwork and trying to get cards, etc., unsure if they'll stay on the road. I think they're leaning to continuing the trip and I offered to ride together a bit if they'd like. It may depend on how long they have to wait for their paperwork, but I may hang here a couple days just in case.

    One thing I've enjoyed here are the variety of cars. In Mexico there are plenty of new versions of vehicles we don't get in the U.S., but here there a lot of older vehicles, lots of simple 4x4's similar to Daihatsu and Trackers, old BMW cars, and apparently all the old Isuzu Troopers flew south to winter in Antigua and never returned. Lots of cool old diesels around.

    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]

    And of course, the coffee. Man is it good and smooth! And everywhere :D

    [​IMG]
  2. Vato Jinete

    Vato Jinete Feo del Norte

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    769
    Location:
    Excelsior, MN via San Antonio, TX
    My buddy and I will be in the area in a few weeks. Do you know what road the Couple was on when they ran into trouble? Also what areas have you heard one should avoid? Thanks.
  3. sgio

    sgio Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    197
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    Thanks for taking the time to do this report. I really look forward to your updates.
    The written words and the photos especially are top notch!
    Thanks again. :clap
    LoneStar likes this.
  4. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,710
    Location:
    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    Vato, it's Road 14 on the south side of Atitlan between San Pedro and Santiago where they got hit. San Pedro is a cool little town and very popular but they all know the road is dangerous. Recently an entire group of teachers traveling in multiple tuk-tuks were robbed. It's obvious the local police are in on it as it has continued for a long time. They could easily catch them by running bait vehicles with cops inside but it continues.

    The wife said that there is a police booth with an arm that can be lowered as you enter the road, but the cop didn't wave them down or lower the arm to warn them. Probably why the lady at the embassy told her not to tell anything to the local cops and to wait for the tourist police. For it to be so well known and nothing done about it is pretty sketchy

    They were robbed somewhere in the red section but all of 14 is suspect
    [​IMG]

    If I hear of any specific roads I'll pass along the info.

    Guatemala seems to have it's "wild west" reputation for good reason. It's listed as one of the top 5 rough and tumble countries which I knew, but according to local people it's pretty common to experience bad sh*t. Antigua and Panajachel are considered to be "safe" areas. I've not felt any sense of bad mojo in either but pickpockets and the usual crime are normal as anywhere.

    Be careful in both places as there are a lot of "friendly" people who will work you for info subtly, as I've experienced a few times. Be conscious of where you put your wallet/money and try not to do it in public. That's normal common sense but the people here are extremely observant and if you watch them, their eyes and heads never stop moving and you can be sure they're aware of you and what you're doing. Only carry the amount of cash you're prepared to lose each day and split your things up on your person, just normal travel behavior.

    The couple had dummy wallets, but they'd been more worried about El Salvador and Nicaragua and were planning to deploy them later that same day before crossing the border. You know how that happens...
    Wolf_ADV, Merfman, Balanda and 6 others like this.
  5. Hootowl

    Hootowl Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Oddometer:
    1,430
    Location:
    Bend Oregon
    No Worries and thanks for a great read and rekindling memories.
  6. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    9,921
    Location:
    San Antonio
    Hola Joseph. My fault for not posting earlier, I wished/want to post another compliment for your motojournalism and photography. Peerless! Again! And again!

    As to Lago Atitlán: It's long known that that southern route of that lake is to be avoided. The reasons for that are reasons that you've already expounded upon. This said, even given the modern "internet world", it is no surprise that new travelers have no idea of the danger that lurks there.

    Back to square: keep rolling, writing, and posting. Very well offered. You're doing great.
    LoneStar likes this.
  7. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,710
    Location:
    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    Thanks
    Thanks Trice :D

    I can't believe we haven't bumped into each other yet - especially at Hank's or in San Antone
  8. Vato Jinete

    Vato Jinete Feo del Norte

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    769
    Location:
    Excelsior, MN via San Antonio, TX
    Lonestar, thanks for the info on south out of Atitilan, it is very helpful.
    Which route did you take to Antigua? CA1 or 1?

    Your photos are great. Your choice of lighting and composition are fantastic. Thanks so much for sharing.
    Santiago
  9. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,710
    Location:
    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    Vato, I took 1 vs CA-1. The road is listed on the OSM Guatemala map in Basecamp as RN-1, RN-01, RN-11, RN-01A and variations of them. OSM Guatemala map is a direct match to my gps track so its accurate.

