Quit our jobs, sold our home and everything in it, gone riding... | Page 34 | GTAMotorcycle.com

Quit our jobs, sold our home and everything in it, gone riding...

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From Coban, we are going to be journeying westwards through the mountainous department of Quiche - not named after the food, it's pronounced Kee-Chay after the Mayan dialect Ki'Che' so popular in this region. And there's no quiche in this entry either...

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No drybag and topcase means less weight on the back of the bike. Mac and Cheese and Huevos con Salsa means more weight in the middle of the bike...

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Single-lane construction zone, uphill in the dirt, facing an oncoming bus too large to squeeze past...

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...So we pull off into the shoulder and my bike is so wide I have to lean it to the right to give the bus 2 inches to pass *gahhh*

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Half of the roads we are doing are unpaved, good chance to try out my new Heidenau rear

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Neda threads her way through a road carved out of the mountainside

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The Quiche department is dominated by the Sierra de los Cuchamatanes - the largest non-volcanic moutain-range in Central America

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Making trax...

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We are climbing up twisty roads towards Nebaj

The paved roads towards Nebaj are heavenly, first-gear switchbacks climbing high into the mountains. However, we are puzzled by two different kinds of logos painted on rocks, mountainsides and everywhere along the side of the road - blue "Todos" and red "Lider". We find out later that it's two political parties and there's either an election coming up or one has just passed.

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Asking for directions to Acul - Neda trys out her Ki'Che'

Speaking of languages, I have a new Spanish teacher - Neda. We do lessons over the communicator while riding. Along with verb conjugation I am also learning how to swear at Chicken Buses en Espanol. In these roads up here in the mountains, it's best not to ride too close to the centre line while apexing, as oncoming cars and buses regularly cross the line.

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Moo-ving right along...

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The scenery here becomes very European-alpine-countryside

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Pulling into our destination for the next couple of nights
 

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Bungalows in the background - ours is the one in the middle

As per Julio's recommendation, we're relaxing in a great little cheese farm outside of Acul called Mil Amores (Spanish for a Thousand Loves). It's such a bucolic setting, very quiet save for the soft ka-tunkle of the bells tied around the cows and goats. A nice place to just kick back, relax and enjoy the surroundings, and the food is fresh from the farm - cheese and beans served during every meal. Did I mention we are both a little bit lactose intolerant? After every meal, our little bungalow rocks with the sounds of two-stroke motorcycles... *BRAAAAP*

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I never thought Guatemala could look like this - everything is so lush from the Guatemalan winter rains

The region around Nebaj and Acul is like the Guatemalan version of the Alps. In fact, the farm was settled in the 1930s by a family of Italian artisan cheese makers who honed their craft in the Swiss alps, and searched the Americas for a similar place - high altitudes, eternal green grass. Looks like they found it.

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Wine, and a little fuel for our two-strokes

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Afternoon rains give our bikes a bit of a wash

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We are timing our travels well during the rainy season

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Warm and dry inside the kitchen with a Kindle, a candle and a hot cup of tea

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Outside, the farm's dog guards our motos - his snoring is louder than our two-strokes

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Neda contemplating Blue Angels

It was such a great relaxing couple of days and we're now ready to hit the road again!
 

xfactor

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Awesome pics and captures Gene! Safe trip and hope you're enjoying the dark chocolates in Guatamala.
-anton
 

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After a restful two days at Mil Amores, we are ready to hit the road once again, heading south through the Guatemalan Highlands, rolling through the smooth pavement switching back up and down the mountains. Along the way we pass small towns and even smaller villages.

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Pausing in traffic to window shop at the roadside tiendas (stalls) selling food and refreshments

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What's the holdup?

We tiptoe on the dirt shoulder, past a lineup of stopped chicken buses. Passengers are grabbing their belongings off the buses and abandoning them, walking further ahead. There is lots of confusion at the roadblock, drivers and pedestrians give us conflicting information: "You can't pass, turn back!", "Take this stony road that goes into the jungle to get to the otherside".

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When we get past the front, we see the road has fallen away into the valley below. Oops.

In the end, we followed another biker as he pushed his way past people on the sidewalk. That turned out to be the correct call and we're back on the road again, leaving the stranded trucks and chicken buses fuming impatiently on the other side!

Ah, the pitfalls (literally) of riding through the Guatemalan winter.

