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. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi FODcan,

    Not much gear to report on really. Which is why I can't find any corporate sponsors other than you guys. The bags leak like a sieve in the rain which is why I put things in zip locs. I can't say enough good things about plastic bags though.

    The top box was a cheapo I got at discount motorcycle parts and it is holding up well.

    The steripen works as advertised. I only buy water occasionally when the tap water tastes like crap or smells like sulphur like up in the mountains somewhere back a few countries.

    The First Gear Jacket and pants leak like a sieve. But it's a warm wet down here in the tropics.

    REI expedition socks are the best socks I have ever owned. I only have one pair and wash them regularly and they are bomb proof.

    My thrift store black levis are amazing. I paid a dollar for them and they never look dirty. I wash them once a month whether they need it or not.

    My black thrift store tee shirt is the same. I wash the armpits regularly with soap and water and the whole tee occasionally. Never looks dirty.

    My Goodwill Industries black Chevrolet Truck hat from San Antonio is still hanging in there. Never looks gross and takes wadding up and shoving in the panniers beautifully. And keeps my helmet hair hidden when I'm off the bike.

    This Macbook air I'm typing on is bomb proof. It has been slamming around in the top case over speed bumps for over 9000 miles and hasn't missed a beat.

    My pawn shop Nikon coolpix camera is hanging in there. I had to switch to it when the bandwidth shrank so I can upload pics quick before the internet goes down. The pictures are smaller. But that just means you get to use your imagination more.

    The GPS that Jim and Ann gave me is great. I hardly ever look at a map. Just wander around and if I feel like seeing what the elevation is or where I am in relation to the PanAm highway just pull over and fire it up.

    The BMW boots that Throttlemeister gave me are holding up really well. Not only did he break them in for me, but they fit my feet like a glove and are plenty comfy hiking around ruins and such. They are probably worth more than my bike and I think kind thoughts about my Okie bud every morning when I put them on.

    The tent Sam gave me in Texas has saved me a ton of money on lodging. I would have kept riding on into the night rather than pay the exhorbitant rates at this ecolodge fantasy farm I'm staying at tonight if it hadn't been for the tent.

    Thermarest pad is holding up well. They are known for springing leaks but so far so good.

    My lightweight down bag has saved my bacon in the cold mountains and been good for cold nights in unheated hotels.

    The goose down jacket I bought for 2 bucks at the Bassett thrift store is the perfect thing for a minimalist. Squashes down to nothing and puffs up and keeps me warm under my riding jacket when I'm up in the cold mountains at night or early morning. It is dirt colored and still looks fine. Perfect as an over shirt in the morning and cool mountain evenings. Much better than the bulky Carhartt jacket I used last time.

    That's about all I have. Other than tools and spare parts. Which I haven't used yet. Well other than the Motion Pro tire irons and walmart battery powered air pump. Those both work great.

    If I think of anything else I'll let you know.

    Best,
    EcoJuan
    John
  2. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Eagletalon,

    Glad to have you along for the ride. It's my job to keep you entertained while you sharpen your talons and get ready for your next ride.

    I have plenty of time to type these up. I'm hanging out in a tent. 12 hours of darkness tonight and I sleep six. What else am I going to do for the other 6 hours? I can only listen to so many podcasts and study so much Spanish.

    Besides, writing ride reports is fun. I've met a lot of nice people that I wouldn't have even known to look up if it hadn't been for typing these up every day. Plus all the great ideas that you guys throw out have made this a way more interesting ride than I would have imagined.

    Best,
    Juanito
  3. Dracula

    Dracula Deus ex machina

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    John,

    Can you please write us something about how you manage to stay safe, by pure luck, doing research and go around places you are not supposed to be, or safety down there is just not a concern, and anyone with common sense could travel safe. I have a Colombian colleague who claims when he visits home never takes out his cell phone except in public places that have security, or wears a watch or other personal items that would be desirable, he dresses plainly not like in USA. During my Alaska trip last summer I met and spoke to some Colombians who said if I wanted to ride there, I better not take "that motorcycle" (my GS 1200) as it attracts attention and I may be asked to "donate it". Not that you would have to worry about that, but I just love the comfort of my 83 K miles fat girl and she is all I have now and am not going to buy a second bike for the trip South, I have traveled and got lost in central Mexico and felt people were genuinely nice, but occasionally you can sense a weird vibe now and then, Then one night in San Miguel De Allende I heard what appeared to be fireworks but were in fact AK 47 shots I learned later about. If you can speak about similar encounters and how you handle it, it would be great info. This is all coming from someone who was kidnapped at 7 years age by Romanian gypsies and managed to escape out of pure luck, so perhaps biased :lol3

