October 21, 2006 GMT
Getting further South Still!

Ok time to catch up! It has been a several days and a few countries since my last update so I guess I better bring you up to date. Before I do that though, I want to tell you about some other adventurers I have run into down here. I was reading another motorcycle traveler's blog and he met a couple from Germany that had fixed up a Toyota RV of some kind, for around the world travel. He had met them in Alaska and I thought "how cool it would be to meet them". Well, you guessed it, sitting in front of a fruit stand south of Puerto Escondido Mexico, there it was.

I stopped and introduced myself. His name, I have forgotten (maybe Rolph), but hers was Trouta (because when she introduced herself, she said "like the fish"). Easy! They have traveled all over the world in this van. They invited me in for a cup of coffee and we talked for a long time about traveling. Hope to run into them again. I also met two other guys just north of San Cristobal de las Casas. They are on a fast track to Santiago, Chile. Dave plus the big fellow, Bob Tisch, who is on his way to Chile to marry a high school sweetheart.

She was a foreign exchange student from Chile in the mid seventies and they dated. Both married, he divorced, her husband died from some medical complication and Paul Harvey will have to "tell you the rest of the story" :=) Actually, I begged Bob to email me and let me know how it all worked out. Great story huh?

Travelin', meeting interesting people, hearing interesting stories, who wouldn't want to do this? :=)

Back to my little adventure. We left San Cristobal de las Casas on the 15th of Oct (had to, remember my Mexican insurance was out), and crossed into Guatemala at La Mesilla. The border crossing was not too tough (if you are the kind of person that has root canal WITHOUT anesthesia) :=)

We made it and continued on to one of the many old colonial towns down here. Quetzaltenango (yeah, try saying that after 4 beers), was a VERY cool little village. When we arrived there were streets blocked off, tents up with hundreds of people around, music going and dancing girls doing their thing.

WE figured they heard we were coming. Turns out it was the annual "Festival of the Virgin". We checked into a great hotel right on the main square where the party was going and joined the festivities.

Of course there was beer and tequila, and this time some Mescal involved. Met some local fellows that said I was good enough (at beer drinking) to join them.

Those are their beer bottles, not mine (sure) :=) Slowly left Quetzaltenango the next morning and headed south to what the Panajachel towns folk bill as the prettiest lake in the world, Lake Atitlan. I will let you decide but they put up a pretty good argument. A GREAT fish lunch right on the water.


and After.

Another great hotel with pleasant grounds and lots of hammocks (had to take a nap)!!

Ok, some pictures of the lake from different places as we rode around it to leave to the south. It definitely was some scenery that I won't forget.

We crossed into El Salvador (another test of patience) at Cuidad Pedro de Alvarado.

I had been told that Hwy CA2 thru El Sal was extremely pretty. Whoever told me that, I owe you a six pack (they are probably empties though). Great road with no topes, wide shoulders, banked turns and views of the ocean that were outstanding.
We got into Acajutlia and found a nice little beach place near Los Cabanos that was only 14 miles from where the guide book said it was (oh well, they DO say GUIDE).

A very accommodating young couple ran the place and they fixed dinner just for us as well as breakfast in the morning. Room, two meals and 13 beers between us cost me $41. I may have to come back here. The surfers that are reading this may very well know the place. The next day on down that great road to another beach place called El Cuco (seemed appropriate for the likes of us). A somewhat nice place but what the heck, save a little money when you can. We stopped for lunch at another surfer paradise called Punta Roca.

I am sure some of you have heard of it (Jason?) The next day was to be the ultimate test of patience. It also was Shell's anniversary so he figured the least he could do was CALL his wife so .....

That big smile went away when he got the "this phone has been disconnected message" :=) We were going to cross TWO borders in one day. As we pulled up to the line getting into Honduras, another motorcycle traveler came up behind with his "handle" painted on the side of one pannier.

I immediately recognized Salvador Carlucci, known on the blogs as SALCAR. I had spoken to him several times on the blogs and he also remembered me. Cool HUH? Sal who has an Italian and Nicaraguan passport spoke perfect Spanish (plus many other languages I am sure). I am sure when Julia hears that Sal and I are going to hook up to do the South American part of the trip, she will be more than happy to join me in Machu Picchu. :=) Sal's Spanish speaking skills made our boarder crossings a "little" bit better (but unfortunately even he couldn't reduce the stress level). Still had to go thru the process. Out of El Salvador, into Honduras,

100 or so miles and into Nicaragua. I had been told that the crossing INTO Honduras was the worst of the Central American crossings AND THEY WERE RIGHT!! Getting out of Honduras was not so bad but getting into Nicaragua

took some time and the sun went down. It was about 60 (seemed like a thousand) miles to Leon and I had been told that Hwy CA2 into Nicaragua was terrible AND THEY WERE RIGHT!! This road made the Dalton Highway/Haul Road to Prudhoe Bay (you have been reading the whole blog, right?) seem like a wide open freeway. Gravel, mud, potholes the size of lakes (it was raining), and trucks trying their best to kill us was only part of the fun. To add a little excitement (a LOT of excitement) we did it in the dark. Haven't had that much stress since that last IRS audit! :=) We were breaking the first rule of riding down here (NEVER drive at night) in a VERY big way. The 10 or so granola bars I brought along (thanks Julia) served as dinner along the way. We got into Leon around 9:00 PM and collapsed into the first hotel we ran across.
After a LATE (well deserved) breakfast we left Leon and headed south again. Sal has relatives in Managua so he headed there, I (we) will meet him again in Panama City. Cory and Shell went toward Granada and I came down here to San Juan Del Sur (another great beach and surfer community) just so I could download pictures and do this blog update (plus some laundry and of course (drum roll again) drink the local Nicaraguan beer.

A nice hotal across the street from the beach, harbor, and several bars (oh yeah).
Tomorrow, Cory and Shell will come down here and the next day we will head for another border crossing into Costa Rica. More adventure to come I am sure!!!!!

There are many more pictures here.


Posted by Rick McDermed at October 21, 2006 03:11 PM GMT

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