Leg 5 Mexico-Guatemala-El Salvador-Honduras-Nicaragua-Costa Rica
Leg 5 - Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua & Costa Rica!
Preface: I would like to fill you in on a couple of things before I tell the story of Leg 5. I am
writing this 8 months after we took this portion of our trip. If you have been following our trip around the world, you know that the previous leg, Leg 4 was the most challenging time of our lives and sitting to write, or think about it in anyway, was something that took me 8 months to do.
We have continued to ride and now we are about to begin Leg 8 Colombia and Ecuador. I have
just fallen behind in the story telling and I am getting caught up. We have all taken our time
and the rides are beginning to be fun again and our souls are healing, but now functioning in a way that we are happy to know that we are capable of finding the joy of riding again. As you will read shortly, the first rides were a bit forced because we felt we must carry on, but they weren’t as fun as they were in the past because a big piece of our team was missing.
Remember that we ride for a couple of weeks, and then we go back to work for a few weeks. It has
basically been a month ON/OFF of riding and working. The pace of the trip being broken up and going our separate ways has been a nice way to ease back into our adventure. We are now back on the road and here comes the story of Leg 5 & Central America. Grab a glass of wine, a beer or whatever your flavor and enjoy the ride. As always, thank ya much for following our adventure and all of the well wishes.
LEG 5 -
After the Celebration Of Life for Brian was over and all of Brians family and friends had left the island of Guam, we went back to work. We tried
to find out what our new normal would be. Brian is someone that I talked to multiple times a day and he was the person in my life that I talked to the most, besides with my wife Pascale, and Bob. Brians silence was deafening and I was constantly trying to keep myself busy so that I might not relive the events of Zacatecas too often. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t. It is hard to live in a small place and not think of someone you spent a lot of time with, because everywhere I passed there was a story of a time that we had been there. For a brief time, I even considered moving off of the island that I love, just because I didn’t see it getting any better and everywhere I looked, I would see Brian and think of a time we had been to any given place. The pain got deeper before it got better. It still hurts now even many months later, but the first couple of months were not good.
We took two months off of the ride so that we could just learn to cope with things and for the
first time in my life, I didn’t feel like getting on a motorcycle. I didn’t want to do anything. Nothing sounded fun. I am someone that loves
to be on the move all the time and I like to be in the water, boating, scuba diving, snorkeling or hiking and the list goes on and on. Guam has
no shortage of fun things to do and wonderful places to explore. I am surrounded by likeminded people that are quick to drop daily duties and go explore any remote corner of the island that might land us in a cave we have to swim underwater for while to get to. Adventure is never far from my doorstep and I couldn’t bring myself to do any of it, which was a new and unwelcome feeling for me. Bob and Justin were going through similar processes and we all took this 2 month gap to try to find out what our new life would be like. It didn’t come easy, but as usual with time and only time, things got to where we started to come out of our own personal cave.
It was a long 2 months and the time to get back to Mexico and pick up where we left off was
approaching. The 3 of us had a few conversations about, do we continue, or do we hang it up? Its suppose to be a fun trip and suddenly it felt like a chore and we were sort of forcing ourselves to get back on the bikes. We knew that Brian would want us to continue but that didn’t make any of us want to go jump on a bike and ride. The two month break was suddenly over in a few days, and its decision time.
Justin and I were of the opinion that if we don’t get back and ride now, we may not ever get back to finish the ride. The longer we wait, the more difficult it would be to get started again. It was a band-aid we had to pull off and just get going! Bob didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to convince anyone to go nor did Justin. Bob said he’d go, but he didn’t feel ready. I said “I don’t want to go either but we must, but we only go when everyone feels ready.” Bob said, “ I don’t want to jam anyone up, so I’ll go.” Around and around we went but again, I wasn’t going to convince anyone to go. All of this was taking place about two weeks before we were set to leave to go to Zacatecas. We parted ways and said we would see how we all felt a couple of days before we left and have the discussion again.
When we met a couple of weeks later, and 2 days before we were suppose to leave, Bob and I met
to talk about the plan. On my drive to meet Bob, I hoped that he would say he didn’t want to go. I had realized that I wasn’t ready either and I don’t think I wanted to be the guy to say I didn’t want to go, so hopefully Bob would say it. As Bob and I met up, he said doubtfully that he would go. I shared my doubts too, but after a very long discussion we said lets go. Justin was firmly decided that he felt we should go sooner rather than later. So now the 3 of us agreed, we are heading back to Mexico to pick up where we left off.
The way our work schedules worked out, I had 5 days off before Justin and Bob. I decided to go down to Mexico by myself several days before the
other guys. I took my flights from Guam-Tokyo- Houston-Dallas-Zacatecas, and many hours later, I was back in the place that had broken my heart and forever torn my soul. I was alone. That was immediately evident in every way as soon as I got there. I had travelled there in a bit of fog and hadn’t really mentally stepped through the motions of arriving. I was just trying to put one foot in front of the other not really thinking about a plan, or what might unfold once I arrived. I am a believer that things always workout, but you have to just keep chugging along, and here I was chugging.
After I arrived, I got a small room in downtown Zacatecas and I contacted Roy. For those that haven’t read our previous Blog of Leg 4, I would encourage you to do so to learn about Roy and how significant he was to pulling us through our darkest hours in Mexico. I called Roy and he came over to my hotel within 20 minutes. It was so nice to see him. We gave a big hug and it was smiles all around. It was nice to see a familiar face and one that had a smile from ear to ear. I had grown tired of people looking at me that knew my pain, and they couldn’t hide that they felt sorry for me. I was thankful, but I never wanted to be the guy that people felt sorry for, but I had to learn that there were simply many people that were sharing the pain. That was part of my process, but in the meantime, it just reminded me of the pain within.
Roy asked what I wanted to do? I said, “the first thing I want to do is go change the tires on Bobs motorcycle.” There is an ongoing debate as to what caused Brians accident. There are many factors that go into a Tank Slapper which is what happened to Brian. I am of the opinion that one of the biggest contributing factors was the tires he had on his bike. Brian and Bob both had recently installed Motoz Tires and they both had been experiencing wobbles at multiple points along the way since they installed those tires. It had never happened before and it was only the two of them having wobbles. The only commonality was the tires. I was going to change Bobs tires before he arrived. I carry an extra set of tires and I had borrowed Bobs moto key on
Guam, and my first item of business was to get rid of those Motoz tires! Of course Roy knew of a motorcycle shop that could change Bobs tires so I hopped on Bobs bike and
followed Roy to a roadside motorcycle shop that was in the middle of town. They took Bobs wheels off and then the mechanic hopped on his moped to go to another shop to have the tires removed from the wheels. There was a lot of back and forth, and about 45 minutes later, Bob had new tires on his bike and I was relieved. We will never know what the cause was of Brians accident but for now, I had an overwhelming sense of relief that the possibility of it happening to Bob had been diminished, wether the tires were the cause or
not. As my mind went to the possibility of having another event, I could not stomach that thought and I wanted to do anything in my power to negate that possibility, even if it was slight.
