South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by JDowns, Oct 2, 2012.

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  1. Free Radical

    Free Radical High speed drifter

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    I" don't want to turn into a papparazzi scum photographer so I kept my camera in my pocket. You'll just have to imagine 5 slim women with beautifully coifed hair crossing cobblestone streets in stilletto heels with their long flowing gowns tucked in their crotch....."

    Great word picture, Juanito, but as they say, a picture vale mil palabras.

    Here's my support for you to unleash the inner papparazzo!
  2. nightflyer

    nightflyer Hors contrôle

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    :rofl:rofl:rofl
    thanks for this kind (and funny!) answer... but I have to come clean with that one: I am misleading people a bit by posting pics of small parts of my orange bike to make them believe I have a KTM when it is actually a Honda :evil

    And, yes I have plans for the Pamir highway :wink:
  3. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Almost dropped into Almaty the other day. Was doing CGN-SZX and couldn't get logged on to Chinese ATC with the CPDLC before entering L-888. I had enough fuel for the re route to Chengdu, but was thinking of just dropping into Almaty to drink beers with you. :lol3

    When you ride the pamir highway post up some pics!
  4. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Crashmaistro,

    Google translate doesn't do pilotspeak translation so it took me a while to figure out you were flying from Bonn/Cologne to Shenzhen and Chinese air traffic control wasn't responding on your controller pilot data link communications as you were preparing to drop in to the L-888 route north of the Himalayas.

    Sounds adventurous to me. And I agree, nightflyer needs to post up some pics of the Pamir Hwy when he gets down there. Stunning area of the world.

    Saludos,
    Juanito
  5. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    I left San Cristobal de las Casas this morning heading for Palenque. First I had to find some more rubber cement for patching tubes as mine was beyond its past due date. It turns out that today is Sunday and no Repuestos de Motos (motorcycle parts) stores were open. But the guy at the Pemex station where I filled up with gas thought I should check the bicycle store that was open on Sundays down by the Mercado. Great idea!

    I pulled up and there were two guys waiting in front of the bike shop with flat tires. It opened at 9:30 and it was 9:00, so I spent some time talking with flat tire Alejandro. He had worked in a plant nursery in Atlanta Georgia for three years a while ago but never learned any English. Nice guy.

    So I learned that rubber cement is called Cemento, patches are called Parchas, and tire tubes are called Camaras. Just so you know. Two tubes of cemento cost 14 pesos or $1.12. I also bought 2 liters of oil for 130 pesos or a little over 5 bucks a liter at the Pemex station. The bike could use an oil change. There was no convenient place to do it in the city. Pemex didn't have 10/40. All they had was 40 wt. or 20/50. I chose 20/50 since that's what I ended up using in Guatemala last time I was down here and the Sherpa didn't seem to mind.

    It was chilly this morning up in the mountains. I had my down jacket and long underwear on as the road climbed higher up into the mountains. There was a Gruta (grotto or cave) sign outside of town and I rode down to check it out, but you had to park your bike and walk through the pine forest up what looked like a long pathway. I didn't feel like hiking in the cold so went back to the main road to Palenque and kept riding up into the clouds. Didn't take any pictures up there. It was a fairly decent road for Chiapas. A few deslaves (landslides) and sunken areas to keep you on your toes. This area had just been repaired recently and was taken out part way again. You can see the old road and the new undermined road in this pic:

    [​IMG]

    Here is another large landslide over the way:

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    The road finally dropped down to Ocosingo off in the distance:

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    It was warming up and there were good smells coming from the side of the road so I turned around and stopped for desayuno (breakfast) at a comedor. They had to run next door to get some eggs for huevos Mexicanos served with frijoles (beans) and tortillas. It's all you can eat tortillas so I finished off a pile. 20 pesos or $1.60. Quite filling and economical. Tourist towns charge twice as much. 40 or 50 pesos for this simple breakfast in places like Real de Catorce or San Cristobal.

