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. The Toad

    The Toad Let There Be Light

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    Location, Location.
    Great RR.

    Looking forward to more :thumb



    -Brian
  2. Thorne

    Thorne Sherpa-ing around

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    I am enjoying your ride report. It is very informative of relative information such as expenses, interests and routing. It is also great to see how the sherpa is holding up as my buddy and I both have one. We are going to be using them in our up coming adventure.
  3. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Left Antigua late this morning. On my way out of town I stopped to take a picture of cobblestone road repair. They remove the loose cobbles, set them in mortar, slather mortar over the top and let the cars wear off the coat on the stones. Stick some rebar upright with red flags so traffic goes around while it sets up. I might try that in my alley when I get home. Stone is cheap.

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    Rode a short way out of Antigua for some macadamia nut pancakes at the place Guaterider told me about. Called Valhalla. Here is where you park:

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    Walk through the mac nut orchard to this garden patio:

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    And soon you have this:

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    Pictures do it no justice. These are the best pancakes I've ever had. Made with organic macadamia flour, topped with drizzled macadamia butter and macadamia honey. And topped with blueberries that they grow at their other farm near Coban.
    mmmm mmmm good.

    After I finished, I chatted with the delightful Emilia:

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    She and her husband Lorenzo started this organic orchard years ago and are promoting sustainable ag. If you are interested in this kind of thing you can check out what they do:

    http://www.exvalhalla.net/visitthefarm.htm

    I know a lot about growing coffee and mac nuts from my landscaping years in Hawaii, so Emilia and I had plenty to talk about. She wanted my opinion on how their nuts compare to Hawaii, and I have to say they are richer and slightly nuttier. She is such a wonderful person. Invited me to stay the night and come camp in the orchard anytime.

    Alas, it was still morning and I'd only made it down the road a few miles so far. Headed out and passed through the sleeping giant volcanoes smoking in the distance:

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    I noticed I had passed 29000 miles a while ago and it is time to change the oil, so stopped and bought a couple quarts from Enrique.

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    Castrol 20/50 motorcycle oil for 120 quetzals ($15.60) for two quarts. Oil is pricey down here. Enrique came back out and gave me a regalo (gift). A keychain tire pressure gauge. I tried it out and it works great. Gold with a bright SLIME logo. I love it. My regular sized one that I carry in my right jacket pocket is always getting stuck in the pocket lining when I try to get it out. This one doesn't. So the other one is history. I had Enrique sign my tank as my latest sponsor. He put some Latin graffiti pizzazz in it so you can't miss it.

    The road from Antigua to Xela is nothing but sweeping curves and horseshoe bends as it winds up into the mountains. Really fun road. It is 4 lane divided. It was getting cold so I stopped to put on my down jacket. Took a GPS reading and the elevation was already 9800 feet. The buses wail around these bends.

    The cars really squeal their tires on this road. I couldn't figure out what the noise was at first. RRRRRRRRRRRRch.

    The buses hate slowing down on the downhill sections and will really lean into the corners. This guy isn't really trying:

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    This guy is a little better. He almost has the front wheel off the ground but not as much lean as some I've seen coming at me out on the two lane twisty back roads:

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    I just remembered that I forgot to pay for my pancakes this morning. I got so caught up talking to Emilia that I totally spaced it out. I'll have to head down there on the way to Honduras and pay up. Plus eat another couple platefuls. It's a good cause and they are really nice people. I highly recommend you stop by and give them some business if you're in the Antigua area.

    I spent 120 q on oil 200 q on a room and 70 q on gas plus 33 for groceries tonight plus whatever the pancakes will cost. So say 450 quetzals today mas o menos.

    Not sure where I'm heading after the dentist tomorrow.

    Adios mi amigos de aventura,
    Juanito
  4. GuateRider

    GuateRider Long timer

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    Good to see that you liked Valhalla and Emilia; y assume you didn't meet Lorenzo?
    Breakfast there is one of the things I'm looking forward to :norton
  5. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Julio,

    Lorenzo was out but Emilia was such a delight to talk to. She was so happy to learn that you and Luisa will be coming soon. I will be stopping in on my way back down the hill for more panqueques and hopefully will get to meet Lorenzo. Thanks so much for the excellent sugerencia.

    Muchas gracias,
    John
  6. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Tio Juanito,

    Do you know of any good motorcycle shops around here (Panama City)? I'm about done wearing that damn jacket in the tropics. Anythign below 2,000 feet around here is miserable. I'm trying to find a pressure suit or something similiar. Any ideas?
  7. gordjones

    gordjones RAT

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    Toronto, Canada
    Sent you a couple of tankfuls.
    Keep up the good work.:clap

    Gord Jones (Rat)
  8. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Bryce,

    You don't need it on a sailboat. You'll be hangin' with the wastoids in shorts and flip flops. You're better off getting tires and gear in Colombia. Bogota or better yet Medellin. Prices are better. Selection is waaaay better. Panama is a small country with fewer people and limited selection.

    Plus, if your boat sinks you won't be out a lot of money if you wait. Just kidding.

    Buena suerte,
    Tio Juanito
  9. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Thanks!

    Gord Jones RAT looks nice on the gas tank.

    Kindest regards,
    John Downs
  10. ratbikemike

    ratbikemike Adventurer

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    Hey, Thanks for dropping by cruising the city with me. Learned a lot and it is appreciated. Will hang hear for a while longer. I still have a few days left on my gym membership..... ratbikemike
  11. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    I don't spend too much time in the future or the distant past on these rides. Right here, right now is where I live most of the time. That's part of what I like about writing these live ride reports on ADVrider. By keeping this up on a regular basis I can focus on taking pictures and writing about what I see today. An added benefit has been all the great suggestions you guys have provided. You get to have a more interactive and interesting ride if you report live from the road. A lot of the cool things I have seen weren't my idea.

