Big O's little trip...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Umarth, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. Hayate

    Hayate ADV Monkey

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    Slabland Hopkins MN
    Well written man! I was about to call bullshit every time it should have gotten out of hand and then suddenly just didn't quite get there... But you are right, from comments here and elsewhere, people believe what they want to. Awesomely refreshing way to remind us all of that.

    I'm buying you a beer if I ever get the chance.

    Cheers,
    Dan
    #81
  2. Motoriley

    Motoriley Still riding like crap after all these years.

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,130
    Location:
    Deepest darkest burbs of Montreal
    Looks like you got me buddy. I was preparing for a dinner party and never fully read the end of your post. The good news is that I had an amazing story to tell at the table. The bad news is that I was totally stressed out until I retread it this morning. The Players were fully mobilized and ready to move out and now are plotting against you!
    #82
    Maxxwell likes this.
  3. GrouchyGeezer

    GrouchyGeezer idjit galoot, still

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Oddometer:
    8,840
    Location:
    S.E. Michigan
    Hey Jason, when you get back let me help you plan a walking tour of Detroit. Lots of excitement and think of all the gas you'll save.

    Seriously, glad you're okay. Stay that way!

    signed: The fellow who likes your Windsor accent.
    #83
  4. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Yeah, was a bit confused when I read your previous post! Went back and re-read Big O's statement. Which confused me even more as it seemed rather clear.

    But it nice to now that I got friends a can count on back home. I can still count on yall right? :lol3

    As a side note, where are the videos Riley?? You getting behind again?
    #84
  5. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    You have no idea how many of my friends fell for it and where sure that it was all true! Really, people see what they whish to see! :freaky

    As for the beer, any time mate! God knows I'll be looking for free beer when I get back from spending all my money...
    #85
  6. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Where: Batopilas to Choix, Chihuahua.
    When: August 15th,
    Days: 61

    The morning after getting to Batopilas saw us take a break. Even if we had not been chassed by angry banditos, a day off seemed to be on everyone's mind, so we took one.

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    After breakfast, Bryce and Brett went out for an explorative walk of the village while I scratched my head for a solution to Big O's oil hemorrhaging.

    At fist I'll admit that I was very pessimistic about my odd's of fixing Big O or at the very least finding a temporary fix that would last long enough to get us both out of this valley. I took out my tool box and all the spare parts and miscellaneous junk that composed my emergency repair kit, sat and stared long at both Big O and what I had to work with. And then I saw a solution! Ingredients: JB Weld (2 part epoxy), 1 foot of clear plastic tubing, SS bail wire and silicon tape! The plastic tubing's inner diameter was just shy of fitting the braided oil hose that was pissing oil.

    I mixed some epoxy, lathered the section where the line was punctured, covered the epoxy with the clear tubing to help make the epoxy seal with no leaks, taped the tubing as I had to cut it open and tied everything up with the bail wire to be sure that nothing moved!

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    My hope was that the clear tubing would press the epoxy into the braided tube. I was expecting the epoxy to harden quickly but it ended up taking 4 hours! I mixed it 50/50 and it was a hot day, so don't know what to issue was. But it's all good! When I started up Big O, no leak! Nothing! Nada! Rien! Zip! Guess who was laughing like a mad scientist...

    After that, I finally started to relax and enjoy the day by having a few beers and reading a bit, waiting for the kiwi's to come back from exploring.
    Keeping me company all day at the hotel was this gentleman:

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    Brett asked if we could take a picture of him and was told that he was not allowed. But Brett couldn't help himself and snuck in a picture while the officer wasn't looking. Never did figure out if he was watching out for us or just watching us. He was at the hotel entrance when we woke up and left late that night...

    I wont say who, but one of the kiwi's likes his weed and had been without for quite a while. One of the hopes of wandering the village was to find some. From what they told me, after there walk, is that they met this old man and somehow managed to convey that they would not mind over much if some weed was to cross path with them. The old man told them not to worry and that he'd come for a visit latter tonight.

    Somewhere around 9pm, the old man wanders into our hotel and starts chatting with the interested Kiwi then leaves. What happened is the old man came with a zip lock bag FULL of weed and gave it for free! When ask how much he just said nothing!! The estimate was that the bag held an ounce of the smelly stuff! You can imagine the size of the grin that was adorning the face of one of the kiwi's!

    The next morning, before leaving for Choix, we ran around town to find bolts to fix both Brett's and Bryce's luggage back onto their bikes. The bumps of the road getting into Batopilas definitely took there toll on there jerry rigged top boxes.

    We left around noon, with only a hand sketched map of how to get to Choix. The GPS didn't have a clue as how to get there.

