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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by d_mob, Nov 6, 2013.
I don't post regularly, but I do pull up your RR daily. I'm enjoying your ride :)
Can't wait my friend, really looking forward to it....the three weeks in Peru will probably just give me the itch even worse.
you find a bike to rent yet? i woke up this morning planning to head back to antigua, but the battery was flat yet again. charging now, will head to antigua to source a replacement tomorrow. after that, should be back on the regularly scheduled program.
Still searching, somehow Lima has 8m people and no bike rental shops? Worst case a few options in the mountains I could hop a flight to.
contact Ed, FlyingDutchman177, he has family in Lima that can probably point you in the right direction. he's currently on a RTW ride but he's available by PM and posts in his thread (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=801516) frequently.
Just throwing this out there. Ecuador. Fantastic, fantastic place to ride AND amazing motorcycle rental. Freedom: www.freedombikerental.com. Guys are great! Newer bikes and awesome service.
Ecuador - great mountains. Great people. awesome food. beaches are super. Lots of diversity.
Be sure to take that Mexico City hottie to the mud volcano about 40km outside Cartagena heading to SM for some great fun in the mud. It's a hell of a good time
Saying Goodbye to Beautiful Guatemala & Friends...
Yesterday I left new friends in San Pedro and made the ride back towards Antigua/Guatemala City. I was in San Pedro for a week and had an amazing time. I met great people and experienced lifestyles and ways of living that I hadn't before. I had hippie conversations in San Marcos, met several shamans who gave me insightful advice for the road, was invited to hang with a traveling gypsy pirate band of ladies who toured me all around the village, and partied it up with loads of great friends. Lake Atitlan has no natural outlet, which means that the water is currently rising. There are houses, restaurants, and bars submerged. In fact, in the last seven years the water has risen approximately 25 feet. Regardless, the area is magical. There is a vibe in and around the small towns that dot the banks of the water that can't be found elsewhere. I met countless people who went to San Pedro for a week, but have stayed for years. The silver water in Atitlan is a perfect analogy for the people who travel to the area. They rain in, but can't seem to escape.
However, I need to get moving. I have 27 days to make it down to Panama to board the ship to Colombia. Along the way I've had a few flat battery issues. I'm 99% sure that I simply need a new battery, so yesterday I tracked one down in Guatemala City. If you've never had the experience of navigating G.C. in rush hour, riding all over town from shop to shop, dodging all types of vehicles, people, objects, and animals, then you're missing out on an incredibly frustrating, but thrilling experience. The city is an absolute mess of people, random streets, intersections that lead to nowhere, and buildings in a constant state of construction. I finally got the battery, then made my way back to Antigua. I left the bike and the charging battery at Taz's shop (MotoMundo) and found a Spanish school a block away w/ inexpensive rooms. This morning I stripped the bike and electronics down and swapped out the battery. I also repaired my windshield extension, and replaced my right side mirror (don't ask - I told you lane splitting in G.C. was insane!).
Tomorrow morning I plan to wake up relatively early for the ride into El Salvador. I'm a bit nervous about the border as the truckers are on strike, so apparently there is a 30km traffic jam leading to the crossing. I can weave my way all the way to the front and pass through immigration without hassle so I hear, but we'll have to wait and see if that happens. After crossing into El Salvador, I'll take the Ruta de Las Flores southeast and will end in El Tunco where I'll spend a couple of days enjoying the beach, locals, and surf. After that I'll continue south and probably make my way to the colonial village of Leon in Nicaragua.
The majority of my time here in Guatemala has been spectacular. However, I got news on Sunday that Tommy Aquino, a fellow road racer that I've had the pleasure of meeting and riding with, passed away in a motocross training accident. He was only 21 years of age. Anytime I hear of a similar situation, and unfortunately there have been quite a few through the years, I get a sick feeling. I think about the racing that I've done over the years (and hopefully get to do a bit of in the future), and the motorcycle adventure that I'm currently undertaking. I think, "is all this really worth it?" "Maybe I should choose a path a bit less risky?" After thinking about Tommy for quite awhile on Sunday, and my best wishes go out to him and his family, I read a touching article by Pete Hitzeman. I think it sums up some of the reasons we partake in racing. It is also fitting for adventure motorcycle travel in my opinion... Godspeed Tommy. You'll be missed.
"At What Price???
Jones. Lenz. Tomizawa. Simoncelli.... Aquino...