Roy was always ready to go and at my disposal. The following day he asked if there was anything I wanted to do. I had been
thinking about going back out to the scene of the accident, which was 130 miles away, but I didn’t know if that would be a good thing or a bad thing. I ultimately decided I had to face it. I am not a terribly religious person, but I thought it was important to bring something to lay at the
site, and Roy
knew of a place that made wooden crosses. We stopped by the wood shop and I told the guys what I wanted and they made it within an hour and then they lacquered it which had to dry for a while. We decided to go the following day to the site.
The next day we picked up the cross early in the morning and started the drive north of Zacatecas to the scene of Brians crash. The day was gorgeous. There was a chill in the air and not a cloud in the blue sky. We drove in Roys rusty taxi and bounced our way down the road for a couple of hours. Roy always has a giggle in his voice and he knows when to stop talking. He left the conversation to a minimum for our drive and we had spats of heavy conversation, and times of long silences. Roy never knew Brian but he felt the gravity of the day and our destination. As we drove through the countryside, Roy pointed out areas he called “death forests” which he explained, “you see those trees? Those trees are called Las Palmes and where you see those trees, nothing grows. Thats why you don’t see any towns, no people, no animals, no signs of life and they are know as death forests because nothing grows except those trees. So when you see those trees, thats the only thing you’ll see, nothing else. They are bad luck and I don’t like to be near them.” The Las Palmes means The Palm tree, but there are many types and variations of Palm trees. This particular type had a similarity to the Joshua tree. They were small
and grew in clusters. There would often be none, and then all of the sudden there would be a concentrate of Las Palmes trees
for a few miles.
Roy asked if the accident happened near any Las Palmes trees? I said it happened right in the middle of a bunch of them. Roy said nothing, turned his head out the window and starred silently. The day suddenly took a different vibe. It already had a heavy tone and now there are superstitions creeping in. Neither Roy or I said a word for about an hour, we just watched the “death forests” come and go in batches of Las Palmes trees and we would both stare out in to what seemed like a peaceful Mexican landscape.
I had marked the accident exact spot on my
GPS and we were getting close. I could see the Ridgeline of the rock formation that took my friend. I had a sinking feeling but showed
nothing to Roy. We slowly passed the site as it was on the other side of the road and we had
to pass it to turnaround and come back to it on the highway. We made our U-turn and stopped at the exact spot of a
place that had literally changed every part of my being. I got out of the cab and stood and starred at the rocky area. I slowly did a 360 taking it all in. It was peaceful, quiet and serene. The rolling hills made for a beautiful backdrop on the clear blue sky. Roy lingered on the opposite end of the road to give me space. I took about 30 minutes and gathered my thoughts. I fended off the heaviest of emotions but still relived the 7+ hours that I spent in this spot a short time ago. I realized that when I was previously there, I was in shock, I was not thinking straight, I had some
natural protections kicking in, that were survival instincts. Now I had a little more clarity and I could look around, take a few moments and think about what really happened. It was a series of moments that were just for me and I thought to myself that I didn’t know why I came here, and now as Im here, I am glad Im here and its just me. I needed this time to answer some questions my soul had been asking. Most will never be answered but I knew at that moment that I was suppose to be there by myself and take the time to touch this place.
After some time, Roy climbed to the top of the rock finding the easiest way for me to get to the top and we could secure the cross on the
site to remember our friend. We sat on our knees for a while and scraped an area that would be home to a symbol for my friend and marking the spot where everything changed and if there is a god, if there are angels, hopefully this cross would bring them to this spot to remember and guard our friend.
We eventually got back in Roys cab and began our drive home. The sun would be setting before too terribly long and we didn’t want to be out after dark as this area could be dangerous. So we drove 130 miles back to town and Roy asked a lot of questions about Brian, which I was happy to answer and reminisce about good times with my friend. At a glance, Roy and I are unlikely friends, but I very much enjoyed his company. It’s not too often that the more I am around someone, I want to spend more time with them, usually it’s the opposite for me. I am very social but I also have a loner on the inside and especially when it comes to deeper subjects, I would usually prefer to internalize rather than talk with anyone, but I didn’t mind with Roy. I have heard from others that have been through similar experiences, that there are people that just show up in your life at the right time. It’s
kind of unexplainable. Is it God? Is it the universe answering your pain? Is your pain capable of being sensed by something other than you? I don’t know! What I do know is that I had a deep seated pain and Roys timing, with the characteristics of his character, were oddly and perfectly timed to cross paths with my life. I have more to say on that, but I will leave it there and say that Roy really was a God send.
Bob & Justin showed up a couple of days later along with Justins wife Lara, and daughter Sydney. It was good to have new faces around. The first night that we all got in we
invited Roy and his very pregnant wife Fatima to dinner. We took them to one of the nicest restaurants in town
and we got to know his wife a bit. After a long dinner filled with
laughter, we gave Roy the donations that we had
gathered on our facebook page. We had told the story of how helpful he had been, and so many people that loved Brian wanted to help, and we said if you want to help, send something to Roy, and so many people did. We raised a significant amount of money for him and someone donated a new cell phone which
Roy was in desperate need of. Roy makes $5-10 a day, so the money we gave him and a new phone, really made a difference. He was brought to tears as he was thanking us. We explained that this is from Brians friends and family and this is from all of them, and thank you for being a kind hearted person that helped us in our time of need!
We were all ready to blaze a trail out of Zacatecas and just get a little further down the road. That being said, there was a timidness from all of us about getting back on our bikes, but we knew we had to. The following day, we suited up, prepped our bikes and hit the road. We were headed to
San Miguel de Allende. Before we left we contacted our friends at the US Embassy, whom we had gotten to know via phone, during our experience of trying to get Brian out of Mexico. We got the latest safety briefing and they changed our route based on some recent violence and beheadings that had taken place south of Zacatecas near Aguascalientes. We all agreed to skip a few towns we had previously wanted to go to, based on the new intel. We
liked our heads and we wanted to keep them attached if we could find a path to do so.
As soon as we got on the road and a short distance out of Zacatecas, we were riding in the Las
Palmes Death Forests. I was wondering if I should say anything to the other guys or not. The day already had a heavy tone, because its our first day of riding after everything that had happened, so I didn’t say anything. Bob was really taking his time and said very forcefully “I am going the speed limit and not a tad over it!” We all complied, for a while. I
have a hard time going slow. I get bored and as my mind starts to race, so does my throttle. As I heard my intercom begin to crackle, I knew I was getting too far ahead of Bob and Justin. I slowed down and we cruised at 50MPH for a few hours. It was slow and necessary, just to get back on the road and find a new rhythm. Our conversations were different because there was one less voice and Brian had the most pronounced radio DJ voice and it was powerful and it was gone. It didn’t go unnoticed and still doesn’t. We did have a few semi-forced laughs as we joked about our new riding speed. We all knew it was just a matter of time before we found our stride again. It did happen but it took several days.