    Once you are out of the pine forests the road winds through 100 miles of lower mountains:

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    It was nothing but curves for hours. Really fun riding. Pounding over speed bumps, swerving around sunken areas of the road and passing buses and colectivos is fun but it is nice to take a break every now and then. Sometimes I'll turn off on a dirt road and ride down to a small village and sit on a bench and drink a coke and relax for a while. Today was no different. Stopped down a gravel road at this little place out in the middle of nowhere where the friendly locals that walked by all said buenas tardes. Nice rural kicked back vibe:

    [​IMG]

    Before I got to Palenque I saw the sign for Agua Azul Cascadas and decided to go check out the waterfalls. I knew it was touristy. But the switchbacks down were only 3 miles to a Caseta de Cobra (toll booth) that charged 38 pesos or 3 dollars. I parked next to some nice Mexican tourists from way up north in Cuernavaca who were on holiday. Here is what the falls and swimming areas look like:

    [​IMG]

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    Just like the photos on the internet and tourist brochures. What they don't show is the busloads of people and the pathway up to the falls that is lined with trinket shops:

    [​IMG]

    I would give this place a miss. The tranquil and beautiful waterfall park on the dirt road through the sugarcane fields up near Naranjo was far nicer. And I was the only one there. Quite a contrast to this place. Plus more spectacular waterfalls than this place. But hey, the tourists were enjoying Agua azul and it would be a beautiful setting minus all the people and buses.

    I continued on winding down through the lower mountains:

    [​IMG]

    to the coastal plain where the road flattened and straightened off towards the distance and the clouds and cold of the mountains gave way to blue skies and warmth:

    [​IMG]

    Another drastic change in climate with only a few hours of riding. I arrived in Palenque around 4, so too late in the day to go check out the ruins. I rode into the lobby of the hotel here and parked and when she said 200 pesos ($16.000 with wifi, cable, two beds and hot showers I said sign me up. This is a shot of what sixteen bucks gets you in Palenque:

    [​IMG]

    Two beds, a fresh roll of toilet paper, towel, and a bar of soap at the Posada Aguila Real. Works for me. I spent 601 pesos or $48.08 today on food, gas, oil, glue, entrance fees and lodging

    Kindest regards,
    John Downs
  6. Grits&Gravy

    Grits&Gravy Been here awhile

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    Hey John,
    Nice to see you using the tent and enjoying your vacation. I've been lurking and enjoying all that you write. I went riding a good bit of dirt yesterday here in the local area with a fellow inmate and he made the statement "this is not adventure riding". What you are doing is "ADVENTURE RIDING" I'm sure the pictures do not do it any justice. I know that the old saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" is not a true statement. I am so impressed with all that you have shared and really appreciate it. I will continue to keep up and hope that you make it to the end of the rainbow and back. Good Times my friend......
  7. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Okay Free Radical,

    In your honor as Chief Executive in charge of Advertising and Art Photography I'll post more pics of beautiful Latina women. There's no shortage of subjects. Anything to get you off the couch and riding south.

    I can't believe how ripped some of these indiginous women's legs are. They look like triathlete's with rippling muscles as they climb the stairs. Must be all the walking and mountain paths. I could do a photo-essay on the legs of Mayan village women. Probably not what you were interested in though.

    Saludos,
    Juan
  8. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi grneggz,

    I haven't been tenting this week, but in northern Mexico the Sam-I-am tent came in quite handy. It has served me well thanks to your generosity. I'm still getting my ride report/camping mojo down. I'm heading over to Quintana Roo after Palenque and hope to get some camping in.

    And I wouldn't discount the adventurous qualities of riding around rural Texas. Some of the most adventurous riding so far this trip was keeping up with slowoldguy on the Texas backroads at the Roll the Bones rally. Adventure riding is a state of mind. There is plenty of great ADVriding in your backyard. You don't have to ride to South America to have a lot of fun. Plenty of great places to ride in the good old US of A.

    Best,
    John Downs
  9. advrockrider

    advrockrider Been here awhile

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    Awesome RR, a few days riding money coming your way. Thanks and keep up the good work. With all of the donations you must be making at least 10 cents an hour..
  10. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi advrockrider,

    I like that name! It'll look good on the gas tank. And thanks for the donation. I'll put it to good use keeping you guys entertained while you plan your next ride.