Devotees of motorcycle roadracing find themselves bound to a cruel sport. We raise up our young stars as heroes, and cheer their every triumph. We stand with our fingers in the chain link of trackside fences, mouths agape at their bravery and talent. We celebrate their wins as if they were our own, and share in the frustrations of their losses and setbacks equally. That so many of us also participate in the sport at some level does not detract from the legend of these riders, but enhances it.
This is a sport that satisfies the mind and the senses like no other. The flash of colors and graceful lines. The smells of hot rubber and race fuel. And the sounds. Oh, the sounds. And the strategy, the struggle, the timeless story lines of young-kid-from-nowhere-makes-good. The Davids and Goliaths. In the decade since I discovered roadracing for myself, all other sports have become bland, sepia-toned diversions, by comparison. Roadracing satisfies the soul in ways that cannot be fully explained to the uninitiated.
I followed Tommys career since he debuted in the AMA in 2008, and had the pleasure of meeting him on a few occasions in the paddock. He was everything youd expect from a California kid; easygoing, always with a smile or a joke, and everybodys friend. He was also blindingly fast on the race track. I remember watching him in the Daytona Sportbike class, where he would qualify well every weekend, only to get shuffled back in the races. That changed in 2011, after an offseason spent sharpening his elbows. Suddenly he had an edgy aggression about him, and he began to blossom.But there is a price for attaching oneself to lives so lived. The very dangers and perils that make our sport so beautiful also bring tragedy. Yesterday, the motorcycling world was again rocked by the loss of another rising star, young Tommy Aquino from southern California. Another rider on his way up, just as he was beginning to make the name for himself that he seemed destined to make, was taken from us in a motocross training accident.
In 2012, he made the bold move to leave the United States and race in Spain in the CEV Moto2 championship, then last year moved to the British Superbike Series to race in the 1000cc Superstock class. He improved steadily throughout the season, scoring his maiden victory at the notoriously tricky Cadwell Park, and finishing seventh in the championship in his first season. He was going to move up to the premier Superbike class this year, and all signs pointed to him having a very successful campaign.
We wont get to know the rest of Tommys story, because the book was closed before it was finished being written. We find ourselves again standing with our fingers in the chain link, tears in our eyes, wondering what might have been.
Why do we do it? Why do we attach ourselves so deeply to a sport that habitually breaks our hearts? Why do we subject ourselves to inevitable pain and loss? These are the questions on the hearts of mourning fans around the world on days like today. There are pastimes less fraught with danger, less likely to subject us to such trials.
But passion cannot be denied. It cries out to us to live fully, to look past heartache and sadness and find joy and excellence. It reminds us that seeking a life free of pain is not to live. Pain and loss will come anyway, despite whatever measures we may take to avoid them. The only recourse is to go on living in a way that makes the sadness bearable.
We will mourn Tommy and comfort his beloved as best we can. And then with heavy hearts, we will strap on our helmets, thumb the starter and go on riding, and racing, and living."
I am sorry for the loss of your friend. The only certainty is that he died doing something that he truly loved. Often dangerous, but often what happens in the course of good living and taking chances.
I am sure it hits you, as it does me when you hear about others dying while motorcycling. It is hard to reconcile this with the need to experience (track, racing, adventure riding, traveling to distant "lugares")
I often seem to use this as an excuse not to put myself out there. I am glad that you are hitting the starter button and keep going on. Smarter by the knowledge of experiences and powered by the need to experience.
Sorry about your friend. That is part on the risk we take, whenever we decide to put ourselves behind the bars.
On the other hand, I am glad to hear that you are going through EL Salvador. I am Salvadorian, and the I can tell the route you decided to take is one of the best ones. curvy roads, scenic views once you get into El Litoral driving "next" to the ocean. If you have time, you can also check the volcano of San Salvador (is not the active one) which is about 40 minutes from El Tunco. There are few nice restaurants in that area such as La Pampa Argentina, Las Brumas, Café San Fernando in case you want to stop by one of those.
If you want to surf, I will suggest to try EL Sunzal, El Zonte or Km59, which are very close to each other with small hotels/hostels to stay. The locals in El Tunco noticed how tourist has grown over the years, so they decided to "modernize" the infrastructure, and raise the prices for food, drinks and accommodation; which IMO lost the fun part of what el tunco used to be. Still fun, don't get me wrong, but quite expensive compared to some other areas.
We just has presidential elections last weekend, so don't be surprised to see a huge amount of advertising, campaign, papers, and all that crap all over the place. We are going to the second round in a month, just so you know.
I hope you have fun in "El Pulgarcito de Centro America" if you need more info, or something that I can help just send me a PM.
