SF to Panama... eventually

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by stickfigure, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. ExOze

    ExOze Adventurer

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    Jeff, first of all I have really enjoyed your RR and have taken copious notes just in case I'm fortunate enough to follow in your tracks some day. As far as the Zumo goes, I have the non-locking Touratech mount that seems much more durable than the OEM piece. It has several rubber isolators and it hasn't failed me yet...although my excursions to date pale in comparison to yours.

    [​IMG]

    Safe journey home...
  2. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    Just to give you fair warning so you don't yell at me later... the smellybiker maps are good to have but the quality varies from country to country. They were good in Panama, ok in Nicaragua, and horrible in Honduras. But then the paper maps were horrible in Honduras too.

    Ride the bike you have the most fun on... but definitely make sure that you know where your service intervals will put you!

    I have some questions for you about the G1 but I'll do it in PM 'cause I doubt everyone else wants to read our geekery :jjen
  3. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    That might help the main unit survive better, but it still leaves the cradle problem. The basic Garmin mount is still there:

    <img src="http://www.touratech-usa.com/shop/media2/01-065-0142-01.jpg"/>

    The problem is the connector. Those pins are small, springed, and suffer severely from electrolytic corrosion. Take a look at this:

    <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3141/2634097803_de20fd0213.jpg"/>

    There is no way this unit can survive long in a high-moisture environment like Central America. The little rubber cap (which tends to crack and break off anyways) does not make a very good seal. The connector is under-engineered.

    You might say that part of the problem is leaving the cradle on unswitched power. I initially mounted the unit to switched power and got sick and tired of having to press "Yes, keep running on battery" every time I turned off the bike to talk to someone. So that is not a solution. Near as I can tell the only way to reduce (but not eliminate) this problem is to put a separate hard switch on the dash and remember to turn it off every time I dismount the unit.

    Lame lame lame. Garmin failed. Oh, and the fact that they do not allow any of their merchants to ship a new cradle internationally is a huge slap in the face. I get angry thinking about it. Thanks for fucking me in Mexico, Garmin.

    On the other hand, I'm not sure TomTom is any better. I'm going to research it though.

    Jeff
  4. mookymoo

    mookymoo Mookish Mook

    Joined:
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    Mine failed similarly - in shorter time and in fairer conditions.
    You have to treat it with something: ACF50 - or electrolitic grease - else those pins are always going to go.

    Whats worse is that the underside of the unit itself - the contact plates are very thin. If they corrode or get physically damaged (vibration) then it just makes no contact.
    I had a cradle then a unit fail inside 6 months.

    The only alternative is something like a 276C - which has no cradle.
  5. mikebikeboy

    mikebikeboy Adventurer

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    Good deal---I'll be researching this further then...As much as it might be annoying that there aren't great maps of all these countries in one provider, it also means that these countries are still great places for adventure...

    As for the bike I'm still trying to figure out some things like tire availablity which might be an issue since my rims are 17 inch supermoto ones...and I can't figure out if they are actually tubeless or not...anyway I won't dominate this thread with my stuff since it's you're thread...but thanks for the tips.

    And for the G1, pm me and Geeks Unite! :gerg
  6. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    Funny, this is actually somewhat relevant... Gavin went through the same process to find 17" dualsport tires for his Multistrada. After a lot of research, we found two different dualsport-ish tires for his bike:

    * Pirelli MT60
    * Avon Distanzia

    You might have more options; his rear tire is huge and rarely seen in dualsport tread.

    Done :)
  7. mikebikeboy

    mikebikeboy Adventurer

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    Thanks for the tire tips!

    I've got another thread going over at CafeHusky.com and a member there has recently really helped me out with tires that work on 17'' rims. Here's the link for any who are interested:

    http://www.cafehusky.com/forums/showthread.php?p=9386#post9386

    There are a few options out there. Not sure the availability of tires like these in Central America though. Might have to buy a couple extra and throw them around my neck! :amazon
  8. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=lanquin,+guatemala&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=33.572881,50.097656&ie=UTF8&cd=1&ll=15.929638,-90.703125&spn=5.090525,7.042236&z=7"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3286/3038957612_8043087ffe.jpg"/></a>

    Our next stop was Semuc Champey, an amazing limestone formation in central Guatemala. Nir and I rode up while Scott took a bus and met us a day later. The rains had left the road covered with mudslides:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3032301925/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3269/3032301925_f345b4854a.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3032299523/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3165/3032299523_aea5e6f4af.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3033148488/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3050/3033148488_9bcdbf45c5.jpg"/></a>

    The ride was beautiful though:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3033145934/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3173/3033145934_4fca7076b7.jpg"/></a>

    We stayed at a hostel/ecoresort in Lanquin called El Retiro Lodge. The place was *full* of Israelis! Out of about 80 people, maybe five of us were <i>goyim</i>. Armed with my new vocabulary I blended right in, although I'm sure everyone was wondering why our conversations were so short and always revolved around street food.

