The Ultimate Ride - Brother and Sister Motorcycling Duo

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by UltiJayne, Jun 3, 2013.

  1. UltiJayne

    UltiJayne Sister on a KLR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    We walked through the front door and into a sermon. The preacher paused from her impassioned message when she saw us. The congregation looked at us expectantly. We had walked through the wrong door and we had nowhere to hide. I was about to slowly back out of the room when the preacher started introducing us as her motorcycling Canadian guests. What?!? As she asked our names Phil slowly used his hand to cover the logo on his t-shirt, the one he'd been given from the Cancun "666" Biker Bar.

    [caption id="attachment_4167" align="alignnone" width="180"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4167#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4167"><img class=" wp-image-4167 " title="666" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P6021675-300x227.jpg" alt="" width="180" height="136" /></a> The mark of the beast[/caption]

    After crossing the border from Guatemala we headed to the city of Sonsonate to our couchsurf with Francisco and his family. Turns out his mum holds Christian services in their front room/garage twice a week.

    [caption id="attachment_4157" align="alignnone" width="300"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4157#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4157"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4157" title="Siblings" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P6030021-300x225.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="225" /></a> Phil, Francisco, Kenny and Jayne[/caption]

    [caption id="attachment_4158" align="alignnone" width="300"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4158#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4158"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4158" title="Power Outage" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P6030020-300x225.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="225" /></a> Dinner by candlelight on our first night in El Salvador when the power went out[/caption]

    Our first couple of days in El Salvador were spent with the wonderful Golcher family. Elizabeth, Francisco, his younger sister Kenny and their 9 turtles became our family too.

    [caption id="attachment_4155" align="alignnone" width="300"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4155#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4155"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4155" title="Turtle Rock" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/DSC03205-300x225.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="225" /></a> Hanging out in the sun[/caption]

    [caption id="attachment_4131" align="alignnone" width="300"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4131#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4131"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4131" title="Turtle kiss" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P60300161-300x225.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="225" /></a> It didn't turn into a prince unfortunately.[/caption]

    [caption id="attachment_4134" align="alignnone" width="225"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4134#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4134"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4134" title="Turtles" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/DSC03206-225x300.jpg" alt="" width="225" height="300" /></a> Elizabeth with some of the turtles.[/caption]

    We reluctantly tried to leave the next afternoon, we bid our tearful goodbyes, and rode down the road, but two minutes later the skies opened, and we turned around.

    [caption id="attachment_4156" align="alignnone" width="300"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4156#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4156"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4156" title="The Girls" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P6040030-300x225.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="225" /></a> Jayne Kenny and Elizabeth at the first goodbye[/caption]

    [caption id="attachment_4141" align="alignnone" width="225"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4141#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4141"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4141" title="Riding in the Rain" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P6040033-225x300.jpg" alt="" width="225" height="300" /></a> An experience we are going to have to start getting used to - being wet.[/caption]

    That evening we went for a dinner of the local El Salvadorian specialty, papusas. We were joined by Elizabeth's brother, who was in town visiting from the USA.

    Papusas are handmade tortillas, stuffed with cheese and other fillings. They are then fried to scalding temperatures before being served with a thin tomato based sauce. They are delicious!!

    [caption id="attachment_4154" align="alignnone" width="300"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4154#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4154"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4154" title="Papusa dinner" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P6040044-300x225.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="225" /></a> Team papusa after the feast.[/caption]

    Six of us ate and drank for the equivalent of $11.

    The next day we left in the morning so as to avoid the afternoon rains. We're trying to get used to the reality of rainy season.

    We took the fun twisty coastal road down to El Sunzal. While surfing in Mexico 5 months ago we met Martine and Tommy, a Dutch couple who recommended that we stop at the Surfer's Inn in El Sunzal when we made it down to El Salvador. They even gave us a note.

    [caption id="attachment_4151" align="alignnone" width="300"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4151#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4151"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4151" title="Note" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P6050063-300x225.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="225" /></a> Martine's note at the Surfer's Inn[/caption]

    We love advice from people in the know, so that is exactly what we did.

    [caption id="attachment_4137" align="alignnone" width="225"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4137#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4137"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4137" title="Surfer Phil" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P6080093-225x300.jpg" alt="" width="225" height="300" /></a> Phil after tackling huge, scary waves[/caption]

    The waves on the El Salvador coast while we were there were much bigger (6-11 feet) than I would ever consider attempting to surf, but Phil was un-deterred.

    I found Phil looking reminiscent of a drowned rat in a hammock. Turns out that after the very long paddle out to the break, he got hit by a wave, and the leash pulled out of of the board. Phil found himself 200 meters out to sea, without a paddle (or a surfboard).

    A very long swim back to shore resulted in his passing out in the hammock where I found him. Luckily someone found the board when it was washed in to shore and put it against a wall for him.

    [caption id="attachment_4139" align="alignnone" width="225"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4139#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4139"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4139" title="Broken" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P6060068-225x300.jpg" alt="" width="225" height="300" /></a> Best when the leash stays attached to the board[/caption]

    The wonderful family who own the Surfer's Inn had given us a huge room with four double beds in it for $10 a night. They even said we could keep our motorbikes in it if we wanted! (We didn't.) There was one other person staying at the Inn, an American called Stephen.

    [caption id="attachment_4152" align="alignnone" width="300"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4152#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4152"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4152" title="Friends on a Rock" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P6050061-300x225.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="225" /></a> We made a new friend, Stephen, then we all climbed a giant rock and took a picture[/caption]

    It was really hot, as we walked down the beach we all wanted desperately to jump in the water. Unfortunately the waves were just too ferocious. As we walked towards El Tunco we came across a beach club with a beautiful pool. Stephen and I jumped in, but Phil didn't quite make it before making eye contact with the armed guard storming towards us. Needless to say, we didn't spend long in that pool.

    We went into town and got lunch. While we were at lunch we looked over and who was sitting at the table across from us? Northern Irish Jeff from our Spanish school, and his girlfriend Heather who we had not yet met. It's a small world!

    [caption id="attachment_4140" align="alignnone" width="225"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4140#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4140"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4140" title="Pilsener" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P6050056-225x300.jpg" alt="" width="225" height="300" /></a> The national beer of El Salvador is my friend[/caption]

    [caption id="attachment_4153" align="alignnone" width="300"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4153#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4153"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4153" title="Irish Reunion" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P6050057-300x225.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="225" /></a> Look who we found in El Tunco! Jeffand his girlfriend Heather.[/caption]

    After lunch we renewed our efforts to find a pool to cool off in. Stephen remembered a pool in a hostel he'd visited the other day and so we headed there.

    We walked through the reception area like we owned the place and the small, slightly grimy pool looked like heaven to us. We ended up in that pool all afternoon. Even when some real residents of the hostel joined us, they didn't mind us interlopers.

    [caption id="attachment_4138" align="alignnone" width="300"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4138#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4138"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4138" title="Stolen Pool" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P6070079-300x225.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="225" /></a> Pools are even cooler when you're not supposed to be in them[/caption]

    We had to keep going towards Managua, so we left the next morning to head towards San Salvador. Just as Phil pulled out of the gate, a large motorcycle (Honda Veradero) with an enormous amount of luggage drove by. He radioed me to hurry and took off after the bike.

    He flagged over the biker, and that is how we met fellow Canadian, 62 year old Al. Al is on a 10 year, round the world trip. He also sounds exactly like Adam West. We baptized him "Batman".

    [caption id="attachment_4150" align="alignnone" width="300"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4150#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4150"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4150" title="Meet Batman" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P6080098-300x225.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="225" /></a> When we first met Batman[/caption]

    We adopted Batman and brought him with us to meet Mario, our host who we met through ADVrider.com (Marior97). Mario had agreed to let us stay on his coffee plantation which is located on the side of a volcano.

    [caption id="attachment_4149" align="alignnone" width="300"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4149#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4149"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4149" title="Mario and ???" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P6080100-300x225.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="225" /></a> Mario and his daughter met us in San Salvador[/caption]

    [caption id="attachment_4148" align="alignnone" width="300"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4148#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4148"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4148" title="Organising" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P6080103-300x225.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="225" /></a> A pow wow before attacking the hill to the coffee plantation[/caption]

    Mario met us on his BMW and led us to the coffee plantation. He was concerned about how big and heavy our bikes were, rightly so it turned out.

    The road up to the plantation was very steep and rocky. Batman dropped his bike a couple of times. Unfortunately it's so heavily loaded that he needs help to pick it up. Luckily there were plenty of us there to help.

    [caption id="attachment_4147" align="alignnone" width="300"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4147#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4147"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4147" title="Helping the Batmobile" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P6080105-300x225.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="225" /></a> Batman's bike is BIG and very heavy.[/caption]

    We left out bikes about halfway up the hill, before it got REALLY steep, and walked up the rest of the hill to the house.

    [caption id="attachment_4146" align="alignnone" width="300"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4146#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4146"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4146" title="Volcano View" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P6090112-300x68.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="68" /></a> View from the coffee plantation[/caption]

    We had a lovely evening with Mario and his family. We BBQ'd and chatted the night away.

    Mario came back the next morning to show us the way out via the crater of the volcano.

    [caption id="attachment_4145" align="alignnone" width="300"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4145#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4145"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4145" title="Helping" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P6090118-300x225.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="225" /></a> Mario helped me get my bike up the tough parts.[/caption]

    I am still suffering from panic when riding offroad, and Mario kindly rode my bike over the difficult parts for me.

    It took quite a while to get down the hill and off the dirt road. Batman dropped his bike again... In one of the drops Batman bent his bike's crashbars and broke a clamp.

    [caption id="attachment_4144" align="alignnone" width="300"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4144#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4144"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4144" title="Batman" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P6090119-300x225.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="225" /></a> It sucks when your bike goes down...[/caption]

    The ride up to the crater was fantastic.

