Tales from the Saddle

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by klous-1, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. klous-1

    klous-1 RTW on a 125cc

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    LATEST ADV RIDE REPORT POST:

    Mennonites - Bolivia:
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    31 Jan 2015


    CURRENTLY IN:
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    [​IMG] Tales from the Saddle Website

    [​IMG] Follow on facebook
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    INTRO:
    With a heavy heart and a churning stomach I left home alone on my Yamaha YBR 125, fears and anxieties of the long journey ahead, to Cape Town first. Having never ridden a motorcycle before the thought of getting even a simple puncture was terrifying.(....I'm on puncture number 76 now...or is it 77?)

    Despite my worries I managed to savour Europe slowly, where in Albania I got to experience my first ever dirt roads along the Mediterranean coast, I was hooked....

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    I was shot at in Turkey,
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    interrogated by the military on Christmas eve in Syria,

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    tailed and arrested in Egypt (who isn't though!),

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    crossed Ted Simons Atbara Desert in Sudan,

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    underwent surgery in Kenya,

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    accused of being a cow thief in Tanzania,


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    Crossed still-flooded flood plains in Zambia,

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    Enjoyed the delights of Namibia,

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    before finally reaching my first goal after eleven months; Table Mountain, Cape Town.

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    All of this, alone, on about $5-10 a day, on a Yamaha YBR 125. (I ride a Honda XR125L now).

    And its not over yet!

    Now I'm in the Americas, starting from San Francisco, USA heading south....to Ushuaia....and you can read about it here (soon, when I've written it!) but you can also view the website www.talesfromthesaddle.com where there are a myriad of photos, tasty tales and of course the ubiquitous map with a line on it.

    [​IMG] You can also follow on facebook

    I hope that some people find enjoyment in reading about it, and if not tell me why as I'd like to improve my writing, and photography too, so please give me some pointers as I'd really appreciate them!

    Until later,
    Nick
    #1
  2. cyclewizard

    cyclewizard Long timer

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    You gotta love the gas mileage of that 125...
    #2
  3. nathanthepostman

    nathanthepostman Been here awhile

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    610
    Hiya Nick, just checked out the website and the pics from Africa look stunning. What an incredible place to ride. Weren't you scared of any lions or anything camping out like that?

    Anyhow, I wish you all the best for the trip through the Americas, and what a perfect bike for the job. Safe travelling my friend.
    #3
  4. DocAxeYarYar

    DocAxeYarYar RideDualSport.com

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    Ride on dude! :clap :clap Excellent adventure!

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    #4
  5. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Wow, you almost slipped under the radar!! Now that you've given us a teaser, let's get some more details and updates on your Americas journey. Thanks for the link to your blog.
    #5
  6. Rotten Ronnie

    Rotten Ronnie Crash

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    What an excellent teaser! I'm looking forward to reading more and following along.
    #6
  7. klous-1

    klous-1 RTW on a 125cc

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    I was always more scared of people. I met people who knew before I arrived that I was coming as they received calls from the chief of the previous village...and had already informed the next chief.....the power of the cell phone, even in Africa most people have one!

    A very large majority of the big game animals are actually - to my quite vague knowledge - behind park fences, to protect them from poachers, and their habitat, though I was warned a few times about lions.

    One animal I tried repeatedly to see was elephants and somehow I didn´t....telling someone my route in Namibia who had a lot of experience seeing game, he couldn't believe it! I didn´t have the money to pay the large entry fees and after seeing other animals outside camp or by chance on a small road I found this more spectacular than paying - and therefore expecting - to see animals. I guess I have a reason to go back!

    But, you can´t take the bike into those parks with lions of course!
    #7
  8. klous-1

    klous-1 RTW on a 125cc

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    There's a new blog post and photos on the the Tales from the saddle website...at some point I'll write it here too!....

    Blog

    Photos

    Sorry I don't have time to write here....but I will soon...
    #8
  9. klous-1

    klous-1 RTW on a 125cc

    Joined:
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    I'll skip part one, on account of being lazy and having little internet time...so here's part deux....

    It was time to leave the fabulous Colima. I loved this place, for it's complete lack of tourist garb, it's pleasant cafes, plazas and it's comfortable safety...and perhaps too for my fabulous hosts; Ernesto and Lea and other friendly people; those at Koki Moto and especially the great Sigi Pablo and his girlfriend Kaiko. But it was time to leave and, as always I find it hard to leave the comforts of 'regular' life.

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    "Don't stay too long in Michoacan." Lea said as I hopped back in to the saddle of a rejuvinated - after his work at Koki Moto - Rudolf. I didn't really know where Michoacan was, or if I was going there...I was off to some volcano as far as I knew and so didn't ask questions...perhaps I should have?

    Soon enough I reach the volcano, it seemed nice enough here and wondered what Lea was talking about, the interesting mountain village of Angang the jumping off point to see what remains of the old village, now buried beneath a thick crust of lava. I deny the caberallo his offer of a horse wanting to stretch my legs out of the saddle, with a hike, peacefully through the forest and over the outer limits of lava glimpsing as I approach the church poking up half-buried in the black bubbled rubble, as if it's God against Nature.

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    Higher in to the mountains still I go, to view the Monarch Butterfly migration at over 3000m. Waking stiff and cold in the morning in a nearby forest, my heart is warmed by a young man, his son and their ever increasing number of rabid dogs, out together collecting tree sap, providing me with half their breakfast and despite my best efforts won't have a cup of my coffee! I don't say anything about them killing EVERY single tree for their sap.

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    The butterflies were a disappointment. Too few, in a dark patch of forest, nothing like I'd been told or imagined and I leave being hounded still by the horsemen and guides...perhaps the wrong time of the migration.

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    Then, having visited the towns of Patzcuaro and Morelia where I'm requested to return most hastily to England, though not quite so formally by the locals, I find myself at a car accident, a bus, smouldering still....then another and another, still ablaze, a truck shot out and on the horizon more and more fires, the air thick with black smoke, the army and police all around. Something is afoot.