    Muchas gracias,
    Juanito
  11. nightflyer

    nightflyer Hors contrôle

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    Man you are good with those search engines:clap. Crashmaster was being modest but L888 is probably the MTCP route with the highest grid's MORA there is around, you are right: quite adventurous :D

    Sorry, end of hijack, keep up the super good work on this report, your pictures are fantastic...

    P.S : Vince, PM sent!:freaky
  12. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hijack away. As a valued sponsor I take a keen interest in what Vince is up to. If he's been getting high on the job again I want to know. And it sounds like L-888 is as high as you can get with the highest minimum off route altitude in the world.

    I learn a lot on these ride reports.

    Bon chance,
    Jean Thomas
  13. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Very good!
  14. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    Hi John

    I stopped for the night in Huajuapan, not far from Oaxaca, where I'm headed today. The rooster in the back yard at my motel got me up at 4:45 so I had lots of time to get caught up on your awesome report. It is interesting to see your stone mason's take on what you see. i like how you can figure out when and who did the work you see.

    As an ex Air Traffic Controller, I was standing outside the hotel last evening looking at potholed roads beat up cars and scooters go by (and lovin' it) when I looked up and saw what appeared to be a brand new MV Augusta helicopter go by low and fast. A study in contrasts. That chopper has to be worth millions

    I am still a few days behind you but I really hope we meet up. I'm really enjoying my ride and your report, keep up the great reporting

    Dwight (Kedgi)

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=832336
    .
  15. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Dwight,

    I am heading over to the Yucatan to explore and wait for the rainy season to abate further south. From reading your report I imagine you will be traveling straight south to catch your ride across the Darien in a couple three weeks.

    You are doing an excellent job on your ride report, especially as it sounds like this is your first time down here. It is always interesting to see these areas viewed through fresh eyes. Keep up the good work!

    Kindest regards,
    John Downs
  16. NitroRoo

    NitroRoo Been here awhile

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    Finally caught up. Thanks for providing several days worth of enjoyable reading - really appreciate your take on everything you've seen so far. I donated a tank of petrol for ya :1drink

    I am that guy that has a wife and kids keeping him home from a big trip, but I am a lucky man. My wife is ready and willing to hop on some bikes and head south as soon as our kids are out of the house. In the meantime, I have a lot of fun riding around the beautiful areas where I live. Growing up on the Mexican border in South Texas, I have a soft spot for Mexico. My wife is from Venezuela, so I hope to make it through those countries with her and enjoy a different view on the world. Thanks for taking the time to post pictures and the ride report every day - I know how much work that is and it's appreciated!
  17. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    I didn't realize you would go to Yucatan after Palenque. Great ruins there too, Chichen Itza.

    There be SNOW and the way over to the peninsula, that road is high elevation and changeable weather.

    Dang that's a big detour. Good for you.
  18. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Sorry for the hijack. Actually in the 744, L888 is a non event even with one engine out. 2 engines out, different story. Its spectacular scenery on a clear day. I really need to do L888 the proper way, on a bike. :lol3

    Looking forward to Palenque through your lens. I passed on the Yucatan last time around and have regretted it a bit. Guess I just need to make another trip. :D

    Did you happen to stop at the Tonina ruins outside Ocosingo? That's right up your alley for sure.

    suerte, Vin
  19. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Had a fun time today exploring Palenque today. What a great place! I'm definitely going to have to check out more of these ruins that I have been jetting by in years past. Who needs to go to the gym? Pyramid climbing is the new stairmaster. And I climbed them all except the two they had roped off for repairs.

    Like yesterday, I'm going to have to go down the street to the internet cafe and upload pictures somewhere that isn't snail speed like this hotel I'm staying in.

    Stay tuned for more entertainment this evening with great shots of Tricepilots novia de Palenque and a stone mason's view of the ruins.

    More later....

    Saludos,
    Juanito
  20. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi NitroRoo,

    Thans for the donation. A name like yours needs to go right up near the gas cap.

    You are a lucky man. A great wife from Venezuela who likes the idea of taking off on a moto adventure. Que bueno!

    Your kids will be out of the house before you know it. In the meantime I will provide pics and stories of the road south to give you some ideas for your future travels.

    Kindest regards,
    John Downs
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