BTW: try to avoid the city ( San Salvador) between 11am-2pm and 4pm-7pm is just a circus and a real challenge to drive.
Que se divierta!
Saludos Desde El Salvador...
So after being 'stuck' in/around Antigua for over a week I finally navigated my way out of town for border crossing numero tres into El Salvador. I left around 10am and the ride started off uneventful. The roads out led through several small towns and villages. However, just as I was about to turn onto a major road I was stopped by a police officer. He said there was a bus crash about 10km up and it was "impossible to pass". There were around 25 cars parked with people just sitting around mingling, eating, and looking depressed since they knew they'd probably be stuck there for quite awhile. I talked to a local and he said I may be able to pass on a bike, so without hesitation I set off. I drove less than 1km and ran into the worst traffic jam I've ever seen. Trucks, cars, rickshaws, chicken buses, etc all parked with the drivers just out talking and wondering what would happen next. Apparently they had been there for hours and nobody expected it would clear anytime soon. I started snaking and weaving through slowly. I was on road, off road, left, right, up the middle, all over the place.
I got about 8km into the mess and finally approached the wreck. It was absolute madness. They had parked around 30 chicken buses on either side of the crash to block people from passing, and I'm assuming to keep rubberneckers away. Just as I was thinking I wouldn't be able to make it through and would have to turn back, I noticed an ambulance up ahead that had loaded someone in the back. He kicked his lights on and had a police escort to continue through the mess the way I was headed. I stomped the bike into gear and shoved my way through. Just as I got to the ambulance the crowd was starting to make way and he started through. The police truck behind the ambulance stopped, the driver looked at me to figure out what the hell I was up to. After he realized I was hitching a ride through the madness he gave me a thumbs up and our VIP parade of three was off. We finally made our way through and at the end I passed both the police and ambulance with a very thankful wave.
After that it was smooth sailing to the border. I arrived and was immediately swarmed by helpers trying to talk me into their services. Everyone always says to avoid them, but sometimes they really do make it easy. After the bus crash delay I decided I would grab one of them to usher me through both sides of the border. I ended up with a nice guy named Anthony. We chatted quite a bit during the process and I learned that he had three young kids and lived in New York for a bit of time. He probably saved me an hour or two and had his brother watch over the bike as we walked all over. In the end I gave him $5 and he was grateful. So grateful in fact that I added in a couple of coins. So my tip for fellow motorcycle travelers, for what it's worth, sometimes it isn't so bad to get a little inexpensive help from the locals.
The roads in El Salvador are distinctly different from Mexico and Guatemala. I find them to be a little lower on the quality scale (i.e. potholes, gravel, etc), but with one thing in common, they still feel the need to build topes/tumulos/speed bumps every-freaking-where! Ruta de Las Flores is short, but filled with epic scenery. Then as I got closer to the coast the road was perfection. I winded my way up and down mountainsides directly next to the beautiful coast. There were even a few super sketch tunnels through some of the hills with zero light inside. It is a bit of a strange feeling being in a long tunnel and all you see is a chicken bus or semi coming directly at you. After stopping a few times to soak it in and snap a few pics, I arrived at my destination in El Tunco. I found a hotel right away, but they wanted $55. I kept on down the road (there are only two) and found the Layback Hostel. Everyone inside was super chill and they had a bed for $7. So here I am writing this from the communal patio here at Layback.
I woke up today with plans to put together a route to Leon, Nica. However, two border crossings in one day, along with 287 miles seems a bit much. So, I'll leave either tomorrow or Saturday and head in that direction with a brief overnight stop somewhere in Honduras. I hear great things about Leon, so I'm looking forward to being there for a few days. In addition to the small colonial town, apparently you can climb a volcano and sand board down the other side, which sounds like a bit of fun.
During my ride yesterday it dawned on me that I've been saying something a lot lately. I thought about the bus crash delay, along with the border hassles. It could have easily put me in a bad mood, but I didn't let it. In fact, as I crested a hill towards the coast and looked out over the ocean for the first time since Mexico I found myself saying it again... "you can't have the good without the bad". I've started to realize that the really great things in life require challenge, and a bit of pain blended in with pleasure. Without it, how would we know when things are special? El Tunco is a magic place, but I know I'm enjoying it much more due to the challenges of the day, and the trip overall.
I guess that's enough rambling for now... I'm off to enjoy the good, because the bad will surely happen soon enough (most certainly at the double border crossing through Honduras).
Hasta pronto amigos!
Really enjoying your travelogue. My cup of envy runneth over.
