1. Adventure Rider Print Magazine!
    We're doing a print magazine this November - 128 pages of high quality adventure riding stories, photography and interviews!

    Click here to purchase a copy for $9. Limited copies still available.
    Dismiss Notice

A Yankee goes south...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Junyah, Oct 5, 2014.

  1. Junyah

    Junyah @ the speed of plaid

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,895
    Location:
    Between the seat and bars

    Currently in Paramaribo, Suriname, and alas my last stop in SA. Going to get a report up today and then tomorrow I start the process of shipping the bike home. That will still leave me a few months to travel around the states though, so the trip isn't quite over yet.
  2. Junyah

    Junyah @ the speed of plaid

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,895
    Location:
    Between the seat and bars
    Looking forward to it Tortuga jinete!
    Daro likes this.
  3. Trip Hammer

    Trip Hammer It's not the years, it's the mileage Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,255
    Location:
    Seattle
    Very much enjoying your continued adventures, Junyah. Where in the states will you and your bike land? Got a route planned?
  4. GoatKiller

    GoatKiller Mister Sarcasm!

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2014
    Oddometer:
    358
    Location:
    Hancock, New Hampshire
    So you are going to come straight north to make it in time for NEAR? Boob would love that!
    Another ride on the couch or tricycle?
    I totally want to J-hop that thing again!
    Tijustme2, Seenyah and bobnoxious67 like this.
  5. Junyah

    Junyah @ the speed of plaid

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,895
    Location:
    Between the seat and bars
    14.6.18


    French Guyana is a crazy expensive country to be in, due to French law everything has to be shipped to France first before coming here. Even if it comes from South America. While I liked it there, very nice people, and roads, there's not a whole lot going on there. And it rains everyday this time of year, sometimes monsoon like rain!

    So I cut it down to one touristy thing to do, and I'm out. Devils Island, or to be more correct, Ile's du Salut, The Salvation Islands. The stage, but not the setting for the 1973 movie Papillion, and the final place for thousands of French prisoners to ever see before being buried with the sharks.
    The one hour catamaran ride will set you back 45 Euros for a round trip. The south pier


    [​IMG]


    An old jib crane for unloading boats


    [​IMG]


    The first structure I came to. Not sure if this was for solitary confinement or storage as the sign was faded and in french


    [​IMG]


    Not much farther and you top the hill to the main compound and the main building for prisoners


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    One of the Dormitories


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    The isolation cells


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Which were different from the solitary cells. Solitary had to have been hell on earth. No light at all for three out of four weeks, they were let out for one week, into an isolation cell, so they wouldn't go blind. Bread and water two out of three days, day three was a half ration. No talking or singing, and if you were particularly obtuse you were shackled to the bed, which was wood. I sat in this cell for a bit to try and get an idea of what it felt like. The humidity inside is utterly stifling


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    These guys kept me on their sonar the whole time


    [​IMG]


    The Catholic Church is still in amazing shape as are the paintings done by Francis Lagrange, who was an inmate on the Island


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    The Maternity house


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    The Lighthouse


    [​IMG]


    Which unfortunately, like most of the buildings, is off limits


    [​IMG]


    Capuchin monkeys are everywhere, and eagerly come up to you for hand outs. With so many around it was easy to see the different personalities and facial features between them


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    The children's graveyard. It was sad to see so many that never made it past nine months. This is the only graveyard on Royal Island, where the main infrastructure is, the other graveyard for administrative personal is on St. Josephs Island to preserve arable land for cultivation


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Agoutis (a 5 pound rodent) also roam the Island freely with no predation


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    The boat drops you off at about 9am and does the return trip at 4:30. I had seen all the building by about 11am, since I had plenty of time I walked the perimeter trail around the Island


    [​IMG]


    The prisoners pool


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    You can camp for free near the prisoners pool on one of the former terraces


    [​IMG]


    Complete with bathrooms updated in 1994. the difference in the quality of stone work is obvious


    [​IMG]


    I was surprised at the quality of the prisoners stone work


    [​IMG]


    The North pier


    [​IMG]


    And the old stairs leading down to it. I've never seen such a brick arch before


    [​IMG]


