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!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Last day to La Ceiba!

Day 32 (291 Km)

  Last day, so we left Siguatepeque kind of early to have an easy ride to La Ceiba. We had to reach around 1 pm to put our bikes on the freight boat the Utila Express and Scotty went with the Yate to Utila that day and I stayed one more day in La Ceiba. During the ride to La Ceiba, almost towards the end, I heard the chain and sprockets making once in a while a banging noise and thought, this was a pretty time to act funny about 50 km before La Ceiba. I even stopped and inspected the parts, but saw nothing wrong and continued on slow speed to La Ceiba. We reached the dock in one piece and somehow I was glad the trips were over and did what we had to do and that was "Go Ushuaia and back to Honduras" and visit all the other 19 countries in between! So 40.000 km later, with lots of worn out tires, chains, sprockets, radiators and carburetor problems and do not forget my 13 flat tires, we made it in one piece.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Back in Honduras!

Day 31 (271 Km)

       15 minutes more to get to the border and only 10 minutes it took to do our paperwork and we were on our way to Danli in Honduras. We did some banking in Danli, because they had a Bac/Bamer and Scotty's bank was represented as well  and this was one way to avoid Tegus busy traffic and probably big bank lines. 
      Danli looks like a nice town with  busy centre and saw many up to date hotels, but after a cold drink, we took off for the capital Tegus and an our later, we passed through Tegus on one of the main ring roads and without making the wrong exit, what is the key in Tegus traffic, we only took 20 minutes and were already on the main road to San Pedro, which is now 4 lanes beautiful paved all the way to Siguatepeque. 
    Last time a year or so ago this stretch was a nightmare, but the whole road is finished now 4 lanes! We choose Siguatepeque as our stop, because of the climate and it is about 4 to 5 hours away from La Ceiba and that will be our final destination tomorrow and where we will put our bikes on the boat to Utila!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ocotal, close to the last country to get through to Utila

Day 30 (349 Km)

    After a late start, we left almost midday for the Honduran border.
I took this picture below to show, there is more progress seen below as all the officials of Nicaragua together

 We decided to get lunch 100 km away in Granada on the main square in an old colonial setting.

   Around 2 pm we hit the road again and drove through Masaya and then north for another 200 km to reach a place Ocotal about 15 minutes before the Honduran border Los Manos, we knew this place from before and checked into the same hotel as 18 months ago.

   Tomorrow will be the final moment to bring the bikes back to Honduras and actually looking forward to that.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Penas Blanca, Nicaraguan border crossing and still not making any friends.

 Day 29 (266 Km)

   Had a good breakfast and then took the ride alongside Lake Arenal to Canas, Took almost 2 hours to do this 100 km scenic twisted road through a nice rain forest, After Canas it was north to the border on a dryer and dusty highway, due to road works. Arriving @ the border around 1 pm, we processed our bikes and ourselves out of Costa-Rica within 30 minutes and then crossed over to the Nicaraguan side, where all hell soon broke loose.

Lots of people, all with badges to show that  they are “legitimate” are not offering, but harassing you  to fill out your papers upon entering Nicaragua and as my standard way of procedure, I always refuse every-one and go direct to Immigration and customs to do my paperwork myself.  After receiving after a while my entry stamp and having an argument, that I was not paying a one cent to enter, because I was a resident of Honduras and that there  is free of charge border crossings between the CA-4 countries, they gave in and let me in free of charge on the end, but were pissed off, Scotty of course had to pay, by not being an Honduran resident yet after 20 years!