We arrived in San Miguel de Allende and it was full of American Expats but had a unique charm to it. We stored our bikes in a parking lot next to our hotel, got cleaned up and hit the bar. We were all quietly relived to have one day under our belt of riding again. There was a thickness to our adventure and we all knew what it was but we weren’t talking about
it. We were all just trying to act like
everything would be ok, and trying to see if we could figure out how to make the ride work again. As we hit the bar, we raised many glasses to our friend and we talked a bit about our relief of being out of Zacatecas. That place had sucked us in like a black hole. As we sat at a Jazz bar run by an American
guy, there were two American girls we met
there and they were Dana and Twila. They didn’t know how significant they would be for that portion of our trip, nor did I. We invited
them to have a shot of tequila with us and they asked about our trip and we shared stories of Alaska and Canada, but it took a while for us share what had recently taken place in losing our friend. We certainly weren’t hiding it, but we just met them and we
are not in the habit of
pouring it all out to strangers right away. Both Dana and Twila had an inviting nature and were a pleasure to be around. I also think that they served as a nice distraction so that the 3 of us didn’t keep harping on negative or sad emotions. We needed some comic relief and they provided it, even if they didn’t know it. They took us around town to show us some of their favorite spots. Twila’s parents lived there so she was very familiar with the area. She took us to a great restaurant with an overlook over the town that made for a nice sunset. We all gathered around a casual setting and visited for a while with other passerbys, it was nice and necessary. Their company was great! They both had a California swagger and we all instantly felt like we had been friends for a long while.
We said our goodbyes and then the next morning as we were having breakfast, the hotel front desk clerk came running up and pointing at our motorcycles and saying “Policia Policia” and when we ran outside, the cops were taking the license plates off of all of our bikes. We had parked about 1 foot in a no parking zone and instead of writing a
ticket in Mexico, they take your license plates so you have to go to City Hall and pay your fine. They already had Bob and Justins plates in their hands, but I have theft proof bolts on my plates and there was one cop with a set of tools determined to get it off. I went over and pleaded with him to stop but he kept cranking away. There were two other cops about 20 yards away. We went and talked to them
and they agreed that if we gave them $20, they would give all of our plates back. Ahhh, our first taste of corruption and it was the police in San Miguel de Allende’. One thing is universal I’ve learned in my travels, the most corrupt people in most countries are cops and taxi drivers. They often work together and I unfortunately have countless stories about, and this day was no different, the police want to be paid off. This is never a good idea because it perpetuates the problem, but it’s a choice, do
we take the time and sometimes more money to be paid at City Hall? Or do we pay half price now and be on our way? We paid.
After all of that, we went to start up our bikes and my bike wouldn’t start. I have a brand new 2017 BMW F800GSA and it won’t start. I was irritated. I had watched Bob have problems with his bike for the past 18,000+ miles, and now mine. I was ready to burn the BMW logo. There were a few people that walked by and one was a guy named Phil and he was an American guy that had ridden all over Central America and he was a wealth of
recommended a guy to fix my bike and gave us a number. 10 minutes later, the guy was in front of our hotel and ready to fix
my bike. He figured out that it was an electrical problem
and needed to take it to his shop. After several minutes of English/Spanish charades, we figured that he wanted to push my bike 2 miles to his shop. Thats exactly what he did. He and another guy pushed my bike while I tried to keep up. They fixed my bike in about 3 hours and it cost $15. I had a small electrical fire that had singed some circuits and he replaced them all and Bingo (my bikes name) was ready for the road, but now we were late in the day so we stayed in San
Miguel for another night. We called Dana and Twilia and they met us out for another evening of drinks and laughter. It was good, and life on the road is suppose to be filled with strangers and laughter, but we were having to dig deep for the laughs, but with these 2, we didn’t have
to dig deep. It was so refreshing!
As we thought we would leave the next day, Bobs bike started to act up again and behave in the same way that it did in Canada. Bob was pissed and ready to torch all things BMW. Justin had a contact through mutual friends that was a Mexican guy that was an avid rider, and he said he would be happy to help us shop for a new motorcycle for Bob. Bob was so upset I think he was ready for an impulse buy and we searched for a Honda motorcycle store and he was ready to buy a Honda Africa Twin motorcycle. We had all been eyeballing that bike, and this latest mechanical BMW problem was just the push to push Bob over the edge and go buy a Honda. We were all beginning to lose our patience with BMW.
We drove an hour south to the Honda dealer to meet Justins friend George. George and his son were at the dealer waiting for us and eager to share his motorcycle stories. He was very happy to meet us and hear of our adventures. We were happy to oblige, but today was a Honda shopping day. After spending a couple of hours talking to the Honda salesman, Bob decided that it probably wouldn’t work out to buy a motorcycle in Mexico. The licensing and logistics were too
expensive and time consuming that he had to figure out something to do with his bike instead. Bob had been wrestling with his motorcycle since eastern Canada and it was a lemon. It had a chronic problem and it behaved like it had bad fuel, would sputter for a while and eventually die, never to start again. It left him stranded outside of St Johns Newfoundland Canada, and it ruined a portion of his trip. He missed the last part of Leg 3 which took us down the east coast of America and on to Texas, and Bob missed all of that due to his mechanical failure. He missed it all because of this problem, and now it’s back, after countless calls with BMW, several mechanics looking at it and ordering several new parts, the problem still exists! The big problem now is that if it dies again later down the road, we will not be in the kind of place that we can just call someone to come and get it, nor do we want to be sitting on the side of the road with a BMW. Bobs frustration grew and it was evident, rightly so.
George said he had some friends in a motorcycle club a few towns over that might be able to help. He called them and they agreed to see us. We got on the road and
Bobs bike chugged the whole way, and none of us were sure if it would make the 30 miles we had to go.
As we arrived we were pleasantly greeted by a few guys that were gear heads that you could
tell just loved to figure things out. The shop
had a feel of a top notch shop with loads of tools and equipment. In fact, it wasn’t a shop. This place was strictly a motorcycle club and for
members only. The only reason we are inside is because of George. We learned this later when we wanted to share the location of this place so that other riders could benefit and we were asked not to say anything. They like having their privacy and we were thankful for the help.
