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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Two Moto Kiwis, May 8, 2012.
So cool that the ADV tree brings all the ride reports I am following together.
Just got back from a week travelling with no internet. When things go wrong it always pays to say " Well it could have been a lot worse " dont let it get u down , enjoy the great friends you have there . Got to go , busy day here , will catch up when yr on Skype .
Glad to have you along, hopefully enjoying the shenanigans from the combination of riders from different parts of the world culminating in Central America
Certainly been great fun crossing paths again with Gene, Neda, Phil and Jane etc
Great to hear from you mate, will be in Managua for a few days so should have Wifi, will leave skype on when we are on line.
Hi Andy And Helen.
I am so glad yo are riding again and ribs are mended,
I am still going to make the trip to south america but this time in a car with my wife
And may meet you two somewere there .
At the time we are enjoing Britis Columbia between Flying and R/ving and south of the border ,I follow your threads and enjoi pictures and comments, you are good at it. Not many Riders can do this,somehow you are natural,and after all the down side you guys are still going strong conngratulations. Sara And Daniel are somwhere in Vancouver but have not made contact I am still waiting for the beer we wandet to have. Andi And Helen keep on rolling and good luck.
Good to hear from you! We were just thinking of you the other day!
When do you plan to come down to SA? Looking forward to catch up again.
Saturday morning, was a little gloomy but still rideable, after a quick chat with Mario we put the trip back one hour and it was improving by the minute.
We rode a combo of beatutiful main roads and some interesting back roads that looked like patchwork in corn paddocks
Destination and half way point was Lago de Coatepeque, a crater lake, this was decided because I had an urge for #2’s and they had great coffee so that was that.
This is a bit fluffy sorry guys
Part of the lake from the view point
We bought coffees and a small cake each shouting Mario for his kindness and generosity.
Two fine young gentlemen
The lake is absolutely stunning, although the sun wasn’t out the views were outstanding and the water very calm.
A short day out with a nice amount of riding in and another nice look around El Salvador.
The previous afternoon we did some photos with the kids and we had two printed out for the family which was cool...plenty of room on Maya for more
Thanks again to Mario, local knowledge is something you can’t buy with maps and GPS.
Now ..... The Final Night
That evening Mario had organized with the family to come up to Finca Tepeyac which is Marios plantation and we were going to have a feed and drinks.
It started off with a round of Sushi washed down with Rum and various treats
Sunday lunch was treat with Mario cooking up a storm with tacos, here he is masterchef San Salvador.
Mario took us up to his other coffee block which was a 4WD expedition in itself.
We all went for a short walk and looked at the coffee trees so a relaxing day all round.
That was our final night and day to spend it with Mario and his family was great.
Now Mario owns and runs Motorider in San Salvador, he has most things RTW travellers need and want including Heidenau tyres, Touratech gear, oils, filters, brake pads, chains and sprockets etc and large workshop area. He got the 15 - 50 Motul in for us no problem at all and allowed me to do the change (cos I like doing it).
So this is a shameless plug for a truly great guy who has helped out hundreds of travellers / bikers, if in El Salvador and needing stuff contact him and he can sort you out in a land where things are hard to find, again local knowledge is not something you can buy on maps and GPS.
Here are Motorider's coordinates to find the shop directly.
Next day was our trip to San Miguel to get close to the border in prep for our double border day which has seen me stressed over the reports and info coming back with people getting hammered.
The final descent down Mario hill ... unscathed
A waterfall, not the usual type
Adios to El Salvador, a fantastic place with fantastic people and thoroughly recommended to RTW travellers ... don't just ride straight through as you will miss a lot.
Ok, not a biggy this time, all I can say is GO THERE.
Take the great information and comradery offered by Mario and be prepared to enjoy yourself in a beautiful country.
The only bad thing about about El Salvador is having to leave and to be fair we loved our stay and travels around the country.
The Heart Speaks
Well that was kinda it, we only have praises and good things to say
Again thanks Mario and fellas for making our stay excellent.
Thinking around November to leave Vancouver:
... that never happened!!! :eek1
For me I had been reading horror stories of the dreaded double crossing including corruption, lies, unnecessary hold ups and photocopying beyond belief, helpers who will torment you mentally and basically just a day out of your life.
So we are not far from the border filling up at the service station when a guy comes up and says hello where are you from ..... I can help you, Ellen says New Zealand and where are you from, he replied El Salvador, I work at the border .... ah ha ... we know you!!! ... the famous Jose ... at the service station!!!
No gracias, we can do it ourselves and that was the end of the chat with smiles etc.
On our way to the border a small bike fizzes past us, it was him.
Leaving El Salvador was easy except we missed one photo copy which we soon rectified .... then across to the dreaded bridge to the Honduran side ready for WW3.
We were greeted by the officials Jose and Ronnie, they were telling us what we needed to do, we still said no gracias.
