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Discussion in 'Americas' started by Be Gone For Good, Dec 14, 2016.
Hommie, be CAREFUL in La Ceiba. I have been there and you can get into trouble without even trying. One of the only places in CA I would say that about. Watch your six, and be careful of interacting with the natives. I am usually not guarded, but it's one of the only places I have ever been and had problems.
Watch. Your. Ass.
I know we've already been putting in significant miles and I've seen parts of this country I've never seen before but can we all agree traveling into Mexico is different? It's more exciting and frankly, I'm a little juiced to add the first stamp to my new passport. This is the first time I've crossed the Mexico border on land. It seems silly to say but I'm looking forward to seeing this border experience first hand. It may be great. It may be a struggle but it doesn't really matter. Some would say we are defined by the hardships we endure more so than the happiness we enjoy. I believe there is certainly some truth to that notion but ultimately I'm just looking to collect stories. I want to know because I've seen it, felt it and tasted it. I want to know the visceral qualities that can only be gleaned from a walk along the path.
I recognize my ability to keep everyone updated may be greatly diminished as I travel beyond our ever present cell coverage but I'll do my best to cobble together some means of disseminating info. Please keep track of our progress and feel free to send messages of encouragement or questions as we make our way down to Honduras.
Thank you for everyone wishing us well and all those checking out the website and blogs.
Will do for sure Skid. We have heard a lot of heads-ups and warnings of various kinds so we are certainly on alert. Hopefully if things fall into place as planned our time there will be pretty short. I will keep you updated and with any luck we won't repeat your rough experiences.
I don't mean to be frightening, and nothing too serious happened, but it was only luck that got me out of it, and it was the skin of my teeth close to something very serious. If you can pick up a copy of "God's Middle Finger" someplace to read, do so. It's a great read and gives some great tips about traveling in dangerous areas. You'll want to go to Sinaloa next!
1. Have a destination, and make sure you have a check in (daily). "I am going to the ____ hotel and will call from there tonight."
2. Try to know someone where are are going, if you don't know someone, see if you can get a referral from someone who does. "I am traveling to the ____ family's house, do you know the ____ family?"
3. Try not to be out after nightfall traveling on the roads (cities are a different story, use your judgement there).
4. Have a plan and rules and stick to them.
On the positive, Mexico, Guatemala, and most of Honduras are amazing, and Utila and Roatan are amazing. Or they were 20 years ago.
Good luck on your trip.
I am so curious what happened. You have my interest piqued for sure. We are spending the night seaside just north of Veracruz. Nice digs tonight.
I am very glad that everything is going well BGFG.
Well, first-person info can be the best if it's recent experience. Conditions are constantly changing down there.
While it's good to have a plan and daily check-in (I do this myself) it's best to not be overly driven by itinerary. That's where mistakes are made. There's nowhere you have to be by day's end. Just get somewhere safe and sound.
Instead of reading a book written over ten years ago by an author of questionable sincerity why not read some of the recent Ride Reports right here on ADVRider? I suspect you already have read some.
And don't be too surprised if just when you start to feel like a badass adventurer you encounter a young couple heading back north from Ushuaia. On their bicycles. Loaded with camping gear. Happened to me in Guate. Rather humbling. Ha!!
We just sort of haphazardly started hanging out with a local, or rather he started hanging out with us. We assumed it was a casual interaction, and he was friendly (he seemed well-dressed, educated). But instead he lead us into a robbery/kidnapping situation (mistake #1 we didn't control the agenda) . Luckily the guys had made a rather quick plan and not put much thought into it, and while one was holding a machete on us, the other went to get a car (had they planned this part better, I am not sure where it would have gone), we got the drop on the guy when he turned around and were able to over-power him and run away. All we lost was some cash, but it was very, very sketchy. Had the car arrived or if they had a gun, I am not sure where it would have gone. We were young and stupid, but were traveled and not looking for trouble.
BUT, here's the thing about that area - people are desperately poor, and it's a high-crime area, to the point that's it's a business sector. No matter how smart you are, what precautions you take, what processes you follow, you will be a target there. Especially if you roll into town on a newish KTM (don't know what you are riding, just an example) and have the gear on. People will be scheming on how to relieve you of your belongings or worse. If you give them the right opportunity, they will take it.
Make sure you are following your agenda, do not let others (particularly others you do not know) direct where you go or what you do.