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Passing through colourful, mystical arches

My bike is not doing well with the regular gas I am feeding her. Lots of engine pinging in the low revs while climbing up the hills in the past few days, and I have to keep the revs high in order to keep her from complaining too loudly. As we near our destination of Panajachel, I treat her with some premium drink. I glance at the bill and shake my head - she's dining a lot better than I am.

Perhaps she goes back on a diet when we reach flatter terrain. Her and I, both!

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Panajachel, down by Lake Atitlan

We checked into the same hostel that we stayed in the first time, the one with the parrot security guard. I had a little conversation with our feathered friend. I've provided some subtitles.

[video=youtube;TWHlUDmC964]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWHlUDmC964[/video]
Bloody bird speaks more Spanish than I do. FML.

It's very interesting walking around Pana almost 6 months since the last time we visited. We are really getting to see this place and the country in two different seasons. The streets are bare of tourists and the late morning sky already darkens with imminent rain clouds every day, obscuring the tops of the volcanoes surrounding Lake Atitlan.

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We take a day-trip by water-taxi to San Marcos, on the other side of the lake

Part of the reason why we are staying a couple of days in Panajachel is because this was the last place we were before we had to abandon our leisurely pace to rush through Central America. We missed out on all the little Mayan towns and villages dotting the shores of Lake Atitlan, some of which are only accessible by water because of the volcanoes surrounding the lake.

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Some really swanky digs built along the shores and slopes of the mountains surrounding Lake Atitlan

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Big business along the shores of the lake

There is a public ferry that shuttles travelers from town to town on the lake, it only costs Q25 (about $3). However, private boats offer faster, more direct service for a higher fee. We watched as they filled their seats with their sales pitches to impatient tourists. One well-dressed Frenchman dished out Q200 ($25). He sat in the boat and waited angrily as the captain kept lowering his price to fill all the seats on the boat. Other tourists bargained down to Q100 ($13). We waited till the very last minute before the public ferry was to arrive and scored seats for Q50 ($6) each!

The French guy was livid!

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Walking around "downtown" San Marcos

San Marcos is a very small Mayan village where yoga retreats and alternative medicine centres have inexplicably sprung up. It felt weird walking the narrow dirt paths between closely packed buildings offering gourmet health food and boutique hotels, squeezing past western women in Lululemon yoga gear, sweaty from a morning session of Downward Dirty Dogs and Cameltoe Poses.

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Sanity returned as we left the Dharma Initiative complex

Outside the Fruity Yoga centre, we spent more time strolling through the real San Marcos. Children had just broke from school and were running and playing in the streets. We got quite a workout walking up and down the very steep hills of the town, peeking into buildings to get a glimpse of what life is like here.

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The higher we got, the better view we got of the lake

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Public ferry back to Panajachel

We thought we did so well negotiating with the private boat. We found out that the actual public ferry didn't take much longer and it was exactly the same kind of boat, but this one had a roof. It docked at another site just outside of Panajachel and cost Q20, not Q25! This was what the locals took! Those private boats were making a killing!

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Tight, but scenic exit from our hostel parking spot
No flowers were hurt leaving Panajachel


This was a great week-long road trip touring around the Guatemalan mountains, some entertaining dual-sport roads and lots of tight, twisty asphalt. There are a couple of ways to get back to Antigua, the main PanAmerican highway, and shorter way that looked pretty good on the GPS - lots of switchbacks and more mountainous scenery. We asked a local on the way out which was better. He said the "shortcut" was less time, but was less "secure" (seguridad).

Less secure, like in bandits? We didn't quite understand. But seeing how it was the middle of the day, we thought we'd chance it. So off we went...
 

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This is what "less secure" means. We rode though broken roads, some washed completely away.
Neda is testing to see where the lowest point in the river was to cross.


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Aiming the bike, ready to point and shoot

Married couples often develop an understanding of the things they say to each other, and the things they really mean. Here is an example:

Neda: You go first.
Translation: (You go first so if you fall, I know where not to go.)

Gene: Yes, dear.
Translation: (Yes, dear.)