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    I ask someone what's going on, how can I make progress on the roads in my best Spanish, which I realise quickly isn't up to much, when he replies,

    "I don't know what the f$%! you just said, why don't you talk English...you do speak English....want some gear?"

    "No thanks, just directions..."

    I realise I'm actually in Michoacan and all starts to become clear - more so later when I read that one of the main druglords has been shot - and I try my best to leave the state, following other cars down little tracks and through fields doing the same...trying to get around the road blocks, trying to get out of Michoacan.

    I have some time to spare before a meeting in Mexico City and so pop up to view the wonderful subterranean labyrinths of Guanajuato, a long detour but worth the trip and a visit with another kind farmer who lets me camp on his beautiful land near the city.

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    It's another cold night at altitude on my way to the big city, kept awake and then woken by a non-stop barrage of fireworks, commemorating or celebrating Saint Augustine or something....the road is quiet to Mexico City though as most everyone has driven off the road in a drunken stupor and I meet a chirpy Garry Dymond, whom I plan to stay with for four days before catching up with Adam for Christmas.

    Two weeks later I leave, having realised that meeting Adam (http://www.shortwayround.co.uk) is a bit beyond the realms of even Rudolf's quick feet and Christmas on his mind. Alas, I got to spend it with the fabulous Garry and his equally fabulous wife, Ivonne as well as fellow motorcyclists Rob and Duncan, of http://www.motorcyclemenus.com. Top chaps and great cooks both of them and Christmas dinner - served at midnight on Christmas eve.... well a little bit earlier; we were getting hungry - a gastronomic delight, but despite it's true excellence, twas not quite as good as my mum's!!!...there's just no pleasing some folk.

    Staying with Garry was a true delight, staying in his house that once stood amongst pine trees on the edge of the city, has since been gobbled up by the growing millions of inhabitants and so gone is the dirt track and donkeys and instead is replaced by the 43 bus route and graffitti world....and a pretty good "panadaria."

    "You live in the SLUM!" someone said...actually I think it was Garry...and actually it was fantastic...behind the safety of Garry's 'tagged' gate that is...

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    no really it was top! Garry is previously of the UK and so the food was tremendous....cottage pie, lasagne, apple pie, steak, chips....and toad in the hole and chocolate brownies made by yours truly (with no assistance from Aunt Bessie). I left weighing the 300lbs I started the trip on.

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    Soon though it's time again to leave those lovely comforts and hit the road though not before one last meal, a lunch of homemade gorditas - my Mexican favourite, made just for me by Ivonne!

    I head off feeling extremely lucky to have met Garry and Ivonne...a meeting I am in great debt to the world for....and I consider that I have to earn some worldly brownie points soon, before something catastrophic happens.

    Alas, it's too late, high up in the Sierra Gorda all movement ceases and Rudolf literally grinds to a halt....on closer inspection I discover that the bearings in the rear wheel have been sneakily replaced by pieces of tin foil.

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    Then my key snaps....

    Standing waiting for a truck to help me out, a man in a VW Jetta - itself held together with string and wire - stops and is quick to tell me that unless I can get to Ciudad Valles myself, I'll be in for a very long wait, for there won't be any trucks this way.

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    So I strap the wheel together, completely without bearings

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    ....and tot off a bit gingerly up the road with the VW shadowing me behind - even gingerlier - in his motorised ball of string.

    Geoff (or whatever his name was) stops and tightens down the wire holding down his bonnet, signifying that we've made the first 15km to the main road, now for the fast stuff, 25km more to the city so he tells me and I give him an optimistic thumbs up, the wheel having only fallen apart once so far. But I lose Geoff in the obstacle course of "topes" (speed bumps), though I wait for him I assume he got bored and stopped for a cerveza and I carry on to Valles alone, where the wheel gives out again, though this time rather timely; outside the Suzuki garage. New bearings are made and only a few hours later I'm back on the road...I was expecting a lengthy stop in the city of days or weeks, waiting for parts! I start wondering if these very helpful people have just tipped the balance of debt I owe to the world irredeemably even further.....

    Back on the road, and looking out for black cats, ladders, tipping balances and gun-touting druglords, I head to Sir James' garden...a highly bizarre and interesting house he built while most likely off his rocker on drugs as it is most peculiar and then a visit to the SPECTACULAR waterfalls in the area, reached only by rowing boat, 4km, upstream in a boat made for 12 sturdy fellas. Though for me it's just myself and my ample guide Celestino. We slogged our way up to the falls, earning several blisters....but it was worth it...105m high of emerald waters, and truly special.

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    Sr James Edwards gaff.....

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    "Those boats are ginormous!" said David, "El Gringo" in his bike shop in Matlapa. Obviously looking worse for wear after the mighty effort, he buys me superb breakfast from a beautiful woman, wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in an earth oven...the breakfast...not the woman. David, thanks, you're a top chap!

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    On I go, out of the jungle, through the cloud forest - where I get to see the inner workings of a cloud close up! - and then into desert! what a landscape! Alas, there are no photos as the camera was soaked days previous exploring some caves....which, it turns out, were rubbish....and full of water.

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    I need more parts for Rudolf, and email my contact in Mexico City....then I spend all day lost in the city trying to find the place eventually doing so only to discover it is infact a completely different Yamaha store to that which I wrote to!....luckily they are top chaps too....at Cuajimalpa and start taking apart a showroom bike to fix up Rudolf before they nip home for the weekend....Thanks GREATLY to them for helping me out at short notice and goign to such great lengths for me!

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    The balance is really tipping now and I ride along on tenderhooks....death must come soon, or maybe a sharp blow to my head....another cold night is all I get, and a still deflating thermarest, 22 punctures and counting - damn you cactus! - but a great visit to Volcan de Toluca and it's lakes, where Rudolf splutters at the altitude

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    ....and then on down to the Pacific coast to revive him and me, north of Acapulco to collect a sleeping bag from Uri and Jackie, friends of Rob's whom I met in Mexico City.