    Here are a few pics of the day:

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    A few hours into the ride, Brett and Bryce both started loosing screws again! At one point, Brett had enough and taped the damn thing! I was about to burst a blood vessel from laughing so hard!

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    And here we see Bryce having a go at his top box again...

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    Brett ended up dumping the whole top box a few hours later and has been happy about doing so ever since. While Bryce, from what I here, is still struggling with his a month later in Guatemala...

    Nearing Choix, the sun had set about an hour before and just as we where starting a steep decent, the sky went mad! A huge thunderstorm rolled in and gave us the biggest light show that I've yet to witness live! Unfortunately, no pictures... :(

    Took 8-9 hours to get to Choix, the day was perfect for riding, if a tad hot, and the tracks where really fun to ride.

    Big O's take on then day's events
    What can I say! Some day's are pure bliss and this one was definitely one of them! The riding was perfect me and my two Kawasaki brothers and Dummy's fix held against all expectations...
    #86
  7. GrouchyGeezer

    GrouchyGeezer idjit galoot, still

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Oddometer:
    8,840
    Location:
    S.E. Michigan
    Hahaha. Good one, Jason. Silly me for taking what you wrote at face value. Who would have thought that my reaction to your tale of misfortune was an indication of my personal hang-ups?

    I definitely see political office in your future. You, sir, have the "gift".

    You bring an interesting twist to an old adage: How can you tell when Jason is telling the truth? His keyboard is still.
    #87
  8. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    :dood

    Now now then, no cause for such slanderous accusations! Politics???? :dood
    #88
  9. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Days: 62
    Where: Choix, Mexico

    It would be Brett's birthday in two days and he wanted to spend it on the side of the ocean in Mazatlan. Brett was for driving all the way there in one day, around 550km, but I was very dubious about that happening as I'd been on the coast a few days back and I knew what the riding would be like: incredibly hot and stupidly humid! Which tire's you out right quick and does not make for fun riding. So we decided to just hop on the bikes and attempt Mazatlan and just see how it went, possibly stopping in Culiacan, some 350km away.

    Here's Brett driving his KLR like it's a 1000cc bike...

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-b9QBP2H/0/XL/IMG_0843-M.jpg">

    He was averaging 120kph. I've been keeping to 90kph for whole trip. Three reasons: (1) fuel consumption, (2) wear and tear of Big O's engine and tires (knobies don't last long at highway speeds) and (3) Big O vibrates so much at 5000rpm that after a few hours you think your bones are going to turn to dust.

    Between El Fuerte and Culiacan the munchies hit us so we stopped in a town to hunt down a tacos street vendor which we promptly located. I'd be paying for that later... As we where leaving this town, stuck in a bit of traffic, me riding behind Brett, I see beside us a police pickup truck with 4-5 cops in the back, one of which of looking a Brett a lot, the cop eventually leans over to speak to his driver and the cherries turn on and the officer signals Brett to Move Over. Being a nice little team player, I stop also. I was wondering what bullshit was gonna be made up to get us to fork over some money: having heard all about police corruption in Latin America. Well guess what? The police officer had noticed that Brett's wallet was about to fall out of his jeans rear pocket and stopped him just to warn him!!! WTF!!! And just like that, the truck was off! Police in Canada would probably just smile wicked.ly and drive off without even thinking of intervening...

    Must of been around 4-5pm when we hit Culiacan and we (namely Brett ;) ) briefly contemplate driving on to Mazatlan but the possibility of not making it and potentially not finding lodging along the way, prevailed and so we called it quits and hunted down a hotel room. We ran around the city for a good while trying to find hotels but where not having much success. That's where a GPS with a database of points of interest comes in real handy! You just ask it to show where all the hotels are in the map, and you go to any area that show a good density of them and work from there. Works like a charm every time! Well must times anyway, this being one of those times. We ended up finding one within minutes!

    Nothing much to report on that evening but the night saw a lot of action. Funny, the room had two beds, I got one, the kiwi's shared the other one. Through out the night, I got up at least an hour to go to the can: severe case of Tourista thank you very much! Every time I got up, being supper careful not to wake anyone. Well turns out, no one woke no one: we all had it! Hahahaha. We came to the conclusion that it was the street vender in Culiacan that did us in... Bastard!

    Of the three, I was worse off by far for some reason. So up early, the kiwi's where prepping for the short hop over to Mazatlan while I was seriously contemplating just staying here: judging the bed a convenient distance from the bathroom, which would not be the case on Big O. But then looking at where I needed to be by the end of then month and where I wanted to go visit, I simply could not afford a day off so nervously tagged along to Mazatlan.

