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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Perdido_, Aug 8, 2019.
Great stuff livin' life.
Camped out at the Ranch at the end of September... man, you're GNARLY. I know how many mosquitoes live in there, and jejenes (aka no-see-ums but way worse in Mex) and the brackish water in the well behind the food shacks... man, that's TOUGH camping. BUT, the surf can get so good there... maybe not in the Fall but in the winter time it gets super clean, it's much drier and the it will blow offshore in the morning. The ranch can be magic. My hat is off to you, roughing it out there in September... that's buggy, hot, humid, wet and did I say buggy already?
Thanks for the ego boost, wasn’t the easiest camping but really wasn’t too bad
Mexico City was a cool city to walk around for a few days (not drive). Tons of crowded one way streets with dividers in the middle- I kept ending up on the wrong side of one particular divider and eventually just drove over it on my third attempt.
Mostly walked around and ate an absurd amount of pastor. There’s a million alleys lined with vendors and it was easy to spend the entire day eating. Later met up with some friends I met previously in Mazatlán and checked out the pyramids
From there I went to Puebla, and then to Oaxaca. Both were very nice colonial style towns, they felt completely different from anything else I’ve seen in Mexico.
Not a whole lot to report here other than I discovered mole negro, which I think is one of the most underrated Mexican dishes
Outside the hostel in Puebla
There is always some sort of parade or celebration going on in every town, every day of the week- and with my level of Spanish you can never really figure out what they’re celebrating
Day trip to Hierve el Agua, petrified waterfalls an hour outside Oaxaca city
Tried chapulines (either a cricket or grasshopper I’m not sure) at the Oaxaca market. They taste mostly like seasoned chips or popcorn and I hear they are great in enchiladas. They also had dried worms if you were still hungry
Will upload the rest later tonight
Yo Tone! It's Josh. MAN THE TRIP LOOKS AWESOME! I was just in mexico city this past weekend (10/4-10/6) too! What a cool city! I was staying in the historic district and went to the pyramids on sunday (10/6). The pastor was sooo good down there! I ate that almost everyday I was there! The driving was nuts down there! The roads were going all over the place. I don't know how you manage on a motorcycle
Yo Josh, nice hearing from ya! Trip is going great, looks like I only missed you by a couple weeks down at the pyramids. Look out for the robot, I’m going to call in soon
From Oaxaca I took the 131 down to Puerto Escondido, a super rad highway that twists down the mountains for about 7 hours as you avoid unmarked topes and colectivo drivers hugging the wrong side of the road. It’s one of the most scenic roads I’ve been on so far, I took a bunch of gopro footage but just realized the camera was facing down at my handlebars the entire time haha.
I only planned to stay in Puerto for a couple days but ended up staying almost a week after I snapped my surfboard out at La Punta, the left point at the end of Zicatela. A local ding repair guy did a really good job getting it back together for about $75
Once the board was ready I left to Chacahua, a national park lagoon about an hour and a half north. To get to the main area in Chacahua, you need to pay a local to boat you across the lagoon to the main island, which is roughly 10 miles long. I paid 250 pesos to take my bike across with me in the panga, which turned out to be a challenge to lift into the boat
From the drop off point I rode about 20 minutes to the village at the north end. I’m pretty used to getting stared at as I ride through places on the bike by now, but here was exceptional.
The beach at the north end is lined with cheap cabanas and identical mariscos restaurants. A guy quickly told me I could camp for free under his palapa if I ordered food from his restaurant so that’s where I stayed for the next 5 or so days. There were a handful of tourists staying on the island and I actually randomly ran into my friends that I was visiting the pyramids with out in the lineup
The sandbar was really good while I was there, a hollow right peeled out of the entrance of the lagoon all the way down the beach. However, the current coming out of the lagoon was really strong, so most people would only surf at high tide. There was also some good beachbreaks if you were willing to paddle across the river and climb around the point
Leaving Chacahua by panga proved to be way more difficult than arriving. A different driver was working the day I left and his panga was taller and had less space. This driver was also older and there was no way the two of us could lift the bike up. I ended up driving it up a plank of wood while he and a woman sat on the edge of the boat to push the side down. When bike got to the top of the wood, it fell level across the other side of the panga. I held it there during the ride while both wheels hung off the edge
From there I went back to Puerto for a night, and then towards some right points around Barra de la Cruz for two days.
