The June/August saga of making it from Reno, NV to Deadhorse and back was completed on 27AUG. Long story but the clutch failed in the Yukon in June but I made it to Fairbanks. The HD/BMW, etc. dealer in Fairbanks wouldn't order parts until they saw the bike even though I agreed to buy the parts, etc. Thus a one day job became a ten day job as there is no overnight service to Fairbanks, they didn't order all the parts they needed and then we were into the 4th of July weekend. I flew home as I had other commitments. Flew back to Fairbanks on 17AUG. Planned to do a 4 day up and back to Deadhorse. Left at 05:30 on 18AUG. Was in Coldfoot for lunch at 11:30 then banged it out to Deadhorse arriving at 17:00. Perfect road conditions, except where they were doing repairs. Flew along at 60 to 75mph the entire way. Came back to Fairbanks on the 19th and was there in time for dinner with friends Karen and Jack.
Sara, my spouse, coordinated a going away party for Dave Rankine, my riding partner, and me on Thursday 29 September. Fifty of our friends came by the house to wish us well and enjoy some of Sara's famous chocolate cake.
I departed Reno at 09:15 on Friday the 30th. Rode to Adelanto, CA, a 416 mile day. 60 degrees departing Reno, 96 degrees in the Owens Valley of CA.
Bike (2010 BMW R1200GS) ran well. Clutch replaced at Fairbanks in August and new tires (Heideneau K76) before departing Reno.
Visiting with friends, Rosemary and Glen Winn, in San Marcos, CA over the weekend. Sara will fly in from Reno Saturday for dinner.
Meet up with Dave Rankine in La Mesa, CA Monday night for dinner and a Tuesday morning departure for the crossing in to Mexico at Tecate.
5OCT11 - We departed El Rosario at 08:40 on our way to Santa Rosalia, B.C., Mexico. The temperature was 60 degrees but warmed to 83 crossing the desert. Stopped for lunch at Guerro Negro. Had a fantastic meal of abalone.
Some wonderful twisties crossing over to the Sea of Cortez. Photos can't do it justice. Three military checkpoints but they just wave motorcycles through.
Staying at the Las Castias Motel just south of town. Rode back to town for dinner. Dave spotted two bikes with Colorado plates so we stopped at that restaurant to eat. Met two brothers from Denver, Steve and Tom Flint. They're down here planing in the dirt on their 650s and were waiting to take the ferry to mainland Mexico.
It was a 361 mile day. Great riding all the way.
Tomorrow it's off to La Paz where we catch the ferry on Friday to Topolobampo.
We took the Baja Ferry from La Paz to Topolobampo, departed at 15:00 and arrived at 21:30, took 45 minutes to offload.
Had to get documentation to bring the bikes in to mainland Mexico. Required the registration, passport and visitor card (got this when we entered Mexico at Tecate on 4OCT). This was all done at the port of departure, about 17 miles from La Paz. Once the gal saw the original documents we were required to provide her with one copy of each document. Copies can be made at the Baja Ferry ticket Office which is next door to the office where they issue the vehicle permit. They charge $400 to your credit card and when you depart Mexico they refund the money.
We got a cabin for four for the two of us. There are four beds per cabin, one up and one that folds down. The lunch is free, there is no dinner. It's mostly truckers and they all stay in the bar and drink.
Once we landed in Topolobampo it took 45 minutes to off-load. It was then about a 15 mile ride in to Los Mochis on a four lane divided highway for much of it.
We stayed at the Santa Anita Hotel as part of a package deal for our visit to Copper Canyon. Took the train up on Saturday the 8th and came back on the 9th (13:30 to 20:45). There is food on the train.
Copper Canyon is beyond description. If you're ever in this part of the world its a must see.
6 October 2011 - San Rosalia to La Paz, BCS, a 344 mile day. Left at 08:10. Sunrise at 07:00 now that we're on Mountain Time. Stopped at the Hotel Serenidad, Mulege, BCS for a fine breakfast. Stayed here four years ago on the trip to Cabo San Lucas with Gary Smith and the gang. A great place to stay but just didn't fit our schedule for this trip.