Then we were greeted by the real officials in proper clothing and formal shirts.
They took us to customs and aduana offices and I was swamped by money changers, again I just replied no gracias with a smile and they almost went away.
Ellen was doing all the paperwork and running around / photocopying, Jose and Ronnie were standing there only 1.5 metres away like two loyal puppies and realising after about 20 minutes they were not going to get any money they left and even waved goodbye to me....too quick for the camera unfortunately.
I was having fun with the money changers with roars of laughter from both sides and at one stage I grabbed a huge wod of money off him after he was talking about quetzales (Guatemalan currency) where he said did I need 5 Q? and I swung it around on 5 Q! for the whole wod of cash .... funny enough that deal didnt work for him and as quick as a bolt of lightning he realized I was pulling the piss and he said no I offer you 5Q for your Moto, ... I said I didnt have the heart to rip him off .... again followed by roars of laughter from both sides, handshakes and away he went.
Maya waiting outside patiently
All in all apart from the ridiculous amount of paperwork the crossing went very smoothly and took 1 hour and twenty minutes and was almost enjoyable.
Into Honduras and across the country to the next border at El Espino, passing through we took in the sites and to be fair it was much nicer than we imagined and the roads actually not to bad other than a couple of biggish potholes here and there.
The last part of the road heading up to the border was stunning with beautiful winding road in great condition (shown above), we arrived at the next border at 12.30 pm and everyone was at lunch, ..... so lunchtime it was.
Again an official came bounding up keen to help, I asked him if he worked for customs or was a helper, he showed me his official helper badge which I was throughly impressed with, again he said you pay me, we just said with a smile no gracias no dinero and as quick as a flash he ran off, maybe we just smelt bad.
So realizing we had entered lunch break mid ship we just joined in picking up some chicken and rice to munch on, it was soon enough 1.00 pm and the wheels of industry started turning again.
Ellen set off to do the paperwork while I guarded Maya, the helper came back over and we had a chat about life for a while (about 20 minutes) that was great cos I had nothing else to do, I did make sure he knew there were no consultancy fees on our chat and he was happy just to sit and chew the fat.
Leaving Honduras, easy, done in half and hour, then off to the Nicaraguan side.
We snuck down past all the trucks and Maya had a bubble bath of something useless, we exchanged $3.00 dollars for that then headed to the Nicaraguan immigration to do the usuals.
The insurance man was there as were money changers and more helpers, insurance being mandatory I set to and started getting that done while Ellen got us clocked in to Nicaragua, Maya the mighty monster was creating interest with the locals which was cool.
Very friendly and very helpful we were done in another half and hour plus our half hour lunch in Honduras.
After exiting El Salvador at 9.00am and entering Nicaragua home free at 2.08pm, across Honduras NOT one policeman in sight, no corruption or anything stupid so what I had been stressing about for months turned into a very pleasant day indeed, so much so we had enough time to find Vallardos house and get out canyoning for the afternoon ... that next.
Our experience for the day was excellent however Dick and Diane Hubbard from New Zealand had a gun pulled on them by officials but at the lower border.:eek1
So after an unusually easy double border day and entering Nicaragua at 2.08pm we found the canyon guide Bayardo Soliano who is an amigo of Mario from El Salvador.
Although he was out his good lady phoned him up and he was back in a flash.
After a quick discussion we established he has accommodation on site, can feed and water us and provide breakfast, perfect we didnt even need to ride to the next town as they have everything in hand, it couldnt get any better.....or could it?
So off with the bikey gear and into canyoning lite weight stuff and we were off.
A 30 minute walk into the canyon, along the way Bayardo showing us the river that splits one way into Honduras and the other way into Nicaragua.
The first view of where we were heading too...
Down to the waters edge, on with the life jackets, out with the camera and a quick brush of the hair we took the plunge.
There was an assortment of rapids, smooth sections, rocks that were high enough to hit yer bum (sorry Mike ..but is wasnt damaged) and torrents that would send you straight into rock faces as well as a coupla jumps from heights into ponds below.
Decent wee waterfalls
Smooth patches to relax
ADV salute just for you guys, this is commitment taking time out to remember you guys in times of hardship
The canyon is 200 metres vertical in places with huge rock faces looking back down at you.
The boss (well most of him) diving into one of the ponds from the rocks above
The whole trip was about 3.50 hour return back to home, on returning home they served up coffee and a great feed.
This food produced in their basic kitchen, these guys are fantastic cooks ... forget masterchef these are the real deal !!!
Even time for a quick smile before two hungry kiwis dived in..
After tea I uploaded the photos to the lappy and the whole tribe sat around and checked out the afternoons shenanigans with Bayardo and the two foreigners, it was great fun.
We packed it in not too late after having been in three countries on the day and done the canyoning, couldnt fit much more in!!!
