Wedding Vows in Action: Riding South from Seattle

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by ADVegan, Nov 14, 2018.

  1. ADVegan

    ADVegan Been here awhile

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    Yea I crashed the original mavic pro and replaced it with the Mavic Air. The Air folds up so small, and the flymore combo fits drone, controller, charger and three batteries into a little shoulder bag that can fit in the tank bag. We usually keep the DSLR in the tank bag though and the drones in the big pelican case on the back of the bike.

    There are two main things I miss about the Pro. First, the ability to flip to portrait mode. A lot of what we post goes to mobile and I wish I could rotate the camera like you can on the pro. Secondly, if you do tracking with just your phone as the controller it only lets you fly 100yds from where you took off, whereas the pro has a dynamic homepoint so you could easily just keep the drone in your tank bag and not mess with the controller if you're trying to film while riding. To do that I have to plug my phone into the controller and it's just another hurdle in flying it to get some riding shots.

    None of that's what you asked... I had a purpose built knock-off pelican type case that I think came from eBay and it felt really secure. Probably too big for a tank bag though. They don't seem to be as fragile as I treat them (bonking it off the underside of a bridge and straight into the Spokane River not withstanding) so I bet some foam in a tank bag would be great.
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  2. ADVegan

    ADVegan Been here awhile

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    Good to hear! Anytime we're having a rough time, I pull up the weather in Spokane or Seattle and things shift quickly into perspective!

    We did two Spokane winters while Rachel was in grad school and I don't think I could ever convince her to live East of Issaquah again.
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  3. Drybones

    Drybones Fish bones are on my truck seat cover, too

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    Saw this today and immediately thought of you two. You do know that virtually everyone on this forum loves bacon, right? Just kidding...really enjoy your trip and adventures.
    taxi.jpg
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  4. engineman

    engineman Been here awhile Supporter

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    Great pictures. Really loving your report, really convincing me that at the very least I need to spend some time riding in Mexico. You've actually got me started trying to learn some Spanish!
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  5. manshoon

    manshoon Been here awhile

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    Not a bad choice either, the people from North Bend to Spokane have gotten record snow this year. With more coming Wednesday and Thursday for us folks in Eastern WA.
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  6. ADVegan

    ADVegan Been here awhile

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    Before leaving Corozal the owner of the vegan retreat property told us about a yoga ashram in San Ingnacio that was having some kind of party. Maybe I should have remembered the cacao-grit fortune telling from the night before, but we decided the universe was telling us to check it out for one day/night.

    I really don't know how to describe what I participated in, but at some point I was blindfolded dancing around on a platform under a palapa and really getting in touch with my inner movements! We had great food, and they were really nice people but when it became an full blown EDM party/rave and the drugs came out, we decided to retreat to our borrowed tent in the jungle and leave that to the other revelers. Good to expand the breadth of our experience- but I was right, my woo-woo capacity was all the way back at the fortune telling in Corozal.

    We easily crossed the border into Guatemala. The whole process took about 30 minutes, and I'm even pretty sure we did it right this time! We'll find out when we try to leave the country I suppose.

    Out first ride into Flores was beautiful and we were feeling on top of the world. The road swept through cattle ranches, the weather was right, and people were smiling at us and speaking Spanish again. While we enjoyed Belize, we never quite got a feel for what the culture was about. Maybe it was the English speaking or all the expats or the generally high prices, but we found ourselves relieved and happy to be in Guatemala.

    Flores is a jumping spot to see the Tikal ruins, and itself sits on a small island in a lake. I wasn't expecting to like the town but it was quaint and the people were extremely friendly.

    We rode up to Tikal and wandered around for a few hours taking in the pyramids and seeing the spider monkeys swinging through the trees. The site is far bigger than I realized and it spreads out the tourists. We felt like the only ones there, and by the time we left we might have been!