    Life is coming at you so fast out here you tend to forget what happened yesterday and lose track of time and space. In fact time expands. It seems like weeks ago that I was in El Salvador, and I could swear I left Mexico months ago. I can barely remember where I went. I'd have to look back a few pages to see how much fun I was having back then. Which is another benefit of writing a ride report.

    Just a few thoughts from the road less traveled while I wait for the dentist's office to open this morning in Xela.

    More later....
  12. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi ratbikemike,

    I learned just as much from you. I aspire to be a social security vagabond when I grow up.

    Antigua is an easy place to hang out. The prices are higher than rural Guatemala, but the living is easy. I can see why so many people stop for a spell to learn Spanish there.

    Su hermano de aventura,
    Juan
  13. Cousteau

    Cousteau ...seeking adventure

    Joined:
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    John, there are some great hotsprings near Xela called Aguas Georginas, about 30 min out of Xela heading towards Reu near Cantel - they are posted on Google Maps, but wasn't able to get the GPS location. Inexpensive and a cool little track up the side of the volcano across all sorts of farms and orchards. Let me know when you're heading through Guate City... can't promise we can match those pancakes, but we'll figure something out.

    Cheers,

    David
    aka Cousteau
  14. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi David,

    Thanks for the suggestion. Aguas Georginas sounds nice. I'll head up there tomorrow and report back.

    And yes, I will definitely stop in Guate and pay you a visit on my way through. Probably not for a few days. I'll PM you to set up a time and place. Look forward to meeting you.

    Saludos,
    Juanito
  15. GuateRider

    GuateRider Long timer

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    Hola John,
    since you are up in Xela you should ride out to San Marcos, than go on to Tacana and keep on going until you come out to the CA1 again . You will be riding between Tajumulco and Tacana, our two highest mountains and you will have a great view on the Cuchumatanes with the highest non volcanic elevation in Central America (3350 m)
    Perfect time of the year for this ride .

    Saludos desde San Cristobal,
    Julio
  16. eSTes1300

    eSTes1300 Adventurer

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    They have a weekly rate of 700 quetzales ($91.00) including 3 meals a day. So you could live here on social security.

    If I took the Room and Board deal, $1100 per month would remain of my SS for wine, women, and song. People need to leave the USA to live.
  17. 0theories

    0theories Enthusiastically Skeptical

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    Excellent! Great reading and very informative as well as relevant for my immediate future. I've been familiar with most of the parts of Guatemala you've been to so far this ride. Looking forward to finding out more about Xela. Never been there, but will be going. Thanks for writing! :1drink
  18. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Headed to the dentist's office this morning here in Xela (shayla). Here are some local women waiting for the bus and catching a ride:

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    I thought I could find my way across town since I was going to the same place as last time. Boy was I wrong. I wandered around for an hour looking. Didn't bring the GPS with the waypoint. Finally stopped at an internet cafe and paid a quetzal to look up his address. Handed it to a taxista and had him drive me there for 10 quetzales. It turns out that they painted the building a different color and I had walked right past it an hour ago. Oh well. I got there.

    Mario cleaned my teeth and suggested that I have one molar that could really use a corona (crown). 1200 quetzales for a crown or pull it for 100 quetzales. Hmmm. I'd like to keep all my teeth. So corona it is. That meant grinding the molar down and making a cast impression. He put a temporary filler crown in the gap and said to come back on Viernes (Friday) to get the final crown put in with bondo, or whatever they call it in dentistry.

    So I walked around Xela for a few hours with no sensation in half my face. This is quite a new feeling for me since I don't go to the dentist very often.

    Stopped in at this guys shop. He was carving headstones:

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    Penciled in the design the customer wanted and blocked in the letters with pencil as well and then went at it with a pneumatic chisel. All freehand. This takes talent. This guy was good. He sprayed the chiseled lettering with black and gold acrylic laquer and buffed off the overspray. Kinda gaudy, but it's what they do down here.

    Don't know who this founding father is. Don't really care. I liked the lady in traditional dress yakking on her cell phone:

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    This is the theater for performing arts. Nice:

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    Nice DR200. Could use some new fork gaiters and a seat cover but otherwise would be decent transportation down here:

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    This reminded me I hadn't eaten all morning:

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    Bought a couple bananas and tried to eat them without chewing off the half of my face with no feeling. Harder than you might imagine.

    Since I have a few days to kill waiting for my corona I decided to move to a more economical place. I checked out the Black Cat Hostel over by the zocalo but they wanted 70 quetzales with no parking. Across the street the lady at the Los Olivos Hotel said she'd knock off 50 from the posted gringo rate and let me stay for 110 with parking and wifi. Done.

    I went up to the zocalo and got some more food later today when I could safely chew. Here are some garachos I think the street vendor lady called them. 3 for 5 quetzals. I had six:

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    I sat down and saw this lady heading over to some big happening:

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    Locals pouring out of the church across the street:

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    I finally saw the casket and figured out it was a funeral procession through the street:

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    I think I'll head out to some of the areas that Guaterider and Cousteau suggested in the rural areas outside town tomorrow.

    I spent 136 quetzals ($17.68) on food, lodging, taxi and internet.

    Buenos noches,
    Juanito
  19. quattroman

    quattroman Adventurer

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    I just caught up with your amazing trip. Would love to do the same, all the way to Tierra del Fuego. I will try to paypal you a Christmas present; and then try to explain my wife why I am sending cash to a strange man on the internet doing an EPIC TRIP.:cool:

    Keep doing what you are doing.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2
  20. QuestForADV

    QuestForADV BanCampLeader

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    LOL..... Too Funny, I never thought about it that way!
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