    We got there early and got room at a hotel overlooking the beach, just like Brett wanted! Here is birthday boy philosophizing on how he'd had worse b-days...

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-fzQ8dCN/0/XL/_FX03269-M.jpg">

    I regained consciousness the following morning. Not quite cured but feeling tins better and up to hopping back on Big O. The kiwi's would be staying an other day so we bade farewell and parted ways. They'll be going down to central America after, so who knows, might cross path with them again later on.

    <b>Big O's take on the days events</b>
    Oh ho! Something seems to be wrong with my front wheel! Hope the slave master doesn't throw a fit when he notices: but it's no longer a nice little circle...

    As for my new friends, hope to meet up with the intrepid KLR twins again. Whishing you the best of luck with your mechanically challenged masters...

    <img width="378" height="450" class="yui-img" style="width: 237px; height: 222px;" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Other/Mismach/i-92ccgS6/0/M/School_for_the_Mechanically_Declined%2520mary-M.jpg">
    #89
  10. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Day: 67
    Where: Real de Catorce

    The road:
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    Our next destination was Real de Catorce: a once a mining town, then a ghost town and now a semi-ghost town catering to hippies in search of spiritual enlightenment or some such crap. I noticed it on Google map and figured I would have some nice opportunities for pictures, the town being at 8-9000 feet and in a sort of valley.

    There was no way we would get there in one hop so the first day ended in Durango. Nice mid-size town but didn't get to explore it much as la senorita Tourista was still courting me. At this point I was basically living off of Gatoraid and tea cookies, trying my best to starve the bitch.

    The next day, we headed off for Real the Catorce. Was a long ride but uneventful as the road is pretty straight forward and paved. Only the last 12km are un-paved, as you climb some 6000 feet. The road was quite easy to go up, for Big O anyway. But I would not like to have to go down that road on a rainy day! The last 2 km or so are cobbled stones that have been worn smooth by the passing of 4x4's and donkeys and would be incredibly slippery when wet especially for a fully loaded bike.

    Once there I started looking for a room and very quickly concluded that today's hippies are rich: the rooms where incredibly expensive! After finding one that was not so bad, I went off to take a few pictures of the place...

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    The following day, when I eventually felt safe being more than a stone's throw from the bathroom, I decided to try and capture some pics from higher up the maintain. The assent, some 1000 feet at a rather easy grade, almost proved to be to much for me. Stopping every 5-10 minutes for a break. Guess not eating for 3 days it not the best Trail Mix you can find! Hehehe.

    A few pics from the trail up...

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    Overlooking the village, there stands the ruins of rather large stone building that use to be part of the mining operation

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    And that's it for Real de Catorce...

    Big O's take on the day's events

    There is one thing that's glaringly missing from Stupid's report: he was going to take his point-and-shoot along but discovered that he didn't have it anymore! Looks like he forgot it on the bed of the hotel in Durango!
    #90
  11. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Where: Mexico City
    When: august 24th
    Odo: 20700 km

    Route:
    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/Maps/i-WLdMDcf/0/M/route%20to%20mexico-M.png">

    Was time to head out for Mexico City and see some friends I'd not seen in years. Took two days to get to Mexico city.

    First night, I stayed in Queretaro and almost met the kiwi's there: failed to locate their hotel. Don't have any pictures but the city is REALY nice. At least the little of it that I saw. I'd love to go there again and explore it some but not on this trip as I'm on a tight schedule at the moment.

    The next day saw me arrive in Mexico city. The initial plan was to visit Mexico city while I was there and also go riding with Enrique as he's recently discovered the joy of riding.

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-VCJXSGG/0/M/SAM_3176-M.jpg">

    Unfortunately, I had some maintenance to do on Big O and ended up having to change the clutch's slave cylinder o-ring. We where going out to dinner when I noticed that my clutch lever was fading out. So we turned around and took his truck instead.

    At least the oil magnet looks good, engine doesn't seem to be self-destructing...

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-XK3vPKn/0/S/_FX03376-S.jpg">

    I'd been on a strict diet of tacos three times a day for the last month and just could not handle the idea of more tacos. I'd even started to crave for Italian food! And for those of you who don't know this about me, I agree with Alexander Dumas on his ranking of the worlds worst cuisines: in first place is what comes from England (just the thought of boiled mutton gives me the shivers) and in second place you have Italian food. So goes to show just how fed up I was. Enrique being a gracious host found a nice place in a rather trendy part of the city and invited a couple of his friends to join us for some pasta.

    The next day we where joined by Angelica for a hike up one of the mountains that surrounds the city. Here we see Angie's and Enrique's pack of dogs.

