Click on the picture, below the waving flags on the left and right, to see relevant photo's of the individual countries and trips throughout the years!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Final thoughts

Day 13 (0 miles)

       Good night rest did wonders and got up early to tend to my business and had to do some catching up and collect some bills. Overall it was a very good experience and found out what worked and not worked.
First of all, I never been on a motorcycle in my live, besides a 49.9 cc Kreidler, when I was 16 years old and that was using it on flat roads in Holland and mainly in Amsterdam and these bikes were not allowed to go faster as 40 Km or 25 miles. Even thou I have a lot of experience in driving cars, trucks, buses and eighteen wheelers, a 650 cc dual motorcycle is way more demanding as I thought and my age/lifestyle is not working in my favor.What I learned is that you have to be:
  •  In good physical shape and have a good butt or saddle to sit 4+ hours on a motor cycle a day and I do not know yet what is worse, dirt - or smooth road. so at this moment my whole body is still sore, especially knees, butt, muscles, and neck. Motorcycles, especially on dirt roads,  are missing bolts and nuts every day and you have to check every morning the important ones, Locktite and tie wraps are a must as well a toolkit, I carried about 30 pounds of tools, but know now, what I can leave home next time. We didn't had no flat tires, so have no experience with that yet.
  • Rain is uncomfortable, but all we had was about 10 minutes of drizzle during the 12 day trip, so we have to deal with that problem next time.
  • This particular bike can go through rivers about 2 feet deep, if the bottom is kind of solid, other wise you are in problems and don' t slow down once you start. We learned the hard way, this bike is too heavy to drive on the beach in mull sand. We had plans to do this towards Palacios, but had to give up.
  • We left with a duffel bag 80 pounds half way on the seat and rear part, this made the bike top heavy and was hard to park with the side stand and one time this caused the bike to tilt over and dented my tank. besides all this the bike has plenty of power (40hp) and surprised me. Was getting 43.5 to the gallon and Scotty more as fifty. ( I am heavier and tuned the bike less lean)
  • Realized a couple of times, we were stopped less by officials then cars and the couple of times we were stopped, it was only general questions , they asked us once or twice for papers. Never bribes were necessary or was asked for, even thou you hear all the horror stories from other bikers, if they enter Honduras. Another good thing is, you do not have to pay toll in Honduras, but then there are only a handful places where there is toll.
  • Don't drive at night, traps, potholes and roadblocks can ruin your day. During the day most cars have no respect for you and will push you of the road.
  • GPS is a must for any road trip and as well is a useful tool to make a blog.
  • Water proof bags and zip lock bags are a must, especially to keep dust outside.
Our next trip will be in May towards Panama for about a month, but that depends if the license plates are in!
The complete road trip done was 1300 miles and the road was driven according the map below, if interested can send the tracks in Mapsource readeble files, so you can download it to your GPS

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Going home to paradise (In the Bush in Utila)

Day 12 (200 miles)

                      We loaded up our bags the final time and took of for Puerto Cortez, which is one of the major ports of Central America and continued to San Pedro Sula, which is considered the industrial city of Honduras and probably has one million people living there. It is a hot, humid city, but as I said before. I wanted to see the Kawasaki people and find out our status of our bike plates, which we will need next time!!  

After the usual run around, (it is not their fault) we got out of town, with the promise " by the end of February, we should have it" , So I asked him ..which year? and took off for La Ceiba, making good time to catch the ferry to Utila, but of course in Progresso , they had, as many times before, a manifestation or strike and what they do is, like always, have it on the only bridge. what connects the road with the north and east part of the country and  saw already miles of cars waiting in line to pass. Motorcycles have advantages and soon we where first in line, after evaluating the situation, I talked to the leader and he decided, if we walked the bikes across the bridge, we could do that, but had to wait first 15 minutes ( that was our punishment for asking). They even helped us push the bikes uphill the bridge!! It was a strange experience, but it worked for us.

Soon we where on our way and reach Ceiba where we filled up for the last time, washed the bikes and delivered the bikes this time to the Utila Express. This freight boat is leaving the next day to Utila, so we took the last ferry to Utila @ 4pm and an hour later our road trip was over and we separated our ways after 12 days. About an hour later, we came across each other again in a local bar, called Tranquilla and met some friends, who were interested in our trip and had a few beers!! 

       In the next few days. I will add one more page with my final thoughts and will try to figure out, how I can change the spell checker settings from Spanish to English in this blog program, but most of you probably noticed a lot of spell errors already.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Today, we acting as gringo tourists, 2 fortresses in 1 day

Day 11 (90 miles)

Today, we visited 2 fortresses in 2 countries and the first one was Castillo de San Felipe in Rio Dulce, what was not really a stronghold and was pounded to pieces many times over in the past, according the ferry tales, mostly by Dutch buccaneers, so I got interested in the history of the fortress.