    Then we went to the Custom area to do our bike and presenting all the papers, he wanted to see the signed customs declarations of each of us and when I  asked for the forms, he said, you have to get this form  from one of the “people” outside, After looking for an half an hour for someone that had these forms, they send Scotty back to the Costa Rica area, where all the loafers were trying to push you papers earlier and finally reached the guy what had the empty forms, He didn't want to give the forms to Scotty  and start cursing his mother out for not getting it an hour ago. (The guy just had a T-shirt on) He said you not getting one now, because you did not wanted one earlier, so they had an altercation! Finally Scotty came back with only one empty form,  so then I had to go back to do the same thing. So arguing there the same point and listening to his crap, I told him in my very best Spanish, what I thought about him and I called the police standing around to put an official complaint against the loser, and took everybody mug shot for intimidation and a few minutes later the boss came and processed our papers after sending us first to secondary inspection of our motorcycles for narcotics. End of story, 4 hours later we drove away from the border to San Juan del Sur about 40 km away in Nicaragua, a sea town on the Pacific side.

    We had been there before, so it was easy to get a hotel, food and a few beers!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

La Fortuna ^ Arenal for the 2nd time.

Day 28 (171 Km)

       We made a Sunday easy short drive towards Volcano Arenal, close to Fortuna. We went there already on the way going south 3 years ago and  the place had some good restaurants and many hotels in the small touristic village and it was only 150 km away from San Jose and we took the scenic road first to Volcano Poas and just before reaching that , cut across to Arenal. The whole drive still took more as 4 hours, but was worthwhile and  passed the small mountain roads to get there.

        We reached 2 pm and found a suitable hotel with A/C and WiFi and could park the moto's covered in front of the room. What more you want! Later we will have some good  food here, because the many restaurants cater to tourists here!, and is probably the last decent meal till I get home. Tomorrow Nicaragua and looking forward to cross that border zoo!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Did not make too many friends in Central America yet!

Day 26 (509 Km) and Day 27 (390 Km)

    Left the Hotel By the Panama airport @ 8 for the long haul to David, about 500km away and soon hit the first toll booth to get to Panama city and saw before I entered, I had to pay $ 1.20. Up to my surprise the girl told me, that I had to buy first a rechargeable card for $ 10.00, because they cannot accept cash anymore! I refused to pay the $ 10.00 and soon I had 100 cars behind me and I still refused to pay, I told her take the $ 1.20, she still refused and I asked Scotty, if he could bypass the tollbooth, without hitting the boom, he nodded and told him lets go. Told the girl “Kiss my as#” and we took off, only to get confronted 20 minutes later with another toll booth, had another little stand off about the same thing and soon bypassed this toll booth also, leaving everyone behind us in disbelieve! Having done this road about 4 times now in the last 3 years, we knew every few miles a motor police man, is hiding behind a tree to give motorists fines for speeding in their classic set up, reducing the speed limit from 100km to 40 km in the middle of nowhere, but this time, I smiled and waved to al of theml, when I passed them and around 5 pm we reached David. Half the people, I asked directions for the centre of town, didn’t know where the center is and not long after that, I decided to go towards the border and soon we saw a hotel on the side of the road and checked in , left the bikes packed in front of the room.

   Next morning, an half an hour later we reached the zoo of Paso Canoas in 40 C and of all the border crossings in the world, this is the most grueling, time consuming one , but having this border done a few times already, I started in good spirit. The Panamanian side was not too bad eventhou they made a big deal about,  to see our yellow fever cards, because they noticed, we been to Peru and Ecuador according the stamps in our passport. I told the guy, you should have asked me when I entered Panama, not when I am leaving….., so he got pissed off. Then the sniffing dogs of their narcotic team, did not wanted to get up and sniff our bags for about 15 minutes and finally after a stamp here and there , they let us go to the Costa Rica side and I knew here all the crap will start , because they want from everything a photo copy and like to send you around to 10 different places and on the end you have to go back again to collect stamps. You would say having everything computerized in Costa Rica and considered the most advanced of all Central America, they should not have all this red tape, but they must have hired the most ignorant, incompetent people they could find to fill these positions to do this useless job and you could see none of them really wanted to work, especially on a Saturday       ( Must be Political) . Anyway, on the end the clerk was so upset, felt intimidated and even crying, after I told her in a “friendly “  way, what I thought about her work ethics, that we had to use Scotty as an intermediater between the two of us to process my papers and it was a good thing Costa Rica is one hour earlier as Panama, so we left this border around 10:30 am Costa Rica time. I must have lost 10 pounds of sweating in the last 3 hours intense heat and abnormal temperatures and my clothes were soaked, nowhere on this whole border, there was an A/C or fan to get any relieve and there was no breeze as well!  So 10 minutes later we stopped by a roadside bar to get some cold drinks and some crackhead wanted money for watching our bikes while we got our drinks and we were only sitting 10 ft away from the bikes and we were the only customers in the place. Actually we were watching him, so he did not steal anything!  After an half an hour, when we were leaving, he demanded money and I gave him 2 bitchlicks and that solved his problem for the day. Sofar this day, I made no new friends yet!