    Cheers,
    Vic
  4. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    That's because he left his other pair at my house :freaky :rofl
  5. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    My camping spot in the morning light:

    [​IMG]

    The owners diesel Landcruiser pickup. This one doesn't look like it sees much adventure:

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    I like the older Landy pickups that cruise the mountain roads. Beat up with parts hanging off, they have a retro Indiana Jones flair.

    I was getting blown around on the road last night and the tent was flapping all night. This morning I see that I have landed in wind farm central:

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    I'd never stood at the base of one of these windmills before so had to hike over and feel the power of the swoosh:

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    The door at the base was locked so no climbing up in the tower for a look see. Just standing there looking straight up at ginormous blades going WHOOSH………..WHOOSH………….WHOOSH. They make quite a rhythmic racket cutting a swath through the air.

    Walked down to the river next door:

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    The pool looks cleaner. At least it will be when Pablo finishes skimming all the leaves that blew in last night:

    [​IMG]

    Think I'll get out those flame jams that Alain from Bacalar gave me as a going away present and go for a dip before heading over to the beach.

    more later…..
  6. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Vic,

    I'm still looking for the dangerous places people keep telling me about. Haven't found them yet, but I'm still looking.

    Every country I go to the story is the same. It's muy peligro in the Northern Mexican mountains, the middle Mexican mountains, you'll get keeled in Oaxaca, Chiapas, the Peten, the mountains of Guatemala, Honduras is nothing but criminales, Nicaragua is dangerous.

    I'm sure there are dangerous spots here and there. Especially in the larger cities. But as an old man riding around on a little bike I have met nothing but friendly and helpful people.

    Plenty of people ride their GS12s to South America. Just get on your bike and go. If you get kidnapped by gypsies along the way at least you have the skillset to get away.

    My skills are weak. I'd still be living in a caravan playing gypsie music if that had happened to me.

    Best,
    Juan Vagabond
  7. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    I miss those socks:cry

    I think subconciously I left them in order to have an excuse to come back and visit the Tricefamily.

    I'll trade you the Palenque mask touched by the Mariposita goddess for my socks when I get home.

    Saludos,
    Juanito
  8. Max Wedge

    Max Wedge ADVenture mowing

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    Just found this RR, got a lot of catching up to do! Can't wait!:clap
  9. Salsa

    Salsa Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Arizona, Alaska, Kalifornia
    You have a nice wardrobe for a doller-two-ninety-eight !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Don
  10. Dracula

    Dracula Deus ex machina

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    Buenos dias Senor Juan,

    Your words are reassuring and generous encouragement for those still dreaming, and I would add, your travelling skills are just as good as your literary style that really made me laugh today.

    Wishing you a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas, wherever your Sherpa takes you these days.
    Vic
  11. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Don,

    The helmet was 50 on craigslist as was the jacket. The riding pants were free. A buck for the pants. Same for the hat. Socks were 16 and the down jacket 2. 50 cents for the tee shirt. Plus I have capolene long underwear that were 30. Gloves are a gift from GuateRider. Boots are a gift from Throttlemeister. Knit cap to keep my head warm was 2. I just got out of the pool and my wet swimming trunks I am wearing are a gift from Alain in Bacalar, Mexico.


    I'll have you know I have invested heavily in my eclectic wardrobe. I had to ride over 9000 miles to collect all this quality stuff.

    Who needs Santa when you've got your pals from ADVrider keeping your wardrobe looking spiff?