After an hour or so. we left for Omoa, Honduras, what was only two hours away, the border took less as 5 minutes and nobody asked anything about bike papers and an half hour later, we reached Omoa and checked into the Flamingo hotel on the beach, what seems one of the better hotels in Town, after unpacking, I drove through town and visited the 2nd Fortress, named "Fortaleza the Omoa",
     Scottie said it was beer and a half time and we decided to meet up later for dinner, where ever his bike is parked!!

Walked around for a few minutes, but it was too hot for me and still had to check out the Marina Marcante, what their deal is to get certified as a seaman ( It is not for me, so don't worry), They have a school there, where most people from Central America come to, to get their papers, from basic to captain.
After been informed, I left and went looking for the A/C in the room till sunset.


          Tomorrow we have to get up early to visit the Kawasaki dealer in San Pedro Sula, to put some pressure on them. to see that they get our plates, so we can go foreign with the bikes, without having fear to face borders and police.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lake Izabel, Rio Dulce Guatemala

Day 10 (151 miles)

   Got up around 7am and after a good breakfast in 'Vamos a Ver" in Copan, the owner is Dutch, so I had a real Dutch cheese treat (Edammer). The owner of the Hotel said it would be impossible to cross without plates, but we still wanted to try it. Reaching the border a Hedman Alas bus was just before us and that made the scene a little more chaotic as it was already, and I thought this is good for me. The Honduran guy told me to pull over, but I had my title papers already in hand and crossed quick, without incidents, The immigration went fast, It was the last immigration guy Utila had, we knew each other and we stayed silent, (We had some problems in the past in Utila, he wanted to check my papers, when I went for a day trip on the Yate to La Ceiba and on the end he didn't see my papers, because I told him, I was in Utila, before him), I crossed this border in the last 30 years more as a 100 times and know how the system works and now, because there is a treaty between 4 Central American countries (CA4)The idea is to promote tourism and give all residents and locals access to the other 3 countries without having to have passports (Foreign residents do)  and use their vehicles without having to do temporarily importation and without charging nobody a one cent and in 5 minutes we went through this obstacle.
The Guatemala immigration officer charged me a Dollar, what was not correct, but today I was not going to argue with him and besides that I received my first dollar from a reader who donated, using Paypal
This is by the way the maximum you can donate and it is for a good cause!
       Then  we pulled up by the next boom and the SAT guy (Aduana) of Guatemala, said we couldn't go further without plates, even putting in all my charm didn't help, so 2 minutes later we passed, next stop would be the local police, which is another 100  meters further and driving on the blind side of a 18 wheeler, the police didn't see or stopped us and we continued.

Rest Stop Guatemala, the Tigo sign caused the dent.

Knowing how the transito operates in Guatemala, we kept a low profile on the road and used mainly good highway to reach the east part of Guatemala towards the main port of Puerto Barrios. About halfway we took a rest stop, during this stop my bike felt over, caused by the breeze and hit a galvanized traffic sign and dented my gas tank, what made me sick after keeping the bike scrape less for 10 days in the worst conditions and then this.

Dent in tank

                Any way we continued to Rio Dulce and crossed a high bridge and saw all the sailboats all over the place in the Harbour 

 Rio Dulce is the place in Central America to store their sailboats during hurricane season and play the rest of the year in the Caribbean and most of them visit Utila from here. Lots of sailboats have Yanmar engines in them and me being the only guy in Central America, who actually stock these parts, lots of these boat owners bought from me and actually looking for one guy tonight, I guess, he would be surprised to see me!!
Found a small hotel with A/C and Internet, besides this, the recession must have hit hard here and the place is dead and deserted. Tomorrow visiting the local castle ( Castillo San Felipe)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Going to see " My friends" at the Copan border

Day 9 (152 miles)

Today we woke up at 11 degree Celsius and after a good breakfast, Santiago came to see what they had to do to fix the bike and we carried the bike to their workshop and after I saw, that they knew what they were doing, we got the tour of the Hydro plant, which was way bigger, we had ever imagined. After a 2 hour tour, we were impressed and thanked every body and got on a terrible dirt road towards Gracias

Hydro plant area in La Esperanza, Department of Intibuca


Water pressure, what made the turbines spin on the left

Being on this dirt road over almost 7000ft , we ended up again on a brand new paved road and were hauling ass to Gracias, were we had our first " refreshment"