Fantastic twitsties coming down the coast along the Sea of Cortez. 99 degrees, and humid, coming in to La Paz. Arrived at the Hotel La Casa Jalisco at 16:00. Nice hotel, big rooms, great pool and a internet cafe and breakfast facility attached.
Left Los Mochis at 08:45 after a pancake breakfast at the Santa Anita Hotel. 293 miles to Mazatlan. Rolling terrain, farmland, miles and miles of crops, probably bound for the U.S. 75 degrees to start with a high of 93s then down to 87 along the coast.
Mex. 15 is a four-lane divided highway. Speed limit of 110K. About $18 in tolls for this leg of the journey.
Staying at the Belmar Hotel, right on the beach. A great coffee shop next door, the Looney Bean.
Today was a short day, only 184 miles. A lot of traffic getting out of Durango. The highway, Ruta 45, to Zacatecas is for the most part four lane with a 110K speed limit. Several military checkpoints but they just waive motorcycles through. It was 59 degrees when we departed and never warmed up. Locals say that this is very cold weather for this time of the year.
On and off drizzle on the trip over to Zacetecas. Staying at the Hotel Hacienda Del Bosque, rated three stars in the AAA guide book for Mexico. $74 US plus tax. A very nice place and a fine lunch. It's starting to really rain so instead of riding in to town we may just eat here at the hotel.
Very fast Wi-Fi at the hotel. A treat!
It's off to Guatalajara tomorrow, Thursday, unless the rain is too heavy. They expect the hurricane weather to pass through Guadalajara tonight/tomorrow so we'll check in the AM and make a decision.
Left late today, 09:40, with the hope that it would give some time for the rain to pass through Guadalajara. No such luck. As we reached the mountains it begin to rain so the twisties weren't that much fun. Then on top of the rain we entered areas of heavy fog. Visibility of about three car lengths. At least the locals slowed down.
Coming in to Guadalajara was not much fun. It's a big city and the last six miles or so was stop and go, bumper-to-bumper traffic, with a lot of horn blowing. Reminded me of New York City only worse. And int the rain.
Tomorrow will be a rest day. We're at the Alcazar Hotel near the center city. Nice place with indoor parking for the bikes.
The big question we'll be working on tomorrow is how we'll negotiate Mexico City, or should I say, bypassing Mexico City.
Heavy rains in Guatemala and some road washouts reported. The Adventure continues.
Today was a rest day in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Pleasant city once you get to the hotel. Terrible traffic in and out of town
Tomorrow we're off to Toluca. Want to bypass Mexico City.
We departed Peubla today at 09:20 with the hope that traffic would clear. No such luck. Hectic city with much horn-blowing. Too many cars for the city streets.
Once on what we'd call the Interstate things move very well. Of course there are Tolls to pay. The trip today came to $16.53. There are non-toll roads but the going is very slow and they take you through every little village, all of which have toppes (giant speed bumps that would take out the bottom of a car). Thus Toll Roads are the way to go unless you plan to be here a month.
The road to Oaxaca is well engineered and the twistees through the mountains are fantastic. The nice thing about Mexican drivers, both truck and car, is that on the highway they signal with their left turn signal when it's safe to pass. They also pull way over to the right to let you by.
Stopped at an 'Italian Coffee Shop' we say signs for along the highway. It was next to the Pemix Station. 20p for a latte.
We got to the Anturium Hotel in Oaxaca at 15:00. The last five miles through town was a real challenge, with traffic and one-way streets. The Garmin City Navigator Mexico doesn't recognize one-way streets. The other problem is that you can't turn left on major streets but have to go around the block until you get in the direction you want to go. Problem here is that there might be five or six one-ways that won't allow you to turn right. I have no idea how anybody without a GPS would ever find an address in these big cities. And of course the street names are written on the sides of buildings, not always in the same location. Difficult at best unless you know the city.
I'd highly recommend the Anturium Hotel. Great Wi-Fi speed and off-street secure parking for vehicles.
Today is a rest day in Oaxaca, Mexico. We're at the Anturium Hotel, right in the heart of the city. Secure parking for the bikes. I'd highly recommend the Anturium.
Walked the six blocks to the city center and toured the Musea Nacional de las Culturas. Great museum showing the history Mexico and the Oaxaca area. Rated one of the best regional museums in Mexico.