    Alng the way through the Sierras again,

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    in a tiny village I meet an old lady hosing the dirt and ask her where I can find tortillas....soon she returns with freshly made tortillas, and then offers me a coke....and then her nephew comes to chat too, Oscar....great chap, who "wants to give me something for the road" and gives me a cake and two packets of chips!!

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    Because of all the kindness goign around I'm getting anxious and seeing a boy and old lady with a puncture tire I stop to repair it....I get no thanks and feel a bit disappointed...peraps that's how it's supposed to be, perhaps it's more selfless this way, I shouldn't expect so much....

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    Then Ireach the beach and my new sleeping bag.....As I pack the new bag away on the bike Uri comes over...

    "Nick, we all think it's best if you stay the night, have dinner with us, have breakfast....unless....that is...you have somewhere to be?"
    "Are you serious!? Oh, that would be fantastic! I could hug you!!"
    Uri mumbles and "OK" and so I hug him.

    In the morning, after breakfast, Uri comes over again
    "Nick, we think it's best if you stay today too, I mean if you want to and have nowhere to go?"
    My reply was much blunter "Sounds good to me."

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    This was repeated, and repeated, and finally I have to leave for Oaxaca....where getting very worried about the tipping balance, I stop and help people, give them lifts, fix their punctures and try and be really nice....who knows what lurks....?

    Now I must decide whether to race on south and skip the Yucatan, or obviously visit the Yucatan as I think I may have had my fix of Mexico, three months has perhaps been enough and I'm already thinking about exploring dirt roads in the Andes.

    A special thanks to Uri and Jackie for letting me stay and bringign over a sleeping bag, Garry and Ivonne a very special thanks for letting me spend a wonderful Christmas with you, it really felt like home.
    #9
  10. dunters

    dunters Dunters

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    25
    Hey Nick,

    Great to meet you at Garry's for Christmas and look forward to riding with you in Chiapas.
    cheers,
    -duncan
    http://motorcyclemenus.com
    #10
  11. klous-1

    klous-1 RTW on a 125cc

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    #11
  12. JediMaster

    JediMaster Adam Lewis

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
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    Location:
    OTR RTW since 2006 (currently in India)
    If you want to earn some brownie points, come and make the bloody tea...!!!
    #12
  13. klous-1

    klous-1 RTW on a 125cc

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
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    Well it's not like you're ever gona make it!

    Mmmm, brownie.....

    ....and tea.

    I'm trying to get there.....Mexico is big....
    #13
  14. mikejet

    mikejet KlrKid

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Somewhere in the swamps of Jersey
    Great report Nick. The photos are fantastic. Makes me feel like I`m there along for the ride. Be Safe.
    #14
  15. klous-1

    klous-1 RTW on a 125cc

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    Thanks Mike, glad to hear someone is enjoying it...hopefully I can make more time (read; find cheaper internet cafes) to make it even better!

    Take care and let me know if you have any pointers to improve things......
    #15
  16. klous-1

    klous-1 RTW on a 125cc

    Joined:
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    The End of Mexico......

    Like the man said, "you've gotta stay for lunch!" So I did. Uri's kind charm and Augustine's great "ceviche," (a shrimp dish "cooked" with lemon juice) hard to resist, though this does make for a rather tardy departure of 3pm! Not only that but the first thing I must do is find a welder to fix my rear rack! Completed I must go to the "mercado" and stock up...and then finally, 20 miles down the road from Uri's, look for camp!


    Then I commence three days of the most boring riding ever, entertained along the way only by the left signal light antics of the Mexicans, do they mean they are turning left, or are they saying I can pass (a risky prospect if one is true!) or are they just about to embark on some undreamt of manouver and are infact using their hazard lights and are just missing between one and three bulbs?!


    [​IMG] Receiving a free tire! Needless to say; it was a long ride to Oaxaca that had me contemplating if all my time in Mexico wasn't actually too much time....and money. But things change fast and soon new exciting glimpses of culture are popping up; a strange market, kind people, more freebies including a free tire in Oaxaca from the great peeps at Maxima Motos (mentioned in more detail in a previous post).

    With the guys there having tipped my ever biased balance of good and bad (discussed in Mexico Part two) I head off with anxiety, eyes flitting left and right for signs of trouble, trouble finds me three minutes after leaving the garage, in the form of a puncture. Well, look on the bright side, the balance is levelled....or is it?

    [​IMG] Fixing punctures in the shops light It's a little after 4pm and people come to their doorways to watch the gringo repair his bike and I sit in one shop chatting with the owner as I frantically do battle with the tire and tube anxious to get to a camp spot....and in a rush I make the novice mistake of pinching the tube with my tire lever....and then I do it again, and again and, just to confirm that yes, I am a novice, I do it again.

    And just once more.

    [​IMG] Samuel tucks into his dinner Making for a total of twelve holes and lots of tire removals and refits and pumping. Finally at 9pm I think I have it sorted and the shop owner heaves his own sigh of relief that he can now go home for the night. However, all is not finished, the balance is still tipped towards "Good," with a tire pressing gently on "Evil"....I can't seat the tire. No problem, there is a tire repair shop nearby and ride over gingerly and ask Samuel, the owner, if I can use his compressor. Samuel has spent 30 years fixing tires and by the looks of it it is taking its tole, he flits from one job to the next and I fear that the vulcanizing fluids and rubber cement have destroyed a few brain cells. A long story but at 12am I am in his van on the way to dinner, he stabs at the dash looking for a button to turn off the hazard lights, beeping his horn at all passing vehicles, and then blasts out some music and tells me we're amigos. Then, after a great dinner of giant Oaxacan tortilla whose name I've forgotten, I am slipping into my sleeping bag below his bed in his dog filled, pee stenched home of one room.

    [​IMG] Samuel's house. "Just hit the rats off your face if they come..." he mumbles as he rolls over to sleep. I lie there with a look of grim reality etched on my face, trying to fall asleep, to the sound of his three dogs; Van Gogh, Anne Frank and Berk (the blue plastercine fella from the infamous British kids TV show "The Trap Door") going potty, wondering where the rats are....feels like a prison, and I contemplate that it's not the prison that makes you crazy but the other inmates....what with Van chewing the lower part of his left ear lobe, Anne just sitting silent in the dark and Berks booming inner voice and strange bark with a Cornish accent.....umm, maybe this joke needs more thought.