    The streets were torn up in Panajachel and they redirected back through town, and I guess ultimately they may have been trying to reroute traffic all the way back through Solola to CA-1?? Whatever, 1 was a really interesting ride. The bridge on the way is out and has been for a long time apparently. The water crossing wasn't bad when I went through despite the rain, but it's been raining a lot and if you catch it when it's up might have some difficulty.

    There are no signs along the way - you'll see a sign for "Antigua" when you leave Panajachel, and you won't see another sign until you arrive there. From what others say that's pretty standard in Guatemala.


    [​IMG]
  10. Vato Jinete

    Vato Jinete Feo del Norte

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    769
    Location:
    Excelsior, MN via San Antonio, TX
    Lonestar, thanks for the information it is much appreciated.
    Looks like we are heading to Brownsville (storing the truck with family) on Saturday then heading down.
    We are not sure of our route through Mexico, a work in progress.

    Santiago
  11. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,710
    Location:
    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    You're welcome! Tough choice so many places to go in Mexico unless you're in a hurry and need to make time...

    Are you catching Stahlratte 11.15 with CanuckCharlie?
  12. Vato Jinete

    Vato Jinete Feo del Norte

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    769
    Location:
    Excelsior, MN via San Antonio, TX
    Yep, I believe we load up on the 13th in Carti. Otherwise we have no plans or schedule.
  13. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,710
    Location:
    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    Currently in Rio Dulce north of Antigua. My time in Antigua was a lot of fun, ending up relaxing a few days longer than expected. Spent time with my new friends from Canada and while they are waiting for paperwork I decided to escape Antigua. The time at Casa Elena was great, relaxing and a lot of fun.

    [​IMG]

    The combination of belching diesel chicken buses, enclosed streets and residual volcanic ash, combined with the constant rains and moisture, did a hellacious number on my sinus and allergies. A trip out of the area seemed a solution, so I hit the BMW dealer in Guatemala City to look around before continuing. Canuck texted me that he was coming to the dealer the same day but we missed each other.

    [​IMG]

    The maps showed Rio Dulce to be about 200 miles and 3.5 hours from Antigua but based on my experience so far, I figured it would be 5 hours. Getting out of Guatemala City was a fustercluck as expected, but the road north finally opened up and the scenery was great, glanced between trucks and road issues.

    The roads quickly deteriorated and miles of trucks became the norm. I spent much of the ride in the oncoming lane passing miles of crawling traffic and pulling off onto the oncoming shoulder to let traffic by. It culminated in a 1 hour stop for road construction. I'd ridden past a huge traffic jam and finally made the front where I sat with a couple of other motorcyclists in the heat. My accomplice gave me a piece of candy and a thumbs up as we sat there.

    [​IMG]

    Finally, the workers came up to move the barricade and we started up in prep to leave. What I didn't expect was the reaction when the barricade moved. From behind and around me, it was like the start of a motocross race. Pickups and motorcycles took off in a cloud of dust, cars fishtailing in clouds of dust. It was a flat out race and madness and there was nothing to do but try to beat the insanity. Man was it crazy and as said before, the Guatemalans here drive hard.

    I got ahead of all the traffic and blew through the construction, dust and rubble on the road for miles as they did construction.



    I'd already been on the road for a few hours when I had to grab something fast to eat, as I knew there was no way I'd make Rio before dark and the impending storm cloud ahead. Amazingly there was a Burger King, and though I rarely eat at places like that, the burger and fries were dang good and lifted my energy. I know, Burger King? It was fast is why lol.

    Ahead there loomed a black storm cloud and fading daylight. Despite my best efforts the sheer amount of truck traffic and seriously deep potholes kept the pace slow and I was getting worn out from the constant concentration. I rounded a curve and was instantly in a monsoon shower. It came so quickly that by the time I got off the road to suit up, I was drenched. I got a rain jacket on but I just gave up on the rest. I sat under a tree for a bit, as the sheer white rain poured and poured. Daylight was fading and I had no idea how long it would last, so I decided to push on in it, praying literally that I didn't hit the big wheel swallowing holes.

    It's generally true that rains come in the afternoon, but here the roads and traffic are so bad I've found that the delays push you into the rain no matter what your plans are.