    ¡Feliz Navidad!
    Juanito
  12. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
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    Hi Max Wedge,

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

    Kindest regards,
    John Downs
  13. bESS

    bESS Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    John:

    In case I get too busy tomorrow, best wishes for a very Merry Christmas

    and have a special dinner on me. Yes, for once, splurge a little and have a good meal. You deserve it for keeping us entertained. You are my daily routine and I look forward to more Reports from SA

    bob
  14. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
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    Finally left the Ecolodge this afternoon after cooling off in the pool. Headed south along the shores of Lago Nicaragua with Omotepe in the clouds off in the distance:

    [​IMG]

    I owe this afternoon to rtwpaul's excellent ride report and his beautiful pictures of a beach north of San Juan del Sur and the lovely Matilda's surf camp. I rode through San Juan del Sur and headed north on the coast road. It has a feeling of Hawaii 100 years ago out here riding north under the monkeypod trees:

    [​IMG]

    until the road turns to fast smooth gravel:

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    stopped for a coke and asked two drunk fishermen for directions and they pointed down the road and said follow the signs to Majagual (ma-ha-hwal):

    [​IMG]

    then it was just a matter of remembering rtwpaul's picture directions to the end of the road and Matildas where I found some other bikes. Sam and Carrie from Michigan are riding this Triumph to South America on their honeymoon:

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    Here is the cute couple:

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    Donnie Mackenzie from California is on this GS:

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    Here's Donnie:

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    I walked with him down this beach and around the point in the distance:

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    with kids bodysurfing:

    [​IMG]

    to a pizza place with wifi to upload these photos.

    A tip of the helmet to rtwpaul. This place is awesome. 80 cordobas ($3.50) to camp. I might have a hard time leaving this place. Great place to spend Christmas. The border is closed Christmas anyway, so I'll spend a couple three days here I imagine.

    I spent 280 cordobas ($12.00) today on food and lodging.

    Buenos noches,
    Juanito
  15. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding...

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    glad you found the place John, say Feliz Navidad to Marta for me in the little two table shack outside Matildas, they are sisters if you haven't found that out yet (hopefully she remembers me, if not tell her the english guy with all the tattoos)

    ...and to you, have a great christmas, i guess you are walking two bays south to the Monkey Poop Ranch (yes people that is its real name, John and search places like this out) to use the internet so probably won't hear from you in a week or two as i know that place is real difficult to leave and quite honestly why would you want to!!!

    BTW have a reread thru my report on the penas blancas frontera as it had changed quite a lot since i was there last year, and is now a lot easier, i did both sides in about 1 hour...
  16. JackJack

    JackJack Dulce Periculum

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    Merry Christmas! I am enjoying this immensely and appreciate your skillful eye for bringing great photos and commentary to the ride report. It's better than any travel book I've every purchased so I put a little stocking stuffer in your paypal account.
    Cheers!
  17. Jba797

    Jba797 Gravel Hound

    Joined:
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    John,

    I heard about your RR through some riding buddies on ADV. I'm new to this type of entertainment & really enjoying it. I'm really enjoying your photos as I love photography. Your RR has inspired me to plan some adventures in the future. I look forward to more great photos.

    Merry Christmas & God Bless

    jba797
  18. Lornce

    Lornce Lost In Place

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    In.

    :lurk
  19. Baja_Bound

    Baja_Bound Adventurer

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    Am I the only one who noticed his left hand? Heck, they are on their honeymoon! :evil

    Thank you for the great ride report and photos of the architecture. This is only my second RR to follow from start to finish and I can not tell you how inspiring it is. After reading each post, I find myself saying 'He's doing this, so why can't I?' The media continues to show us how dangerous life is there, but I can't help but think that the majority of people in the world are good, caring helpful folk. I have been trying to convince my wife (and two small children) that a ride greater than 30 minutes from a major metropolitan city, has 911 responders, and gladly accepts medical insurance, is a good thing. No luck yet.
  20. ex_MGB

    ex_MGB Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    208
    John you've hurt me with your stop at Playa Majagual for Christmas. Please, please relate every negative aspect you can think of. Are the beers not sufficiently cold? Do you miss the holiday shopping crowds? Certainly palm trees, sun, sand and surf makes you yearn for bare trees, gray overcast skies and freezing temps.

    Help a brother out...
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