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. VooDooDaddy

    VooDooDaddy Been here awhile

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    Hola Juanito,

    It has taken me 4 days off-and-on to catch up. I started reading about your semi-hobo travels again on page 30, and have greatly enjoyed (much like everyone else). Work has been steady for me this fall and looks good into the early winter, so when I have extra funds, I'll be happy to help keep you on the road.

    My wife has made noises to the effect that I am too involved in reading about your adventures, but when I asked her if she would mind if I spend as much time reading travel books containing great (real-time) pictures, with comment to live questions, I think she began to understand. I think she has fears that when I leave for my trip in a few years,...I may not come back? :D

    Anyway, I sent your some fundage a few days ago, and would like to fill out an application for the position of Operations Manager for International Security. I'd be happy to email my CV. :lol3
  2. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi VooDooDaddy,

    Thanks! Your name was getting kind of faded up on the top of the tank since you were an early contributor two months ago, so I went over it again with magic marker.

    Glad to have you aboard as Operations Manager for International Security. I will write a glowing recommendation and provide an excellent reference for any future job application.

    As an ex-marine and after meeting Ulysses in El Salvador I want the semper fi crowd on my team.

    Saludos,
    Antique Juan in Antigua
  3. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Was hanging out on the couch this morning thinking about going out for some breakfast when this guy showed up:

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    ratbikemike from Alabama hunted me down and took me out for an excellent breakfast of huevos rancheros and good coffee. Then we walked down to visit Chris at CAtours:

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    That TTR250 on the left is Chris's bike and the ag200 Hondas are the rental bikes he takes people on tours around the CA4 countries on. And here is the other half of CAtours, Dave from England. Pronounced Dive.:

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    I am now back to clear out of my expensive hotel and head across town to the cheap seats with the ratbikester. I can camp for free at the Tourist Police compound across town, but Chris tells me there is motocross happening all day tomorrow not far out of town, so probably leave my stuff at a cheap hotel and head up for some motocross action pics tomorrow. Should be interesting to see how they do it down here.

    Juan had finished patching the wall by the time I got back. Good enough for government work but I wouldn't hire him:

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    Best,
    Juanito de Antigua
  4. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Wait a tick, did you say you were an ex-marine? How come you didn't tell me?

    It was great riding with you man. Thanks for letting me sign your tank! If I happen to roll through Nebraska next year, I'll hit you up! Take care!

    Bryce
  5. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Bryce,

    VooDooDaddy is an ex-marine. Sorry for the confusion. I on the hand am the guy who is learning to hate the shower. And as you well know I seem to have a magnetic attraction to bats flying around my head in the middle of the night.

    You always have a free place to stay in Basset. It's not far from Sturgis if you ride that Harley of yours out to the northern plains.

    When you get back stateside there aren't too many people like me who will understand what you've been through.

    Saludos,
    Tio Juanito
  6. GuateRider

    GuateRider Long timer

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    Hola John,
    Good to see that you are enjoying my future hometown , Antigua .
    You should definitely go to the Macadamia farm Valhalla( right after Ciudad Vieja)
    Tell Lorenzo , the owner, I sent you . He is a fountain of wisdom and his macadamia pancakes are the best:clap
  7. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Spent the day in Antigua wandering around people watching. This place is reminiscent of San Cristobal de las Casas up in Mexico only with wider cobblestoned streets:

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    I haven't figured out what festival is going on today. Lots of costumes:

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    and major amounts of fireworks and M-80s going off. Plus some interesting firecrackers that sound a lot like .45 automatic gunfire. Walked over to lunch with ratbikemike and he wasn't getting used to it. I was never in the service so fireworks don't have the same effect on me.

    Here is the guesthouse I'm staying at:

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    Here is what 70 quetzales gets you in Antigua:

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    Bunk in a room. It is the off season so only two other euro backpackers and me last night. The manager said the tourist high season is Jan.-March. They have a weekly rate of 700 quetzales ($91.00) including 3 meals a day. So you could live here on social security.

    Speaking of living on social security, that is exactly what ratbikemike is doing. I had never thought of being a motorcycle vagabond through my social security years. Nowadays, with the internet and automatic deposits it would be easy to withdraw funds from ATMs around the world. Hmmmmm. Something to think about. I'll be 62 in a couple years.

    The cheap food in this town is over where the gringos don't go at the mercado on the other side of town. Little hole in the wall place next to the zapateria (shoe store):

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    Although there are also plenty of coffee shops that serve excellent cappuccino:

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    Soon it was dark and time for a stroll through the zocalo where everything was lit up and the party was starting. I think the constant fireworks had something to do with scaring the devil away so the Virgin Mary can emerge tomorrow, but don't quote me. i'm weak on Latin American Catholicism:

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    I spent exactly 100 quetzals ($13) on food and lodging.

    Saludos,
    Juanito
  8. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hola Julio,

    Antigua would be an easy place to live. Very pleasant up here in the cooler mountain air con cielo de deciembre claro y azul.

    I have to ride up to watch the motocross races this morning, but tomorrow I can think of nothing better than macadamia pancakes for desayuno. I will give my regards to Lorenzo and tell him you will be home soon.