    [caption id="attachment_4143" align="alignnone" width="300"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4143#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4143"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4143" title="Curve" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P6090141-300x225.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="225" /></a> Cruising round a corner[/caption]

    When we got up to the crater, Phil, Batman and I walked the trail up to the viewpoints.

    [caption id="attachment_4136" align="alignnone" width="225"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4136#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4136"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4136" title="Crater" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P6090127-225x300.jpg" alt="" width="225" height="300" /></a> Our first view of a real volcano crater[/caption]

    Mario bought us all lunch before he had to return to family duties. What a stellar guy!

    [caption id="attachment_4135" align="alignnone" width="225"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4135#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4135"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4135" title="Jayne and Mario" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P6090142-225x300.jpg" alt="" width="225" height="300" /></a> Mario was an awesome guy, we were sorry to only meet him so briefly[/caption]

    Batman had decided to join us on our double border day, when we were going to cross into, and out of, Honduras in one day.

    We decided to stay overnight in San Miguel, so we would be close to the border in the morning.

    We found a hotel, it was more expensive than we wanted to pay, but Batman was tired and offered to pay for it in return for us helping him across the borders and helping him to get his crash bar fixed when we got to Nicaragua.

    [caption id="attachment_4132" align="alignnone" width="225"]<a href="http://ultimateride.ca/?attachment_id=4132#main" rel="attachment wp-att-4132"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4132" title="Hotel guard" src="http://ultimateride.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/P61001451-225x300.jpg" alt="" width="225" height="300" /></a> The bikes were REALLY well protected at this hotel[/caption]

    Next day: Double border crossing of some of the most difficult and corrupt borders in the world.
    #21
  2. Wump

    Wump aka Mister Wisker

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    84
    Location:
    Back in Canada
    Batman sometimes needs help. Often Robin is handy. Robin does good work and adds a splash of colour. Our Batman didn't have Robin with him, so a couple siblings would have to do.
    <dl id="attachment_4219" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 234px" data-mce-style="width: 234px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">I'm Batman.</dd></dl>
    The mission: to cross the most difficult and corrupt borders in the Americas in one day. Into Honduras from El Salvador, then out of Honduras into Nicaragua.
    Batman had been fleeced in Mexico at a homestay Spanish school there. 2 months and $4000 later, he had struggled across the Guatemala border taking over 6 hours. Our Spanish is still coming along, Batman still couldn't even order food. Why two borders in one day? We had to get to Managua, Nicaragua to meet real-sized Kelly at the airport. We were cutting it all a little close.
    Our day didn't start smoothly. While getting the bikes loaded Batman said he needed gas, so we sent him ahead to "save time". Note: NEVER DO THIS. The meetup plan wasn't followed, and we lost half an hour searching for Batman in the morning sun without a spotlight. We had actually given up on finding him when we ran into him riding the other way on the road. Re-connected, we made our run to the border.
    The El Salvador border: Fight off the helpers. They reportedly have their spotter phone ahead to tell their buddies you're coming down the highway.
    <dl id="attachment_4182" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Stop at the box. It's a couple kilometers from the actual border. You'll know when to stop by the guns. Get copies.</dd></dl>
    Jayne dealt with the paperwork as per usual. This time with Batman's added into the fray.
    His passport had an unnecessary entry stamp to El Salvador that he had insisted on after his troubles in Mexico (where he missed getting a stamp), so we had Batman deal with his own passport at immigration. Good thing too, as the stamp triggered some extra questioning. Otherwise the paperwork was simple stamps and away we go.
    <dl id="attachment_4183" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Get "stamped" out, then have money changers swoon over your sister.</dd></dl>
    Until we get to the bridge. These guys check our paperwork, all fine, then Mr. "I hold a gun" asks for our bike export paperwork.
    <dl id="attachment_4185" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Mr. "I have a gun" only needs copies, but will ask for, and insist on taking, your originals.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4184" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Passport and paperwork check. This dolt then agrees with Mr. "I have a gun" about taking our originals.</dd></dl>
    We question him, and double check with another border agent to make sure that this is correct. We have no other copy of these pages. Assured all is fine, we ride across the bridge into Honduras.
    <dl id="attachment_4186" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Weeeeeeeeeeeelcome to Honduras!</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4187" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Welcoming committee wearing their official distinguished baseball hats. Don't just hand them your paperwork.</dd></dl>
    Greeted by tourism folks and border "DEI" workers. One such DEI employee, only identifiable as an employee by his DEI baseball hat, asks Jayne to hand him all our passports and paperwork. While we are still sitting on the bikes. Absolutely out of the question. Jayne explains we have heard of scams at this border, this sounds like one of them. The man agrees such scams have happened, and allows us to take it into the office ourselves.
    The first thing we are asked for in the office is the export papers Mr. "I have a gun" took off us. Groan. I rode back over the bridge, and scowled at Mr. "I have a gun". "If you need copies, just ask for copies. Why would you insist on wasting everyone's time?". His amigo looked sheepish, and Mr. "I have a gun" tried to maintain an official air about himself, but neither could hide their beard envy. I got Mr. "I have a gun" his copies, frowned in his general direction, and sped off. This would be our only border snag.
    The Honduras border, and the 140km stretch to Nicaragua after it, has the worst reputation in the Americas. Many reports talk of being stopped and ripped off by the police 3 or 4 times in that 140kms. And this is after many lost hours and bribes paid to make the border agents do their jobs. Reading ahead didn't make Honduras sound very pleasant.
    We would sit in the office for the next two hours, while the only man for the job uses an incredibly inefficient computer program to input all of our information. Over 2 hours. For three of us. If there had been anyone else in front of us importing a vehicle, we would have been there all day. There is only ONE man who does this job.
    <dl id="attachment_4189" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">A nice man.</dd></dl>
    A very nice man indeed. It is not his fault the process takes forever. The computer program he has to use is atrociously designed.
    Honduras also requires an obscene number of photocopies. 3 copies of everything. Then more copies after they sign those copies.
    <dl id="attachment_4190" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">So many copies (Use Limpiras: half price)</dd></dl>
    However the tales of scams and corrupt officials and police, while true, are apparently a thing of the past now. Multiple people acknowledged Honduras's shady past, but all told us that in the past year or so they replaced their ENTIRE police force and have cracked down on the corruption in an attempt to encourage more tourism. I would say this is all true.
    But that doesn't mean that the locals won't rip you off if you aren't a little street smart.
    To kill time and practice Spanish, I often bullshit with the locals. During one such bullshit session, Batman walked over and said he needed to buy some water. I pointed over to the little tienda (store) about 10 feet away. The guy I was talking to quickly said "I'll go buy you some" and stuck out his hand... and Batman gave him money. Needless to say this was now the most expensive water in Honduras. I told Batman not to give the man any more money, shook my head and walked away.
    While it took ages, the process for paperwork was straightforward. 35$ for the papers, and 3$ each for the immigration stamp. The most expensive border since Mexico, and we were only going to be here a couple hours. Riding into the country, we then immediately encountered our first Honduras police. Here we go...
    <dl id="attachment_4193" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Less than photogenic, but honest, police officer stayed out of frame</dd></dl>
    Unlike the stories written all over the internet, it was a straightforward paperwork check and we were on our way. Honduras has indeed cleaned up their act. Soon the rain would clean up their highway.
    <dl id="attachment_4194" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Wind and clouds ready to attack, time to gear up</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4195" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">none too soon. WET.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4196" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Splish splash</dd></dl>
    Our first real downpour since my experience heading to Xela, this one came complete with high winds, forcing us to stop under cover at a gas station. The real danger with so much water: hidden man eating potholes.
    Best to stop and wait. No matter how good your raingear, nothing seems waterproof in torrential downpours.
    <dl id="attachment_4197" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">All rain must end.</dd></dl>
    Honduras was beautiful. The winding road took us through green, sweeping mountain vistas and quaint small pueblos. Since we weren't ripped off at the border and getting shaken down for bribes, we started to sadden at skipping the entire country. Oh well, you can't do it all.
    Nicaragua border: 3$ Fumigation, 12$ insurance, 10$ tourist card and 2$ admin fee.
    <dl id="attachment_4198" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Never skip a border booth. They hold your ID to wait for your export paperwork. We didn't like it, but that was the way.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4199" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Paperwork goes in here. Then they check the VINs and away you go.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4200" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Welcome to Nicaragua.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4176" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Batman stands guard, loudly saying English words the hazmat-coated fumigation man doesn't understand.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4177" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Batman fending off the evil insurance pushers.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4207" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 480px" data-mce-style="width: 480px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">So well marked and easy to find: the policeman office to sign off the papers. (to the right of the blue and white building)</dd></dl>
    Batman became frustrated with the insurance salesmen, and snapped at one of them. He hadn't liked how they had approached him earlier on, before he had a chance to get off the bike. Tensions were running a little high, and we were losing daylight. Our hope had been to teach Batman how to cross the borders himself, but the long drawn out paperwork process and Spanish only conversations made that challenging, so he felt a little like he was being led along blindly. He was. We gave Batman a fish instead of teaching him. We had to keep pace. Sorry Batman.
    Our lost half hour in the morning, and 45 minutes in the rain had put us a bit behind schedule. We don't like to ride at night. We especially don't like to ride at night, on a highway, in a new country, after a long day, WITHOUT LIGHTS...
    <dl id="attachment_4178" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">...but sometimes you have to do things you don't like.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4179" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Fuse at fault.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4206" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 480px" data-mce-style="width: 480px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Finally able to pull over and defuse the situation</dd></dl>
    It was a narrow road with no shoulder, and nowhere to pull over. Jayne rode in front of me riding off my headlights for about 15 minutes until we could finally pull over to replace the blown fuse that had killed her lights. A few minutes later we were in the city of Esteli at our couch surf, and more than happy to be off the road.
    <dl id="attachment_4180" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Squeezed into the yard</dd></dl>
    It was a long day. Tomorrow we had to find a welder and help translate for Batman to fix up the Batmobile, then get ourselves to Managua for the arrival of real-sized Kelly in the evening. Plans. We have plans. And we're sticking to them. The impossible CAN happen.
    #22
  3. Wump

    Wump aka Mister Wisker

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    84
    Location:
    Back in Canada
    "I feel like we really aren't getting on all that well" said Batman.