    Taking a load off in front of the Jaguar pyramid:
    LRM_EXPORT_3751167877535_20190305_145905288.jpeg

    Breaking and entering:
    LRM_EXPORT_4078788807776_20190305_150432909.jpeg

    Rachel gets another dress:
    LRM_EXPORT_4008343400290_20190305_150322458.jpeg

    Bicycle blender- I've been day dreaming about fixing up something like this on the 1190 but haven't worked out the engineering yet. I am also going to try to bake some potatoes off the header, might as well use that heat for something.
    IMG_20190226_125911.jpeg
  7. Drybones

    Drybones Fish bones are on my truck seat cover, too

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    Looks like they need to regularly air up the blender. Also looks like it needs to be cranked in reverse?
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  8. ADVegan

    ADVegan Been here awhile

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    Right on at least one account- the tire was flat so I didn't get to test it out. Their engineering led them to just have a little wheel that touched the side wall of the tire so the tire was all worn out on one side and not holding air. Not how I would have designed it, but at least they made one!

    If you look closely the derailleur is upside-down in front so I don't think you'd have to pedal in reverse.
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  9. cmcteir

    cmcteir Adventurer

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    :lurk reading this sure beats looking out at a wet afternoon here. Very much enjoying this - keep it coming!
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  10. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    This is the only way I can survive winter - living the travels of others.
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  11. ADVegan

    ADVegan Been here awhile

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    We left Flores with plans to get to Samuc Champey in two days. SC is a natural tourist attraction of cascading turquoise pools in a river. I should know which river, but I do not.

    Our first day was smooth sailing to Rexhua which was about 3hrs south. As we got closer the mountains rose up and we found ourselves in some epic scenery.

    Google maps showed the next days ride to be 3.5hrs, but only about 94km on a primary road. Surely this was a mistake and we would shave off a bunch of time. We left early to beat the heat and about 45min in the pavement ran out and we rode gravel for about 15minutes. From there the road turned uphill steeply and changed to single-lane full of large rocks. It was about the limit of my riding skills without the bike fully loaded and a passenger, but we finally made it to Samuc Champey. Along the way, we encountered two ropes across the "road" with men working and asking for donations for their work. One of the interesting things about motorcycle traveling with your wife is that there are certain things you just have to change about your behavior. For example, we stay in much better hotels than I otherwise would, and for that I'm glad. We also don't ride straight through a man's string across the road when he says we owe 100quetzales ($12!!), and for that he's probably glad.

    We stayed at a large hostel on the river downstream from Samuc Champey. After swimming in the pools we we're able to float on some inner tubes right back to hostel. The property was a cacao farm and we used the remote-ness and lack of wifi to relax a bit and get our nerves back. After the off-roading section I could tell Rachel's nerves had been fried (and mine probably only looked OK because I didn't want to worry her about getting back out.) So a full rest day was definitely in order.

    We rode out early to face another hour of off-road back to meet the highway South. About a mile into the ride a truck came around a corner while we were powering up a hill covered in loose rocks. I stopped the bike and the truck stopped next to me, but we were so close I couldn't get my left foot down to use the rear brake. With us so rear-heavy (it's the gear not Rachel! Love you honey if you ever see this) the front brake couldn't hold us, and we started sliding back down the hill and tipped into the hood of the truck. I couldn't lift the bike back up, so a bunch of guys hopped out of the truck and tipped us back off the truck. There was a scratch on the truck but they didn't seem concerned and I was in no position to get off and talk about it further. After that lesson, I was riding the rear brakes a little harder than normal and just before we got to the town 10km from the hostel, I boiled the fluid and we lost the rear brake. That's never happened to me before so when we pulled into the town of Lanquin it was my turn for nerves to be running high. We made it to the pavement, plus another hour to Coban. The town lived up to the description of "gritty" and we decided to only stay one night.

    We're now halfway to Antigua from Coban, and hope to make it there tomorrow. After that, we'll go to Lake Atitlan for 5 days, and then Rachel is flying to NYC for one of her best friend's bachelorette party.