    Regrdless, I got naff-all sleep.

    In the morning I help Sam feed the dogs, tossing the food down on the ground as one feeds birds, alas in ones house and then walk up the street to fetch water from a dank well for a "shower." The water from the well is blacker than a gorilla's armpit and after "washing" my hands, I thank Samuel and him farewell.

    [​IMG] Oaxacan streets, hammocks for sale I spend some time in Oaxaca, a nice place with busy plazas and clean streets and ncie templos and iglesas, as well as the archealogical site Mont Alban and with a good camp nearby I'm able to visit and leave daily to camp.

    One evening on my way back to camp, I notice a small stadium set up in one village and stop to ask what's going on. I speak with a member of the band, he plays a ginormous bass brass instrument that curves over his head and goes BOMM, Bomm, BOMM, Bomm.....he tells me inbetween bomms that there is a rodeo on afterwards and after buyign a tasty bun I sit inside with a hoarde of sadistic Mexicans drinking moonshine from a upturned cut off coke bottle top, watching silly fellas get pummelled by big dopey looking cows, top stuff.

    [​IMG] About to get pummeled....

    [​IMG] Jilberto, a local farmer I then headed to the mountains nearby for a hike in the Pueblos Mancomunados, where I was greeted by the fabulous Zava, who bought me bread and went beyond helpful in putting
    up with my "I really don't want a guide" requests. Zava gives me a walkie-talkie, just to make sure I don't get lost and with his two big hunks of bread I head off in to the rural villages, mountains and valleys and talk to locals like Jilberto, who grows potatoes and maize and likes it there as it is safe and there is no music!

    [​IMG] Duncan awakes at camp The next day I descend back down the mountains to meet with Duncan whom I had previously met at Garry's in Mexico City. Duncan and I had planned an exploration of Chiapas and we start the day looking at our respective maps and bits and pieces we've scribbled on them, Duncan pointing out a few things from his guide book and me pointing out a few roads of zero note and zero tarmac. And with that, we head to the dirt where we meet local mezcal brewers....

    [​IMG] Mezcal mule, grinds down the roasted piña Mezcal is an alcaholic drink produced in a similar way to tequilla, using the piña (very large bulb) of the blue agave plant. After a few sups of the nasty stuff we hit the road again and head into the cloud of the cloud forest, thick fog, damp mud and small villages the order of the day, where people come to gorp, run away, dropped jaws that sort of thing. In one sleepy village, where the only past-time seems to be watching it pass Duncan and I chat with the locals.

    "What'd he say?" asks Duncan as I return to put on my helmet.
    "I think he said the road's closed."
    "Really!?"
    "Yeah, but the kid reckons we can do it on the bikes no problem."
    "Oh, okay then."
    "They always say that though, they think the bikes are magic carpets or something."

    [​IMG] Duncan, up in the cloud drenched forest We continue on, carving a path through the thick fog, the strip of red dirt road immediately out front all one can see beyond Rudolf's red nose, to the sides the mountain drops sharply into errie misty depths giving a sense of claustrophobia....a desire to get out of it before camp.

    In the next village our fears are somewhat confirmed.

    "The road is closed," says a local couple who come out to see what the noise is on the street (two gringos on bikes), "but," he continues "you'll make it on the bikes. He also mentions something about "derrumbes," and "mucho" and I ask Duncan if Derrumbe is Spanish for "magic carpet," it's not, it means "landslide".

    [​IMG] Beaten...or are we...? The road turns to thick wet mud which claws at the wheels and feet as we paddle our way through, no people or homes now, no vehicles, no tracks even, save one motorcycle tire tread which gives us hope and we call the rder "Mad Max." We cross some minor landslides and with each think "this is what the locals must have meant," but it only gets worse, and we have huge puddles and mounds of sticky red mud to navigate and dig to make a path, until eventually at the end of the daylooking for camp we reach a huge obstacle, a tall powerful waterfall that has washed away the road.

    "Well, we're not getting across that!" I say, and start setting up camp right there on the road, safe in the knowledge that they'll be no other vehicles coming this way.

    In the morning, contemplating our position and the thought that maybe we can just make it across the waterfall, all whilst hovering over my freshly dug toilet, I am greeted by three men; an old fella wielding a machete and his two sidekicks Smith and Wesson (odd names for Mexicans I know), who were wielding rather large shiny rifles.

    "No passer!" says the old fella.
    "No kidding," I say.
    "You return?"
    "No,"
    "There are landslides!"
    "How many?"
    "Mucho!"
    "How far is the town?"
    "Ooooooh, it's very far!"
    "Possible on the bikes?"
    He thinks for a moment, "yeah."
    "No problemo then!"

    And he trots off to hunt jaguars or something else he shouldn't be.

    Packed up Duncan and I set to work on the rocky falls and carve and chisel away a path across, we carry our gear over and with a bit of help from each other, get both bikes across.

    "Let's just hope THAT was what the locals were talking about!" I say.

    [​IMG] Duncan navigating one of many "derrumbes." We follow the huge channels cut by the torrent of water down the track, around the corner to another derrumbe. Get off the bikes, inspect it on foot, make renovations where necessary, walk back, ride it, walk back, help Duncan by pushing him and holding him as he has me and Rudolf.

    Ride another 200m, repeat. I ride along terrified what the next corner might bring, will we have to turn back....surely not, all those derrumbes we've crossed, all that mud and fog....but again we find a way through and again. And so on, until eventually at 12pm, having covered a glorious

    1 mile ,

    [​IMG] The booby prze, a marmalade tortilla. we reach an impassable derrumbe, a huge landslide with a gaping void of infinite depth barring the way to the other side and with the village within earshot, we must give up, and return. Not before a ruddy good marmalade tortilla. "The booby prize." I say to Duncan, "The Marmalade of Defeat," just in case he wasn't feeling downbeat enough.

    Then we have to ride all the way back.