    I felt the same way. As did Jayne. There were a variety of reasons for it from all sides I'm sure, but we indeed weren't "getting on". I know I for one wasn't being particularly agreeable. Funny thing though, as soon as Batman verbalized it, I felt we started to get on a little better in the last minutes before we went our separate ways. I appreciate Batman for coming out and saying it. Talking about how we weren't getting on helped fix the situation. Well how about that? It's something I think we all knew, but I'll be doing it a lot more from now on.



    To the Soldadura (welders)! We left our Couchsurf with Ivan and Priscilla early, too early, but we had work to do. We hope to be back in Esteli to get to know them properly and meet their son and daughter. Batman's front crash bar was injured from some of his tumbles in El Salvador, so our morning mission was to find him a welder. We were successful, and I translated Batman's needs to the welder. The job was done an hour and 300 cords later (12$).
    <dl id="attachment_4297" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Jayne found street piglets. They could not weld.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4298" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Agustin just bought a KLR of his own. We talked bikes while waiting at the welding shop.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4300" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Batmobile in for repairs.</dd></dl>
    It was after the welders that Batman and our paths split. Thank you Batman for stepping up and clearing the air. It made things better, and we wish you better luck and safe travels.
    Our own travels continued towards Managua, but not without a short pit stop. With the Police.
    We had been warned DO NOT pass in Nicaragua on a single solid line, so we didn't... but the police pulled us over anyways. Turned out he just wanted a chat about the bikes and a picture.
    <dl id="attachment_4303" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Well that's a relief!</dd></dl>
    Onwards we arrived to a warm welcome at Salvador's (ADV Salcar) mom's place! We had a delightful chat with Reina for a while, then her worker Roberto took us for a quick tour of Managua before heading to the airport to pick up Kelly.
    <dl id="attachment_4302" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">On tour to the water's Edge with Roberto.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4301" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">So many colours! Thanks to the president's wife apparently.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4304" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Kelly escapes from the baggage claim</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4305" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Micro and real-sized Kelly reunite! Twinsies!</dd></dl>
    Welcome Ms. Kelly to the crew! It had been an adventure to get here in time, but well worth it! With Kelly in tow, we had to reorganize the bikes a bit: Jayne carrying my gear bag in order for Kelly to fit.
    <dl id="attachment_4329" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Cricket stacked high with bags.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4306" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Two-up for two weeks</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4316" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Bike model showing off my new red "Pucca" bags.</dd></dl>
    I had been looking for a while for some backpacks to mount on my crash bars. Kelly's arrival made extra space urgent, conveniently the cheapest bags in town (4$) were also the most stylish. "Pucca" is a hit with the youth these days.
    All three together, we hit the Masaya markets. While parking the bikes, as per usual, a gentleman came over and started chatting about the bikes. Roberto had a KLR of his own, a 250, that he kept over on Ometepe island. Next thing you know, Roberto is drawing a map in my book and we have a place to set up camp over on Ometepe!
    <dl id="attachment_4320" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">I love meeting folks when we're parking the bikes!</dd></dl>
    The touristy market had some pretty items, but we think the whole market might be a racket all owned by the same person. There was little flexibility for haggling, and workers were always running off or phoning someone to see if they could sell us things at slightly more reasonable prices. In the end Kelly bought a wallet.
    <dl id="attachment_4327" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Jayne doesn't love these belt pockets, tries them on anyways.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4317" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">And what a wallet!</dd></dl>
    If you go to Masaya, there are other markets nearby. More fun, with more locals and cheaper food. They also have roofs, convenient for downpours of rain. Though you still get to walk through the mud afterwards.
    <dl id="attachment_4307" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The "flip" part of flip-flops apparently applies to flipping up mud.</dd></dl>
    Back in Managua, we were treated to delicious meals and great hospitality by Reina. We were given another taste of the sudden downpours that remind us we are in rainy season.
    <dl id="attachment_4318" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">"The flowers will be happy" said mothers everywhere.</dd></dl>
    Fortunately Kelly brought me down a "onesie" rainsuit from by buddy Nate. I'll soon be putting it to use. Thanks Nate!
    #23
  4. UltiJayne

    UltiJayne Sister on a KLR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    It was dusk as we turned off the asphalt onto the dirt road that led to the Poste Rojo treehouse hostel. Somehow it seems we always encounter the most difficult sections of road at the end of the day, often with fading light. This time we had an even bigger challenge, Phil had Kelly and her bag on the back of his bike riding a balding tire, and to make room I had Phil's heavy duffle bag strapped on top of my bag.
    We got about 100 meters down the road before Phil dropped his bike on a muddy section. Kelly's first off. She even got a bruise to prove it!
    <dl id="attachment_4287" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Kelly shows off what a tough biker chick she is!</dd></dl>
    I don't enjoy (to put it mildly) riding offroad at the best of times; before reaching this dirt road we had had a full day riding from Managua.
    Our first stop was riding up Volcan Masaya in search of lava. According to our father, Volcan Masaya is the only active volcano in the Northern Hemisphere where it is possible to drive to the crater. We didn't know this at the time.
    Part way up was the visitor's center, with exhibits very reminiscent of junior high school science projects.
    <dl id="attachment_4275" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Kelly inspects a model of the volcano</dd></dl>
    The final drive up to the crater provided us with beautiful views, although I felt fairly unstable on the steep, twisty road, not yet used to the extra weight piled on Cricket.
    <dl id="attachment_4263" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">View on the way up to the Volcan Masaya crater</dd></dl>
    We saw the billowing smoke before reaching the crater. An unbelievable amount of smoke.
    <dl id="attachment_4281" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The helmet keeps out the smoke</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4274" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Kelly and I falling into a live volcano</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4273" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">This sign was impossible to decipher. It was probably as useful as the one telling us to hide under our car if we got showered with rocks.</dd></dl>
    In fact there was a path that led to a higher viewpoint, but the ranger would not allow us to climb higher, due to the toxicity of the smoke. This did raise some concerns and we decided to move away from the smoke to the other viewpoint.
    <dl id="attachment_4283" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Some signs were legible. Viewpoint rules.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4272" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">See that path on the hill? Too dangerous to go up there and breathe. Totally safe where we were - closer to the smoke.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4282" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">View from the non-toxic side of the parking lot</dd></dl>
    After escaping the toxic fumes, and without seeing any lava, we rode to the very pretty town of Granada. Once in the town center, we parked and covered the bikes, and set out in search of lunch. It was one of the few times we have left our fully loaded bikes in a town, out of our line of sight, and it made me very nervous. My whole life is on that bike... All it would take is a couple of guys with a pick up truck for it to all disappear.
    We lunched at the Irish pub (there's one in every city in the world) and ended up staying there a bit longer than we should have (sunset at 6pm makes life difficult). When we realised the time we hurried back to the bikes, which, fortunately, were still there, and headed to the treehouse.
    <dl id="attachment_4264" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Mirror shot of the Nicaraguan countryside</dd></dl>
    After Phil dropped Jugs, (and only Jugs, neither Phil nor Kelly actually hit the mud) we both proceeded more cautiously along the dirt road. I resorted to sitting on my bike "walking" her along many sections, because it was so muddy, I was so top-heavy, and it was getting darker by the second. I was extremely jealous of Phil being able to have Kelly get off and walk for the tougher sections.
    <dl id="attachment_4265" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">I was not in a happy place right about then. (This was on the way out).</dd></dl>
    After asking several local people the way, we eventually made it to the hostel. We parked our bikes in a clearing, intending to come back to them for our belongings once we had oriented ourselves in the hostel.
    I didn't end up coming back to my bike until the next afternoon.
    <dl id="attachment_4276" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">When we got back down to our bikes, Phil's had been moved. We guess by the truck delivering water...</dd></dl>
    We started up the roughly formed steps, using flashlights to show the least treacherous path. We went up, and up, and up. Turns out the hostel is not only in the trees, it's in the trees on the top of a hill. A big hill.
    [​IMG]

    As we climbed up the hill into the unknown it sounded like someone up above was playing an old arcade game. One where you shoot lasers at something. We climbed and climbed towards the sound, sure that that must be coming from the main hostel building.
    A treehouse with lights on appeared above us, but confusingly the arcade game sounds seemed to be coming from a dirty pond beside us. Our first introduction to Laser Frogs - more commonly known as Tungara frogs.
    I entered the hostel feeling shaken from the ride in, tired from the climb up, and thirsty, very thirsty. I discarded my hot, smelly riding gear on a bar stool, placed my helmet on the bar, and ordered a beer.
    <dl id="attachment_4280" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The scene at the Treehouse bar</dd></dl>
    Beer turned into rum, and the two young, enthusiastic employees behind the bar kept plying us with dubious shots. Kelly and I were loudly propping up the bar, setting the world to rights, for several hours. I'm not entirely sure what Phil was doing, playing in the trees and trying out hammocks I guess, but somehow he seemed to escape most of the dubious shots.
    <dl id="attachment_4279" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Kelly and Phil at the bar</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4277" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">One of the employees was battling foot-rot, Kelly decided to clean it with babywipes over the bar. Lovely.</dd></dl>
    My evening ended with the bartenders helping/dragging me further up the hill and putting me to bed in a room under some stairs. I feel this was a result as the other option was to pass out in one of the many hammocks and be eaten by insects all night.
    <dl id="attachment_4271" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Suspended bridges led to other treehouses... Easier explored in daylight.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4278" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">I made a friend</dd></dl>
    Needless to say, Kelly and I didn't feel very well the next day.
    <dl id="attachment_4269" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Hammocks are excellent places to be hungover.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4270" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Pretty flying bird in a nearby tree</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4267" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Everywhere we looked there was a new, fun structure.</dd></dl>
    It was afternoon by the time we gathered ourselves enough to slip and slide down the hill to our bikes, and face the dirt road out again, this time with the benefit of daylight. I was shaking and feeling terrible. Phil kindly rode my bike over the worst part for me.
    <dl id="attachment_4266" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">What the hill to the treehouse looked like on the way down - better with daylight.</dd></dl>
    We wanted to visit a local lake, Laguna de Apoyo, which was supposed to be only a ten minute drive away. Mis-communication and the usual lack of road signs meant that this is as close as we got to it, because we had spent too much time trying to get there and it had started to rain.
    <dl id="attachment_4290" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">A brief glimpse of the Laguna - not as good as a swim in it!</dd></dl>
    We were headed towards the largest freshwater island in the world. After suffering one of the worst meals I have ever attempted to eat, in Rivas, we eventually found a hotel beside the ferry port in San Jorge.
    #24
  5. Wump

