Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by lightcycle, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. Shibby!

    Shibby! Long timer

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    I take offense to that... I think that's a "trendy" way of sounding cool by lower IQ people brought on by "reality" tv shows.

    Sounds like people are whining all the time. I can't stand it.

    I'll stop being a grump.

    I'm surprised you said the roads of Guat were better. I didn't have much issue with Belize roads, but found Guat had some fresh sections, but the stuff just south of Tikal had pot holes that could swallow a bike whole.

    We did the same section you did. If you're heading to Copan, you have a great road ahead of you. We did it at night but it was still fun. Further on some more spectacular roads when you get in to the mountains.

    Have fun!
  2. rlkefauver

    rlkefauver kefakruiser

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    "The taco place around the corner from our B&B has become our second home. By now, I've tried almost everything on their menu. The report on the tacos de sesos (brains): it tasted exactly like it sounds. When cooked, it's a white meat. Very mushy, but you could still feel the texture of the brain folds. It was definitely an organ meat and not as salty as muscle. It wasn't bad, but not my favorite taco."

    Okay, I just made it to post 701 and read your desciption of brain taco's and I think I threw up a little bit in my mouth...other than that, great RR, awesome pic's and you two are living the dream. Keep up the good work, hope you never run out of money and just keep riding and posting! :clap
  3. C-Stain

    C-Stain Long timer

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    Guys,

    Love the Ride Report. Out of curiosity, what is your plan as the South American Winter season draws near? I know that Radioman flew home during the fall and winter season to avoid the cooler weather, and since you're all still in Guatemala, how much further south do you think you'll make it before the mountain passes become too cold?

    I've also been reading your the Blog for your trip to Europe. Lots of good info there...Mrs. Stain has agreed to a two-up adventure somewhere between John o'Groats and Cape Town. I'm now doing some feverish reading to figure out where to go...Europe or Africa!

    Love your pics and prose, and anxiously waiting for the next installment.
  4. Trane Francks

    Trane Francks Been here awhile

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    It must be "reasonably new". When I moved to Japan in 1991, the only noticeable rising intonation in normal speech came with the telltale final interrogative "eh" at the end of far too many sentences.

    (Here in Tokyo, the equivalent is "ne", with the same short 'e' sound. I felt right at home. :lol3)
  5. WarLlama

    WarLlama belligerent cameloid

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    The walls are closing in, get out! :eek1

    Sorry, that one got the heebie jeebies going. :lol3

    Great report, loving it, keep it up! :thumb
  6. motoged

    motoged Been here awhile

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    One of my strongest memories of Tikal is the aroma of the limestone walls inside the temples....this pic just brought a whiff of that back :clap

    As for the Canadian end-of-sentence- inflection.....gotta say I never noticed that, aside from the "eh", eh!?

    Don't think it is an outcome of crappy reality shows.....and when studying linguistics/gender issues, it is recognized as more of a female trait than a male one when speaking.

    As for the Canadian thing....that's how you spell Canada:

    "C", eh..."N", eh...."D", eh. :lol3
  7. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

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    Do not miss a stay in San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala (but I am sure you've already planned on going there)!

    The route in at the eastern side of the lake may not be the easiest way, but it makes for a very interesting ride, and the view coming into the lake is awesome!

    Also, when you get to El Salvador, you should visit Conception de Ataco (one of the best places we visited on our trip). It's such a great little town. If you'd like, PM me when you get near there, and a friend we met while we were there might be able to give you a place to stay.
  8. DrSmooth

    DrSmooth I am third

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    Excellent RR! Keep us posted on your travels! I envy you both for making the "free time" to do this.
  9. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    Thanks for taking the time and effort to share your wonderful journey. I'm loving your humor and gorgeous photography.
  10. Shibby!

    Shibby! Long timer

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    I find MOST 20 something females, teens, and sadly enough, THEIR MOTHERS all do that. Hell, we have a office admin lady who is 60 something and does it.

    Grrrr..

    I also don't think most CDN's say Eh. Eastern Canadians, yes. Same with 'Buddy!'. That seems to be isolated to oil workers, southern Saskatchewan people, and eastern Canadians. haha.


    Both of which annoy me.
  11. motoged

    motoged Been here awhile

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    "...eastern Canadians and oilworkers...": By jeez bye, dem's two side by each. :D

    Where ya to next, Gene and Neda ?
  12. Mototabby

    Mototabby n00b

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    Oh, I don't know about that. Several years ago I worked with an IT guy from Victoria, BC. He ended every sentence with "eh". I also learned about brownies, travelers, and getting pissed. :1drink
  13. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/81.html

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    We've got a couple of travel days ahead of us, as we are booked for more Spanish school in Quetzeltenango in the south of Guatemala next week. Since we're dropping into the country at the very north end, we've got some mileage to do, so not a lot of pictures off the bike.