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Guatemalan Bike Wash

[video=youtube;myzzF6CbKko]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myzzF6CbKko[/video]
A local helps direct Neda through the water crossing
 
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fastar1

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There is a public ferry that shuttles travelers from town to town on the lake, it only costs Q25 (about $3). However, private boats offer faster, more direct service for a higher fee. We watched as they filled their seats with their sales pitches to impatient tourists. One well-dressed Frenchman dished out Q200 ($25). He sat in the boat and waited angrily as the captain kept lowering his price to fill all the seats on the boat. Other tourists bargained down to Q100 ($13). We waited till the very last minute before the public ferry was to arrive and scored seats for Q50 ($6) each!

The French guy was livid!
This sounds exactly like the charade of privately operated mass transit in Lusaka; http://www.humantransit.org/2013/08/guest-post-on-lusaka-transportation-for-human-transit.html The minibuses don't go anywhere until every last seat is taken.

Sometimes drivers will detour sideways or backwards in the hopes of finding that last passenger. You can wait for hours just to start your journey! If the minibus breaks down you get out and wait for it to get fixed roadside because no second bus is coming to pick you up, and there are no refunds.

But you can tell us all about it when you get there :D
 

Ugur Dinch

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This sounds exactly like the charade of privately operated mass transit in Lusaka; http://www.humantransit.org/2013/08/guest-post-on-lusaka-transportation-for-human-transit.html The minibuses don't go anywhere until every last seat is taken.

Sometimes drivers will detour sideways or backwards in the hopes of finding that last passenger. You can wait for hours just to start your journey! If the minibus breaks down you get out and wait for it to get fixed roadside because no second bus is coming to pick you up, and there are no refunds.

But you can tell us all about it when you get there :D

Same thing in Turkey, except the waiting passengers usually pay a $ extra to not wait for that last guy =) And there is always that guy - "I'm not in a rush" - and not pay anything more than the normal fare, but others fork out the remaining lol
 

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We're itching to be on the move again. After a few months of staycations, vacations and road trips around Guatemala, we are finally packing up everything and resuming our nomadic journey. However, circumstances dictated that we stay just a few days longer in Antigua while waiting for Neda's new rear tire to get shipped from the US. So we went out and wandered the streets for awhile.

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Parade in the streets celebrating the Benediction of San Francisco

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OMG! So cute!

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Hiked up to the top of Cerro de la Cruz, a large hill overlooking Antigua

It's quite an experience being here in the off-season. Normally the view from Cerro de la Cruz in the summer is clear and you can see the cross against the backdrop of volcanoes unhampered by fogs or clouds, but I kind of like being in the town when there are less tourists. We've been here long enough that we're kind of semi-locals, and we've made enough friends here to consider making Antigua a home if we ever chose to settle down.

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Such a cool place to play a volleyball game!

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Selling flowers on the streets of Antigua

And then finally, we get the call. Neda's rear tire is ready for pickup in Guatemala City. It's just a quick trip to the BMW dealership to get it mounted. While we were waiting, I was fawning all over the new R1200GS. This new model is now liquid-cooled. Because I drooled all over it...

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The receptionist behind me is calling Security

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Back in Antigua, Neda is facing a packing problem. Brought too much stuff back from Toronto...

Finally, we are off! New rear tires, new batteries, new supplies, new clothes. We felt reinvigorated! And much heavier! :( As we rode south from the mountains of Guatemala, the temperature soared and it got much more humid. We had not seen 30C on the thermometer for quite some time.

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Around scenic Lake Amatitlan, we pass the Guatemalan pole vault team

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Apparently Gus Fring was working in another store today

I've seen this fast food chicken chain, Pollo Campero, all over Guatemala and every time I see the logo, I think of Breaking Bad, which is our favorite TV show. So in dedication to the series finale this Sunday, we stop and eat at one in Santa Rosa, just before we cross the border. The chicken is actually very delicious!

My diet starts next week...

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Pollo Campero... Los Pollos Hermanos... Similarity?

After lunch, the skies darkened considerably to signal the inevitable early afternoon rains. I tapped on my communicator to let Neda know we should put on our rainsuits. She told me, "I'm too hot. You go ahead. I'll put mine on right before it rains...". I crawled into my rainsuit in silence, while she sat on her bike waiting for me.

Not five minutes later, the skies opened up a ferocious thunderstorm on top of our heads, complete with a frighteningly close lightning show. There was no room to stop on the narrow, curving road and I could see Neda's riding suit getting completely soaked. By the time she could find a straightaway to pull off to put her rainsuit on, she was drenched all the way to the bone.

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Even with the communicator off, I could see lots of head-shaking and hear cussing. I already had my rainsuit on, so being being a bit bored I took some pictures...