Great update as always Mobster, so jealous, we have been in the deep freeze here. Fingers crossed no border challenges!
Really great to meet you in Antigua and awesome RR! Good writing and beautiful photos.
Great ride report! Don't hurry back to Denver, your weather is warmer.
Going Back, Back, Back... To Nica, Nica, Nica!!!
As with most places so far, due to new friends and a couple of really nice girls Graziella & Linda that I met the day before I was supposed to leave, I ended up staying in El Tunco longer than expected. It turned out to be one of the best stops on the trip so far. I fell in love with the place, had one of the craziest nights of my life, explored caves, had mud/sand fights, and also met two new amigos for life. Paul (the crazy Brit) and Jayden (the crazy Canuck) are traveling to Panama on bikes that they sourced in Guatemala City. We got on well and decided that we would all ride together to Leon in Nicaragua.
The three of us met at 7am yesterday morning and got out of El Tunco, El Salvador rather quickly. We knew it would be a long day as we had 287 miles of riding along with 2 border crossings into/out of Honduras. Paul is on a large (loud as $hit) cruiser that fits his personality well. Jayden is on a small Honda 230, perfect for dirt, but not so good on the highway. We kept a good pace through the twisting roads and made good time to the border. We exited through El Salvador fairly easy and quickly, but the entrance into Honduras was a different story. Remember my "you can't have the good without the bad" epiphany from before? Well, my prediction about 'the bad' coming soon turned out to be spot on. Honduras wasn't the best experience, which matched up with what I've read in other travel reports.
I had decided to help out a local guy (helper) again, but this time the experience was much different. He started out very friendly running around making copies of necessary documents, and helping me cut in lines here and there. We made it to the end and he started telling me that there was a "road tax: and I also needed to get my bike sprayed for $45 USD. I laughed at this and went to give him $5 for his troubles. He wouldn't accept it and said, "follow me, I show you". I walked with him towards a sketch building where he assured me I needed to go, but I turned around and promptly told him to F off. I offered him the $5 and he said, "no $45". Again, F off. After going back and forth he then said, "OK, I accept $10 for my work". I said "wait, I tried to give you $5, you then try to screw me, and now you want $10?". I offered him $4 now and said "take it or leave it". He did work, but I deducted $1 due to his attempt at fleecing me for $45. Wanker. He left in a bit of a huff, and I assume it would have gotten more heated had there not been a ton of people around. So now I'm batting 50% with helpers. Not sure if I'll use them from here on out.
The three of us made it through Honduras fairly quickly. It hit 99.5F during the ride, which is the hottest it has been during my trip. We made it to the exit of Honduras, and said goodbye with a one finger salute. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure the country is amazing, and the majority of the people fantastic, but the border and police roadblock/shakedown that we experienced left a bad taste. We entered Nicaragua and immediately ran into another issue. Jayden has five months remaining on his passport. The guy at immigracion was in a sour mood and refused to let him into the country without six months remaining. At first I thought it would be a minor setback and they would eventually let him through. After an hour of arguing with the guy, and his boss, there was nothing that they would do for us. Unfortunately, both Paul and Jayden had to turn back, while I continued on towards Leon (sorry guys!).
Upon arrival in Leon, I drove around for a bit and found a hostel. However, they wouldn't allow me to park my bike inside, so I found another that would. Tango's Hostel is a new place that is very clean, run by a nice young couple, and allowed me to roll the bike right up into the restaurant with no issue. Since it is new, I'm the only guest. I feel like a VIP and have a 4-bed dorm all to myself for $6/night. I plan to explore Leon today, and then head out to Granada tomorrow. After another two nights in Granada, the plan is to head back to the beach in San Juan del Sur. I would highly recommend this place if you want a cheap, clean, safe place to stay very close to plaza central. Ask for Nahuel and/or Alejandra when you arrive to Tango's, they'll get you sorted.
On a random, but somber side note, I received loads of messages while in El Tunco reminding me to stay vigilant and safe during my travels. Apparently, a guy doing a similar trip has gone missing in Michoacan, Mexico. Read the article, join the Facebook page, and pass along the word. Hopefully Harry is found safe and sound...
See everyone on the flip... Hasta pronto!
Tell us more about the craziest night of your life.
That would be waaaaaaay inappropriate, but let's just say the two girls referenced were very friendly. Possibly over a beer sometime.
~ David "Seriously Making Up For Lost Time Due To A Recently Ended Marriage" Mobley...
just read the report from the beginning. Im in now!! Safe Travels!!