    Wump aka Mister Wisker

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    84
    Location:
    Back in Canada
    We banged a Lesbian (lurched left) when we should have hung a Roger (run right). Now we were lost on a volcano, in volcano jungle, nearing sunset. "Lost" in that we didn't know where we were, though there was only on direction to go really: Down.
    <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/BncuUy6wsXM" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>
    Getting lost took a lot of steps. Number one was getting on a ferry to Ometepe Island: the largest freshwater lake in the world. We were told to wait to load last, which left only a little space for us to squeeze our fat bikes into.
    <dl id="attachment_4382" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Jayne waiting to load, sneaky policeman takes the inside position.</dd></dl>
    Jayne fit fine, but the a sneaky policeman zipped into the space left for me. The policeman moved over as much as possible, but for the first time in my life I found myself facing a fact: I was too fat.
    "The next boat is in an hour, you could just take that one, fatty" the ferry worker said.
    "True, but this one is here NOW, why can't we put the little police moto in the back of that truck" I replied, pointing.
    Moments later, 4 men were lifting the police moto into the back of the empty truck and I was squeezing onto the ferry.
    <dl id="attachment_4384" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Police moto up in the truck, along with a scooter who had also initially been denied aboard.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4383" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The two fat kids squeezed onto the ferry. Truck made a great tie-down point.</dd></dl>
    We stopped for lunch upon offloading, and that's when the 6.6 earthquake struck off the coast of Nicaragua. Reportedly. We never even noticed it, but our dad told us all about it later. Missing out on all the fun we are.
    <dl id="attachment_4388" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Jayne is more stable after moving our bags from her seat to the top of her boxes.</dd></dl>
    Arrived at the Finca! Roberto is fantastic, he even interrupted his lunch to come welcome us to his Finca Tiguilote. His KLR 250 looks tiny up against Jugs and Cricket.
    <dl id="attachment_4395" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Jayne was a touch Jealous of it's small size and weight</dd></dl>
    Roberto set us up in his little guest house.
    <dl id="attachment_4396" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">no camping required! Thanks Roberto!</dd></dl>
    We had an outdoor shower with beautiful views, and an outhouse that you couldn't help but staring into... it was ALIVE down there.
    <dl id="attachment_4398" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Thankfully it was NOT alive in the shower however.</dd></dl>
    Roberto's Finca (farm) Tiguilote (name of his farm) was incredible, with everything from Papaya to Banana to Teak growing on it. The volcanic soil is supremely fertile.
    <dl id="attachment_4397" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Plantations at the Finca</dd></dl>
    He also introduced us to Alberto, who would later take us under his wing and give us a tour of the lower reaches of Volcan Maderas. We had hoped to climb it, but had set out too late in the day. We settled on petroglyphs and river walks, and had a great wander.
    <dl id="attachment_4394" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">We are deeply indebted to Alberto (left). Muchas Gracias!</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4360" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Jayne molests hundred year old petroglyphs</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4381" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The girls frolic and cool off in the river</dd></dl>
    After said tour, we happened upon an all too common sight: tourists scraped up from a scooter accident. I offered to use my nursing powers to scrub dirt out of some wounds, and they accepted.
    <dl id="attachment_4363" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Her protective gear (shown) didn't quite cover everything.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4361" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Surgical scrub to clean the wounds...</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4362" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">"this won't feel nice"</dd></dl>
    I didn't say my nursing powers would be pain free.
    <dl id="attachment_4364" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The friends loved my "Hero" shirt. The patient just loved when it was over.</dd></dl>
    The next day we set out a little earlier so we would have time to climb Volcan Maderas. A LITTLE earlier. If we hiked at average speed I figured we would make it down just before sunset.
    <dl id="attachment_4377" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Jayne, fighting rumbling lungs and hearing it would be 2 more hours, wisely turned back soon after this photo.</dd></dl>
    The hike was nice, but challenging, getting muddier the higher we climbed.
    <dl id="attachment_4366" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Mud and slippery logs, oh my.</dd></dl>
    We also had to battle these deafening beetles.
    <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/eROX87d3tdg" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>
    With a posted round trip time of 6-8 hours, I had estimated our turn-back-time should be 2:30pm.
    <dl id="attachment_4367" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">View from near the top</dd></dl>
    At 2:30, we met folks who said we were really close to the goal of the Laguna, and that people were having sex there. We figured being this close, we really should go check it out. When we arrived 15 minutes later, the couple still going at it somewhere out of view. (turn up your volume for the full experience)
    <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/WS3AsAF_EfE" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>
    We left those fine folks to do their thing, and headed out from the Laguna around 3:15. We would now have to hurry to beat the sun.
    <dl id="attachment_4368" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Tread lightly at the laguna</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4369" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">is Roger a Lesbian?</dd></dl>
    Then there was a "y". The left option looked more heavily travelled so I chose that one. Soon we were seeing views that we didn't see on the way up, and not hearing those annoying beetles. By the time we realized we had made a wrong turn it was too late to go back for fear of hiking in the forest in the dark. Those howler monkey's are scary. Oh dear.
    Being lost wasn't without it's perks though:
    <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/lpY2G3lVoSw" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>
    <dl id="attachment_4372" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Nice place to rest... but seriously that sun is setting right now.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4373" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Ok, that's enough sunset staring, MOVE IT!</dd></dl>
    Light began to wane.
    <dl id="attachment_4374" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">"I don't wanna hike in the dark"</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4375" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">...too bad, the Darkness cometh.</dd></dl>
    Many hours since brunch, were feeling a little like starvin' marvin' on the way down. Error: no snacks in our pockets! Fortunately as we emerged from the Volcano forest, we entered farm land with banana and Mango plantations!
    <dl id="attachment_4376" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Never before have unripe mangoes tasted so shockingly good.</dd></dl>
    Then we found people who cultivate those bananas and mangoes. It was now officially dark: 6:30pm. The people who cultivate the bananas and mangoes kindly pointed us lost white folk towards the road. We may have become lost again with the now ample choices of criss-crossing paths in the dark, if it wasn't for a family going our way. We just hopped in line and followed them the last 15 minutes out to the road.
    <dl id="attachment_4378" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Thanks for leading us out family!</dd></dl>
    After a short hitch-hike; we were home! It was night. But we didn't die on a volcano. So all in all that's a win!
    <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/7Kg5X6vphzk" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>
    Meeting up with Jayne, who we had texted earlier to say we were taking a "different" route but omitting that we were lost, we went for a recovery dinner at Cafe Campestre. Good food if you're on the island.
    <dl id="attachment_4389" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">...also good for mid-day rocking chair naps.</dd></dl>
    The next morning we packed up and head for the ferry. Just as we were leaving, Jayne noticed one of her crash-bar bags had been stolen. A flip through the camera showed that it had been missing since before we even came to the island. Our first theft off the bikes for the trip: a bag of useless-for-you but really-useful-for-me tools, tape and rags. Annoying.
    <dl id="attachment_4393" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Waiting to load on El Rey, after a 2 hour Phil-delay. Note Jayne's remaining crash bar bag.</dd></dl>
    One last error delayed our exit from the Island. I misunderstood "doce y media" (12:30) as "dos y media" (2:30) for the ferry departure time, so we missed the boat. We rode to the other port and took the same ferry we had taken over, the "El Rey". Turns out the "El Rey" costs half as much, so it all worked out. 2$ each bike and 2$ each person. Ooooh the savings!
    Onwards to San Juan del Sur!
    Some other nice photo's from the island:
    <dl id="attachment_4358" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Volcano butterfly. The advantage of climbing Maderas over Conception (the other island volcano) is that there is nice nature on Maderas.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4359" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Rough road to get to Merida for sunset (Jayne skipped the trip), but worth it! Locals treated us with rum and mangoes, the sun and volcano did the rest.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4391" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">ugh, tourists</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4387" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 235px" data-mce-style="width: 235px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">For Fran
    </dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4370" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 346px" data-mce-style="width: 346px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Take care of Granny's knees when you're lost.</dd></dl>
    Thanks again to Roberto for letting us stay on your beautiful Finca Tiguilote!
    #25
  6. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,310
    Location:
    Seven Springs NC
    I'm in for the ride!! If possible, Please make all pics big! It's hard to look at some small pics. I hope this request isn't difficult?? Thanks!
    #26
  7. Wump

    Wump aka Mister Wisker

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    84
    Location:
    Back in Canada
    Not difficult at all. In fact I just changed and made them smaller my last post or two. But we write on a netbook with a tiny screen so I suppose they look ok sized to us.

    What's a good size?

    How's that last one in my most recent post (the one that's bigger than the rest)?