  On the narrow badly paved road, I saw a sign that San Jose was 350 km away and we decided to go there through the mountains to get out of this heat and 2 hours later we were @ 3300 meters and it was actually chilly, but the road was magnificent with very nice curves and vistas. Around 5 pm, we reached Carthago , a city with at least with  100000 people, but has no hotels and an hour later we decided to go to San Jose and reached there almost in dark, found an hostal and after 12 hours on the road, I was tired!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Central America, back to rice and beans again!

Day 23, 24 & 25 (0 Km)

      Repacked all the bags and after fixed Scotty's electric and gas problem, we took off to the airport to see if we could ship the 2 moto's to Panama. We arrived @ Girag freight company and went to see the office people to find out what they need from us to ship it. It was the same company we used 15 months earlier from Panama to Bogota, but the procedures are different in Colombia. Here you need a broker and after getting the address about 10 minutes away from the airport, I visited LynCargo and all went fast there and an hour later I had paid the $ 1030 freight for each bike and the told me to go back To Girag and someone will come there to finalize the process @ 2 pm from LynCargo. So the guy came @ 3 pm and we did the running round with him to get a stamp here and there and around 8 pm we were finished and the bikes were inside the warehouse. The only thing short was the next day of the police to search our luggage and that happened @ 8 am next day, so we had to go back again to be present.

   We found an Hotel near the airport to save on taxi's in a run down area and ordered our online tickets from United Mileage Program, But after I had my ticket secured for Thursday 9 am, I could not get Scotty's ticket for the same flight, but found one @ 2 pm to Panama. 

  Next day Thursday, I left 6 am for the airport and took my COPA flight to Panama and walked through immigration, when I received an email that the bikes were already in Panama and ready to be picked up. So around none I was @ Girag cargo terminal and around 2 pm I had both bikes out of the customs and were delivered to me and also got a police permit to drive in Panama, so all was set ready to go!

    Went to the Hotel, near the airport where we stayed many times now, got a room and picked Scotty up around 5 pm coming from his Bogota flight and after this, we went to pick up his bike by Girag terminal as well. I had his bike already earlier parked outside the gate and 6 pm all was done and now it is beer time!

It was hard to believe all went this smooth the last few days and tomorrow we will be on our way towards Costa Rica.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Bogota, made it where we started in South America!

Day 22 (482 Km)

       Took my last $ 5.00 bone crushing session @ 7 am, had breakfast @ eight and left @ 8:30 am.
Got some help from some locals to put the bike on the road and after a photo session.

 I started a little nervous the 30 km descent on a dirt road to La Plata. Only used the second gear, because I still can not shift with my stiff left leg, although I attached a rope from the shift pedal to the handlebar and if necessary, could pull with my right hand to shift to higher gear. With the weight from my foot I could easily downshift! After a while I got the hang of it and after we reached the paved road, it became easier .

