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 quattroman,

    No need to get in hot water with the wife by sending a donation. Just the fact that you are enjoying the ride report is payment enough. Although quattroman would look good on the gas tank.

    Glad to have you along for the ride. And yes, I am a strange man on the internet.

    Kindest regards,
    John Downs
  2. OldPete

    OldPete Be aware

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    Strange man indeed! :lol3

    As MJ said of the Himba people, "they see you as their equal and treat you as such."
    That my friend is love and you Sir respond to it well.
    Why was the price of pancakes forgotten? Because the interaction was of much higher value. :wink:
    I would call it, responding to treatment... Carry on Juanito.

    Kindest Regards,
    OldPete
  3. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    Wow! This report is getting DEEP as well as wide.
  4. OldPete

    OldPete Be aware

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    Copper Canyon is deep & wide but it's North of here. :deal :lol3
  5. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    It was quite cold this morning. No heat in this hotel, so nice to have a down bag. 3º C is in the mid 30s I think. It warms up quickly during the day into the 70s. I spent the morning studying Spanish. That is, huddled in my down bag watching the Spanish travel station on cable and typing in all the words I didn't understand into google.translate. Spanish lessons on a shoestring.

    Went out late morning for some street food. The cheap place in Xela is over where the collectivos drop off the locals coming in for market day. Enchilada 3 quetzals (39¢) and a strange green warm drink with black seeds in the bottom for 2.5 quetzales.

    Walked around the back alleys over in the seedy part of town. Checking out all the old houses that have to be a couple hundred years old. This one had hand carved columns and lintel. No air tools back then:

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    And this nice hand carved stone window with hand forged wrought iron grill work. Really nicely done. You could see where the stucco was missing that the whole building had been matching stone a few hundred years ago:

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    The corners on the same building had hand carved stone quoins. The relief is all hand picked out with a little pick hammer. Somebody had some money back when this neighborhood had it's heyday:

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    Love this little ripper Sachs motard. MadAss 125. You could get across town pretty fast on this thing:

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    This is the street I've been staying at to the left across the street from the Black Cat Hostel:

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    Went over to the zocalo to get some food this afternoon. Sort of a Mayan Christmas fiesta atmosphere. Several photographers had set up backdrops with little lambs and Santas for photographing their grandchildren:

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    Loved these ladies' outfits. Peonies with almost a Japanese flair:

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    Late afternoon rays on the crowds outside the Cathedral:

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    Some days when you're on Latin time, changing your oil, finding something to eat and wandering around are a full day's activity.

    Spent 135 quetzales ($17.55) today on food and lodging.

    Saludos,
    Juanito
  6. TrashCan

    TrashCan Scary Jerry

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    Thanks for the updates of your trip.
    You really get a lot done in a days time.
    Great report!!!


    :clap
  7. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    I think today is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She apparently appeared as a vision on Mount Tepac iirc
  8. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    So that's what it is. They are kicking me out of the hotel tomorrow since there is a big fiesta of some type and the place is booked. I'll be wandering around the hills tomorrow. Probably just as well. Two days in the big city is about my limit.

    Saludos,
    Juan Sin Fiesta
  9. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Love that name. Glad to have you along for the ride.

    Best,
    John Downs
  10. Dracula

    Dracula Dilettante

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    That is called quality of life in my book. Looking forward to your report on the end of Maya calendar days :norton
  11. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Dracula

    Changed my oil yesterday at around 12:12PM on 12/12/12. That is a very auspicious day in the Universal Sherpa Calendar handed down by Tibetan monks.

    Just kidding.

    The end of the long count Mayan Calendar is coming up at 11:11AM on the solstice Dec. 21, 2112. Even the dentista wanted to know if I would be around for that.

    As a sidenote, I wrote Dracula on the gas tank as my sponsor and that night a bat flew around the room and brushed my face with his batwing at 4 in the morning. Coincidence? I think not.

    Cue the Twilight Zone music.

    Saludos,
    Juan Vampiro
  12. Chiriqui Charlie

    Chiriqui Charlie Been here awhile

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    John,
    I am heading from Panama towards Antigua this morning, we might pass on the road! I will be disappointed to not get the opportunity to visit you here in the Highlands!
  13. Chip Seal

    Chip Seal Long timer

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  14. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    <IFRAME height=281 src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/55551491?badge=0" frameBorder=0 width=500 allowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen webkitAllowFullScreen></IFRAME>.
  15. QCRider

    QCRider Been here awhile

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    Let me know if you're stopping somewhere in CR tomorrow - might be able to meet up depending where you are if you're interested. Or perhaps on your way back if it works better.