    Appreciate the feedback! :ear
    #27
  8. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,310
    Location:
    Seven Springs NC
    Ah, no problem! 800x600 is good size! :thumb
    #28
  9. UltiJayne

    UltiJayne Sister on a KLR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Everyone raves about San Juan del Sur. This surfer's party town on Nicaragua's Pacific coast was recommended to us many times.
    We rolled into town and did a tour of a few hostels searching for one with secure parking for the bikes. At hostel number 5 we finally found a hostel with both parking and room availability. The discovery of my stolen bag was fresh and I had become paranoid about thieves.
    <dl id="attachment_4340" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Happiness is parking with a locking gate.</dd></dl>
    The hostel was called the Surfing Donkey, grungy but it had a pool. The pool turned out to be a lifesaver as the town's water supply had been off that day, and we were three motorcyclists in need of being submersed in water.
    <dl id="attachment_4341" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Hostel lounge area and pool</dd></dl>
    Along with secure parking for the bikes, Northern Irish Jeff and his girlfriend Heather who we'd met in both Guatemala and El Salvador were sitting at the bar. We did suggest that they may be stalking us...
    That night we discovered cheap Nicaraguan rum. What we learnt is that the good stuff (Flor de Cana) is cheap enough that the really cheap stuff can, and should, be avoided.
    <dl id="attachment_4338" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Kelly meets Heather and Jeff</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4339" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Hanging out on the beach</dd></dl>
    We tried to love San Juan del Sur. We played frisbee on the beach, spread our laundry among the local lavanderias, found a very good pizza place and an awesome coffee/book shop - El Gato Negro. You can go there and spend hours just reading their multipage menu, which includes details about superfoods, book recommendations, as well as their selection of food and drinks.
    San Juan was okay, but we just didn't find anything there to make us want to stay.
    We were keen to surf, which you can't do in San Juan itself, so we packed the bikes and headed a few kilometers down the coast to Playa Maderas. We stayed in the hostel right on the beach there - Los Tres Hermanos.
    <dl id="attachment_4337" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Navagating cow obstacles on the road to Playa Maderas</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4336" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">My hermano in front of the "Los Tres Hermanos" hostel</dd></dl>
    Our first night we were treated to a stunning sunset.
    <dl id="attachment_4342" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 310px" data-mce-style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Sunset over the ocean rocks</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4334" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Ahhhhhhh....</dd></dl>
    The next morning Phil rented himself a board and Kelly and I decided to share one. While Phil was out in the big waves, Kelly and I took turns attempting to surf in the long whitewash. It was here that I stood up on a surf board for the first (and only) time. My glory lasted about 3 seconds.
    <dl id="attachment_4335" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Skipping down the beach</dd></dl>
    It was great to hang out on the beach watching the surfers and soaking up the sun. We stayed for two nights before we were feeling a bit roasted and decided it was time to head North.


    (Sorry about the pics not being bigger in this post, I had already finished it before your request!)
    #29
  10. Wump

    Wump aka Mister Wisker

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    84
    Location:
    Back in Canada
    Rocketing down the side of the volcano at 90km/h, with volcanic rocks bouncing off my teeth like M&M's, I realized that there's a reason Volcano boarding doesn't happen in Canada, and it's not our lack of Volcanoes: This is INSANITY.
    <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/jmYbekvyHOc" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>
    First we had to get there. A little by accident, we rode to Leon on the "old" highway. Potholed asphalt, which gave way intermittently to rough dirt, with the occasional cow. It was 40 kms of great fun. Jayne disliked it heartily.
    <dl id="attachment_4451" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Asphalt randomly turns to dirt...</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4450" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">... dirt back to potholed asphalt</dd></dl>
    Leon is a popular tourist stop, and Volcano boarding is certainly one of the main draws. There are several tour operators who provide the lunacy, but we went with Bigfoot hostel. Bigfoot was the first to do volcano boarding, so naturally they must be the best. They are.
    The first crazy person to try volcano boarding was an Australian (shockingly) and he started with a sand board. It disintegrated. The car door and ride down in a mini fridge also didn't go so well. Eventually he came up with this:
    <dl id="attachment_4452" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">A board just like this one.</dd></dl>
    Fast forward years later and tourists try to keep their skin as they fly down the volcano on these boards for 30$ a pop.
    The experience is more than just a ride down the volcano though. First it's a ride in the back of a big truck down a dirt road.
    <dl id="attachment_4435" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Jayne and Kelly waiting to duck more branches.</dd></dl>
    The branches from passing trees load on the truck roll cage, then catapult into the face of whoever ducks last. I'm one baaaaad ducker. You get to know other folks at the hostel on the bumpy ride, making new friends as backups in case your current friends don't make it on the ride down.
    Once we arrive in the park, those who weren't beheaded on the truck ride are given boards and an orange goodie bag to carry up the Volcano.
    <dl id="attachment_4436" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The girls practice riding style. orange bags not pictured.</dd></dl>
    Then we start the hike.
    <dl id="attachment_4437" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The goats start marching, orange bags in hand!
    </dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4459" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Happiness is not blowing off the Volcano on the way up.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4441" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The board acts like a kite when it's windy...</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4458" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Wooooooaoaaaaaaahhh!</dd></dl>
    Once up top, Rosco our fearless leader gave us some pointers about the volcano itself. Cerro Negro is the youngest volcano in the Americas, it's currently active, and produces lots of heat. Dig down just an inch, and the ground is almost too hot to touch.
    <dl id="attachment_4443" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">It's hot, damn hot, real hot!</dd></dl>
    Stand there too long, and your clothes might just burn off.
    <dl id="attachment_4445" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Where'd they go?</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4447" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">So hot right now</dd></dl>
    Then it was time to get serious and open our orange goodie bags. Inside was a pair of lightly scratched goggles and an orange canvas prison jump-suit.
    <dl id="attachment_4442" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Pick a bag any bag</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4448" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Ready to go back to jail.</dd></dl>
    Everyone paid attention closely as Rosco gave us a lesson on how to go down safely. "Remember, dig in your heels if you need to slow down." He also made a few comments on how to make the board go as fast as possible. "Lean back, keep your feet up, keep it straight." I listened more intently to that part.
    <dl id="attachment_4420" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Hold onto the handle to avoid losing the skin from your palms on the rocks.</dd></dl>
    After his demonstration, Rosco RUNS DOWN THE VOLCANO (run clocked at 43km/h), and leaves us to slide on his signals. This day was amazing. Away we go!
    <dl id="attachment_4421" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Ready? set!...</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4455" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">GO!</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4454" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">GO!</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4453" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">GO!</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4422" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Jayne and Kelly reach the bottom, at 32km/h and 29km/h respectively.</dd></dl>
    One thing about "digging in your heels to slow down" is that it's only realistic if you keep those heels dug in from the start. Once you drop over the rise and you're flying down the 41 degree slope with more rough volcanic rocks flying in your face with every touch of your foot... you decide to stop putting your feet down. Then you go faster. And faster. It was insanity. And it was incredible. And I thought I might die. And it was incredible.
    I hit 90km/h. The record was 91. Soooo close. The record fell anyways, as the second last run of the day broke it at 93km/h! Video above. Nice work Matt!
    <dl id="attachment_4425" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">New record holder!</dd></dl>

    <dl id="attachment_4423" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Feeling so alive right now!</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4461" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Kelly and Jayne, also still alive</dd></dl>
    If you are in Nicaragua, I highly recommend a stop in at the Bigfoot hostel. It's cheap (6$), and they run an amazing trip to slide down the Cerro Negro volcano. You might die, but you'll have had a blast on your way out. Oh, and ride to Leon on the old "highway". I recommend that too.
    <dl id="attachment_4456" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Happy pile of convicts about to throw themselves down a hill.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4456" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Happy pile of convicts about to throw themselves down an active volcano.</dd></dl>
    Post Leon, we rode to the coast to meet Max. Our parents had met Max months earlier while on a cruise. They left some wires with Max that I wanted to re-wire jugs.
    <dl id="attachment_4427" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Thanks for holding those wires for months Max!</dd></dl>
    Max has stories. Amazing stories from his time being a sailboat captain doing the Panama-Colombia run. We sat and listened to his stories while sitting on the beach. He gave us good tips for the San Blas Islands. We're really looking forward to them now. We also met a British couple on a Honda Transalp, Oliver and Heather. We had to leave, but they're heading our way, so I'm sure we'll cross paths again.
    From the coast we head right back to Managua, as Kellys flight left first thing in the morning. Nothing is that far away though. Many folks had warned us not to pass on a solid line in Nicaragua. When you're stuck behind slow trucks, you recognize that you are ignoring that advice, scan down the road and pass anyways.
    <dl id="attachment_4430" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Best to also scan the road BEHIND you too.</dd></dl>
    Turns out the police had been following us since we had passed them on the side of the road. They pulled Jayne over, and she radioed for me to come back. They were very upset with me, yet laughing with Jayne. Smile with Jayne, turn his head and YELL at me. My reckless passing on a solid line was "dangerous and crazy". I had hurt his feelings. So he hurt mine back: "you should ride more like your sister!".
    <dl id="attachment_4431" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">"But officer, she rides so sloooooooow" was not a good defense.</dd></dl>
    Fortunately perfect-riding Jayne was able to convince him not to give us a ticket. Kelly sneakily took photo's of the ordeal after being explicitly told not to by the officers. We're going to miss Kelly!
    In Managua we were again warmly welcomed by Reyna into her home. Muchas gracias un otro vez Reyna!! Great to have such a nice "home" base.
    Kelly and I were up before sunrise to head to the airport. Very sad to see her go. She's hoping to rejoin me in August/September for a longer stint. Until then, I'll just laugh at defecation paintings with Jayne.
    <dl id="attachment_4432" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Micro-Kelly looks on as Real-sized Kelly heads for security.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4434" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">To end on a happier note: These kinds of Paintings are all over the place in Nicaragua!</dd></dl>
    #30
  11. XStatic450

    XStatic450 ouch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Oddometer:
    24
    Location:
    Land of 10,000 skeeters
    Great RR, the burnt off clothes picture was funny as hell!!!!
    #31
  12. UltiJayne