There are some perfect "I-Told-You-So" moments that happen once in a while. But you know that saying those words out loud just reduces you to a petty and small person, even though every fibre and muscle in your body just wants to yell it out.

So I tapped on my communicator and smugly proclaimed, "Told ya so". Then I turned the communicator off... *kikiki*

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At the border, the guard inspects my passport... "Senor Lambert? De New Hampshire...?"
"Si. I am the one who knocks." No wait, that's my engine again...


The Guatemala/El Salvador border crossing is dead easy. Just hand over a few photocopies of your documents and you're through. We've crossed several Central America borders now and we know the process intimately: stamp yourself and your bikes out of one country, stamp yourself and your bikes into the next country. Unfortunately, the Salvadorean Aduana (customs) computer was down and we had to wait to import our bikes in.

This *exact* same thing happened the last time we entered El Salvador 6 months ago! At a different crossing as well! Something tells me this happens all the time... So, we waited four hours for the computer to come back up. Being bored, I took more pictures.

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Neda's bike waits patiently. The bridge to Guatemala in the background

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Sun sets and we are still waiting like everyone else for the Aduana computers to come back online
 

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Finally, the computers come back up and it's a very short wait to get the bikes imported into the country. I am a bit wary about riding in the dark, mainly because of road conditions and animals, but partly because of security. Our last run through El Salvador had us stopping just outside San Salvador and checking into a skanky "Love Motel". The owner back then told us not to leave the premises after sunset because it was too dangerous.

However, riding through this part of the country, past nice neighbourhoods and lots of people walking on the streets, I got a much better feeling this time through. You always feel safer when there are parents and children walking around past sunset.

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Rolled our bikes into the courtyard of our casa

Just 15 kms away from the border, we rolled into the very pretty town of Ahuachapan. We knocked on the doors of a couple of casas and found one not too far from the main plaza.

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Plenty of people hanging out in the main plaza in Ahuachapan, as we walk around trying to find dinner

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Tuco's Grill

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In the morning, we strolled around town. Tuk tuk cruise the streets, mountains of El Salvador in the distance

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Not one whole day in town and we found ourselves a favorite restaurant. Had two meals here already!

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All the buildings around the main plaza were decorated in these fun murals

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Lots of kids and parents/grandparents everywhere in town. It felt like a great family environment, very welcoming

Neda brought up the point that the people here are very friendly. There's always a "Buenos Dias" being exchanged whenever anyone passes each other on the streets. Although the Guatemalans are nice people, they are not overly friendly, and the last time we saw such an open display of welcome towards strangers was in Mexico. It felt really nice.

What a difference from the last time we breezed through this country on the PanAmerican Highway. I am so glad we are taking the time now to experience it properly.

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Lunch break in the Parque Centrale

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Even the street signs are fun!

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These guys look like they are part of the mural, sitting against the fence! :)
 

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It started out as quite a nice day. Neda planned a great day trip out to Lago de Coatepeque, a lake that formed inside a volcanic caldera. It's similar to Crater Lake in Oregon, only not as large. It even has a small island inside the caldera, just like Wizard Island. Only about 45 minutes away, we made sure to leave early to beat the afternoon rains.

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Riding the rim of the Caldera, great view of the lake

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Stopped for breakfast and to take in the view

There's a small restaurant right at the lip of the volcano looking down into the lake, from there we have a beautiful view. The waiter gave us the menu and we asked what items were available, since we've found that most restaurants we've been to lately only have a limited selection. He answered that everything on the menu was available.

Us: "Do you have the rabbit?”
Him: "No."
Us: "What about the vegetable plate?"
Him: "Let me check.... No."

Had a good laugh over that... :)

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Looking down into Lago de Coatepeque

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Next stop this morning was a ride up Cerro Verde, an uphill climb that promised great views at the top

We pulled over a few times to take pictures. However at one stop, half-way up the climb, I turned the key and got the dreaded "EWS" message on my console. "EWS" stands for "Elektronische Wegfahr Sperre" and is a fancy German way of saying "Chu're not going anywhere, mein freund." EWS is an electronic immobilizer, it's an anti-theft control that communicates with the RF chip in your key so that nobody can hotwire your bike.

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What do these three things have in common? They all mean "computerfuktyew"...