The swell dropped off pretty heavy so I spent a day riding up the 175 back towards Oaxaca. When I got up the mountain I went on a big loop through the hills and past some really cool out of the way villages. The roads were all dirt and a mix between fire roads, farm trails, and some crazy hill climbs
Haven’t updated the blog in a few weeks, been too busy sleeping in hammocks and hunting down Oaxacan mole
Since my last post I spent about two weeks moving south towards Salina Cruz looking for surf. There’s roughly 50+ right points in the 3 hour drive and almost all of them produce quality waves on the right swells. I found some really fun waves and a couple breaks that I will leave out of here...
One of the first points I checked out was Barra De La Cruz. Barra is a relatively crowded spot since the Ripcurl search contest a while back but is also one of the best rights in the area.
They charge 30 pesos to enter the beach and there is one restaurant on the sand. All the money made here goes back towards the community and their schools, because of this the town is very friendly and welcoming towards tourists compared to the other places I have been to
I was staying at Cabana Pepe’s, a row of 10 cheap cabanas filled with other traveling surfers, mostly Australians
I only planned to stay here for a couple nights, but ended up almost a week after my bike was dead in the water. Not a bad place to be stranded.
It was clearly an electrical problem but I know very little about fixing bikes to start with. The battery was holding a charge but it wasn’t getting a spark. There are no mechanics in the town so I ended up having to load it up on a truck and take it about 45 minutes north to get someone who knew what they were doing. The mechanic in huatulco was able to get it running after cleaning out my kill switch and ignition, which was filled with dirt and bugs. The bike worked for about 2 weeks until it started having the same problems again, I changed the battery a few days ago and it seems to be fine- I’m now left with more questions than answers
From barra I went to playa San Diego, a remote beach with super rad camping and a mellow right hander
I would of stayed longer, but I couldn’t get my stove to light and was getting sick of eating crackers and chips. Also the no-see-ums were tearing me apart
From there I made my way towards La Bamba, a small village about a half hour north of Salina Cruz. I camped next to a restaurant right on 1st point and had some fun sessions by myself
To be fair most sets looked nothing like this
South of Bamba is about 10 world class surf spots, unfortunately the swell direction wasn’t right and they weren’t breaking. Because of this I decided to head inland and start making my way to Guatemala. Will update tomorrow with the rest of the trip
awesome journey, can't wait to see the next chapter
Did you get dropped off here?
Near Oaxaca, Mexico
Was it not possible to leave via boat on the North end?
Near Villa de Tututepec de Melchor Ocampo, Oaxaca, Mexico
I assume most visit from.the north Crossing?
The ultimate costal 2 track right there!
That's as good as it gets anywhere in the world.
FYI Surf City in El Salvador Nov 13-16!
I got dropped off at your first pin on the south end of the island, this is where most people I talked to came from. There were boats on the north end as well but I never checked to see if it would be possible to load my bike on them
From Concepcion Bamba I started the drive inland towards San Cristobal, my last stop in Mexico. It was a long 6-7 hour ride with periods of heavy rain and wind. One particular stretch coming out of Salina Cruz was so windy I had to lean the bike into the wind to keep straight, and then quickly readjust whenever passing a wall or barrier so I wouldn't swerve left.
I stayed in San Cristobal for just two days to check out Sumidero national park and go through my bike before crossing into Guatemala.
Going to Sumidero was one of the only times i left all my gear and saddlebags at the hostel, so it makes sense that it was the one time I ended up needing everything. First I got stopped by a cop who wanted money because I forgot to bring my registration with me. Next I blew out my rear inner tube at the very top of the mountain overlooking Sumidero, about 20km from town.
I didn’t have any of my tools or spare tubes with me so I was really lucky when a Mexican motorcycle gang rolled up out of nowhere. They filled my tube with some foam which helped for a few minutes and rode next to me as I fishtailed down the mountain to the nearest mechanic. I ended up hanging out with them for the next hour as I got my tires changed.
Sumidero National Park
I probably should have watched the mechanic change my tube, because it popped again two days later about 50 feet across the Guatemalan border. I didn’t feel like changing my first tire on my own in the middle of this mess so I let another mechanic do it for me.