After Gracias, we reached Santa Rosa de Copan and went north on a busy highway, what would bring you to San Pedro Sula. Halfway by La Entrada , we made a left and had another hour to go to get to Copan, where we checked in a hotel at 5 pm, where I stayed many times before and had a good steak dinner that evening. Tomorrow we try to get into Guatemala and even without having plates on the bike, I am sure I can talk my way out of it and convince my "friends" to let us pass. Normally Copan is the most visited spot of Honduras and everybody comes to see the ruins of the Maya culture, which are famous, but we will pass on that, due to that we have been there multiple times                                

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Marcala on request, part of the Lenca trail

Day 8 ( 155 miles)

     New day, new start and we are heading down the mountain towards Tegucigalpa in a little drizzle and that was the last place, I wanted to see, so taking the ring road, we were out of town in no while and were heading north towards Comayacua, fog came in and with the altitude, it started to get chilly and we took a pitts stop at the Tamara jail road restaurant.   

 After having breakfast, we continued and made a left towards La Paz and then continued to Marcala, (we had to go there according Ted Danger, so we did)
      This part of Honduras is part of the Lenca trail,  what is the name of the local Indian tribes. The road was paved and ran up and down through the mountains and we reach at certain spots 6000 ft.

We filled up gas in Marcala and drove through the village to get an impression and then were heading to La Esperanza, were a friend of us Ron, who manages Upco in Utila, had invited us to spend the night at his house and we took him up on the offer,and it was only 15 miles from Marcala, he said and one of his guys was going to pick us up at the Texaco gas station in town, so we took of on a brand new paved road and were astonished of the condition of the road and there was no traffic at all, no-one . Eventually towards the end the road continued as a dirt gravel road and that road had some challenges and we were wondering how cars ever get to drive here. (we should have known better)

 Dead End

After we reached the dead end we had to return and were wondering where we went wrong. On the way back we got stuck on a high ridge between boulders, gravel and rocks and took us more than an hour in the exhausting sun to free the moto's and walk them down the road. Around 4 pm ( 2 hours later as expected), we reach La Esperanza and our guy Santiago, picked us up and drove us to our Guesthouse, were the fridge was filled with food and beer and  food was getting prepared for dinner,  they even washes all our clothes and that was getting time to do so. Tomorrow we getting a tour of the place, what involves a hydro electric power station and he has a workshop as well, where we can patch up the bikes for missing bolts, I getting now to understand that Locktite is an essential glue where a motorist can't go without.
Ron's house ( not me, the other Ron)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Going Valle the Angeles, near Tegus

Day 7 (99 miles)

Today, we decided to go to Valle the Angeles and after a late start, we were on the road towards Talanga,

                   The road was OK and was going up and down through the canyons peaking at 5500ft. After 45 minutes we had our first rest stop in a nice road restaurant and had some drinks and a half hour later we took off for Talanga, where we filled up our tanks and after doing some calculations, I am using one gallon for every 42 miles and Scotty get more as 50 miles every time!!, but then my mechanic in Utila put different jets in my bike, so the engine is not running so lean and made some other tuning modifications, so that's why the difference in consumption

 There was a shortcut through the Mountains from Talanga and reached Valle around 3 pm
It is a nice cobbled stoned colonial village and the art center of Honduras. We checked in a decent hotel and could park our bikes inside the hotel, next to the swimming pool. walked to the mean square and had a bite to eat, then we took a cruise to Santa Lucia, where a fiesta started that day and was full of people, mainly locals from Tegucigalpa, what is for them considered a good pass time in the weekend. The return trip took a half hour and in a few minutes,we hit the town for the evening

Friday, January 21, 2011

Gualaco caves

Day 6 (80 miles)

   Woke up early and this morning was maintenance scheduled, to find a hardware store, where we could find metric bolts, so we could get the bikes in order again. Lots of bolts were missing and some very important ones @ the frame , cleaned up the bikes again

and when south to Gualaca, where there are some famous caves, and rivers underground. we got there around noon after getting lost for a while, parked the motorcycles, asked the owner of a house a couple of questions for directions
         I believe we were the first visitors in 10 years and after a small intensive climb through the forest, we reached the entrance and explored the cave, while bathing in the freezing water, what was very nice at a hot winter day @ 95 f

Sign what says we made it

ready for the cold water

It is not the belly, you think there is, it is the shirt that fits loose!!