Unfortunately, there are a few things on the R1200GS that are prone to fail. Headlight bulbs (ongoing), final drive (got that fixed in San Jose), and now the EWS ring sensor that reads the chip in the key. I've read quite a lot about this problem on the online forums. It's gotten bad enough that owners carry a spare ring sensor and replace it right on the road if they ever get stranded. Not me though. Nothing bad will ever happen to me. I'm friggin' Superman...

FML.

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Getting at the battery to see what can be done

Pollyanna that I am, I am still thinking it might not be a ring sensor failure. Sometimes if the voltage is too low, it can trigger a fault. I flag down a couple of cars to see if maybe I can get a jumpstart from a battery with good voltage.

A family in an old truck pull over and I ask if they have jumper cables. The gentleman's name is Francisco and he replies no, but immediately gets out, pops his hood and starts to remove the battery from his truck *AND* the connecting cables! The cables are to short to reach, so I have to hold the battery while Francisco makes the connections manually, and Neda turns the key and tries to start the bike.

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Francisco to the rescue! His family cheers us on.

Nothing. The letters "EWS" stare at me mockingly. I'm stranded. The sky is darkening and it looks like it's going to rain. Great.

We assess the situation. We need to get the bike to a dealership. Can we load it into Francisco's truck? Not 550lbs without a ramp, we can't. Maybe we can call for a tow? We're in the middle of nowhere and San Salvadore is 100kms away, how much is that going to cost?

I get desperate. We put together my bike and because we've ridden uphill for the last 15 minutes, I try bump starting my bike while coasting downhill. There is so much compression from the huge cylinders that I'm locking up the rear wheel in 2nd and 3rd gear. Put it in 4th and then jump on the seat while popping the clutch. The engine wants to turn over, I can hear it, and I get my hopes up. But still nothing.

The EWS is preventing me from bump starting the bike. That's what it's supposed to do - prevent hotwiring, bumpstarting, etc. Academically, I know all of this. Yet I am desperate to try anything. I turn the key off and on, off and on, many times and then... that one time I try.... No EWS. I thumb the starter quickly as if those dreaded three letters will appear if I don't turn the engine over in time (rational thought escapes you in times like these).

The engine starts with a rumble. As if nothing ever happened.

I'm friggin' Superman, *****.

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I ride back uphill and thank Francisco and his family (wife Merced and son Francisco Javier) profusely

Even though all of our collective efforts really didn't do anything, it was the ring sensor that decided to work that one time, I couldn't thank Francisco enough. It's times like these when I get so buoyed by how kind and generous people are. He gave us his telephone number and told us to call him if we needed anything else. I wanted to hug him.

So I did. :) But in a manly, Latin American way...

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Making sure this was the right place before I turned the engine off

With the sky threatening rain, we had to ride to San Salvadore to the dealership before it closed for the day. Fighting though big city traffic, I was conscious not to turn the engine off, stall the bike, and at stops - to put the kickstand up before I kick it out of neutral etc. We pulled into a BMW dealership and I sent Neda in to make sure it was the actual service centre before I turned the bike off. Thankfully we did that, because the actual service was about 7 kms away from the dealership.

The technician at the service centre confirmed my diagnosis. Faulty ring sensor. Unfortunately, they didn't have any in stock and it would take two weeks to order one in. *ARGH!*

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"So what I was thinking is that I don't turn the engine off for the rest of the trip.
Just sell me a keyless gas cap and I'll be on my way..."


Rafael, the technician, was surprised that my ring sensor wasn't replaced earlier. Apparently, this was a known issue and there was a recall that replaced the sensor with a newer part that was less prone to failure. I shrugged my shoulders. Never got the call... He told me that he had an old ring sensor that he took off another bike that was still good, but because it was the older part, it might fail: "Maybe tomorrow, maybe three years from now, maybe never?".

He didn't want to install the old part because it was labour-intensive to replace an old part with another old part, since I had to buy and fit the new part somewhere further down the line anyway. So he told me he'd jury-rig something up, however I needed a spare key for this bodge-job. The spare key was back in Ahuachapan, 100 kms away...

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So off we go on Neda's bike, 100kms back to Ahuachapan. 100kms back to San Salvadore the next morning.

El Salvadore is a small country. Maybe 300kms end to end. We rode a total of 400kms back and forth to get my bloody spare key....