The day after crossing the border I rode all day to Antigua, an old colonial town surrounded by active volcanos
I planned to get here by the end of October so I could see the giant kite festival nearby in Sumpango on November 1st. I’m not entirely sure if the festival actually has anything to do with day of the dead or all saints day.
At the festival, thousands of people gather on top of a hill and take turns flying colorful homemade kites ranging anywhere from 20-50+ feet high. Some make it hundreds of feet in the air, and others crash straight down into the crowd, as seen below
While in Antigua, I was jumping around different hostels and made a solid group of friends. We signed up for a two day hike up Acatenango Volcano to watch Fuego volcano errupt at night. The hike up Acatenango was an almost vertical climb for 6 hours. It was probably the most difficult hike I’ve ever been on but also had incredible views of Fuego erupting throughout the night from our tents.
If you have bike problems, ask the guys here on Thumper DR 650, they will know
I have a lot to catch up on, have covered a lot of ground the past five weeks and am almost in Panama City now.
Since my last post I haven’t moved too far from the coast, working my way from el paredon, Guatemala down to bocas Del toro, panama. With only about 5 weeks to enjoy the rest of Central America after Guatemala, I’ve stayed mostly on the pan American highway to save time and have been jumping from beach town to beach town.
The bike has been running strong (aside from 7 flat back tires in a 1000 mile stretch- I’ll get to this later) and I haven’t had any mechanical problems. In the past month I haven’t camped once, cooked a meal myself (since San Diego to be exact), gone completely over budget, and spent about a hundred hours in the ocean. I’ve scored some really good surf and met a ton of friends that I was able to travel alongside through Panama.
Since there’s too much to catch up on at this point I’ll just share some photos and highlights.
After Antigua I rode to lake Atitlan, just for a day. As cool as Atitlan was, I was really itching to get to the coast after being landlocked for 3 weeks. So I left within 24 hours to go to Paredon. If/when I come back to Guatemala some day I will definitely come back to explore the lake
Somewhere in Guatemala. Google maps took me down a cool farm road for 2 hours that ended up at a river crossing about 6 feet too deep to cross. Also got a flat tire, all in all my 4 hour ride to El Paredon took about 8 hours
I don’t have any photos from El Salvador but just picture a head high right point break for 5 days. I stayed in Tunco with a group I met in Guatemala and surfed all week
Border crossings are getting easier and I’ve learned my lesson with the tramadores. One of them ripped me off getting into El Salvador, but actually gave my contact info to another biker passing through a day later. I met up with the other biker the fixer also ripped off and we later went on a cool ride in Costa Rica
I stayed in Honduras for less than 24 hours, there was just nothing I was interested in doing. Leaving there proved to be my longest day of the trip so far. Not wanting to spend my 25th birthday at a border crossing, I woke up at 5:30 am to get out of there and rode 2 hours to the Nicaragua border. I got a flat tire as I was pulling in (my 6th flat at this point). I decided I would fix it after doing the paperwork since I got to the crossing before the crowds. So I exited the Honduras, cancelled my TVIP and started the paperwork to enter Nicaragua. After buying the mandatory insurance I realized I didn’t have enough cash on me to pay my entry fee. There were no ATMs at this crossing so basically I was stuck in the border zone, not allowed to enter Honduras or Nicaragua. I ended up having to borrow $20 from a border worker, pay the entry, taxi 20km to an ATM to pull out cash and come back. I paid back the worker and then went outside to see what the problem was with this flat tire
The first four flats I had this trip the valve stems completely blew off the tubes-I’m still not sure how this happens. The next flat was just a scratch on the inner tube. This flat was caused by another scratch in a different spot. My guess is I kicked a rock in or something while struggling to change the last tire. When I started this trip I had only changed my tubes once before with my dad, so I am learning most of this as I go. The good news is people standing around ALWAYS come to help out when your working on the bike, the bad news is they usually know less than you but they have an incredible amount of confidence.
I let some street hustlers patch everything up for me and change the tube and continued on into Nicaragua. I made it about 4 hours in before getting another flat. At this point I was feeling pretty frustrated and was texting my dad to try and find me a completely new rim somewhere down here.
