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Colorado thru Copper Canyon to Panama and Back

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by HeadShrinker, Feb 24, 2020.

  1. Cobra5150

    Cobra5150 What? Where?

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    In that first pic in the hotel room,,,,
    is the crapper right beside the bed????
    Also I hope you didn't recline in the recliner.
    #21
  2. HeadShrinker

    HeadShrinker Long timer Supporter

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    There may have been. If there were, it wouldn’t be any less sanitary.

    I slept on my sleeping pad and zipped up in my bag. I almost slept in the garage.
    #22
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  3. HeadShrinker

    HeadShrinker Long timer Supporter

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    I spent the evening San Salvador and hung out with Nelson from Rev-it. He’s got a cool shop and is a cool dude, not to mention quite an adventurer. This concept of having an entire store devoted to a certain brand of riding gear is so foreign to
    me. It would be difficult to do this in the US unless you’re in a huge, huge metro area. Anyway, all high end stuff.

    I chilled in SS for a while and decided it would be good to head out. The Monkey Butt was a nightmare. I had to go to a pharmacy and dose myself with prednisone to forestall any swelling. The combination of the heat and humidity, sweat, and the stock seat proved a bit too much without taking a day or so off.

    Back to the ride—

    If there was my absolute least favorite country on the trip, you can guess that it was Honduras. I learned my lesson crossing into El Salvador—getting scammed by a group of fixers for $40.

    But as soon as I reach the line, there are scores of dudes attempting to stop and wave me down. I’d never been this far South before, but I read as many ADV ride reports and wisdom posts that I hammered it past them. As I parked at the bike at the Salvador immigration, I waved off the young dudes and an older gent with a tuk tuk comes up to me. We agreed that I would keep all my paperwork in my hands and he would show me where to go and ease things along. And this would be at both borders. $20. I told him if he pulled any bullshit at all that the deal is off. It was super easy with his assistance getting stamped out and getting my import permit cancelled.

    We then went to the Honduras side. As soon as I approach Honduras, two military guys stop me and demand my license. They tell me it will be a $20 fine because I rode across the no-mans-land bridge with my helmet on my bars. I smiled and laughed.

    “No te estoy pagando mierda,” I said.

    “No le daremos su licencia...” they replied.

    I got off my bike, took off my jacket, opened my bags and removed a large bottle of water.

    “Tengo todo el día. Estoy de vacaciones!.” I replied as I sat down on the curb, crossing my legs together. I had the number and email to the US consulates and I asked them if they’d like their photo taken and for me to email their photo to the comsulates. My fixer, he is watching the whole thing. He says something to the guys and they hand me my license and wave me through with a look of disgust.

    Welcome to to Honduras, I guess. My fixer walks me through immigration, and when done, goes through my paperwork with me to make sure everything is in order. I pay him $25 bucks and have his cell number for when I bring a group through in the future.

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    I soon open it up down the 1 and make my way to El Aguacate for the night at Hotel Oasis Colonial. It’s not a bad place. I ended up having some Chinese food next door. There is so much roach killer in the drains that it gives me a headache. Just a few minutes of gun shots during the night. Get me the hell out of Honduras is all I can muster. My recommendation, if you’re heading down the West side of Honduras, start at the border early and cross it in one day.
    #23
  4. JaxObsessed

    JaxObsessed American Anti-FAscist born and raised. Supporter

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    Epic, JJ!!!
    I hope everything is good for you and you and your's.
    :thumb
    #24
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  5. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Good stuff, I can give you some advice on El Salvador on your return if you'd like. Just spent a month there.
    #25
  6. HeadShrinker

    HeadShrinker Long timer Supporter

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    So, you’re supposed to send something online to request your Nicaraguan visa. Specific dates. Reservations. How much money do I have in the bank. Where do I work. We can give you a visa for 36 hours.

    I played it super respectful and cool. It all worked out well enough. I showed them my Airbnb reservation. Just took about 90 minutes of waiting—approved for 39 days. It may be good to do this beforehand if you’re coming this way. It was a PITA.

