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. QuestForADV

    QuestForADV BanCampLeader

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    but

    Whenever I see a pic like that I think of this video by George Straight. He didn't write the song, but I sure like the vid and the way he sings it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-9FdWmZqRQ
  2. NitroRoo

    NitroRoo Been here awhile

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    ahh the beach bum lifestyle stirs something deep within. Looks so nice and simple. Enjoying the pictures and the updates very much. Thanks!
  3. Ni3ous

    Ni3ous Double Axle Rider

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    Hello!
    No need to be subscribed on such report, since my mind is hooked up with it already.
    I used every free time I could in the last 2 weeks to finally catch up with you.
    Now I feel kind of sad, because now I have to wait for you to ride another day, and wait patiently for you to write about it.
    I am absorbing every word, every picture you put up here.
    Your way of traveling and how you absorb and see things on your way... its just great.

    I just did a donation for one day of your trip expenses.
    Donation needs to be done, to keep this ride as long as possible.
    And who knows, maybe one day other ADV Riders will help me with donations on my (long) trip I am hoping for one day between the jobs. I am hoping for a mont or two, to get from Slovenia, where I live, to Georgia, Armenia, Pakistan and Nepal. Would need aproximately month or two. Hope it will happen one day in this decade.

    I see you are like me concernig needed sleeping time. 5-6 hours is enough, and thats how you came out with a lot more of free time. So next time you will wake up in the middle of the night, or any other occasion when you will try to kill some time, I give you this link to read if you like. Its from our trip to Tunisia this year. I think it is quite adventorous, but short, comparing your trip. I hope you find it interesting:

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=770676

    It is great! Now I have two great reports to follow. This one from you, and Sibirsky Extreme that is written at the same time
    I am hooked with both, really top shit guys!

    Thank you and also thanks to ADV Rider forum for making this possible!
  4. bESS

    bESS Been here awhile

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    John:

    I only just stumbled upon this RR and I am really enjoying it.

    I like the way your write about things, explain and express your thoughts
    also your photos . . .

    I just sent you a tank of gas. I may not comment much, but I will be following along.

    I am only on page 23 so I am not yet caught up

    bob
  5. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi QforA,

    I've heard that song on the radio of course, being from rural Nebraska where George Straight is quite popular, but never saw the video. Nice!

    And yes, the shores of Old Mexico look that nice in person. You'll like it when you get down here I think.

    Muchas gracias amigo,
    Juanito on the shores of Old Mexico
  6. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi NitroRoo,

    There's a little beach bum in most ADVriders I imagine.

    Saludos,
    Juanito
  7. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Ni3ous,

    Nice ride report! The smiles on your faces hanging in Tunisia say it all. You are lucky to have good friends who like riding to far off places to see what's over the next sand dune.

    Hope to get to Slovenia some day. Lovely part of the world most people don't know about.

    Thanks for the donation, I'll write Ni3ous on the gas tank. Nice to have you aboard as Chief Executive in charge of Southern European Operations.

    Kindest regards,
    John Downs
  8. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Bob,

    Checked out your blog and that's a nice R12R. You can go some fun places on that bike. I have fond memories of riding in BC. Camping on the Pacific side of Vancouver Island over from Port Hardy through logging roads. Listening to the waves crash on the rocks in the moonlight. BC is heaven. I prefer the summer of course.

    And thanks for the kind donation. Glad to have you along as Chief Executive in charge of Wet Coast Operations. bESS will look good on the gas tank. And that's no BS.

    Bst,
    John Downs
  9. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    I'm in too late to give you ideas in that area, but I will say there used to be a spider monkey rehab center in the jungle not far from the Mahahual big ship pier. Also, on Belize you might PM : huvrluvr and/or rodrut here for ideas. Enjoy, I'm envious & coming that way soon! Get away from Tulum -it sucks up too much $$$. BTW, there's a good pizza on the corner in town near Tulum.
  10. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Yesterday morning after visiting the Tulum ruins it was overcast and instead of heading for some cenote snorkeling, I decided to head towards the sunshine over to the east in the state of Yucatan. A lot of straight riding later I was visiting the ruins at Ek Balam. Pretty touristy place now that it's been discovered, but interesting to see how they are restoring ruins up close and personal.