    UltiJayne Sister on a KLR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Kelly went home. Despite us begging for her to stay and threatening to kidnap her, she returned to Canada and her work commitments leaving us feeling bereft. At least we still have micro-Kelly.
    <dl id="attachment_4513" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 480px" data-mce-style="width: 480px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Regular size Kelly is much more fun - we miss her!</dd></dl>
    We spent that day doing laundry, planning our next move, and enjoying Reyna's amazing hospitality for one last night. Phil had been up at 5am to drive Kelly to the airport, so he had some sleep to catch up on as well.
    The next morning we set off back up to Esteli to see our friends Ivan and Priscilla and meet their children Lara and Teo.
    <dl id="attachment_4505" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 1085px" data-mce-style="width: 1085px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Ivan, Lara and Teo ©Priscilla</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4510" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 1085px" data-mce-style="width: 1085px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Lara and Priscilla</dd></dl>
    We had stopped there our first night in Nicaragua, but arrived late and left early, and didn't even get a chance to see the kids. They welcomed us back and we became instant friends and playmates with Lara. Teo is an incredibly happy and well behaved baby.
    <dl id="attachment_4497" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">These are two awesome kids</dd></dl>
    Priscilla is a wonderful photographer. She took some very fun pictures of Phil and Lara.
    <dl id="attachment_4508" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 480px" data-mce-style="width: 480px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Lara is thrilled with the giant monster ©Priscilla</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4509" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 480px" data-mce-style="width: 480px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Brave monster goes after the scary giant ©Priscilla</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4506" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 480px" data-mce-style="width: 480px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Nurse/Vet Phil prepares for his patient ©Priscilla</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4487" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Phil puts his nursing skills to good use. Anti-tick shot for the dog</dd></dl>
    Ivan and Priscilla told us all about Costa Rica, which is where they are originally from, and fed us mangos from their tree, which Phil managed to fall out of the next day.
    <dl id="attachment_4507" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 1444px" data-mce-style="width: 1444px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Phil enjoys a mango from the tree in beautiful lighting ©Priscilla</dd></dl>
    Despite spending so much time at his mum's house, we had never actually met Salvador (Salcar on ADVrider). He and his friends Bruno, JD and Fabricio were riding from the Caribbean back to Managua, so we arranged to meet them in Matagalpa. As we entered town we passed 4 men on motorbikes going the other way - it was them! We pulled a u-turn and followed them into the hotel parking lot. We'd all arrived in town at exactly the same time. We had barely parked the bikes and met everyone when a Honda TransAlp with two riders pulled up. Oliver and Heather who we'd met on the beach in Las Penitas!
    <dl id="attachment_4498" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Arriving at the Matagalpa Inn</dd></dl>
    We did some tough negotiating at the hotel, which was much posher than we would normally stay in, and by agreeing to not use the air conditioning we got a room for $30US including breakfast.
    <dl id="attachment_4499" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">JD and his rubber ducky mascot</dd></dl>
    Salvador had just finished his trip through Africa and had lots of stories to tell. We all went out for dinner and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. JD, a fellow Canadian, very generously bought our dinner - Thanks JD!!!
    <dl id="attachment_4488" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The whole gang: Bruno, JD, Oliver, Heather, Fabricio, Salvador, Phil and me</dd></dl>
    Oliver and Heather will be meeting up with a friend from Wales in Costa Rica, and provided us with a hope of getting a battery for our star-crossed GoPro. We ordered one to be delivered to their friend and we're hoping that it makes it in time.
    The next morning our short but sweet motorcycle party was over, everyone went their separate ways. The staff at the hotel were extremely helpful and hopped in their car to lead us to a place down the street where I could change my oil. It turned out to be a small hardware store, which seemed to have everything we could possibly want.
    <dl id="attachment_4500" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Oil change in front of our favourite shop in Matagalpa</dd></dl>
    I upgraded to 20W50 oil from the 15W40 I have been running. We also bought replacement fuses, a new tire pressure gauge, Nicaragua stickers for our boxes and a socket set to replace the one lost in my stolen bag. I changed my oil out front while chatting to one of the guys who works in the hotel and Phil did his long overdue "doohickey" adjustment. (Very easy to do, except that his crashbars prevent him from accessing it and so he has to loosen them, and his skidplate, just to loosen and re-tighten a bolt.)
    We were ready to head South again, and after debating the pros and cons of going the opposite side of Lake Nicaragua and over a boarder crossing that we knew would involve one of us taking a bus into Costa Rica to buy insurance, we decided instead to make a second attempt at reaching Laguna Apoyo.
    <dl id="attachment_4492" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Laguna Apoyo</dd></dl>
    For a popular tourist destination, Laguna Apoyo is very difficult to get to. Despite internet research, when we got to the village of Catarina, and the viewpoint they have there looking over the Laguna, no one seemed to know how to actually get down to the shore. We bought a few mangos from a roadside stall, and I pulled up a website on my phone. It said there was also a road down from a nearby town, Diria, so we rode there to see if we could find someone who knew the way.
    In the town square I asked a couple of ladies about the road down, they agreed that there was a road down, but expressed concern about the road conditions and whether we'd make it down on our bikes. My heart dropped at their suggestion of it being a difficult road. I hate difficult roads.
    A male friend of theirs came over to see what the gringa on a motorcycle wanted and told me the road was straight ahead and that we'd make it down "no problema".
    Note to self: Always listen to women when they express doubt over road conditions. Men don't know what their talking about.
    We rode on about a block to where the road forked. I wasn't sure which way we needed to go, but a man on a motorbike who looked about 100 years old told us that it was straight ahead, a 4km road and that he could make it down on his bike so we'd be fine.
    I started giving myself a pep talk. "It's only 4km." "It can't be that bad." "Just stay calm."
    We rode through the parking lot of a lookout point and the road became two brick tire tracks. Better than just a muddy track, but still less than ideal. Especially when navigating steep, tight turns where the mud between the two tracks had been washed out.
    <dl id="attachment_4502" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Not my favourite sight</dd></dl>
    3.8km down the road forked with three unappealing options. Phil went down the most likely looking one and came back up moments later reporting a tree across the road. He checked out the one on the right that looked pretty overgrown, and reported back that it was also impassable, that left us with option number three. It was starting to get dark.
    <dl id="attachment_4501" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Jayne and the giant mud hole.</dd></dl>
    Phil rode down road number three, and I reluctantly followed, stopping at a giant muddy puddle after some rough, hole and rock filled sections. Phil showed up again shortly after, reporting that this road was one that I would not like, seemed to connect some private properties, and did not appear to go down to the lake.
    After having explored all the options, Phil decided that the first one he went down with the tree across the road was the one we needed. He went on ahead and by the time I reached the fork again, I decided to just leave my bike there and walk down to the tree. Phil was having none of that and went back up and rode my bike down the hill.
    When Phil said there was a tree across the road he wasn't joking:
    <dl id="attachment_4490" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">No bikes getting through</dd></dl>
    There was no getting around THAT tree!
    We pitched our tent on the road on the other side of the tree in the last moments of daylight. A short walk down the road revealed that yes, this was indeed the road that led to the lake shore.
    <dl id="attachment_4489" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Our middle of the road campsite.</dd></dl>
    We decided that what we needed was a campfire, and Phil pulled down a couple of dead trees for the purpose. The tree that had fallen on the road was still too fresh to burn well.
    In the morning I woke up and wandered down to the lake to find Phil writing in his journal on the peaceful lake shore.
    <dl id="attachment_4491" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Phil wasn't in the tent when I woke up - this is how I found him</dd></dl>
    We went for a swim and ate our remaining mangos before packing up to head to Costa Rica.
    <dl id="attachment_4504" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Morning dip in the Volcano Crater</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4494" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Wildlife watching us pack up</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4493" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Who's beard is longer?</dd></dl>
    This is when the trouble started. I rode my bike up the steep rocky, horrible hill (what Phil calls "a technical section") to where the roads forked, but stopped when it was still too steep to keep Cricket upright. We slid backwards before going over.
    <dl id="attachment_4495" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Not happy about right now.</dd></dl>
    Phil helped me pick her up and then he headed up the hill. I always feel very shaken after dropping my bike, and I was not looking forward to the 3km climb out of the lake crater. I talked myself into it and reluctantly started up the slope. I hadn't gone 10 meters when I dropped Cricket again. This time Phil was long gone, so I started unpacking my stuff to make the bike lighter so I could pick it up on my own. Except I couldn't. Every time I got it part way up my feet and the tires would start sliding down the hill.
    <dl id="attachment_4496" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">At least the tree canopy is beautiful</dd></dl>
    By the time Phil realised I wasn't behind him and had walked down the hill to find me, I was a tearful mess. We got Cricket back up and loaded, but I was really not happy. Phil rode my bike up a few hundred meters to where the road flattened a little, and I took over from there.
    Phil decided to follow me up the rest of the hill. He wasn't impressed at how slowly I rode up, although he did say I had very good balance, because he couldn't stay on the narrow bricked tire track at my speed as well as I did. I managed to get up the rest of the road without dropping my bike again, although there were moments where I was very close. Accelerating out of those moments was all that saved me.
    As always when riding offroad, I hated pretty much every second of it. It is on those rides that I fantasize about trading my bike in for a vehicle with four wheels, and make plans to find other riders for Phil to go on offroad adventures with while I stick to the tarmac. I feel tremendous pressure to go with Phil because he loves it so much, and I don't want to leave him to go on his own with no support if something goes wrong. Still I find it impossible to convince myself that I'll enjoy off-roading one day if I just keep doing it.
    Isn't it enough that I'm riding my own motorbike across two continents? Most women wouldn't even consider doing that. Do I really have to love offroad as well?
    I've thought about this issue a lot. When we were riding up to, and in, Alaska, we rode on a lot of unpaved roads (the Top of The World Highway comes to mind). When I was riding those roads I didn't hate it, I didn't panic, I didn't get worried, and shaky and miserable. It's only since after The Crash that I've had those problems. And I wasn't even driving when we crashed.
    I think it's possible, likely even, that having a concussion, and no memory of nearly a whole day of my life has caused me to intensely dislike riding roads in bad condition. It first surfaced in Arizona, where I nearly ran over another motorcyclist's head on the Oso Road, and it has been an issue ever since.
    It's not that I don't have the knowledge and skills to navigate these roads, I've taken lessons, and I usually get over the rough sections unharmed. I just simply do not enjoy the process, and have no desire to put myself through it.
    I think it's like people who are scared of heights, they know they will be fine, but they panic anyways.
    I don't know how things are going to progress on this front. I'm not doing this trip to be miserable, but I also have no desire to hold Phil back. I certainly will be taking the paved route whenever there is one, and hope to find other riders to go with Phil on offroad adventures when the opportunity arises. We'll work something out.
    <dl id="attachment_4486" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Phil and Jugs do yoga as we pass the viewpoint on the way out</dd></dl>
    In this case, we made it out in one piece, and we were on our way to the glorious beauty of one of the wettest countries in the world - Costa Rica.
    Just had to get over the border first.
    #32
  13. Two Moto Kiwis