    As I was heading towards Leon, I picked up the pace to about a 100mph and around a big sweeper is a police checkpoint. There are two overweight officers and only a 125cc Italika they must have been sharing. They jumped up and down, waving their arms. I was simply going too fast to stop and gave them a small wave. I could tell they looked at me, then looked at their bike, knowing it was futile to give chase. It was quite hilarious—at least to me. It had me laughing in my helmet for the next two hours.

    When I made it to Leon, I cruised around and explored a bit. I stopped at a small motorcycle shop, looking for some oil to do a change on the AT. They didn’t have anything for the AT, but we chatted for a good part of the hour. He showed me his shop and his current projects. He had some gear as well—hoping to grow the business slowly.

    Meet my friend Richard and his son. We still communicate on Facebook.
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    My Airbnb was in Salinas Grandes.
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    John from Canada owns this place and has 7km of beachfront and numerous cabanas he rents out. The surfing here is World Class, too. I told him the story of the checkpoint and he tells me that he used to have police and military hitchhiking alongside the road. “I used to pick up those guys in the back of
    my truck because the government couldn’t afford vehicles.”

    John, his friends from Grenada, a bunch of surfers and I chatted and shared beers throughout the evening. This was a fantastic place to chill.
    #26
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  7. HeadShrinker

    HeadShrinker Long timer Supporter

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    There was no hurry to get moving the next morning. I had breakfast in the main house with the other guests, took a swim, and waited for my sink-washed clothes to dry in the sun.

    As great as this trip has been, I can feel the miles—the distance—from home and my loved ones. There’s a bittersweetness that’s becoming ever present.

    I’m such an introvert that, honestly, when I am on an adventure I usually don’t think about much else. It is one place where I am genuinely present and “in the moment.” This has a centering and calming effect. Combine that with the excitement of being somewhere new or overcoming challenges, you’ve made an addictive concoction that needs replication—a little more each time. So when that’s injected into my veins, it’s so mesmerizing that anything else is outside my consciousness. Well, at this point, it’s beginning to change.

    The centering aspect of ADV calms my mind and has been my main coping tool for what I’ve been dealing with the past few years. It numbs the pain and creates new experiences. It keeps the internal wheels turning so that I am not stuck as much.

    The “drug” doesn’t work as powerfully as before, I am coming to find. I’m missing my connections and am starting to feel that painful ache in my chest.

    I leave a little before noon and make my way towards Granada. I’m not going fast, just taking my time. I am noticing people’s’ faces when they see the motorcycle. Kids’ eyes get wide. Everyone is staring at this huge bike. Especially in Managua, everyone’s’ eyes are on me—buses, full taxi cans—you name it.

    Arriving in Granada was easy and I made my way to the Centro. The directions to my Airbnb were confusing, so I hired a taxi to lead me.

    Carlos and his wife have a little hotel and restaurant. I unloaded my stuff and parked my bike in his mother’s house (yes) across the street—in the living room.
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    Carlos shared with me how the extreme drop in tourism has affected his bottom line and decimated the industry. This is evident as I’m walking around. Drinks and good meals are cheap. Hotel—mine was $25 per night and $30 if I wanted A/C.

    I had a great afternoon and evening exploring and slept well.

    The next morning while having breakfast, he shares with me that the man staying above me on the second floor had a heart attack and died in the early morning hours.

    It may be the partial Navajo I’ve acquired within me, but that was my cue to keep moving down the road. And, besides, I had a ferry to catch.

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    #27
  8. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Fascinating and definitely in on this report. I’ve read it in starts and fits, still can’t tell if this report is from years ago?

    Appreciate your writing style and have thoroughly enjoyed it thus far :thumb
    #28
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  9. HeadShrinker

    HeadShrinker Long timer Supporter

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    Isla Ometepe
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    As I headed south, I wanted some context to balance out my mind and soul. I wanted to find some deep answer, something that didn’t have a definition in words, but more of a tangible puzzle piece shifting into place within me. But, also, I didn’t expect it to happen just as I wished.