The following morning was a hearty breakfast that set us up for the day which was to travel to Leon and Bayardo said my parque impossible handle was inadequate and made me a new one, this dude is a machine.
Finally leaving from Bayardos house we set off to Leon.
Bit of a corny picture
So for any fello travellers wanting to do this go for it you will love it, here are the GPS Coords to their front door
These are his contact details.
Finally a short vid going down one section, I hope you have enjoyed reading cos we seriously enjoyed the afternoon out and writing about it.
Hola amigos, great to see you found Bayardo, great guide and person ¡
When we got to Leon saturday night we met a swiss couple at Hotel Cacique , and they said you had left that morning , so we were pretty close.
Keep having a great time and ride safe
Bayardo and family are a top dudes in every aspect and the canyon was a great finish for the day and quite unexpected what we were getting into.... and for the better.
So being in three countries in one day on land and canyoning in the afternoon .... not many places you can do that
Thanks for the pointer with the canyoning, we really enjoyed it.
The Swiss couple, was that Werner and Claudia on the R80 & R100 GS?, if so we stayed in Leon with them at Jurgens.
At Salcars tonight, Granada tomorrow
Great to see you guys back on the road, but hanging with Julio and Mario is time well spent. Bad luck on the broken bones, but hey, it slowed your travels to a more proper pace.
How's the Español coming along? I learned a lot of Spanish from Fernandita, the best part was that anytime I said anything she would just laugh at me.
Marios finca is pretty nice eh? Love that place.
Funny about you guys getting all geared up and prepared for the El Amatillo crossing. I try to explain to folks that it really is a total non-event if you have the right attitude, and its always fun to have some laughs with folks working the border. Its all what you make of it. I actually find the CA borders crossings a fun day out and a great chance to show people how well you can butcher their language.
PS: If you need anything for Maya while in Colombia, Moto Shop in Medellin is the place. http://www.motoshop.com.co/ubicacion
The owner Frederico speaks excellent English so you dont have to worry about your head exploding when you are trying to explain what you need. He can get you pretty much whatever you need for the KTM and I think he is now stocking a decent tyre selection as well. Its in the swanky part of town, Barrio Poblado near Parque Lleras. And of course, dont forget to stop by the Shamrock and meet the mad Scotsman.
Heya Vin, great to be lookin out the ARAI window again mate, lucky with the off as it could have been worse.
Spanish is coming ok, sometimes I struggle and sometimes I blurt out a reply sentence like I know what I am talking about, immersion is helping now and at least we have the tools and basics to develop it .
Thoroughly enjoyed the Finca and Marios team, they really made our stay superb.
Yeah the borders, larfs and smiles coupled with Spinglish goes a long way, I approached it with treat it as a days entertainment and thought of all of them as puppies trying to impress, go in with a fighting attitude and you will get a fight.
Re Maya, we are looking at getting a valve job done at R2R in Medellin they are KTM and have LC8s, any advice on them???
Other than that tyres chains and sprockets, will organise a new 50 K mile waterpump kit in Peru as a backup to.
Cheers for the chatter and advice, always welcome.
These are them Vin, know them?
Yeah mate, the practice is what will really improve the Spanish. Just walk up to people and start talking. The more you talk/listen, the better you get. Try not to get frustrated, just talk, talk, talk and talk, and you will get better, fast!
I dont know about that R2R place in Medellin. But, I would just do the valve check yourself. Its not hard. the ktm950.info site will have pic by pic tutorials.
I never trust a shop with a valve check, even in the states. Its far too easy for them to do absolutely nothing, tell you its good to go, and charge you a bunch of money.
For starters, just check the rear cylinder valves and see what you have since the rear is super easy to get to. If they are good, the front will be fine. If they are out of spec, then tear into it and get er done. do the WP at the same time since you already have all the shit off the bike.
FWIW, I had to adjust my valves at about 15,000 miles, slightly. Probably didnt even need to do it then, I was just being anal as they were not out of spec, but not perfect either. I never had to touch them after that, and I have 60,000 miles on the bike. But, I'm not bumping off the rev limiter either, and keep a super clear airbox, so that may have something to do with why my valves never move. I wouldn't worry too much about the valves on the LC8. Dont lose any sleep over it.
I don't have any torque wrenches etc, after the rest of the shit we had wit the PO input I will still do it as my last peace of mind, will talk with the shop to see if I can be involved and see what they say as I want to install the flexjets at the same time as well as check other stuff while her heart is open.
I have a feeler gauge and most other stuff but no shims or torque wrench etc
Just caught up with the last couple of places, glad to see you guys are still hating it and having a bad time...
Photos are great and really love reading what you guys are experiencing. Looking forward to catching up in SA..
Heya Clare .. yeap awful
Loving rainy season here, thunder and lightning is spectacular and it cools off nicely after a rain.
..SA hell yeah.