    Apparently this week marked the beginning of a long Israeli holiday so in addition to the usual army escapees there were also many vacationers. While it made the lodge crowded (the first couple nights we had to sleep in hammocks), I was happy because it also meant there were other adults to play with. They taught me <i>Yaniv</i>; I tought them Spades and Pinochle.

    We also, of course, went out to Semuc Champey. It's about a 40 minute ride from Lanquin along a steep muddy road. Nir and I left the bikes "at home" so we could hang out with our friends, but it turns out that standing in the back of a 4x4 is actually pretty fun.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3033155984/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3177/3033155984_e3eac9348b.jpg"/></a>

    From a high vantage point, here is Semuc Champey:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3034578200/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3161/3034578200_a03c7b0e1c.jpg"/></a>

    A shot with an orchid in it for my mom:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3034580184/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3226/3034580184_e399e1a9b6.jpg"/></a>

    Hi mom!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3033750541/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3159/3033750541_b5317db438.jpg"/></a>

    Hi Nir's mom!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3033745957/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3241/3033745957_6409c2fa1c.jpg"/></a>

    Down below:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3035960939/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3166/3035960939_f5d0b2a67d.jpg"/></a>
    <small>Yael's Photo</small>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3036736840/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3073/3036736840_5242516334.jpg"/></a>
    <small>Yael's Photo</small>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3036812078/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3035/3036812078_96c42cfd23.jpg"/></a>
    <small>Yael's Photo</small>

    There is a huge river that runs through a cave underneath the limestone formations. Here is where it goes underneath:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3033755779/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3293/3033755779_3ff5d0e6c3.jpg"/></a>

    Here is where it comes out:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3033766359/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3213/3033766359_542e458b89.jpg"/></a>

    And here is some food from the El Retiro Lodge. There are no "options" for dinner per-se; they make one big batch of food and you're either in or out. It was good. This night was some sort of Italian buffet:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3050668493/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3037/3050668493_a2f726e5c5.jpg"/></a>
  9. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    Semuc Champey offers much to the aspiring adrenaline junkie.

    First, jumping off a huge rope swing into the river:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3032346633/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3035/3032346633_e0178b1132.jpg"/></a>

    This waterfall flows out of a cave higher up on the side of the hill:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3034556232/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3063/3034556232_a20ce6d849.jpg"/></a>

    We climbed into the cave!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3033534915/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3031/3033534915_bbb8b2955a.jpg"/></a>

    We went about a kilometer back into the cave, swimming at times, climbing up rickety steel ladders at others:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3034417492/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3204/3034417492_109f231d97.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3034439622/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3048/3034439622_7909e9f3fc.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3034487828/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3240/3034487828_cb83344295.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3033648529/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3147/3033648529_691505dc7f.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3033651009/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3140/3033651009_3e9e212097.jpg"/></a>

    At the end was a waterfall that you could climb around behind. Unfortunately flash pictures don't come out very well with the amount of spray in the air and it was otherwise dark except for a couple petzl-type flashlights.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3033642525/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3062/3033642525_73f8005641.jpg"/></a>

    Speaking of climbing, I couldn't resist doing a little bouldering. Other than the camera flash, the only light came from the little petzl on my wrist:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3033646091/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3163/3033646091_b3e9fb63bf.jpg"/></a>

    Now the crazy part. One part of the route inside the cave requires climbing up a ladder over a large wall. The water flows down through a small hole roughly like a drain. Looking towards the drain:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3034467130/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3001/3034467130_06fb9ea823.jpg"/></a>

    Would you crawl down this hole? Remember that it is nearly pitch-black.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3035978548/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3231/3035978548_14143c8278.jpg"/></a>

    Scott and I did. You have to hold your breath while making the plunge.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3033653235/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3167/3033653235_70d10c4c55.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3035821760/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3223/3035821760_024ccfcb3e.jpg"/></a>

    Once you start an adrenaline binge it's hard to stop. What a pretty bridge.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3033731341/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3295/3033731341_9ed119a4de.jpg"/></a>

    There wasn't a sign saying "No Jumping"!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3034565242/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3013/3034565242_d107e50aaa.jpg"/></a>

    We wrapped the day up with a nice relaxing inner-tube ride down the swollen river with no lifejackets.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3034548064/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3030/3034548064_9d8276bf66.jpg"/></a>

    Awwww...

