SF to Panama... eventually

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

  1. SS in Vzla.

    SS in Vzla. Totally Normal? I'm not!

    Dec 31, 2006
    Sugar Land, TX
    Quote of the week :clap
  2. quicktoys2

    quicktoys2 ADVrider junkie :)

    Feb 26, 2007
    Patras, Greece
    Wow, scenic and a fun day.

    I can't imagine the salt did any good to your chain, so I hope you also oiled your chain after you guys rinsed the salt off.

  3. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

    Jun 10, 2007
    Please don't call it 'Frisco
    We continued west, skirting along the coast when possible. Often it was. The roads were tiny:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3082870223/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3144/3082870223_b8d0857145.jpg"/></a>

    There wasn't much passing room, not even when stuck behind a smoke-belching, fire-breathing asphalt tar truck:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3083704476/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3061/3083704476_ddd68e5a19.jpg"/></a>

    There wasn't much out there. A few fishing villages, a few decaying buildings:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3083707412/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3149/3083707412_cb62d10ee2.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3083708116/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3220/3083708116_9ef6e401d9.jpg"/></a>

    We stopped in a fishing village for lunch.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3082879441/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3061/3082879441_fdd4628e86.jpg"/></a>

    The sign looked promising. "PESCADO FRITO"

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3083712542/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3101/3083712542_9dbd9b022e.jpg"/></a>

    We grabbed a seat...

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3082874435/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3072/3082874435_4b63faf624.jpg"/></a>

    ...and watched some guys work the nets, unloading their catch:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3083709702/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3176/3083709702_306b076d05.jpg"/></a>

    After a few minutes, one guy walked up with a couple fish and asked us which we wanted... a few minutes later we had this:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3083713744/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3160/3083713744_f1fb938f05.jpg"/></a>

    In Progresso we found a <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=21.312725,-89.668694&spn=0.140731,0.218697&t=h&z=12">seven-kilometer-long pier</a> with cruise ships at the end. We tried to ride out there but the guard wouldn't let us through :fitz

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3082881103/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3290/3082881103_1da23e834b.jpg"/></a>

    We rode on to Campeche. It's a very clean and modern city, right on the ocean and full of pretty colonial architecture. Why didn't I take any pictures? I can only guess it's because the previous coastline was so insanely awe-inspiring.

    <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=campeche,+mexico&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=35.082817,67.587891&ie=UTF8&ll=19.911384,-89.406738&spn=5.204548,8.448486&z=7"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3165/3117845156_8d7a117ce8.jpg"/></a>

    One interesting thing about Yucatán state: The anti-narcotics forces there don't mess around. Big military checkpoints, soldiers with M16s and stocking masks to hide their identity. They went through my panniers with a surprising degree of thoroughness. Oddly, they didn't check the drybag in the pacsafe net on the tail. It would have been a big pain in the ass to unload and reload.
  4. Pockethead

    Pockethead Been here awhile

    Mar 17, 2008
    Those overcast pics would look wicked in HDR
  5. x2468

    x2468 Adventurer

    Oct 19, 2008
    Tallahassee Florida/Derby Vermont
    awesome. thanks for the tip. ill try to do that. if the rental place ever calls me back. how was the fuel situation? how many hours would u say it is from cancun to el cuyo?
  6. keyskruiser

    keyskruiser Adventurer

    Nov 9, 2004
    Marathon Florida Keys
    After reading your's and Tricepilots RR, I will never feel adequate again. You guys really have a gift with the camera and the pen. On my way through Central America, I found the same areas of "propina" as did you. In Honduras on the Panamerican Hwy, I was hassled by a military stop and told that it was illegal to have my headlight on during the day. The fine started at $60. After much discussion, we settled on $5. I was surprised to see the guy in charge actually accept the money in front of all his men. They forced me to stay until I relented, then they were my best friends and wanted to talk about the bike. I found Panama to be one stop after another with the guys and their radar. I was stopped at least six times in one day, but only felt I needed to pay $5 once. :beer

    Thanks for sharing your trip, I read it from the beginning and am looking for more.
  7. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

    Jun 10, 2007
    Please don't call it 'Frisco
    Fuel situation was fine for us, but both the KLR and the 640A are camels. Something like a DRZ might be more troublesome if it has a stock tank. I don't remember where the gas stations were, but I'm willing to bet you can get a couple gallons of gasoline at the marina in El Cuyo pretty easily.