    Two Moto Kiwis Homeless Somewhere

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,195
    Location:
    Wanaka, New Zealand, ....What Trip!!!
    Hi Jayne,

    I understand every word you talked about here. I was facing the same kind of issue while riding with Andi. We have to find any opportunity for Andi to go on a ride with some other guys to enjoy "riding", otherwise, he will gone mad just riding easy bits and riding with "slow wife". I have to say, sometimes I wish I still riding, but the stress caused for Andi because he worries about me is not worth it. There is always plus and minus while doing a huge trip like this. Our new approach is we settle down at one place and do a few day trips, maybe sometimes Andi will go with others and I will just chill out at basecamp. I'm sure you will find a balance between Phil having fun and you enjoy your time too.

    Looking forward your next report

    Cheers
    Ellen
    #33
  14. UltiJayne

    UltiJayne Sister on a KLR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    There was a sale the day we left Nicaragua. 1 litre bottles of 7 year Flor del Caña rum for 238 cordobas ($9). We bought two.


    As we were in a shopping mood, we stopped at a ferreteria (hardware store) and Phil bought a machete for $4. He came out to show it to me, debating buying a fancy leather sheath for it.
    <dl id="attachment_4540" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">That's not a knife.</dd></dl>
    When he told me it was only another $6 I told him to just buy it. Our budget can stand it and he'd been talking about buying a machete since Mexico!
    <dl id="attachment_4539" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The guy on the bike is jealous of Phil's new machete holder</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_4538" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">While Phil decided how to attach his new purchase to his bike, I chatted with the oldest lady in the world. She was sweet until she started asking for money.</dd></dl>
    Laden with rum and a huge knife, we stopped in Rivas for lunch and a boot shine. (Gotta love these inexpensive, time saving services in Latin America, available wherever you happen to be sitting.)
    <dl id="attachment_4536" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Happiness is shiny boots</dd></dl>
    While waiting for our pizza, and having our boots shined by a very jovial Nica, I felt the guy at the table behind me shifting his chair into mine. The tables were packed pretty tightly on the sidewalk, but when I looked back at him he had his arm draped very unnaturally behind his chair. I gave him a withering look and passed Phil my riding jacket, which until then had been hanging on the back of my chair.


    Shortly afterwards the two guys left, without ever having ordered anything. As soon as they left our ever accommodating boot shining man told us he had kept his eye on those two for us, because he was sure they were trying to rob us.
    <dl id="attachment_4529" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">This was after the scoundrels left.</dd></dl>
    Glad I trusted my instincts and moved my jacket!


    Phil hadn't realised all this was going on and was disappointed he hadn't had the opportunity to confront the would-be thieves. He has sworn to chop the pinky finger off anyone he catches stealing from us. It would have been an interesting first use of his new machete!


    After demolishing a "family size" pizza, we took ourselves and our shiny boots to the Costa Rican border at Peñas Blancas.


    Our pockets were still full of Nicaraguan Cordobas, so we decided to spend them on gasoline. Except there wasn't a gas station to be found anywhere in the small border town.


    Not to be deterred, we discovered the man at the corner store, who sells 850 litres of fuel a week, from various 1 gallon containers. He happily filled our tanks and accepted all our coins and remaining Nica currency.
    <dl id="attachment_4537" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Nicaraguan Gas Station</dd></dl>
    Jayne's Guide to Crossing the Nicaragua/Costa Rica Border:

    When entering the border keep left. Don't follow all the big trucks, the uniformed man at the gate will send you back. Once you go the correct way, a man will ask to see your bike import docs and will sign and date them. This is a "sign" of things to come. You will need 5 or 6 signatures on your doc before you are allowed out of Nicaragua.


    <dl id="attachment_4535" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Phil's view of me getting our first signature</dd></dl>
    First take your passports to be stamped out. On the way to the counter you'll pass a lady in a box wanting a dollar for local tax. The man who stamps your passport will want a form filled out and two dollars. (Both payable in Cordobas, or if you've spent all your Cordobas on gas, US dollars are accepted.)
    <dl id="attachment_4533" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Where the magic happens, passports on the right, everything else on the left</dd></dl>
    After getting our passports sorted, I was at a loss for where to go next. So I asked a lady selling insurance. She said I had to find the customs man. When I asked her which building he was in she shook her head and looked around the crowd outside. Turns out the customs man doesn't have an office. You just have to find him wandering around.


    Luckily for me, my lady spotted him coming out of the washrooms, and sent me to go catch him. I hesitantly asked him what I needed to do to export our motos. He smiled and took our paperwork, asking where we parked the bikes.
    <dl id="attachment_4534" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Happy Jayne while customs man inspects Cricket.</dd></dl>
    I walked him over to the bikes. He was like a disheveled pied piper, as he inspected the VIN numbers on our bikes, more and more people gathered around, trying to get his attention. He studiously ignored them while he stamped and signed our paperwork. I asked him where I needed to go next and he said I needed to see the policia. Deja vu as I asked where I would find the policeman and he started looking through the crowd. Turns out that, like the customs man, there is only one policeman, and he hides in the crowd too!
    <dl id="attachment_4532" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Can you spot the policia in this picture? Hint: He's wearing the blue shirt.</dd></dl>
    Studiously ignoring the growing gaggle of people trying to get his attention, the customs man walked me back over to the building and found the policeman chatting up one of the insurance ladies. Customs man provided our paperwork to the policia to sign and stamp before showing me the line to stand in for our next signature. What great service!


    This final queue was nearly my undoing. All the other signatures had been quick and easy, but this line was moving glacially, and I was melting from the extreme heat. I made friends with the fan hanging from the ceiling, and after what seemed like years, I finally collected our last stamps. I think this lady was cancelling our import permits, but I never found out exactly.


    The man at the gate counted the signatures on our documents, and let us through into Costa Rica.


    There should be a word for the exasperation one feels between borders. You are stuck in no-man's land and you know that in order to go anywhere you have a long, tedious process ahead.


    Entering Costa Rica wasn't bad. There was no line for "migracion" to get our passports stamped.
    <dl id="attachment_4531" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">I've since learnt that sometimes the queue for migracion takes up this whole space and more... We were lucky.</dd></dl>
    Across the road there is a man in a box. He wants you to fill out a form and give him a copy of everything. License, title document, passport photo page, stamp they just put in your passport and insurance.
    <dl id="attachment_4528" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Talking to the man in the box</dd></dl>
    Unfortunately to buy the insurance you have to drive about 500 meters down the road and take an unmarked road to an unmarked window in an unmarked building. There you buy 3 months insurance for $30, get some copies made across the parking lot, then drive back to the man in the box. The insurance and the copies (10 for $1) were the only things we had to pay for.
    <dl id="attachment_4527" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Buy insurance on the left, get bike import docs through the door on the right</dd></dl>
    Give box man your copies, which he will check and give back to you with a slip of paper. Then drive back to the unmarked building (I think it does say Aduana over the door you are now looking for).


    Give the people in there your stack of papers, and they will give you your bike import doc.


    Leave a sticker on their window for prosperity.


    Realise that your Nica SIM cards no longer work and you can't call your couchsurf host.


    <dl id="attachment_4530" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">3 hours later - Freedom!</dd></dl>
    Welcome to the country with 4% of the world's biodiversity but only 0.3% of it's landmass - Costa Rica!
    #34
  15. Two Moto Kiwis

    Two Moto Kiwis Homeless Somewhere

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,195
    Location:
    Wanaka, New Zealand, ....What Trip!!!
    We were taking to the lake by Aaron on a big van with his family and had great time there. It went through from one of his friends private property. I think we were very lucky.

    This where we came down to the lake

    [​IMG]
    #35
  16. Cam805

    Cam805 Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    44
    Location:
    Ventura County, California
    Phil/Jayne, glad you guys decided to co-blog on this site.

    It's been how many miles since you visited us in Ventura? I'm actually interested in a tire report, as it is now time to replace my own. By the way, traded the 1200GS for an 800GS - much more off road oriented.

    Cam
    #36
  17. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,310
    Location:
    Seven Springs NC
    It looks like fun and definitely something I would consider.. what is the name of town it is in? Sorry if I missed it..
    #37
  18. UltiJayne

    UltiJayne Sister on a KLR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Hi Cam!

    As you know we put Avon Gripsters on when we were in California. (Well Phil kept his Kenda on the front but that's a whole different story.) Phil recently changed his rear to a Continental TKC. I'm still running the Gripsters, but will need a new rear soon.

    We've ridden just over 18,000 km since we stayed with you in November.

    Lighter is better for off road every time!!

    Hope all is great!

    Jayne
    #38
  19. UltiJayne

    UltiJayne Sister on a KLR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    The tours are all run out of Leon, Nicaragua. Although apparently if you drive out to Cerro Negro (the volcano) you can rent boards there yourself. We had a lot of fun doing it with a group.
    #39
  20. UltiJayne

    UltiJayne Sister on a KLR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    It was one year ago today that my brother Phil and I packed up our motorcycles (Kawasaki KLR 650s) and left Vancouver heading towards the Arctic Circle.
    <dl id="attachment_577" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 480px" data-mce-style="width: 480px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Blown away by Jayne's first ever full day of winding roads. Canada July 2012</dd></dl>
    It's been a long ride - 10 countries, over 40,000 km, 10 tires, dropping the bikes well over 50 times and one very hairy brother later, we find ourselves in Panama (about halfway from the Arctic Circle to the Southern tip of South America, our goal of Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego).