    The meaning has unfolded and will continue
    #29
  10. HeadShrinker

    HeadShrinker Long timer Supporter

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    Costa Rica
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    The border crossing out of Nicaragua into Costa Rica was simple, although you could definitely tell it was a little bit more in depth than the other countries. Like Nicaragua, there is mandatory insurance to purchase to be legal. Ever since Mexico, I’ve been somewhat cautious about how and where I put my bike. I’ll mention, though, that I was not overly vigilant and worried. As you can see, I was running all soft luggage and don’t carry a lot of high dollar items. I’m not naive, but I’m also not someone who’s on the ready for someone to steal from me. I’m ready for a scam much of the time, but when it comes to genuine evil thievery, I’m not one to waste a lot of effort worrying about it. My advice, play it smart, but there is so much good stuff to be open to and concerned with here. That being said, you can get coverage for Central America that is more comprehensive (check out Horizons Unlimited for more discussion) but I’m riding an AT which is not an overly significantly expensive machine—at least in the US and compared to a GS.

    But, damn, in Liberia, Costa Rica—this new one will set you back an easy $25k USD.
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    I happened to get an oil change here in Liberia. Not only did they do that, but they adjusted the chain and then detailed the thing to brand new condition.
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    My moto was treated with the utmost care and respect. The mechanics knew the specs and amounts exactly and were excited to be working on it. They got me in the same afternoon and I was able to hang out and chit chat with the whole shop for a few hours. They treated me like a friend and they were as excited to hang out with me as I was about them.

    On the way home, I saw this guy on the side of the road. He was out of gas and on his phone trying to get someone to help. Nothing like that Rotopax on the AT to get him to stare in disbelief and then on his way.
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    I spent a couple days in this Airbnb which was an entire house. I was washing my clothes and hanging them out to dry in the patio. When I came home from the oil change, they are all folded on the bed. It’s nice to stay with “road moms,” I’m discovering.
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    Stopping for a few days, though, and even having such positive experiences, something kept following me, twisting my thoughts, and tumble-drying my emotions. It was disconcerting and entirely uncomfortable.
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    From my journal:

    When it comes to perspective, mood can easily dictate the direction of our thinking. It is no surprise, then, how much power the mood possesses.

    My perspective this morning isn’t that good. Perhaps the days of rest and not moving on allow some of the dysphoria to grow. The genuine realization, though, is that it is always following me. If I move quickly enough, perhaps it won’t catch up. It is like a chained and shackled shadow.

    Why is it painful for me to NOT stay moving?

    My Airbnb hosts own 22 acres of jungle, grow their own fruit and vegetables, have a tilapia farm, and have 4 Airbnb rentals. They live simply and have created somewhat of a paradise that works. They are happy enough that they aren’t out adventuring away.

    I am not truly happy unless I am moving and exploring. How do I do that and work to be more connected with my loved ones? How do I value my differences in this regard and disregard the opinions of some extended family? Instead of feeling like a failure because I may not fit what I think others' expectations of me may be, can I just value my individuality? Can I just accept that this trip is what I need?

    I am scattered this morning. I seem not to recall the once poignantly familiar ebbs and flows. I feel stuck and that I can’t trust my decisions. Perhaps that is why this trip has some importance. I make a decision to go somewhere and know I can change my mind, but I am usually open to making sure it fits within the adventure and attempt to push forward towards it, through my insecurity. “Do I book this Airbnb? Is this South enough? Okay, quit the worry—you’ve made your decision, so move towards it.”

    Sometimes I am sure that I’m going the right way and then realize I am completely turned around. It’s hard to trust myself, especially when moving through the unfamiliar and unknown.

    I don’t even feel like I make sense.

    Maybe my trip doesn’t help make things more clear for me. Maybe there is no big directional change.

    Or, perhaps I allow myself to validate that what excites me is different...that I need to value this adventurous part of me. That this is important because it makes me feel alive. Maybe it isn’t running away at all. Maybe it is just what makes me tick and part of who I am.

    I realize that I am okay just as I am and that I don’t have to make sense today. That, I am as I am to an ever-maturing extent?