    The front of the pyramid has been totally restored and they had some neat plaster recreations of what the original work might have looked like. When you walk back to the back of the pyramid you can see what the unrestored areas look like:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Basically a steep slope of dirt and loose rock with trees growing out of it. From historic photographs I saw on the internet, there was none of the current work. Just a bit of the top and what looked like a mound of dirt.

    They are restoring the back of the big pyramid so I walked around to see how they do it. Basically remove the dirt and debris, solidify the base rock and sort the stone at the bottom into piles:

    [​IMG]

    You can see here where they are digging out some face stone and re-setting it in front. Not a very good reproduction of the original work in my opinion. The same stone masons that did this work did the restoration on the front of the pyramid:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    but when I think about it the admission was only 95 pesos or around 10 bucks. And it costs twice that to see the Grand Canyon.

    They were using wooden 8x12 beams as lintels over the doorways. No wood lasts 1000 years, so basically as a novice you can tell anything above those lintels was re-created within the last 20 years. Some of it is starting to decay already.

    After visiting Ek Balam it was only 50 miles or so to Chichen Itza. Quite a large tourist attraction.Busloads of tourists and vendors lining the grounds hawking their wares. Quite expensive to get in with 22 pesos parking and 177 pesos admission. So about $16.00. They sent the A team of restorers over here. Plus there was more original Mayan masonry here than I have seen anywhere else. Nice stone carving, original staircases. I enjoyed walking around even though it is a bit of a zoo.

    From the serpents, eagles and jaguars carved on many columns and walls they were put back together quite accurately. Really impressive work.

    And although the main pyramid looked like this in 1847:

    [​IMG]

    I like what they've done with it. And they left a portion unrestored so people could see what they had to work with. I like this concept better than the other total restorations. Sort of like the cutaway drawings of motors that have always fascinated me.

    After wandering around Chichen Itza for quite a while I headed to the parking lot and was chatting with a bus driver Luis and he offered to let me stay at his place for the night. Really nice guy. So he scribbled a map on a piece of paper and I headed 120 miles west to a little Pueblo named Akumal.

    I got there around 8 when he got off his shift and he arrived soon after. His friend came over with a restored 1961 Mexican Carabella 100 moto:

    [​IMG]

    Here is Luis's Yamaha 1100:

    [​IMG]

    Here is Luis and his moto buddy from down the street:

    [​IMG]

    Then it was time for dinner and small talk. And when it comes to Español I am all ears and not much talking. Although I tell people if I don't understand a word and they come up with something I can figure out.

    Luis angled his van in so I had a nice spot to set up the tent. Here it is the next morning:

    [​IMG]

    And here is Luis and his lovely wife Luisa and their two boys:

    [​IMG]

    Really nice family. And so kind of them to take me in as a friend. This morning Luisa fixed tostada Francesa (French toast) and really yummy sweet papayas along with cafe con leche (coffee with milk). And soon it was time for Luis to head off to work and me to hit the road.

    It was cloudy north of Tulum so I decided to head south towards Belize. Stopped for loncha at the tres hermanos mechanics who signed my tank on the way north and gramps fixed me a plato typico Mexicano lunch.

    Passed these guys that had been waiting for a day for their buddy to return with new tires:

    [​IMG]

    Mexican time. They said the sapote tropical wood 4x8s sell for 800 pesos each (64.00) so quite a valuable load to leave on the side of the road. Thus why they had been hanging out there for a day.

    And then it was off to Bacalar to see about finding the hotel Posada that Idahosam had mentioned. When you aren't sure where a hotel is, it is best to hit a taxi stand and ask the taxistas. They know hotels. And they pointed me over two blocks to Alain's Posada Hotel where I am staying for 200 pesos.

    I need to do laundry and check the weather and see which direction to head next. It started raining an hour after I got here. Might hang out here tomorrow. Really mellow backpacker hotel kind of place run by nice folks with interesting characters staying here. I spent 448 pesos or $35.84 yesterday mostly on admission and gas since Luisa fed me.

    Saludos,
    Juanito
  11. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi kantuckid,

    Tulum is a beautiful area. The resort areas of Mexico are expensive though, you got that right. As far as Belize, I just checked wunderground.com and the weather looks like crap this week with a 70-90% chance of rain everyday. There's a heavy tropical storm hanging off the coast.