As a group of riders/mechanics heard of the problems with Bobs bike, they dug in and tore
his bike apart. We waited and toured their shop which not only had some great equipment, but many classic
motorcycles. We were kinda in heaven. I loved everything about this shop. I loved that it was a small group of guys that were serious about their hobby and it showed. They didn’t gloat or have any pretensiousness about them, they just loved all things motorcycles and we did too, so we could relate to these guys. We also loved that they wouldn’t let us sit without a Corona in our hand. The beers just kept coming and the day got lighter and lighter.
After a couple of hours, Bobs bike was finished and as good as new! These guys found what several BMW mechanics could not. The source of the problem was a bent fuel line that was chocking off the fuel. They did a number of other things too, but that was the big one. Once again, Im writing this months after this experience and Bob has not had one problem with his bike ever since. We love these guys!! What a great experience and another testament to how wonderful the Mexican people are. We have had nothing but great experiences with the people of Mexico!
We rode about an hour and half back to San Miguel De Allende and rendezvoused one more time with Twila and Dana for evening drinks.
It was time to say goodbye to this little gem in Mexico.
The following day we said our goodbyes and we really did leave. We were headed to Puebla, home of Mole’ sauce and where it was created. If you like Mexican food, chances are you have had Mole’ sauce which is
chocolate based and its my favorite! I was excited to get to Puebla, to begin exploring again and attempt for all us to make steps to get out of this funk.
As we were riding to Puebla, we had to ride around the outskirts of Mexico City. We couldn’t take a wrong turn because there was a particular permit required to ride in Mexico
City which we didn’t have, and if we get caught, we would be a cops dream, with all of the fines we could get. As we approached Mexico City, the traffic got pretty bad and it was thick. We now got back in our motorcycle mode and some of our riding timidness would slowly begin to fade, because you have to be on the ball, stab and steer, make quick decisions and react quickly. That’s what we did. We got in the rhythm of being one unit on the road, the three of us. Suddenly, Justin made a very abrupt maneuver from the far left
side of the road, as he was in the forward position, to the far right side of the road, saying “this is our turn this is our turn” and BOOM he was going right. I had to juke left just to miss from colliding with him. Bob was all the way in the back and he now had a choice to make. Do I stay on the highway with Dan, or do I take the exit ramp with Justin? We all talked about it briefly in our intercoms which will keep us connected for about a half a mile, and Bob followed Justin down the exit ramp. I was on the loop around town by myself which isn’t really a big deal. We will meet up shortly in about an hour in Puebla in the worst case scenario. As I got about 2 miles down the road, my battery on my phone is almost dead, and that is my GPS, so now I don’t have any directions. My charger is buried deep in my bag which is strapped down to my bike. I have to pull over though and solve the problem and get my GPS going again. I pull over off the highway, because it was impossible to pull over on the highway, and I ended up in a very shitty ghetto. I have got all this expensive gear, cameras, phone, bags and motorcycle that got a lot of attention. I was locked in dead lock traffic and I was getting some looks that were not
favorable. I left enough room between the car in front of me in case I had to go in the median to run away from anything. It was uncomfortable and now I am starting to get pissed at the situation. Why am I in this situation? Why am I alone and fighting this battle by myself? The more I asked questions, the more mad I got! I was hot and tired, and my anger was an excuse to just get mad because I was always half cocked due to the pain I was carrying but hadn’t addressed.
I did a U-turn to make it back near the highway and I got on a tollroad to immediately pull over. I grabbed my portable battery charger, plugged in my phone which was at 1% and I was on my way. Traffic was terrible all the way to Puebla. I turned up my music and asked myself, “if you were originally going to do this ride around the world by yourself, why are you upset that Justin and Bob aren’t with you?” Once I said that, I found some zen, turned my music up and began to enjoy the remaining part of my heavy traffic filled day.
An hour later I was in Puebla. We had previously booked our hotel so I knew what
hotel to look for and I figured Bob and Justin will be there waiting for me. Thats not the way it went. I approached the town square which our hotel was in, and there was a festival going on. The streets were blocked off and there were people everywhere. I did a few circles around a few blocks trying to figure out my approach to my hotel,
which seemed impossible to get to due to the festival. Police were everywhere! I pulled up to the corner of the town square where there was a very large group of police numbering more than 100, and I said the name of my hotel and shrugged my shoulders. They called over the big boss, who explained the hotel I was looking for was on the other side of the town square which was blocked off, but then he turned and shouted in Spanish at all of the other cops and all of them stopped what they were doing to listen to this guy. I got an immediate sense that this guy was high
ranking, and after he was finished shouting, they all parted a way and motioned for me to ride through the middle of them and through the crowd. The look of surprise on my face had to be obvious! I was shocked and couldn’t help
but wonder if I was being set up. There were no other cars, motorcycles, mopeds, or even bicycles riding through the shoulder to shoulder crowds of pedestrians, and they were inviting me to ride my big motorcade, stacked with gear, through the middle? Ok, here I go! As I inched my way through the police the ones at the end of the line looked at me in amazement and a couple started to approach to question me, but another cop always stopped them and motioned over at the boss who was watching from the end of the line. No-one stopped me. Several pedestrians gave me some dirty looks like I had violated the privacy of pedestrian strolls, but I was never going to get to my hotel without this maneuver and the cops knew it, and they pointed the way. Once I got to the other side of the park/town
square, there was another bunch of cops and I had to penetrate their road blocks to get to my hotel, which they were right in front of. I explained in my best spanish (my spanish is terrible) that I had permission to skip all the roadblocks and do what I am doing, and Im just trying to make it to the hotel across the street. They agreed, stopped traffic, moved the barricades and let me through. I was completely baffled the way the past 20 minutes had progressed and every bad thing I had heard about Mexico was put to rest in this moment. I had found the kindness of strangers in a very unexpected place, and it was a very nice surprise!
I went in the hotel and Bob and Justin were not there yet. I couldn’t believe it! After all of that, I was first to arrive! I parked my bike and sent messages to them both. They both responded and they were both fighting the same battle in heavy traffic and trying to figure out a way to get to the hotel which was blocked off and next to impossible to get to. I checked in my hotel room, showered and Bob was the first one to show up about an hour later. Justin pulled in about the same time but they pulled in separately. Both of
them were irritable and upset. The tone of the day had taken a battle tone. We were battling traffic, pinned up emotions of the loss of our friend Brian, and now we were starting to battle amongst ourselves which was a new thing.
Bob explained that when we split up, and after I had gone down the highway, Justing took off leaving Bob behind
and it was every man for himself from the outskirts of Mexico City to Puebla. He didn’t know what had gotten into Justin and Bob was wrapped up pretty tight. He then started in on me and we had a few words and I walked off and said I’d meet them both at a cafe around the corner when they got cleaned up. After everyone had a shower we had all cooled off and we instantly jumped in to the festival going on in the streets of Puebla. It was a beautiful city and it was a nice way to arrive.