    I could barely see and felt the insanity of what I was doing, but I didn't want to be doing this in the dark in Guatemala. After about 30 minutes the rain slightened as I felt my boots now filled with water. The rows of trucks never ended as the darkness finally came. Rain was heavy then light, and finally disappeared. I rolled into town well after dark, pulling into a gas station under the suspicious gaze of a 12 gauge pump wielding security guard. The shotgun wielding guards are everywhere in Guatemala so I'm used to them, however this guy made me uncomfortable. He watched me intently for the time I was there attempting to find a hotel on my phone.

    By the time I finally found one and paid through the nose, it had been over 8 hours for a 3 hour trip. Riding here is very tiring and you cannot relax in any form. I spent the next few hours trying to dry gear and get my head cleared. Hey, it's adventure right :D

    [​IMG]
    SmilinJoe, rodr, MaNDan and 11 others like this.
  14. LookingHard

    LookingHard Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Oddometer:
    53
    Location:
    USA
    Joseph,

    If the picture above is where you stayed, at least it looks like you had a great view, and it goes without saying that we all appreciate your imagery and thoughtful text.


    LookingHard
    LoneStar likes this.
  15. CanuckCharlie

    CanuckCharlie Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 9, 2014
    Oddometer:
    302
    Location:
    Detroit / Toronto
    The cough at the end of the video really adds to the effect. :lol3

    I was on the same road heading towards Guatemala City yesterday and had a layer of dust on my jacket by the end of the day.
    Davidprej and LoneStar like this.
  16. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,710
    Location:
    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    Well today topped all my Guatemala adventures yet... Hope to post later when this dehydration headache clears
    CanuckCharlie likes this.
  17. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,710
    Location:
    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    I woke up to a sunny day and a beautiful view of the river from my room. The sun was out and the intense humidity was already uncomfortable when I went to load the bike. I intended to go to Tikal, but after the long previous day in the intense heat I decided I'd had enough of humidity and rain.

    It was time to hit the border of Honduras and move on. Maps showed 100 miles approximately to the El Florido crossing and the town of Copan.

    It was a bright and sunny day with beautiful blue skies, however it wasn't long before the rain began to fall. At 10 in the morning the temperature was already 95 and trying to find a spot to get off the road and suited up for the rain just didn't happen. I gave up and accepted the fact that my ride and gear would be wet. The rains come up so quickly that it's impossible to keep swapping gear in that short of time and 10 minutes later baking in heat and sunshine.

    The rain let up fairly soon, however the traffic didn't until I made the turn for the 30 mile road to the border. It turned out to be a beautiful ride, the road twisting and turning up to a high ridge along the top of the mountains. There were no trucks, only the local traffic which was few and far between. The blue skies and sunshine finally allowed me views of spectacular scenery. I stopped on the road side to take a few pictures and eat a power bar since I'd skipped breakfast. Cars and trucks passed slowly honking and the people waving. One motorcyclist coming from the direction I was headed waved, then looped around, came back and parked next to me. He began speaking to me in Spanish and shook my hand, then began talking about the road ahead indicating that a landslide had occurred, but also demonstrated the width and that a motorcycle could cross.

    [​IMG]

    The little devil on one shoulder kept saying "go ahead", and a little angel on the other kept saying "you know this might not end well". I fired up the bike and continued on.

    The road was in good condition considering, and I was really enjoying the twists and turns and spectacular views. I passed through a few small villages and saw evidence of major rains, with piles of rocks partially obstructing the road, banana trees having slid down in mud piles, water and mud running across the road and more.


    A rare bit of color in Guatemala
    [​IMG]

    Groups of Brahma cattle covered the road in sections, some herded by an attendant and others simply loose on the road. Brahma seem to be the choice of cattle here, as I see truckloads of them in my hours of road time.

    There were some areas of road erosion, but I passed a small group of parked vehicles and pulled up to the scene ahead of several parked trucks, military and police officers. I could see where the mountainside had slid away under the road and there only remained a narrow portion of blacktop.


    [​IMG]

    Taking the dirt road around, there were some officers who indicated I could go ahead, but as I got to the bridge two officers in black told me to stop. The main dude indicated that I couldn't cross, but shortly after an old man and some others began pointing up over the mountains. The officer came back and indicated I could go ahead and around to Copan. Everyone seemed to agree so I went ahead and rode across the narrow remains of the road. It was wide enough for pedestrians and hand trucks ferrying supplies over.





    The road continued up to a fairly good-sized town, which twisted and turned so much that the GPS got confused. I worked my way up and down the super steep streets, and I'm not kidding about super steep, out the other side of town. People definitely were surprised at my presence, and a slow dribble of vehicles coming from the other direction seemed to confirm that the road went through.