I had plenty of time to ruminate over how complex these bikes have become. Back in India, I was on my hands and knees fixing that bloody Enfield every single day. But I was able to. I could use anything: sticks, stones, bailing wire to keep that thing going. But now, computers and sensors and chips meant that you could be stranded and not be able to do a damn thing about it until you got that same electronic part replaced.

I thought about all the places we wanted to visit, some nowhere near a BMW dealership. Is it feasible taking a computerized two-wheeler to the remotest places on Earth?

Rafael told me the new R1200GS has 9 computers in it. Suddenly, that POS kick-starter, carbureted Royal Enfield was looking better and better...

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Two keys, one ring to rule them all...
One does not simply walk to San Salvadore.


So here's the temporary fix. He unplugged the original ring sensor and plugged it into another ring sensor that he zip-tied to the headstock. Because the new (but old) ring sensor needed to have a chipped key inside the ring, and the original ignition needed a key to turn the bike on, I needed two keys to start the bike. It was like the NORAD missile defense. Two keys to launch the missiles. I knew where I wanted to launch this stupid EWS ring sensor...

Back in business. We thanked Rafael and now we're back on the road, baby!

[video=youtube;eXrbUVoeVmg]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXrbUVoeVmg&feature=youtu.be[/video]
Timing the weather in a new country is tricky. Still haven't got the hang of it.
 

MacDoc

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damn.....runs down to garage and pats Burgman. 70,000 km on two different ones and dead battery once and a shredded rear tire once...end of 5 years of repair stories.

You're right - too much tech nonsense....have you considered a KLR650??? :D

••
Glad you dodged that nasty. Loving stories and pics.
 

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Just a quick update: After a very eventful couple of days, we're travelling 35 kms south of Ahuchapan on the very scenic and windy Ruta de las Flores, which flows past a few picturesque towns in the heart of El Salvador's coffee crop region. Thankfully, very little drama - the weather was clear and the two-key hack job was working thus far!

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Stopping for a scenic break beside a fruit vendor at the side of the road

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Riding around Ataco, one of the towns on the Ruta de las Flores

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Arrived in Juayua, our overnight destination

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Neda forgot to copy the hostel's address from the laptop to her iPhone...
RideDOT.com is environmentally friendly - we're paperless!


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Parque Centrale in Juayua

The reason why we're staying one night in Juayua is because Neda read that there was a Gastronomical Festival every weekend in town. Seeing how I am trying to lose weight, she thinks this would be a great event to attend. I trick myself into mishearing that we are attending an Astronomical Conference. I always wanted to be an astronaut!

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Not the astronomical festival - just a market.

The Astronomical Festival is a couple of long rows of makeshift kitchens and grills representing different restaurants and storefronts in the city. We're told that there are over 100 different places where you can sample the local cuisine. Most of the grills just serve the Salvadorean mainstay - a side of grilled beef and a sausage with some veggies on the side.

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Billions and billions of years ago, the Earth was created from a great ball of fire

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Mouth-watering presentation! Vendors offer window-shoppers a taste of their dishes on toothpicks

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This is what we settled on - battered shrimp, baked potatoes and a side of grilled beef. Delicious!

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After lunch, we visited La Iglesia de Santa Lucia, right on the main plaza

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Santa Lucia is known for its large statue of Cristo Negro (Black Christ)

I'm not sure why this Christ is black, but I suspect it has something to do with a Madonna video. Did I mention the Astronomical Festival is sponsored by Pepsi?

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Deep in prayer at La Iglesia de Santa Lucia
 

jc100

Well-known member
Head up to Suchitoto if you can. It's really pretty and has a lot of recent history connected to the civil war. On the main road in (one of the most dangerous roads in El Salvador during the war) there's a house with two old missiles used as an entryway and the ex-rebels now give tours of mountain and cave hideaways nearby. Look up Oscar Romero, you'll see frescos of the priest everywhere.

Theres quite a few archaeological sites around El Salvador too that are worth seeing and you'll most likely only share them with schoolchildren.

Also for food, if you haven't tried them already you have to try pupusas. Most markets sell them and there's a good market in Santa Anna.

Ive been twice to this country and I love it. The people are amazing and I love the scenery of volcanoes, coffee plantations and the beaches are long and pretty.
 

fastar1

Well-endowed member
Site Supporter
Why is Merced copping a feel?
 