      I decided to go as far as possible to Bogota and around 4 pm, we started to look for an hotel and that was about 100 km before Bogota. We ended up on an main access road to Bogota, starting from 500 meter and ended up 2800 meter high and had a traffic jam for the last 100 km with standstill traffic and we had to ride between the standstill traffic in between the traffic lanes and on the side and this must have been the national sport for all the motorcycles in Colombia!

     Anyway 8 pm we reached Bogota and Scotty's motorcycle has been cutting out the last 2 hours, due to probably bad gas and his electric system is not working as well irregular, looks like the battery poles are loose, but then I never believe, two things happen on the same time and will

find out tomorrow what the problem is, but finally we reached the hotel, a taxi driver showed us and I believe, it is near the airport, so that was good, because we have to check out tomorrow, how we get these bikes to Panama again.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Got stuck in Tierradentro, in the middle of nowhere!

Day 19 (182 Km) and Day 20 & 21 resting

     Left early for the archaeological park, with already our motorcycles packed. It was only 3 minutes away and I was almost sure, we were the first ones. After paying the $ 10.00 fee, we entered and I was surprised how well kept and organized the park was and saw the first stone statues soon on a well kept manicured piece of grass. There were 3 different areas, where these statues are and also there were some statues carved out, where the flowing river water hit some lava rocks. One area was high up on a hill and it was a tiring walk and after about 3 hours, we left midday towards Tierradentro a different area, where there were more statues, tombs and caves with some special paintings.

The first 80 km were on paved road, winding through the lowlands and soon we had to make a left on a trail, I would not send a horse on.  After 2 hours struggling on this trail and we had to cross some small rivers as well, we reached La Plata and from there another 40 km to Tierradentro, they started to build a new paved road alongside a river, but the last part was still under construction and was all hard packed gravel road and tired I reached the top.



       Looking over my shoulder, to see if Scotty made it as well and pulling brakes at the same time to come to a standstill, I lost my balance driving only 1 km p/h and dropped the bike on me, trapping my left leg underneath in an awkward position and that ruined my day and probably a few more, and this happened in sight of the small village near Tierradentro. It felt like my ankle was broke and knee out of place and 5 minutes later could not walk or stand on it anymore and thought this is a pretty place to get this injury. No phones, internet to get a hold to the rest of the world. A small hostel was nearby and the ankle started to get worse and started to swell and the 89 year old owner helped me giving some local medicine to reduce the swelling, it smells like Vicks and then Scotty had still some medicine left from his mishap, 2 weeks earlier. I know tomorrow will be worse and end up probably a few days here and hope I can make it to Bogota early next week! 
       In my lifetime I dropped the bike 3 times and every time my left leg get trapped and every time it happened being in a almost standstill position, I guess that is better as going 120 km and crash, but I believe it hurts more @ slow speed!

       After an uncomfortable night, I got up around 7 am and struggled to get to the common shower, using a stick to get there and the hot shower felt refreshing and after letting cold & hot water running over my leg, it felt a little better and the swelling on my ankle was significant reduced, but now the knee gave me the most pain, rest of the day I stayed in bed, not using my leg at all. It seems like all the locals knew about my case and they send the local Bush doctor to me that night to evaluate the leg and other people went looking for  3 different leaves to boil for her and if I understand them good, one was Mango leaves.
After she applied the hot boiled water with the plant extracts to my ankle and knee using a towel, it seems the cramped feeling left me soon and after she massaged the leg as a professional physiotherapist, but it felt more as a bone crusher to me, the knee came back in the proper position and most important to me, she says nothing was broke and in a few days it should be over and I should try to walk on it! Her fee was $ 5.00 for the hour session and told her I would be back tomorrow!

   Woke up Sunday, the knee felt much better, but the ankle was still stiff and had all the colors of the rainbow and around nine I limped to her house nearby to get the next session physiotherapy. She used today tobacco leaves and plantain leaves for bandage after having them boiled and rubbed with some oil the sore spots and an hour later I limped back again to my room, waiting on next day to come!