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-K7WbmHc/0/M/SAM_3168-M.jpg">

    Having skipped breakfast, I was real happy to come across this fine restaurant half way through the hike. Enrique was in the middle explaining to me the meaning of life and where he on a motorcycle fit in it all, when the pic was snapped...

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-ZVnRcR6/0/M/SAM_3163-M.jpg">

    After the hike, we met up again for supper and this time it would be Indian cuisine: My Favorite! But to my dismay, I learned that there are only three Indian restaurants in all of mexico city and of the three, only one is any good. :( But luckily, the one was actually very good! Hourrah!!! Don't you just love the color of indian food?

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-rhwkgqD/0/M/SAM_3169-M.jpg">

    And here is a pic of the three of us.

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-8w2KP8T/0/M/SAM_3172-M.jpg">

    And that was it for Mexico city, next part was to haul ass on over to Merida where I'd rented a studio for a month...

    <b>Big O's take of the days events</b>
    Girls just can't get enough of me...

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-7pqX4SX/0/M/WP_20130825_004-M.jpg">
    #91
  12. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Days since leaving Montreal: 93
    Trip Odo: 25000km

    Route:

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    We are done with Merida and it's time head out so that we can catch our boat to Columbia; we have 24 days to get to Colon, Panama.

    But before leaving, I had one last thing to take care of: fake copies on my drivers license!

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    I've read that south of Mexico, I was going to encounter a lot of police officers requesting bribes for bogus infractions. The scam follows this pattern: first, they ask for your drivers license then go on and say that you did so so and (ex.: looked at a chicken a bit to long) and that you'll have to pay a ticket at an inconveniently far place tomorrow and only then will get our license back OR you can pay on the spot. If you can't get him down to a reasonable amount, I just say "OK, give the ticket and i'll pay at x tomorrow" then drive off and just forget about it since my real license is still in my pocket! :)

    Also, just before leaving, upgraded Big O's bash plate sound insulation with the stuff they use for car audio.

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    Does not do as good a job as the foam I had initially put on (back in Canada), but this stuff won't hold on to sand, rocks and oil like the foam did. I also made sure the oil line would not develop any more leaks from rubbing on shit by zip tying just about everything that ever hinted at wanting to vibrate. I'm starting to see a point down the road where Big O will mostly be held together by zip ties...

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    Here we have Big O all loaded up and read to go. A last minute change of mind resulted in an un-expected addition to the payload: looks like the guitar will be tagging along to central and maybe south America! Whish it good luck as I have a feeling it's gonna need it!

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    Today's destination is Palenque ruins, some 550km away. The ride was great even if it was just highways: being all excited about on the move again! Staying a full month in Merida ended being to much and should have stayed only two weeks I guess. Hind sight, everything is simper with it. And miracle of miracles! Every last little rattle that Big O had developed since leaving Montreal where finally gone! I'd managed to track them all down!!

    So we rolled into Palenque around 5pm and found a hotel. Ended up at the same hotel as a German couple, on a pair of Africa twins, that where coming from Alaska and on there way to Argentina! We chatted a bit the next morning but they went on their merry way as I was staying put to go visit the ruins of Palenque while they where heading down to the Guatemala border.

    The site turned out to be very nice, and happy surprise: they let you roam the ruins not just look at them from the ground like so many do. Here are a few pictures.

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    And this is the mayan conception of proper steps!

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    Got at the ruins very early and was done around noon, so ended up having plenty of time to ride to a little town just 4 km from the border to Guatemala, which I'll be crossing tomorrow. And looks like we arrived just in time to miss the shit storm that was about to poor down from the heavens.

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    Big O's take on the days events
    Wow! For once, I'm the one being impressed with fat ass and not the other way around: he really did a good job on me in Merida, I'm running as smooth as silk! About time he started getting it!!
    #92
  13. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Days since departure: 115
    Where: Guatemala City

    Route:
    [​IMG]

    Today will see Big O and me leave North America and enter Central America! As it would also be my first border crossing that would potentially be a long and complicated process, I got up very early to be at the border for 8:30am. The drive was quite short but had some very nice scenery! The Mexican border with Guatemala is astounding with very dramatic mountains and lush forests. Unfortunately, being to preoccupied about the border crossing I didn't take the time to properly photograph the region. Here's a poor sample of it.

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    So we get to the border and yup, sure enough, it looked pretty chaotic. As you arrive at the border post, which also happens to look like a street market, I got signalled by some random dude to drive up to a small building with a tiny window. This ended up being immigration. Took all of 5min to get the passport stamped and was then ushered to the building right next to it: the Aduana, where I needed to import Big O into Guatemala. The whole process was painless but did take over an hour. Not sure why really. At around 10:30 the paper work was done and was ready to get some Guatemalan money and head off to my first stop: Laguna de Atitlan, some 250km away.