I had noticed a tire specialist about a quarter mile before the flat so I pushed the bike back to him and explained my situation. This guy inspected every inch of my tire, rim and tube, sanded down the inside and repatched everything. He told me I wouldn’t get another flat, I wasn’t confident at first because other mechanics had told me the same thing before. But I haven’t had any more problems since this fix
After this it was dark outside and I had another hour of riding to get to Leon. My phone wasn’t working and I stopped to get directions from a guy on the side of the road. I ended up giving him a ride into town because he was trying to get to a nearby place as well. I eventually made it to the hostel, feeling pretty exhausted
Had super fun surf in Popoyo and San Juan Del sur, this is my only picture of the beaches however
Also crashed my bike going up the steepest dirt road I have ever seen in Nicaragua. I gave my buddy a ride to the next town since we were both headed to the same hostel. So we got to the bottom of the hill, with my gear on the bike, his gear on top of mine, surfboard on the side, and him sitting behind me. We stared up at the road for about 5 seconds before he shouted “full speed ahead!” I gassed it and we made it about 1/4 up the hill before the bike was spinning wheels in place. I tried to slam the brakes when I realized we were no longer moving but we ended up sliding backwards with the brakes locked. We skidded ten feet back before flipping over and sliding on top of the board and surf rack. I’m onto my 3rd surf rack now and the board has been glued back together twice, still rides good though. In hindsight this probably could have been avoided..
After Nicaragua I met up with family friends in Nosara, Costa Rica for a big thanksgiving lunch. I stayed with them for a week where they fed me and took me around. Had my surfboard glued back together for the second time and all my dings fixed so I would be ready for Panama
Pulled over to look at my map on the way over and noticed this thanksgiving meal behind the road, I think it’s an ocelot
Later met up with the other rider from Texas that got scammed in El Salvador. We went for a cool trail ride around the Guanacaste area.
Will have to update with the rest of Costa Rica and panama another time. Planning to take the Wild Card around the Darien gap on the 17th
Better late than never... I’m not a blogging type of person so it’s been a low priority to keep this updated. However, I’m going to do my best to keep this going- mostly because my dad keeps bugging me about it
Anyways, from Costa Rica I was in a bit of a rush to get to the Wild Card and sail across to Colombia. But I did manage to stay for about 5 or 6 days in Bocas Del Toro and scored good surf the entire stay. Unfortunately I missed the ferry to bring my bike across to Isla Colon (closed Mondays) so I wasn’t able to explore the island much on my own.
The waves were about head high every day and broke similar to Indo reef breaks. Since most people just go to the islands to relax and party the crowds weren’t too bad either. I spent about 5 or 6 hours in the water every day, figured it would be my last chance to surf until Ecuador.
I then rode straight from Bocas to Panama City, I almost didn’t make my boat because I only gave myself one full day to get all of my paperwork and bike inspection done for the crossing. In hindsight I have no idea what I was thinking or how I procrastinated it that hard. I haven’t felt that stressed about a deadline in a few years
So I didn’t do much in Panama City. I went to look at the miraflores locks in the canal but saw tickets were $20 when I got there. I pulled up a YouTube video on my phone in the parking lot to see what it looked like and decided I was too cheap to actually pay to watch that. I’m sure I’ll regret it some day
The port was about 3 hours from the city on the Caribbean side. I stopped in Colon to cancel my Panamanian export permit and ended up spending the night there. If you haven’t been to Colon before, your not missing much. It looked like the city had been abandoned for ten years, and then everybody decided to move back in.
But I ended up making my sailboat and had a really good crossing to Cartagena. The boat left mid day December 17 and arrived the 22nd in the morning, giving us 3 full days to explore the San Blas islands before a very rough crossing to Colombia. The boat was (over) filled with backpackers, I was the only motorcycle on board. They stuffed roughly 22 of us on there. Luckily it was a young crowd so it didn’t matter too much, and everyone became good friends by the end of it. Also on the boat was a group of Aussies I had met months earlier in Barra de la Cruz. They were helping me jump my bike back when I had battery issues
I didn’t realize how rough the crossing would be once in open ocean. At one point about half the boat was leaning over the railing sick
I chose the Wild Card over the Stahratte mostly because the Stahratte was only offering a 3 day trip this week, with one day to stay on the islands. Both trips were the same price so I figured if I was going to shell out $1200 i was going to get the longest possible boat ride out of it.