    Many people just come for the fishing


    [​IMG]


    Looking NE at Devils Island


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    The abutment for the cable car that was used to access Devils Island


    [​IMG]


    Something about this hillside didn't look quite right


    [​IMG]


    Upon closer investigation it was more foliage than hillside


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    The trail along the north side of Royal Island


    [​IMG]


    With lots of time to kill I sat here and watched the waves roll in for a while. The breeze kept the mosquitoes at bay too, little buggers are ruthless there! Since Treasure Island was already downloaded on my phone it seemed a fitting place to lay down and read it


    [​IMG]


    And to watch iguanas sunning themselves


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    There's also Peacocks hanging out around the restaurant that's there, you can almost pet them they are so tame


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    That night back at the hotel one of the other guests told me about Awala Yalimapo, a indigenous/tourist village on the north coast that is the nesting ground for sea turtles. And this was the time of year they were nesting, sweet yo! And it wasn't far out of my way. A quick internet search told me that the Leather back Turtle is frequently seen here and seeing one is almost guaranteed. It also said that they can be seven feet long and weigh more than 800lbs! Wait! What! I had no idea.

    When I got there I discovered that Sunday was a holiday celebrating the emancipation of slaves in French Guyana, the place was full, and there was a boat race going on that weekend using modern copies of ancient canoes. Buggah. No camping in the park or on the beach and everything was full. As I cruised up and down the strip asking for a place to say, with no luck, a couple of young locals waved me into their house. A little back and forth using their French/English dictionary and they were happy to let me set up my tent and stay there for the night. Sweet! Koi, Raul and Rich signing my bike


    [​IMG]


    My digs for the night


    [​IMG]



    Stupid me didn't notice all the gang tats they were wearing until after I had set up though. Yep, I had set up camp right in the middle of a bunch of 20 something gang bangers. Crap. Well, if I broke camp now that could be seen as a slight, so I decided to play it out. There was the typical questions of my travels, and shock at my answers, and with some back and forth with the dictionary it was pointed out that I had balls of steel. This gained some respect. And that I must be rich to do this. There was no way to explain that I wasn't.

    My pack of cigs disappeared in short order too, gotta roll your hashish with something, right?

    Toi, who owned the house, turned out to be a decent guy and was the "Big Man" as everyone called him, kept telling me not to worry "this is my house, no one will touch you or your stuff" I wasn't sure to be comforted by the fact that he kept telling me this, or worried by the fact that he kept telling me this. Toi took me on a walk about of the area and in broken English told me all about the turtles and as much as he could about his people and their struggles with poverty.

    Rich was the Omega of the group and kept hitting me up to go buy some Rum so we could drink that night, I kept explaining that I don't drink Rum and wasn't a bank. Toi suggested that maybe a few beers were in order since I had a place to sleep that night, since Toi actually asked nicely I agreed. We hung out for a few hours shooting the breeze and and had a good time.

    Sicu showed up a little later and also thought I was a bank and should buy some Rum for them. Koi shut him down real quick, thankfully. I flat out told him I wasn't just going to give him money just because he asked. That's when his tune changed and he told me he was an artist for his community and maybe I'd like to buy some of his work. Lets see what you have I told him. Sicu's English was pretty good and he gave me a good history of the different celebrations they do from new born babies to funerals. It was interesting to see Sicu go from hitting me up for money to history teacher and proud of his people in the blink of an eye. Of course interest in a purchase had nothing to do with that. He had a couple of hollowed out Cassa nuts (I think that's what he called them) with him and set to work carving them out for me. He explained what the designs meant and had two of them carved up in about an hour. I was happy to buy them off him as gifts for friends.


    [​IMG]


    A little while later Sicu asked if I could give him a ride to his brothers. I told him the bike wasn't set up to carry a passenger, I thought this would be my out. But he got more agitated that he needed to get to his brothers house, it was urgent. This actually got a little heated for a while and I knew I had made a mistake stopping here, but Koi came to the rescue again, I think, and asked if I would please give Sicu a ride to shut him up. OK. Since you asked nice. But this really felt odd, like a set up. So I grabbed my laptop, camera, cell phone and other important stuff and locked it all in my tail box to bring with me, just in case.