    The ride to Atitlan was at once wonderful and annoying! Made wonderful by the scenery which was breath taking and the fact that we had finally left North America and entered what I consider Exotic countries from here on out. But annoying for the gazillion fucking topes that litter the road to Atitlan. Topes being what they use to actually enforce speed limits in populated areas. Also known as speed bumps... Because of these, the ride took well over 6hrs.

    There are a few villages that surround the Atitlan lagoon and I'd chosen San Pedro as my destination. To get there, you need to drive down into the lagoon which is surrounded by mountains and two volcanos. The road down is pretty steep in places and in rather bad shape two, making the descent somewhat interesting to say the least.

    Some pics of the lagoon.

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    In San Pedro, hunted down a hotel for the night and a nice one at that for only 8$! Score!! So, looked over the room, it's got WiFi, secure parking, restaurant on site and even a hammock right outside my room. Follow the hostess to sign in and pay. Which is when things went pear shaped! She asks for my passport, routine request, and I say sure no problem and start looking for it. And looking and looking. No more passport!! F!!!!!!!

    Looks like I dropped it at the border when I was putting all the paperwork back into my document pouch! Followed a few minutes of disbelief but eventually settled down, took out a photocopy of my passport, finished signing in and retired to my room for a more exhaustive search for the passport. No go! It's gone...

    Time to hit the internet and figure out what steps need to be taken. Which happens to be to report it as lost or stolen to the local police station asap. Which I decided to do. Was quite funny walking around town trying to locate the police station and asking directions every now and then: each time I asked, the moment people realized I was looking for the police, there body language changed and they got nervous, smiles would slip away! The police officer who wrote up the report was quite nice and patient with my lack of Spanish. Took about 2 hours.After that, went back to my room, picking up a half bottle of scotch along the way, and figured out my next move. Which would be to go to Guatemala City the next day, the target: the Canadian consulate.

    Left at 7am, hoping to get to the embassy early in case there was a lot of people as dumb as me. It would seem that google is not quite up to speed on how to interpret a Guatemalan addresses: the place it sent me to was the city dump! The closer a got to the place the stronger the stench and the crummier the neighborhood got... I couldn't go to the exact coordinates that google had given, as the road was blocked off: only garbage trucks where being let in. I know our Canadian economy is going down the toilet but surely we can afford better quarters for our embassy, right? Turns out that the city is divided into zones and each zone has streets starting at 1 and going up from there. Google brought me to the wrong zone. About 40 minutes later I was walking through the embassy's doors.

    You see, there is one thing that's putting a lot pressure on getting a new passport quickly: I've booked passage on a boat from Panama to Columbia on October 25th, that's less than 20 days away. And I can't miss it as it's the last one for a while and I need to be in Columbia at the beginning of November to link up with an other retard, also from Canada, that will be joining me and Big O on the ride down south.

    From what I read off the Canadian passport web site, my options where very limited. I could ask for a regular passport but would have to wait a month (and miss my ride to Columbia) to get it or get an emergency passport that's only good to fly you back home. So what I was expecting to have to do was, get an emergency passport, take a plane back home, get a full passport in 72hrs and then fly back. Turns out there is a slightly simpler way of doing it. Thank you non-existing God!

    The embassy issued me a temporary passport (in 24hrs thank you very much!!!) that is valid for 9 months and should get me to Columbia. At the same time, they would mail my regular passport from Canada to the Canadian embassy in Columbia, where I'll be picking it up when I get there around the 1st of November. Nice!

    Next step was to go to the Migrations office of Guatemala to have the passport stamped for my entry so that I could exit. The first girl I spoke to said that it was not possible for them to stamp a temporary passport! I'll let you imagine the look I gave her... There was no way I was going to accept that answer so I got insistent and she eventually relented, passed my case on to someone who knew what the hell they where doing. Took a bit of back and forth, 2nd floor then 3rd then back to 2nd then 4th but finally got my stamp! The girl who helped me out through the whole thing even sent me an email the Sunday after (got my stamp on a Friday) just to whish me a nice trip! How's that for nice!!!

    I now had to wait till Monday to go to the aduana so that Big O could also be stamped into the passport. Or so I thought. Turns out that, after running around for copies of my documents and even getting them signed by a notary, that none of that was needed! Lost 3 days to that shit!!! :(

    But, the good news is I'm now ready to head out and only lost 5 days with the paperwork. And that's only because I had mistakenly taken my birth certificate with me. Otherwise, I would have been screwed!! Talk about luck...