    We decide to then head to Puerto -escondido, where Duncan's brother and sister are staying for a short while, taking a beautiful route through the agave field strewn mountains, getting interrogatted in one village by an angry mob of drunken men and their village President on a Sunday afternoon - making a sharp exit.

    [​IMG] Nick and Rudolf, dominate the dirt....

    From Puerto Escondido we head east along the coast, where I'm a little ill and we camp out on the beach for a few days to recoop. I spend my time fighting a losing battle to get shade whilst Duncan whittles his time away walking the 5miles of empty beach looking for egg laying turtles, finding only dead ones and nests emptied of their eggs by local poachers. Though we did see one live baby turtle scampering into the heavy surf at Puerto Escondido, a magical sight I must say!

    [​IMG] One of many lovely people we met along the way From here, visiting markets and fishing villages, great people, great photo opportunities and crazy towns make for interesting days before we reach the coffee plantations of Chiapas where we meet even more fantastic people, all happy to pose for pictures, laughing and joking as they work, a happy place to be it seems.

    [​IMG] Get my coffee! Punk!
    With Duncans drive chain starting to fall to bits it was time to call an end to our time together, he heads back to Oaxaca and I will head into Guatemala in aday or two.....once I've updated this pesky website!
    #16
  17. klous-1

    klous-1 RTW on a 125cc

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    216
    #17
  18. klous-1

    klous-1 RTW on a 125cc

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    216
    <a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-uS-2BfXYQ3k/TZEjET9po6I/AAAAAAAAAIc/P-sdoNJ_d_4/s1600/2011-03-06_11_17_43_00447.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" height="148" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-uS-2BfXYQ3k/TZEjET9po6I/AAAAAAAAAIc/P-sdoNJ_d_4/s200/2011-03-06_11_17_43_00447.jpg" width="200" /></a>I´m at home, in the living room sitting small and square on the couch, tucked over onto one side, wondering why it is I am here....at home....

    The journey, it seems is over.

    My mother is here. &nbsp;She is cleaning and I watch her, though she pays me little attention and as such I feel like a fly on the wall, well the couch, watching, unnoticed, transported, not really here....surely not...But I am. &nbsp;Two and a half years, and the journey is over.

    There´s a strange hum, like electric pylons excited by the rain, except oddly; silent. &nbsp;There, but not there. &nbsp;The room feels odd too; empty, grey and cold; desaturated in every way. &nbsp;A sick feeling fills my stomach. &nbsp;I can´t believe it, that I´m back and can´t remember even, why I am. &nbsp;I look my body over, my legs seem fine, my head and arms too....so why am I here?

    Who knows, (Lord maybe and the sneaky twit isn't telling me), for whatever reason I am home, at the beginning, where it all started, back at zero, everything the same, with me left still wanting.....but what to want now? (a bed, hot shower, Sunday lunch...)

    "But I didn´t get to see South America or Central Asia!" (ahh, yeah all the bits I missed) I blurt loudly, angry now and I click my flingers as I point to her as if drawing out the exclamation for my remark. &nbsp;I stand up and make my way upstairs, stamping my way up the steps just like when I was a child, the same and nothing more.

    <table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody>
    <tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X7vW1kvd2Gw/TZFDpo8AKSI/AAAAAAAAAJU/FnXWBkCOHp4/s1600/2011-03-15_07_27_30_00499.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="200" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X7vW1kvd2Gw/TZFDpo8AKSI/AAAAAAAAAJU/FnXWBkCOHp4/s200/2011-03-15_07_27_30_00499.jpg" width="148" /></a></td></tr>
    <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">The Chicken buses</td></tr>
    </tbody></table>
    I hear a cuckoo, he lives in the tall yellow conifer tree outside my bedroom window, I can make out other birds too that sing happily, tapping out their strange Morse code to one another. &nbsp;There are dogs barking incessantly as the first of the smoke pouring morning buses makes it's way to town; atop of which lie men, perched precariously atop mounds of loose luggage on the roof. &nbsp;There is a march band playing in the streets and somewhere the gas van roams reminding customers by playing its tune "Here we go round the mulberry bush" on a device that sounds like a child’s plastic record player to attract customers...and if you don't hear it you can smell it. &nbsp;Far off a woman announces the news from a loud speaker strapped atop a cars roof, sounds like propaganda. &nbsp;A dog barks, the church bells peel and a string of firecrackers go off celebrating the birth of a new born baby (commiserations). &nbsp;The sound of a much smaller bell grows nearer; an ice cream trolley; the bell strapped to it's vendor’s trousers by his boss like a time bomb to ensure he never stops moving (sell, sell, sell!!). &nbsp;I hear the sound of nylon flapping in the breeze and feel the warmth of the first beams of the rising sun, I feel and smell like a tomato in a greenhouse. &nbsp;I scratch the cocktail of ant, mosquito and spider bites over my hands, arms and legs uncontrollably and with subconscious pleasure. &nbsp;The fuzzy image brightens into focus and I realise with a huge relief that I am in fact, not at home and it was, of course just a dream. &nbsp;Paradoxically I also think; I'm <i>still </i>in Antigua.

    <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">
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    <table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody>
    <tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-OPQoE9bOgD8/TZEjddlW2kI/AAAAAAAAAIg/svf_307nlps/s1600/2011-02-28_08_48_54_00381.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="200" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-OPQoE9bOgD8/TZEjddlW2kI/AAAAAAAAAIg/svf_307nlps/s200/2011-02-28_08_48_54_00381.jpg" width="148" /></a></td></tr>
    <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Camp,with volcan Fuego erupting</td></tr>
    </tbody></table>
    I'm still in Antigua, the small Colonial City, surrounded by wooded hills and active volcanoes, punctuated along its seven streets by the crumbling remains of the long-gone Spanish rein reminding one that this was once the capital, now defunct - moved to its present day location 45km away; Guatemala City, after another earthquake flattened the place just when they were cutting the cake to celebrate completing the rebuild.