    Costa Rica is not something to just get through because it is so beautiful, lush, and safe. Perhaps this lull and sense of security brings forth the painful realization that I am still being followed by what I haven’t yet been able to escape.
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    #30
  11. HeadShrinker

    HeadShrinker Long timer Supporter

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    I crossed into Panama at Sixaola. You have to pay an exit fee for Costa Rica. This crossing is a lot of backpackers who are visiting Bocas del Toro. It apparently used to be a pedestrian bridge crossing, and it wasn’t busy at all. In fact, getting out of CR was easy. As soon as I crossed over the bridge, I waited at the fumigation gate—for like 5 minutes. The immigration was just across the way, so I went through and stopped there. Apparently, the fumigation guys were all having lunch but jumped up and ran over to me. So I went and paid money for the fumigation and then got stamped into Panamá. The vehicle import guys were having a 90 minute lunch that I had to wait for, but I had lunch myself and then started knocking on the door every 15 minutes. Eventually, they got me through. I made sure to have my paperwork thoroughly completed—especially the vehicle import permit as I’d heard of folks getting hassled. In fact, within my first 2 hours in Panama, I was stopped 4 times at checkpoints to inquire about my import permit. I made sure to never lose sight of that document. Interestingly enough, a few weeks after, Spencer Conway got conned at the border and his vehicle import permit mishandled and got his bike confiscated. Check out the ADV Rider Radio for this crazy story.

    The beauty was surreal. Riding in the clouds without much traffic. Like a dream.

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    I eventually arrived at the Panama Canal a couple days later.
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    #31
  12. HeadShrinker

    HeadShrinker Long timer Supporter

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    Panama City was a fun place to be.
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    I went to the Panama Canal Museum and the Miraflores Locks.
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    I recall looking south from Panama City, staring at the canal, watching the ships. I longed to keep going, but I also wanted to get back home.

    So I headed North to Boquete and stayed in a cool Airbnb owned by an interesting couple. He’s an architect and she was an attorney in the States. Simplifying. The town of Boquete is beautiful and the restaurants are top shelf. It’s definitely worth a stop.
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    #32
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  13. Cobra5150

    Cobra5150 What? Where?

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    What'ya know, we have a chicken statue too. Untitled.jpg
    #33
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  14. terryna

    terryna Adventurer

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    Luxembourg
    Pretty cool adventure[​IMG]
    #34
  15. Aces 6

    Aces 6 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Over

    Joined:
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    Great RR and thanks for sharing your innermost thoughts. An emotional push and pull on the road at times.
    AT rider as well.
    Looking at the same trip in a few years.
    Any kind of tips on paperwork by country that you can post?
    Looking forward to your RR on the way North.Thanks in advance.
    #35
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  16. Pete Pilot

    Pete Pilot Been here awhile

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    Aces6 I much agree with the emotional push pull when we riders go for a wander. That’s what keeps me from a winter of exploring S.A.. I’m retired so have time but my wife and I because of work have already spent to much time apart. HS has been away from his excellent RR for a bit. Do hope alls well? Petepilot
    #36
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  17. HeadShrinker

    HeadShrinker Long timer Supporter

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    As I headed south, I wanted some context to
    balance out my mind.

    As I head North, I feel taller and rooted. Calmer perspective. Something deep-seated that feels resolved but also is motivated.

    I see suffering in faces. I see happiness. I see anger. I see determination. The gamut of human experience within multiple cultural, economic, and simply wide-ranging human contexts.

    This is to say that I have thought a lot about what happened to me these past few years. I have a different context from which to draw.

    My life, now, though, requires me letting go. If I hold tightly to it, it won’t let me go. Then I am caught in the unrelenting pain and confusion. I get to the point where I get lost.

    As I head home, I imagine the pain and confusion of these past few years shedding from my mind and soul, exposing a way to love and live that sustains and promotes healing. I guess, all this to say, is that I have to put my mind elsewhere and the road is helping the process.

    I rode north to David and stayed the night in an Airbnb. I had dinner at a Mexican restaurant across the street. Everything was locked—you had to be let in by the staff for security reasons.

    The next morning, I crossed back into Costa Rica.

    My rear Heidenau was still looking relatively good, but my front TKC was super cupped and wobbly. So, climbing up the mountain and racing some teenagers on their Italikas through the corners, I stopped by a moto shop in San Vito and got a front. It was a Golden Boy and $50 USD installed.
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    We were talking about motocross and there was an Eli Tomac poster. They were stoked when I told them he lives a few miles down the road from my house.
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    It was a lot cooler in elevation and the twisties and views were spectacular.
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    #37
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  18. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Posting a placecard. I must come back to this masterpiece.

    :bow
    #38
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