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    We ride through many villages, some tiny, others a bit larger

    It's a rainy ride through the northern department (states are called departments in Guatemala) of Peten. The first time we've ridden in rain for months. The land here is very flat but the hills start to turn into mountains, as we enter the central highlands of the southern region.

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    Vast tracts of farmland everywhere! Guatemala is so lush!

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    Weather is slightly cooler, so we didn't mind donning our rainsuits

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    Women carrying bowls of corn on their head. If they were carrying jars, the jars were always painted with stripes

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    Hilly terrain in the background

    Our stop for the evening is in a town called Coban, in the department of Alta Verapaz. Instead of looking for accommodations right away, we ate a late lunch in a restaurant. When we came out to the bikes, Neda exclaimed, "Oh no! One of my dry bags must have fallen off!" Upon inspection, someone had cut the Rok-Straps holding the bag onto the sidecase and made off with a sleeping bag and pillow. Most of the stuff not in our hardcases are just clothing, sleeping bags and camping equipment. Nothing that we'd thought we'd be too bummed out about if they were stolen.

    Until it was stolen... It's still a hassle having to replace it, and the Drybag and the Rok-Straps are not as easy to find around here. So we are kind of bummed. I'm thinking about getting a PacSafe to secure our drybags, but I'm not sure if it's worth the hassle of locking and unlocking every night.

    The thief hid between Neda's bike and a parked car next to it while he worked away at cutting the straps holding the drybag down. Since we parked on a quiet side-street, they took advantage of the fact that there was little traffic around the area. We are parking in the middle of crowded streets next time!

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    Some colonial buildings in downtown Coban

    After finding a hotel, we walked through the markets in Coban and Neda told me she was half-hoping to find her sleeping bag for sale in one of the stalls!

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    Walking the wet streets of Coban

    Our next riding day to Quetzaltenango was much dryer. Neda's GPS pointed to a 450 km round about way all the way south-east, through Guatemala City and then back west again. My GPS had a much shorter route, although it wasn't on a highway, was only 250 kms! Since we had good luck with my map on the way to Sayaxche, we decided to follow my GPS again.

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    Stuck in a religious parade in the streets of one of the villages we rode through

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    Neda's bike looks unbalanced without the right drybag

    Not to spend too much time dwelling on the stolen drybag, since we've basically shrugged it off by now - there's a saying, "Don't bring anything that you can't afford to lose". However, there were two drybags on Neda's bike, one containing my sleeping bag and an old ratty pillow that Neda's been trying to get me throw out but I love it cause it's so comfortable. The other contains Neda's sleeping bag and a special orthopedic pillow that you can fill with water. This was given to us by a friend before we left. And of course, this was the one that was stolen...

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    The road is getting a bit gravelly... But the scenery rocks! I mean, there are a lot of rocks here...

    The northern road through the mountains of the central highlands turns from broken asphalt to hard packed gravel, and then mud and loose stone. We have to make it to Quetzaltenango to meet our host family in the evening, and our estimated time of arrival is not looking very realistic given the terrain.

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    Steep drop on the left as we encounter wide traffic ahead

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    She'll be coming 'round the mountain when she comes!

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    Amazing views! We are glad we took this route instead of the highway, but it's taking a lot of time

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    "'Let's take the shortcut', he says.
    'This'll save us some time', he says..."

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    Oh, and also mud. Next to sand, our favorite terrain...

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    Some really tiny villages

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    And then a bridge. Is that pavement at the other end?

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    Pavement!

    We were going to be a couple of hours late, so at a restaurant in one of the villages we passed through, we borrowed a phone and called the school to let them know. We arrived in Quetzeltenango late in the evening, with the temperatures dropping to single digits. Shivering in the town square, we waited for our host family to arrive and take us to a warm home.
    Tricky [RCAF] likes this.
  14. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Agreed!

    Don't know, we don't really have a plan that far in advance. That's how we ended up in at the Arctic Ocean in Alaska in September... We haven't done much research as to the best time to travel to these places. When *is* the best time to visit the mountains in South America?

    Thanks for the suggestion, Rocky! I hear you guys are heading out on the road again in June? Seeing how slow we're moving, you'll probably blow right past us. Keep in touch, would be great to meet up along the way!