    [​IMG]

    It wasn't long before the blacktop became dirt with major rain ruts. It was very bad in some places and I began to question whether this was a good idea. It was the first real offroad workout I've had on the bike on this trip. The Heidenau's we're great in the shallow mud and gripped like glue in the dirt. Love these tires!

    It was hard to believe this was the route to the Copan border crossing. Several times I stopped and walked ahead, having learned years ago about getting a big GS turned around at the bottom of a steep muddy hill. I pushed on in the heat and crossed several mud debris areas. It culminated in a long muddy downhill with a river crossing at the bottom. As I sat looking, a 4 x 4 Toyota pickup full of people came down the hill behind me and I watched him cross to see the depth and softness since it was apparent a lot of water had come through recently.



    I got the bike through the rushing water and the soft stuff, to the gaze of the onlookers in the truck. They did not smile and were intently trying to figure out why this huge gringo was on such a small road in their territory. I passed the truck and worked my way up some pretty steep hills with a lot of loose gravel and ruts. My GPS said that the main road lay one mile ahead and I was elated after working so hard in the heat. The road improved slightly which seemed to indicate it was nearing another main road, then got worse and turned steeply downhill. Halfway down I saw 2 ladies washing clothes in the water running through the ditch. From where they were, the road went downhill steeply and I decided I better walk it first. I got the bike angled in such away that I had somewhat of a chance of getting turned around. A few steps down the hill and to my disappointment saw the last bridge completely washed away. There was absolutely no chance of making it the last mile. If I could, I only had a remaining 10 miles to the border.


    End of the road señor!
    [​IMG]

    I see-sawed the bike back around, watched intently by the two expressionless ladies washing clothes in the mud red water next to me. My only choice was back through all the obstacles, crossing the river, mud and dirt track once again. The heat and hard work had taken it's toll and I was getting very tired.

    Passing all the incredulous people and chickens again, I finally made it back to the initial landslide bridge. As I rolled across towards two officers, the female turned to see me a few feet from her. It was such a shock she almost jumped off the ground. I will never forget her eyes and face at the utter shock of seeing a huge guy on a huge GS rolling out towards her. Other than an alien, this was the last sight she ever expected. I laughed out loud.






    [​IMG]

    I waved at all the policeman and soldiers who'd watched me go past an hour earlier, who whistled and waved back, then continued on back down to the town and the main highway. It was now 5 pm and my 100 mile trip had taken me seven hours only to go back to a new starting point, which would mean heading much further south and coming back up to Copan.

    I was tired, dehydrated and hungry. Stopping on the side of the road to assess what to do next, a young lady and guy walked passed. Suddenly the girl spun around with a huge look of surprise and a smile. She ran over to the bike shouting "mil doscientos! mil doscientos!" She was truly elated at seeing a BMW 1200 Adventure and seemed to know a bit about it. What a shock. In broken English she said "I never see in person!". I asked if they would like to take a picture but she acted sad and indicated she didn't have her phone. I motioned to them and then pulled over to safe place, pulled off my gear and pulled out my phone. They were excited and she had a blast getting her picture taken on the bike, then with my jacket on which almost touched the ground on her, she was so small. They walked away excitedly chattering about the bike and I texted the photos to her phone... with an immediate response from her esposo wanting to know who I was and how I knew her :eek:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    By this time it was 5:30 and I was completely beat, having spent the entire day trying to go 100 miles. From my hotel in Zacapa, it shows to be about 60 miles to the border tomorrow. When I left my hotel this morning I only had to go 100 miles. Seven hours later I still have 60 or 70 miles left to go.

    Guatemala, every damn day is an adventure.
  18. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,710
    Location:
    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    Head's up for Vato Jinete and others who might be heading south...

    The immigration officer for Honduras said the Las Manos crossing (south of Danli) into Nicaragua was the only safe one, and for me not to cross anywhere else. Maybe because I'm solo. Luckily it was on my plan anyway but wanted to pass that along.
    G-Tex, Davidprej and powderzone like this.
  19. Vato Jinete

    Vato Jinete Feo del Norte

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    769
    Location:
    Excelsior, MN via San Antonio, TX
    Wow, thanks it is much appreciated. We head out Saturday.
  20. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,710
    Location:
    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    There was heavy rain all night in Zacapa, and it continued until almost 11 the next morning. I retrieved the bike from the parking area between downpours and packed up. The hotel was decent, costing 110 quetzals which is about 15 USD, but it was a fourth floor walkup. People were friendly and they definitely don't see many gringos here!