Watch out for the police too - I do not know if you have traveled in CA much, so forgive me if I am being presumptuous - but here's how a bribe usually unfolds. They pull you over, tell you have have done something bad, and need to come with them. DO NOT GO WITH THEM. Pull out your cell phone tell them you are calling the US Consulate (make a show of doing this, whether you actually do it or not). Then tell them you are on a very tight schedule, need to catch a boat/plane/etc. and ask if there is any way that you could take care of this here. They will tell you how much work it is for them to do that, and that there is extra costs involved. You act thankful, tell them how generous they are and get the bribe amount. Don't haggle unless it is ridiculous.
Wow guy. Passive aggressive much? Did you read the OP's post? His entire trip is pretty much driven by itinerary, but you probably didn't bother to read very much before dispensing your sage advice. Because you know, right?
Been following along since post #1.
Yes, most trips can be defined as itinerary-driven. My caution was to not be "overly driven" by it such that mistakes are made.
And, yes, it is sage advice that has been repeatedly given here on ADVRider by those who do know. This may actually be the
biggest mistake first-time Mexico riders make. No one here wants to see another OZYMANDIAS incident.
If you have any more criticism for me take it to PM.
Wow guy. Passive aggressive much? Did you read the OP's post? His entire trip is pretty much driven by itinerary, but you probably didn't bother to read very much before dispensing your sage advice. Because you know, right?""
Now whom is being the aggressive one ?
Actually I think it was you who hasn't read the entire thread , or you would have realized that Skizz on Sept 11 already proved he had done such .
Your late arrival to add some useful suggestions was appreciated but you are over reacting with your put down of Skizz .
Skidmarkart , You are way too sensitive .! Next thing you might be sending your second to challenge him to a duel at dawn .
This is a public thread where newcomers can drop in and drop out at any time. Everybody may offer constructive suggestions for the benefit of ALL readers , not particular or exclusive to the original poster. Skizz was merely providing the worthwhile comment for such fleeting visitors that if possible it is best to avoid being driven and being limited by some strict travel plan .
I didn't insult your suggestions, as you did to mine. I was delivering my first hand experience as well a read that I thoroughly enjoyed and had some really useful travel info in it. There was no need to insult it as "10 years ago, and of questionable sincerity". Sorry if you don't want to get what you dish out returned.
I would expect anyone who post here to read the ride reports, otherwise, why come here?
Hey all, I appreciate ALL the comments and understand that everyone's experience is bound to be different. That is why it is so important to read a variety of reports. Some people will take it extremely safe, some will get a little "reckless" but we all have the same goal. We want to have fun, gather experiences and stay safe. We may prioritize those differently but the value is in understanding where you are drawing those lines and the consequences of doing so. It is all a learning opportunity and I truly thank everyone who has read and posted here because it has helped immensely.
Today, I am posting from a pleasant little surprise in Villahermosa. We came into town late and got to see evening traffic which was hectic but a ton of fun. I loved jockeying for space and using cooperation more than rules of the road to make it to where we were going. It has been grand. With any luck I can post some new videos today so please keep reading and commenting.
When I get stopped (Honduras or home) I hope to do a deeper dive with lessons learned and any helpful experiences so future readers might be able to use my info to create their own "battle plans".
Oh and as a fun aside...we got our first pull over by military and police. It was a joint effort right as we were coming out of El Tajin. They seemed pretty nonchalant about the pull over. There were no guns raised and no screaming or anything but I started just a tinge anxious. From there I made sure to get side by side just as a measure of support and so both riders could see what was going on.
From there the stop went perfectly pleasantly. Joe was asked to get out papers and some questions about where we came from and where we were headed. I was asked to open some of the bags. In my tank bag he sorted through some rags and my cords. Then pointed to another pocket where the only item of interest were my bag of earplugs which he quickly dismissed. He motioned for me to open the bag on the tail which is a bit of a pain with all the locks and straps on it. I, of course, didn't treat it like a hassle but began unbuckling everything I could. Once the bag was open and he saw last night's underwear and my ratty sweatpants he seemed satisfied I wasn't the criminal element they were seeking.
Truth be told, I think they just wanted to break up the monotony of their day with a look around. It didn't seem hostile or aggressive in any way and the guys were all super friendly with a couple of guys desperately trying to get our Spanish in order. We parted ways and shook hands with a few of the guys as I told them I was in Marinas en Estado Unidos and Joe was former Navy. They shook their heads with understanding and we were off.
The only regret we had was I had forgotten in the moment to offer stickers to the guys and secure a picture with them. It was an impressive scene with the police and military working this site and all the rifles and vehicles.
Maybe next time...