    Oh, and of the 5days I spent in Guatemala City, I only took one picture and a shitty one at that. One night, waiting for the elevator I noticed that the sun was setting behind the volcano and that it would make a great picture. maybe. So a went to the lobby to ask if I could go to the top of the hotel to take a picture. The front desk said sure and that a security dude would come right up and pick me up at my room (needed to get my cam). So went back to my room, got the cam, and took some shots through the window while waiting for the dude. Well he never came and light was going fast didn't bother to go back down. And that why this is such a sucky picture of what could have been very nice...

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    Big O's take n the days events
    For the second time on this trip: No comment!!!
    #93
  14. Paratrout

    Paratrout Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    227
    Location:
    Cackilackistan, Concord Oblast
    Hey bro! I'm loving this report. Your pictures are really good, what kind of camera are you using?
    #94
  15. enduro0125

    enduro0125 Sticks and Stones™..

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    Oddometer:
    42,116
    Location:
    NY
    :lurk
    #95
  16. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Glad you like it! :D

    As for the camera, I brought the smallest one I could find: Nikon D800 + 24-70 f2.8 lens. Tiny little thing. Weighs hardly anything! Hardly 4lbs... :lol3 I also had a canon S100 point and shoot for when the bigger one would be an invitation to get mugged , but I lost it a few thousands miles back. Still debating on replacing it or not.
    #96
  17. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Days since leaving Montreal: 118
    Where: Santa Ana, El Salvador


    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/Maps/i-x7KZ4K9/1/M/route%20-%20el%20salvador-M.png">

    With the papers all in order and nothing standing between us and freedom, we left Guatemala City and it's denizens, destination : El Salvador!

    Stayed at a nice, if basic, hotel the first night, very close to the El Salvadore border, as I prefer crossing these very early in the day. You never know when a simple border crossing that should take an hour or two degenerates into 4-6hrs. This is what you can expect for 12$ in Chiquimulilla, about 20 clicks from the crossing at La Hachadura.

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-j87Drtz/0/XL/_FX04209-M.jpg">

    The next day, Big O and I arrived at the border around 8:30. Had a moment of slight stress as the Guatemala side frowned upon my white passport with only 6 pages, but smiled a lot and got through pretty quickly. Less than 90min after arriving at the border, I was on my way!

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-NRf2tqr/0/XL/_FX04211-M.jpg">

    We had determined that the town of Santa Ana would be our host for our first night in El Salvador. Mainly for the fact that it was reported to be surrounded by mountains and a big ass volcano. Have to say that the town was a let down. The volcano, never saw it. Not even a hint of where it could of been hiding. The town itself was ok but nothing to be remembered for. Well almost nothing...

    As it happens, I'll remember this town because of the hotel I stayed at: Hotel Livingston. When I got to Santa Ana, I just roamed randomly until I saw a Hotel (my standard operating procedure on this trip for find logging). Livingston happened to be the first one to cross my path, so I stopped to see if it was in budget and stuff.

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-3hHRDXB/0/XL/_FX04235-M.jpg">

    When I asked for a room they replied: of course Mr. Gringo! And for you, solo 50 dolares!! That's WAY over budget and I promptly let them be privy to that little bit of information. Well guess what? They have this other room for only 12$! From 50 to 12? Hum... "Ok, let's see it...". And here is the result:

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-dGMpTv6/0/XL/_FX04229-M.jpg">

    For those of you who don't see so well, the sign reads as follows: "Tener relacions sexuales con menores de edad es delito y se castiga con carcel'!!! Or in plain English: "Having sex with minors is a crime and is punishable by jail"!! WTF?? Dint know about you, but to me, that sign speaks volumes about this hotels clientele. Erk!

    We left the next day, heading for San Miguel for no other reason that it was close to the Honduras border. Again not much to report. Some very nice scenery but didn't have time to stop much. But here's a taste:

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-4Jqd7Ct/0/XL/_FX04239-M.jpg">

    <b>Big O's take on the days events</b>
    It sad really that we have to rush through Central America just so we can catch a boat to Columbia... :( But what little we did see was gorgeous! Need to come back to El Salvador one day and explore it properly.
    #97
  18. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Days since leaving Montreal: 129

    Route:
    [​IMG]

    Time to hit Nicaragua! But before that, we need to cross Honduras. A country for which I'd not heard any good comments. As a result, we'll be using the south route and, basically, skipping Honduras: from the El Salvador Border to the Nicaragua border, it's only a couple of hours driving.