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3033711899/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3233/3033711899_1a1df2c5bf.jpg"/></a>

    It was brilliant to bring a waterproof camera on this trip.
  10. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    There is another, much larger cave system in Lanquin called "Grutas de Lanquin". Gruta means cave. Go figure.

    This cave system apparently goes back hundreds of kilometers.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3033776001/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3048/3033776001_6e6a53e274.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3033768345/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3063/3033768345_43da03777d.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3033780153/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3062/3033780153_e5a6123123.jpg"/></a>

    "Hey Scott, want a live cave spider?"

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3033772489/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3161/3033772489_8de9f18bd8.jpg"/></a>

    "Of course I do!"

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3034613346/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3210/3034613346_f5d50349c5.jpg"/></a>

    The amazing thing about this cave is that it is home to millions of bats of several different species.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3033766409/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3242/3033766409_b0fed4e0cd.jpg"/></a>

    At night they emerge.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3033785877/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3072/3033785877_c420e7c4d5.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3034636098/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3181/3034636098_8b44a50ed8.jpg"/></a>

    If you stand in the entrance, they fly by your head!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3033795937/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3275/3033795937_15565d034f.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3033790771/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3289/3033790771_fcfb922bbd.jpg"/></a>
  11. Geddo

    Geddo ADV-11

    Joined:
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    I just stumbled on this thread this week, wondered why it was at the top when it was a year old... you are still on the trip :eek1

    Excellent RR I have really enjoyed it so far, thought for sure that by the time I reached page 25 you would have already been back. Keep up the great report :lurk


    Glad it isn't over yet!
  12. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    After eleven months of travel and seventeen thousand miles, my novia anaranjada chose Saltillo, Mexico (four days from home!) to throw a tantrum that it can't be placated with a few trinkets and a light massage by the right mechanic. Some major bearing failed in my KTM 640A's engine :(:

    I'm posting this out of order in wild hope that someone might be able to offer some advice or help in this thread. On the bright side, sitting around waiting for bike repair probably means I will have time to catch up the last month and a half :2cry

    [​IMG]
  13. drivenbydiscovery

    drivenbydiscovery ´¯`•...¸>`•.¸¸.•

    Joined:
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    wow, really sorry to hear this SF. believe it or not, i know EXACTLY how you feel

    wish there was something i could do for you, but i'm way up in the northeast.

    goodluck.
  14. hetman

    hetman Been here awhile

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    San Francisco
    Doh, that sucks.. hope you can get it repaired with minimal hassle. Maybe your bike is telling you to stay in Mexico (it's getting cold in San Francisco now)!
  15. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=flores,+el+peten,+guatemala&sll=16.630929,-89.890137&sspn=2.541985,3.658447&ie=UTF8&ll=16.667769,-90.648193&spn=5.081786,7.316895&z=7"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3053/3059169247_3ae360756f.jpg"/></a>

    Nir and I planned to ride north into the Yucatan through Flores, Tikal, and Belize. Scott had already been there so we arranged to meet up in a week in Tulúm.

    We found an obscure, mountainous dirt road north out of Lanquin.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3051509518/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3291/3051509518_820c07401a.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3050673441/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3208/3050673441_9aa750d62a.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3051514772/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3070/3051514772_94bd005ec0.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3050674769/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3011/3050674769_18d881c725.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3050669685/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3035/3050669685_a075778999.jpg"/></a>

    After a couple hours we came across a road that was under construction. The guy at the roadblock said the road would be open in a couple hours; we decided to see for ourselves.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3050678599/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3150/3050678599_dedf5b4420.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3051518298/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3296/3051518298_5f130f0fb4.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3050680971/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3276/3050680971_bd316623f4.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3051521516/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3286/3051521516_222e2534b5.jpg"/></a>

    While the weather was great for our ride, it was pretty obvious that the northern part of Guatemala was getting a lot of rain. This lake was pretty badly flooded, consuming the buildings along the banks:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3051523522/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3161/3051523522_64610d3b1b.jpg"/></a>

    The ferry across was an outboard motor mounted on a swiveling disc.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3050690369/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3057/3050690369_d1138a70bc.jpg"/></a>

    By the time we got to Flores both Nir and I discovered that our Happy Trails racks had torn and needed welding. I am saving up a great deal of bile for a future rant about how poorly this product has performed.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3050737047/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3034/3050737047_34c5820514.jpg"/></a>

    By the way, it is true, those charcoal canisters actually do "fall off":

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3050736029/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3048/3050736029_ea4b8a7ace.jpg"/></a>

    Flores itself is a beautiful little town on an island in a lake, connected to shore by a small bridge. It's touristy in a cute way. I like it. The view from our balcony:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3050742079/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3229/3050742079_a0988c2005.jpg"/></a>