    We booked her a return flight a week later to San Jose, Costa Rica thinking while she was up north I'd blast through Honduras and Nicaragua. That's now up for discussion, so for a little crowd participation - what does everyone think?

    A. Play it safe and don't spend a lot of time in Honduras and Nicaragua

    B. Rachel shouldn't miss those countries, fly back to Guatemala and ride together.


    Hard to get a shot of the rough road, but here was a break- Rachel's body language speaks volumes.
    IMG_20190301_090402.jpeg

    Our hostel on the river (river bottom left, didn't want to fly the drone too close and spoil the zen but I now wish I had)

    LRM_EXPORT_4451114199502_20190305_151045235.jpeg

    View from hostel across river to an incredible tree: LRM_EXPORT_4187895587708_20190305_150622016.jpeg

    Pools at Samuc Champey:
    IMG_20190302_140933.jpeg
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  12. 1suffolkmare

    1suffolkmare Adventurer

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    I vote that you hang out around Antigua and enjoy the down time. It was my favorite area the two times I've visited Guatemala. I particularly enjoyed the Spanish school I attended that placed you in a local family's home for the time you were studying. It was a wonderful opportunity to get immersed in the lifestyle of the local folks. Of that was 20 years ago so things are probably a good bit different now.

    Enjoy.
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  13. ADVegan

    ADVegan Been here awhile

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    Lots to catch up on! We hung out in Antigua for 4 nights and really enjoyed the town. Very reminiscent of San Cristobal de Las Casas in Mexico, which we also liked a lot. Like other colonial towns it's full of pastel buildings and cobblestone streets and plenty of tourists and backpackers. The proximity of the massive volcanoes adds to the feeling of it being a special place.

    We had a couple recommendations to check out the brewery in town so we spent one evening enjoying some beers and their rooftop views and watching lava erupt out of the nearby El Fuego. That was a unique experience! We decided we wanted more lava so we're going to go for a hike in few days to camp out near the eruptions. As I type that I realize how dumb it sounds.. but it looks so cool!

    We rode two hours to the shore of Lake Atitlan and stayed one night in Panajachel. The next morning, we covered the bike and took a boat to Tzununa a tiny town on Lake Atitlan near San Marcos. We had booked 5 nights at a yoga center and when we arrived it felt like some weird energy. We sat down to communal lunch and the only way I can describe the vibe at the table was like "dad just hit mom, but we have guests so nobody's talking about it". We went to look for Airbnb options but couldn't get a refund on the existing booking so we decided to make the most of it. Everyone at the property besides the owner turned out to be very cool. You have to wonder when a guy is encouraging you to drop your ego while simultaneously naming a retreat center and new style of yoga after himself..

    We used the boats to check out the other lake towns of San Marcos, San Pedro and Santiago. I think we had done a little to much build up of Lake Atitlan and in our minds it was this lush oasis, but in reality it wasn't quite what we were expecting. San Pedro reminded us of South East Asia a little bit, geared to cater to day drinking buckets of syrupy sweet booze. Santiago was larger with a lot of souvenir stalls but not a lot else. I've never been a souvenir person, so Santiago wasn't for me. San Marcos can be summarized by their community post boards and I really wish I took a picture of one. They are covered in fliers for every single kind of healing you could possibly imagine: yoga, mediation, sound therapy, essential oils, mushrooms, orgasmic heart training, cosmic readings.. I don't know how you pick. Great restaurants for us though!

    We did do a temezcal (sweat lodge) ceremony though which was a good challenge for me. I don't normally do well in confined or hot spaces but I was testing my comfort zone and it went well.

    While we were there a British girl had gone missing and her body was found the day we left. Not clear yet what happened, but several people were also warning us about walking between towns (which we'd already done), and we met a Canadian man on a ferry who'd just been robbed at gunpoint at the top of the nearby volcano while hiking. That was the feeling the area had: "be on guard". And it just didn't match up with our vision of yoga zen retreat in a lakeside village. We were grateful for the other guests we met though, and plan to stay in touch with some of them. Plus we got some great pics!