We roamed the streets taking it all in, and eventually wound up at a small restaurant to have several Mexican dishes drenched in Mole’ sauce. I was in heaven! The restaurant felt exactly like I had imagined Mexico to be. There was a loud small band playing music, everyone was drinking good quality tequila and the food was fantastic!!
We made our stay in Puebla short and only one day. We departed the following day and headed toward Oaxaca. There is a famous road
to Oaxaca called the Mezcal Highway. Mezcal is similar to tequila and it’s from this region in Mexico. I was learning to love mezcal but not sure if riding down a highway filled with several stops of drinking Mezcal, would be a good idea on a motorcycle. We pulled over and bought a bottle, but didn’t really hop from manufacturer to manufacturer along the way like we initially wanted to do. We decided to just enjoy the nice twisty road along the Mezcal highway and appreciate a perfect
We arrived in Oaxaca and made a lap around town to see if there was anything that sparked our interest and maybe find a place to stay. Oaxaca was a much larger town than any of us were expecting, but we found a town square that had a lot of action, so we decided to stay a few blocks away from there. We found a small hotel, dropped our stuff and headed to the town square. We were finding some similarities in a lot of the towns in Mexico. They all seemed to have a colonial feel, with nice architecture, a festive vibe and good restaurants were never far away. Once we spent a couple of hours in the town square just walking around and getting a feel for the
town, some tourists we encountered insisted we eat at a local restaurant not far away. We walked in to the restaurant and it was a casual place with nice low lighting and it was very loud. It wasn’t loud like a band was playing, it was loud because there were so many people there and all of clings of the dishes and bar activity, just made for a loud environment. It had a very warm feel to it.
After we sat down, we ordered our beers and appetizers. It was only a matter of a few short minutes that Bob brought up the ride around Mexico City and what happened on our way to Puebla. I was ready to forget it and had tried to put it on one shoulder and let it roll off the other, but once it was brought up, it didn’t take much for me to spool up. What unfolded next, is a part of the trip that I wish never happened but I believe now in hindsight, it was absolutely necessary to move on, and get a bit closer to the next step of moving forward.
The gloves came off and before you know it, we were all taking turns yelling at each other. It was nasty and ugly. It was the kind of argument that we may or May NOT be friends
afterwards. We have been friends for a long time and in this moment, none of us cared. We aired frustrations that had been pinned up for a very long time, and some complaints came from several years ago. It was a long drawn out argument, that seemed systematic. We each took our turn. It was mostly between Bob and myself, but I aired some complaints that I had at Justin, that seemed to catch him off guard. Justin is extremely soft spoken and non confrontational. I just couldn’t hold my frustration in any longer, and I will share something that I said, just to convey the gist. “Justin, you don’t listen! I have told you not to make quick moves or abrupt maneuvers, and yet you do it again, and we all ended up split up for a few hours. There are consequences for everything we do and that was a consequence of that action. I had to learn that after I figured out that I shouldn’t get mad about it, that one of the reasons I was mad, was because Bob, Brian and myself had all of our riding dynamics worked out. We were a tight unit on the road and we were all predictable to the others. I could look out at whatever variables are present on the road, look at Bob or Brian, and I can tell you what they are going to do, and vice versa, they
could tell ya what I am going to do. That made it easy. The reality is, that we have to figure you out. We have to get used to Brian not being here, and the fact that you are not Brian. I have to come to terms with thats not your fault, thats my fault. I have some figuring out to do in many ways, and our riding dynamics is a big one that I have to learn,
fast. Its just different.” Justin, in typical Justin fashion, responded with being very receptive and he has never made any abrupt maneuvers ever since and he has fit in nicely. It took a while for us to get our heads wrapped around a new riding style, but we figured it out.
The argument continued in the restaurant longer than anyone of us would have liked. Just when I thought it was coming to an end, another heated subject would come up, and then another, and then another and so on... It seemed to never end and it was air it out time. I think Bob and I both visualized choking the other. This is odd territory for us because we don’t argue. Sure we have disagreements but they are always at a healthy tone and volume. Not this time! Thank God we are in a loud restaurant. The waiter kept
coming over to take our order and he would always slink away after standing there for a few minutes. That happened a few times, until I think he decided “I either need to call the cops, or take these guys order.” Finally he interrupted our argument and took our order,
and we picked up right where we left off.
After enough time, we sort of brought the argument to a close. We were now the last people left in the restaurant and it was time to leave. The wait staff was waiting for us, and we had to go. We tried to put our best cap on the argument and walked out. We were only about 10 yards down the sidewalk when it began again. This is where the real ugliness happened. I think Bob and I both said some things that we wish we could take back, but it was too late, it’s out there. The verbal lashes had gotten so bad that we were fully unloading. It was beginning to escalate to a point of no return, and I walked away and walked home by myself. It was either that or take it to the next level and lose a life long friend.
The following morning we all met in the lobby for breakfast at our agreed upon time. The
tension was still very thick. Bob sat down on the floor next to my chair and we calmly talked about some of the high point topics from the previous night. We both stood up and gave a very long lasting deep squeezed hug. It was needed and very sincere on both sides. I think we both knew why that ugliness had unfolded in the way that it did. We just needed something to scream at and maybe punch, even if it was just verbal punches, because we were all screaming on the inside because Brian is gone. We don’t know how to deal with this. Who does? Whats next? I am not one to talk about my feelings and all of the sudden, Im an overflowing river of negative emotions that need to scream, punch, run or hide. I like to think none of this showed on the outside, but thats how I felt on the inside. We were all just the closest people within our proximity that unfortunately had to suffer the lashes of each others grief.
The good news, and one thing I love about being a dude, is that when it was done, it’s done. We never let anything more fester, there was nothing left to say. In some ways, it was as if our trip started right there in Oaxaca. We somehow had moved a step closer to moving
forward with our ride and trying to make it a journey amongst friends.
After breakfast we went to the Mayan ruins of Monte Alban
We took in the sights of the ancient ruins and with a new feeling of a new ride, we decided this should be the first place
that we spread some of the ashes of our friend Brian. We took several moments and we opened our purple velvet Crown Royal bag that we carry him around in, we each reached in and took a pinch of our friend. It was incredibly chilling and there are no words to convey the feeling of holding a pinch of your best friend, and getting ready to release a small part of him to be forever at this magical place in Mexico overlooking an amazing mountain view. We each took our own time in silence, and in due time, we each let our ashes fly, saying a small goodbye. Afterwards we sat on the cliffside for more than hour in silence. The day was perfect and I think we could have all stayed forever, but we had to go. We spent the next couple of hours riding down the road toward the border of Mexico and Guatemala. We were all ready to put Mexico in our rearview mirror and move on. Mexico had nothing to do with what had happened, but we were all still ready to leave it behind.