    I'll see what it looks like tomorrow, but I might head over to the dryer Pacific side from here or midway over and down through the jungle to Tikal. Time will tell.

    Best,
    Cornhuskerkid
  12. Idahosam

    Idahosam Set Adrift

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    Yaaaaa :clap You made it. Hey man when you stayed at "Akumal" off 307 you were basically at the Dos Ojo's Cenote I told you about.


    Say Hi to Alan for me and let him know I am trying to come back down for a visit.

    Great kids

    [​IMG]

    and his chico benito

    [​IMG]

    Felices Fiestas a la familia Berthiaume
  13. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Alan remembers you well. Well okay, he can't actually remember your name but he remembers your bitchin' Kay tay Emma.

    And yes, Dos Ojos was just down the way this morning, but I felt like heading towards the sun that was shining south.

    And as it works out Alan has some traje de baños for me to wear so I'll go swimming in the rain tomorrow here in lovely Bacalar.

    And thanks for the pointer to this place. Muy tranquillo y barato. My kind of place. Thank goodness I have you along as travel co-ordinator.

    Gracias amigo,
    Juanito
  14. newhoco

    newhoco stromnambulator

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    Aw , Shit !
    I'm caught up !
    Now what'm I going to do ?
    Alex
  15. zilla

    zilla Long timer

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    Great pictures John! Makes me wish I were down there instead of working on a snowblower.
  16. ratbikemike

    ratbikemike Adventurer

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    John, I've been following along and am now in Antigua Guatemala studying spanish, day trips, going to the gym... After reading all your reporting on so many ruins I suggest that it would be a shame if you missed Tikal. It comes highly rated by locals and I, of little knowledge, was impressed. Sure would like to know how you would see the place. You need to know all this area is wonderfully cheap. Thanks for your help in being a bit more knowledgeable. ratbikemike
  17. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Alex,

    Glad to have you along. Don't worry, I am a ride reporting pitbull and will keep you entertained on a regular basis for another few months until my money runs out. The fun part is I don't know where this ride report is going any better than you do.

    Kindest regards,
    John Downs
  18. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi zilla,

    I know what you mean. I'm no different in between rides. Reading these reports brings back the memories. I even like reading my own ride reports to remember where I've been and all the great people I've met down the road.

    Just think of working on the snowblower as prep for working on your bike in Colombia when the waterpump goes out in the mountains. You are actually honing your ADVrider skills.

    Best,
    John Downs
  19. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi ratbikemike,

    Glad you are still following along. And yes, I will make it over to Tikal if the ratbike gods are in my favor. I really enjoyed Chichen Itza and the other Mayan sites I have visited. I can't afford to go to them all, but the main ones are definitely fun to visit and imagine what they might have looked like 1000 years ago.

    I might even catch up to you some day. I need a ratbikemike signature on my gas tank for good luck.

    I'm taking a day off riding tomorrow I think so I better go over to HU and catch up on your excellent ride report and see what you've been up to.

    Hope to see you down the road.

    Saludos,
    Juanito
  20. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    I moved from my room at the Posada Hotel in Bacalar 30 feet over to the courtyard garden. Alain, the owner, said pay what you think it's worth. So I gave him 100 pesos for the two cups of coffee he made me and this space for tonight. Worth it to me to have another hot shower, free wifi to study Spanish and read up on things. Plus it's a mellow place to stay. I could spend some time here if I wasn't determined to make it to South America before my money runs out. It is always worth asking about tent camping at these backpacker places. You can save some pesos.

    Alain gave me a pair of jams with flames down the sides to go swimming in. Nice. They are hanging on the tent in the garden:

    [​IMG]

    A little trick I learned to keep the honest people out of your tent while you're away swimming is to padlock the zippers together:

    [​IMG]

    It is also good at keeping Alain's little toddler out of her new playhouse in the garden:

    [​IMG]

    I also put my more valuable stuff in my locking topbox inside the tent. Like GPS, computer, water purifier, ID etc.

    It's worked so far. I wouldn't do this in a less safe spot. I would load the bike up and ride to the beach and keep an eye on it. But for a relatively safe place like here it is fine.

    Yesterday I spent 395 pesos or $31.60 on gas food and lodging.

    More later…..

    Saludos,
    Juan
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