Traffic is terrible in these cities, so it's best to find a place near where you want to be and park the bikes and walk or taxi. Unless of course you like to be stalled in stop-and-go traffic, with horns blowing continually. I guess they believe that if everyone blows their horns traffic will move along faster.
That said, the people couldn't be more friendly and helpful. Oaxaca is a city you'd want to spend at least a day visiting.
Today was to be a 170 mile day, from Oaxaca to Juchitan, so we departed at 09:30. Got to Juchitan and couldn't get a hotel room due to a festival of some sort. So backgracked to Sto. Domingo Tehuantepec where we found a room at the Hotel Donaji Del Istmo. Secure parking, AC and Wi-Fi too. Had dinner at the hotel restaurant.
The day's ride was a real treat with fantastic twisties crossing the mountains to get to this side of the country. Had to keep a real close watch for pot holes as they are motorcycle killers.
Started the day at 68 degrees and when we crossed over the mountains it went to a very humid 87 degrees. Thus we sprung an extra 100p for AC.
Stopped along the road somewhere in the mountains for a tortilla lunch cooked over a fire. Cheese tortilla and a Coke came to 37p or $2.73.
Today, due to a wrong turn, a 260 mile day became a 361 mile day. Missed the turn and followed the GPS not realizing we were do a 'great circle' route. Anyway, we did get to experience some pretty serious road construction. Once we got past that we encountered some of the biggest pot holes I've ever seen. Big around as a bushel basket and about a foot deep. Motorcycle killers. Cars and trucks were all over the road trying to miss them and the speed dropped to about 15mph. Quite a few miles of them. No fun. Left at 09:30 and got here at 18:30. A very long day.
Tomorrow is a sightseeing day and we're off to Palenque.
Saturday we'll head in to Guatemala.
Today we rode sixty-five miles over to Tonina to see the Mayan Ruins. Narrow two lane roads with pot holes and crazy Mexican drivers. We made it. The ruins were impressive but the view from the top even more so.
Dinner tonight with some local BMW guys.
Tomorrow we're off to Guatemala. Had planned to take the coastal route, Hwy. 2, but the bridges are washed out from the recent hurricane, so we'll take the Pan American Highway, #1, at least for a few days.
This was a 209 mile day, left at 08:05 and arrived at 18:30.
Ran in to a political struggle between two Guatemalan bureaucrats departing Guatemala. The long and short of it being that a 90 minute process took 3.5 hours and required us to provided written statements, in Spanish, that the bikes are our property and that we're taking them out of Guatemala. Thus we again violated Rule Number 1, NEVER ride at night in Central America.
Got to Santa Ana without a problem and went to the city center to find a hotel. No luck. A shop keeper saw us studying the map and asked to help. Very little English and of course no Spanish on this end. Made it clear that we needed a 'nice' hotel. He hailed down a cab, knows the driver, and for $8 US he lead us about four miles to the Hotel Tolteka. Nice place, $59 US, includes internet and breakfast. We're taking a rest day here.
Yesterday a friend that is about two days behind us went to Lake Atitlan and was beaten and robbed, and his bike damaged. He's OK but of course emotionally upset. The State Department advises to not travel to the Lake Atitlan area.
We're happy to be out of Guatemala with only a bureaucratic fight to which we didn't have a horse entered.
Dinner tonight with local BMW guys.
Today we were joined by Carlos and his son on the ride from San Cristobal to Chimaltenango, a 291 mile day. Departed at 08:00 and did a very fast paced ride to the border. Painless crossing, took about 45 minutes.
Entered Guatemala. Many, many landslides and lane closures. I nearly went down on some wet clay and Dave wasn't so lucky. The bike went out from under him, he banged his head pretty good and screwed up his thumb. The bike is OK and he can still work the clutch, so we went on. Dark by the time we reached Chimaltenango. Couldn't find a 'real' hotel so stayed at a 'Love' hotel as they call them here. We were the only two to spend the entire night. Two beds I might add.
The gal that runs the place made me fried bananas for breakfast. One of my favorite things actually.
We got in at 19:30, pitch black.