Once we hit the coast, we could smell the ocean and the landscape was filled with windmills. We went through several wind farms and it was a nice farewell to Mexico.
We made one last stop for a night in the town of Pijijiapan (please try and say that a few times). There a few bungalows on a beach that we found, with a nice pool that we figured we would make our last stop in Mexico. Bob and Justin took a small ferry over to an island
about 200 yards away from our resort, while I hung out at the pool so I could write this blog that I could post several months later :)
The following morning we entered our 4th country and crossed the border into Guatemala.
First we had to exit Mexico which was a lot more time consuming than we imagined. The customs officials are
very thorough and went out to our motorcycles and verified the VIN numbers which took a while for them to find and see them. We did this one by one after waiting in line for a long while. Bob, who is sometimes
one of the most disorganized people I Know, lost his vehicle permit, which he could not exit the country unless he found it. We sat in the parking lot in the shade of a small car next to us, searching for his lost paperwork. Finally!! It turned up. This is the pic of two happy guys with
all of their paperwork!!
Now we cross out of Mexico and we have to do the same thing all over again in Guatemala. This border crossing was the longest we have encountered so far. As I write this, we have had 10 border crossings, and Guatemala was the worst and longest. They made us wait for a very long time and took all day just to get the last 20 yards. I made this little video while we waited.
After several hours and about 2 gallons of sweat from sitting around in scorching heat, we were on our way and across the border. We were now out of Mexico and in Guatemala!!! There was a since of relief amongst all of us, even though we didn’t
talk about it, you could hear it in everyones voice in our intercoms.
Guatemala instantly had a different feel to it. It was more fiery than Mexico and the tempo on the road was instantly noticeable. The drivers were more aggressive and let us know that it was their road, and we just happen to be on it with them. The roads were in worse condition and there were pot holes everywhere. Bob tried passing a car and there was on coming car that could have scooted over but he didn’t. I had this sinking feeling and yelled at Bob to get over. He slided over and the car missed Bobs pannier on the side of his bike by inches. It was an instant wake up call and a reminder for us to be on our toes. We all said to take it easy and lets just go a
short ride longer and call it a day. A few miles later there was a traffic jam slowing traffic to about 30 MPH. We had a tractor trailer in front of us and he moved toward the center lane and I made a split second decision to pass him on the right, where there was no shoulder, only a cliff full of rocks. As I was accelerating as fast as my bike would go, the truckers swerves to his right inclining me off the road. I briefly looked to see if I could go under his truck, but my handlebars wouldn’t make it, so I picked my spot to off the side of the road. Bob shouted in the intercom and it brought back some memories that I would rather forget. At that moment, I looked straight ahead in the truckers right mirror and we locked eyes, and he instantly swerved hard to his left making room for me and I stepped on it flew by him on his right side. I expected to get high middle finger from him, but instead he gave me a smirk and waved, as if to say “Im just so glad I didn’t pancake you!” Another close call and reminder that it was time to get off the road for the day.
The road turned into a small two lane twisty road making our way up into the high
mountains. It was nice and beginning to cool off with the gain in elevation. We landed in the town of Quetzaltenango and we found a great little burrito restaurant that was run by an American guy named Chris. Chris had come to Guatemala to build schools for kids and just stayed because he loved Guatemala so much. Now he owns a couple of
burrito shops that owns small
farms, employs locals and his restaurants are self sufficient, all while training kids how to farm and do everything that is involved with the process. Its people like Chris that keep me inspired to travel. He is someone doing his
part to help and better the world in a way that is contagious. I could have talked to him for days and listened to all of his experiences in Guatemala. He also taught us about the holiday that was going on all over Central America and it was the holiday of Semana Santa!
We would find this holiday at many more stops down the road. We roamed around the town and checked out all of the festival festivities. It felt like the entire country came out for this celebration. You could definitely see the indigenous qualities of the people from this mountain region. They were smaller
and darker with bright smiles. I am not sure if it was more Inca or Mayan, but the gene lines were carried on.
Our main interest at this point was to make it to Antigua. I had a friend Matt Savino, from my hometown of Kansas City, Missouri that we had planned to meet up in Antiqua. Matt was driving his Toyota FJ Cruiser from Los Angeles California to the Ushuia Argentina and he was calling his tour “Ushuia OR Bust!” I had been following all of his travel experiences on his blog and it was fun to track him, and even more fun knowing we were going to cross paths in Guatemala after not seeing each other for many years.
We departed Quetzaltenango the following morning and headed toward Antigua. Matt had been in Antigua for several weeks learning Spanish and he had an apartment rented but we said we would just come into town and call him to find a place to meet up. As we approached Antigua the setting was surreal. There is a huge volcano that serves as an always present backdrop of the city. It later erupted shortly after we left, but for now all was peaceful. The roads are laid with brick
and it was a rough ride once we got into town. Parking was scarce and the same festival Semana Santa was going on in Antigua so the city was packed and even more festive than any previous city we had been to. There were countless ************* in the streets which really are works of art. Each family pays the church to have a spot in the middle of the street for a day or two and they all work together as a family to make these elaborate
illustrative art pieces. Each family is trying to outdo the other and they all do a fantastic job and have mastered the craft I would imagine from this annual practice session.
It is all made up of sawdust and dye. Each member has their role as some are mixing different colors, some are carving the sawdust,
another sprays water on the dust to keep it in place and the duties are endless. Its a well orchestrated coordinated dance that seems to go off without a hitch, and there is one presentation after another, street after street. It was incredible!
We haven’t even made our first stop yet in the town of Antigua and I already loved this place. First we have to find Matt.
The streets were lined with people and we figured we would pull over and find a bar, get a beer and call Matt. As we pulled over in the sea of people, I got off my bike and I saw Matt sitting about 20 feet away. We locked eyes and started laughing in amazement that of all places to find each
other, with all of these
people around, we just happen to randomly bump into each other in our
first few minutes of being in town. The odds of that were uncanny and it was a nice surprise. So much for having to hunt Matt
down, we already found him!
Matt had found good BBQ beer house and it made for a great spot to spend an hour to catch up. We shared stories of our travels and it was just good to see him. We found an Air BnB not far away and we dropped our
stuff with a plan of staying in Antigua for 3 days. Matt had been in his language school for a few weeks and made some friends. We all met up that evening and
checked out Antigua. Antigua had an old feel to it and it was classic. The town had a slow swagger to it but the festival made it unusually louder and more festive. It was the first place I had encountered in Central America that I thought I could spend an extended period of time in this place.
The following day we walked around town and checked out the sights. There was no shortage of activity and stimulation. It was just fun to be off the bikes and wonder around with not much of a plan. We couldn’t help but
take in all the family art pieces in the streets and there were just so many.