    We took the ferry back to Panajachel and we're happy to find the bike and gear just the way we left it.

    We're back in Antigua now, we're going to spend one night out near the volcano and then Rachel flies to NYC on Wednesday.

    Outdoor suspended bed at our hostel in Antigua:
    LRM_EXPORT_44444926223424_20190315_114627519.jpeg


    One thing I appreciate about Central America is I can get smoothies everywhere- roadside on the way to the lake:
    IMG_20190309_123821.jpeg

    The yoga leader didn't have great energy (who am I saying shit like that?!) But the property had great views!
    LRM_EXPORT_44400438490294_20190315_114543032.jpeg

    Rachel on one of our many ferry trips around the lake:
    LRM_EXPORT_44310436810443_20190315_114413030.jpeg

    Back in Antigua and at a tiny bar. I had to stand outside.
    IMG_20190314_185825.jpeg
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  14. ADVegan

    ADVegan Been here awhile

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    Couple bike related questions. There's a KTM flagship dealer in Guatemala City and I wanted to take care of anything that I might need to.

    1st, the brakes both front and rear work but they are both feeling squishier than I remember. I know I boiled the rear fluid in Samuc Champey and lost the brake for a bit. Woukd replacing both fluids be advised? The pads look OK to me.


    2nd, I don't know if I'm making this up, but the clutch seems to not engaging until the very last bit of the lever travel. Not sure if I'm describing that correctly. Maybe replace clutch fluid too?

    3rd, and this is a dumb one I know, but I usually only learn about bikes in the order of things going wrong and I haven't really gotten into suspension much so bear with me. When we left California the bike was standing up so straight with the sidestand down I was considering cutting a few inches off because if the ground was at all sloped to the right the bike wanted to tip that way (and did once in CA). I read about the preload and cranked it all the way up and that helped all through Mexico. Now I'm having the opposite issue. The bike is leaning waaaay over to the left. I cranked the preload all the way down but it didn't make much of a difference. Is it tire wear, chain slack? Haha I'm happy to laugh at myself on this one- any advise? I don't think the side stand itself is bent- I'm using @Martyred heavy duty side stand relocation kit.

    So I'm thinking about changing oil, brake fluid, clutch fluid and possibly coolant.

    Thanks for any help!
  15. Oldschoolrocker

    Oldschoolrocker a.k.a. EZE Supporter

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    Haha! You crack me up with this “yoga zen blah blah blah” shit!! Sorry man but its funny! You two are some real “groovy” FF’s ! Hahaha!! Still laughing! Sorry! Anyhow back to the bike. Great trip BTW!!! Yeah have them do those fluids for brakes and clutch. Sometimes all they need is a simple bleed. Wont be the last time either with these bikes. Just make sure its the right fluid!! If your coolant has been fine I wouldnt mess with that...might just create more old problems. Not sure about your side stand bike upright issue..dont think yhats related to the chain etc. Maybe just the constant loading and unloading of the bike?? Not sure. Yes on oil change/filter. Wish you at least had the Guglatech tank filter in there too. Oh well. Hey so i’m glad you two are staying safe. Keep it that way! Cheers!
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  16. ADVegan

    ADVegan Been here awhile

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    Haha I know, it's funny to me too! Taking it past where I normally would just to check things out. Found some good things for sure, also some of the strangest.

    I wish I had the guglatech filter too! I ordered it Jan 10. After we decided not to wait for it in Mexico, I filed a shipping claim because the tracking was stuck in Oaxaca for 6 weeks. I just heard that the recipient refused it and it's getting returned to sender. I naively thought shipping stuff was going to be easier on this trip, but I haven't had any filter issues besides the one message when the bike was hot so...

