South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure

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

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  1. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi LethPhaos,

    I only get free camping co-ords like at El Tigre Ruinas. Although I did get the waypoint for some cool pyramids way out in the jungle near the Belize/Guatemala border today. Bigger than anything I saw at Palenque. The biggest one had to be 10 stories high.

    N 18º 22.736'
    W 89º 53.686'

    oops. I just checked google earth and the above is a waypoint for an abandoned rock quarry that would have been good for free camping. The pyramids were 40 kilometers south.

    I'll post pics in a minute when they finish uploading.

    Best,
    John Downs
  2. QuestForADV

    QuestForADV BanCampLeader

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    I see you found a replacement for your Turkey Dinner! :rofl
  3. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Actually the vultures down here are as big as wild turkeys back home. Although I did see some interesting birds out in the jungle foraging that were as big as turkeys this morning. Only they had irridescent plumage. sort of looked like a cross between a turkey and a peacock. I took a picture but they were fast little devils and were out of the frame.

    Best,
    John Downs
  4. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    If you go to Belize you can hop a freighter from Puerto Cortez to the Isles Tres Marias!
  5. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Pretty magical day today. Felt like I was on another planet. Here was the view from the highest pyramid I have climbed so far looking out over the jungle towards Belize and Guatemala with minor pyramids sticking their heads out down below. The puffy white clouds passing by looked like they came from the backdrop of a surrealist Salvador Dali painting. I was the only one out here:

    [​IMG]

    more later….
  6. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    And looking down ten stories. Those 5 giant stelas at the bottom are 15 feet high and four feet wide. The stairs are each 18 inch rise and 8 inch run. So about a 60 degree slope straight up. And this isn't even shot from the top. You lose this view as you climb the next two staircases to the top. This thing is massive:

    [​IMG]

    I had the run of the place. Really fun climbing all over the place and checking out interior passageways and staircases. Would have been a great place to play with your friends as a kid. Well okay, as long as your Mom didn't find out about the forty foot vertical drops here and there.

    It's taking a while for pictures to upload out here in the sticks.

    stand by….
  7. Idahosam

    Idahosam Set Adrift

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    So John is this Calakmul Ruins? If so, You sir are indeed off the beaten path.
  8. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Yes, that's the place. 60 kilometers down a road through some sort of protected biosphera area. I only passed one car going through. The road narrows down to one lane and is like a roller coaster for the last 40 kilometers winding up and down and through the jungle. Most fun road I've been on in Campeche. No people or houses. Or food or water or gas for that matter which is why I'm not still down there camping.

    Saludos,
    Juanito
  9. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    i'll tell you what Juanito. If you ever get to San Diego, you are going to ride the KTM. Maybe I shouldnt do that and ruin your life forever, but after that, you are going to be looking to buy one. :lol3 The good news is that a nice KTM 950/990 will cost WAY less than a BM. I know where you can pick up a nice one for under 5000 bucks, aint that right Sam? :D

    Yet (try to explain that word in Spanish :D) I think your super sherpa is the tool for the job. Just sayin'. :freaky

    Great report amigo! I appreciate all the hard work. And I know, it is hard work! Even though I only posted about once a month, I thought, "damn, this internet report thing is getting in the way of me having fun." Youre doing a great job! As a fellow moto vagabond, I totally appreciate the places you are going and the things that you are documenting. Well done!

    Salud! Vin
  10. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Started out yesterday thinking I would head for the Carribean. Never made it there. Instead ended up turning down this road towards Calakmul. Looked inviting. 60 kilometers. Straightish road for the first 20 :

    [​IMG]

    I am always looking for free places to camp, so checked out this jeep trail that hooked off the road around a bend just before the 19km mark and ended up in an abandoned limestone quarry:

    N 18º 22.736'
    W 89º 53.686'

    [​IMG]

    They had built this rather nice cultural and historical museum right in the road. You had to take a detour around it to continue on. Nice Mastadon and crocodillo skeletons and pictures of local wildlife and archaeological Mayan information as well:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I was the only one there out in the middle of nowhere. No admission. Just the receptionist and some park maintenance people out back. I asked about camping and the maintenance guy said I could camp in the grass over behind the museum no problem. Nice relaxed peaceful place.

    The road narrowed to one lane as it continued on and was like a tunnel through the jungle of time leading to a lost world:

    [​IMG]

    Really fun riding. Bobbing and weaving through a shady cool tunnel. Most fun road I've been on in Campeche. Finally ended at a parking lot with a 46 peso entrance fee. I was the only one there. Other than the maintenance people at the main gate.