    But since we would be going through two borders in one day, I made sure that I was at the first border quite early. As I get there, I park right next to a gargantuan motorcycle from Montreal no less! It and it's owner basically on the same trip as we: Montreal to Terra Del Fuego! I introduce to you: Damien and his BMW 1200GS Adventure getting ready for some rain.

    [​IMG]

    The day went by quite fast and the border crossings where a synch. But they left me with a small worry: El Salvador and Honduras took way more space in my passport than expected! And since I only have 6 pages in my temporary passport, I'm starting to worry if I'll have enough room to get to Columbia... Cross my fingers.

    The day was closing and the light was getting really interesting. Rain might be annoying to drive through, sure makes for nice pictures.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We where some two hours away from our destination of the day, the city of Leon, when I took those pictures. Those nice clouds would end up carrying a hell of a down poor! Don't have any pics, but the storm front looked apocalyptic with the setting sun turning it red and black. Simply awesome. The drive was less fun as it went pitch black in minutes and hell opened on our heads! And Damien was still wearing his sun glasses... Hahaha..

    Luckily, Damien had scouted ahead and knew of a place to stay in Leon. Unfortunately for him, the storm brought down a tree across the road less than a 100 meters from the hotel an he dared not chance the behemoth down a steep grassy and wet slope around the tree. Big O on the other hand had no such qualms as you can imagine. So I ended up staying the nice hostel while Damien hunted down other accommodations. He'd be joining me tomorrow.

    While he was out hunting down a room, here I was having a very hard time with life...

    [​IMG]

    Leon is a nice colonial town and so took the opportunity to walk around the next morning for some sight seeing. Here are some pics.

    [​IMG]

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    Visited the big white church. Kind of sneaked off the normal path and came upon this room with paintings of past ecclesiastics.

    [​IMG]

    One of the dudes caught my attention more than the others.

    [​IMG]

    Now tell me that bugger doesn't look like he was in charge of recruiting SS youths prior to fleeing to south America at the end of the second world war!

    The Following day headed off with no clear idea of where we would end up.

    On our way, we ran onto a section of road that was In bad disrepair and a disaster was narrowly avoided by Damien. He was behind a pickup truck and decided to pass it. Just he was level with the truck, the truck swerved sharply towards Damien, to dodge a huge pot hole. To add to the situation, they had just come onto a very narrow bridge, maybe 15feet long. Having nowhere to go, Damien collided with the truck, managed to stayed up but got knocked off course and was now heading straight off the road. He probably would have been fine only an other obstacle was waiting for him: a cement post was right in front of him. Luckily he did the only that could be done: he layed down bike instead of doing a head on collision with the post. He ended up doing a 180deg and was facing the way we came once everything had stopped moving! He you see the dirt that flew when he went down.

    [​IMG]

    One of his hard cases got busted up a bit and was gonna require some attention. But that's it. No acks, no pains, nada! I saw none of this as I was up front. I eventually turned when a car honked me and signaled something back the way I'd come. Fearing the worst, I raced back. When I got there, the bike was up if facing the wrong way, Damien was up two and a white pickup truck was beside them. It's two passengers looking at the truck. Damien got me up to speed on the events. Once I was sure he was ok, walked over to the truck to see the damage, which was minimal. Not caring to much abut them, I said rather angrily that they where fucking lucky. Was nit my intention really, but I think I scared them for they left right after. Oh well...

    Hour later we stopped on the side of the road and wonder where we should eat. Looking at the map, we saw that Grenada was only 100km away. Hum... "Lets have lunch in Granada today!" And off we where! Love it!

    Ended up staying for the night also. Found a real neat little hostel right next to the main square of Granada. Turns out that the owner of the hostel had someone who could fix Damien's hard case! And for only 12$!! A dude came to pick it up at the hostel and briught them back the next morning! Nice! Waiting for his box to come back, that morning I went for a walk...

    [​IMG]

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    Here you can see, on the right side wall, bullets holes left from the civil war.

    [​IMG]

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    After that, we packed up and headed fo San Juan del Sur. A very very touristy region but close to the border with Costa Rica, tomorrows destination. On the way, Big O felt like modeling a bit so I obliged him.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Big O's take on the days events
    Ouch!! My poor wheels!!! The Honduran roads beat the shit out of me today! Gelly-for-brains was following his new friend to closely and never saw a huge pot hole that was a foot deep with sharp edges, result: two bent rims! Even Woodies new wheel was not able to withstand the impact completely!! But, they are still workable, just the lip of the rims that's been opened up. Will add that to the list of things to do/fix in Medellin I guess.
    #98
  19. Motoriley

    Motoriley Still riding like crap after all these years.