I found it fascinating that the families would take so much time into each and every detail
and a short time later, vehicles were driving over it as if it was never there. While we were in Antigua we heard a couple of other motorcycles roaring down the street near our apartment and we struck up a conversation with them. It was a guy/girl couple that had been riding their bikes around the world for several years. Paul was from England and
Egle was from Lithuania. We went to dinner with them that evening and it was a nice exchange. We did more listening than talking and they both had a lot to offer.
You can follow their journey at RTWPaul on Instagram @ rtwpaul or www.RTWPaul.com
We had all spent a good bit of time planning the next part of our trip which was typical. Our final destination for this trip was San Jose’ Costa Rica. We didn’t have any parking arranged and all we knew is we had about 2
more weeks to get there. We usually don’t have much of a plan. We have a
start/end date, and starting point and an ending point. The rest, we wing it. We often have an idea of how we will get there but we have found that the best resource is talking to people on the road and most importantly, coming the opposite direction from where you are headed. We had strongly agreed on not stepping foot in El Salvador.
It was extremely dangerous and not a lot of resources. But when we got close to the border of Guatemala and El Salvador, we encountered a few people that said it was safe enough and had good experiences. So, the night before we left Guatemala headed toward Honduras, we changed our minds and our route now included El Salvador. One day before that I never would have thought it would be a remotely possibility that I would be at the border of El Salvador, and there I was, exiting Guatemala to explore what I thought was a war torn country of El Salvador.
Exiting Guatemala sure was a whole lot better and easier than coming in! The customs guys were very cool and even put an End Of All Roads sticker on their border patrol 4-wheeler which I got a kick out of. They were into it! After about an hour which was a record setting shortest amount of time to exit a country, we went about half a mile and entered the country of El Salvador. These in-between zones are trippy because they always feel like a tense government restrictive no mans land, but you are not really sure which country owns it.
As we parked our bikes and walked in to the customs area, we were the only ones there. It felt like Mars and I instantly started to second guess our decision of coming to El Salvador. Why are we the only ones
here? Are we the only ones dumb enough to try to get in? Nope, we are the only ones adventurous enough today to try :) It was pretty painless process, of paying our fees, making copies of everything, which we
have and getting on our way. It was about 2 hours total to exit Guatemala and enter El Salvador which was by far the fastest amount of time it had take us to get into a country so far.
And then BOOM we are in El Salvador! As with every country, there is an immediate vibe that the country has. Each vibe and each country have a unique feel and its instant. El Salvador instantly had a very poor feel. The roads were full of potholes and not well kept. There were shanty homes on the side of the road and trash everywhere. Most border towns in every country, including our own, are poor
representations of the country, and El Salvador was no different.
As we slipped away from the border the real El Salvador began to show itself. Our destination for the day was the backpacker beach town of El Tunco. Our route took us to the coast along a high twisty curved road that showed some of the gorgeous landscapes of El Salvador. The water on our right and the hills on our left. Some of the hills had been plucked clean of its forestry and that was
evident from the logging trucks full of trees that constantly passed us on the road going the opposite direction. I found it a bit sad that the country had sold so much of their
beauty to make room for vacant landscapes. None the less, there was still a beauty to the place and the roads got better as we
approached the coast. As we rolled into El Tunco on a Saturday afternoon you could feel the electricity in the air of all of the 20
something year old backpackers that were ready to tear it
up on a Saturday night. El Tunco was a beach town filled with bars, clubs, beach bars, hostels and cheap beers. We opted for the expensive $35/night bungalows at El Guitar Hotel. It was on the beach and in the middle of town. I didn’t know at the time of booking that there was a night club directly behind our bungalows
that would pump loud music until the wee hours of the morning. Its official, Im the old guy now :)
We spent the next day on the black sand beach of El Tunco. All of El Salvador had a rustic cowboy raw feel to it. It was different from its neighbors and we like the off the beaten path
places, so this was town that was right up our alley. We were starting to be more focused on getting to Costa Rica in time and we still needed to make
arrangements for our parking of our bikes for a month. It’s always a little daunting not knowing where we will store our bikes for a month so we like to take a full 2 days to make sure we can research the options in the town that we are going to store them. For now, we still had a long way to go from El Salvador to Costa Rica and the clock is beginning to tick. We don’t like to hurry but we are gonna have to start humping it a little bit.
We planned our route through El Salvador and we only had one more stop in this tiny country and it was a ride down the coast to El Cuco only a few hour ride away. We found a cool bed and breakfast place that was perched on a cliff with a nice pool. Another cool spot we could have all spent a lot of time in.
We had a decision to make, did we want to stop in Honduras for a night and risk staying in the not so great border towns, or did we want to try to do two border crossings in one day? Border crossings are always bit of a mystery, because they can take a few hours or in the case of entering Guatemala it could take all day. So what do we want to do? We
have to move on. We talked about the places we really would
don’t like long days. We like to get somewhere and try to enjoy it a bit before we
like to spend time in before we leave are San Juan Del Sur in Nicaragua and San Jose’ Costa Rica
to secure our parking situation. So off we went the following morning at sunrise to try
to attempt to make it out of El Salvador, enter/exit Honduras, and enter Nicaragua before the day is done. As we
the border of El Salvador and Honduras, we
were chased by a guy that is a border handler. These guys are hustlers that say they can navigate all of the bureaucratic paperwork and go from office to office on our behalf for a fee. I don’t like these guys because I don’t
trust them, and I feel like we can do it ourselves. As we put some gas in our bikes near the border one
handler was so persistent. We told him NO but
We exited El Salvador quickly and painlessly and then we were in the border no mans land headed toward Honduras. As we approached the border several handlers began to run after us. They saw/heard us coming a long way away and we probably looked like an easy payday for them. We blew them all off and went to park our bikes. The first customs
he followed us anyway.
official was not very pleasant and as he told us to go to another office, we walked out to the chaos of handlers begging for our business, pick me pick me!! Across the street was the first guy that approached us and he was quietly watching us get mobbed with a smirk on his face. He motioned to follow him, which
we hopped on our bikes and we did. As
we pulled down the road about a half a mile to another office, he explained, “for $20 I will take care of all the paperwork for all three of you and you’ll be on your way. After what we just briefly went through, it was $20 well spent. He did exactly what he said he would, and we were on our way. He asked where we were going and we told him somewhere other than where we were
actually going because we don’t want people
knowing our business. He said, “if you go to the border of Nicaragua, my friend is there, use him.” We said, that we weren’t going there, which was a lie, because that is exactly where we are going right now.