    Later, we continued to Juticalpa, which I believe is the capitol of Olancho, which is further south and passed through some spectacular mountain viewings, while the road was getting better and better and where sometimes 80 miles on this flawless tarmac was realized.
We reached 4500 ft today and all looks green here, but haven't seen rain yet since we left.
    Checked in a fancy hotel Boqueron, which had all the good stuff, you can think about and probably leaving tomorrow noon for Valle the Angeles.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Back tracking to Olancho

Day 5 (121 miles)

Today, we started early and left 7:30 from Sico to catch the wooden ferry to get towards Iriona, where we had to go for breakfast and Scottie had to find his shoes, he left behind in the hotel the other day.

        After some (again) water crossings, we made it all the way back to Bonito Oriental, where we took the road south to San Estaban, it was more a dry river bed with obstacles and there was no other traffic,
This was the main  road south to Olancho and around 4 pm we reached San Estaban, Olancho.
We were 9 hours in the saddle and made a whole 121 miles, it doesn't look much, but try it yourself, it is exhausting

       We drove through valleys and today our highest point was 2400 ft and it felt nice and cool. San Estaban is located at 1500 ft. Checked in a hotel with 24 lights and a/c for $ 13.00, not bad for that price.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Colon interior, there we come!

Day 4 (35 miles)

After a hot night, we took off for the village of Sico, before they washed our bikes @ the pension and our chains were lubricated, the gas tank filled up @ $ 5.00 a gallon, so we were ready for the dust again  , but at least we were getting in the hills, so we getting some cooler air, what was desperately needed.

   We got to an altitude off 1000 ft and had a nice view of the ocean.

Crossed the wide river (Rio Tinto) , just before Sico and 5 minutes later, we reached Sico and checked in a decent hotel for $ 10.00. The lights, they say, will come on at 6 pm till 10 pm and that would be it for the whole day, but they have cold Miller light, so that made the day for me.
I realized that in the smallest places they have Corona and other foreign beer, but hardly domestic beer, because then they have to return the empties!!

Water crossing again!

After a small brake , we decided to make a run for Las Champas, about 10 miles or so south and we hit every obstacle you can think about. We got stuck in quicksand, had to go through one foot of water and more water crossings on barges. Anyway we came back to Sico around 4 and decided it is Miller time, till the lights come on, then rest a little bit with a fan on top of you and will have supper in a few minutes with Miller light again, they were playing karaoke with Ranchero music loud and I know, I could sing better, so actually we were glad when the lights got off
Child labour!!

That's when I decided, that's enough for today

Cattle on the road, only about 500 of them, but they were tame, looks that anyway!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dust, water crossings and sand!

Day 3 (109 miles)


We left around 8:30  after we had breakfast and decided  not to take the same road back to get across the same raging river with a small wooden barge, but ended up on a dirt road to get around it , what took us 2 hours and swallowing dust from oncoming traffic and the road was terrible


We fuelled up in Bonita Oriental and continued to Iriona and hit the first police check were they stopped us, we knew each other from Utila and let's leave it like that, where he was stationed a year ago.
 We had a short talk and we continued and hit the dirt road again. after some water crossings

 we ended up in Iriona and a barge was waiting for us to get across the Congrecalaya river.

The other side is where we supposed to take the beach road to Palacios in the Mosquitia, but after 5 minutes I gave up .

We couldn't keep the motorcycles up in the mull sand and after falling down, I decided to return and took the barge again and drank 2 gallons of water to get over this exhausted event. Decided to stay in the only pension they had, took a well needed shower and called it the day with a few beers.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The first 100 miles

Day 2 (106 miles)

Today started good and received my title of the Kawasaki at nine in the morning and after doing a few odds and ends we left midday towards Trujillo and were cruising 50 mph and trying to avoid potholes and there were plenty of them, but the bike was singing and started to get the hang of it.

The weather was hot and soon the helmet start to give me a stiff neck and my behind start getting sore and start moving around to get comfort, while driving. Tocoa showed up and we had our first stop to get something to drink and after a while we got to the bridge close to Trujillo, but there was nothing left anymore and the only way to get across was a wooden barge and we saw and a raging river out of control
Scotty went first and after seeing how he did it, I decided to walk the bike on the barge instead of driving it up the ramp.

We barely made it across, and tomorrow we have to go over it again or drive 50 miles around it, we think we will drive around it !!
Ended up in a comfortable hotel with airco for the night and Scotty went town to ease his nerves, he said

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The road trip started

Day 1 (8 miles)

                  Today we left for our trial trip and made is as far as hotel Iberia in La Ceiba , after we boarded the Tonia C from Utila for a two and a half hour steam to the mainland, after  that, we did paperwork at the dock and were free to go and after 8 miles we already reached the center of town.
Tomorrow we picking up our plates and title from Kawasaki and buy a few spare parts  and then head east to Truillo

The bikes secured on the Tonia C, the freight boat, which run between Utila and La Ceiba