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,130
    Location:
    Deepest darkest burbs of Montreal
    Nice report buddy.
    #99
  20. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Days since leaving Montréal: 126

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/Maps/i-hwQTRzn/0/O/route%20-%20costa%20rica-M.png">

    The day of our boat ride from Panama to Columbia is fast approaching so we headed out of Nicaragua after only a few days. Since the Guatemala screw up with my passport, I knew that I wouldn't get to see much of Central America. As a result, I figured I'd blow by most of the countries and try to spend a bit more time in Costa Rica. Even though I really liked Nicaragua and would have loved to spend more time there, it was time to say good bye to the fantastic shower and head south.

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-jPxjf5D/0/M/_FX04355-M.jpg">

    And, regarding the shower's plumbing design, don't ask cause I don't have an answer for you...

    The Nicaragua/Cost Rica border crossing was by far the longest and dumbest we've come across so far. Took close to 5hrs! Yes there was a lot of people at the Migration office on the Costa Rica side but that alone does not explain why this border took so long. Just checking out the bikes from Nicaragua was ridiculously long. Had to get 4-5 differed stamps from different officials (most of them never even looking at the bikes), each of these people at different locations, none of which are marked. The best one was the last stamp: had to hunt down a police officer that wanders around the place and get him to stamp to paper! Felt like a video game hunting down rare monsters. The monster just took the form, didn't even look at it and just stamped it! Go figure. The Costa Rican side was hardly any better. Making us go back and forth between various areas of the compound to get forms then go back to the start to get the form stamped then back. Ridiculous. And of course none of this I clearly indicated. You just have to feel your way through it...

    Damien and I ended up in a little beach town, Playa El Coco, in a really nice little hostel. The Next morning we would be parting ways for a few days as I wanted to go down the 160 and into the peninsula, where the roads where reported to be dual sport territory with lots of rivers crossings. Magda, Damien's 1200GS Adv, didn't like the sound of that and would take Damien to San Josee instead.

    The 160 is at times a real road, at times nothing more that a dirt trail used by cattle and farmers. It proved to be a Blast to ride! Really felt nice to get back to the stuff Big O and I love best: dirt, mud, rivers, mountains, isolation...

    Took us two days to get to Paquera, where there is a ferry to Puntarenas. And we almost made it all the way on the 160 but for the last river. During the dry season, this river is said to be interesting to go through. Well, this is right smack in the rainy season and the rivers are quite fat! I walked it to see just had bad it was and it was just barely over what I was willing to chance being alone. The depth of the water was jut over the knee and that's fine for Big O, but the current was quite strong and tilting over would have been too easy. Had I been accompanied I definitely would of passed that river. Oh well, Bruno will be along soon enough for South America to help out with rivers! LOL

    A few pics...

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-m8GW7Qn/0/O/_FX04403-M.jpg">

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-SkCWqst/0/O/_FX04361-M.jpg">

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-QQB66m9/0/O/_FX04369-M.jpg">

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-nwRcTcj/0/O/_FX04374-M.jpg">

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-dCNtpKD/0/O/_FX04384-M.jpg">

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-TfH7Lzg/0/O/_FX04386-M.jpg">

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-h6q5TGk/0/O/_FX04392-M.jpg">

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-5NPffVk/0/O/_FX04397-M.jpg">

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-s6fp4cs/0/O/_FX04399-M.jpg">

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-FNvqgqR/0/O/_FX04416-M.jpg">

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-sQgHMt6/0/O/_FX04410-M.jpg">

    Three days later I met up with Damien again, in the tiny town of Dominical. More of a beach with hostels really. Ended up at the El Coco hotel. With the beach about 100 feet in front of our door.

    Here is Damien pondering on how he's going to get rid of all the Costa Rican change he keeps accumulating.

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-xZ5mzdv/0/O/_FX04433-M.jpg">

    And here is a pic of the beach early morning.

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-jfKk34h/0/O/_FX04441-M.jpg">

    And this little guy shows you was camouflage is all about!

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-G5zvf3f/0/O/_FX04443-M.jpg">

    Lets not forget that where Damien is,

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-DTxKWcs/0/O/_FX04463-M.jpg">

    rain can't be very far away...

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-sFQmvwv/0/O/_FX04461-M.jpg">

    <b>Big O's take on the days events</b>
    I did my very best in trying to loose that cheap ass bottle of <i>scotch</i>, but failed. So he gets one more bottle picture for his planned poster with all the bottles of scotch that he'll have consumed on this trip. Gonna need a big wall I think...

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-rTPfMmG/0/O/_FX04388-M.jpg">