    Spanish school for a little while longer. Neda is getting sick of being the translator, negotiator, terminator, etc
  15. C-Stain

    C-Stain Long timer

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    :dunno

    I'd suggest sending Radioman a PM and seeing what his feeling on the whole thing is. He's far more experienced than I could ever hope to be in that department. Suches, GA is as far as I've been...

    In for the long haul though...
  16. oldtouring B

    oldtouring B Been here awhile

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    If you need someone in the states who is a gear-oholic to help with replacing the items stolen, I would be happy to help. Just send a PM. Bob
  17. motoged

    motoged Been here awhile

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    Gene and Neda,
    The PacSafe idea is a good one....they come in different sizes and work well off the bike to secure stuff in room....
  18. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    [​IMG]

    Quetzeltenango is quite a mouthful, but the town is also known as Xela (Shay-La), its indigenous name. It's the second largest city in Guatemala, and it's where we're going to stay for the next week learning more Spanish. As in most Latin American towns, the main square, called Parque Central is where most of the people congregate, day and night, and after classes we take the opportunity to walk around and people-watch.

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    This church is called Iglesia del Espiritu Santu

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    Candles vendor outside the church

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    Intense lunch break at Parque Central

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    More leisurely lunch break, man's best friend in tow

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    Neda's Spanish teacher, Susanne. Hours of fun dialog everyday!

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    Our Spanish school has tables scattered all over the building, with teachers and students paired off one-on-one

    Xela is quite a popular place for Spanish classes. Since it's a university town, there's an air of scholarliness everywhere, and it's not uncommon to see coffee shops and diners filled with students deep in study in a textbook. And the tuition fees are a fraction of what we paid in La Paz! We are amazed at the disparity in prices between the two countries. Mexico now seems like a such first-world country compared to Guatemala in terms of the modernity but also how expensive everything was!

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    Shopping in the market after classes, schoolbooks in hand

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    Street vendors having a yak and a laugh

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    Waiting for a bus

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    A couple of fellow students took us to their favorite Mennonite bakery. Yummy pastries here!

    Spanish is still coming very slowly for me. The accent is a little different from Mexico (they say Guatemalans speak a purer form of Spanish, closer to Spain), and some words are bit different here. Plus I'm not a very scholarly person to begin with... I barely scraped by in school and had (still have) trouble sitting still for long periods of time and concentrating on a single task. Neda is the complete opposite and if she had her wish, she'd be a student for life.

    What I really enjoyed about our Spanish school was that every evening, they had extra-curricular activities planned. One night we took some Salsa lessons, and another day, Mario, my Spanish teacher, took us sightseeing. We hiked to the top of a lava dome called El Baul, overlooking Xela to get a better view of the city.

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    The view was nice, but these slides at the top were way more fun! Neda may be a bright Spanish student, but she's a little slow at slides...

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    March beneath our school windows for International Women's Day

    Another trivial comparison between Mexico and Guatemala are the size of the food portions. Both our homestay and restaurant meals were very modest-sized and made our Mexican meals seem Texas-Super-Sized. Because I lack self-control when it comes to eating, I'm very glad that the portions here are normal-size and I can feel myself losing the Taco-Gut I gained in Mexico.

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    Night-time brings out amazing colours in the old city

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    We passed by this vendor's stall every day on the way home from school

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    Buildings around Parque Central

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    Our school is located inside a beautiful colonial building called Pasaje Enriquez, right in the Parque Central. On the ground floor are several bars and restaurants

    On another evening, our school organized a dinner for all the staff and students, and we spent the evening getting to know each other. This was such an amazing opportunity to hear stories very similar to our own. Travellers to Guatemala seem to share that very rare sense of adventure and we all nodded our heads to the familiar questions from back home: "Why on earth do you want to go to Guatemala/Central America/etc?" It was a question that none of us needed to answer, as we already knew.

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    Birds of a feather, flocking together over dinner

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    After dinner, we went out to enjoy Xela's very vibrant nightlife

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    Students and teachers mingle in a nightclub

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    Peruvian pan flute provides a soundtrack to our lively evening
    Tricky [RCAF] likes this.
  19. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    I see you're in Xela. very cool.
    I'm sure you'll visit Lake Atitlan (san pedro and panajachel), market day at Chicicastenango & Antiqua.

    You mentioned there are no great CA GPS maps.
    I've found this package top notch & it's routable.
    http://www.bicimapas.com.mx/LatAm_Eng.htm
    many times better than the free one.
  20. Shibby!

    Shibby! Long timer

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    We took the same gravel road. It was lots of fun! The slide was impressive.

    Great updates. The picture of at night with Neda standing by the door is front page worthy if it had a bike =(