I also priced out shipping containers and found one where I was quoted around $450. But I figured after that, the fees, plane flight, and hanging around at the port, I would be better off just paying the extra money to go through the San Blas. Plus it is just nice to stay alongside your bike the entire trip.
I didn’t have any expectations about the San Blas islands before the trip but they really blew me away. White sand beaches, endless coconut trees and bright blue water. There were hundreds of islands in all sizes anywhere from the size of a volleyball court to a large supermarket. The boat spent the days going from island to island, giving us time to jump off and snorkel, fish and break open coconuts.
This thread delivers!
To be honest, I had a rough time in Colombia and was excited to leave when I finally made it out of there. Starting out in Cartagena was nice, I had a big Christmas lunch with my Australian friends I met in Mexico, and hung out with them for a few days. But after the holidays I ran into a few problems
First my cell phone, which has been barely working since I left San Diego finally died on me, forcing me to ride the old school way with a paper map for about a thousand miles. You haven’t been lost until you’ve done this in a country where you barely speak the language. Next, my foot got extremely infected from I think a sea urchin back in Panama. Long story short I had to go to the hospital twice and couldn’t walk for about 2 weeks. The infection was having a tough time healing, probably because I had to keep stuffing it in a boot every day. PM me for pictures of the foot
I didn’t want to miss out on Colombia so I still rode north into Santa Marta, minca, and Tayronna National Park. I couldn’t do much in any of the places but they were still nice to check out. From the Caribbean coast I left back down south to meet my friend in Medellin (who was also bringing a new phone for me).
The ride from Santa Marta to Medellin is long, about 2 full days if you don’t stop. The first day I tried to make it to Mompos, but was a little behind schedule. While asking for directions, 3 different people told me not to drive there on my own because it was dangerous this time of day. It was near sunset and I guess it is a popular route to get robbed on, that or I grossly misunderstood their Spanish. I ended up deciding to skip mompos and went another hour south instead. I looked for a hotel but the only one I saw was trying to give me the gringo price, so I ended up stopping by a ranch and camping with a family outside their home. They were very nice and excited to host me there, I don’t think they have had any visitors in a long time. They didn’t have much but we’re still adamant on feeding me and letting me shower from their well. For about 3 hours the man and his 4 kids sat around me going through my gear and asking me questions. We traded some gifts and I passed out. When I woke up the next morning I had a terrible stomach flu. There was no way I could go through it on their farm so I powered south for 3 hours to get down to Aguachica and locked myself in a hotel there.
Eventually I made it down to Bello, a suburb of Medellin where I met my friend from back home. We stayed with an old coworker of his in Bello for 5 days which was a very unique experience. Basically we were with his entire family in their home and got to live like locals for a few days and practice our Spanish. They took us fishing in a local pond, showed us around some areas in Medellin, Guatape, and brought us out to their favorite food places (a lot of hotdogs and Coca Cola)
After 4 or 5 days we were ready to go to Medellin and stay in a hostel. My friend’s plan was to buy a motorcycle somewhere around there and ride with me for a while. He ended up buying an AKT bike before getting cold feet and selling it. To be fair he had never ridden a motorcycle before.
On the way from Bello to Medellin my motor broke on me at night on the freeway, leaving me stranded on the side of the road. I was in a bad area so I was very lucky when someone who spoke English pulled over to help me. He called his friend with a truck who came and brought my bike to the hostel.
Getting your bike worked on in Latin America is a whole other headache. I found a good mechanic, but he was beyond slow. 4 days to diagnose the issue, 4 days to give me a quote, and then another 4 days just to order the parts (which took 10 days to arrive). By the time I got my bike back he had had it for over 3 weeks. My timing chain broke and took down the whole top of the motor with it. I had a ton of things replaced including the clutch and cylinder and I am officially broke now. The good news is I have a fresh motor and the bike is running really well
During this time my sister came out to visit for a few days in Medellin, and me and my friend also took a quick surf trip back to Panama. We had completely run out of things to do in the city and found flights for a hundred each way.
when I finally got the bike back I only stopped for a day in Salento, but basically rode for a thousand miles straight until I got to Mompiche, Ecuador. Colombia was a really nice country but unfortunately things just didn’t work out there for me on this trip. This might be part of the reason I haven’t posted anything in two months
I am currently in Peru, so I will try to catch up on the trip in the next day or two
Hang ten man, good surf here in El Salvador.