    There is one restaurant in town that sells exotic meats. The armadillo stew was interesting but not amazing:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3051582444/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3209/3051582444_d01e3b68cc.jpg"/></a>

    I've seen a lot of amazing sunsets on this trip, but this was one of the best:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3051579120/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3221/3051579120_1b77bd77d1.jpg"/></a>
  16. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=tikal,+guatemala&ie=UTF8&ll=16.583552,-90.648193&spn=5.315437,6.9104&z=7"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3045/3059277603_497405750f.jpg?v=0"/></a>

    Nir and I made the short ride from Flores to the Mayan ruins at Tikal.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3051588200/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3201/3051588200_abfe390968.jpg"/></a>

    Tikal, in the middle of the jungle, is the most stunning set of ruins I have yet seen.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3050754905/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3276/3050754905_ef44069500.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3051594818/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3009/3051594818_22c8d72355.jpg"/></a>

    The day involved a *lot* of stairs:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3050760187/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3237/3050760187_81ccebd3cf.jpg"/></a>

    It rained. It rained a lot. From the top of the temples we could hear the rain approaching from the distance, striking the foliage below, gradually growing louder until BAM we were suddenly under a deluge.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3051600246/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3247/3051600246_43fdb43aa0.jpg"/></a>

    On the plus side, the rain scared off almost everyone so we pretty much had the park to ourselves. It wasn't too hard to imagine the first European explorers stumbling across the ruins.

    During its heyday, Tikal would have been pretty much entirely deforested. Probably in a fairly large radius around the city, too. Because of this, I have a hard time imagining what it would have been like. The jungle quickly reclaims its own.
  17. j_seguin

    j_seguin Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    736
    Location:
    Superior CO
    Nice shots of Tikal, Im jealous... it was totally cloudy and drizzling when we were there, and yet still REALLY hot. Sorry to hear about the bike troubles. Good luck getting that all sorted out.
  18. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Oddometer:
    524
    Location:
    Please don't call it 'Frisco
    I love Guatemala.

    The landscape is particularly beautiful; high mountain lakes, volcanoes, jungle canyons, raging rivers, colonial cities, ancient ruins, and more. There is even a Caribbean coastline, although I didn't make it out there on this trip.

    Guatemala vies with Panama for supplying Great Adventure. Caves, river rapids, windy mountain roads - there's a lot for the adrenaline junkie to feed on. Best of all there are no "adults" or lawyers to tell you that you aren't allowed to do something. This truly feels like a free country! Dangerous? Damn right. You have only yourself to blame if you get hurt.

    Best of all, Guatemala is inexpensive - by far the least expensive country in all of Central America to eat, sleep, and play tourist in. If you're traveling on a budget, there is a certain peace in knowing that you can enjoy time here and not worry that you're unduly accelerating the end of your trip.

    Guatemala is one of the more interesting cultural experiences in Central America. The people are far more Mayan and less "westernized" than any other country I visited. Outside the few cities and tourist zones, most people live by subsistence agriculture, and there are large areas of the country where Spanish is a second language - if it is spoken at all. Most women wear traditional Mayan clothes and in some places the men do as well. If you'd like to visit the "real Guatemala", spend a few days in Todos Santos - but realize that this is a game of anthropologist, not tourist. And bring a blanket.

    My impression was that Guatemalans are not as warm and welcoming as the people I met in other countries. I can only speculate that this is related to their recent long civil war, or the still sometimes tense relations between <i>indigenas</i> and <i>ladinos</i>. Guatemaltecos are not unfriendly, they just tend to be much more reserved and quiet compared to their neighbors.

    Guatemala does have a crime problem. Certain (fortunately well-known) roads are frequented by highwaymen, while kidnapping and extortion are thriving enterprises. Gavin met a girl in "hiding" because of threats; I spent some time talking to an Israeli expat who walked away from a business after fighting with extortionists. Guatemala may look like a touristic paradise on the surface but the locals will tell you there are many problems underneath. This is something to consider if you're looking to relocate, but as a visitor, the country is still wonderful.

    I'll be back.
  19. Aussie_Gringo

    Aussie_Gringo The anti-septic

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    7,207
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    I'm glad I found this RR. Really good stuff Stickfigure :thumb especially the good fortune you've had to meet other riders on the road and travel with them. The babes too :evil .

    So, post an update. Last we heard you were stuck in Northern Mexico and 4 days from home.

    :ear
  20. drifter dave

    drifter dave Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
    145
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    Might I ask where you found recent info on the routes frequented by the "Highwaymen"? Sounds like valuable stuff to know.

    I'm doing a Baja/Guatemala/Belize route next year.

    Those caves look incredible - wicked shots of the bats!