    Safe ride!

  16. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Fabulous day of riding in the Guatemalan mountains on some roads that Guaterider suggested. He comes up with the best ideas.

    Headed northwest of Xela through this town that was having a market day:

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    towards the Mexican border. They were selling cheap Mexican gas and diesel on the side of the road. I stopped here and checked the GPS and I was only 20 miles from the border:

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    The road climbed from Xela which is at 7000 feet quickly to over 9000 feet:

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    stopped at a little comedor and had some eggs, beans and corn tortillas for 12 quetzals ($1.56). Not very appealing looking I know, but I eat to ride:

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    Saw some guys making concrete blocks by hand and had to stop and see what was up:

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    They gave me a demo of their bloque making machine:

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    mix sand and cement in a pile, shovel in a load, turn it on and it pressed down the mix, shook like a mother and out came two blocks. They sell for 3.5 quezales (46¢/ea.)

    Finally made it to San Marcos. This town was hit by a major earthquake last month and it was interesting making it through town. Check out the major cracks on this building:

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    And the Universidad main building was being propped up with 20 ft. 4x8s:

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    This building didn't fare so well. Half of it collapsed:

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    The streets were littered with debris and the way I needed to go was blocked by the police, so I followed an XR250 over one block and the wrong way up a one way street. Met a bus and pulled all the way right and he brushed my left saddlebag as he squeaked by. Finally got to 12N north and climbed straight up switchbacks out of town:

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    Nice side roads were calling:

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    Almost looks like rice terraces in Bali:

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    This road was nothing but curves up and over the crest of one mountain ridge and down into the next:

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    With views to distant volcanoes:

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    More pictures loading…..
  17. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    The day started out with cool, crisp mountain air and clear blue skies. As the sun rose higher it warmed quickly. I liked these adobe looking houses with hip roofs:

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    I stopped to take off my down under jacket and talked to these fellows who were making sun dried adobe blocks:

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    One guy mixed clay, lime sand and long pine needles for binder instead of straw and slopped it into buckets and took it over to this guy who was packing wooden forms. They sell them for the same price as the cement block guys. He was telling me they are better in earthquakes. I like the look of the adobe better. But then my ancestors built sod houses in Nebraska so it may be a genetic defect.

    The road split many times and there were no road signs out here in the sticks. I was looking for Tacana (tah-ka-NA). Don't think I found it. This road turned to gravel:

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    And headed down hill :

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    It was getting to be late afternoon and I checked the GPS to see where I was. It only has a base map and it looked like I needed to head north or east for 40 miles or so to hit the PanAm highway. This road turned south so I doubled back.

    Took another newly paved road heading north through pine forests:

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    And down through numerous switchbacks heading in a northerly direction:

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    Stopped at a fork in the road and asked these kids which way and they pointed down the hill towards San Miguel. Sounded good:

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    Down through that valley and up the next mountain looking back:

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    Over the next mountain and down across a river there had been major landslides:

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    This is looking straight up at the trackhoe way up there working. Pictures looking straight uphill don't do this massive slide justice. It was a mile wide. Too big to photograph:

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    I asked a guy on the side of the road if this led to HueHue and he said si, pero poco despacio (yes but a little slow).

    Now you know what that means in Guatemalan. 20 miles of this:

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    This was the level part I could photograph. The straight up and down sections were too steep to stop.

    Followed along a river:

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    Looking back at despacio valley:

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    The sun had set and eventually I made it to a major paved road that led to the PanAm. I was busy riding and didn't stop until the turnoff to Huehuetenango where I am now in this 150 quetzale (19.50) deluxe hotel with marble tile floors, hot shower, cable TV, wifi and twin double beds. This place is awesome:

    [​IMG]

    Don't know what it's called. I'll check tomorrow. It was dark when I got here.

    I spent 297 quetzales ($38.61) today on food, gas and lodging.

    Buenos noches,
    Juanito
  18. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Nicely done Señor Trice! Kudos.

    Seems like a lifetime ago.

    Gracias amigo,
    Juanito
  19. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi QCRider,

    I will definitely stop for a visit unlike all these other riders that are blasting through CR.

    It won't be tomorrow. I'll be in Xela getting crowned at the dentista. But after that I'm heading your way. Should be in Costa Rica in the next couple weeks I imagine. Mas o menos. The weather is clearing up down your way and it's time to bid farewell to Guatemala.

    Pura Vida,
    Juanito
  20. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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