    I rode up the streets, the water having been so strong it blew the concrete manhole covers off and people had piled up trash or sticks around the holes to ward off drivers. Several men carried customized pistols on their belt, as I'd seen in many of the towns in Guatemala. Open carry is obviously okay here. I read somewhere that over 60% of the population is armed. They do like 12 gauge pumps that's for sure.

    Again, Copan Ruinas was my destination and I suited up in rain gear for the inevitable. I topped off at a Shell station (they take credit cards in Guatemala btw) and was on my way up into the mountains. Evidence of massive rain was everywhere, with lots of mud and debris in patches along the way, roaring red rivers watched by locals from old bridges, and mountains covered in mist and rain clouds. Over the ranges, the skies were black and foreboding.

    [​IMG]


    The tropical storm forming off Nicaragua and Honduras made me nervous about proceeding, to a degree, and I considered going back to Antigua for a couple more days, but the idea of 5 -7 hours in the mud and trucks on the highway back was more than I could stand.


    [​IMG]


    Along the way man after man and boy after boy walked along the highway, well used machetes in hand, silent symbols of difficult lives. Bundles of firewood testified to life in the little villages, where the basics of fire and water consumed their daily existence. Withered crops of corn covered the clear cut hillsides, which expose the land to rain and the subsequent mud slides. No wonder the cartel culture is attractive to locals when it offers the lure of money and a way out.

    There is no missing the fact this is a poor country, where one does anything and everything to live, and yet they are friendly and helpful each place I stop and each place I go.

    The constant rain and difficult roads have dulled my senses and I'm taking very few photos, almost feeling the need to just race through Central America. The rain, relentless potholes and dangerous traffic occupy your mind and when the photo opportunity arises there is no place to stop. No shoulders or place to get out of the way of big trucks. Your gear is wet at night and still wet in the mornings, your clothes are damp and smelly and your boots never really dry. The gods of stink must be considering me for the Hall of Fame.

    Having read up on the process of an "easy" crossing at El Florido (Copan), it seemed simple enough. The rush of excitement and concern hit as the town crossing finally appeared. There were no vehicles to speak of, but the process went wonky early on. It wasn't exactly clear just where the line of the border was despite the gate, and the buildings didn't seem to match what I'd read. The gate guard on the Guatemalan side told me (in Spanish) to park there and I'd need 2 copies of title, driver's license, Guatemalan papers, passport, registration and maybe something else. He checked my VIN and paperwork then pointed to a building across the street for "copias". As I dug out and readied my papers, he came back and pointed to a different building. Off I went into that office, only to be told no copies could be made, despite the presence of large copier. He pointed down the street and ignored me.

    [​IMG]

    I wandered further down asking people "copias?" until one pointed further away to another building. In I went and saw "fotocopias" scrawled on a piece of paper pointing upstairs. Up I went to find two locked doors and no one there. Back downstairs, a man appeared eating a piece of fruit with the juice dripping off his chin and fingers. I said "copias?" and he pushed past me and went upstairs. I followed, he opened an office and proceeded to start copying my documents. He indicated that I only needed one but I insisted on two of each.

    Now I'm sweating in all my gear, and carried the docs back to the gate where I was surrounded by guys wanting to look at the bike and talk for a while. After sweating a few more minutes, the gate guard lifted the bar and pointed to a parking lot ahead. I pulled up and parked, then asked a money changer for "Aduana" and he pointed to a large building further ahead. I walked up first, then back, to ride the bike to the building.

    Usually you cancel the bike permit, then yourself. The nice looking building appeared to be a joint Inmigracion/Aduana for both Guatemala and Honduras. I carried my things in and went to the immigration window, where I was then sent to another window. The girl was eating lunch but spoke a tiny bit of English and had a sweet nature. She took my Guatemala papers, went to the bike and checked the VIN, then peeled off the Guatemalan windshield sticker and affixed it to her form. She then took several of my copies and told me to go back to the immigration window to get my visa work done and a stamp on the copy of my passport. Halfway through the process, after having my fingerprints scanned and a photo taken, the officer stopped the proceedings and indicated there was no exit stamp in my passport from Guatemala.