    This place is huge and covers a lot of ground. I spent pretty much the whole day wandering around the jungle looking at ruins that hadn't been restored out in the bushes along with ones that had:

    [​IMG]

    You only got a hint of the way things were 1000 years ago. This carved wall reminded me of looking at marble gravestones in pioneer cemeteries back home and trying to make out the name and date:

    [​IMG]

    I spent pretty much all day wandering around here. The pictures don't show the wildlife, birds, butterflies and natural beauty that was all around. I heard what sounded like someone cutting a metal pipe with a hacksaw and finally saw the monkey up in the tree that was making the repetitive call. Lots of beautiful birds calling me out as I invaded their space. Fluttering wings in the bushes. And some beautiful large iridescent dark blue butterflies with light blue eyes on their wings. Monarchs and large orange butterflies as well. And beautiful views out over the jungle from the top of the pyramid looking out towards Guatemala in the distance:

    [​IMG]

    Since it takes a while to come out here and explore and its off the beaten track I don't know if I would recommend this place to most people. Unless you enjoy nature and a tranquil vibe and have some time to spend the day. I sure enjoyed it. There are no services out here and I was getting hungry and it was still afternoon so headed back out to civilization and checked out the Becan ruins right off the main road to Chetamul. Nice carved stone:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Nice weather today. It's 8am and I'm heading out to who knows where. Yesterday spent 584 pesos or $46.72 on gas, food, park entrance fees and lodging.
  11. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hola Vinnie,

    Listen, if I was young, rich and handsome like you then I would buy a 990 in a heartbeat. Love the sound of that motor.

    Glad to have you along for the ride. I enjoy writiing these ride reports.

    Saludos,
    Juanito
  12. OldPete

    OldPete Be aware

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    :clap Outstanding! Thanks for this update Juanito.

    Did some quick reading about Calakmul and water is available at the entrance, probably bottled.
    Stealth travel has advantages not to be discounted.

    Best Regards,
    OldPete
  13. Idahosam

    Idahosam Set Adrift

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    Morning, Oh, I mean buenos días Senior. Thoroughly enjoyed that exploratory side trip. Amazing what your finding off the beaten path.

    Here's some good stuff to read if you have time: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calakmul histrory about the fights between the city states.

    I will reiterate, I think you are on the perfect machine for your adventure.
  14. Mr B

    Mr B Been here awhile

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    Just curious if you did a lot or research on the history of the area, the people the land etc... Seems to me you have found, discovered or stumbled on a gem of a place that few see.
    If you did read some info, I would be interested to know the names, I like to read history of cultures and places
    Thanks again for all the reports, good reading..
  15. Dooga

    Dooga Adventure Tourer

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    All caught up. Thanks so much for journaling this.
  16. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi OldPete,

    They had bottled water for sale at the museum 40 kilometers from the end of the road but there was nothing out at the ruins.

    Best,
    Juanboy
  17. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Sam,

    Thanks. Something to read while I wait for pictures to upload out here in Quintana Roo.

    Muchas Gracias,
    Juanito
  18. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Did I do research? In a word, no. Other than reading ride reports that you guys post and picking up ideas by osmosis. Mainly I just go down roads that look interesting and see what's out there. I enjoy exploring backroads that lead to who knows where.

    I also benefit greatly from ideas you folks throw out there. Like swimming at Xel-ha or heading to Belize to check it out. I didn't plan on going to Belize. I was thinking of taking the back road through the jungle to Tikal. But Belize sounds like a good idea to me now.

    Saludos,
    Juanito
  19. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    The internet went down as I posted the first few pics from yesterday. It's up again and the rest will be coming shortly.

    I've been out in rural Quintana Roo (keen-ta-na-RO) which doesn't rhyme with kangaroo as it turns out.

    Yesterday I took off in the morning back in the state of Campeche. Turned down a dirt road to go see about finding Rio Bec ruins yesterday and finally found a turkey puffing himself up to tell me who's boss:

    [​IMG]

    Too late for Thanksgiving so he'll live to see another year. The sign on the side of the road said 14 kilometers, visit with a guide. I thought to myself, "who needs a guide?":

    [​IMG]

    It was a rutted jeep trail:

    [​IMG]

    with this bridge that I thought I was going to die going across as I came down the hill and saw that the first couple feet had collapsed and the locals had piled up rocks to get across. It doesn't show up very well in this pic but it had me going there for a second, but the Sherpa bounced across just fine:

    [​IMG]

    after a few more miles I came across this nice Mayan campesino who spoke some Spanish and he said it was 16 more kilometers and I probably needed a guide:

    [​IMG]

    When the road split into three and turned into a maze it was obvious that it was time to turn around while I still knew how to get back. I don't think many touristas visit the ruinas at Rio Bec. And yes, you probably do need a guide as it turns out. I doubled back out to the main road :

    [​IMG]

    I like the patina on this Mayan logging truck:

    [​IMG]

    I feel better about my rear tire after checking out the dualies on this rig:

    [​IMG]


    It had a newish battery and was dripping gear oil, so I think she's a runner. When I was growing up in Oregon I always wondered where log trucks went to die. Now I know. Quintana Roo. It seems the school buses I rode as a kid still mostly go to die in Guatemala though.