    As it turns out Sicu had never been on the back of a bike before and was really nervous about it. I figured if anything went south I'd just wheelie his ass off the back and beat feet out of there and leave the rest of my gear as it all could be replaced any way. As we headed off it started to pour rain, all the way to the next town and his "brothers" house. We got to the next town and Sicu had me park under an awning at a store, while he walked off to his "brothers". This is when I knew this was a drug run and nothing more, and I was the f'ing mule! He comes back, I ask if he got his drugs, and with a smile says "yup!"

    Man I was I pissed at myself for being so stupid!!! Needless to say, Sicu got a ride back that he will never forget!

    Sicu was visibly shaken when we got back to Toi's house, Toi just smiled and asked if I would like a hot cup of tea and some dinner. Yes please.

    Toi informed me after dinner that high tide would be at 1am and that would the best time to go down to the beach and see the turtles. He then kicked everyone out and said I should get a few hours sleep before then.

    I got up at one, grabbed my light and camera and headed down to the beach. I was not prepared to see 800lb Leather back turtles! They were every where! Swimming up out of the water, laying eggs in holes they had dug and heading back to the water, all at the same time. Absolutely amazing! Scale is hard to grasp in the pic but this animal is six feet long and all of 700 pounds


    [​IMG]


    Some raw video, turn your sound down before playing


    <iframe width="854" height="480" src="" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>


    Dispite the stress, stupidity and embarassment of putting myself in such a situation the night before, it was worth every second of the hour I spent watching these incredible creatures continue another generation. Truly and utterly Gobsmacked!

    That morning I was up with the sun and hit the road pronto to Suriname. Stamping out of French Guyana was quick and easy, but I had missed the 10am ferry by just a few minutes and had to wait until the 2pm ferry. So, I set up my chair in the parking lot next to my bike and quickly fell asleep in it for an hour. A local boatman offered to take me and the bike across for 50 Euro, which seemed kind of steep, I asked him what the ferry cost, he said 45 Euro. Hmmm, I'll wait thanks. Glad I did, the ferry was 16 Euro!


    [​IMG]



    Getting into Suriname was the usual, Immigration, go get insurance for the bike, get the bike through customs and remember to ride on the left hand side of the road. Easy.
    On the way to Paramaribo I watched this poor Sloth get balled up under a car in the on coming lane right beside me. So I had to turn around and make sure it was all right, though I have no idea what I could have done for it, it appeared ok and I put a block up until it made it across the road


    [​IMG]


    So that's about it for South America. I'm currently at the Downtown Oasis Hotel in Paramaribo, a little pricey but it lives up to it's name. I've made contact with the shipping company and have started to get the paperwork together, the Broker stopped by today to see the bike and fit it for a pallet, if everything comes together I could be in Miami as soon as next Wednesday, the bike is going by air not boat like I thought. So things are moving quick!



    Jr.


    .
  6. SpiritAtBay

    SpiritAtBay Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2014
    Oddometer:
    232
    Epic
    Andres@1976, SkizzMan and Seenyah like this.
  7. Trip Hammer

    Trip Hammer It's not the years, it's the mileage Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,255
    Location:
    Seattle
    Fuckin phenomenal AND epic man!! Dude. :clap
    Andres@1976 and Seenyah like this.
  8. AhhDrJones

    AhhDrJones Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2014
    Oddometer:
    264
    Oh gracious mi hermano!-D Quite a hair raiser... Love the "he was visibly shaken" after the ride... lol I ken only imagine what you put him through:ricky I'm sure he was glad to go to la la land after that:bubba:chace :-) Having the choice of wheelying him off made me crack up yo!-D

    I wonder if those Agoutis are good eating?!? Maybe with some scrambled eggs and tri colored quinoa...