    We thought we'd be there by now!


    Not only have we ridden the bikes 39,000 km or so but we've driven a 1979 GMC pick-up 3850 km, flown to Mexico (twice for me) and taken several ferries.
    <dl id="attachment_4550" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 480px" data-mce-style="width: 480px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Phil and Jayne on the road (literally) in Esteli, Nicaragua in June 2013. Picture taken by our friend Priscilla. (Bike on the right isn't one of ours)</dd></dl>
    While riding through the lush Costa Rican rainforest last week my iPod decided to play me the song "Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw. This, combined with the death this week of my Auntie Rosie, a close family friend who had a huge impact on my life, have made me think.


    I listened to the song over and over as I rode, recalling the past year and a half. Mentally reviewing how I went from turning down a vice presidency in an international corporation in London, England, to spending more than a year riding a motorbike from the Arctic Circle to Patagonia.


    It was the best decision I have ever made.
    <dl id="attachment_4559" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 609px" data-mce-style="width: 609px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Phil and I yesterday enjoying some Panamanian mud on Isla Bastimentos - July 24th, 2013</dd></dl>
    <img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-20" title="Map Wall" alt="">

    It was not easy to leave my whole life. Learning to ride a motorcycle, quitting my job and selling my apartment were easy compared to saying goodbye to a decade of close friends and colleagues. Not to mention getting rid of 10 years of accumulated stuff.


    Looking back, I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
    <dl id="attachment_1734" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 480px" data-mce-style="width: 480px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Christmas Day 2012 in Mazatlan, Mexico</dd></dl>
    Whilst many people look at our journey as some kind of extended holiday, a break away from reality, the truth is this journey has become our reality. This is our life now. At some point we will move on to the next stages in our lives, where ever that may be, but we have no set "life" to return to. The world is our oyster and the possibilities are endless.
    <dl id="attachment_1839" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 480px" data-mce-style="width: 480px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The tropic of Cancer (5th time we crossed it) Mexico, January 2013</dd></dl>
    This journey has fundamentally changed who I am as a person. My priorities have been transformed, and my outlook could not be more different than it was a year and a half ago when I decided to start this trip.
    <dl id="attachment_702" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 480px" data-mce-style="width: 480px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The Arctic Circle - Alaska, August 2012</dd></dl>
    Seeing the world as it really is, instead the media's portrayal of it, has given me great faith in humanity. The world is not a scary place that we should all be fearful of. Mexico is not full of dangerous people out to rob and kill us all; it is full of wonderful, warm souls who are full of life and love. As are all of the ten countries we have travelled through in the past year.
    <dl id="attachment_996" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 480px" data-mce-style="width: 480px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Pyramid of the Moon, Teotihuacan, Mexico, September 2012</dd></dl>
    I have made an effort to stop distancing myself and really connect with people.


    I have become committed to loving people - new friends, old friends, family and strangers - to not hold back for fear of being hurt or becoming too involved or because I won't be in the same place as them tomorrow or next week or next year. Talking to, and smiling at, strangers has become a policy.
    <dl id="attachment_4568" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 480px" data-mce-style="width: 480px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Chichen Itza, March 20113</dd></dl>

    The vast majority of people are good, generous, welcoming, creative, loving and interesting, if you just give them the chance to be. This is something I learnt from my Auntie Rosie - she was one of the most generous, welcoming, creative people I have ever known, and when I was a child she showed me the value of those traits. Unfortunately I grew up and forgot their value - until this trip brought everything back into focus.
    <dl id="attachment_4566" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 480px" data-mce-style="width: 480px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Cancun, Mexico, March 2013</dd></dl>
    Aside from the obvious benefits of seeing the world and not being a slave to a mundane routine, I have been richly rewarded for getting out of my comfort zone and going on an adventure.


    I has been an intense and amazing experience to travel with my brother. I have never spent as much time with any single person as I have with Phil over the past year, and it has been really special to deepen our already close relationship. I trust him completely, and it has been a joy to witness his personal development. He is an incredible man, who I am extremely proud of.
    <dl id="attachment_4567" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 480px" data-mce-style="width: 480px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Waiting for the ferry to Cozumel, Mexico, Easter 2013</dd></dl>
    When people meet us and realise that we are siblings, they have one of two reactions: either they wish they could do such a trip with their sibling, or they immediately say that they could never travel with their brother or sister. I am so fortunate that my only brother is also my best friend.


    I've made so many new friends this year. All of our best memories are about the amazing people we spent time with, much more so than the places we were in. We keep running in to friends we have made along the way, and it is always a joy to see a familiar face. One can never have too many friends.
    <dl id="attachment_2506" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 480px" data-mce-style="width: 480px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">With Alex and Ida. Oaxaca, Mexico, March 2013</dd></dl>
    I have fallen in love with many of those amazing people, and out of love with a couple. This process really makes me feel alive - the highs and lows of love are the basis of everything, and I can't wait to keep experiencing them.


    I've been reminded over and over how important, and possible, it is to live sustainably. Solar power, composting toilets, building and decorating using recycled materials - using less water, less electricity, creating less waste... It's all possible, and being done, and results in a better world. We can all reduce our impact.
    <dl id="attachment_3642" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 480px" data-mce-style="width: 480px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">With Erik and Tanya, Lake Peten, Guatemala. May 2013</dd></dl>

    The world is a glorious and multi-faceted place. Experiencing new cultures, cuisines, architecture, geography, customs and traditions has been incredible.


    We've seen how the world is growing ever smaller, brought together by technology. Even a 12 year old girl in a remote village in Guatemala knows how to use a smartphone. Her family often huddles together around the laptop and television.
    <dl id="attachment_4015" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Lola, Magda and Javier enraptured by the laptop. Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, May 2013</dd></dl>
    Communicating is key. Learning Spanish has been invaluable. Whilst we are far from fluent, we can hold a conversation and get our point across. There is nothing more frustrating than having a language barrier with someone you are staying with, dealing with, or simply sitting beside. Me encanta hablar espanol!
    <dl id="attachment_4282" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">With Real-size Kelly. On top of Volcan Masaya, Nicaragua, June 2013</dd></dl>
    Money is not as important as we all think it is. Clearly we all need to eat and have a roof of some description over our heads, however we do not need much else. Living on less than $30 a day for a year has not been nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. In fact we've spent significantly less than that. This is thanks to the incredible generosity we have experienced, with so many people inviting us into their homes free of charge, as well as our policy of not buying "stuff" and eating as cheaply as possible.
    <dl id="attachment_4577" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">With the Wandering Walters, our Costa Rican family. Nuevo Arenal, July 2013</dd></dl>
    The community at couchsurfing.org has not only saved us hundreds of dollars, more importantly it has brought us into the homes of local people, given us the benefit of local knowledge and an intimate introduction to the culture and customs of the areas we've been staying in. We have been adopted by new families in every country we've passed through.
    <dl id="attachment_4571" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">With Francisco and our El Salvador family. June 2013</dd></dl>
    Despite all these rewards, not every day is easy. We face new challenges every day and overcoming those challenges is an important part of the journey.
    <dl id="attachment_4569" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 1034px" data-mce-style="width: 1034px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Phil and Cricket with only one tire. Valladolid, Mexico, March, 2013</dd></dl>
    In the past year we've had to overcome the crash in Alaska,
    my dislike of riding offroad, breaking down on highways, love, broken bikes, being pulled over by the police, flat tires and stolen bags.


    Sometimes I feel homesick, I miss my friends and family, or I just want my own bed. There have been moments when I felt like giving up, or trading my bike in for a 4x4. Those moments soon pass however, and I go back to being brave and adventurous.
    <dl id="attachment_722" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 480px" data-mce-style="width: 480px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Two up heading North before The Crash. Alaska, August 2012</dd></dl>
    Phil and I have developed a motto over the course of our journey - "Do It Now!" This applies to everything, from sending an email when we think of it, to changing the oil on our bike.
    <dl id="attachment_4572" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Finca Lilo, Near Biolley, Costa Rica, July 2013</dd></dl>
    My "one year in" message to you is this:


    Now is the time, don't wait. Embrace a new reality.


    Travelling the world on a motorcycle might not be your thing, but there's something you've been dreaming of.
    <dl id="attachment_920" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 708px" data-mce-style="width: 708px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Art Car at The Burning Man festival, Nevada, USA - August 2013 (unknown photographer)</dd></dl>
    Push through the fear, the fear of change, the fear of failure, the fear of getting hurt. There will be moments of intense panic, but they are only moments, and pale in comparison to the love, the adventure, the amazing people and places, the happiness, and satisfaction that you will encounter EVERY day. Even if your dream is small (ie. going to that beautiful town you've never been to two hours down the road for the weekend). Do it now! However I do recommend wholeheartedly to dream big.
    <dl id="attachment_1031" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 480px" data-mce-style="width: 480px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The Grand Canyon, USA. October 2012</dd></dl>

    You can do it. Let go of all those excuses you're making. Your job? Quit it. Your kids? Take them with you. Your house? Sell or rent it. Money? You don't need as much as you think you do.
    <dl id="attachment_3448" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">With Jen and Sean. Tobacco Caye, Belize. April 2013</dd></dl>
    Phil and I are a year in to The Ultimate Ride and I'm pleased to say I don't know when it will end.
    <dl id="attachment_4574" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">On top of Cerro Negro, before sliding down the volcano, Nicaragua, June 2013</dd></dl>
    In conclusion, I can but echo Mr McGraw.


    Love deeper, speak sweeter, give forgiveness you've been denying. I hope YOU also get the chance to live like you were dying.
    #40