    Finally made it out of Campeche:

    [​IMG]

    The main road through Quintana Roo is mostly flat and straight. The clouds were more interesting than the main road:

    [​IMG]

    Turned north towards Tulum and saw a sign for swimming that pointed to Xel--Ha. Since godad had suggested a couple days ago I go swimming in the magico waters out there I headed down to check it out. Really beautiful:

    [​IMG]

    The two taxistas in the background drinking a cold pack of Dos Equis told me it was pronounced Shale-HA. So now I know. I didn't have my minimalist Speedo traje de baño (swim suit) so the closest I could get to a pic of me swimming in Xel-ha was this:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It was like bathwater. Very refreshing to cool ones heels on a hot afternoon. I'll be back on my way to Belize as soon as I get some swim trunks. I'm thinking viewing an old Nebraska contractor in a speedo might burn some people's retinas out, so perhaps something more modest is called for.

    Headed down the road thinking I would go to Mahahual and the Costa del Mayo (Mayan coast) but had another flat. Had to patch the tube on the side of the road and inflate it. These nice folks from the Bay Area turned around and came back to see if I was okay just as I was tightening the axle nut and finishing up. I didn't write down their names but I believe it was Ha and Suling or something similar. Very nice folks on their way south, so I'll probably run into them again.:

    [​IMG]

    I decided to double back and find a decent tube. Everywhere I stopped said no hay. So kept going way back towards the next big town of Bacalar and see about getting some decent tubes. My patch job wasn't dry and I was too impatient so after a while it went flat and I coasted into a mechanic shop/house/restaurant on the side of the road. Had Joaqin re-patch the tube and his abuelo (grandfather) fixed me some dinner. It was dark by now and they said I could spend the night while the glue set up. Sounded like a good idea to me, so I set my tent up in their garage/living area between a car getting a brake job and the dining room table. Here was my casa at first light this morning:

    [​IMG]

    Got out my computer last night and gave a slide show of the trip so far. They were mostly interested in southern Mexico where they recognized the areas of Chiapas and Campeche. Got in some great conversational Spanish with one brother David who spoke a little English from his time working Cancun as a bartender. You get better at Spanish if it is all you hear all day.

    Slept like a bambino last night and this morning Gramps cooked me up a great breakfast and I headed back to Bacalar when things opened up.

    Here the three brothers and Dad are this morning lifting a truck bed Mexican style back onto the truck they replaced the fuel pump on yesterday.

    [​IMG]

    and a shot of the Nissan top end that Joachin removed yesterday. Needs work:

    [​IMG]

    The brothers lift out the smaller engines with a pipe with a chain dangling down from the center. Here's a shot of the engine hoist in the front yard for the bigger engines:

    [​IMG]

    Really nice family. I enjoyed my stay with them and it was very kind of them to take me in last night. I told them my name was John and they were calling me Juanito. The brothers all wanted to sign the gas tank when they saw all the names. ¿Porque no? So now I have the hermanos David, Juaqin y Eduardo so I didn't need to write their names down to remember.

    Yesterday I spent 310 pesos or $24.80 on gas, food, patching.

    I'm heading out to the Costa del Mayo again. Of course that's where I thought I was going yesterday. I saw some beautiful pictures from Loneriders report on his stay in Xcalak and I have to go see it for myself. Looks like a Corona beer commercial. Sort of the lost coast of Quintana Roo down by the Belize border. I'll report back what I find in case it looks interesting for your future travels.

    More later.....

    Saludos,
    Juanito
  20. OldPete

    OldPete Be aware

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    I do this when cold patching bicycle tubes.
    After or close to "good to go" I snugly clamp two quarters on either side of the patch with a pair of long nose vice-grips.
    Then heat the quarter that is on the patch with a butane crack lighter to about 250f or less. Let cool and that sets the glue.
    Cold patching on cool or cold days is a royal pita for me.

    Mexico has got to have large copper coins. :wink:

    Gotta shower and get going, so will return to this post with the FUBAR cyl. head. Yikes! :eek1
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