    I seem to recall that El Cuyo was a little more than an hour out of Cancún. You take the road that goes off towards Isla Holbox, then turn off. GPS helps.

    Go for it!

  8. baker3576

    baker3576 Lifeflight Pilot

    Jun 15, 2008
    Jeff, I have been silently following your RR for several months now, while freezing in TN. You truly have a gift with expressing yourself, your adventures, and your predicaments in a hilarious but accurate way for all of us who have been in similar situations, and wish we were back there... or not. Keep up the good work, and you might possibly think about starting up a new Adventure Motorcycle magazine with your remaining funds...

    Ride Safe, Chad :beer
  9. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

    Jun 20, 2007
    Here's a copy of the note you put in the ADV book in Panama Bikers

  10. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

    Jun 10, 2007
    Please don't call it 'Frisco
    Since I'm sitting in my cozy San Francisco apartment watching the rain come down, I really have no excuse for not finishing this story. Technically the trip isn't over yet - but I'll get to that later.

    From Campeche Nir and I rode west, spending two nights in San Cristóbal and then meeting up with my friends Trevor and Nina in Huatulco. A combination of photo-fatigue from approaching the end of the journey and revisiting already-covered ground slowed down my picture-taking.

    Nir's KLR decided to throw the chain yet again:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3083722758/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3287/3083722758_a6f6bf9731.jpg"/></a>

    Nir had it fixed and readjusted in ten minutes, but it's time for a new chain & sprockets.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3082884735/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3002/3082884735_d3fb4f79b3.jpg"/></a>

    We rode by this very poorly located village, major portions of which were underwater:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3082888211/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3103/3082888211_2ccd10a89a.jpg"/></a>

    San Cristóbal was *freezing cold*. One day of riding later we were on the beaches of Huatulco, sweating in tshirts. Crazy.

    We met up with my longtime riding buddies <a href="http://www.advrider.com/forums/member.php?u=4290">sp4ce</a> and <a href="http://www.advrider.com/forums/member.php?u=111360">Nina</a> in Huatulco. They're heading for Argentina on a KTM 990A - check out their <a href="http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=404564">sordid tale</a>, which involves getting stuck for several weeks in horrible rainstorms that I barely missed. Added bonus: Nina is a far better photographer than I am!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3082895017/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3283/3082895017_29936d93d6.jpg"/></a>

    Big brother, little brother:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3082890963/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3119/3082890963_5b3f53cd29.jpg"/></a>

    We stayed a day in Puerto Escondido for some bike repairs. Nir got new chain and sprockets, we both welded our disintegrating happytrails racks:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3083734540/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3057/3083734540_21d4acda66.jpg"/></a>

    Puerto Escondido is all about food and beaches:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3082897505/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3265/3082897505_f1d48c78de.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3082896459/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3103/3082896459_e710300162.jpg"/></a>
  11. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

    Jun 10, 2007
    Please don't call it 'Frisco
    <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Oaxaca,+Oaxaca,+Mexico&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=35.273162,66.533203&ie=UTF8&ll=17.059417,-96.721622&spn=5.323181,8.31665&z=7"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2107/2265337369_94313c63cb.jpg"/></a>

    Nir and I rode the wonderfully twisty hwy 131 to Oaxaca to meet up with Scott and this cutie... remember her?

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3083739452/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3053/3083739452_bc184a9ae2.jpg"/></a>

    Guille added a valuable new phrase to my Spanish vocabulary, <i>amigos con derechos</i> :evil

    I had a lot more fun in Oaxaca this time 'round. We stayed in cute hostels downtown, my Spanish was much better, and I had lots of friends to play tourist with.