    <table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: right; text-align: right;"><tbody>
    <tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-w98AoRmpHX8/TZEjokwukSI/AAAAAAAAAIk/W3fiPu_IEJw/s1600/2011-03-12_06_34_58_00457.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="148" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-w98AoRmpHX8/TZEjokwukSI/AAAAAAAAAIk/W3fiPu_IEJw/s200/2011-03-12_06_34_58_00457.jpg" width="200" /></a></td></tr>
    <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Antigua</td></tr>
    </tbody></table>
    I scratch at my bites some more and with increased vigour, though perhaps I didn't stop and somewhere outside a dog sniffs at my tent and I wonder why I'm singing "Here we go round the mulberry bush." &nbsp;Then my mind continues to swirls with thoughts of what could be causing the most recent problem or development in the great mystery that is; Rudolf, for he is having great problems.

    <table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: right; margin-left: 1em; text-align: right;"><tbody>
    <tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-xLXsuGoEFEU/TZEk01Y6baI/AAAAAAAAAI0/j9duwL_gs78/s1600/2011-02-22_04_48_30_00174.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="200" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-xLXsuGoEFEU/TZEk01Y6baI/AAAAAAAAAI0/j9duwL_gs78/s200/2011-02-22_04_48_30_00174.jpg" width="148" /></a></td></tr>
    <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">A puncture...at 4am</td></tr>
    </tbody></table>
    I've been in Guatemala for over one month, but have travelled for only one week, though it was a fantastic week, and after a lengthy stay in Mexico the change was welcome. &nbsp;The border was a street hardly visible through the chaotic bedlam of shops, stalls, tuk-tuks, gasoline vendors (Mexican fuel much cheaper) and people flowing whimsically from one country to the other with wares, but a simple and cheap enough crossing (about $8).

    A town is circled on my map, I can't remember when or why I circled it, but I head there anyway, along a great, smooth, gravel road, through the coffee fields of the north, beautiful people, in traditional colourful dress; flowered print, bandanners, gold teeth and a planetarium of gold spheres around their necks give the look of pirates! &nbsp;Each person balances vases of water atop there bobbing heads, or mounds of coffee or firewood in sacks strapped taught around their foreheads; men, women and children - with mini-sacks - alike, working together as a family.
    <table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; text-align: left;"><tbody>
    <tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Pn2mnuxzWGQ/TZEj1s4DJOI/AAAAAAAAAIo/DVCYAATSRTA/s1600/2011-02-18_10_02_24_00034.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="200" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Pn2mnuxzWGQ/TZEj1s4DJOI/AAAAAAAAAIo/DVCYAATSRTA/s200/2011-02-18_10_02_24_00034.jpg" width="147" /></a></td></tr>
    <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Local lasses fill my water bottle</td></tr>
    </tbody></table>

    I stop beside two women chatting and ask if I can take their picture, "Why?" they ask perplexed, but their Spanish is worse than mine it seems, Akateko being the local dialect and after a minute or two and the gathering of more people I leave with my tail between my legs, and sadly no photo! &nbsp;The people, the lives and the landscape, and the road are fantastic, peaceful and serene, from mist covered green forest to sunburnt brown valleys and azure rivers of icy fresh water to swim and wash in, a more wild side than I'd seen in Mexico and one I'd missed since Africa (though still someway off that, but still brought back old memories!...secret hidden tea shops behind bellowing door curtains for one!).

    <table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: right; margin-left: 1em; text-align: right;"><tbody>
    <tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-QGgm_T98c9A/TZIFUkMlRmI/AAAAAAAAAJY/VrcTdjtx5TU/s1600/2011-02-19_10_39_53_00077.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="148" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-QGgm_T98c9A/TZIFUkMlRmI/AAAAAAAAAJY/VrcTdjtx5TU/s200/2011-02-19_10_39_53_00077.jpg" width="200" /></a></td></tr>
    <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Bad weather, a damp and dreary street</td></tr>
    </tbody></table>
    &nbsp;Unfortunately the weather turns nasty and when I reach the damp and fog drenched town I'd circled on my map I'm left still wondering what the heck I circled it for...the ride at least was good!

    But now the dreary weather eggs me along and now, unable to photograph locals and unable to enjoy a good exploratory wander of the streets - being drenched and all - I flee to warmer climes, dropping steeply down from the mountain villages to the big smoke in the warmer valley which leaves me with feelings of mixed relief and anxiety that I've missed out on some of the delights there as I look back up to the mountains from camp.

    <table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody>
    <tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-KsZYBajeMB8/TZIFmzR26rI/AAAAAAAAAJc/2QeLwJJPTaQ/s1600/2011-02-20_10_41_14_00095.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="200" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-KsZYBajeMB8/TZIFmzR26rI/AAAAAAAAAJc/2QeLwJJPTaQ/s200/2011-02-20_10_41_14_00095.jpg" width="148" /></a></td></tr>
    <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">A lovely bubbly market lass</td></tr>
    </tbody></table>
    But it needn't matter, I have the bustling bedlam that is the street market that encroaches in on the cobbled streets of Huehuetenango, to view and to roam, and to learn the nuances of the local Spanish slang. &nbsp;I spend a tiny fortune visiting many stalls, buying fruit and sampling food snacks in a bid to warm people's icy opinion of the camera lens with my Spanish charm(!), to try and get a photo or two....and though I meet happy smiling people, all I come away with is a fat belly and a top-box laden with&nbsp;broccoli....and a lighter wallet!

    A short stretch on Highway one confirms that it's not really for me, too fast and a feeling of a certain distance between one and his surroundings and I make the first detour I can, along a dirt track to a dead end; road closed, but here I stop and meet with a family of basket weavers who, contrary to previous experience, allow free use of the camera, and they warm my heart if I don't warm theirs!