    I had no idea I was actually in the Honduran side of things since the Guatemalan guard had sent me to the building and when the lady removed the sticker and did the VIN check I assumed the office was for Guatemala. Back down the street to the tiny Guatemalan immigration building and in ten minutes had my stamp. Back up the street and into the Honduran Aduana/Immigration, I found the friendly immigration agent on lunch leave and a surly replacement instead. He was grouchy and unfriendly, taking a long time to redo my prints and passport. He then quoted me the price for entry in lempira, but I only had 315 quetzals and a $100 bill. As I started to go outside for a money changer, he suddenly mentioned quetzal and said "trescientos". Amazingly I had the 300 q and then he sent me back to the sweet girl, who asked for my stamped copy of the passport. The guy hadn't stamped the copy, but then came over to her to discuss. Now, instead, I needed a copy of the stamped passport, rather than a stamped copy of my passport. The dude felt sorry for me and made the copy himself.

    All in order, she handed me back my remaining copies and originals, and said "You are free to go into Honduras!" I asked about a decal or something for the bike and she turned over the paperwork copy, showed me some stamps on the back and said "This is all you need."

    Okay, but it seemed odd. Nevertheless I geared up and rode past the guard hut in Honduras, only to be stopped by the gate guy. He asked for papers, then said "No" and pointed back to the building. Back inside, the nice girl was gone and Mr. Surly was my only point of contact. I said something about the moto and he said "aduana" and pointed to a lady in the far corner.

    I went and disturbed her, asking about the moto and she wasn't happy, saying "aduana" and pointing out the door, then looking at me like I was an idiot. I was, but I still resented it.

    Out the door and onto the porch, there were three glass doors, all which said "Authorized personnel only" and nothing about Aduana. I walked past them and out of the building, finding a policemen who pointed me back to the building. Back on the porch, the guy who'd done my very first copies sat pointing to one of the glass doors. I went in and found several desks but no one there. After a while, a man came out, perturbed at my presence and grouchy because I didn't speak Spanish. He looked at my copies and then said he needed two of everything. Dammit! I had one of everything left. Back outside and after asking around found a snack store across the street, the owner who didn't want to be bothered firing up his computer and scanning the copies, printing one of each.

    As I walked back towards the Aduana, Mr. Surly had come outside and was walking past the bike. He came up to wish me "Buen viaje" then warned me to cross into Nicaragua at Las Manos, indicating it was the only safe crossing. I thanked him and he shook my hand.

    Back inside with Mr. Grouchy, we muddled through the process - eventually. He said he needed 735 lempiras. When I stood to go get the 100 USD changed, a man with him said he'd change the money. I'm sure he made a bit on the deal but I was ready to get going. Then Mr. Grouchy indicated he had no change, so his friend swapped out the large bills.

    Back out to look at the moto and finally my yellow form to show the gate guard. Mr. Grouchy became less grouchy and indicated I was to turn in the paperwork in Honduras before Nicaragua. I was soaked with sweat in my gear and it wasn't even hot at the crossing. On the bike and off to the gate, where the guard smiled at the document for the bike and I was on my way. Finally Honduras! And only two hours at the border! Yeeeeeeeeha!!!

    [​IMG]

    In short order I was in Copan Ruinas just as the weather hit hard. I found a hotel in the rain that had decent reviews, and sloshed upstairs. The hostess said they had no room for 2 nights and all the town was booked solid due to this being the main vacation week in Honduras. Dammit! I'd planned to stay a couple of nights. When I asked if I could stay one night, she thought a while and disappeared for about 15 minutes. She returned and said they had a "unique" room for me for one night, which was a dark stone grotto with a huge stone hot tub. Dry of course. I was happy to get it.

    [​IMG]

    After finally getting the gear in the room and some fresh clothes on, the rain stopped and I wandered out into Copan. It's a small, quaint village with steep and seriously rough cobblestones. There are some funky spots and it seems like a cool little town.

    Tuksaplenty
    [​IMG]





    [​IMG]




    Tons of dirt bikes here and in Guatemala for good reason
    [​IMG]





    [​IMG]





    [​IMG]

    At the main square they'd set up vendors cooking food and a dance event was firing up for later. The massive speakers and thumping rap, mixed with traditional music for the dances was a bit of a flop, but the US culture is alive and well in every country I've hit.


    [​IMG]






    [​IMG]







    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]






    [​IMG]

    Breakfast had worn off hours before and I dined on some salty grilled chicken while the cook kept chasing a dog out from under my table with a stick. She finally connected with canine tush and with a yelp he was gone. I then wandered a bit in the dark to collect a few more souls with the camera.


    [​IMG]







    [​IMG]








    [​IMG]








    [​IMG]