    Now that I've sampled nearly all of Mexico, I can fairly authoritatively state that the food in Oaxaca is The Best. It's not quite as spicy as what you find in the north, but it's incredibly savory and rich:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3083736118/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3163/3083736118_0e87a7b092.jpg"/></a>

    I was completely dumbfounded to find genuine *communists* in Oaxaca! Complete with soviet-esque flag and mugshots of Lenin and Stalin!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3082902317/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3048/3082902317_6fc490df9f.jpg"/></a>

    Don't they print history books in Spanish? Once again, I found myself wishing I had this on a tshirt... maybe translated into Spanish on the back:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/2637235860/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3182/2637235860_247faffe72.jpg"/></a>

    Guille and I spent a day at Monte Alban (she'd never been):

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3083743978/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3049/3083743978_7aa78e643a.jpg"/></a>

    The four of us (me, Guille, Nir, and Scott) took an all-day tour that brought us by a weaving demonstration...

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3083751250/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3190/3083751250_3346bd5015.jpg"/></a>


    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3083754588/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3171/3083754588_514ae4f318.jpg"/></a>

    ...a surreal cold spring formation called Hierve El Agua (more or less "the water boils")...

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3083757104/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3187/3083757104_74d1d80684.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3083762792/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3171/3083762792_7879b9f014.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3083759876/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3254/3083759876_88db96ee37.jpg"/></a>

    ...and a Mezcal distillery. First they bake the agave hearts (no picture), then they mash them:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3083766360/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3040/3083766360_c2953447a0.jpg"/></a>

    Then they ferment the mush:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3082928883/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3131/3082928883_c312a0333a.jpg"/></a>

    Then they distill it:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3082930527/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3229/3082930527_b91311d2ea.jpg"/></a>

    After three not-nearly-long-enough days in Oaxaca, we said goodbye to Scott (for now) and rode to Mexico City, taking Guille as my pillion:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3083768086/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3025/3083768086_d2be382b77.jpg"/></a>

    She hopped on a bus to Guanajuato and that's the last I've seen of her, although we still talk regularly over IM.
  12. mikebikeboy

    mikebikeboy Adventurer

    Aug 14, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA

    I feel like the Bilbo Baggins when The fuCkin Dragon Snorted the Last sNort@

    Jufck Yeah@@!!

    Whoo Hoo@@!!

  13. pdedse

    pdedse paraelamigosincero

    Dec 1, 2007
    Very Cool!
  14. pdedse

    pdedse paraelamigosincero

    Dec 1, 2007
    Small world!! I went back to the beginning of your report to find out more about that black/silver/green? KLR650 I saw later in the trip. I came across the above photo and said to myself...wait a minute...THAT looks really familiar. Saw that the posting was from April 25...I was IN Zacatecas late April for a quick three day trip. While on a walking tour, I saw these bikes by Hostel Villa Colonial and asked about them...hostel guy told me the mc owners were 2 folks on a 6 month trip learning Spanish. I snapped a photo...they've got to be the same bikes, right?

  15. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

    Jun 10, 2007
    Please don't call it 'Frisco
    Yep! A couple from San Francisco whose names I can't remember. That picture must have been taken after Gavin and I left, otherwise our bikes would be there too. They had ridden south through the Copper Canyon but the girl was a relatively new rider and having a very rough time of it. One of the times she dropped the DR650 tore a hole in the side of the engine, dumping oil everywhere. The guy had to fix it then and there with JB-Weld.

    I hope the rest of their trip turned out better!

  16. VampyreMP

    VampyreMP Frustrated Adventurer

    Sep 17, 2006
    Traverse City, MI
    Stayed at the same hostel! There's a great guy in Zacatecas, he and his brother own a nice hotel in town. Unfortunately I can't immediately recall his name or hotel. They each own KLR 650's and help my buddy repair his KLR in their hotel lobby. He told us any moto rider is welcome to stay there cheap. If anyone is interested pm and I'll look up their info. It's in my notes somewhere.
  17. kktos

    kktos on a bright side of life

    Aug 22, 2005
    in front of Mare Nostrum
    Doh ! At last !
    After 28 pages and some time reading your story, I caught up....eventually :D

    Damned ! this was goooooood, my friend. Vraiment excellent !
    okay, you have a problem with women. nobody's perfect.:evil
    even if there's something still spinning with Guile.... so it seems.....