These guys have a network set up and we are small fish in
their pond. They listen to every word that is spoken and they are dialed in. So it’s no surprise that when we approaching the border
of Nicaragua there was guy running after us shouting our names. There is also always a group of guys that are money exchangers. They are hoping you will sell your currency from the country you are leaving and they make a small percentage and your exchange rate is a little less. It is
always odd to see these poor guys running around with large stacks of cash in their hands, while everyone is so poor. They must be protected and plugged in because nobody messes with them and thats another reason I usually steer clear of these guys. I’ll exchange my cash at the airport even though the exchange rate sucks there too.
Once we crossed the border of Nicaragua there was the usual instant different feel. It was a little more advanced than Honduras but not by a lot. The cops were very casual and didn’t seem to pay much attention to us which was a nice feeling, because we always seemed to be
on our guard with the police because they always gave us
more of thorough look than the locals in any previous country. So many of the locals were sucking on a sugar filled concoction in a small plastic bag that looked like a liquid Pixy- stick = pure sugar. The guy in this pic on the left had small stubbs for his small black teeth.
We made our way to the small beach town of Las Penitas. It was another flat black sand beach that was nice. We intended to spend a full next day the following day sliding down a volcano, which
is the thing to do in Las Penitas, but we really were behind schedule and we decided to take what little time we
had left and spend it in San Juan Del Sur, and San Jose. So the following morning we left and the ride took us through Leon, which was a town that Brian looked forward to visiting. I was pretty quiet as we rode through the town of Leon and thought of how much he would have enjoyed it, and how we more than likely would have spent a couple of days there if he was with us, but for now, we slowly cruised through. It was another reminder, not that we ever needed reminding.
A few weeks after we left this area the streets of Leon were barricaded by locals and a battle began between the locals and the government. The entire country of Nicaragua pretty much
shut down. The roads were shut down and the country was at a standstill. We dodged another bullet and we were thankful. It was almost like we had someone looking out for us. I became aware of this feeling when we went through Guatemala and a massive volcano eruption brought the country to its knees. We were just riding around that volcano and through those small villages that were devastated. It was sad to say the least and I couldn’t believe our timing of missing it so close. I felt that way again in Nicaragua with the Government discontent and missing
all of that, thankfully.
We had perfect weather the entire time on this trip. We hadn’t encountered one rain drop the entire 3 weeks so far. As we rode along the coast of Nicaragua, the sky was bright blue and there were a couple of volcanos that are always a nice reminder of where we are. We had to pull over and get a pic of
this volcano and windmill. It was a nice setting to hang our Guam flag that we are taking with us on our lap around the world.
Finally we rolled into San Juan Del Sur. We always joke about how this is our shopping trip for retirement which is still 20 years away, but this tour of the world will hopefully give us an idea of where we might want to retire, and San Juan Del Sur was a place that is on my retirement menu. I knew from everything I had heard about this place that I was going to like it, and I was right. There was a lazy beach town feel to it, yet it had amenities that served my interests. Its not too built up. There are no movie theaters or massive shopping areas, just a town, beach and rows of restaurants along the beach. My kind of place! We rented an AirBnB bungalow on the hill overlooking the town. It was a small
community of Expats that had been there for many years.
The prices of the bungalows were American tagged at $400k,
Wow!! Are you kidding me? We are still in Nicaragua for crying out loud! I think if I ended up in San Juan Del Sur, it wouldn’t be in a place with that price tag. One of the appeals of moving
abroad is that you would get more for your money. This is a
beautiful place but not at that price. I am not
looking to buy anyway, but that was a bit of surprise.
We took a few days to explore this area. We hopped on the bikes and rode to the top of the
hill overlooking the bay. There was a large Jesus statue on top of the hill
San Juan Del Sur and set out on our last day of riding to San Jose’ Costa Rica. The exit out of Nicaragua took a couple of hours but we are getting used to the process of border
providing a watchful eye on the townspeople. So was Bob.
After a couple of days we departed
crossing now and we know what to expect. After we exited Nicaragua and hit the no mans land in-between the countries of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, this part had a very different feel. It felt more like going from Canada to America. The lines of semi-Tractor trailer trucks waiting to get in the country was a couple of miles. There was a much more organized process and Costa Rica was serious. This ended up being one of the more time consuming and extensive crossings we had done to date. We waited in multiple lines, had our bags searched, a few guys came out to our bikes and searched them, verified our numbers on our bikes and on and on... It took several hours, but then we were in Costa Rica. Again, the country had an instant feel change. This was drastically different than any of the previous countries in a good way. The roads were all freshly paved and there weren’t a lot of cars on the road. It was apparent that Costa Rica had more money and the money was put into infrastructure. Costa Rica has no military and is more of a second world country than a third world. It felt like an extension of Florida. Some people might scoff at that but when we pulled in to San Jose and saw a PF Changs, Hooters and all the American
chain restaurants, yes I felt like I was in Florida. Although, the ride to get there was still definitely Central America. It was also on the last hour on the last day, that we saw our first raindrop. It was almost like a nice bike wash at the end of a long and dusty ride through 5 countries. We were dirty and dusty and so were our bikes.
The last day was good in the way that suddenly a sense of accomplishment was setting in the closer we got to San Jose’. This is a trip of many things and one quality is persistence. It’s not a race, its a marathon. Most importantly, we started our trip with so many emotions, uncertainties, tension and anxiety, and that is what this sudden feeling of accomplishment was about. We overcame. We are still overcoming and wrestling with the always present lose of our dear friend. That will never go away, but for now, in this moment, we all were riding into San Jose’ with no frown and it was a very necessary part of the process for us, and a new beginning.
We rolled into San Jose’ and made contact with Chris from the BMW shop there. He was gone on a trip but provided us with a lot of
info. We parked our bikes at the Intercontinental Hotel and tucked them away for a month. It’s always weird to leave something so precious in the hands of strangers and hope for the best. The hotel was very accommodating and they gave us almost an entire floor of a parking garage all to ourselves. I felt like our bikes were in good hands.
After the bikes were secure, we spent two days in San Jose’ and met up with a guy named Manny. Manny is a coworker of my cousin and they work at Intel together. Manny is an avid rider and was quick to come and pick us up at the hotel and show us his town. He proved to be instrumental at the end of this trip and at the beginning of the next. Manny stored all of our gear that we usually carry on our bikes as if touring around the city wasn’t enough.
So after we toured the city and got a locals perspective, it was time to leave. We all made our flight arrangements and went our separate ways. We always say we see more of each other in Central America than we do on our tiny island of Guam, where we all live. When
we get back on Guam, we all work everyday and its time to make up for being off of work for so long. We work to live, we certainly don’t live to work. Thats one thing that I love about my friends on Guam, they all know how to live and I am glad I am part of such unique group of friends that have an approach to life that knows how to enjoy it. For now, this trip through Central America is complete. Our next trip will be from San Jose’ Costa Rica to Panama City Panama, via the end of the Pan American Highway = The End of the Road!
Thanks for following our adventure! Safe Travels!!!