    Great shot of the prisoner pool:thumb Camping would be sweet yo!-)

    Good call on the ferry endeavor! Pretty quick on that learning curve you are!-D :evil

    Glad to know your gettin er done bub! Safe travels:pynd

    Thanks so much for the update home skillit!-D
    Seenyah likes this.
  9. Jstrummer

    Jstrummer Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2014
    Oddometer:
    186
    Location:
    Central CT
    You have a knack for telling stories.
    With words
    With pics
    Good stuff!
    Seenyah likes this.
  10. Junyah

    Junyah @ the speed of plaid

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,895
    Location:
    Between the seat and bars
    I'll be landing in Miami, where I go from there I haven't figured out yet. Once the Lawnmower is safely out of customs I'll focus on that then. I do need to be home in VT by the end of September so will probably stick to the eastern half of the states.
  11. Junyah

    Junyah @ the speed of plaid

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,895
    Location:
    Between the seat and bars
    I thought about doing that but if I get that close to home I'll probably go home before I need to. I'll be at Boobs for the Fall Gathering on Colombus Day weekend anyway, which is where I started this trip from four years ago. But who knows, it may happen, I tend to blow with the wind.
    bobnoxious67 likes this.
  12. GoatKiller

    GoatKiller Mister Sarcasm!

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2014
    Oddometer:
    358
    Location:
    Hancock, New Hampshire
    The pictures were awesome!
    You could have totally secured yourself in South American lore had you hooked up the Biker gang with your new gang bangers.
    New cartel infrastructure!

    The Junyah Boys!

    They only ride Yamaha's to make their deliveries!
    shrineclown, bobnoxious67 and Seenyah like this.
  13. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,438
    Location:
    GTA, ON, CDA
    WOWSA!! Fkn eh! Thanks for all!

    Just watched "Ode to the Lawnmower" Still marking # of flats?
    Practicing Dutch now?
    Seenyah likes this.
  14. De Oppresso Liber

    De Oppresso Liber Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    996
    Location:
    Taxachussetts
    Wow, even though it was a short stay in French Guyana, it certainly sounds like a memorable one!

    I love sipping on the morning coffee catching up and squirting it out of my nose imagining the ride from Hell you gave that numbnuts! Good on ya, mate ;)

    The fact that you also went back to help out that sloth even if you knew there was nothing you could do for it is very telling of your character. I’d bet you YOUR paycheck that 99 out of 100 others wouldn’t have stopped. You are a consummate gentleman, sir.

    Heading to South Dakota next week with my lawnmower. I’m going ultralight, just the two wolfmans. I say this because I look at all that shit piled onto the rear of your bike and can’t believe the subframe is taking all that abuse! Granted, it might just be light and bulky, not heavy, but still!

    Hope the bike shipping goes smoothly for you amigo. If you need any help, let me know. I’ll text Charlie and Ewan for you. :imaposer
    flei, AhhDrJones and Seenyah like this.
  15. bomberdave

    bomberdave Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2002
    Oddometer:
    1,390
    Location:
    assholia
    hey, who here can say they've never been a drug mule.? it happens.
    flei likes this.
  16. Junyah

    Junyah @ the speed of plaid

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,895
    Location:
    Between the seat and bars
    Thankfully I haven't had the need to mark any more flats on this leg of the trip. Count is still holding at 12. I'm on tires 11 and 12 too. It's a blessing that most people here speak English as a second language, it's made life much easier for me.
    ONandOFF and bobnoxious67 like this.
  17. Junyah

    Junyah @ the speed of plaid

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,895
    Location:
    Between the seat and bars
    No worries on the sub frame CJ, it's very stout on this bike. Once I'm back and settled in you get a free upgrade to your racks, on me, so you can stop worrying. :deal
  18. Junyah

    Junyah @ the speed of plaid

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,895
    Location:
    Between the seat and bars
    Yeah, I know. Just pissed at myself for getting used by a crack head. It was kind of worth it to see the look on his face when he all but fell off the bike when we got back though. I can be evil sometimes :D
  19. Junyah

    Junyah @ the speed of plaid

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,895
    Location:
    Between the seat and bars

    That would have been something, all the Cabelu's are ex military and police :photog
    De Oppresso Liber likes this.
  20. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    18,014
    Location:
    The Shenandoah valley of Virginia
    Adiós América del sur.

    "Beyond" awaits.

    This leg two is not much like you expected, eh?
    Seenyah likes this.