SLaP

Well-known member
Site Supporter
A family in an old truck pull over and I ask if they have jumper cables. The gentleman's name is Francisco and he replies no, but immediately gets out, pops his hood and starts to remove the battery from his truck *AND* the connecting cables!

El Jefe!
 

Lightcycle

Snowmadic
Site Supporter
Ive been twice to this country and I love it. The people are amazing and I love the scenery of volcanoes, coffee plantations and the beaches are long and pretty.

+1. We're glad we're doing the boomerang tour of Central America instead of rushing straight back to South America.

Why is Merced copping a feel?

:shock: 'Cause she's like 4'0"... I'm a short guy, but I feel like Paul Bunyan here in CA. Neda and I can never lose each other in a crowd, we just scan above the sea of heads and there we are!


Por supuesto!
 

Lightcycle

Snowmadic
Site Supporter
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/114.html

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It seems like such a long time since we've visited the ocean - since coming back from Cuba, I think! So, on the advice of a few people, we headed south from Juayua to the Pacific shore of El Salvador. I am not a morning person, in fact, I'm a bit of a night owl. My normal bed-time is about 2-4AM local time regardless of what time zone we find ourselves in. However, rainy season in Central America has me performing unnatural acts: every night before she falls asleep, Neda reminds me that we have to be up at 5:30AM so that we can get an early start so that we're not riding in the afternoon rains. Easy for her, she's turns into a pumpkin at 11AM, a whole hour before Cinderella does!

I can't wait till rainy season is over. I''m gonna sleep in till noon every single day.

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On our way to the coast, we encounter some kind of roadblock. And then these guys parade right past our stopped bikes!

Right in the middle of nowhere, close to no town, traffic is stopped both ways to let a parade through, complete with a marching band, baton twirlers, dancers, etc. There must have been 500 of them. So bizarre. I Google this later on and find out that it's probably a rehearsal for El Dia del Nino (Children's Day), which is the day after - October 1st.

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One of the marching band guys with the big drums thumped Neda's pannier with his drumstick as he walked by! LOL!

We had a lot of fun on the twisty coastal road (see map above)! Every once in a while when the road curved towards the shoreline, we'd get a glimpse of the Pacific ocean through the trees and then the asphalt would ribbon itself back towards the coast, just as quickly.

Our destination on the shoreline is El Tunco, a really laid-back surfing village that attracts both foreigners from all over the world and locals alike. We don't surf, but we do enjoy a good beach, so we booked into a hostel for a few days.

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Beach is littered with surfer dudes and dudettes

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El Tunco means "The Pig", because this big rock by the shoreline looks like a pig. I don't see it...

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Early morning surfer hanging ten. I have no idea what that really means...

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Also sharing the surf: local fishermen throwing nets into the waves.

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We spend the morning watching a surf competition. Two judges with clipboards behind us score the surfers

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I don't know how to score surfing, but if this was a motorcycle stunt competition, I'd give him a 10 out of 12 o'clock wheelie...

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This is Boobah. I'm talking about the dog. That's the dog's name...

Boobah hangs out at the beach full-time. He doesn't belong to anyone. Yet everybody knows his name. Can't figure out how everyone knows his name is Boobah? I really want to meet whoever's naming stuff around here! :)

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Hanging out with the beautiful people

There are some really fit people hanging out at El Tunco. It's like there's a convention of Ab Roller spokespeople this week or something. I glance down self-consciously at my Pupusa-fueled Skinny-Guy-Pot-Belly... Maybe the shirt stays on for the next few days...

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Dude! Sweet!

The beaches here are black volcanic sand that's littered with large rocks. You don't get many beach-blanket sun bathers here, it's purely a surf haven, well known for its consistent rolling waves. We're just here because there was a twisty road around the corner!

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Neda takes a Pilates class at our hostel. Her instructor is ripped! Check out her delts! The only deltoids I’ve ever had were breath mints. No wait, that's not right...

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You can tell she's not a local because she's using her hands

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Evenings at the beach become a magical moment

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Surfers calling it a day

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Everyone pauses to check out the sun disappearing below the horizon

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Nightlife on the main strip of El Tunco

The last few days at El Tunco have been awesome! We've found a favorite restaurant, which we go back to every day. It's such a small village, everybody knows we're the motorcycle people. Because we're the only ones here with pasty skin and not carrying a surfboard everywhere we go...

[video=youtube;4AEmPubQ200]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AEmPubQ200[/video]
More Boobah on the beach!
 

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