    <table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: right; text-align: center;"><tbody>
    <tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-6vgf0Ctdt7A/TZExLi89fAI/AAAAAAAAAJQ/3_BkOQy_3-Q/s1600/2011-02-20_21_46_30_00122.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="238" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-6vgf0Ctdt7A/TZExLi89fAI/AAAAAAAAAJQ/3_BkOQy_3-Q/s320/2011-02-20_21_46_30_00122.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr>
    <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Camp over Huehuatenango, treated to a free concert and fireworks</td></tr>
    </tbody></table>
    I make my way to Xela, to visit and hike Volcan Santa Maria, which overlooks another and still active volcano. Xela seems to sprawl away on a busy road, a truckers route perhaps, lined with tire repairs and hotels by the hour and finding camp is tricky and sees me lose Rudolf in a cavernous concrete ditch in the pitch black of night, though when I do find camp I am treated to a free concert and firework display from the centre of town, the&nbsp;streets oozing with colour and character.

    The volcano is only visible for a short window of time, meaning an early start. &nbsp;I fill myself with coffee at camp at 3:30am and can't believe my luck &nbsp;when I get ANOTHER puncture on my way to the trailhead....at 4am in the city, hardly ideal. &nbsp;When I finally reach the trail I race up it at full steam, puffing and panting at 4000m, managing to shave a half hour from the recommended time and sit in the cool high altitude air waiting for an eruption....and the cloud to clear....luckily it clears just as it explodes, though only barely....

    <table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody>
    <tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-E1Vvk-XvbVs/TZI4WOQiuiI/AAAAAAAAAJg/l7NMsvH9PBo/s1600/2011-02-21_12_35_48_00155.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="238" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-E1Vvk-XvbVs/TZI4WOQiuiI/AAAAAAAAAJg/l7NMsvH9PBo/s320/2011-02-21_12_35_48_00155.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr>
    <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Volcano watch...waiting for the cloud to clear</td></tr>
    </tbody></table>

    <table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: right; text-align: right;"><tbody>
    <tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-C5TVXTAQNp0/TZEwrQR4hZI/AAAAAAAAAJM/s2nvg1GgjPs/s1600/2011-02-23_12_11_45_00245.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="200" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-C5TVXTAQNp0/TZEwrQR4hZI/AAAAAAAAAJM/s2nvg1GgjPs/s200/2011-02-23_12_11_45_00245.jpg" width="148" /></a></td></tr>
    <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Beautiful dress of the Tzutzunil,Atitlan</td></tr>
    </tbody></table>
    Lake Atitlan and Antigua are only a relatively short ride away and hardly worth missing. &nbsp;The weather turns sour once again, but down at the lake it is fairing better and I trundle down a farm track to the lake edge and meet a friendly fellow who allows me to camp lake side. &nbsp;I visit the towns next morning after having coffee with the friendly farmer, but find them to have been overwhelmed by tourists who seem to have had a negative effect on the local populous it seems to me - I chat for awhile with a local market man (his wife doing all the work) and he tells me my name means Akalash in his language, Tzutzunil, though I check my dictionary I never work out what it means...but it brings a smile to his face.

    But after buying more fruit and veg and a chocolate rice pudding in the market (still no photo) I'm keen to leave them to their lives, and retreat up to the upper throes of the jungle where the sound of macaws and toucans reign (actually I don't know what birds were there, sounded good though) and in the &nbsp;morning I start making my way to Antigua, on the way meeting <a href="http://www.krad-vagabunden.de/">Frank and Simone</a>&nbsp;who I first met in Mexico city.

    <table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody>
    <tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-6W2WOesM-ng/TZI5l5OwLlI/AAAAAAAAAJk/hFzQCM0__ts/s1600/2011-02-24_12_45_53_002742.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-6W2WOesM-ng/TZI5l5OwLlI/AAAAAAAAAJk/hFzQCM0__ts/s320/2011-02-24_12_45_53_002742.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr>
    <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Lunch with Frank &amp; Simone</td></tr>
    </tbody></table>
    and then...Antigua.

    It started simple enough; no charging from the bike's electrical system. I returned to Antigua - after an initial three days stop - to a free campsite I'd just left to carry out repairs. &nbsp;In carrying out the repair I stripped the spark plug thread (novice) and had to send the engine head to a machine shop,

    <table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody>
    <tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-gHcHdceIruM/TZI9OGeJpzI/AAAAAAAAAJo/57d36jMwG8U/s1600/2011-03-29_14_07_27_00001.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="236" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-gHcHdceIruM/TZI9OGeJpzI/AAAAAAAAAJo/57d36jMwG8U/s320/2011-03-29_14_07_27_00001.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr>
    <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">A stripped spark plug head meant a lengthy wait...</td></tr>
    </tbody></table>
    Then on rebuilding the engine with the newly repaired head, an exhaust valve was bent on start-up, one assumes hitting the piston head...how...it was discovered that the timing chain had jumped a full ninety degrees...but why?

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    <table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody>
    <tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-SQe_-_2upPg/TZI_K_hHPDI/AAAAAAAAAJw/T26zg7LHEno/s1600/2011-03-29_14_08_41_00002.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-SQe_-_2upPg/TZI_K_hHPDI/AAAAAAAAAJw/T26zg7LHEno/s320/2011-03-29_14_08_41_00002.jpg" width="238" /></a></td></tr>
    <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">The bent exhaust valve</td></tr>
    </tbody></table>

    <table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: right; margin-left: 1em; text-align: right;"><tbody>
    <tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Vxs1GjTODbM/TZEkjEjSPgI/AAAAAAAAAIw/LL8fBKQz-1g/s1600/2011-03-18_08_48_44_00519.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="148" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Vxs1GjTODbM/TZEkjEjSPgI/AAAAAAAAAIw/LL8fBKQz-1g/s200/2011-03-18_08_48_44_00519.jpg" width="200" /></a></td></tr>
    <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Rudolf undergoes heart surgery</td></tr>
    </tbody></table>
    The bike is moved in to a dusty outbuilding at the campsite, I give the room a much needed clean and make some simple repairs to the lights whilst waiting for parts for Rudolf, parts I must wait for longer and longer, <i>"return at 2pm, return at 4pm, return at 5pm, return in the morning...."</i> and finally I vouch to never return to the Yamaha dealer in Antigua, the worst I've ever dealt with.