I was leaving San Marcos after spending 2 relaxing days at Lake Atitlan. The road out of there is a steep climb. I was in first gear going around a sharp corner when three masked men jumped out of the bushes, one threw a rock and missed me. I accelerated but was hit from behind in the right shoulder with a very large stone. This sent the bike into the embankment and threw me off. The men approached with machetes, one held me up while the other cut the stuff away from the bike.
10 minutes later a pick up full of local came to my rescue. They called police and checked me and the bike over. Police came and made a report and later an arrest. I was taken from police station to police station in the area (not sure why), after I few hours I was offered a police escort back to Guatemala city (I was given one until about 100km from the city). I was never give a copy of the polce report even though I asked several times. I contacted the Canadian Embassy for help on this matter.
I have a contact here through the HUBB who is a Austrian living here for 30 years. He has been very helpful and things are working out. Today I bought new rain gear. A friend of the Austrian, a local guy has given me some clothes of his that no longer fit him but as in good shape.
Waiting to hear more on the bike ( a new mirror cost $90, so I am trying to find an after market one as well as a report on other damage.
No need to come back for me or even wait. Things are working out well and I am ok. Going for a massage/physical therapy today or tomorrow. I really appreciate your concern and I do hope we can meet up, it depends on the bike. You are a good friend, thank-youGreg Powell
Today was a short ride from Santa Ana to San Salvador, El Salvador. We left at 09:00 and were met by Ricardo Olivares, BMW Moto Club of El Salvador, just outside of San Salvador. He led us to the Comfort Inn. We'd have never found it without his help.
After getting checked in Ricardo lead us on a lunch ride to Las Brumas Grill. It's a four star restaurant located on a mountain overlooking the city. We could see the ocean about twenty miles in the distance. The President of the El Salvador Senate was a couple of tables away for I got to watch his security detail work. A lot of shotguns and automatic weapons.
The owner is a member of the BMW Club. We were treated very well in deed.
Tomorrow, we'll get an early start for the border, Honduras. If the crossing goes well, it all depends on the bureaucrats, we might make it over in to Nicaragua.
A perfect day here in San Salvador.
A 240 mile day with two border crossings. The crossing from El Salvador to Honduras was OK but slow. The real problem was the crossing from Honduras to Nicaragua. We were ripped off by the police with a phony $45 road tax. Fancy paperwork and all. This was the Honduran police. Once we cleared in to Nicaragua I went through the paperwork and realized they had pulled all the 'fancy' paper work. A real slight of hand.
A 262 mile day and enty in to Costa Rica. No rip offs but 3 1/2 hours due to long lines at every window. Gas is very expensive in Costa Rica.
A 220 mile day including a side trip to Lake Arenal to see the volcano. Clouded in, couldn't see a thing.
Stayed at the Best Western Motel in Quepos.
A day to remember. They are celebrating the founding of the city with all sorts of stuff going on in front of the hotel. Walking back from getting a haircut I was pushed from the back by what I thought was a drunk. This was about noon. Stopped at a local coffee shop for a coffee and discovered when I went to pay that my wallet was gone. Then it became clear to me what had happened with 'the drunk'. And this was with all kinds of cops working the event.
I lost my credit cards, driver's license and about $200. My passport was in another pocket and my money was stashed in various places so I was OK there. The owner of the coffee shop has lived here twenty years and took me to the police station wheere I filed a report and looked at about fifty mug shots of pickpockets. Give you an idea of the problem here. Spent the next seven hours on the phone with credit card companies and banks etc. None of the cards had been used. I suspect they just wanted the money and ditched the walled and other stuff.
Thank God I have Line2 on my iPhone and can call for 2 cents a minute via Wi-Fi.
The major issue is that I now don't have a drivers license. I've been using an expired license but when we were stopped two days ago for an illegal left turn, which we did, I gave the cop the expired DL and he immediately caught it. I then showed him my retired law enforcement ID and he let us off. At that point I put both licenses in my wallet. Dumb. I also have two really great copies of my Nevada DL. But over time they have delaminated. So I had them in my wallet and was going to get them relaminated today.
Maybe those silly pouches people carry around their necks and inside their shirts aren't so stupid after all.
Today we rode 113 miles from Quepos to Ciudad Neily. Came down the coast on Highway 34 and then merged with Highway 2 to Ciudad Neily. Departed at 09:15 and arrived here at 12:35. No rain but clouds building for the afternoon showers.