    Your suggestions are always very much appreciated!

    Muchas gracias amigo,
    Viejo John
  9. OldPete

    OldPete Be aware

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    Not sure if I already posted this but...

    Octavio Paz in Labyinth of Solitude states that quite often the native builders of many early churches
    would paint the native gods in the wet plaster, only to have the clerics have them repaint what they had on offer. :D
    So the belief and culture is right under the surface quite literally.

    Great report Juanito. More pics of locals please.

    Best Regards,
    OldPete
  10. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi OldPete,

    Here is a nice Guatemalan family over in the zocalo posing in front of the central fountain for a family photo:

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    There was a wonderful shot that I just missed of a bride and groom coming out of the church across the street into their limosine. By the time I got my camera out they were inside the car with blacked out windows. Dang it. Really beautiful bride. I'll try to step up my paparazzi game today.

    Saludos,
    Juanito
  11. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    I went to the motocross track today to see some action as did this KTM enthusiast:

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    KTM ruled the midget classes in 50cc and 65cc. Here is a kid ripping it up on a KTM catching a little air:

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    Ratbike mike, Julie, and Chris from CA tours at the races:

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    Julie sold her CRF230L in Georgia before coming down here last May and thought bikes would be cheaper down in Guatemala. Hah! She is looking at a Super Sherpa on Craigslist in Georgia. It would be the perfect bike for her.

    This XR650R would be a fun bike in Guatemala:

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    The 250s lining up at the start. Notice the Sherpa over to the right just drooling to have a crack at this track:

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    A local gringo Frenchy took his DR200 out in between races and broke a spoke so probably better that I held back. The Sherpa needs to make it to South America. No need to wad it up.

    Nobody could catch this Honda in the 450 class:

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    In between races it was time for bistec and tortillas:

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    Families around the world love to come watch their kids tear it up at the track:

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    Reminded me of the movie "On Any Sunday". Howling exhaust notes mixed with thumping rock and roll music coming from giant speakers was a nice combo.

    The 650 race was especially fun to watch. Nobody was going to catch the guy on the XR650R, but the battle for second place between the Yamaha and KTM came down to the wire with the KTM nosing out the Yamaha in the air on the final jump across the finish line to a cheer from the crowd.

    Really fun way to spend a sunny afternoon near Antigua.

    I just checked the Nebraska department of roads weather cam near Bassett and it is reporting 28 mph sustained winds from the north, current temp 4ºF, snow forecast tonight. Yikes! No big hurry to get back there anytime soon.

    I spent 105 quetzales ($13.65) today on food and lodging.

    Buenos noches,
    Juanito
  12. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Oh man! I wish.
  13. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Ulyses,

    I see a plated XRR in your future. You'd be in Peru by now if you had this bike.

    Best,
    Tio Juanito
  14. grind

    grind Been here awhile

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    +1 on the Macadamia nut farm. The nuts are delicious and they use every aspect of the nut commercially. The nut oil is sold to movie stars as a skin moisturizer, the honey produced from the nut flowers, and the flour ground from the nuts etc. Get him to show you the altered stationary bicycles the hired hands ride to grind the nuts.

    Also if you have the legs for it, try climbing Volcan Acatenango. You will pass through 4 different ecosystems on the way to the 13,000'+ summit. Once on top, you can watch its sister volcan Fuego erupt. Quite a trip. Check first to make sure its safe...., sometimes it's a little frisky.

    And the jade factories....... Ahhh, Antigua..., land of eternal spring!
  15. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Man, I'd be in the ditch or a shallow grave if I had that bike! Haha! So, are you going to show me how to build one of those grills like Mario has?
  16. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    After what you did for Ed Zactamundo I will personally come build you a grill like Marios for free if you supply the materials.

    First things first. You need a backyard.

    I checked your spot and see you made it to Panama. Way to go! It is 4 lane fast divided freeway after Santiago so you'll make your date with destiny no problema.

    Viva Colombia y America del Sur!

    Saludos,
    Su Loco Tio Juan
  17. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

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    Surely you have more to tell about Julie:ear:babe

    Sounds like she has been in country for awhile.
  18. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi TM,

    I mostly talked bikes with Julie. Craigslist buying strategy that sort of thing. I told her with her good looks she should play the chick card, plead poverty and talk the guy down. If he's got a weak spot for good looking women like my friend Throttlemeister, he'd probably knock several hundred bucks off the price.

    Just kidding about the Throttlemeister part. But with the low ratio of women to men in dual sporting, a good looking woman doesn't have to worry too much about finding someone to fix her bike or sell her a good used thumper cheap. I'd change her oil and re-pack her wheel bearings for free, wouldn't you?

    She has the hots for a Sherpa. Can't say I blame her.

    Best,
    The other John
  19. nuttynu

    nuttynu NuttyNu Rider

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    nice ride. :clap
  20. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi nuttynu,

    Checked out your youtube vid. I like your style. CBR600 up the Dalton. Why not? Ride what you got. Background music by a band with an appropriate name. Coldplay.

    Glad to have you along for the ride.

    Kindest regards,
    John Downs
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