    Started some time ago to read Nina's thread. hooked !
    she's a fantastic photographer. we're really part of their trip.
    then, i dont know why, I found your thread. and I remember having seen it previously. but with my interest for SA raised by Nina's, I started yours...
    wow !
    maybe your pictures are not as moving as Nina's, but your pen is really good, even for a non english reader.
    it was a real pleasure to read you mate.
    I knew we (cs geek) were able to write something more elaborate than for(int i=0;i<10;i++) printf("%s",names); :D
    Funny. Your mate Gavin reminds me of a special character: our dear Dexter. dexter morgan. :D serial murderer with an angel face !
    and as with dexter with which I'm waiting for Season 4, I'm now waiting for the epilogue of this marvelous trip of yours.


  18. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

    Jun 10, 2007
    Please don't call it 'Frisco
    I seem to spend a lot of time in Mexico City!

    My bike was due for a service, but Motoaltavista was busy so it took over a week. They had a *very* cool bike sitting on the floor:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3083770184/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3142/3083770184_0f5cfa2b57.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3082934207/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3084/3082934207_f4983e043d.jpg"/></a>

    Nir began trying to sell his KLR. We hit up museums, zoos, restaurants... Mexico City offers endless distraction.

    I went into the Palacio Nacional, Mexico's version of our White House. I'm not normally a great fan of Diego Rivera murals (I prefer the dark drama of Orozco's) but this one was cool:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3083771780/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3275/3083771780_1729c6b5c5.jpg"/></a>

    The old Mexican congress:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3083772492/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3228/3083772492_119908dfbe.jpg"/></a>

    A sinking building. The camera is actually level!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3083773366/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3063/3083773366_41c709aeac.jpg"/></a>

    I went to the Museum of Mexico City, which had a temporary exhibit on the history of Mexican wrestling. You have to click through to the original image to see the captions, "El Communista de (somethingunreadable)" and "El Destructor Nazi".

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3082937401/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3042/3082937401_e2bb7e7513.jpg"/></a>

    Nir and I went to the (very large) zoo and played with Madagascar cockroaches:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3083776122/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3076/3083776122_e3c48f845a.jpg"/></a>

    ...and generally horsed around:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3082942213/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3285/3082942213_881c68da12.jpg"/></a>

    We hung out with Raul again. He had never tried Korean BBQ! For that matter, neither had Nir.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3082943839/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3267/3082943839_dea617ec48.jpg"/></a>

    More Korean food... Mexico City has everything.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3082956177/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3120/3082956177_0bc2ca461c.jpg"/></a>

    I mean *everything* (!)

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3082946363/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3199/3082946363_33366d02f7.jpg"/></a>

    ...including naked protestors, just like home!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3083786126/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3200/3083786126_2e7de78d1d.jpg"/></a>

    Finally the bike was ready and it was time to leave:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3082957085/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3112/3082957085_c0293aefab.jpg"/></a>

    I said goodbye to Nir and to Raul, who I will miss dearly. But what I will probably miss most of all will be the TORTAS!!!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3082944763/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3092/3082944763_e16a8417b3.jpg"/></a>
  19. bigdon

    bigdon Long timer

    Dec 12, 2005
    I have really enjoyed your R/R !
    Thanks for taking the time!:freaky :freaky :freaky
  20. ennui acedia

    ennui acedia Adventurer

    Oct 27, 2007
    stickfigure :

    Thank you for your excellent post, I followed from the beginning.
    Muchas Gracias for taking the time, I am having withdrawals now,
    what is in the horizon, you did a super job. What will happen to your
    good-looking lady friend, are you back to work ? Many of us will miss
    you, and dream for the day to do what you did. With so many adventires here, yours was one of the best.