We're staying at the Hotel Centro Turistico Neily. Its about the only decent hotel in town. Good Wi-Fi. The hotel restaurant is closed on Sundays so we ordered chicken dinner from a local chain we're seen for the last few days. Good dinner and not too expensive for Costa Rica. The gasoline is very expensive.
Highway 34 is scenic but the potholes are terrible.
Today was 67 miles, in heavy rain, from Ciudad Neily, Costa Rica to Boquete, Panama. We departed at 09:00 and arrived in Boquete at 12:30.
The border crossing from Costa Rica in to Panama took 2:10. We were just ahead of the swarm or it would have been maybe 3:30. Dumb luck.
They required a $2 fee to fumigate the bikes, in the pouring rain, so they could be brought in to Panama. Go figure.
We staying at the Valle Del Rio. Nice place and good Wi-Fi but only in the lobby.
Rest day here tomorrow, 1 November, then on to Panama City on Wednesday, a 283 mile day. Dan Porter, a friend that lives here, warns of "radar' traps between here and Panama City. Basically all they want is $$$. The crooked cops are getting to be pretty old. Then of course there are the crooked bureaucrats at the border crossings. Makes one appreciate the good old U.S.A. and for that matter Western Europe and the U.K.
Today is a rest day in Boquete. We tried to make it to the volcano but when we got to the view point, about 8 miles, it was clouded in. To get to the base of the volcano was another 7 miles on a very poorly maintained, twisty mountain road and we figured it just wasn't worth the risk. And it was no fun to ride.
Had a great Italian dinner with Dan Porter at his favorite restaurant.
We stayed at the Valle del Ria Inn. Nice place but the Wi-Fi only worked in the lobby. No fun.
We left at 07:00 today to beat the afternoon thunder storms. Its about 25 miles from Boquete to highway 1 and the road is being made from a two lane to a four lane. Slow going but it'll be great when its done.
Heading to Panama City we saw National Police Moto Cops every three to five miles. They have handheld radar guns. Doesn't much matter as they decide to pull you over and come up with a reason. We were five miles under the speed limit and most everyone was passing us and they'd pull us over for 'speeding'.
The first two we got off by playing dumb. The last guy, just outside Panama City got us for $15 each. He had Dave hide the cash in his pannier. The cop then had us stand back and searched the pannier. Guess what, the money disappeared. It's getting pretty old actually. They're all friendly but why shouldn't they be, we're giving them money.
Welcome to Central America. Wonder what South America will bring.
Got to Panama City at 14:00. Hired a cab to lead us to Panama Passage. He got lost too. Finally found it at 14:30. I'd explain it to you but they're moving on 15NOV11 and haven't yet found a place.
It was a 292 mile day. Oh, just as we started across the Bridge of the Americas the afternoon thunderstorm hit. Wow, does it ever come down. Buckets!
We'll be here November 2-8.
Tired to go to the airport (PTY)_on 3 November but its their Independence Day and so many of the roads were blocked for parades that we couldn't make it. Hard to believe but the road to the airport was closed. We tried again on the 4th and made it. I spoke with the Girag Air Cargo folks. We'll bring the bikes out to the airport on Monday, the 7th, pay the $902, (cash only) they'll put them on pallets, do the paperwork, etc. and the bikes will 'fly' to Bogota (BOG) on the 8th at 06:00.
We'll fly PTY/BOG on the 9th. Sara will fly in to BOG from Reno on the 10th. The wild card at this point is how long will it take us to get the bikes through customs in Colombia. As soon as we get the bikes we'll continue south.
In the mean time we're in a holding pattern at Panama Passage. Did some sightseeing today on the bike. Tomorrow, Sunday, I've hired a gal to take us on a tour of the city and to see the canal and the canal museum.
Took the bikes out to Girag Air Cargo today for shipment to Bogota on Tuesday. The process took from 10:00 to noon. Not bad as some border crossing have taken over four hours.
Total cost $902 (cash). Required two copies of: title, registration, passport and aduana.
The fee is set so they don't weight the bike. Put it on a pallet so the windshield, mirrors and panniers can stay on.
Easy process. No help needed. The hard part is finding the air cargo area of the airport.
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