    A lot of people; fellow motorcyclists, RV'ers, campers, policemen and even the police chief, as well as the ever helpful Julio, Andres and Ian, help in diagnosing the problem and the diagnosis is that essentially we are all a bit stumped, how does a timing sprocket jump ninety degrees, without jumping....

    Late one evening, sat basking in the blue-white glow of a PC monitor in the police station office, perusing engine diagrams with very helpful Andres, who's come especially to help,

    "This is bad news," says Andres.
    "Umm," I say, realising that my stay in Antigua might be longer still (ohh, great).

    <table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; text-align: left;"><tbody>
    <tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-G3PY1_YRFOQ/TZElJO2A_vI/AAAAAAAAAI4/IiCCed7NqxY/s1600/2011-03-16_21_31_15_00507.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="200" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-G3PY1_YRFOQ/TZElJO2A_vI/AAAAAAAAAI4/IiCCed7NqxY/s200/2011-03-16_21_31_15_00507.jpg" width="148" /></a></td></tr>
    <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">The ever helpful Andres</td></tr>
    </tbody></table>
    Next to us, Officer Elisa - who kindly let us in to the office - picks another song from youtube to pass the night shift, a modern day cheesy version of George Harrison with a smooth and well-combed basin of nut-brown hair, on his head and above his mouth, adorns her monitor and the PC speakers and I ask if she thinks he's handsome:&nbsp;"He's not," she tells me, "but this guy is!" and she quickly clicks a bookmarked favourite revealing an even more - if possible - cheesy fellow, who looks just the same but with added benefit of a sombrero to hide his well manicured barnett, does nothing for the fluffy 'tash.

    With a few ideas, Andres and I go to test our theories and I promise Elisa a coffee sometime and soon Andres and I confirm beyond all doubt that the problem is a broken sprocket on the crankshaft, meaning for a full engine rebuild, a new crankshaft. Several options come to mind;

    1) Eat cake,
    2) Drink tea,
    3) Sleep,
    4) Get on a plane to Colombia and buy Rudolf Jr.
    5) Get a new engine,
    6) Fix Rudolf.

    After dabbling with options one and two, I wake up after completing option 3 and decide that option six is the only option for me, but only after a completing a new option, <i>option 7: drink coffee</i>. &nbsp;Phew....and To celebrate I have a number two and then drink some tea, probably with a "cubilete," a yummy cake, three of which can be bought for the princely sum of 1Quetzal (8p), and probably in the company of the fabulous Ingulf, a German rider on his way home, or, after his departure back to Germany, fellow Brit; Ian (whom I met originally in Mexico).

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    With Ian's help the engine is taken to pieces, one piece at a time, day by day, as we spend half a day here finding a tool, or half a day there making one, designing one, trying to get someone to make one, or breaking a part, shearing a bolt, scratching our heads, reading the manual and drinking more tea and eating mounds of cubiletes.

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    <tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-1PYMtjOsSms/TZEltZZ5jzI/AAAAAAAAAJA/4lsgbcmvH7s/s1600/2011-03-17_15_04_33_00516.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="200" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-1PYMtjOsSms/TZEltZZ5jzI/AAAAAAAAAJA/4lsgbcmvH7s/s200/2011-03-17_15_04_33_00516.jpg" width="148" /></a></td></tr>
    <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Thank God for Ian</td></tr>
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    Finally, the crankcase is split, the crankshaft now visible and exposed and now the problem I realise wasn't the crankshaft (good work speedy) at all and I must rebuild the engine, seemingly for no reason other than bad luck and a few dozen dumb idiots with silly ideas....me included. &nbsp;The moral - and one I struggle it seems to learn - is that it's always, always, always, always the simplest answer....and usually your fault, in this case; the camchain had come off it's sprocket and jammed behind the flywheel, meaning it would still turn the camshaft, but would slip&nbsp;occasionally&nbsp;(though to be fair, in my defense, I'd already contemplated this&nbsp;possibility).


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    <tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-aYD7vVixurQ/TZEwLzqqsBI/AAAAAAAAAJI/Lnbem1faOIA/s1600/2011-03-12_10_40_48_004662.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="148" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-aYD7vVixurQ/TZEwLzqqsBI/AAAAAAAAAJI/Lnbem1faOIA/s200/2011-03-12_10_40_48_004662.jpg" width="200" /></a></td></tr>
    <tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">The waiting game continues</td></tr>
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    So, again I face the recurring problem; the need for parts...and back to the Yamaha dealer in Antigua who tell me that only two of the dozen parts are available...seems odd. &nbsp;As I hate these guys and have broken my promise to myself never to return to this store, I write to another store in Guatemala who are not only much more helpful (in that they are actually of help) but they also tell me that I can have the parts for free, provided I do an interview...a fair price I reckon....he'll even ride out himself with the parts....but now I must wait just a little bit more....and go crazy.....in Antigua, but the road beckons, I can sense it.....
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    #18
  19. garrydymond

    garrydymond Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2007
    Oddometer:
    226
    Location:
    Mex City
    Think your dreams are bad. I dream I am on the road, life is good, camping is easy, yorkshire pudding readily available in any small town. I then wake up and have to come to work but only for another 2 years 9 months!
    Good luck with Rudolph.
    My Strom's stator burnt but all should be fine soon.

    Garry
    #19
  20. klous-1

    klous-1 RTW on a 125cc

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    216
    Garry!

    Whut up! Sometimes I don't know what I dreamt, but wake up singing the most bizarre songs, ba ba black sheep, JOni Mitchell all sorts of stuff I don't know any of the words to....there's always a morning song...today was Queen and the line "Just got to get out, just got to get right out of here..."cue guitars...

    At least you can go to sleep and not be worried you'll transported to the office....but you know you'll have to wake up and have to go there! So yeah, you win...!

    Shame about the stator...you can buy the wire and fix it yourself...it'll take a week or two of sore fingers and frayed nerves but then you'll only have 2 years 8months and 2weeks to go...and a working stator for about 1/100th the price!

    OK, time to go and ummm.twiddle my thumbs....how's the hostal going, many guests recently...?
    #20