    I don't think I have mentioned this yet, but at the end of May we're flying to Bali to film and photograph a wedding, and then returning to WA for a friend's wedding before picking back up (looking like maybe in Quito). So there's going to be a bit of time in the states to grab the "wish we had that" stuff as long as there's still some money in the bank.
  17. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    Do you use a tripod? Your photos are very well composed!
  18. ADVegan

    ADVegan Been here awhile

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    Thanks! Sometimes it's a tripod with the good cameras, sometimes it's cell phone selfies. It kinda feels wierd/fake staging pictures with the tripod of the both of us but the alternative is just pictures of one of us at a time and that's not realistic either so..

    Rachel's bringing the videography gear back from NYC so I'm hoping I can get few short clips posted up. Need to sharpen the skills before our next wedding gig.

    Sometimes we ask people to take it picture, but it often ends up like this. At least the truck is in focus! Also the only normal pose you can do is hug and look at the camera and we started to have hundreds of the same picture with different backgrounds.. LRM_EXPORT_30935577999829_20190320_064951716.jpeg
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  19. ADVegan

    ADVegan Been here awhile

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    We hung out in Antigua another few days but had to skip the volcano hike. I tweaked my knee in a yoga class and didn't want to push it. Felt like a very grown-up move, and it took all my smarts to make it because I was excited for the experience. I guess I'll have to be ok with returning to Antigua again someday.

    A guy started blowing bubbles at us while we tried to set up a photo, thought it looked kinda cool!
    LRM_EXPORT_30815202274869_20190320_064751340.jpeg


    We rode to Guatemala City yesterday, so far least favorite city to ride in. Mainly it's the other bikers, they are aggressive in their lane splitting and I feel like I'm on the verge of an accident the entire time. That and the "chicken buses" packed full of people. The drivers seem to despise motorcycles (rightly so) and also just seem to stop unpredictably to let 30 people off into traffic. It's a little hectic.

    I dropped Rachel at the mall (I realize I'm making her sound like a huge shopper, she's not that bad) and went to the KTM dealership. They used to have a KTM factory flagship location here but they are now with a local distributor Masesa as of January. The guy at the dealership who spoke English had worked at the factory store and I could really tell he missed it. He kept telling me how nice it had been. Got the oil and fluids changed and did the air filter because why not. Brakes feel better, clutch still seems to engage at the last second but I can't tell if that's new or if I'm making it up. IMG_20190319_143444.jpeg

    IMG_20190319_160353.jpeg

    It was dark by the time they finished, and my phone was dying so I'd kept it off the whole time I waited. I went to put it back in the handlebar mount which promptly cracked in my hand. Ok, so now it's dark, I have no way to look at GPS, my phone is at 4% and I gotta get to the other side of Guatemala City to a small hotel nobody's ever heard of. Oh and Rachel leaves at 4:30 in the morning to catch her flight so I'd like to get back before midnight.. I try to memorize the directions and set off on my way. Shortly thereafter, I had a realization that I might be properly fucked if I got lost and while having that thought I promptly did just that. I pulled over and pulled my phone out and got a sense of the direction I needed to go. I repeated this process twice more trying to avoid being run over by the buses. Luckily, the roads made logical sense and I found myself on a familiar looking street feeling VERY relieved.

    Rachel just took off for the airport and I'm going to ride into El Salvador this morning when the hotel let's me out of the parking lot at 7am.

    I think it'll be strange riding solo for the first time in awhile. I'm looking forward to the freedom to make decisions without any discussion, but already aware that I'm not sharing the experience with anyone. I've never been a solo traveler, or even lived in an apartment by myself really. I prefer to process my experiences by talking about them out loud (sometimes to the annoyance if Rachel). I guess I'll have to talk to myself. Maybe I'll make some Instagram stories to not look like a lunatic.
  20. Drybones

    Drybones Fish bones are on my truck seat cover, too

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    You're not alone...we're all here!